Samson and all the images you see in this review are owned by Pure Flix Entertainment
Directed by Bruce Macdonald
The surest sign of God’s existence is that I managed to go through all of 2017 without seeing a Pure Flix film, though the favor I managed to accrue with the man upstairs seems to have run out as I’m stuck here on the precipice of not just one, but TWO Pure Flix films; starting with the epic retelling of one of the Old Testament’s biggest figures. Hey, at least it’s not taking place in modern day and pretending that Christianity is the most oppressed religion in America. That’s gonna wait for the NEXT movie they come out with this year; God’s Not Dead 3 (THE RE-DEAD-EN-ING). Still, this is Pure Flix we’re talking about and their track record is utterly abysmal even with their less outwardly bigoted films being mediocre at best. Do they have a chance of capturing the magic that makes the story of Samson worth telling in the first place? Yeah… probably not, but let’s find out!!
The movie follows the story of Samson (Taylor James) who… I guess is a super hero? Actually, he’s more like Achilles in that his parents (Rutger Hauer and Lindsay Wagner) did SOMETHING to him as a child that got him God’s favor and made him the strongest man alive, though in order to keep his gifts he has to follow three rules; no drinking, no touching dead bodies, and no cutting his hair. Seems a bit arbitrary, especially since none of these were important enough rules to put on those tablets Moses had, but it DOES work as Samson periodically kicks ass for The Lord and will hopefully someday drive the Philistines out of Israel. Of course, with Samson being a young man with a rocking bod, he often gets distracted along the way and must deal with foxy ladies including Taren (Frances Sholto-Douglas) and Delilah (Caitlin Leahy), a pissed off prince with STRONG urge to stab his dad (Jackson Rathbone), and of course the current king of the Philistines (Billy Zane) who’s keeping a careful eye on this Jewish Savior. Will Samson avoid the temptations of the world and be the champion that Israelites need? Who is this Delilah woman, and what does she plan to do to Samson once she has him under his spell? Is it just me, or does this sound more like the backstory to action figure more than anything else?
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!?