Category Archives: Movies

THE DARK TOWER opens Aug 4

THE DARK TOWER  Action-Adventure   August 4, 2017

There are other worlds than these. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, the ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors, makes its launch to the big screen.  The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

FANTASY COME TRUE:  Filmmaker Luc Besson took more than a decade to realize his vision

Luc Besson hired 10 designers and then had them prepare separate visions of space without really knowing what the goal was.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Opens July 21.

French filmmaker Luc Besson usually gets things done quickly. But it took him more than a decade of care and attention to realize his cinematic dream Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

The movie is based on the French comic books Valerian and Laureline by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières. The series enthralled Besson as a child growing up in Paris. As a 58-yearold, he’s finally promoting the English language version of the sci-fi fantasy.

The Besson movie features Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline. They are a squabbling but in-love couple who are also space detectives assigned to uncover a lethal menace at the gigantic space station named City of a Thousand Planets. If they don’t find the device, it might destroy the city and maybe the universe.

But some of the city’s inhabitants — made up of separate spheres for humanoids, robots, methane aliens and marine extraterrestrials — aren’t in the mood to co-operate with the investigators.

Co-stars include Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Rutger Hauer, Kris Wu and singer Rihanna, who stands out as a shape-shifting entertainer.

Continue reading Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets



Action, comedy, horror — it’s all here

Chinese director Geng Jun’s Free and Easy: a gorgeous tragi-comedy.

ARIEL ESTEBAN CAYER Director of the Camera Lucida section

1. Free and Easy (July 17 at 9:45, July 20 at 5:30, Concordia’s de Sève Cinema, 1400 de Maisonneuve St. W.)

From independent Chinese filmmaker Geng Jun comes a gorgeous tragi-comedy which finds humour and absurdity in petty crime, bureaucracy and futile displays of power. Imagine a cross between early Jim Jarmusch, Jia Zhang-ke and the Coen Brothers, with the deadpan factor turned up to 12.

2. The Honor Farm (July 15 at 8 p.m. and July 17 at 3:30 p.m., de Sève Cinema)

A trippy coming-of-age tale from Texas filmmaker Karen Skloss offering a touching vision of female adolescence with just the right balance of horror, psychedelia and tartness to make the typical prom night/teen movie feel fresh again.

3. Animals (July 16 at 4:45 p.m. and July 18 at 3 p.m., de Sève)

Greg Zglinski’s story of a failing marriage is marked by a complete mastery of form — as the relationship disintegrates, so does the film’s sense of reality. A brilliant surrealism takes over, setting up a gripping central mystery: what is going on? Fans of David Lynch’s dream logic and Andrzej Zulawski’s apocalyptic passion will be delighted.


Co-director of Asian programming

4. A Taxi Driver (Aug. 2 at 8:45 p.m., Concordia’s Alumni Auditorium, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)

With the legendary Song Kangho (The Host) in the title role, a director of the calibre of Jang Hoon (Secret Reunion) at the helm and an absorbing script based on tragic events little-known in the west, A Taxi Driver calls upon the cinephile and the citizen in each of us. I’m extremely proud to present such a powerful, important film to the Fantasia audience.

5. A Day (July 22 at 7:25 p.m., Alumni Auditorium)

In South Korean director Cho Sun-ho’s debut feature, a surgeon is stuck continually reliving the day his daughter died. He can never change anything, but it turns out he is not the only prisoner of this infernal time loop. An enthralling dramatic thriller, full of ingenious twists cleverly reimagining the premise of Groundhog Day.


Director of the Action section

6. Jailbreak (July 21 at 6:45 p.m., Alumni Auditorium; July 29 at 7:30 p.m., de Sève Cinema)

Hand-to-hand combat reigns as a special police unit must stop a prison riot. Italian director Jimmy Henderson opens the door to an extremely promising potential franchise while revealing the immense cinematic talent hiding in Cambodia.

7. Savage Dog (July 15 at 7:30 p.m., Alumni Auditorium)

After spending time in a Cambodian jail where he is forced to compete in organized fights, a former IRA member (Scott Adkins of The Expendables 2) gets pulled back into the ring. Jesse V. Johnson’s ’80s-’90s throwback rewinds to a time when TV screens sweated testosterone.

8. Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D (July 24 at 6:30 p.m., Alumni Auditorium)

Two and a half decades after revolutionizing action cinema, James Cameron presents a restored, 3D version of his classic film.


General director, director of international programming 9. Lowlife (July 21 at 9:25 p.m., Alumni Auditorium)

American filmmaker Ryan Prows’ debut feature is one of the most exhilarating discoveries we’ve come across in years. A thriller, crime film, comedy and deeply empathetic drama with beautifully scripted, atypical characters and shock value to spare, this one-of-a-kind blast of eccentricity will have you sweating, screaming, laughing and

crying as it surprises at virtually every turn.

10. Spoor (July 30 at 9 p.m. at D.B. Clarke Theatre, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.; Aug. 1 at 2:45 p.m. at de Sève Cinema)

Polish cinema legend Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa, The Secret Garden) makes her first foray into genre storytelling at nearly 70 years of age. A retired teacher struggles to defend the animals of her area against cruel-hearted hunters — who begin turning up dead with paw tracks by their bodies. A beguiling and eccentric film of paralyzing beauty and emotion that plays like a cry against fundamental disrespect for living things while also speaking to patriarchal systems of violence. Genuinely radical.

11. Mayhem (July 30 at 9:15 p.m., Alumni Auditorium).

From American director Joe Lynch (Everly) comes an absurdist, blood-soaked comedy-action-horror hand-grenade thrown in the face of cutthroat corporate culture, starring The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun. A legal firm is under siege by its own employees, who are contaminated by a virus that temporarily renders them unable to control their impulses. A bonkers-crazy film full of gonzo wit and gore, Mayhem is also sharp, calculated and subversive to the extreme.


Co-director of Asian programming

12. Bastard Swordsman (July 23 at 2:45 p.m., July 29 at 3 p.m. at de Sève Cinema).

Can the infamous silkworm technique — involving web spins, lots of flying and cocoon combat — bring balance to the martial world in old China? From director Tony Liu, one of the directors who redefined martial arts cinema over 30 years ago. Get ready to be blasted with an avalanche of unfettered lunacy in this phantasmagorical, 1983 kung fu classic.

13. Bad Genius (July 16 at 4:30 p.m., D.B. Clarke; July 21 at 5:15 p.m. at de Sève Cinema).

Two super-smart students concoct elaborate schemes to help others cheat on exams. It’s Mission Impossible meets The Breakfast Club in Nattawut Poonpiriya’s exciting coming-of-age thriller, which opened the New York Asian Film Festival and aced the Thailand box office.

14. Wu Kong (July 18 at 7 p.m., Alumni Auditorium).

Award-winning director Derek Kwok (Gallants, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons) reboots the famous Monkey King legend from the popular internet novel, with fresh vigour of epic proportions. You’ll love it for 10,000 years.

Geostorm Trailers and Teasers

Geostorm Trailers and Teasers (Is there a difference between trailer and teaser?)

There was an article in today’s Montreal Gazette about the movie industry putting out too many trailers and teasers and ultimately, too many spoilers.

I had a look on Youtube when I saw the release of the second trailer for Geostorm–there are nine trailers posted, one of which is likely a duplicate in HD. After seeing all these, is there any point in watching the movie? It doesn’t appear in cinemas until October 20th, so lots of time for more trailer releases!!

After an unprecedented series of natural disasters threatened the planet, the world’s leaders came together to create an intricate network of satellites to control the global climate and keep everyone safe. But now, something has gone wrong—the system built to protect the Earth is attacking it, and it’s a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything…and everyone along with it.

Oh, golly gee– I’ve never seen anything like that before!!!  Have you?


Gerard Butler playing a stubborn but charming satellite designer who, when the world’s climate-controlling satellites malfunction, has to work together with his estranged brother to save the world from a man-made storm of epic proportions. A trip into space follows, while on Earth a plot to assassinate the president begins to unfold.



Spider-Man reboot scores


Spider-Man reboot scores

There is plenty to like in Marvel’s reboot of Spider-Man, writes Chris Knight, including lead actor Tom Holland, villain Michael Keaton and Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May.

I honestly didn’t think I was ready for another Spider-Man. After the Tobey Maguire trilogy (2002-2007) and the truncated Andrew Garfield years (20122014), not to mention Tom Holland’s appearance in the climactic scene of last year’s Captain America: Civil War, I was awaiting this one with all the anticipation of a new iPhone iOS. “SM v. 3.1b” was my private name for Homecoming.

And yet darned if Holland’s Spidey doesn’t breathe new life into the old web-slinger, who officially turns 55 this year and doesn’t look a day over 15 in the movie. How’d they do it?

First and foremost, no backstory.

As written by a six-man consortium headed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Horrible Bosses), this Spider-Man doesn’t bother introducing Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben just to bump him off and teach the kid a lesson. (Though it does include Marisa Tomei as the hottest Aunt May to grace the screen.) Even the radioactive spider bite is mentioned only in passing, after Peter’s pal (Jacob Batalon in a fine bit of comic relief ) learns his secret identity.

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A video roundup

Gleefully snitched from File 770: Video Roundup:  Unexpected Encounters

Curated by Carl Slaughter: (1) Morticia, Vampira, and Elvira.

(2) Screen Prism explains the meaning of the Golden Mean in Game of Thrones.

(3) Screen Prism explains the ending of Donnie Darko.

(4) Watch Mojo says these 10 video games should NEVER be made into movies.  Too late.  Some are already in the works.  For example, Paul Anderson of the Resident Evil franchise is already adapting Monster Hunter.

(5) War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves will direct the next Batman movie.  In an interview with New Trailer Buzz, Reeves compares Caesar and Batman.

(6) Batman and Bruce Wayne have a conversation