Category Archives: Movie Review

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Movie Review – Missing Link

Category : Movie Review

Director: Chris Butler

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldana

Year: 2019

My reaction to the Missing Link trailer in January was doubtful, and I quote: “It’s hard to imagine this movie reaching the same level as other Laika films (Coraline, ParaNorman, Boxtrolls, Kubo); it just doesn’t have that same feel.  I’m sure the animation will be spectacular, what they do is so wonderful, I just don’t see any real reason to watch other than the production company’s fame.  I hope I’m wrong.”  Update: I wasn’t wrong.  Missing Link doesn’t bring the magic that Laika’s others have almost guaranteed from the first still image, failing to live up to the hype built up by audiences’ expectations when they imagine what stop-motion marvels might be next.  Good not great, it’s a project that leaves us wanting more, wanting something else, hoping that the next batter up will be a stronger hitter.

Sir Lionel Frost is the greatest adventurer that the world has never heard of, all his discoveries undocumented or unbelieved.  Wanting desperately to be accepted as part of the club of famous hunters and explorers, Frost doesn’t go for the easy bait, he sets his sights a little higher: dodos, mermaids, the Loch Ness monster.  But no one believes he can find something that has never been seen before, not even when he receives a letter inviting him to the American Northwest to view proof of the legendary Sasquatch.  In fact, he meets the Bigfoot, a kind and confused primitive man/giant animal who Frost calls Mr. Link.  The creature is gentle and can speak English, wanting only to find others of his kind with the help of a talented adventurer, starting a journey in which the pair will become friends, learn lessons, and experience wonders never before beheld by the eyes of man or beast.

Audiences will most assuredly be underwhelmed by Missing Link, a pleasant movie without any punches to throw other than the feat of its animation.  And that part can’t be ignored; it’s indescribably impressive how this team can create this films using stop-motion, how something so amazingly difficult can look this spectacular.  The motion isn’t played safe either, there are intense action sequences throughout, when your mind won’t be able to believe what your eyes are seeing.  The art from beginning to end is excellent, so beautiful, it must have taken so many so long to create something so lovely and complex; no matter what my opinion of the plot and delivery, there is no way I can watch a marvel like this and not clap.  However, and unfortunately, that’s not all there is to a theatre experience.

Coraline is dark, ParaNorman is cool, Boxtrolls is funny, Kubo is epic, but Missing Link simply doesn’t have anything to grab on to when it loses its footing, and it slips early and often.  The story is thin, the characters thinner, and the dialogue is surprisingly weak, with jokes that fall flat and a lack of music that’s both evident and confusing.  Much of the movie is fairly boring, and I didn’t need more action, when there was action present it was very nice, but I did need more …something: heart, depth, oomph, something.  Even my kids, who love everything from Laika to Disney, Ghibli to DreamWorks, left unaffected for the most part, underwhelmed by a seeming lack of effort to produce anything worth watching other than the animation.  I think I would have rather watched a documentary on how the the film was made, rather than the film itself, and that’s not good.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Superman IV

Category : Movie Review

Director: Sidney J. Furie

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman

Year: 1987

I remember watching the Superman movies on VHS and on TV when I was a kid; it used to be that renting a video at your local store and checking the TV Guide to see when a film would be on television were both big deals, and, at a young age, those movies you chose to watch stuck with you for a lifetime.  The Superman quadrilogy, most of which came out before I was born, was still a part of my film experience and my taste building, especially the first two, which I remember more clearly.  But the whole series is historic, in its own way, and recently I decided to do a rewatch from the top.  Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV; I expected some ups & downs and that’s exactly what I got, but the music and the memories were worth the visit, and this franchise will always be legend.

In the fourth, Superman is asked to become political, as the world enters a nuclear arms race and faces possibly annihilation.  He doesn’t want to take sides, but he also understands that he has to help in some way, that humanity isn’t ready to go it alone quite yet.  So Superman gathers up all the nuclear weapons and hurls them into the Sun, making Earth less likely to be destroyed; end of story.  But not quite, because tricky Lex Luthor is back again, and this time he’s hidden something in one of the bombs that has now been obliterated that will cause Superman some headaches.  Out of the ashes comes a new indestructible being, Nuclear Man, with the power of a star, and loyal to the evil Luthor.  He and Superman will duel, while Clark falls in love with another lovely lady and tries to figure out once more how to balance a social life with being the champion of an entire planet.

Sidney Furie might only have ever directed terrible movies, like 50 of them, it’s insane, but at least this much can be said for him; he saved Superman.  After Superman III, I’m not sure the world could have taken another direct hit, another film that was as much an insult to taste.  But he swooped in, returned the series to a style it had once sported, and left us all with a good taste in our mouths.  Hackman back as Lex, Kidder back as Lois, the theme music blaring, the same emotions stirred, a way shorter run time to speed things toward the climax; Furie knew what he was doing and did it well.  Now, that’s not saying Superman IV didn’t have its issues.  It’s over-the-top, fairly dumb, and showcases some world-class, F-grade acting; Mariel Hemingway and John Cryer are especially bad.  But, in the end, the film gets by on its own camp, going so bonkers that it starts to be pretty fun, even while we know it’s no good.  So ends the Superman quadrilogy, and the next time I return to it my kids will be a little older and ready to share in the experience with me.  It won’t have changed though, and that’s the magical thing about watching movies, they will be there for you forever, whenever you might need them.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Superman III

Category : Movie Review

Director: Richard Lester

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Annette O’Toole

Year: 1983

I remember watching the Superman movies on VHS and on TV when I was a kid; it used to be that renting a video at your local store and checking the TV Guide to see when a film would be on television were both big deals, and, at a young age, those movies you chose to watch stuck with you for a lifetime.  The Superman quadrilogy, most of which came out before I was born, was still a part of my film experience and my taste building, especially the first two, which I remember more clearly.  But the whole series is historic, in its own way, and recently I decided to do a rewatch from the top.  Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV; I expected some ups & downs and that’s exactly what I got, but the music and the memories were worth the visit, and this franchise will always be legend.

In the third, Superman has made Lois forget about his true identity and their romance, knowing that the world still needs a super hero on the job 24/7, with no attachments of the personal kind.  But that doesn’t stop Clark, when Lois goes on an extended trip to scoop a story, from accidentally falling in love again while he’s on location developing his own article about small town life.  He attends his high school reunion and reunites with Lana Lang, his old crush, who begins to crush back just as hard.  But the world’s troubles won’t wait for a romantic picnic, Superman is needed, and more than ever.  Super computer genius Gus Gorman has teamed up with the wealthy and evil Ross Webster, who first wants computers to take control of the coffee crop, then the oil industry, and then the whole world.  To stop Superman from interfering, Gus gives Supes synthetic kryptonite, that doesn’t zap his power, but splits him into two distinct versions of himself, Jekyll vs Hyde, good vs evil, with the fate of Earth balanced between who wins the duel.

The third installment is by far the worst in the franchise, and comes close to one of the worst, dumbest, weakest, and most embarrassing movies I have ever seen.  It’s saved by the series, which I already enjoy, so I can’t exactly hate anything that falls under the umbrella, but boy does Superman III ever try its best to get us to despise it.  I’m not really sure where to start; the direction falling off, Superman’s evil twin who has a 5 o’clock shadow to show us that he’s a bad boy, the removal of the Lois love story, the absence of Lex Luthor, Richard Pryor not funny in any way, which is a complete shock.  Everyone’s acting takes a nosedive, like they all agreed to suck, and joke after joke fails to work, like the writer was purposefully trying to make the film tank.  I did like Annette O’Toole as Lana, and I did like that Margot Kidder was absent, but the computer stuff is plain ridiculous, especially looking back on the era 36 years later, and having two Supermen is a shark jump unlike any other.  I wish this movie didn’t exist, because it sullies the good name of the series.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Superman II

Category : Movie Review

Director: Richard Donner, Richard Lester

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp

Year: 1980

I remember watching the Superman movies on VHS and on TV when I was a kid; it used to be that renting a video at your local store and checking the TV Guide to see when a film would be on television were both big deals, and, at a young age, those movies you chose to watch stuck with you for a lifetime.  The Superman quadrilogy, most of which came out before I was born, was still a part of my film experience and my taste building, especially the first two, which I remember more clearly.  But the whole series is historic, in its own way, and recently I decided to do a rewatch from the top.  Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV; I expected some ups & downs and that’s exactly what I got, but the music and the memories were worth the visit, and this franchise will always be legend.

In the second, Superman is having trouble hiding his feelings from Lois Lane.  On location at Niagara Falls trying to break a story, Lois begins to suspect who Clark really is, and when he finally tells her and takes her to his Fortress of Solitude, it seems like the pair will officially be together.  But to become a mortal man who can love a mortal woman, Superman must give up his powers, becoming simply Mr. Kent, a price he is willing to pay to be with the woman he loves.  But little does he know that his past is about to come back to haunt him, right when he needs his inexhaustible strength the most.  Years ago, his father imprisoned three would-be rebels on Krpyton; Non, Ursa, and General Zod, evil criminals bent on world destruction.  Their prison destroyed, they have now come to Earth, and they have the same powers as Superman himself; well, the same powers he used to have.  They begin their conquest, with Lex Luthor’s help, and Clark is now just Clark, so who will save the day, and how will he explain it all to Lois?

The sequel is a step back from the original, what else should we have expected, but it still holds on to enough of the elements that made the first film work that it works itself, if just barely.  The music, the love story, Lex Luthor, a bit of Kryptonian history, a bumbling Kent; a lot of the same comes back, and that’s good, because when you look at it too closely, Superman II starts to look a little shabby, it definitely needs a strong foundation to keep from crumbling.  The three Krypton villains are silly, even helmed by the talented Terence Stamp; they just aren’t written very well.  And Margot Kidder, my god, she’s really, really bad, even worse than in the first, because she’s featured more often or at least more personally.  I hate to speak ill of the dead, I’m just commenting on a performance, so I’ll balance it out with how much I enjoy Christopher Reeve, who does an especially good job playing Clark.  I could have done with a little more Lex & Otis, they crack me up, but hey, you can’t always get what you want.  That should maybe have been the tagline for this film, because it delivers, just not exactly as well as you would wish for.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Superman

Category : Movie Review

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman

Year: 1978

I remember watching the Superman movies on VHS and on TV when I was a kid; it used to be that renting a video at your local store and checking the TV Guide to see when a film would be on television were both big deals, and, at a young age, those movies you chose to watch stuck with you for a lifetime.  The Superman quadrilogy, most of which came out before I was born, was still a part of my film experience and my taste building, especially the first two, which I remember more clearly.  But the whole series is historic, in its own way, and recently I decided to do a rewatch from the top.  Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV; I expected some ups & downs and that’s exactly what I got, but the music and the memories were worth the visit, and this franchise will always be legend.

In the first, we are introduced to the alien hero Kal-El.  He was born on the planet Krypton as that world approached its self-destruction, as its leaders ignored the warning signs and refused to abandon their home.  Jor-El knew that the end was near, so he send his infant son into space, with all the knowledge of his people and with the means of reaching Earth, where a yellow sun and a different atmosphere would mean that Kal-El would grow up to be special.  Found by the Kents and raised as their son Clark in Smallville, Kansas, this boy would become the world’s greatest hero, after finally understanding the whole of his past and the mission his parents bestowed upon him when they saved his life; to protect mankind, to be their guide, and to always do right.  Clark Kent, moving to Metropolis and becoming a journalist for the Daily Planet newspaper, would keep the city safe.  But falling in love with fellow reporter Lois Lane and running afoul of genius villain Lex Luthor would complicate his heroics, and sometimes difficult choices arise when you find yourself in too deep.

From the opening credits onward, audiences can sense something special about Superman, an epic adventure with all the pieces present to go down in history as one of the very best.  The score is perfection, and flows throughout every moment, each main character receiving a theme; Superman, Lois, Lex.  John Williams is obviously the best there is, and his talents are on full display here, with music that I will never forget.  This is one of Donner’s first films, his career taking off in the 80s & 90s with hits that became cult classics, and you can see his skill easily.  Compared to today’s comic book movies, he kept things very simple; basically we see Krypton, meet Superman, he falls in love, and then saves the day, but that’s enough for one film, even one with a long run time.  The Krypton scenes are cool, the villains are hilarious, Reeve is an American institution, and the cast is solid, with Marlon Brando popping up to play Jor-El.  Margot Kidder I could have done without, she’s loud and weird, and not a very good leading lady, but basically everything else works, and I’m glad I’ll always have this film to return to.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Shazam!

Category : Movie Review

Director: David F. Sandberg

Starring: Zachary Levi, Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel

Year: 2019

Shazam! is a surprising and surprisingly strong addition to the DCEU, a step in the right direction as far as quality is concerned, and a film that did a ton right for a little guy standing in the shadows of bigger, badder, darker superheroes.  I was surprised to learn right before I watched the movie that Shazam is the name of the wizard, not the hero, and that the hero’s name was once Captain Marvel, before legal battles and copyrights and blah blah blah.  So there were two Captain Marvel movies released one right after the other, and in my book the competition wasn’t even close, Shazam blew Carol right out of the water with ease.  What works here is basically everything, a well-rounded project that’s both a simple good time and a complex story arc, revolving and resolving slowly into something we can sink our teeth into and enjoy with relative ease.

Billy Batson has been bouncing from foster home to foster home for years, all the while searching for his mother, who he was separated from when he was small, but who he has never forgotten.  He’s street smart, bitter, lonely, in need of a family, but can’t let anyone close; he simply runs away to the next group home whenever things get rough or he finds another clue about his mother.  But the time for running is now over; Billy has been chosen for something far greater than his own, personal quest.  The wizard Shazam has been looking for a Champion, someone to fight for peace, a pure soul, and with time running out, he guesses Billy will do.  With a magic word, the kid becomes a man, wielding awesome power, if only he can harness it for good.  He had better learn quick, because another Champion has been chosen, this one fighting for evil, and he will stop at nothing to see Batson dead.

Billy, Shazam, Captain Marvel, Sparklefingers; whatever you want to call him this superdude is here to stay.  The amount that this Captain Marvel movie is better than the other Captain Marvel movie is immeasurable, and I say that knowing that I could be grouped alongside misogynist Fan Boys, which is a group I couldn’t be further away from socially, politically, feministally, I’ll stop now.  But I’m a film critic, card-carrying, and I think it would be simple bad taste to think that Brie Larson’s vehicle was in any way better than Zachary Levi’s.  Shazam! is purely a great, fun, cool, enjoyable, clever, well-orchestrated superhero flick, and that doesn’t come around very often, despite how we fawn over the genre.  This movie is well-written, well-paced, and well-thought out, a complete story from start to finish, with only minor flaws, not even depending solely on explosions to get by, letting emotions come to the surface in a very refreshing way.  Levi is awesome, Grazer steals the show, Asher is fine, and Mark Strong plays the villain perfectly, obviously, cementing a strong cast that I felt really fell naturally each role.

It’s interesting, I think there was a lot cut from this film that we will never see, at least not other than in the special features of the DVD, or else moved to the post-credit scenes, which are worth the wait.  But that might also be what made this film so great; I think it was edited very nicely.  In fact, so was the trailer, as it gave almost nothing away, and I can’t express how much I appreciate that.  Especially the ending, which I will not spoil, and which was completely secret, so credit to the entire crew who worked on producing this movie, advertising it very well, and had a product to back up the talk when it came time to sit down and watch.  Not every film can say the same, that they knew how to market but also how to deliver; I really respect what David Sandberg and Henry Gayden did.  Especially when you consider the bumps the DCEU has endured, and the roller coaster it rode to get where it is today: Man of Steel, DOJ, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman.  I liked Man of Steel, skip, skip, I really liked Wonder Woman, skip, skip, and now I’ve highly enjoyed Shazam!, a positive experience all around and a relief if this is what we might continue to get from this point on.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Unicorn Store

Category : Movie Review

Director: Brie Larson

Starring: Brie Larson, Mamoudou Athie

Year: 2019

Unicorn Store is like if Sorry To Bother You was bad.  Or, more specifically, like if someone took that idea, made it about a white lady instead, and then forgot all the secret ingredients that worked to make it special.  Brie Larson’s directorial debut is the opposite of special; it’s a boring, toe-in-the-water experience when what we were tricked into believing was that she had something interesting to say.  After Captain Marvel and now Unicorn Store, I’m starting to feel like fame has gone to an indie/niche actor’s head, and what we’ll get from now on is personal overindulgence.  It happens to the best of them I guess, and she’s around 30, so maybe she still has some maturing to do as a filmmaker and an artist.  But audiences have only so much patience, and mine is already wearing thin.

Kit has failed art school, failed at adulting, and has just moved back in with her overly-positive parents.  She’s a positive person herself, always dreaming and imagining and wishing, but real life is bringing her down hard, as she struggles to fine her place, her vision, and her purpose.  Kit gets a temp job in an effort to fit in and to put a happy face on things, but she’s not fulfilled there, and her joyful fantasies are just getting further and further away.  When she receives multiple weird letters from The Store telling her that she needs to come in to get the object she’s always wanted, it seems like things are looking up, especially when that object turns out to be a real, live unicorn.  But to earn the unicorn, Kit must get her act together and create a loving home, which is exactly what she needs to do anyway, whether the unicorn, The Store, and dreams in general, are real or not.

Brie Larson did one thing right with Unicorn Store; the casting.  Other than herself, because she isn’t a great actress, and Samuel L. Jackson, who is barely in the movie long enough to warrant a credit and who might as well have simply done a voice over to save time, the cast is pretty incredible, smart, and talented.  I loved Mamoudou Athie, Bradley Whitford & Joan Cusack were incredible, Hamish Linklater & Martha MacIsaac were funny as office people, and it’s always nice to see Karan Soni pop up.  But that’s where the positives end.  Larson isn’t adept yet at directing; no problem, she’s new to in, she can learn, but others have debuted strongly so now we expect it, and she failed to deliver.  Also, her performance is extremely weak, lacking anything new or fresh or captivating, anything that will make audiences fall in love.  The story is silly, the main character annoying, it was the writer’s first attempt at a feature as well, and it showed.  A for effort I guess, for waiting to cash in on a Netflix film until your name picked up (this movie came out at TIFF a year & a half ago), but it didn’t work this time.  Larson can go back to the drawing board, perhaps the ceiling is high, who knows, but I’m running out of interest early.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Ladies in Lavender

Category : Movie Review

Director: Charles Dance

Starring: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Brühl

Year: 2004

Charles Dance, with 148 screen credits, only directed one film, and that would be Ladies in Lavender.  Not a bad idea if you’re only going to do it once, to direct two of the most talented women in British cinema/television/theatre history in Dench & Smith, two amazing actresses who anyone would be lucky to work with.  I recently watched them, along with Eileen Atkins and Joan Plowright, in Tea with the Dames, a documentary about these four famous ladies, and a chance to hear their stories in a candid and unprecedented manner.  I would recommend giving that movie a glance, but you don’t need me to tell you to always perk up your ears a bit whenever you hear these particular names, because you will always find strong performances and fascinating characters wherever Dench & Smith choose to pop up.

Sisters Ursula and Janet live in a quiet Cornwall village with their maid and their garden, sharing a room after all these years and spending each day together as they appreciate the autumn of their years.  Their idyllic existence is shaken when a young man washes up on the beach outside their cottage, and they take him in until he gains his strength.  The stranger’s name is Andrea, he’s Polish, a musician, and doesn’t speak English, so communication is slow, but steady, and eventually the sisters begin to count on his presence in their guest room, especially Ursula, who never married, never was in love, and may finally be awake to her emotions, though far too late in life to do anything about them.  When Andrea mends and the time for him to leave grows closer, letting go might be the most painful experience Ursula has ever had to endure.

Ladies in Lavender is a simple film with a classic feel that could have gone in any number of dramatic directions, but chose instead to dwell on emotion instead of action, and was all the better for that decision.  It feels much, much older than it is, and not only because the pre-WWII period was so well-represented, and not only because Dench & Smith are pillars of the industry, but because the director kept to an old-school style that felt like classic BBC, not modern romance.  The Dames were spectacular of course, playing sisters so well, and keeping the story moving even when not much was happening.  And the side cast was solid too: David Warner (who I’ll always love for Time Bandits and Tron), Natascha McElhone (who used to be a sex symbol, as in Truman Show), Toby Jones (who is seemingly in every movie ever made).  But Daniel Bruhl may have stolen the show, starting a career that is currently exploding; he’s one of my favorite actors working today.  This film is an easy watch, a touching drama, and features great acting; what more could you want.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Stranded

Category : Movie Review

Director: Luna

Starring: Maria Lidon, Joaquin de Almeida, Maria de Medeiros

Year: 2001

I’ve always been fascinated by Mars missions, and so have American audiences; we want to see them try and we want to see them fail.  Mission to Mars started the modern movement, Red Planet followed and was equally terrible, Doom to some extent, John Carter not really, The Last Days on Mars was good, The Martian was a big deal but not that great of a film other than the fact that Matt Damon is an incredible actor; we’re always ready for a Mars mission to go wrong.  But apparently it’s hard to do the movie version right, which is perfectly exemplified in Stranded, one of the worst genre flicks I have ever seen, void of anything that would have saved the day and without a reason to root for survival.

Humanity has finally reached the point in its technology that we can reach the next goal in near-space travel; Mars.  The first manned mission is launched and, after two years, the team reaches the planet, but that’s where things go wrong.  Their shuttle crash lands, leaving one dead and five marooned, without the necessary resources (food, water, air, fuel) to survive more than a year, which is nowhere near enough time for a rescue mission to come get them.  In order to survive, only two can stay in the shuttle; the other three must take a short walk outside, where they will experience the surface before dying.  But what they find out there makes the sacrifice worth it, because something strange lies beneath the bedrock, something not from Earth.

Stranded hails from Spain, with a director who is in the movie, and it is her first attempt at either acting or directing.  What could possibly go wrong?!  Your first try at acting and you decide to direct yourself, when you’ve never directed anyone, and you expect it all to work out?  What in god’s name was anyone involved in this film thinking.  It’s horrible, obviously, absolutely horrible, like a skit given money but gone terribly wrong.  The acting is so bad you’ll want to be stranded on a planet with no chance of rescue too, just so you’d have to conserve power and wouldn’t be allowed to turn on your DVD player.  I swear some of the actors were dubbed and some weren’t, it was a mess, I don’t know what was going on, and the plot is so stupid that you’ll have to cradle your brain after watching it unfold.  I, unfortunately, already saw this film; learn from my mistake and make sure you never do.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Fifth Element

Category : Movie Review

Director: Luc Besson

Starring: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker

Year: 1997

Luc Besson’s filmography is like a murder scene; a bloody but curious mess through which you search for clues and end up finding not that much.  La Femme Nikita (I used to watch the USA Network show), Leon: The Professional (great), The Fifth Element (weird), The Messenger (I was pretty psyched for this movie when I was 15 and into history), The Family, Lucy, Valerian; that last one is his closest to Fifth Element, not as good, but at least in a wacky sci-fi style he seems comfortable with.  I guess The Professional is his best, but I’m not sure how much of the credit goes to the director there, and if you take that away, what’s he left with?  Because, on a re-watch, Fifth Element isn’t as amazing as I remember; fun, but not incredible.  And without it, Besson starts to look really questionable.

For years, a race of peaceful aliens have protected an ultimate weapon that will someday be used to save Earth from an ultimate evil, a force that only cares for destruction.  The aliens have in their possession a group of four stones, each representing an element, and also a fifth element, a supreme being, that will be needed to unite the stones into forming the weapon.  When the evil entity finally arrives, our protectors bring us the precious cargo, only to crash land and destroy any hope of our survival.  But wait, the stones weren’t on the ship, and the supreme being lives, recreated by a machine in the form of a beautiful woman named Leeloo.  With the help of a reluctant, rugged, ex-military cab driver named Korben Dallas, she must recover the stones, bring them to an ancient temple, and discover her elemental power, so that humanity can live to see another day.

It’s wild, much too wild to put into words, and if you haven’t already seen Fifth Element I’m not sure I can recommend it now; I think you might have to be a teenager to really appreciate the insanity that is this film.  Aliens, guns, comedy, farce, Bruce Willis & Chris Tucker; it’s a lot.  I remember enjoying it a lot when I was younger, but this time around it fell flat, or, more accurately, jumped so high over the shark that it circled the globe and crash landed on the opposite side of normal.  I respect what Besson tried to do here, how bold he was to attempt this, but apart from a few fun facets, the film as a whole is a gigantic mess.  I’ve concluded that he’s not a very good director, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few pieces of this bizarre space adventure to enjoy.  Jovovich is cool, Tucker is funny, it’s nice to see something that doesn’t play it safe, and I can see how, if you look at it as pure entertainment, you could have a blast watching actors permitted to be ridiculous.  But a plot that bounces off the walls and acting that’s suspect at best combine to make this movie mostly mediocre; I wonder if it would watch better if audiences were high, because that seems to be how it was made.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆