BARE BONES: VALERIAN and the CITY of a THOUSAND PLANETS (2017)

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VALERIAN and the CITY of a THOUSAND PLANETS (2017)

Goofy space adventure finds Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Sgt. Laureline (Cara Delevigne) trying to protect a small creature called a Converter from a bunch of pursuing aliens in a massive space city….and that’s it.

French Sci-fi flick is written and directed by The Fifth Element’s Luc Besson based on the French comic book Valérian and Laureline. It’s an overindulgent spectacle with some sumptuous design and visuals  that could have used a more involving story and a lead with a little more screen presence. Dehaan is a good actor, but is not really a leading man/hero type, though model Cara Delevigne (Suicide Squad) shows a bit of spunk and fire as his partner/love interest Laureline. Another problem is that the flick jumps from set piece to set piece and seems like it’s being made up as it goes along. There is also the lack of a strong villain, though there are numerous sequences which dazzle the eye and provide lots of action even if we don’t feel the movie really accomplishes anything by it’s conclusion. A shallow, but beautifully designed diversion that gets a lot of credit for imagination from it’s art and SPFX departments. Too bad there wasn’t the same imagination in the script, then this could have been something special. Also stars Clive Owen as Commander Filitt and appearances by Ethan Hawke and Rihanna as a brothel owner and performer respectively.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: A CURE FOR WELLNESS (2017)

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A CURE FOR WELLNESS (2017)

Flick has an up and coming executive named Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) being sent to a wellness clinic in the Swiss Alps to retrieve his company’s estranged CEO (Harry Groener). The man is needed to complete a crucial merger and his latest correspondence has the board questioning his sanity. What Lockhart finds is a strange place where there may be something very sinister going on despite the idyllic appearance. Trapped there after a car accident, Lockhart begins to investigate the institute and it’s equally strange founder, Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Jason Issacs). But what he finds is something straight out of a nightmare…unless he too is losing his mind.

Directed by Gore Verbinski from a script by Justin Haythe, this tries to be an old fashioned gothic chiller from the likes of Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft, but wears out it’s spooky welcome long before it’s over. The film’s biggest problems are it’s overindulgent running time of 146 minutes and the fact that it’s hero is kind of unlikable. The flick could have been at least forty minutes shorter and not lost any important story elements and it’s hard to feel for DeHaan’s Lockhart as he is just another stereotypical ambitious suit character. There are some creepy moments and Verbinski is a skilled visualist, but the movie runs out of gas long before it’s over and where it leads can be seen coming an hour before it does finally end. An interesting effort that could have been better if it didn’t take so long to tell a story that didn’t need so much time to tell it and we actually cared what happened to it’s lead.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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