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Red Sparrow Review

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Jennifer Lawrence Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow Review – Spoiler Free

Red Sparrow is a film which comes directed by Francis Lawrence who some may know as the director of all of The Hunger Games films. Red Sparrow stars Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton,  Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciarán Hinds and Jeremy Irons.

Red Sparrow is a spy thriller about a Russian spy agency which trains spies who are known as “Sparrows”. The spies are specially trained in the art of seduction, so that they can gain someone’s trust and then eventually get a secret out of them. Red Sparrow is a dark tale which involves sex, manipulation, politics and espionage.

I was quite excited to go in and see Red Sparrow at the cinema this week. Being both a fan of Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton, I had thought that I was possibly in for quite a good experience. Both actors have quite the impressive lineup of recent films and their performances in each of their films individually was usually exceptional. On top of that Red Sparrow comes directed by Francis Lawrence who I’ve enjoyed in the past for his work on The Hunger Games series. The combination of all of these three combined seemed pretty good to me and on top of that there’s also Jeremy Irons and Ciarán Hinds.

Similar to The Hunger Games films, Red Sparrow’s direction under Francis Lawrence is a little similar in the way it is paced and presented. Red Sparrow is quite a slow paced film and is one with very dark themes of sex and manipulation and the occasional torture scene thrown in there. While I don’t really mind this type of pacing in a film myself, I feel that many out there might find themselves feeling a bit uncomfortable during the experience. If for example you can’t handle a torture scene where someone’s skin is grated off or a sex scene where it’s pretty violent and there’s a few of those in this, then you might get uncomfortable. This is mainly because of the slow pacing, things here are drawn out and the viewer can’t really escape something uncomfortable in the cinema. But it also adds to the experience of the film. We are supposed to be inside a world where our main character Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is doing something very dangerous and is in a dangerous line of work, so much like the character you find yourself in very uncomfortable situations and you’re not getting out of there quickly either.

The plot of Red Sparrow is a filled with mystery and intrigue. As a first time watcher of the film, I felt that the slow pacing helped quite a bit when it came to following who was who. I personally never felt lost or unaware when it came to which character was up to what. The strong themes in the film might make some viewers turn away from the plot or tune out, but if you watch and pay attention it’s very easy to follow. Even the twist at the end didn’t catch me off guard at all. Which I don’t know if it is a good thing or not.

Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow

Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow

As far as the actors go. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton are the standouts in this film. Jennifer Lawrence in particular goes through hell with her character in this film and in each scene she seems to pull everything off well. On the other hand, Dominika Egorova is a very cold and emotionless character, so for much of the film you don’t see an emotional side from that character, but in certain parts you do see that and I think it is part of what makes that character interesting and a bit of a mystery. Joel Edgerton’s performance is also good and he plays an American spy which is different to most others in the film who are all Russians. You get the kind of ‘good guy’ vibe from his performance, which is what I think Americans like to portray themselves as anyway. But I would of liked a bit more from Joel Edgerton’s screen time, as Jennifer Lawrence makes up much of the film, although she does great so I don’t mind. Jeremy Irons I have to say though, I didn’t really buy into his Russsian accent at all. I don’t know if it was intentional or if he was told to be the way he was, but I wasn’t into him in this film.

Overall Red Sparrow is a very strong and tense film experience filled with dark themes of manipulation, violence and sex in world filled with spies doing very dangerous things. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton put in some great work in this film and definitely bring the standard of the movie experience up. Which is needed from the actors and tough to do because the way Francis Lawrence directed this meant that it was a little slow paced and at times it will possibly be uncomfortable to watch for some viewers who will turn away or close their eyes in certain scenes which are dragged out for some time. Although I feel the Red Sparrow experience is meant to be like that. I feel like you’re meant to be a little uncomfortable watching this thriller, it’s supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing until  the end. I certainly enjoyed the Red Sparrow experience and thought it was well made and an enjoyable watch this week. The dark tones and rough scenes have no effect on me, but I can see other people not handling them and the pacing well. Spy thrillers like this aren’t always for everyone and that’s okay, Red Sparrow is an interesting watch and I’m happy to recommend it to those who can handle this type of film.

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Sea Of Solitude Review

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Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude is a game which was developed by Jo-Mei Games and was published by Electronic Arts. It is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC via Origin. It is a single player third person adventure game. The game has the player control a character named Kay who explores an abandoned and flooded city.

This was a game which caught my eye only very recently when I first heard about its release. After watching the trailer, I thought the art style, strong colours and animations looked very interesting. Also as a person who went mad one day and subscribed to EA’s Origin Premiere late last year so that I could play some games I had missed out on over the years, I was pleased to see something new added to the store that wasn’t a typical Electronic Arts style major franchise game. Knowing I could get this one for free was enough to give it a go. But if you’re not part of that program to get it for free, I’d say that the $26.95 asking price for this digital title is certainly worth it.

The game isn’t too long, most hardened gamers will probably be able to finish this one in a single session, which I actually managed to do yesterday morning. I didn’t time myself, but I’d say to expect about 3 or so hours out of it, a bit more if you look around for collectables.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

On the surface, Sea Of Solitude is about a young girl named Kay, who is searching through a city, which is for some reason flooded. You start the game all alone on a tiny boat, way out at sea on the water. You make your way to the city, where you find a monster clad in darkness is blocking your path. Through exploration and activating certain things, Kay brings light to an otherwise dark city.

Underneath the main plot though, is a game with strong messages and themes related to loneliness and relationships. Kay as a character is someone who has become lonely, isolated and quite depressed after issues with her family and her boyfriend. The game sends the player on a journey to free Kay and other characters from suffering from the effects of loneliness and related themes. What I didn’t expect this weekend, was to play a game which seemed to have the objective of tackling these mental health issues in this way and I never expected to play something this weekend from the gaming genre with such deep meaning to it.

In many ways, Sea Of Solitude reminded me of my experience with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice which was also a game that focused on mental health issues and is still a game I hold in very high regard. Both of these games were experiences that I could not put down once I started playing as I just had to find out what was going to happen with my character. Games tackling these mental health themes and the issues involved are quite rare in this medium, so when an experience like this does come along, it’s very unique and interesting. The difference between Sea Of Solitude and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is that Sea of Solitude is a little lighter in tone and not the intense gruelling experience that Senua’s was. This makes a player’s time with Sea Of Solitude one that is peaceful to experience.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

The art style in Sea Of Solitude is something I enjoyed looking at. The animations are very rounded, colours stand out on the screen and the use of blacks in contrast with visibly bright blues, whites and orange was what I loved the most. The music and also the voice acting, was soft and did fit in well with the tone of the game’s themes and art style. All together, visuals and audios seemed to be just right.

The gameplay in Sea Of Solitude is something I’d say is probably a little simple. It’s essentially a platforming game where you will jump, swim, drive a boat and shoot flares onto enemies. There aren’t any button combinations to learn or any level up systems. The game is accessible to people of most ages and even to people new to gaming could easily pick this one up and get through it.

Overall coming out of playing Sea Of Solitude, I was filled with positivity and happiness. The story is quite heavy when playing through it, but very warm in the end. The art style and animations are nice to see and the sound and voice acting was just right. I do like to see that the games industry can use the medium to tackle such heavy topics and release games like this which show how well this medium can tell a story and provide its audience with something of great meaning. I’m happy to recommend Sea Of Solitude for your gaming collection.

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Stuber Review

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Stuber Review

Stuber is a film which comes directed by Michael Dowse and stars Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani and Betty Gilpin. The film is an action comedy adventure about an Uber driver and a policeman who go on a wild ride together.

Going in to see Stuber I didn’t really know where to set my expectations. Knowing only that the film was a comedy, meant I went in for the lols and didn’t expect all that much from the story. But coming out of the film, I’m sorry to say, but it’s not really that great.

The film starts off okay and the opening scene features both Vic (Dave Bautista) and Sara (Karen Gillan) engaged in a dangerous shootout with some bad guys. Both are seriously injured and Vic loses his eyesight, which means he gets some urgent surgery. His eyes need time go recover, but as soon he’s able to walk he calls for an Uber and continues on with his police business, which is catching the bad guys who got away in the opening scene. This is where Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) comes in and the journey between this awkward duo begins.

I wish I could say that it was all good once the Uber ride began but it wasn’t. The film is only really mildly funny. Dave Bautista who I do really like in action films really isn’t great at comedy. Kumail Nanjiani basically was just screaming and yelling the whole time and talking about his Uber rating and reviews. I admit I did find some of the bad reviews he got from his previous customers in the film funny when they were shown, but that’s about it. Some of the jokes were also drawn out way too long. Dave Bautista’s character being blind was kind of funny in the first minute when you saw him trying to walk around without being able to see. But it’s only funny once and they did this joke over and over again almost all the way until the end!

In addition to this, for quite a bit of the film, I wondered if this was some sort of product placement or advertisement for Uber. There were so many mentions of Uber, Uber reviews and the difference between Uber products and services. What are we paying to watch here? Who cares about Uber!?

In the end I would suggest avoiding Stuber at the cinema this week and choosing literally any other film currently showing. After leaving this I instantly thought that Stuber needs to be on my list of worst movies of 2019 which I created just after seeing this and that says a lot because I was not compelled to make one after seeing X:Men Dark Phoenix.

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The Biggest Album Debuts of 2019: Updated Chart

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Biggest Album Debuts of 2019

The Biggest Album Debuts of 2019 – Billboard has been publishing a list of the most popular albums in America every week since March 1956. They include the “equivalent album units” for the albums in the top ten. What’s not included is a way to view the biggest debuts for each year.

For anyone else who is curious, here is a chart that ranks the biggest album debuts of 2019.

NOTE:

  • This only covers first-week album sales in America that debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200 chart
  • EPs are included in this list
  • “Equivalent album units” factor in traditional album sales, concert ticket/merch bundles and streaming numbers

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL AND UPDATED LIST

ArtistAlbumFirst Week “Units”
Jonas BrothersHappiness Begins414,000
Ariana GrandeThank U, Next360,000
Billie EilishWhen We All Fall Asleep313,000
Backstreet BoysDNA234,000
BTSMap of the Soul: Persona230,000
KhalidFree Spirit202,000
Juice WRLD

Tyler, the Creator

Death Race for Love

Igor

165,000 (1) (2)
Vampire WeekendFather of the Bride138,000
DJ KhaledFather of Asahd137,000

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL AND UPDATED LIST

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