Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is an ambitious movie. Perhaps too ambitious. It has a lot of world building to accomplish and that detracts from the narrative.

It did make me curious about the source material.

I honestly think this would work better as a series than as a movie.

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Sam Spruell, Sasha Luss, Aymeline Valade, Elizabeth Debicki, Pauline Hoarau, Barbare Weber Scaff

IMDB Synopsis:
A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

Vía Letterboxd – AngryTownsman

Ghost in the Shell 2017

I found myself appreciating the live action Ghost in the Shell movie, but did find it lacking in some emotion. Given this is a story about AIs, cybernetically enhanced people and robots, maybe that is to be expected.

I cannot compare this to the original animated movie from the 90s. It has just been so long since I saw it that it would not be fair. Plus, I expect plenty of differences when something is adapted from one medium to another.

I enjoyed this take on defining a sense of Self and Identity. We see characters lose and find themselves. One sequence with a Father wanting to see his daughter felt poignant. A mother discussing her deceased daughter also hits you.

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, Tawanda Manyimo, Peter Ferdinando, Anamaria Marinca

Vía Letterboxd – AngryTownsman

Life

Life is an entertaining scifi thriller set in the very near future. We have an international crew aboard the ISS awaiting an unmanned capsule with samples from Mars. The movie sets its feet firmly in reality with interviews to the crew from reporters on earth to a naming ceremony for the lifeform discovered. We get to see the early days of the examination of the lifeform before the inevitable incident that lets it loose.

Life feels very much like the original Alien in places. Minus the murdery android.

I did kind of see the ending coming. But it was still an interesting ride with a small cast in a central location.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare

Vía Letterboxd – AngryTownsman

Passengers

Passengers hit a lot of right notes for me, but it was more straight forward than I thought. I think maybe I have become a bit jaded, but I was constantly on the lookout for the “twist”. Was this really happening to our characters? Was this perhaps an elaborate simulation? Aliens? A bad trip at Re-Call? I am glad it did not meet my expectations.

Is this the Martian? Nope. But it is at parts a relationship movie and a survival movie. In Space.

Chris Pratt plays Jim, a mechanic, who is going to colonize Homestead 2. The trip from Earth will take 120 years so the crew and passengers go into hibernation or cold sleep for the journey. But Jim’s pod opens 90 years early. As Jim explores the ship, we are introduced to the environment and the technology of this universe. After a year, Jennifer Lawrence’s character Aurora, an author, wakes up. They both frequent a bar run by an android played by Michael Sheen. This android is the only other humanoid they come into contact with.

Throughout the time we see Jim and then Aurora awaken, we see small glitches on the ship. Eventually those glitches get bigger and bigger. They culminate in a failure that threatens the entire ship and everyone sleeping and awake in it.

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Vince Foster, Julee Cerda, Aurora Perrineau

Vía Letterboxd – AngryTownsman