Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review
All of the smoke in Atomic Blonde, is brought to you care of our friends at the Philip Morris Company.

“I chose this life, and someday it’s going to get me killed. But not today.”

Charlize Theron may have been one of the first actresses to portray a real life female serial killer, but she is no where near the first chick to kick ass in Hollywood (major props for Mad Max: Fury Road though). Foreign films aside (since I’ve barely seen that many), there are a handful of memorable action oriented characters of the feminine persuasion that have stuck in my mind over the years. What’s telling, is that in comparison I could easily come up with dozens if not hundreds of male counterparts, yet that discussion is best served for another time (check out my Wonder Woman review). My order starts from lowest to highest with Sharon Stone’s The Lady in The Quick and the Dead (1995), Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo from The Fifth Element (1997), Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley in Aliens (1986), and my personal favorite of Uma Thurman’s Beatrix “The Bride” Kiddo from both Kill Bill films (2003-04). Special mention to Zoe Bell as herself in the underrated little Tarantino gem, “Death Proof“. Unlike the cool yet fleeting opinions I have for films like Underworld and Resident Evil, these ladies still continue to impress me and make me cheer with every single viewing. What has Charlize ever given us except her title character from Aeon Flux to ultimately forget? I hope you’re smart enough to know that I’m joking, of course. Don’t get all “Furiosa” with me!

My Impression of Atomic Blonde

Add another one to her slowly growing list, because Charlize is going the John Wick route. Not in character or even story wise, but in the way that director David Leitch (co-director of Wick) has her fight training so meticulously for the screen, that you can’t help but be reminded of his previous work. Atomic Blonde has plenty of that no-holds-barred, close quarters combat to entertain the action purists out there, however there’s so much more than that. This movie drenches itself in cool. Cool music, cool style, and cool killing. 80’s new wave pop (with a little Public Enemy and David Bowie to fuel the fire) seamlessly escorts every scene and keeps you constantly aware of what era it’s in. Set in Berlin late 1989 (“Tear down this wall!”), the atmosphere of the cold war is ever present and keeps things gloomy as hell. In fact, the gloom is so tangent that it really makes you understand everybody’s downtrodden mood. Not only does the music take you out of the film’s depressing setting, it’s music video approach also makes up for whatever story lulls there may be. Laced in between Atomic Blonde‘s reliance on style over substance, is a murder mystery that leaves more questions at times than it answers and slows things down to a temporary crawl. Is that a genius way to keep the viewer confused and on the edge of their seat? You tell me. For me I was left scratching my head like after my first time seeing Mission: Impossible (1996). Thank goodness for Google Search (non-profit plug) to ease my simple mind.

Charlize Theron is so good at saying as little as possible and delivering the most impact. She gets more to say than her Keanu Reeves counterpart (they trained together during pre-production) though, and by acting talent you can tell which of the two deserves it more. Even bruised and beaten, she’s still the sexiest spy chick on the screen. She’s also so good at her delivery during the rough action scenes, that she makes you unquestionably accept all of the punishment that she’s subjected to. Her Berlin contact played by James McAvoy (Wanted), is another reason to keep your interest as well. His unpredictable approach and commanding presence, once again ups my respect for the man’s acting talent and makes me a bigger fan with every new role. The rest of the cast in Atomic Blonde is used sparingly to say the least, however they give a decent backup to Theron and the story. Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond), Eddie Marsan (Hancock), Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Til Schweiger (Inglourious Basterds), and the always enjoyable John Goodman (who played a similar role in 1996’s Mother Night), deserve mention amongst a cast used mostly as knuckle fodder.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Atomic Blonde

The Good- Car chases and fistfights and ice water baths oh my!, the expertly edited “long take” stairwell fight that ends in a river, from the hall to the bed, and one last twist.

The Bad- Without trying to spoil the film’s many twists, I found myself internally screaming at the screen like Keifer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer (24), “Who are you working for?!”.

The Ugly- Look I’m all for time period authenticity and stuff like that, but when the characters smoke more than they take actual breaths, it gets to be a bit of an annoying distraction.

Final Thoughts on Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde has nearly everything you’d want from an action flick. There’s even some shots of humor sprinkled into the expertly choreographed action sequences, to temporarily lighten the uber-serious tone. There are a few boring spots here and there and the plot is a little stretched, yet that cool thing that I was talking about before makes it all worthwhile. I think we’re due for a Charlize and Keanu reunion. So this time let’s have a badass couple without involving Lucifer (The Devil’s Advocate), or some bipolar matchmaking (Sweet November). See this in theaters to show your appreciation for a finely tuned action movie. For all the butt that she easily dispatches, she’s still no Beatrix Kiddo. But this’ll do.
Rating- 7 out of 10
Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde (2017)

R | 1h 55min | Action, Mystery, Thriller | 28 July 2017 (USA)
An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.
Director: David Leitch
Writers: Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Antony Johnston (based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City” written by)
Stars: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Trivia

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Trivia
Cara Delevingne avoids a critic in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Totally Useless Trivia

10.  More than 40,000 Americans have taken out insurance against being abducted by aliens.

9.  RZA’s character is described as ruling Brick Mansions “with an iron fist”–an in-joke reference to his previous film, “The Man With The Iron Fists.”

8.  Jimmy Fallon has joked on The Tonight Show about how he would come back to the series if the next installment went in space and called it “Space Taxi”.

7.
 The comic series “Valérian and Laureline” had a huge visual influence on this film. Luc Besson would go on to direct Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017).

6.  Stansfield is obsessed with Ludwig van Beethoven. Gary Oldman later portrayed Beethoven in Immortal Beloved (1994).

5.  French accents make people sound like they have swollen tongues.

4.  Napoleon likely died of stomach cancer, despite two hundred years of arsenic speculation.

3.  In France, it is called a Nintendo YES.

2.  Q: What do women who are snipers in the French military use as camouflage?
     A: Their armpits.

1.  Stop using valerian and call your doctor at once if you have: liver problems–nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include: headache; upset stomach; thinking problems; dry mouth; feeling excited or uneasy; strange dreams; or daytime drowsiness.

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WHOOPIEDEEDOOS

Luc Besson first premiered some footage at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. This footage received a standing ovation from the crowd in Hall H.

The film is based on the French science fiction comics series Valérian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières.

Released in 2017, the year of Valerian’s 50th anniversary.

Cara Delevingne announced on social media that filming began on January 4, 2016.

Cara Delevingne worked out for several months to get in shape for her role as Laureline.

_________________________________________________________________________________

EXTRAS

Luc Besson chose not to shoot the movie in 3D because 3D cameras are too heavy for his style of filming like running behind an actor or unusual angles of filming.

The main storyline is loosely based on “Ambassador of the Shadows“, the sixth album in the comic book series. This was also the first Valerian story to be translated in English.

The opening scene begins in 1975. This is the year “Ambassador of the Shadows” (on which the film is loosely based) was first published in French.

There are 2734 special effect shots in this movie compared to “only” 188 in ‘The Fifth Element (1997)

The futuristic New York City in Luc Besson’s previous film The Fifth Element (1997) was visually inspired by “The Circles of Power”, the fifteenth volume in the “Valérian and Laureline” comic series.

There are 200 different alien species in this movie. Luc Besson wrote a 600 page book describing in details all the species. The actors had to read that book prior to filming so they can adjust their acting depending on the species they were interacting with.

The two first trailers use the song “Because” by the Beatles. It is the very first time a film director could obtain the rights for using a Beatles song in a movie advertisement. Permission was granted by Paul McCartney.

Luc Besson deliberately chose to shoot the film, an adaptation of a French comic, in English with English-speaking actors in order to raise its chances of a wider audience.

With a final production budget of EUR197.47 million, around $210 million in United States currency, the film is officially the most expensive ever made in France, significantly exceeding the budget of the previous record holder, Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008), which cost EUR102 million ($113 million). Twenty years earlier, director Luc Besson made The Fifth Element (1997), which was the most expensive French movie at the time with a budget of EUR90 million ($100 million).

Weta Digital and ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) have previously worked together on Contact (1997), Van Helsing (2004), Eragon (2006) and Avatar (2009), making Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets their fifth collaboration.
______________________________________________________________________________FIN
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
PG-13 | 2h 17min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 21 July 2017 (USA)

A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
Director: Luc Besson
Writers: Pierre Christin (based on the comic book series “Valerian and Laureline” by), Jean-Claude Mézières (based on the comic book series “Valerian and Laureline” by)
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen

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Piece Of Shit Or Not?- Atomic Blonde

Piece Of Shit Or Not?-  Atomic Blonde
This wasn’t the Atomic Blonde I was looking for, I swear. 

OUR PREDICTIONS FOR ATOMIC BLONDE BASED SORELY OFF OF THE TRAILERS

Joe’s Take-

All around sexy badass Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) is tasked with the job of hunting down her American spy boyfriend’s killers, before they eliminate any more of the government’s secret operatives. While she kicks well-choreographed ass throughout Europe, she runs into her contact played by James McAvoy (Split), who loves to dress like a xXx (2002) nightclub reject. She also decides to spend her spare time laying horizontally with a French operative who’s following her, and who suspiciously looks like the newest Mummy (Sofia Boutella). Charlize quickly learns that she better kick butt a lot faster before anybody else that she knows turns up dead as well.

My Prediction- John Wick style head-to-head close quarters combat, hot lesbian sex, and McAvoy in a fur coat; What more could you possibly want?! This looks well done and entertaining as hell. The Atmosphere is a bit gloomy, but does that really matter when female lips are pressed together and John Goodman (Kong: Skull Island) gives you the go-ahead to lay some guilt-free carnage? Atomic Blonde will not be a Piece Of Shit. It shall be glorious. I already mentioned the hot lesbian sex, right?

Mike’s Take –
Charlize Theron stars in Atomic Blonde, another comic book turned into a movie franchise. This movie has some star power – Sofia Boutella, that guy that played Red Skulls scientist henchman, John Goodman, Professor X, and there’s probably a cameo that will “be the talk of the town”. Blah. This movie does look good, but when you use “Personal Jesus” with Kayne West’s “rapping” over it, i’m sorry, but you have shitty taste in music and makes me believe that the movie is going to be as good as a Kayne West acceptance speech.
What’s the movie about? Assassin is trying to find out why a bunch of other secret agents from her company are dying off and who’s the mole? *coughjohngoodmancough* Who knows? But the fight scenes look freaking amazing.

Atomic Blonde (2017)
R | 1h 55min | Action, Mystery, Thriller | 28 July 2017 (USA)

An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.
Director: David Leitch
Writers: Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Antony Johnston (based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City” written by)
Stars: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman 

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review
With Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the safe bet is to keep staring up at all of the pretty lights, and not the script.

“Your destiny is in your hands.”

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice that futuristic sci-fi/space movies don’t do particularly well in the United States anymore? Star Wars, Star Trek,  Avatar, and the Guardians of the Galaxy aside, it’s hard to find any space-related mega blockbusters out there that can compete with superheroes and Pixar sentimentalities. And before anybody brings up the bloody Transformers, stop because they don’t count. Those films are set during present day and should be forgotten like Nazis and modern pop music. And quality doesn’t come into play even with the classics. Blade Runner (1982), Dark City (1998), and also The Fifth Element were all busts at the (U.S.) domestic box office during their runs. When it comes to other worldly type premises, we Americans (in general) like a certain kind of familiarity to go with them. John Carter of Mars, Jupiter Ascending, and even the cool but ultimately wasted After Earth, just weren’t interesting enough for us to fantasize about going into the stars with. We can be some picky bastards. I mean look at our form of football compared to the rest of the world’s. Sorry, bad comparison. Our football is better. ;p
Just as how you would probably compare any Quentin Tarantino film to his bar-setting Pulp Fiction, or sci-fi/fantasy of Spielberg’s to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (some choosing Close Encounters of the Third Kind), you’d have to compare any of Luc Besson’s sci-fi/fantasies to his 1997 cult classic “The Fifth Element“. So of course that’s exactly what I did when I saw and afterwards thought about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Well I’m sincerely sorry to report this, but this new vision of Besson’s does not compare in overall affect. Saving my rant about Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) for later, the story itself and the film’s weaker attempts at being comedic, hurts Valerian more than anything else. Aside from some cool and clever action scenes, the story relies more on the ideas that seem like their from an old show like Buck Rogers and the 25th Century (1979-1981) or something, than by anything more modern in thought. The humor also feels forced at times more than it comes off naturally. Almost like I’m watching something more kid friendly as Mars Needs Moms instead. Not that I’m trying to mimic everybody else’s comments that the visuals are outstanding, yet they are. What sucks is that instead of the visuals being used as a companion to the storytelling, they mostly play out as a temporary eye distraction to cover up how weak the story actually is. So when it’s all said and done, it doesn’t really matter how pretty everything looked.

What it all boils down to more than anything else, is how well received the characters of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets are for the audience. For me (and I most certainly am not the only one), the relatable scale is very low. There is a consistent lack of connection to these people. When Besson asked us to understand and trust his characters in Leon: The Professional (1994), or to cheer and laugh with all of the people and oddities of The Fifth Element (1997), we did so without reservations. He made us love those films. This time around with the aforementioned story snags, Valerian‘s most damaging character flaw is the casting of Dane DeHaan. Aside from his decent turn in the 2013 live concert/motion picture spectacle “Metallica Through the Never” (and the fact that he had very little dialogue), DeHaan looks and sounds like Leonardo DiCaprio’s strung out protagonist from The Basketball Diaries (1995) in everything he does. He’s just a boring actor who lately keeps getting high quality roles for some god-only-knows reason. He chases after his interesting partner Laureline (played by Cara Delevingne of 2016’s Suicide Squad), like a sad little puppy, while she wisely focuses more on the task at hand (except for one playful scene). The insufficient sexual spark between them, makes Besson’s expectations for us believing in their relationship unrealistically naive. Their interaction with the rest of the universe works a little better. Clive Owen’s (Sin City) limited appearance as their Commander, is predictable and hard to take seriously as he’s written. Pop star Rihanna plays an alien entertainer that tone-wise, brings to mind the Diva Plavalaguna scene from The Fifth Element. Ethan Hawk (Gattaca) is funny in his short stint as her pimp. And John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.) voices a fun villain that should’ve been in much more of the movie. Instead we get some beach-loving Avatar Knockoffs with pets that poop pearls, who take up the film’s main story line.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

The Good- David Bowie sets the tone (“Space Oddity“) for the impressive intro, the interdimensional heist/chase scene is brilliant, and Wyclef Jean’s “We Trying To Stay Alive” floods the alien marketplace and puts a smile on my face.

The Bad- So many different different characters, and not much to do with them. Why even try in the first place?

The Ugly- Over two decades of heartfelt desire and planning, and this is the end result? I feel more sad for Besson than I am disappointed for seeing it.

Final Thoughts On Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is too grand scale in appearance and too underdeveloped in story to be taken too seriously. When it looks this good but impacts so poorly, it makes you wonder how could somebody like Besson mess it up. As it stands, this movie would’ve worked better as a VR experience in an overpriced arcade, than as an actual film. When you start picking apart the visuals instead of following along with the story, you know that you’re watching some boring ass shit. Check it out if you want. But don’t see it in 3D like I did. It added nothing special at all, like a waste of space. I guess that’s what you get for dropping the more interesting character’s name out of the original French comic book’s title for this film (Valerian and Laureline).
Rating- 5.5 out of 10


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

PG-13 | 2h 17min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 21 July 2017 (USA)

A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
Director: Luc Besson
Writers: Pierre Christin (based on the comic book series “Valerian and Laureline” by), Jean-Claude Mézières (based on the comic book series “Valerian and Laureline” by)
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen

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Hitman Agent 47 Movie Review Podcast

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With all of the countless remakes, reboots, and reimaginings nowadays, I can’t help but be reminded of that famous Oprah Winfrey line from a few years back. It’s like the studios are pointing at as many established properties that they can find and are saying, “You get reboot! You get a reboot! Everybody gets a reboot!”

Hitman Agent 47
Netflix Pick Of The Week
Video Games The Movie
Non Netflix –
Ford Fairlane
remakes reboots and retools part 2 KIR

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American Ultra Movie Review Podcast

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Despite Eisenberg’s neurotic paranoia and Stewart’s undeserving attitude (both of them in both films), they clique in a way that makes them easy to watch and root for. They are so watchable together, that they make an uneven film like this enjoyable. Now, American Ultra is a decent overall movie, but there’s a sense of familiarity while watching it. I’ve seen this movie before. I saw it in The Long Kiss Goodnight. I saw it in Grosse Pointe Blank. I saw it in Burn After Reading. All superior films, by the way. There’s also a handful of other films sprinkled into the mix as well. The general lack of originality is prevalent throughout. However, there’s plenty of action and humor to distract from that. There are some cool moments once the story kicks into gear. Simultaneously, the action grinds to a halt for periods of time when instead, it should have kept going on a juggernaut’s course. There are more than a few pieces of carnage interlaced with funny reactions and consequences. But did it all have to be so forced and convenient?

American Ultra Movie Review Podcast

American Ultra
A Lethargic Clerks Meets Every Action Movie
Netflix Pick Of The Week
Super Mench
Fear the Walking Dead episode 1
Jesse Eisenberg Rant

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The Man From Uncle Movie Review Podcast

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We review The Man From Uncle, Life Itself and Not Dead Yet
Most people don’t realize this but, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is based off of an old TV show from the 1960’s. Movies like Mission: Impossible and Dark Shadows, have roots from that decade as well. Even though it’s so difficult to look up anything nowadays, most don’t take the time nor care to research a film before actually seeing it. That’s why I’m here, so you can flock to your local theaters ignorance free, based off of my cinematic wisdom and tireless efforts with a smart phone. U.N.C.L.E. was on for four seasons from 1964 to 1968. Some of the show’s characters and concepts were designed by James Bond creator, Ian Fleming. It starred Robert Vaughn (Superman III) and David McCallum (“Ducky” from NCIS). The show’s main theme was composed by movie maestro legend, Jerry Goldsmith (Chinatown, Alien, Gremlins, multiple Star Trek projects). It was well received from viewers and critics.

The Man From Uncle Movie Review PodcastMan From U.N.C.L.E. and now it’s a blockbuster movie directed by Guy Ritchie.
Netflix Pick Of The Week-
Life Itself – Roger Ebert Doc
Not Dead Yet – Jason Becker Doc

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