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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

“A universe without boundaries needs heroes without limits.”

Directed by Luc Besson
Starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer

A paradisiacal world of blue-skinned, pearl-fishing humanoids is destroyed by a rain of destroyed spaceships, but their princess is able to send a telepathic message which reaches Valerian (DeHaan), a happy-go-lucky agent of the United Human Federation with serious boundary issues, as seen in his relationship with his professional partner Laureline (Delevingne). He also appears to have some concentration problems, blowing an undercover op when two of the blue people show up while he is retrieving a Mul converter – an organism which replicates matter, and was native to the planet he dreamed he saw destroyed – from a black market trader.

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Justice League (2017)

Yeah, spoilers; Superman is back.

“Unite the League”

Directed by Zack Snyder (and Joss Whedon)
Starring Gal Gadot, Ben Afflex, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill and Ciaran Hinds

In the wake of Superman’s death, the world is going a bit crazy. Wonder Woman (Gadot) and Batman (Afflek) try to keep a lid on things, but when Steppenwolf (Hinds) shows up and steals an artefact called the Mother Box from the Amazons, it’s time to bring together the metahumans identified by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg): Arthur ‘Aquaman’ Curry (Momoa), Barry ‘The Flash’ Allen (Miller), and Victor ‘Cyborg’ Stone (Fisher).

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Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

“For one world to live, the other must die.”

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Santiago Cabrera and Peter Cullen

In the wayback, King Arthur and his knights triumph over the Saxon hordes when the ‘wizard’ Merlin (Stanley Tucci) brings a group of twelve Autobots to join them in the form of King Gidhora.

Yep. That just happened.

Centuries later, Optimus Prime (Cullen) is drawn back to Cybertron, where his mission to destroy his creator is interrupted as Quintessa (Gemma Chan), self-styled ‘goddess of life’, delivers the bitch-slap of obedience and tasks Prime to retrieve her staff of power, given to Merlin long ago.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

Looking at MCU sequel posters past, I’m super-glad that Gamora isn’t leaning against Quill.

“Anyone can save the galaxy once.”

Directed by James Gunn
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell and David Hasselhoff

As always, the following review will not be spoiler free.

After an introduction set in 1980, introducing us to Peter’s mother and father (Russell) in happier times, celebrating their love and introducing alien species to an unprepared ecosystem, we flash forward to the Guardians doing a job for the Sovereign, a gold-skinned race of genetically engineered superbeings, in return for Gamora’s (Saldana) sister Nebula (Gillan). When Rocket (Cooper) angers the Sovereign, however, their High Priestess (Debicki) first sends ships after the Guardians, then hires Yondu (Rooker) and his Ravagers to pursue them.

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Rebourne: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Directed by Rupert Sanders
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, Juliette Binoche and ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano

The Original

“That’s what I do. I jump off things and disappear.”

Major Motoko Kusanagi, a human brain in a robot body (the ‘shell’ which holds her psyche/soul/’ghost’) pursues cyberpunk criminals in a cyberpunk world. I’ll be honest, this is about all I know except a) she has an active camouflage system in her robot skin and b) jumps off high roofs while looking into the camera. I will try to watch the anime (the actual original is a manga comic, originally titled ‘Mobile Armoured Riot Police’,) and maybe even Stand Alone Complex and the new movie (imaginatively entitled ‘The New Movie’.)

The Remake

Right…

What we’re looking at here is of course the US remake starring Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian, a woman whose refugee boat was blown up by terrorists, leaving her brain to be implanted in a robot body by not-even-slightly-dodgy corporate giants Hanka Robotics so that she can fight crime.

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Rebourne: Power Rangers (2017)

This understated early poster is pretty cool.

“It’s Morphin’ Time”

Directed by Dean Israelite
Starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks

The Original

After astronauts on the Moon open a space dumpster and release the space witch Rita Repulsa, space wizard Zordon and his irritating robot sidekick recruit five ‘teenagers with attitude’ to become the Power Rangers and battle Rita, launching a multi-series franchise which worked by revamping many largely unconnected Japanese super sentai series through a mix of voice dubbing and new footage for the Western market.

Spandex!

The Reboot

On primeval Earth, a team of armoured, alien warriors led by Zordon (Cranston) are killed battling an enemy named Rita (Banks), but drop a rock on her before she can seize the crystal she was pursuing. Millennia after, the town of Angel Grove has grown up over the site. High school football star Jason Scott (Montgomery) wrecks his future by sneaking a cow into a rival school’s locker room then crashing his car while fleeing police. He winds up in long-term detention with disgraced cheerleader Kimberley Hart (Scott) and autistic tinkerer Billy Cranston (Cyler), and the three of them end up at the town’s gold mine at the same time as the rebellious Trini (G) and reckless Zack (Lin) when Billy unearths a wall of volcanic glass from which they remove five medallions which quickly prove to have mysterious powers.

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Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Tale as old as time…

“The Most Beautiful Love Story Ever Told”

Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Starring Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Jerry Orbach, Jo Anne Worley, Bradley Michael Pierce, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury

A spoiled prince disrespects a beggar woman, who reveals herself as a beautiful enchantress pulling shenanigans and turns him into a Beast, so to remain unless he can find and share true love before his twenty-first year. Ten years later, in a nearby provincial town that is entirely ignorant of the existence of said prince, his family and his castle, we meet Belle (O’Hara), a high-minded, intellectual dreamer who isn’t like all the other girls. She is pursued by local bravo Gaston (White), but uninterested in a life in the village, remaining largely to protect her ageing and eccentric father, Maurice (Everhart).

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Blast from the Past: xXx (2002)

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“A New Breed of Secret Agent”

Directed by Rob Cohen
Starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, Marton Csokas and Michael Roof

After an NSA agent is killed while trying to James Bond his way through a Rammstein gig in pursuit of Russian ex-military crime syndicate Anarchy 99, maverick senior agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) is given carte blanche to recruit and deploy an asset drawn from the criminal world, without the tells of a professional agent or ex-soldier. Of those chosen, the only one to pass all of Gibbons’ tests is extreme sports athlete and political pre-YouTube video prankster Xander Cage (Diesel).

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Logan (2017)

“His Time Has Come”

Directed by James Mangold
Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen

As always, there will be spoilers in this review.

In the not-too-distant future, Logan (Jackman) is living on the (unwalled) Texas/Mexico border, working as a limo driver in order to support Charles Xavier (Stewart), who now suffers from an unspecified degenerative brain condition that causes him to suffer seizures with terrible effects on those around him. The mutant tracker Caliban (Merchant) acts as Charles’s nurse and struggles to be a conscience to Logan in a world where most mutants have been exterminated. This arrangement is upset when a nurse named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) finds Logan and asks him to transport her and a young girl, Laura (Keen) to Dakota.

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John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

johnwicksmall

“Never Stab the Devil in the Back”

Directed by Chad Stahelski
Starring Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane

After the brutal events of John Wick, our titular antihero (Reeves) slaughters a taxi garage full of mob enforcers to retrieve his car, shares a drink with the brother (Peter Stormare) of our previous antagonist and heads home to bury his past once again. Unfortunately, now that he has resurfaced he is not to be allowed to go back out.

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