By: Henry J. Fromage –
This week was full of more Fantasia Fest films and a few much-anticipated theatrical releases.
168. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
I will have to admit that Valerian was more much-anticipated by my wife, who’s a huge The Fifth Element fan, but I was pretty excited as well to see if Luc Besson could recapture some of that film’s weird magic. Well, in scenes like Rihanna playing a shape-shifting burlesque dancer as Ethan Hawke as her nose-ringed and cowboy-hatted pimp cackles behind her, or the opening where cultures and then alien races extend the hand of friendship at the International Space Station as they join together to form the titular City of a Thousand Planets, it certainly seems like he has. Then people start opening their mouths. Valerian couples some of the year’s most imaginative and thrilling world-building with some of the year’s absolutely worst dialogue, meaning I can’t recommend it exactly, but I do think you should see it, and it might as well be on the big screen. Just be prepared to strain those eyes with all of the rolling they’ll do.
169. The Villainess
This year’s big play at crossover international success for the always vibrant Korean genre-film market after the spectacular The Wailing and the hard-driving A Hard Day isn’t as good as either of those films, but is one hell of an action vehicle for Thirst‘s Kim Ok-bin. The action scenes are often shot from her P.O.V., and they’re never less than entirely impressive (even if the choreography does sometimes make you wonder why her enemies don’t try teaming up on her for a change). The story is overly, probably unnecessarily convoluted, but if you’re a fan of pure action, this will be worth your time.
170. House of the Disappeared
This Korean horror film starring Lost‘s Kim Yunjin starts off as a boring, boilerplate haunted house flick full of jump scares and an over-aggressive score juicing them. This is somewhat disappointing because it goes into full, not entirely successful mindfuck territory at the end, which could have really enlivened the film at least if a similar sense of urgency was given to the first hour and a half or so. Overall, not terribly worthy of your time.