The Northman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Robert Eggers
So not only did The Daniels make one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, we got a movie from Robert Eggers just a few weeks after! Either someone out there likes me or I’m being set up for a huge downfall, which admittedly is thematically consistent with Eggers’ other work. Both The Witch and The Lighthouse were two of the best movies in their respective years and it looks like Hollywood is taking notice as they’ve given him a blank check to make his unique form of creeping dread and otherworldly terror as big and bombastic as any summer blockbuster! Do the bigger budget and expansive production give Eggers the room he needs to make the best movie of his career, or is he better suited for something on a much smaller scale? Let’s find out!!
Back in the time of The Vikings, there was a king named Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) who was unjustly slain by his own brother (Claes Bang) in front of the young prince Amleth (Oscar Novak) in a power grab for his kingdom and his queen (Nicole Kidman). The prince manages to escape and swears vengeance on his uncle which he nurtures into a finely distilled ball of pure rage and spends the next twenty years bulking up and kicking butt until he is ready to take back his kingdom. Now a grown man (Alexander Skarsgård), Amleth pillages the countryside with a group of like-minded and similarly buff Viking dudes until he gets word that his uncle has been deposed and is living with the queen and their two sons on some farm in Iceland. He heads over there on a slave ship to try and get close to him while meeting the fair maiden Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) who may or may not be a witch, and is similarly interesting in killing the man who will be enslaving them both. Amleth manages to stay unrecognized as he becomes one of his uncle’s slaves and plots his revenge which includes sewing chaos during the night and stabbing dudes with a magic sword he finds. Still, this proves to not be as simple a task as Amleth believed it to be for all those years, and now he’s faced with the true consequences of his actions which forces him to weigh the cost of his vengeance against the balance he hopes to restore with that blood. Will Amleth be able to avenge his father, save his mother, and be the hero that would make Odin proud? Will his uncle catch wise to this hulking blonde brute being the instrument of his torment, and even if he does realize his identity, is there anything he can do to stop his nephew from carrying out his quest? Is it just me or does a blood feud really do wonders for your physique? I mean jeez, they didn’t even have EMS back!
[THENORTHMANCD1 – I guess when you can’t get whey protein in a jar you just have to get it the old-fashioned way by drinking the blood of your enemies!]
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!?
The Magnificent Seven and all the images you see in this review are owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
The original Magnificent Seven is a movie that’s on my depressingly large list of movies that I really should see at some point and unfortunately I didn’t get around to it before this remake came out. That said, the premise isn’t all that hard to grasp and it’s definitely trying to reach a new young audience if the advertisements are anything to go on. That and the addition of Chris Pratt doesn’t hurt either as the guy couldn’t be hotter with the younger demographics after star turning roles in Guardians of the Galaxy as well as Jurassic World. Does this reinterpretation of one of the most classic stories of all time turn out to be a modern day classic, or is it doomed to live in the shadow of its predecessor? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the town of Rock Ridge… I mean Rose Creek, being under siege from the EVIL rich guy Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) who wants to drive everyone out of there so he can mine the shit out of the place for gold and other valuable resources. After burning down the local church and killing a few of the locals, they realize they can’t handle this on their own and they need some help. After all, they worked too damn hard killing off all the Native Americans to build this town on their land for some rich asshole to take it all away from them! Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) who is the widow of one of the dead guys goes to a nearby town with her friend Teddy (Luke Grimes) to find some tough guys to chase Bart’s friends out of town! For their efforts, they find the bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) who then helps them gather the rest of the crew which includes the Chris Pratt archetype Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), an old-timey sniper Goodnight Robicheux (Ethan Hawke), his best buddy with the kick ass name Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), a wild mountain man Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), some random outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Ruflo), and a Comache hunter Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). Now all of them have their own reason for taking on such an impossible task (some less plausible than others as I still have no idea what Red Harvest is after), but it’s not going to be an easy fight as they’ve got an army to go up against and they have maybe a few dozen farmers to train up and give them support once the shit hits the fan. Can this town be saved from the onslaught of Bart’s men? Why exactly did Sam accept this job in the first place, and could he have ulterior motives? Who thinks they’re gonna accurately predict which ones will die? Think you can do better than me!?