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!?
Unforgettable and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment and EuropaCorp
Directed by James Ponsoldt
So you’re telling me that there’s a movie with Emma Watson, John Boyega, Tom Hanks, AND Patton Oswalt!? This is either gonna be the greatest movie of all time, or a HUGE disaster if they managed to rope in THAT kind of cast for an EVIL GOOGLE movie! Now techno-thrillers aren’t always the easiest idea to sell considering how hard it is to truly capture something that the world interacts with on a very intrinsic level on a daily basis which runs the risk of not fully understanding the material that is being explored (*cough* The Lawnmower Man *cough*) and even ones that succeed in that still tend to have a rather short shelf life considering how quickly technology changes and therefore what we fear about them does to. Does The Circle manage to surpass expectations to become that one rare techno-thriller that ISN’T completely laughable, or is it yet another failed entry in the genre? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Mae Holland (Emma Watson) getting the chance to work in the Customer Service department of The Circle. What is The Circle? Well, it’s basically a social media account a la Facebook, but with a lot more functionalities tied to it… so basically a Google+ account if anyone actually gave a shit about those. The Circle is ALSO the gigantic facility where all the employees work and most of them end up sleeping, eating, socializing, and partying for months on end; barely getting a glimpse of the outside world from their little techno-paradise. They’re all led by their charismatic leader Steve Jobs… I mean Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), who drags them all into an auditorium every damn week to tell them what crazy idea they’ll be working on next with his second in command Tom Stenton (Patton Oswalt) standing off to the side and making sure everything goes according to plan. Now the longer Mae stays there, the more obvious that these people are acting just the TINIEST bit silly what with their undying devotion to the idea of THE CIRCLE (whatever the hell it’s supposed to represent) and them being one big interconnected community with no secrets. After all, if you know something, then why not post it for the world to see? She’s not the only one slightly skeptical about all this as some dude who just likes to hang out on the outskirts of the cool parties (John Boyega) also doesn’t trust what The Circle is up to, but then he doesn’t seem to be doing anything to stop it. Anyway, The Circle’s plans for world domination… I mean effective social media services, gets creepier and more invasive as time goes on; eventually sweeping Mae right in the middle of it as she soon becomes a spokesperson for The Circle and what it represents. Can Mae put an end to… whatever the hell The Circle is planning before it’s too late, or has she already drunken the Kool-Aid? Will John Boyega get to do anything in the movie, or is he basically just a cameo? Is there anyone less threatening than Tom Hanks, even when he’s trying to be a bad guy?
Miss Sloane and all the images you see in this review are owned by EuropaCorp
Directed by John Madden
If you really take a look at Jessica Chastain’s acting career, it becomes clear that she’s truly one of the most versatile actors working today. Not only has she been in high caliber Oscar fare of multiple genres including The Martian, Zero Dark Thirty, and Tree of Life, but she’s also been fantastic in other places like The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Crimson Peak, and Lawless. Now she’s headlining a political thriller at right about the time that EVERYONE is not in the mood to even be thinking about politics. Well, I guess we can’t blame her or the director for that, and just because the world is going straight to hell doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy movies like this anymore, right? Can this new vehicle for Jessica Chastain turn out to be another high point in her illustrious career, or will her role in that Frozen knockoff with Chris Hemsworth turn out to be her highlight this year? I mean… that WAS a really solid movie that no one but me seems to appreciate, but even so! Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the greatest lobbyist ever, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) who’s faced with a crisis of… conscious maybe? Either conscious or competitive zeal; one of those two. Anyway, the crisis is that the lobbying firm she works for wants her to campaign against a bill that would restrict gun sales to criminals, those on the terror watch list, etc, and her boss (Sam Waterson) is being a REAL overbearing jerk about it. Not one to suffer fools lightly, Miss Sloane packs up her desks, grabs the best millennial interns under her command, and goes to work for Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong) who is heading the Pro-Gun restriction effort. Of course, when you bargain with the devil (or in this case someone know what it takes to win) you get exactly what you pay for and Miss Sloane proves to be INCREDIBLY effective despite how uneasy some of her methods make some of her allies, particularly Esme Manucharian (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who experiences firsthand just how far Miss Sloane is willing to go to get what she needs. Will the best of the best be able to stand up against the most funded lobby to ever exist? What can all these starry-eyed liberal babies learn by watching Miss Sloane in action? What exactly led her to being like this? Personal tragedy? A drive to succeed? Rich relatives that changed her life for the better?
Nine Lives and all the images you see in this review are owned by EuropaCorp
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
How does this movie even exist? I know actors gotta eat, and sure, we ARE getting a Bryan Cranston dad comedy with James Franco soon, but even HE doesn’t have the freaking clout of Kevin Spacey! If this guy was so desperate for a payday, then why isn’t he in a Marvel movie or a DreamWorks animated feature!? Why the hell is he in a TALKING CAT movie!? This is the shit you cast Chris O’Donnell in or snatch up Jason Lee to do! Not two time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey! Ugh… whatever. We gotta deal with the cards we’re dealt. Does this movie manage to be just as bad as we expect it to be, or is there something there that justifies its reason to exist in 2016? No. The answer is no. Still, we might as well take a look anyway.
Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is your typical movie dad. Spends a lot of time at work, doesn’t have much time for his family, and is generally considered a jerk by his peers. He doesn’t care though because he’s building the TALLEST BUILDING ON THE EAST COAST which will be his legacy; much more so than his grown ass son David (Robbie Amell) who works for him in a desperate bid to get his approval, and his daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman) who still hasn’t figured out that her dad is an asshole. His wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) informs him that he better come through in spades for his daughter’s birthday and all she wants is a cat. Bi shocker there. The guy bites the bullet and goes to buy a furry bastard but somehow (through FATE perhaps!?) ends up in the shop of God (Christopher Walken) who for some reason runs a cat store. Okay, he’s not ACTUALLY God, but considering how magical this guy is, there’s not that many other alternatives, though it would have been AWESOME if he turned out to be Satan. Anyway, Tom buys a cat from the man known as Felix Perkins (he runs a shop called Purr-kins) but has to make an emergency stop at the office on the way back to tell one of his company’s terrible managers (Mark Consuelos) that his ass is shit canned. Unfortunately for Tom, lightning strikes, shenanigans ensue, and he ends up in the body of the cat while his real body is in a coma (presumably the cat’s consciousness just died or something). Now he has to find a way back into his body before that awful manager dude somehow sells the company out from under him and his son, while also learning that maybe life isn’t all about going to work every day and providing for your family. What a moral. Can Kevin Spacey bother to show any interest in this performance? Just how embarrassing can Jennifer Garner’s performance get? WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!?!?