Posts Tagged ‘Luc Besson’

Although slow to start and saddled with a flawed leading man, Luc Besson’s ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ is an entertaining and inventive space opera

March 6, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 6, 2018

For a brief span before the space adventure Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was released in July 2017, it seemed to be impossible to turn on a television without seeing an advertisement for the movie. Clearly, some corporation or other had made a huge bet on the feature, which was written and directed by prolific Frenchman Luc Besson (La Femme NikitaLucy and many others).

This investment didn’t pay off, at least in the U.S.: Valerian, which was made for an estimated $177 million, was greeted with bafflement and sank with hardly a trace. The movie took in a paltry $41 million in American ticket sales; that ranked 66th among domestic box-office grosses for 2017, just ahead of fellow comic-book adaptation Ghost in the Shell and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, but was roughly half of what The Emoji Movie and Power Rangers made in 36th and 37th places, respectively.

On the other hand, Valerian had international box-office receipts of nearly $185 million. It wasn’t a runaway hit like, say, The Fate of the Furious, which topped all comers with overseas ticket sales of more than $1 billion, but it (probably) wasn’t a complete disaster for (all of) its investors.

It’s too bad the picture didn’t fare better, because when I sat down to watch Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets the other night, I found a slow-to-start but otherwise well-paced adventure story with some beautiful visuals and intriguing concepts.

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Alcatraz in space? Eh, not so much. A protagonist progresses through a prison riot in ‘Lockout’

April 25, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 25, 2014

Lockout, the 2012 science-fiction movie co-directed and co-written by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, is cheesy, easily forgotten silliness.

The film, which was also co-written by French director Luc Besson, begins in the year 2079 as Snow, a former CIA agent, is being interrogated by Scott Langral, the director of the Secret Service. Langral believes that Snow has killed his (Snow’s) friend, Frank Armstrong, a military official. The Secret Service suspected Armstrong of selling secrets, and Langral’s theory seems to be that Snow offed his buddy in order to maximize his personal profit from the transaction. Snow is condemned to 30 years of cryogenic sleep in MS-One, a controversial orbital prison.

Meanwhile, the facility is being inspected by one Emilie Warnock, who wants to know whether extended sleep might be damaging the psychological stability of inmates. Thanks to a series of unfortunate events (to borrow a phrase), a prisoner whom she interviews is able to steal a gun, escape the interview room and force a technician to wake the space station’s 500 violent prisoners from stasis. The captives run wild, turning the tables on their former captors.

As fate would have it, Warnock is the only child of the widowed president. Snow is offered a deal: Covertly board MS-One, locate the president’s daughter and exfiltrate her in exchange for clemency.

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