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Flash Movie Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

SIGNS were posted across the building and in the parking lot that the grocery store was back open after being remodeled. I had never paid attention to this place since they had very few name brand items on the shelves. The reason I was there now was due to my friends telling me I had to try the place because their prices were on the average much lower than other grocery stores. Once inside I took a shopping cart and started walking down the aisles. Most of the products on the shelves were in disarray which was a turnoff for me. I wound up mainly buying fruits, vegetables, nuts and juice. The prices were lower but I have to tell you I did not think their store brand items were that good compared to the name brand ones. In fact, I thought the sunflower seeds were awful.     RECENTLY introduced into my neighborhood was a new grocery chain from out of state. Their store looked like a palace compared to that food store I tried earlier. Produce was stacked up in separate bins, each one brightened by the spotlights that were hanging down from the rafters. I was curious how they were able to get each apple polished and shiny. They had a bake shop in the store that had a wonderful aroma wafting around it. Loaves of different kinds of breads were loaded into a bank of glass cases. Out on the floor there were tables piled high with large assortments of baked goods. The prices were more than what I was used to so I was hesitant to buy many things; but since I am a bread and dessert lover I did splurge a bit in this area. After finally trying both new grocery stores I have not gone back to them. The first place with cheaper prices was more like a knockoff to my regular place; it had less variety and what they had did not taste as good as the usual stuff I purchase. As for the other store, it was beautiful but their prices were on the high end. I could say the same about this science fiction film; a bland imitation that looked expensive to make.     SPECIES from all over the universe had finally found a way to live in harmony with each other. That was until a dark force invaded their shared homeland. Written and directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita), this action adventure movie starred Dane DeHaan (A Cure for Wellness, Lawless) as Major Valerian, Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns, Suicide Squad) as Sergeant Laureline, Clive Owen (Inside Man, King Arthur) as Commander Arun Filitt and Rihanna (Battleship, Bates Motel-TV) as Bubble. What made this film entertaining were the wild visuals; the word “trippy” came to mind. Some of the scenes and characters were quite imaginative. I am not familiar with the book this film was based on, but I was intrigued by the relationship between Valerian and Laureline; though she was more memorable than he. The idea for this story was sound but I thought the script was poorly done. I was amazed that I figured out immediately who was going to be the “bad” guy and how the story was going to end. Where the visuals were exciting, the acting and script were lackluster. There was little to get excited or thrilled by in this picture. It was a shame because it was obvious they spent a lot on the technical stuff but what got created was a light version of Star Trek mixed with Star Wars.

 

2 stars

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Lucy

It is funny; I originally planned to start this review out talking about the times where too much education may not be a good thing. When overhearing two people talk about their health issues and I can tell they are not aware what their symptoms mean but I do, makes me feel sad for them. Living in a highly litigative society has forced manufacturers to list every conceivable symptom or warning on their products these days, to the point where I do not want to think about all the possibilities how something could go wrong if I use or ingest their product. So instead of this movie review taking that path I prefer steering it towards my belief that education has a direct affect on one’s quality of life. I believe once a person stops learning, they stop growing and their mind begins to narrow into a stagnant state. There is my friend who is the assistant principle of an alternative school where the student body consists of students who were expelled or dropped out from their previous school. This school is their last chance and she does everything she can to show these kids the possibilities they could have by staying in school, acquiring knowledge. When one has an education there is nothing that can stop them from achieving their full potential.    PROOF of this can be found in this crazy science fiction film. Scarlett Johansson (Don Jon, We Bought a Zoo) played Lucy, a woman who found herself the victim of an international drug plot. However, as she began to acquire knowledge Lucy was able to fight back and take control of her destiny. Written and directed by Luc Besson (The Family, Taken franchise), this action movie made little sense. As long as you knew that going in then the film was just fun to watch. The main reason for this was due to Scarlett Johansson; she was great in the role. I especially enjoyed the way she had a no-nonsense approach; in essence, turning the character into a strong female leading role. In a perfect match of casting the producers had Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby, Last Vegas) play Professor Norman. He was the grounding force to this otherwise silly film. The last part of the story was the most ridiculous for me; I found it so unbelievable. Considering the story, I do not know why I should be so surprised. In spite of all the looniness I do believe this film will make Scarlett even more bankable than she was before; she is very smart with her film choices. There was blood and violence throughout the movie.

 

2 1/2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Arthur and the Invisibles

There is a whole world below you; all one needs to do is look down. As I sat outside in the warm sun, watching two 3 year olds rolling their toy cars on the ground, I was reminded of the first time I discovered the tiny world that lived below my feet. There was a line of black ants that went back and forth between a small opening in the dirt and what looked like a half eaten piece of melting candy. I was fascinated how each ant was able to carry a piece of the sweet treat as large as them without being crushed by the weight. Seeing a larger insect with multiple legs weaving between the blades of grass reminded me of an obstacle course I once saw on television. I recall how scared I was the first time I came upon a spider web that had trapped a live victim that kept trying to squirm out of the adhesive thin, silky threads. This animated award winning adventure film revealed a whole other world beneath us where the Minimoys lived. Freddie Highmore (August Rush, Finding Neverland) played Arthur, a 10 year old boy who was living with his grandmother, played by Mia Farrow (Hannah and her Sisters, The Great Gatsby). Past due with her payments on her property, Arthur was determined to  find the treasure his grandfather had claimed he had buried out back before he disappeared. His search would take him to a whole different world that was filled with surprises. Written and directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Family), the movie’s story kept up a steady fast pace. The animation was okay though at times some of the battle scenes looked more like an arcade game version. I thought the live actors were good, each playing a somewhat cartoonish type character. The choice of musical celebrities to voice some of the animated characters was an interesting decision. I especially liked Madonna (Swept Away, Evita) as Princess Selenia and David Bowie (The Man Who Fell to Earth, Labyrinth) as Maltazard. The story had a certain charm to it though it was pretty much just standard fare. It was easy to figure out where the story was heading. The concept of the Minimoys was a creative one, but there was not much done to explain their history. I thought more detail and better animation would have helped the whole film, though I do not think it will matter to young kids; most would find this a fun film to watch. I like to explore so seeing this on DVD made me feel like a little kid again.

 

2 stars — DVD

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