REVIEW: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [2017]

“We can forgive, but we will never forget” Sci-fi fantasy Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the most expensive European and independent (anywhere) production ever at approximately $200 million dollars—high enough that writer/director/producer Luc Besson pretty much leveraged his distribution shingle EuropaCorp before bringing STX on as a partner to defer costs and get it into theaters. Now questions are floated about whether it can ever turn a profit after “bomb” proved too weak a word to describe its reception by the American box office. The odds…

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REVIEW: Run All Night [2015]

“Me and you” There’s something to be said about knowing exactly what you’re getting and Jaume Collet-Serra is proving consistent enough to deliver that promise through his films. Whereas Luc Besson spins a revolving door of directors to helm his actioners—mostly tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top fare (besides the original hit-maker Taken) he doesn’t deem worthy of his own eye behind the lens—Collet-Serra has carefully chosen a series of scripts from disparate scribes to supply him serious thrills with which to place his visual stamp. The common denominator between them being Liam Neeson…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2013: ‘Prisoners,’ ‘Rush,’ ‘Riddick’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Festival season is upon us, so forgive me if I’m more concerned with the films whose posters will be included in future posts than those releasing now. That’s not saying…

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REVIEW: Clash of the Titans [2010]

“They declared war. War on the Gods.” Going from Luc Besson‘s go-to director to becoming a Hollywood action regular, you can’t blame Louis Leterrier for wanting to tackle the big budget remake of Clash of the Titans. With a predecessor remembered more for its Ray Harryhausen creatures than any lasting artistic quality—I still can’t believe its shoddy effects came after Empire Strikes Back—its subject matter actually seemed ripe for a revisioning. So many genre ‘classics’ have garnered a want for new boatloads of cash, why not a film badly in…

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REVIEW: Colombiana [2011]

“In this world, smart girls always get what they want” When it comes to an action flick scribed by the prolific Luc Besson, one shouldn’t be surprised to see a badass heroine using a toothbrush and towel as her weapons of choice during a fight. This is the type of hyper-real, action packed, quick-cut orchestra of smacks and grunts we’ve come to welcome at the multiplex. And while Besson’s disciples have gone on to claim some fame for themselves beyond the looming shadow of their cinematic father—Louis Leterrier with The…

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REVIEW: Eden Log [2007]

“What I need is to get out of here” So, the genre is called Cyberpunk. Can’t say I have heard the term before, but I can definitely see how it applies to the horror/science fiction film I just experienced called Eden Log. The first film from French director Franck Vestiel, it creates a world of heightened technology with a muted palette and cold, steely environments. One could say that we are watching our amnesiac “hero” Tolbiac maneuvering through a computer itself. The genre seems to be a French creation, not…

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REVIEW: Taken [2008]

“Good luck” Mr. Pierre Morel, you have picked an express train to latch on to—good for you. Something about Luc Besson just works every single time. I’m sad that his declaration of being finished with the director’s chair may be true, however, his scripts are mounting and churning out entertaining action flicks. If you can get the Transporter series to make money from its wit and smart action, you know you are doing something right. I’ve yet to see these two guys’ first collaboration, District B13, but as far as…

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REVIEW: Transporter 3 [2008]

“Boss, can I say something?” Was Transporter 3 really directed by a guy named Olivier Megaton? I mean how perfect is that? In a film, let alone a series, that seems to enjoy using as many accents to confuse the audience as possible and action that diverts us from actually thinking about the thin plot, this guy has it all—European flavor and what seems to be the amount of explosives used on the film. Really, though, what does one expect going into a film like this? Myself, I look forward…

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REVIEW: The Incredible Hulk [2008]

“Days since last incident” Leave it to this drama lover to think that the new film The Incredible Hulk is more boring than Ang Lee’s Hulk from 2003, despite the fact everyone in the entire world hated that version because it was “too slow”. Maybe it was the departure in genre tone that Lee brought to the movie making it a psychological tale of humanity rather than an action, comic-book romp, but I was pleasantly surprised after thinking it would just be Hulk-Smash over and over again. The funny thing is…

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REVIEW: The Fifth Element [1997]

“Negative, I am a meat popsicle” After making heavy movies like La Femme Nikita and Léon, it is somewhat of a departure for Luc Besson to do this comic, pulp, sci-fi film The Fifth Element. Looking at his work now, with such high-octane humor as The Transporter series, among others, (written by Besson, but not directed), it doesn’t seem that out of place. He just must have decided to only direct his more serious fare and leave the fun stuff to others. However, The Fifth Element is by no means…

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Top 20 Films of 1997

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 57 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #20: Suicide Kings directed by Peter O’Fallon #19: The Fifth Element directed by Luc Besson #18: Titanic directed by James Cameron #17: Grosse Pointe Blank directed by George Armitage. #16: Mononoke-hime[Princess Mononoke] directed by Hayao Miyazaki #15: Deconstructing Harry directed by Woody Allen. #14: Jackie Brown directed byQuentin Tarantino #13: Funny Games directed by Michael Haneke. #12: A Life Less Ordinary directed…

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