(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: why the failure of Valerian the City of a Thousand Planets allows it to join the club of overlooked space fantasy that already includes the magnificent Jupiter Ascending.)
I saw Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets last week in a practically empty theater, and I left with a smile on my face. Once again Luc Besson gave us a fully immersive, beautiful universe, a romantic fantasy quest in an extraterrestrial setting, with a powerful message similar to that of The Fifth Element: Love conquers all. Inspired by the French comic books by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières, Luc Besson took us on a welcome journey to somewhere colorful and hopeful, welcome in a year filled with darker sci-fi tales like Life and Alien: Covenant. And yet, no one saw Valerian. It is destined to join the ranks of movies that we discuss for their financial failures instead of their successes.
One close cousin to Valerian is the Wachowski’s delightful 2015 space opera, Jupiter Ascending. Perhaps the reason I so enjoyed Valerian was because I also happen to be a part of another small group that adored this visionary take on a space fairy tale starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum. Admittedly, my love for Jupiter Ascending was a bit of a slow burn. It wasn’t until I went to bed the night after watching it that I realized how wonderful it really was. The more times I watched it, the more my love grew. It’s the kind of movie that I imagine watching with my future children and yet, I rarely ever get to talk to people who actually went to see it or have bothered to rent it. However when I do find someone who is part of this club, we have conversations built of pure joy and enthusiasm.
Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The 2016 Razzie nominations are here and, as always, they’re patently ridiculous and squander a fun premise so they can pick on obvious and occasionally undeserving targets while ignoring the movies that actually deserve your scorn.
But let’s back up for a moment. The 2016 “Golden Raspberry” nominations, which “celebrate” the worst movies of the year and act as a sort of anti-Oscars, have been revealed. 50 Shades of Grey, Pixels, and Fantastic Four lead the pack. You can check out the full list of nominees below.
Read More »
A large majority of movie posters are forgettable. Most simply use Photoshop to slap some characters together, combine them with some action setpieces, slap on a title and credits, and print them to be displayed at the movie theater. But every now and then some movie posters actually catch our attention, and some of them are actually worthy of being called art. And we’d like to call attention to some of our favorite movie posters of the year by counting down the 20 Best Movie Posters of 2015. Check them out below! Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 by Angie Han
It doesn’t matter how many resolutions I make: the next New Year always arrives before I’m ready to close the book on the previous year’s movies. There are too many movies I still haven’t seen (maybe next year, Paddington), or movies that probably deserve a rewatch (sorry, Carol), or movies I’m still not quite sure how to process (yeah, I’m still mulling over The Hateful Eight). But we’ve gotta wrap up 2015 sometime, and the first week of 2016 seems as good a point as any to stop and look back.
As always, I’d like to stress that these are not the “best” films of the year. They’re simply my favorites — the films that made me just a little bit happier, a little bit smarter, a little bit better at being a person in this weird wide world. After the jump, join me in counting down my top 10 movies of 2015. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 by Angie Han
Come Thursday, many of us, like many of you, will find ourselves around a dinner table with our distant relatives, reflecting on what we’re grateful for in our lives. But before we get to that, we thought we’d take a moment to think about the films we’re thankful for this year.
This isn’t a list of our favorite films of the year, or the best films of the year (though some of them are that, too). These are the films that surprised us, that gave us something we didn’t even know we needed, that seemingly willed themselves into being against all odds, or that just made us really, really happy. After the jump, join us in looking back at the movies to be thankful for in 2015, and then hit the comments to let us know which films you’re grateful for.
Read More »
After all the excitement surrounding Andy & Lana Wachowski getting another chance at crafting original sci-fi, it was such a disappointment to see what Jupiter Ascending turned out to be. It’s one of those beautiful, mind-blowing disasters like Super Mario Bros. or Battlefield Earth. And while it’s full of stunning imagery and wild characters, none of it makes any damn sense. In fact, the movie is so ridiculous, that the folks at Honest Trailers were begged to skewer this sci-fi debacle, and they don’t pull any punches.
Watch the Jupiter Ascending Honest Trailer after the jump. Read More »
If you haven’t been to the movies much this year, you aren’t alone. So far, Hollywood’s 2015 offerings have been pretty lackluster. Kingsman: The Secret Service and Paddington are rare exceptions amiss a slew of big budget movies that have either been terrible, or that just underperformed terribly. Some examples are Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son, Strange Magic, Blackhat, Mortdecai and Focus.
But it this different than usual? January and February are traditionally two of the weakest months both in terms of box office and critical acclaim. Well, it turns out this year has been historically bad. Pajiba lined up the domestic grosses of the January and February releases, juxtaposed with their rumored budgets, to figure out how much money Hollywood has lost this year. And it’s a lot. Read more about the 2015 box office bombs below. Read More »
Jupiter Ascending, from Andy and Lana Wachowski, has moments of incredible technical brilliance, flashes of good character comedy, and some wild leaps of imagination. It also features more than a few things that left us wondering what the hell was going on with the Wachowskis. Some of these elements (not many, but some) were things we liked. Still, the effect of having them all mashed together was to produce a sensation of being numbed and at times bewildered. And yet we can’t stop thinking about many of them, and we imagine you can’t either. So we’ve had fun exploring thirteen of the biggest Jupiter Ascending WTF moments in the film.
Full spoilers for Jupiter Ascending are ahead, so be warned. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
David, Devindra, and Jeff praise Ryan Reynolds in The Voices, get thankful for Fresh Off The Boat, and react in real-time to the news of Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Be sure to read Jeff Yang’s piece about Fresh Off The Boat.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
Read More »
Jupiter Ascending, the latest sci-fi epic from The Wachowskis, hit theaters this weekend and didn’t do too well. It grossed around $19 million over its opening weekend, which is about what Speed Racer did in 2008. Both film had big budgets and expectations but will ultimately be considered box office failures.
That’s unfortunate because both movies are visual marvels. Whether you think Jupiter Ascending is brilliant or boring, there’s little denying the costumes, props, sets and production design are pretty masterful. They’re a beautiful amalgamation of ideas from sci-fi, fantasy, anime, manga, video games and more, filtered through the visionary eye of the Wachowskis.
Of course, it’s not like Lana and Larry sit around designing all this stuff. They hire talented designers, concept artists and so many others to visualize their ideas, which they then approve or discard. Now, we’ve got our hands on a whole slew of Jupiter Ascending concept art that gives a great look at a bunch of the tech in the film, as well as some hints that Channing Tatum’s backstory might have played a larger part in the movie. See the Jupiter Ascending concept art below. Read More »