I have a big soft spot for all things wacky and bizarre, and I enjoyed this colourful and wildly imaginative space fantasy from Luc Besson much more than I thought I would, after the so-so reviews. But if there was ever a movie killed by the horrendous casting choices, Valerian is surely it.
Watched the latest unsettling sci-fi mind-bender from Alex Garland, the writer/director of Ex Machina, that got dumped on Netflix for being “too complicated” for the wider audience. I’m sorry that I never got a chance to see it on the big screen, but good on the creative team for refusing to dumb it down.
I finally caught up on the short-lived but much-loved Firefly TV series a couple of months ago, which made me want to visit an alternate universe where the show was allowed to run for as long as its creator Joss Whedon had intended. In the absence of a working interdimensional portal, I had to do with this 2005 feature film, which is a much better farewell than the dizzyingly abrupt ending of the TV series.
After watching Solaris, last Thursday friend and I were back at the Astor Theatre for more of Andrei Tarkovsky‘s meditative, arty, defiantly slow sci-fi. I love the story I read where, upon hearing from the officials at the State Committee for Cinematography that the film was too slow and dull, Tarkovsky’s reply was that the film “needs to be slower and duller at the start so that the viewers who walked into the wrong theatre have time to leave before the main action starts”.
They’re showing a couple of Andrei Tarkovsky films at the Astor Theatre this month, so friend and I went to see this 1972 Soviet sci-fi classic. The pitch I made to my friend was, are you up for some slow and boring Russian sci-fi, an in-joke as we both appreciate slow-paced movies that are more about submerging yourself rather than going on a thrill ride. Solaris is definitely not for everybody and I saw a couple of walkouts in the cinema, but if you can surrender to its glacial pacing and penchant for ambiguity, it’s a rewarding experience and leaves you with much to think about.
After watching (and loving) the anime film, I thought I’d check out this recent Hollywood remake with Scarlett Johansson. It was pretty much what I had expected: watchable with a few arresting visual moments and a decent lead performance, but all in all a dumbed down and hollow take on the original.
I’m not the biggest anime fan in the world, but if you have any appreciation for science fiction, visual artistry and films that create a unique atmosphere, it’s impossible not to be impressed by this 1995 cyber-tech thriller.