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Cara Delevingne Admits To Directing Ambitions


Cara Delevingne Luc Besson

As she prepares for her latest cinematic outing, the long-awaited sci-fi epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, actress and model Cara Delevingne has spoken about her ambitions to be a director in the future and how Luc Besson has sparked inspiration within her.

Luc Besson with Cara Delevingne at CinemaCon 2017Luc Besson with Cara Delevingne at CinemaCon 2017

The British actress, 24, was speaking at CinemaCon in Las Vegas alongside the movie’s director, Luc Besson, and admitted that her experience of playing Laureline, opposite main star Dane DeHaan’s titular character of Valerian, plus the experience of being on-set with Leon and Nikita director Besson, had inspired her to get behind the camera herself.

Continue reading: Cara Delevingne Admits To Directing Ambitions

Reviews: Scarlett Johansson Saves Luc Besson's Messy "Lucy"


Scarlett Johansson Luc Besson

Let’s talk about Lucy. Luc Besson’s latest sci-fi/action/horror/mess has so far been described as anything from unscientific to outlandish to downright laughable. So far critics have decried the plot, interspersed with gratuitous stock footage of hunting cheetahs (no, really) as a “frantic exercise in pseudoscience and goofball metaphysics” (The Chicago Reader). Still, even its worst critics admit that Lucy has its strong points – Scarlett Johansson’s performance being the strongest. Based mostly on her acting, The Telegraph's review goes as far as to call Lucy "the blockbuster of the summer."

Scarlett Johansson
If nothing else, Lucy is worth seeing for Scarlett Johansson alone.

According to Den of Geek’s Ryan Lambie, Johansson is “the magnet which holds Besson’s bonkers storyline together. The genre elements may scratch up against one another or sometimes collapse entirely, but Johansson remains a relateable, likeable lead, even when her character does things that go against the grain of a leading lady somewhat.”

Continue reading: Reviews: Scarlett Johansson Saves Luc Besson's Messy "Lucy"

A Week In Movies: Guardians Holds Two Premieres, Plus First Glimpses Of Fifty Shades, The Imitation Game And Mad Max: Fury Road


Chris Pratt Zoe Saldana Vin Diesel Scarlett Johansson Luc Besson Chadwick Boseman Donald Sutherland Benedict Cumberbatch Keira Knightley Dakota Johnson Jamie Dornan Tom Hardy Charlize Theron

Guardians of the Galaxy

In the wake of especially strong buzz from critics who have seen the film, the cast of  assembled for their world premiere in Los Angeles this week, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Glenn Close, Karen Gillan and Michael Rooker. They then dashed across to London for a Leicester Square premiere, where they were joined by Disney/Marvel colleagues Mark Hamill and Chris Hemsworth, plus Diesel's Fast & Furious costar Elsa Pataky. The film opens next week. Browse through our gallery of the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy - Los Angeles, California, USA. We also have some shots of celebrities at the 'Guardians of Galaxy' premiere in London.

Luc Besson's new action romp Lucy opens today in the US and next month in the UK. In a new short feature, Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman give a backstage look at working with Besson on the movie, including glimpses of the crew filming elaborate action scenes. The clip ends with a brief trailer for the finished film. Watch 'Lucy - Luc Besson' Featurette.

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Guardians Holds Two Premieres, Plus First Glimpses Of Fifty Shades, The Imitation Game And Mad Max: Fury Road

What The Critics Are Saying About Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy'


Scarlett Johansson Morgan Freeman Luc Besson Amr Waked Choi Min-sik

Early reviews of Scarlett Johansson’s new movie Lucy are piling up ahead of its theatrical release, and it’s looking like the film is an entertaining, if mixed, bag.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson plays the lead in forthcoming thriller Lucy

Directed by Luc Besson, Johansson plays Lucy, a woman living in Taipei and forced to work for drug gangs as a mule. After the drugs she is carrying absorb themselves into her body, her brain begins to use more than the normal 10% of its capacity and becomes close to superhuman.

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'Prisoners' Steals Away The Top Spot At Slow Weekend Box Office


Hugh Jackman Jake Gyllenhaal James Wan Chris Brown Luc Besson

Prisoners successful rode the wave of critical acclaim thrust it's way to emerge as the top performing movie at the box office this weekend. Taking in £21.4 million between Friday and Sunday, the film easily beat it's closest rival, the horror sequel Insidious 2, to the top spot, in what was one of the slowest weekends at the movies all year.

Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal
Hugh Jackman (L) and Jake Gyllenhaal (R) star in the kidnap thriller

The Warner Bros. action-drama opened across 3,260 locations this weekend, and off the back of strong critical reception and with little else on offer, the film was always front-runner for the box office crown. With a strong cast led by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, the films see's father Keller Dover (Jackman) as his world is torn apart when his six-year-old daughter and her friend go missing at Thanksgiving. When Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) is called in to find the girls, he makes a promise to Keller that he will see his daughter again. The case looks solved when the RV-dwelling loner Alex Jones (Paul Dano) is found at the scene and immediately becomes the prime suspect. But with only a 48 hour hold on him, the police are unable to make Jones talk in time before he can be re-released. Enraged, Keller decides to take matters into his own hands and it is soon up to Loki to get to the bottom of the case before it's too late for the missing girls, and too late for Keller and Jones.

Continue reading: 'Prisoners' Steals Away The Top Spot At Slow Weekend Box Office

I Will Find You, And I Will Give You $20 Million: Liam Neeson Will Get Massive Pay Cheque For Taken 3


Liam Neeson Maggie Grace Luc Besson

Many people must have left the cinema having seen the first Taken and thought; "that was great, I can't see any sequels coming out of it though." Well how wrong you were because not only did they manage to milk a sequel out of it but they've also managed to turn the kidnap thriller into a whole trilogy, and one time renowned thespian Liam Neeson will be around for the full trio of films.

Deadline reported on Monday (June 24) that the Irishman was closing in on a whopping $20 million deal to reprise his role as retired CIA man Bryan Mills for a third time, with production on the film expected to begin in February next year. Neeson was initially reluctant to take on the role of Mills for a second time, but a massive $15 million offer proved too good to turn down and now to entice him for another film EuropaCorp - the production team behind the first team - are looking to bump up his pay cheque once again.

Once Neeson is on board, the film company will look to strike up deals with co-stars Maggie Grace, who played his kidnapped daughter in the first film and his rescuer in the second, and Famke Janssen, who played his ex-wife. Neeson is the top priority for the filmmakers though, because no Liam Neeson equals no Taken. No word on who will direct yet, although Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, who wrote the first two films together, are currently working on the script. Taken 2 director Olivier Megaton looks the most likely appointment to direct.

Continue reading: I Will Find You, And I Will Give You $20 Million: Liam Neeson Will Get Massive Pay Cheque For Taken 3

Taken 2 Review


Weak

There wasn't really anywhere for the story to go after 2008's surprise hit Taken, and this movie quickly proves that. Not only does it have that same appalling moral vacuum at the centre (it doesn't matter how many irrelevant people you torture and kill to rescue your loved one), but the plot becomes increasingly absurd as it progresses. So the only genuine response is weary laughter.

The action picks up shortly after Bryan (Neeson) has recovered from his ordeal in Paris. His daughter Kim (Grace) seems to have forgotten it completely, and soon she and her mother Lenore (Janssen), Bryan's ex, jet off to Istanbul to join him after he finishes a business meeting. But they don't know that the family of the Albanian thugs Bryan killed in France have followed him to Turkey intent on vengeance. They soon grab Bryan and Lenore, so Bryan calls Kim on a secret mobile device and coaches her on how to rescue them. Of course, it gets increasingly messy as the hours tick by.

Perfectly named director Megaton (Colombiana) never bothers to make any sense out of the story, merely charging into each scene with guns blazing and grenades exploding, while suggesting that only unshaven Albanian-looking men get killed in the process. Well, all of them, to be exact. He also delights in presenting shameless stereotypes of Muslims who take their run-down lifestyle with them wherever they go. Meanwhile, the Yanks are efficient and unruffled, speaking in cliched slogans. Neeson sleepwalks through the film, shifting into action mode or hitting the dramatic notes where necessary. Jansson is actually asleep (or unconscious) most of the time. While Grace has the most fun in a series of insane action set-pieces.

Continue reading: Taken 2 Review

Box Office No.1 Expected To Be ‘Taken’ By Action Sequel


Liam Neeson Famke Janssen Luc Besson Tim Burton Adam Sandler

Taken 2 is expected to shove aside all it's competitors at the Box Office when the kidnapping sequel hits cinemas over the weekend, with pre-release audience surveys suggesting that the action flick could take up to $45-50 million.

Liam Neeson returns to his role as a former CIA operative with a knack for kicking ass and taking names, only this time round it is Neeson's Bryan Mill character and his on-screen wife (played by Famke Janssen) who are taken hostage. The sequel was co-financed by Fox and writer/director/producer Luc Besson's Europa Corp for about $45 million, a sizeable increase compared to the last instalment. Still, if these estimates are anything to go by then the investment will be more than worth it.


The only major competition for Taken 2 comes in the form of two animated films, the Tim Burton's remake of Frankenweenie (a live-action short that Burton made in the early 80's) and the Adam Sandler starring Hotel Transylvania. Whilst Taken 2 will presumably take care of the adult audiences, it is up to the two spooky animations to do battle for the attention of the younger audiences, with Frankenweenie predicted to just edge past it's rival.


Were The Critics Taken With Liam Neeson’s Taken 2?


Liam Neeson Luc Besson

Liam Neeson returns as CIA agent Brian Mills in Taken 2. He’s already confirmed to MTV that there won’t be a Taken 3, as he “couldn't envisage a storyline that would warrant a sequel” but was there really a need for Taken 2? The first movie, which he describes as “a wonderful little compact European thriller,” told the tale of Mills attempting to rescue his daughter, who had been kidnapped.

Obviously, repeating that storyline would have been a little tiresome, so the writer / producer Luc Besson turned the tale on its head and this time around, it’s Mills himself who gets kidnapped. According to Neeson’s interview with The Guardian, Besson “propositioned a couple of ideas and came back with this scenario and I remember thinking ‘yeah, this could maybe work. It’s rooted in something real, you know?” Describing the premise of the Taken movies, Neeson explains “it’s a guy trying to be a father, albeit an overprotective one… 100% of his energy goes into that; suddenly he’s taken into the field.”

Unfortunately for Neeson and Besson, movie critics have not agreed with the need for another Taken movie. Time Out’s Tom Huddleston said “A cynical, contemptuous film whose sole reason for existing appears to be to squeeze the pockets of anyone who enjoyed the first movie. Don't give it the satisfaction.” Empire magazine agreed, saying “The first one offered the novel sight of Oskar Schindler going Commando. Unfortunately, this half-hearted sequel is low on novelty and lower on fun.”


The Source Review


Very Good
Strikingly well-made on a big scale, this film takes on some important issues without ever preaching at us. Instead, the filmmakers remain rooted in the vivid characters, which adds depth to the involving story and the pointed message.

Leila (Bekhti) is an outsider in her village, married to the suspiciously intelligent schoolteacher Sami (Bakri). And when she speaks out about the injustice, and danger, of women scaling a treacherous path every day to get water, everyone tells her to remain quiet. Eventually, she manages to convince the women to go on a "love strike", withholding sex until their husbands stop sitting around and get water piped into the village.

Continue reading: The Source Review

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec Review


Excellent
Lively and raucously entertaining, this female Indiana Jones romp makes little sense but keeps us engaged due to its sparky characters and a bit of deranged subtext. And writer-director Besson clearly has fun adapting comic book imagery to the big screen.

In 1911 Paris, Adele (Bourgoin) is a novelist who travels the world in search of adventures to write about. Her latest quest takes her to Egypt, where she uncovers a Pharaoh's tomb and sneaks off with his physician's mummy, who she plans to resurrect with help from her mad-scientist friend Esperandieu (Nercessian), all in an attempt to cure her badly injured twin sister (de Clermont). But the doctor's experimentation has brought to life a hatchling pterodactyl, which is now menacing Paris. Apparently surrounded by incompetents, Adele will have to fix everything herself.

Continue reading: The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec Review

From Paris With Love Review


Good
From the gun-happy guys who brought us Taken, here's another slice of misogynistic, xenophobic mayhem from the City of Light. And like Taken, it's both utterly preposterous and annoyingly entertaining.

James (Rhys Meyers) is assistant to the American Ambassador to France (Durden) and is hoping to get involved in intelligence work. James' big break interrupts a romantic evening with his fiancee (Smutniak) as he's assigned to team up with notorious agent Charlie Wax (Travolta). The next 24 hours is a blur of bullets, bombs, cocaine, hookers and terrorists, while James just tries to keep up with Charlie's trail of carnage. And eventually he begins to see a method to Charlie's madness.

Continue reading: From Paris With Love Review

District 13: Ultimatum [banlieue 13: Ultimatum] Review


Very Good
Luc Besson and pals are back with another crazed action movie that, despite its ludicrous plotting, keeps us entertained with sheer energy and wit. And the central duo is turning into a pretty good movie team.

It's been three years since the super-fit cop Damien (Raffaelli) teamed up with the shady, athletic Leito (Belle) to bring the government to its knees.

Predictably, nothing has changed since then and in 2013, France's new president (Torreton) is convinced to take drastic actions against the violent thugs in District 13. Except that the whole scenario has been staged by the secret security service, led by the mysterious Gassman (Duval) and his top goon Roland (Mosconi), who try to do away with Damien and Leito (as if!), in order to enact their evil plan.

Continue reading: District 13: Ultimatum [banlieue 13: Ultimatum] Review

Taken Review


OK
Of all the men you would expect to tear through Europe to save his daughter, leaving a trail of dead like Jonestown in his wake, Liam Neeson would be relatively low on the list, coming in somewhere between Chevy Chase and Zero Mostel. Neeson has always been known for playing men of impassioned rhetoric, guys whose tongues are more powerful than their physical prowess. So, watching the man who played Alfred Kinsey, Jean Valjean, and Michael Collins take two large nails and slam them into a another man's thighs before connecting jumper cables to said nails might leave a viewer understandably flabbergasted.

This is just one of the actions taken by Bryan Mills (Neeson) when he receives a call from his daughter (Maggie Grace) as she is being kidnapped by Albanian sex-traffickers while on vacation in France. An ex-CIA man, Mills uses a few decades worth of weapons knowledge, intelligence training, and fighting styles to basically purge France of any and all Albanian abducters to find his sugarplum and return her to the loving arms of his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and her absurdly rich second husband (Xander Berkeley).

Continue reading: Taken Review

Transporter 3 Review


Weak
Remember the Star Trek films theory? You know, the argument that says every even-numbered entry (two, four, six, so on) in the series was great, while every odd numbered movie was mediocre to awful? Well, the Transporter franchise could soon take the place of everyone's favorite serious science fiction romp, except in this case, the conflicting criticisms would be "tolerable" and "oh no, not again." You'd figure that with this third journey into Jason Statham's six pack, we'd have something akin to a guilty pleasure. Instead, all we're offered is a director named "Olivier Megaton," and sadly, both his name and his effort is a dud.

After retiring to an isolated life in France, driver for hire Frank Martin (Statham) believes his transporting days are over. But when a man he suggested as a replacement literally winds up in his living room, expensive sports car and all, our sullen hero finds himself back behind the wheel. His mission this time around? Deliver a package to the Ukraine, in time to stop a high ranking government official from cancelling a contract with some American energy interests. Seems the U.S. wants to use the former Soviet Union as a toxic waste dumping ground, and a concerned cabinet minister wants no part of the deal. Of course, when a Western thug (Robert Knepper) kidnaps his daughter Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) and holds her hostage, it's up to Martin to step in and save the day.

Continue reading: Transporter 3 Review

Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Review


Excellent
Rare is the individual who can leave a mark on his chosen profession. In the case of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, there's an entire school of journalistic thought named after him. Architect of the now infamous "gonzo" style of reporting (taken from a random critical comment offered by a friend), the man who followed the Hell's Angels for a year, struggled to see the America Dream in seedy Las Vegas, and hit the campaign trail in '72 to discover more "fear and loathing," remains an icon to an entire generation. Disaffected and constantly cantankerous, there was nothing predictable about the artist also known as Raoul Duke. Even his abrupt death by a self inflicted gunshot wound in 2005 seemed shockingly apropos.

Along with the more personal documentary Breakfast with Hunter, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson stands as a seminal work of talking head biography. It tracks down many of the important people in the Kentucky-born bad boy's life, and lets them wax poetic and profound for almost two hours. Within the reminiscences we learn of his initial love of writing, his time as part of the notorious outlaw motorcycle gang, his experiences with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, a run for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, his eyewitness account of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and his various run-ins and affiliations with members of both the counterculture and Establishment.

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Hitman Review


Bad
Gamers typically get all gooey when supposed console-less critics nitpick the big screen adaptation of their favorite platform title. It's part and parcel of the joystick jockey's mantle. Hitman, based on the popular series from Eidos Interactive, is the latest attempt to bring the PlayStation to the Cineplex. Begun in 2000, and with four gaming titles under its belt, players act as a hired assassin, working their way through various levels of intrigue and crazy, chaotic firefights. The purpose, clearly, is to slaughter everyone who's in your way. It's all bloodlust and cloying cat and mouse. Sadly, someone forgot to tell screenwriter Skip Woods about this. Instead, he's crafted something that plays like John Woo drained of all his slo-mo energy and drive. Even worse, it's then turned over to a director who further weakens the material's inherent excessiveness.

For three years, a top Interpol agent (Dougray Scott) has been chasing an elusive, unknown assassin. When a Russian politician is murdered, the cop clearly suspects that Number 47 (Timothy Olyphant) has struck again. The paid killer is informed that a prostitute named Nika (Olga Kurylenko) witnessed the crime. He is ordered to take her out. Of course, it's all a setup. Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen), the supposedly dead candidate, shows up for a speech, and the Russian Intelligence community is out rattling 47's cage. Our antihero saves Nika from a bullet, travels to Istanbul to interrogate Belicoff's drug running brother Udre (Henry Ian Cusik) and returns to the scene of the initial shooting to discover why he was framed. Turns out, it has more to do with one man's paranoia and ambitions than a simple contract hit -- and 47 is destined to play a part in it all.

Continue reading: Hitman Review

District B13 Review


Weak
You've got to hand it to Luc Besson: The guy knows how the system works. After creating one of the best crime films of the '90s (1994's The Professional), Besson started working on scripts and producing, while also directing the exhaustingly stylistic The Fifth Element. Besson makes most of his money these days by writing and producing action flicks that often specialize in stunts and kung fu. At last we left him, he was pairing an aerobatic Jet Li with a piano-playing Morgan Freeman in Unleashed. Now, he goes back to his native France for the futuristic action flick District B13.

Leito (David Belle) has just stolen a mighty big amount of coke from Taha (Bibi Naceri) and is in the middle of disposing of it when he hears gunshots. It's Taha's trusty henchman, K2 (Tony D'Amario), dismissing Leito's bodyguards. Leito escapes his certain fate in the first of many acts of gymnastic fighting and running. In retaliation, Taha kidnaps Lola, Leito's little sister, and gets the cops to take in Leito. Six months later, Leito is released by undercover cop Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) to save District B13 when Taha stumbles on a test bomb that could wipe out everything in an 8km radius of where it lands. Together, they strike out to get the bomb and save Lola with their necks intact.

Continue reading: District B13 Review

Bandidas Review


Bad
In the history of really silly wigs, Dwight Yoakam's long, crimped black hair in Bandidas has gone and snuck its way into the top ten. It's part of the silliness of the film that stops it from being a truly terrible movie. That being said, there's no other compliments I can ratchet out for this sucker.

It's the old west and things aren't well. Tyler Jackson (Yoakam) has used a six-shooter to take over much of the land in Mexico, and wants to use all of this to make connections and money through big time land developers. He makes a mistake when he shoots the father of Maria (Penélope Cruz) and poisons the wealthy father of Sara (Selma Hayek). After some squabbling over class, they decide to pair up as bank robbers and steal all of Jackson's money, getting tips from retired bank robber Bill Buck (Sam Shepard, why?). They eventually pair with a forensic psychologist (Steve Zahn) who starts falling for both the girls as they plan to breach Jackson's big vault.

Continue reading: Bandidas Review

Crimson Rivers 2: Angels Of The Apocalypse Review


Weak
There aren't many French movies that you can rightly consider as guilty pleasures, but the original Crimson Rivers, a baffling yet highly entertaining thriller that has become a cult favorite. Wish I could say as much of the sequel, which is pretty much nonsense from the first frame, as our mismatched cop heroes (Jean Reno and some other guy -- a new partner) investigate strange goings on inside a remote abbey. Before the end the mystery will entwine Nazis, amphetamine addicts, creepy dudes in robes, and, uh, the Maginot Line. Nudge me if you get it.

Continue reading: Crimson Rivers 2: Angels Of The Apocalypse Review

The Transporter 2 Review


Weak
Michael Bay, the reigning champ of crappy action films, once said, "I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime." So it is with The Transporter 2, an inoffensive, over-the-top action flick composed of wild car chases and staggering improbabilities that are sure to delight 13-year-old boys everywhere -- and no one else.

The reason for this is simple. Unlike the rest of us, 13-year-old boys haven't yet developed an immunity to mindless spectacle. They haven't been around long enough to realize it's their job as moviegoers to cluck and fuss every time a director tries to pull one over on the audience. Instead of feeling cheated when implausible scenarios pile up and ridiculous actions beget even more ridiculous reactions, 13-year-old boys hoot in approval. The explosions, the fights, the hot chicks, that's enough for them. It's a good thing, too, because that's all The Transporter 2 has.

Continue reading: The Transporter 2 Review

Wasabi Review


OK
Luc Besson regular Jean Reno heads to Japan to reunite with his French-Japanese daughter as he investigates the death of her mother (an old girlfriend). It all ends up rather silly, as bullets and bad guys fly across the screen, and even Reno's natural charm gets shoved under Gérard Krawczyk's attempt to craft a clever cross-cultural action thriller (Beverly Hills Cop goes to Tokyo). Doesn't quite make it.

The Truth About Charlie Review


Bad
It's possible to pinpoint the exact scene where the wheels come off director Jonathan Demme's rickety, pointless remake of the 1963 Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn thriller Charade, where the whole ride comes to a screeching halt. Following an ill-timed hit-and-run accident that eliminates a crucial character, a hubcap actually rolls down the street and stops by Thandie Newton's noggin. Subliminal? I think not.

We may never know the truth about Charlie. Demme fills his European vacation with endless lies fed to us by self-serving criminals. The result circles endlessly around a thin mystery that the director punches up with inspired visual tricks, though logic would have been preferred.

Continue reading: The Truth About Charlie Review

Unleashed Review


Very Good
There is nothing that happens in Unleashed that cannot more or less be surmised from the film's trailer, yet the entertainment value of the film's 100 minutes is scarcely diminished. It is a high concept, yes (Jet Li as human attack dog), but Unleashed turns the simplicity and single-mindedness of such a concept into an asset; it is lean, exciting, and sweet, too, rivaling the better Jackie Chan pictures (both stateside and abroad).

It's about time; Jet Li has not had much luck in his American movies. He functioned all too easily as a simple variable in the formulas that were Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave; he was the innocent, honorable, kung fu master, mostly at the service of rappers. But his damaged character in Unleashed provides workable context for both Li's boyish reserve and his furious fists.

Continue reading: Unleashed Review

The Big Blue Review


Good
No wonder audiences didn't connect with this film, an early Luc Besson-Jean Reno collaboration that explores the mysterious world of deep deep diving. Oddly, The Big Blue is somehow a love story as well, with Rosanna Arquette and Jean-Marc Barr making goo-goo eyes between his deep dives and swims with the dolphins. The Reno-Barr rivalry (who can dive deeper) consitutes the bulk of the film, as well as its most dramatic moments, but the strange dolphin symbolism, blue-tinted photography, and self-important chest-beating will likely leave most viewers out to sea.

Continue reading: The Big Blue Review

The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc Review


OK
Milla J., stick to the singing career.

Luc Besson, imaginative mind behind such notable works of art such as The Professional, La Femme Nikita, and The Big Blue, has created such a memorable mess of things with his newest release, The Messenger. A car crash of a movie headed straight for the Days of Heaven territory.

Continue reading: The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc Review

Taxi Review


Good
Meet Belle (Queen Latifah), a classic New York loudmouth with a hunky boyfriend and a dead-end job. By day, she works as a bike messenger, hustling from destination to destination, utilizing garbage truck roofs and crowded department store floors as shortcuts. By night, she spends her time skipping out on dates and transforming her Crown Victoria into supercharged yellow taxicab. After all, if she's going to drive at NASCAR someday, she will need a lot of practice, and if she can win the title as the Big Apple's fastest taxi driver, it might help her chances.

Now, meet Andy Washburn (Jimmy Fallon), a bumbling misfit of a New York City police officer. He screws up nearly every case his lieutenant -- who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend -- throws at him. Most recently, he blew an undercover assignment by getting his partner shot in the arm just before crashing the police car into a street market. His driver's license has been revoked (not that he could ever drive), and now might fight the streets of New York on foot.

Continue reading: Taxi Review

Léon (The Professional) Review


Essential
It's ironic that the best films in cinema history are invariably the original director's cut of the film. Films such as Aliens, The Abyss, The Wild Bunch, Blade Runner, and Terminator 2 are all prime examples of a filmmaker's integrity, later chopped up or mucked with by the studio. The advent of the DVD format has provided a more accessible way to get these original cuts to the public and provide to film freaks like myself the ability to become further enraptured by the extension of such classic films.

The DVD release of the original international version of Luc Besson's 1995 masterpiece The Professional, which is known as Léon around the world, is a prime example of how a good film can become an instant classic as a director's cut. For years, I have heard of an "international" version available only in laserdisc format, which has eluded me for years. I even bought a laserdisc player from my uncle Don for 100 bucks just to watch certain directors' cuts - including Léon. But after countless searches in laserdisc stores, I could never find it. Until now.

Continue reading: Léon (The Professional) Review

Le Dernier Combat Review


Very Good
In the wake of 1982's post-apocalyptic powerhouse The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) theaters were glutted with cheap imitations. Anyone with access to a desert, some leather, beaten up cars and a few prop guns could make a post-apocalyptic film. Theatergoers thrilled by the prospects of seeing another Road Warrior were suckered into bottom-of-the-barrel rip-offs like Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone and Warrior of the Lost World. But most missed Luc Besson's (La Femme Nikita) 1983 take on post-apocalyptic life.

Operatic, furious, and unrelenting, The Road Warrior is nearly devoid of humanity. It is a vision of a world where the only escape from maddening chaos is blinding speed - moving as fast as possible along a road with no ending, no future. And The Road Warrior captures that nihilistic bent wholly. Le Dernier Combat approaches the same chaos - civilization reduced to rubble, humanity profaned - and suggests that the only way out is order, not escape. Besson sees the same world but with a fanciful eye. (While Le Dernier Combat was begun in color, it is Besson's stunning use of B&W Cinemascope that lends the film its polished, big-budget look. The style is "cinema du look," vogue in the '80s relying heavily on aesthetics over depth, consumer fetishism and "window shopping.")

Continue reading: Le Dernier Combat Review

La Femme Nikita Review


Good
Or just Nikita, as it was called before some guy at Samuel Goldwyn decided that they needed to make absolutely sure everybody knew the film was French and tacked-on that "La Femme." The film that made the career of Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Messenger) starts off on a Paris street as a quartet of jacked-up junkies, including Nikita (Anne Parillaud), stride over rain-slicked cobblestones towards the drugstore they're going to rob for their fix. After a shootout with the police, Nikita kills one of the cops in cold blood. Sentenced to death and supposedly executed, Nikita is instead secreted away into a government program where she's trained to become a secret agent.

For the greater part of her time in the program, Nikita acts like the addict-in-withdrawal that she is, ignoring her trainers and pulling a gun on her handler, the incongruously-named Bob (Tchéky Karyo). Then, threatened with a couple of weeks to get her act together, the antiauthoritarian punk becomes the perfect student. Before we know it, three years have passed and she's ready for her graduation present - an assassination mission at a restaurant that turns into a guns-blazing melee. Like the film's pulse-pounding beginning, it's an impressive bit of mayhem, mostly for the incongruous sight of Nikita, in her chic black cocktail dress, scurrying through a kitchen, blasting away with a massive handgun at thugs packing assault rifles and grenade launchers. But, whereas the opening scenes were shocking in their amoral ferocity, this shootout - including a scene where Nikita dives down a laundry chute to escape a blossoming fireball - shows Nikita to be just another action movie, with the usual tenuous-at-best grip on reality.

Continue reading: La Femme Nikita Review

Kiss Of The Dragon Review


Excellent
Wham, bam, thank you ma'am! Jet Li has finally returned to prime ass-kicking form in his latest kung fu extravaganza Kiss of the Dragon.

Jet Li -- one of the most popular stars in Asia rivaling Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat -- has had an impressive string of over 25 films under his belt in his two decades of kung fu prowess and strong acting turns. But after two dismal attempts at winning over American audiences with a small villain role in Lethal Weapon 4 and the horrendous Joel Silver monstrosity Romeo Must Die, it was looking pretty grim for this mighty warrior. So, Li read the e-mails from his fans, taking their compliments and complaints via his web site.

Continue reading: Kiss Of The Dragon Review

The Fifth Element Review


Weak
I have seen the future, and it is very French.

What can I say about The Fifth Element that you haven't probably heard already? Not much, but I will say that The Fifth Element is a mess -- a mess of grand proportions, full of dazzling colors, lights, explosions, outfits, and... hairstyles. Designer John-Paul Gaultier's involvement with Luc Besson's creation (the most expensive French production ever) is well-known, as is Milla Jovovich's role as Leeloo, supposedly the most perfect being (but I wouldn't have pegged her as being so flaky).

Continue reading: The Fifth Element Review

Nil By Mouth Review


Terrible
Categorically one of the worst films ever made, Gary Oldman's meditation on gritty urban drug-abusing/wife-beating life is never poignant or impressive, unless you consider jerky camerawork a sign of genius. The violence, foul language, and drug use all serve no purpose except to generate more violence, foul language, and drug use -- and that hardly merits a film. It just goes to show that if you get famous enough, you can do whatever you want. I just didn't know Oldman was this famous.

The Transporter Review


Good
With the goofiest title of the year so far - The Transporter is a prime example of pure and unadulterated popcorn trash cinema.

The plot of The Transporter never extends beyond the borders of a video game story. Basically, if you need something - or someone - transported from one place to another, you drop a call to Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin (Jason Statham) and his "tricked-out" BMW to deliver the goods. But, remember - before you hire Mr. Frank for one of your mysterious and sometimes dangerous tasks - you must remember his three golden rules.

Continue reading: The Transporter Review

Luc Besson

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Luc Besson

Date of birth

18th March, 1958

Occupation

Filmmaker

Sex

Male

Height

1.73


Luc Besson Movies

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets Trailer

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets Trailer

Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are partners. Skilled government agents whose job it...

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Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets Trailer

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets Trailer

For Luc Besson's latest foray into the sci-fi stratosphere, he has decided to bring the...

The Transporter Refuelled Movie Review

The Transporter Refuelled Movie Review

Like James Bond, wilfully anonymous driver Frank Martin is reborn as a new actor without...

Taken 3 Movie Review

Taken 3 Movie Review

As with the first two films in this dumb but bombastically watchable franchise, writers Luc...

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The Homesman Movie Review

The Homesman Movie Review

Strong characters and a vivid sense of life in frontier America give this film a...

Lucy Movie Review

Lucy Movie Review

Luc Besson gleefully combines two of his favourite movie elements - fit women and wildly...

Lucy - Luc Besson Featurette Trailer

Lucy - Luc Besson Featurette Trailer

The cast and crew of 'Lucy' - actors Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman and Amr Waked,...

3 Days to Kill Movie Review

3 Days to Kill Movie Review

French filmmaker Luc Besson continues to combine family themes with intense violence (see Taken), but...

Lucy Trailer

Lucy Trailer

Lucy was just a regular girl living in Taipei, Taiwan before she was brutally kidnapped...

The Family Movie Review

The Family Movie Review

Despite a promising trailer and a great cast, this French-American comedy-thriller is a complete misfire...

The Family Trailer

The Family Trailer

Giovanni Manzoni is a gangster boss who has been placed under witness protection by Agent...

Taken 2 Movie Review

Taken 2 Movie Review

There wasn't really anywhere for the story to go after 2008's surprise hit Taken, and...

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