Wednesday, 9 August 2017

What's new in Odeon's this week : Thursday 10th August 2017.

With the release this week of  'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' as Reviewed below, French Director, Producer and Writer, Luc Besson, here once again puts his single minded approach to this epic Sci-Fi comic book adaptation that dates back to its first published edition in 1967 in 'Pilote' magazine, and continued in 21 subsequent volumes, a collection of short stories and an encyclopedia release up until 2010. Besson has an impressive track record of penning original screenplays and creative writing, Production credits and Director outings. In case you were unaware, here is a summary of some of his more notable achievements from the last 35 or so years of prolific screenwriting, creativity and making movies.

Director Credits - 28 in total to date, including :
*  'Subway' (1985, with Christopher Lambert and Isabelle Adjani), 'The Big Blue' (1988 with Jean Reno and Rosanna Arquette), 'La Femme Nikita' (1990 with Anne Parillaud and Marc Duret), 'Leon : The Professional' (1994 with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman), 'The Fifth Element' (1997 with Bruce Willis and Mila Jovovich), 'The Messenger : The Story of Joan of Arc' (1999 with Mila Jovovich and John Malkovich), 'Arthur and the Invisibles' (2006 with the voice work of Freddie Highmore and Mia Farrow and roles that they would reprise in two successive animated feature films in 2009 and 2010), 'The Lady' (2011 with Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis), 'The Family' (2013 with Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer), 'Lucy' (2015 with Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman) and 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' (2017 with Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan).

Writer Credits - 62 in total to date, including :
* 'Subway' (1985), 'Kamikaze' (1986), 'The Big Blue' (1988), 'La Femme Nikita' (1990), 'Leon : The Professional' (1994), 'The Fifth Element' (1997), 'The Messenger : The Story of Joan of Arc' (1999), 'Taxi', 'Taxi 2', Taxi 3' and 'Taxi 4' (1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007), 'Kiss of the Dragon' (2001), 'Wasabi' (2001), 'The Transporter', 'Transporter 2', 'Transporter 3' and 'The Transporter Refuelled' (2002, 2005, 2008 and 2015), 'Revolver' (2005), 'Bandidas' (2006), 'Taken', 'Taken 2' and 'Taken 3' (2008, 2012 and 2014), 'From Paris With Love' (2010), 'Colombiana' (2011), 'Lockout' (2012), 'The Family' (2013), '3 Days to Kill' (2014), 'Lucy' (2014), 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' (2017), and in the works are 'Lucy 2', 'Colombiana 2', 'Renegades' and 'Twice'.

Producer Credits - 89 in total to date, including :
'Subway' (1985), 'Kamikaze' (1986), 'The Big Blue' (1988), 'La Femme Nikita' (1990), 'Leon : The Professional' (1994), 'Nil By Mouth' (1997), 'The Messenger : The Story of Joan of Arc' (1999), 'Taxi', 'Taxi 2', Taxi 3' and 'Taxi 4' (1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007), 'Kiss of the Dragon' (2001), 'Wasabi' (2001), 'The Transporter', 'Transporter 2', 'Transporter 3' and 'The Transporter Refuelled' (2002, 2005, 2008 and 2015), 'Revolver' (2005), 'Three Burials' (2005), 'Colour Me Kubrick' (2005), 'Bandidas' (2006), 'Taken', 'Taken 2' and 'Taken 3' (2008, 2012 and 2014), 'I Love You Phillip Morris' (2009), '22 Bullets' (2010), 'Colombiana' (2011), 'Lockout' (2012), 'The Homesman' (2014), 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' (2017), and in the works are 'Lucy 2', 'Colombiana 2', 'Renegades', 'Manhunt', 'Twice' and 'Kursk', together with Producer credits on the television series of 'Transporter : The Series' (2012-2013 on ten episodes), 'No Limit' (2012-2013 on twelve episodes) and 'Taken' (2017 on nine episodes).

Turning attention then to this week, there are six new release films to tease, tempt and cajole you out to your local movie theatre. Starting off with an epic Sci-Fi space opera that is a passion project that has been in gestation since this noted French film Director was a comic book reading child himself way back in the day. We then turn to a heated post-Iraq war stand-off involving two US soldiers and an Iraqi sniper, with nothing but a pile of crumbling bricks separating them; followed up by a murder mystery in the Wintery depths of deepest Wyoming; and then an origin story in a successful horror franchise about a sinister doll with evil on its mind. We then wrap up with an two old ladies embarking on a road trip from England to France and the comedic (mis)adventures that befall them; and closing off with a thought provoking insightful documentary follow-up to an acclaimed 2006 doco highlighting the global climate change issue.

Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the six new releases as Previewed below, or those doing the rounds currently on general release and as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog Posts here at Odeon Online, you are here invited to share your movie going thoughts, opinions and observations by leaving your relevant, succinct and appropriate views in the Comments section below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and meanwhile, enjoy your cinematic experience during the coming week.

'VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS' (Rated M) - here French film Director, Producer and Screenwriter Luc Besson whose more notable Directorial outings include 1990's 'Nikita', 1994's 'Leon : The Professional', 1997's 'The Fifth Element' and 2014's 'Lucy', here takes us along on his passion project that launched when he was but a child growing up on a diet of the French Sci-Fi comic book series 'Valérian and Laureline', written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. In so doing, Besson independently crowd-sourced and personally funded this Sci-Fi action adventure space opera film and, with a production budget approaching about US$200M, it is both the most expensive European and independent film ever made. The film was released in the US on 21st July, in France on 26th July, has so far received mixed Reviews and clawed back US$88M of its budget outlay.

The film is set in the 28th century. Alpha is an ever expanding space station that over time has morphed into a giant city where millions of creatures from different planets live peacefully and exchange their knowledge, intelligence and cultures. It began as a space station around Earth and grew when many nations from Earth and races from other planets joined. Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are special space and time travelling agents of the human Police forces. When a dark force threatens the peaceful city, Valerian and Laureline, under assignment from the Minister of Defence, must race against time to identify the marauding menace and safeguard the future of Alpha that also jeopardises the future of the universe. Also starring Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rutger Hauer, Herbie Hancock, John Goodman, Louis Leterrier, Elizabeth Debicki and Rihanna.

'THE WALL' (Rated MA15+) - this Iraq set post-war thriller is Directed by Doug Liman and stars just a handful of actors, most notably John Cena as US Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews who is sent out to the desert to investigate a pipeline construction site with his spotter Sergeant Allen Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). The pair keep watch over the site for close to 24 hours before determining that the site is all clear. As Matthews proceeds to clear up the radios from dead Security Guards, he is shot by an Iraqi sniper, Juba (Laith Nakli). As Issac goes to his rescue he too is shot in the leg, and his radio is badly damaged and his water bottle trashed too. Forced to take cover behind a crumbling stone wall, Isaac must do what he can to survive, radio for help, rescue his dying colleague out in open ground, and find out the location of the sniper sharpshooter and flush him out. Juba, however, has all the odds stacked in his favour. The film cost US$3M to make, and has so far recovered almost US$4M since its mid-May release in the US, and has received generally positive Reviews.

'WIND RIVER' (Rated MA15+) - Written and Directed by Taylor Sheridan in his Directorial debut, this film stars Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert, a US Fish and Wildlife Service Agent who comes across a dead body in the Wyoming wilderness of the Wind River Indian Reservation. The FBI enlist rookie agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olson) to investigate but she is totally unprepared for the oppressiveness of the harsh Wyoming Winter, the isolation and the ruggedness of the landscape. She employs Cory as her tracker, and as they venture out into the wild beyond they do so into a world ravaged by violence and all the elements that nature can muster. Also starring Jon Bernthal, Gil Birmingham and Martin Sensmeier. The film Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January this year, had its Stateside release last week and has met with generally positive Reviews. Taylor Sheridan's previous writing credits include 'Sicario', 'Hell or High Water' and the follow up to 'Sicario' currently in post-production 'Soldado'.

'ANNABELLE : CREATION' (Rated MA15+) - this Supernatural horror film is Directed by David F. Sandberg and is a prequel to 2014's 'Annabelle' which was Directed by John. R. Leonetti, cost US$6.5M to make and raked in US$257M at the global Box Office - no wonder this franchise that includes the two previous 'Conjuring' films also from 2013 and 2016 is like an out of control steam train that just keeps rollin' on. Those first three films were made for a combined US$67M and together bought in a Box Office haul of US$895M. This is the origin story behind the possessed doll, Annabelle. Charting the story of Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia), a former dollmaker, and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto) whose daughter died twelve years previously in a tragic car accident. They decide to open their California farmhouse home to Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman), a nun, and six young girls from an orphanage that has been closed down. The dollmakers possessed creation, Annabelle, soon turns the girls safe haven into a place of their worst nightmares. The film is released in the US this week too, and has received positive Reviews.

'THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES' (Rated M) - Written and Directed by Roger Goldby, this British road comedy offering was released in the UK in early March and has received very lacklustre Reviews at best. Starring Joan Collins as Helen, a former successful Hollywood Actress now seeing out her years and living in a retirement home in London, who pairs up with her friend Priscilla (Pauline Collins) to drive across to the west coast of France to attend the funeral of her ex-husband and former film Director, with the hope of rekindling some of those old Hollywood network types to revitalise her stalled career in the twilight of her years.  En route, the two women become romantically involved with a millionaire Italian artist, Alberto (Franco Nero), leaving Priscilla wondering what to do about her husband Frank back home (Ronald Pickup), and Helen wondering what might have been!

'AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL : TRUTH TO POWER' (Rated PG) - this documentary film Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk surrounds former United States Vice President Al Gore's continuing mission to battle climate change. The sequel to the 2006 'An Inconvenient Truth' which cost US$1.5M to make and took US$50M at the Box Office and picked up two Academy Awards as well as highlighting the global campaign to educate the worlds citizens about climate change, this film addresses the progress made to tackle the problem, and Gore's worldwide efforts to persuade the government leaders around the globe to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the landmark signing of 2016's Paris Climate Agreement.

With six new releases this week to tempt you out on a cold Winter evening, ranging from epic effects laden Sci-Fi to supernatural horror to climate change doco to pinned down soldiers under intense sniper fire to murder mystery in the wilderness to two old lame ducks on a road trip, remember to share your movie going thoughts with your other like minded cinephiles afterwards here at Odeon Online. In the meantime, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead at your local Odeon.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

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