Archives for posts with tag: Joan Chen

I’ve heard enough from Jessica Chastain to believe she simply wants to be treated like one of the guys. The problem with that is if your only goal is to be like everyone else, you’ll never be better than anyone else. “Ava” (2020) retraces the steps of “Atomic Blonde” by building a mediocre spy thriller around the novelty of a female assassin. Chastain’s subplot (complicated family and substance-abuse baggage) is also somewhat novel, but it’s a slight variation on a role her co-star, Colin Farrell, could have played in 2006, or Burt Reynolds in 1986 or Gene Hackman in 1976.

Too much of a good thing. Bernardo Bertolucci tries to jam so much symbolism into “The Last Emperor” (1987), the film becomes exhausting to watch. Long, slow buildup follows long, slow buildup as we see a man born into pageantry and oppression and die under different pageantry and different oppressors. Our Chinese emperor, played by John Lone, is a symbol in himself, spending life as a powerless ruler trapped behind walls and never truly comprehending how others are using him. And yet, because of his inconsistent behavior, he’s not quite tragic enough to carry us through the 163-minute run time.