“Red Sparrow”: Disturbing, disorganized and disappointing

Blog post image
San Diego, C.a., July 9, 2015 – Comic Con: Jennifer Lawrence stars as Dominika Egorova in “Red Sparrow.” Source: Wikimedia Commons.

by Cody Davis—

In the wake of the Mueller investigation and the #MeToo movement, a film about Russian intelligence operatives using their seduction skills to extract information from American targets had the potential to be an iconic production. However, the film adaptation of Jason Matthews’ novel of the same name produces too many creepy, cringe-worthy scenes to achieve such acclaim.

“Red Sparrow” follows ballerina Dominika Egorova (played by Jennifer Lawrence) after being forced into Russia intelligence’s “Sparrow” program, a group of operatives who manipulate their targets through seduction. Acting as a Sparrow in order to protect her mother, she quickly finds herself in the middle of an intelligence war between the United States and Russia, with little chance of surviving the operation. Egorova must choose her loyalties in order to save her mother’s life, if it’s not already too late.

In a botched attempt to recreate an acclaimed novel into an acclaimed film, Francis Lawrence and his team deliver an unnecessarily lengthy movie filled with over-the-top violence and sex. What could have been a huge influence in the #MeToo movement, the film’s reliance on such graphic, disturbing scenes leaves audiences little reason to believe “Red Sparrow” has a positive impact in the national discussion around sexual assault. In fact, it’s safe to say that “Red Sparrow” completely missed the mark on this subject.

The film’s intriguing storyline and impressive cinematography are overshadowed by its ambiguous introduction and controversial content. While the sexual and violent themes are no doubt central pieces to the story, these themes more or less dictate the entire movie, conveying the writing team’s apparent laziness. Opting to dial back on the sex and violence in favor of richer dialogue would have made for a much better movie-going experience.

Jennifer Lawrence is the film’s saving grace, delivering an excellent performance that carries the entire picture. Her accent, demeanor, appearance and mannerisms give an authentic interpretation of Matthews’ character, and prove she has matured from her cardboard-acting days of the “Hunger Games” franchise.

Anthony Lane of The New Yorker examines the production perfectly, calling its delivery “world-class clunkiness” and bringing attention to the director’s misuse of an excellent cast. It is disappointing to see a film with great potential turn out to be such a huge disappointment.

Don’t Shut Up, Dribble: Speak up, Speak Out

Akron, Oh., Jan.14 – Cari Champion Interviews James and Durant: This interview spawned controversy when a Fox News Host challenged the validity of the NBA players opinions about the political climate in the United States. Video by Uninterrupted.

by Josh Henry–

Following the 2016 Presidential election, a cloud has hung over the United States. Despite social media rising to new heights, people are scared to air their political opinions more than ever. That said, prominent figures in non-political positions are trying to give people some confidence when it comes to airing grievances or agreements with the way things are going.

Two of those figures are LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Those men are two of the NBA’s brightest stars and took part in a new vodcast with ESPN host Cari Champion on January 14th. Both men spoke not only about experiences in their own lives, but also about what it is like living under the Trump administration.

One day after the vodcast was released earlier in February, Fox News host Laura Ingraham did a segment on her show responding to the players commentary. She criticized many things about both men and specifically ended her commentary telling them and other outspoken athletes to just “shut up and dribble.”

The backlash to Ingraham’s comments was swift from all angles around the country. She took time to make pointed, and possibly racist, comments regarding the two men. But the ending statement is what bothers me the most.

We are guaranteed certain freedoms by our forefathers which we hold dear. One of those freedoms is the freedom of speech. It is very rarely limited, and without it many of the foundations of our nation would crumble.

The Sedition Act was struck down in the late 18th century because it limited our speech. It is dangerous to silence a nation from speaking out against their leaders. If we can’t speak out, we are controlled and therefore no longer free.

So how in the world can anyone be forced to be silent just because of their profession? As a reporter for the News Feed, should I not be entitled to my opinion? Should everyday people who vote in our leaders but work as bankers, teachers, plumbers, etc.… not be allowed to speak up when they feel their leaders are doing the wrong thing?

To expect silence and obedience from people just because they don’t happen to have a political science degree, or more likely the case with Ingraham: don’t agree with your side, isn’t a sign of democracy. It is a sign that she would rather have an oligarchy or dictator rule with no one opposing.

No, athletes will not shut up and dribble, or stick to sports, and they shouldn’t. After all, before he was President, Donald Trump was a reality TV show host and businessman. I guess he didn’t stick to that.


Benefits of essential oils, diffuser

by Molly Bryant–

After reading about the history of essential oils, it was interesting to find that they have been used in cultures around the world centuries. While some used them for religious reasons, others found that they had significant healing powers for the sick.

Blacksburg, Va., Jan. 31 – Essential Oil Pack: One brand of essential oils, called Plantlife, offers 100% pure essential oil packs that are ideal for essential oil diffusers. Plantlife offers packs in a variety of scents. Photo: Molly Bryant

Today, essential oils are still not only used across different cultures but frequently used within spas and homes. A new product taking the natural-living market by storm, and one that I had to try, is the essential oil diffuser. With properties similar to a humidifier, consumers of the essential oil diffuser are said to reap serious health benefits.

Depending on your health needs, each oil has different healing properties. Eucalyptus oil, for example, can be diffused to fight respiratory diseases and aid concentration, while lavender oil has stress-relieving properties and the ability to aid in healing migraines. Have a big interview coming up and need a boost of confidence? Rosemary and jasmine oils are proven to help calm nerves and have uplifting qualities. The question now is: with so many oils on the market, how do you know you’re getting a quality product to use for your diffuser?

One easy way to tell an oil is quality versus cheap is to put a drop of the oil on a white piece of computer paper. After allowing the oil to settle and dry, observe the paper to see if an oil ring was left behind. If there is a prominent ring of oil left behind, the oil is not pure.

Blacksburg, Va., Jan. 31 – PureSpa Oil Diffuser: The essential oil diffuser I purchased from Target was designed by PureSpa and changes colors as the oils diffuse.

Now that you know how to choose your oils, how do you choose the right diffuser?

The truth about diffusers is, the most important part is the quality of the oils, rather than the quality of the diffuser. Mine cost only $29.99 and has been perfect.

If I could recommend anything to overly-stressed and exhausted college students, this would be it. My diffuser has helped me wind down at the end of a long day and destress on the tough weeks. It’s not only a natural solution but also an affordable one.