*NEW* VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS REVIEW *NEW*

Dull-Erian.

Trust me, that pun was as clever and witty as the dialogue and plot.

Sheesh. What has happened to Luc Besson? The man who gave us The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional, Taken, The Transporter.

Okay, yes. He also made Taken 2, Taken 3, Lucy, Transporter 2, Transporter 3 – you get the idea. To say his recent endeavours have been poor would be an understatement.

I really hoped this mega blockbuster would be a return to form but alas it was not to be.

A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevigne) must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha but the future of the universe.

The iconic French comic book series that spanned over 40 years and influenced Star Wars and Besson’s very own Fifth Element. A series that inspired Besson to personally fund and crowd source one of the most expensive independent films in Europe.

The iconic comic book series . . . that I hadn’t even heard of until this movie. I won’t be seeking it out after watching this. Fo’ sure.

It wasn’t all bad. In fact, Valerian was actually quite watchable.

Cara Delevigne was very good. The high browed model has done it again. She had already won me over in Paper Towns. The less we say about Suicide Squad the better. I can still picture that weird dance.

Anyway, contrary to reviews that I’d read, I thought there was good chemistry between the pair. What didn’t help was the dreadfully corny exchanges and flat lines.

Dane DeHaan really has been getting a bad wrap. He didn’t do a bad job. It just didn’t help that his Keanu-esque delivery managed to make the flat lines sound even flatter. I think he took the airhead persona a little too literal. Only Wick himself would have made that work.

A shame. His lacklustre charisma made Valerian such an unlikeable (Well, I say unlikeable) and uninteresting character. A bit bad considering he’s the main man.

One thing I couldn’t fault was Thierry Arbogast’s stunning cinematography and the visual effects. Stunning.

That gif doesn’t do it justice BUT you get the idea.

The colours, the detail. The immersive galaxies and numerous planets. A feast for the eyes. I just wish some of that detail could have been spent on the script.

The action set pieces were entertaining enough. BUT I wasn’t invested in the people.

All the jumping from interstellar galaxies and dimension guff was cool and an interstellar street market chase kept my grumbling at bay for a good 15 minutes. BUT that was only because I hadn’t got a clue what was going on.

The pace was as long as the ridiculous title. It dipped in and out and was far too sporadic. Ridiculously complicated one second, then dull and predictable the next. No consistency.

It didn’t help that the story was hampered by boring and pointless exchanges with flashbacks that highlighted stuff we already knew about. For example (NO SPOILERS);

CHARACTER: “I was following orders!”

*Cue a FLASHBACK of said character saying, “Follow my orders”.

Really? There were no real twists and turns. It was all too disjointed. And the “unravelling” made more plot holes by the frantic finale. BUT by the end, I didn’t care.

The sci-fi references and nods were a nice touch. The Millennium Falcon-esque ship, the Tron style hologram suits, the Battlestar Galactica Cylon style droids, the Blade Runner cityscapes. I knew Besson would excel in that field.

The supporting cast were disappointingly hit and miss with various cameos from unexpected actors popping up in this mad mess. I won’t spoil any. There were two I didn’t expect.

It was great to see Clive Owen back on the big screen. I just wish he wasn’t in this movie.

He did his best with the part BUT he was oh so laughable and old. My God. He didn’t need those silver patches on his sideburns (Ageing his character for a pointless flashback that had no relevance).

Rihanna was a welcome addition. And no, not just for the striptease with her numerous wardrobe changes (that will please any teen fanboy).

She was fun and entertaining as the changeling Bubble. I was more interested in her origin story than anybody else. And NO, not just because of that sequence! Naughty. A tragically small role.

And that’s what was missing.

We needed somebody like this guy;

Valerian took itself far too seriously for its own good. A bit of cheese and humour would have improved this by a country mile.

Besson tried to offer comic relief with some of the crazy and wonderfully animated characters. My personal favourite being the demented gargoyle hybrids of Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck.

Prepared to share information for a price, of course.

BUT it just wasn’t enough. It was watchable guff BUT enjoyable?

Meh. It just about killed the time BUT all I wanted to do when I got home . . . was find my DVD of The Fifth Element and stick that on.

Nothing to shout home about for me.

2.5/5

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THE TOP 20 WORST FILMS OF 2014 – PART ONE

Did you walk out of a film feeling angry, disappointed, baffled, confused?

Did you walk out of a film for that matter?

Did you sit in your car (or at home) reeling? Questioning, debating, pondering how on Earth it even got through the pitching process?

Then, welcome.

I think I’ve already compiled my worst films of 2015 which doesn’t bode well for the year that lies ahead.

BUT let’s (finally) review the worst films of 2014!

My criteria; Basically films that destroyed all excitement and anticipation or failed to deliver anything (Acting, talent, story, suspense . . . a movie).

Films that made me cry a little, scream with RAGE or just say, “I don’t think I’m going to bother anymore” . . . With the cinema (Woah, let’s not get too down now).

So for a change, let’s start from 20 – 11, followed by PART TWO with 10 – 1

SCALE: 20 DISAPPOINTED! – 1 WTF!

I’ll stick a few comments with each crappy film title accordingly. Enjoy . . . OR NOT. In fact, you won’t with these 😦

 

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20. TAMMY

Melissa McCarthy failed on every platform. An interesting story line? Nah. Good characters? Well, Susan Sarandon wasn’t bad. Jokes? Bar the fast food restaurant robbery, zilch.

I like McCarthy. I normally find her hilarious BUT she tried to deliver the same old loud mouthed, slobby monster with a heart spiel and it failed to keep me intrigued, interested or laughing (The ultimate crime of all).

Thoroughly disappointed. It was that flat, I have no energy to make any other comment. Check my review if you like.

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19. LUCY

How the hell this stayed at Number 1 in the UK for so long baffled me more than the finale?!

A racy opening had high hopes with the alluring ScarJo kicking ass and taking names whilst gaining higher intelligence. Check, check, check. I was ticking all the boxes.

BUT the endless scientific mumbo jumbo and ridiculous CGI kicked all tension, pace and fun out of this bonkers flick.

Not even the smooth dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman could save the day.

His character really had no idea what to do and was completely pointless and the finale?

WTF? I haven’t felt that confused and annoyed since I watched The Matrix Revolutions.

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18. THE DEVIL’S KNOT

If not for the two (normally) talented leads, this would have been nothing more than a TV movie that you’d expect to see late at night on Sky Atlantic’s twilight scheduling.

A harrowing opening showed promise BUT what we got was an overlong court yarn that was never really resolved.

A harsh twist BUT in terms of film viewing . . . DISAPPOINTING!

The constant repetition of the same old facts and the endless witness testimonies just numbed me into a little coma.

It just didn’t go anywhere in terms of suspense, performance or story. It felt like one of those American crime docudramas that are on the Crime Network all the time.

The only person who might come out unscathed was the legendary Colin Firth. He did his best and delivered a sterling Southern accent BUT it didn’t hide the fact his character was quite dull.

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17. OCULUS

That image above was my face coming out of the cinema after seeing this.

Karen Gillian and Brenton Thwaites did their best BUT Oculus was such a slow and tedious affair.

Evil mirrors? Really. Just lock it away if it can’t be broken. Job done.

The constant flashbacks coinciding with the present just mirrored (Ba-dum-tssh) what the pair were doing.

When it did finally get going, it got a little more watchable. BUT it just ended. Quite abruptly and SO predictably.

If I wasn’t so bored by the end, I would have been wild with rage. Meh.

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16. HORNS

Hell hath no fury like a horny Harry?

I wish. It was terrible. Radcliffe does his best to keep this watchable BUT the story is so weak and uninteresting that even when the weird stuff does kick in.

And it does. I could feel the Devil taking away my patience and interest.

It took an hour before anything of worth really happened. And the whodunnit was so obvious, I was saying out loud. It’s that person. Right there!

All we got was a sulky HP moping around some woods while people told him their darkest secrets.

Things get interesting for one moment when HP finally goes dark . . . BUT then he goes back to skulking around. Even with those ginormous devil horns and super devil powers? Lame.

And the ending was laughable. From the people who made this.

Haha. You sat through this. Infuriating, boring and just plain awful.

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15. OUIJA

This poster freaked me out more than the film.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. I wish they could have used the Ouija board to summon up something better than this.

Predictable, naff and unoriginal. This managed to make Long Time Dead a horror classic by comparison. And that was pretty shit.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a couple of jumpy bits. BUT it was hard not to when the music was so damn loud.

The scares reeked of desperation. The only shock I got was that this wasn’t filmed in a shaky handheld found footage format.

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14. GODZILLA

God help the sequel. How did this make money?

The film is called Godzilla. So why did we have a 90 minutes of giant moth mutants trying to get jiggy?!

The iconic monster only really surfacing for 15 minutes. Mindless exposition with bland characters. Aaron “Airhead” Taylor Johnson as the lead character.

I did my rant a long time ago. I can’t do this again.

BUT please watch this incredibly accurate Honest Trailer clip of Godzilla. It’s perfect. Unlike this monstrosity!

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13. ROBOCOP

I wouldn’t buy this for a dollar.

A completely unnecessary remake. Making this a 12A didn’t help matters.

There could have been an opportunity to poke fun at the social media, the iPhone. Anything that hadn’t been covered in the 1987 original. BUT no!

We got the same old guff. Just less violent, less satirical and . . . I forget my point.

Joel Kinnaman was terribly mechanical. Before he even donned the Robo get up.

Not even Samuel L Jackson could save the day. In fact he made it worse. I think he was trying to do his best (or worst) Ron Burgundy impression. Either way, it didn’t work.

Dead or alive, I wouldn’t bother watching this.

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12. I, FRANKENSTEIN

I can’t believe I sat through this.

If it wasn’t so laughable, I would have walked out.

It didn’t help that the cast, especially Aaron Eckhart, took it so seriously when the premise was so ridiculous and far fetched.

This could have been a fun B-movie mickey take BUT it was just a droll, cringe worthy disaster.

The 15 minute gargoyle battle in the closing half kept me quiet for that duration BUT it was hard to be that interested when you had no idea who was fighting.

Plus the characters were that unmemorable that you couldn’t give a monkey’s.

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11. MRS BROWN’S BOYS D’MOVIE

What da feck?

Now, I will admit. I am a fan. BUT O’Carroll really did take the biscuit.

Slapping any old thing together for a quick buck.

Applying the studio audience sitcom format to a movie? No, no, no!

The impromptu outtake in between the story line didn’t work and felt disjointed.

BUT the main issue is that it just wasn’t funny! I sighed, I fidgeted.

For a moment, I thought I was watching a foreign film without subtitles because everyone else was laughing.

For shame, Mrs Brown. Naff plot, naff characters and naff jokes makes this viewer one MAD RANTER.

LUCY REVIEW

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I love Lucy? Well I love ScarJo. But this movie? Not so much. A contender for blockbuster of the year. Luc Besson at his most ambitious. ScarJo at the helm. Hopes were high. But alas, it was not to be.

Now the film is about a woman named Lucy (You don’t say) who gets roped into the illegal drug trade. Abducted and forced to be a drug mule, one of the bag bursts unleashing chemicals that unlock the full capacity of her mind. Woah. Turning her into a mind controlling mercenary.

It sounds ridiculous but good, right? Let’s be honest. I was ready to accept a ridiculous premise if the action was good and the characters were entertaining enough but apart from a great opening, this film seemed to run out of ideas drastically, throwing all sorts of stupendous CGI in the hope of distracting us from it. The madness soon cranks up to 11 but ends so abruptly and bizarre, I was left scratching my head. I haven’t felt like that since I watched The Matrix Revolutions. Besson tried to be clever and philosophical but it came off pretentious and lazy.

A pacey opening sequence in which our alluring heroine is thrown into the criminal underworld had me gripped. It was suspenseful, gritty and intriguing. That and a collection of strange characters; Pilou Asbaek’s (Borgen/Eurovision 2014 host) dim-witted dispatcher, Min-sik Choi’s creepy Yakuza boss and Julian Rhind-Tutt’s (Green Wing) ultra-camp scientist appropriately titled The Limey had enough to keep me humoured. The concept is pretty much Limitless 2 with boobs (Ha. Boobs. Stop it). However, Besson tried to take it to another level. Another level that for me didn’t work and made me just want to watch Limitless again.

The initial transition when Lucy starts unlocking another section of her mind’s capacity is actually pretty good. Some fast action punch ups and shoot-em ups kept the film on its toes. However, as Lucy continues to reach her full potential, the movie hits a major lull as we drawn into scientific mumbo jumbo and random animation sequences as they speculate hypothetical “What If?” scenarios. It only highlighted the ridiculousness of it all. Not even Morgan Freeman’s eloquent tones could make that any more interesting. The only interesting fact that came out of it was that the first cave woman was called Lucy.

Limitless didn’t really try and pin point what could happen. While Lucy, the scenario is that our heroine will control mind over matter and even become matter herself. Wait . . . what? Controlling computers, people and emptying bullets out of police officer’s guns, cool. But ScarJo soon becomes more robotic, which I suppose is understandable as she is becoming something much more than human but her acting comes off a little wooden. And the more Morgan Freeman appears in this, the more I realise how pointless his character actually is. He even admits that this is far beyond his research and hasn’t got a clue. He is left standing on the sidelines shrugging his shoulders and collecting his paycheck.

The car chase sequence around Paris was brilliant. That is until our good friend CGI rears its ugly head and ruins what was a decent action set piece. Computer animated cars flying left right and centre just looked naff. However, the finale soon shot down any momentum and enjoyment that I had during the first 30 minutes. Lucy’s mind soon reaches the capacity *POSSIBLE SPOILER* and she soon turns into something that is a mish mesh between Superman, Neo and her alien hybrid from Under the Skin (I couldn’t stand that movie). Seriously, the finale was so frantic, ridiculous and bizarre that by the time I got past all the flashing images, it had ended and I was left baffled, confused and disappointed.

I say confused. I know what Besson was trying to say with his pretentious message but that was not what I expected from the trailers nor what I wanted this film to be. This is where it will make all the difference on how you perceive this movie. For me, a great opening was soon forced into a lull that sky rocketed into all out action finale (At last!) but was soon let down by a plot that had no idea where it wanted to go and unleashed an ending that would relieve the Wachowski Brothers after the Matrix trilogy.

Watchable. Yeah. Blockbuster of the year? Certainly not. Guardians of the Galaxy still takes that honour at the moment. 2.5/5 for me. Sorry Besson, go watch Leon and get back to basics. I do miss it.