So I’ve been bad about writing reviews this month. Because summer and shit. You know how it goes. Eating too much barbecue, doing things outside, occasionally getting super depressed thinking about how the inevitable heat death of the universe is coming for us all. The usual stuff. And hey! I managed to tackle Spider-Man: Homecoming, so that’s an accomplishment. But I still have drafts sitting open for Baby Driver, War for the Planet of the Apes, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets that, let’s be honest, I’m not going to finish. So I figured, screw it, let’s just drop a quick review for each into a single post. That way, we can get caught up!
Baby Driver (A)
If you love Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), then you need to see Baby Driver. Picture a heist film like Reservoir Dogs, but with Wright’s signature snappy editing, car chases that make The Fast & The Furious look like child’s play, and a genre-transcendent soundtrack full of songs like “Harlem Shuffle,” “Debra,” and “Smokey Joe’s La La.” Did I mention the cast includes Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx? An odd but interesting mix, right? My only complaint is that I felt like the plot was more the central focus of the film than Baby (Ansel Elgort) or the other characters (whom we know very little about). It works, but a little more depth would’ve been nice, especially for a nearly two-hour runtime.
Listen to my review of Baby Driver on “Pat & JT in the Morning” here (at 21:50).
War for the Planet of the Apes (B+)
I was a little disappointed in the third Planet of the Apes prequel. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was spectacular. The humans and the apes were fighting one another while also fighting amongst themselves (Come to think of it, that movie should’ve been called War, and this should’ve been Dawn). War for the Planet of the Apes, however, was a straight-up revenge film with Caesar (mo-capped by the amazing Andy Serkis) tracking down The Colonel (a delightfully insane Woody Harrelson), who killed his family and kidnapped the other apes in his society. As always, the visual effects and cinematography were solid, but the story just didn’t have as much weight as the previous film. Also, Michael Giacchino’s score was throwing off the tone in several scenes (like the beach ride scene, which was waaaaay more intense in the trailer).
Listen to my review of War for the Planet of the Apes on “Pat & JT in the Morning” here (at 19:16).
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (B)
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is batshit crazy in the most Luc Besson kind of way. Do you remember Besson’s The Fifth Element? Well, that movie was influenced by Valerian and Laureline, the comics that this movie is based on, so you’ll get some of the same things you loved (or hated) about that movie. Funky costumes and weapons. Tons of cool alien species. A bomb countdown that stops at 00:01. An alien theatrical performance of sorts (Rihanna, who steals the show for the little screentime she has). If you can look past the weird sex politics talk that sounds like it’s straight out of the ’90s, or how Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) have no chemistry, or how DeHaan seems like he took voice lessons from Keanu Reeves, then it’s a blast. Be sure to see it in 3D if you do because, holy shit, this movie is trippier than Avatar. And with a $225 million budget, it damn well better be.
Listen to my review of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets here (at 7:43).