Reviews Have Begun To Drop For Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

Reviews have begun to drop for Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and while it’s early days yet, let’s just say they haven’t been charitable.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy was particularly tough on Besson’s latest effort, saying, ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets really is that bad, bad enough you don’t know for longest time that Valerian is one of the lead characters and not a planet or a spaceship.’

Ouch.

Steve Pond  of The Wrap was slightly more charitable, saying ‘(Luc) Besson takes all that fun and color, along with a wild array of fantastic creatures, and deploys (them) in service of a big, dopey story that remains resolutely uninvolving and quite often annoying.’

Now, as I said earlier, it’s early days yet and a few mediocre reviews aren’t likely enough to torpedo Valerian’s chances at the domestic box office (after all, it’s taken five movies before many moviegoers in the United States noticed that the Transformers movies are really, really bad).

Though I get the feeling at that we’re not going to see Spider-Man: Homecoming-type box office when the movie goes into wide release.

The Great Wall – Trailer

Screenshot 2016-07-31 20.19.30

What is it with Matt Damon and comments and/or activities of a racially-dubious nature?

First there were the comments made during his and Ben Affleck’s HBO series–now cancelledProject Greenlight, where Damon finds diversity okay, as long as it’s in its place.

If I recall, that happened sometime last year (or earlier this year).

Now Damon is starring in The Great Wall, where he apparently acts as a savior of the Chinese people.

From the trailer the movie looks like a fantasy–which is fitting in ways the producers probably didn’t take into account–and doesn’t reflect reality (the monsters attacking the Great Wall are a dead giveaway).

That being said, in the multi-cultural world we now live in–which has always been that way, though many people didn’t like to think of it that way, so therefore it wasn’t–it’s in particularly bad taste to have white people come to the rescue of people of color, especially when it doesn’t reflect any objective reality.

That being said, Matt Damon is near the peak of his box office powers.  His most recent movie, Jason Bourne has debuted to $60 million; a nice chunk of change.

And besides,The Great Wall was produced by Legendary Pictures (which was recently purchased by a Chinese company) and is directed by a renown Chinese director, Zhang Yimou and has many Chinese actors in its cast.

So Damon is bringing something to the production besides his whiteness, though I just wish as a person (and as an actor) he were a bit more cognizant of some of the more dubious choices and decisions he seems to make pretty consistently lately.

Séptimo – Review

Séptimo movie poster

“I Don’t Care How You Feel About Subtitles, Get Over It Because Séptimo Is Awesome!”

Paxti Amerzcua‘s Séptimo (otherwise known as The 7th Floor) is a frighteningly effective thriller about a lawyer named Sebastián (Recardo Darín) who stops by the apartment of Delia (Belén Rueda), his ex-wife, to pick up his two children.

She lives on the seventh floor, so he decides to take the elevator from her apartment, though his children, being children, wanted to take the stairs.

After a bit of convincing he decides to let them go, though when he arrives in the lobby they’re nowhere to be found.

So somewhere between the 7th floor and the lobby his children vanished, and the movie is spent documenting his efforts to track them down, though in the process he uncovers an almost unthinkable plot directed at him.

Séptimo reminded me a lot of Taken, except that instead of spending time with shoot-em-ups the movie instead revolves around a pretty clever–though remarkably mean-spirited, even beyond the kidnapping, that is–scheme that doesn’t come off as too far-fetched.

And for the most part the movie works really well, though its greatest weakness is that while Sebastián may apparently work for some pretty scummy clients, all that is shown is how much he cares for his children, which makes the plot directed at him seem really cruel, when he may in actuality deserve such treatment.

And Séptimo is entirely in Spanish, though don’t let a few subtitles stop you from watching a very effective thriller.  The music that plays over the end credits, by Roque Baños, is also particularly noteworthy.

Séptimo is currently on Netflix.