Tulip Fever and all the images you see in this review are owned by The Weinstein Company
Directed by Justin Chadwick
Now THESE are the movies I live for! What makes a good or bad movie even better is if there’s a good story behind it, and this looks like a disaster waiting to happen; what with its troubled production (it’s earliest incarnation was supposed to be filmed in 2004) and the fact that it’s been sitting on Harvey Weinstein’s shelf for almost three years now. Not only that, the premise itself sounds completely absurd (a steamy period romance AND ALSO the explosion of the Dutch tulip market) and the trailers made it look like a muddled mess; probably due to that whole “sitting around for three years” thing. Sometimes a film can rise above a nightmarish film shoot with films like Apocalypse now and even The Shining being great examples of that (even if Shelly Duvall’s treatment on set was pretty freaking grotesque), but other times we get stuff like Waterworld, The Super Mario Bros Movie, or even Food Fight. Does this film manage to come out of all this turmoil as an intact and extremely entertaining film, or should they have never bothered dusting this off in the first place? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Sophia (Alicia Vikander) who’s agreed to marry Cornellis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz) in exchange for her younger sister getting a free trip to American and her getting out of the orphanage. All she has to do is sire him an heir and live a happy domesticated life; provided the dude who more or less bought her doesn’t get bored and throw her out on the streets. Still, even if a baby would have kept him from doing such a thing (at least not right away) she seems completely unable to get pregnant which puts a strain on their “relationship” which I guess you can call it. In walks Jan van Loos (Dane DeHaan) who is painting a portrait for them but manages to fall madly in love with Sophia who eventually reciprocates his feelings. After more than a few bangings behind Sandvoort’s back, trouble starts to brew when Sophia’s maid Maria (Holiday Grainger) gets married and the father (Jack O’Connell) disappears due to some contrived misunderstanding. Now her being pregnant and unmarried is a problem while Sophia being NOT pregnant is a problem as well. I wonder if the two things could somehow come together to come up with a solution! Oh and there’s a Tulip Market bubble that’s going on in the background that I’m sure means something important. Will Sophia be able to give Sandvoort what he wants while also finding a way to escape his clutches? What will happen to their brilliant plan if the REAL father comes back at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME? Are we SURE that Dane Dehaan isn’t just playing Valerian again and this is one of his Time Travel stories?
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment and EuropaCorp
Directed by Luc Besson
As much as I would like a new Sci-Fi franchise to bring a bit of variety and challenge the Disney Monolith, I just couldn’t see this movie as anything more than a REALLY expensive mistake. Maybe that’s more of a commentary on the current state of Blockbuster Cinema than an observation of the movie itself (though the ho-hum trailers certainly didn’t help), but a movie THIS expensive looking based around a series of graphic novels that (as far as I can tell) didn’t end up having THAT much reach outside of its native France looked like the kind of disaster that can only be made by people REALLY passionate about what they’re doing. Now sometimes China can pick up the slack like it did with Pacific Rim which was a GOOD movie, but then other times not even they can save a doomed production like John Carter. Still, that’s all secondary when talking about whether a movie is good or not, and while the trailers didn’t really impressive me, there were certainly glimpses of something that could be great if the filmmaker knew how to take advantage of it. Does this movie manage to be a science fiction classic despite its box office prospects, or was everyone asleep at the wheel while Luc Besson spent an untold fortune bringing this comic book to life? Let’s find out!!
Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline (Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne) are two space agents working for the Human government who are basically paid to be bad asses across the galaxy and supposedly have the ability to travel through time which I guess we’ll have to wait to see in the sequel. Anyway, Valerian is having dreams about some lost civilization whose planet was destroyed but he has no idea if these are premonitions of the future or something that happened long ago. Either way, his latest mission with Laureline JUST SO HAPPENS to converge with these mysterious dreams as there are a band of terrorists of sorts from an unknown race (I BET VALERIAN KNOWS WHO THEY ARE!) that are trying to get their hands on a rare MacGuffin Creature that Laureline is protecting as well as the current military leader of the Human government General Arün Filitt (Clive Owen). They manage to get the latter, but the former is still safely tucked away and both Valerian and Laureline, despite the protestations of their new commanding officer (Sam Spruell) try to chase them down. Valerian gets lost in the chase as do the terrorists, and so Laureline has to find him and then the both of them can these aliens who kidnapped the general… unless of course shenanigans with other aliens happen along the way, but that could NEVER happen in the city of a thousand planets, right!? Will Valerian and Laureline stop this new threat before it’s too late!? What is their ultimate goal once they have both the general and the MacGuffin Creature? Will Valerian be the next ACTION STAR to dominate the silver screen!? Well… probably not, but can he and Laureline STILL save the City of a Thousand Planets!?
A Cure for Wellness and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Gore Verbinski
You know, Gore Verbinski is a much more versatile director than I think he gets credit for. Sure, he made three Pirates movies and then that Pirates movie in the old west, but he’s also got The Ring, The Weatherman, and Rango under his belt too; all really solid movies. Hell, even his big blockbuster films are at least interesting if not always good! Okay, The Lone Ranger isn’t even that much, but I’ll give credit to those Pirates movies for being fantastically well-crafted even if the story wasn’t always there to back up the designs. Now he seems to be going back to his roots in a way as this is the lowest budget he’s had to work with since The Weatherman, and he’s also heading back to the horror genre which seems like a pretty good idea considering how well that Ring remake turned out. Is this a new benchmark in horror that all others will be compared to, or will this be a catastrophic failure the likes of which we haven’t seen since The Lone Ranger? Or you know, it COULD be somewhere in between those two. Anyway, let’s find out!!
The movie follows an up and coming… business man of some sort named Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) who’s sent to some faraway Wellness Center somewhere in the Swiss Alps to retrieve the owner of the company he works for. You see, the board of directors got a strange letter from their boss Mr. Pembroke (Harry Groener) that he’s found the cure for what ails him at this facility and that he’s never coming back. Of course, if he REALLY didn’t want to be bothered anymore, he would have included official documents removing himself from the company to go along with that letter, but if he did that then Lockhart wouldn’t have a reason to go and we wouldn’t have a movie, now would we? It also helps that Lockhart did some illegal… business stuff I guess that he thought he had kept secret but the board knows ALL about it and is holding that over his head to get him to go to Switzerland. Once Lockhart gets there, its IMMEDIATELY clear that something just isn’t right about this place. Is it the creepy staff that acts like condescending zombie vampires? Is it the strange girl named Hannah (Mia Goth) who’s comes and goes with seemingly little understanding about the world around her? Maybe it’s the fact that the head of the facility is named Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Jason Isaacs) which is probably in the top ten villain names of all time! I’m guessing it’s that. Well any normal person would just bolt it to the airport at this point, but Lockhart JUST SO HAPPENS to get in a nasty car accident on the way back from the Wellness Center and wakes up back at the facility a few days later with a cast on his leg. Well since he isn’t GOING anywhere for now, he might as well try to find Pembroke and see if there’s some shady shit going down in this Wellness Center that puts a little too much emphasis on water and for some reason uses REALLY outdated medical equipment. Will Lockhart get what he needs from Pembroke and save his job? Just what is going on in this creepy facility with so many creepy people and creepy equipment? Is the cure that everyone is looking for… love!?