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Blade Runner

Many science fiction stories focus around the idea of artificial intelligence, and then taking it a bl3step further by creating artificial humans. Well known and recent examples include the hosts in Westworld and the synths in Fallout 4 and Ava in Ex Machina. Inevitably questions arise as to whether these thinking machines could be- or are- as human as humans themselves. Of all the above listed examples, the Hollywood granddaddy of the cyberpunk sci-fi genre that captivated audiences for 30 years, could very well be considered the progenitor of all that has come since, Ridley Scott’’s Blade Runner.

Some movies are so revered by critics and fans that the very idea of sequels is unimaginable. But director Denis Villeneuve – and Harrison Ford- took the gamble and now we have Blade Runner 2049 (because round numbers are boring I suppose) (Also, why are the Replicant hunters called ‘’blade runners’’, does it just sound cool?).

SPOILERS (IT’S BLADE RUNNER, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?)

Replicant- an artificial human created by the Wallace Corporation as slave labour, expendable bl1soldiers and prostitutes. Replicants who go ‘’off the reservation’’ are hunted down by a Blade Runner, K (Ryan Gosling) and ‘’retired’’ (no benefits or ‘nuthin, you ingrates!). K tracks down one such Replicant Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) and kills him. On Morton’s farm K discovers a box containing the remains of a skeleton which he brings into the LAPD for analysis. There is revealed the bones belonged to a Replicant… who died in childbirth. The idea that a Replicant could procreate is unthinkable and K is ordered to kill the investigation and destroy all evidence because the discovery ‘’breaks the world’’.

K resolves to find the truth; he goes to the Wallace Corporation and meets Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) to compare notes on the Replicant, after K leaves, Luv informs her boss/creator Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and he wants the child found for study. K’s investigation brings him to question his own identity as he doubts if he truly is a Replicant after discovering a carved wooden horse, which he had only seen in what he thought was an implanted memory of his non-existent childhood. Confiding in Joi (Ana de Armas) who is his virtual girlfriend, a la Cortana meets Her , and together they go in search of the father of the Replicant child, none other than Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

If you were hoping this film would definitively answer the decades old question ‘’is Deckard a bl2Replicant?’’ well I can tell you, it also raises the question ‘’is K a Replicant?’’. The truth is left intentionally vague and I’m sure the internet will spent years debating and throwing out theories to explain and make sense of the mystery. After all, its part of the appeal of Blade Runner is obsessive fun of unravelling the plot. The film itself is long, its 2 hours and 40 minutes long! But it does draw you in and make you want to know and I wouldn’t go so far to call it boring. The action is sparse, which helps to preserve the drama for when a fight does break out and there’s a lot of world building going on in the background that informs the city of LA in 2049.

(Bet if K would found Deckard sooner if he enlisted the help of Nick Valentine).

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Scannánaíocht – Lá 1

On a glorious Thursday morning, the transition year students of Meanscoil Gharman flocked to 22070475_10154936652440222_1882839135_oroom 21, to begin the first session of our documentary activity with SETV.IE commissioned by Creative Ireland. The students had high hopes for this activity as we will be missing out on PE class for the 5 weeks in which the course will take place on, no pressure! As we entered the room, the first object we saw was a very sophisticated camera, which we later learned was worth a whopping €12,500.

We were then introduced to Colum, who was the director of SETV.IE. He gave a presentation and spoke to us about the different elements involved in producing a documentary. We learned that producing the end product which we all see on screen involves more than just recording footage and throwing it together. We also learned about the various roles that are needed to produce a documentary, leading us into a discussion on which role we would be interested in taking on, for our documentary.

I felt that this was a very informative session as the majority of the class had very little 22095437_10154936652500222_298427530_oinformation on this topic this presentation. I personally felt intrigued into the process of making a documentary and was looking forward to hearing more. After lunch, the students returned to room 21, for the afternoon section of the activity.

Róisín came into us from SETV.IE to speak to us about the importance of social media and marketing in today’s world. This session was slightly shorter than the earlier section as we began to discuss ideas for the documentary we would be making. We split up into groups to think of some potential ideas for the documentary on 10 Years of Meanscoil Gharman. The class had some great concepts, some of which could become reality in the near future. Overall, it was a very enjoyable day for the class and I believe everybody is really looking forward to getting stuck in to the project and begin working on it.

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By student Conor

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

 If manners maketh man, then tight camera shots, kinetic choreography and feel-good music coupled with delicious ultra-violence make Matthew Vaughan the go-to action director who seamlessly combines style and substance in this proper spy comedy.kings

Life is good for Eggsy (Taron Egerton); he is now a fully fledged Kingsman agent and dating Swedish princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom) but before he can meet her parents, he is attacked by his old rival Charlie (Edward Holcroft), rogue Kingsman now enhanced with a bionic arm. (I suppose he’s a Doomfist main now). Following a high speed chase and fight, Eggsy escapes but Charlie’s robot arm remotely hacks the Kingsman network. The next day simultaneous missile strikes destroy the Kingsman, including Roxy/ Lancelot (Sophie Cookson) and even JB, Eggsy’s pet pug. (John Wick would not approve).

 Only Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) survive and activate the Doomsday protocol, which leads them to Kentucky, discovering the Statesmen, an independent intelligence agency and the ‘Murican cousins to the Kingsmen.  Since Statesmen’s fortune was founded by distillery all their agents code-name is alcohol themed. Channing Tatum is Agent Tequila, the resident bad boy of Statesman. Halle Berry is Ginger Ale, the tech guru, Pedro Pascal is whip cracking Agent Whiskey and Jeff Bridges is Champagne, or better know as ‘’Champ’’. (Who else but the Dude right?).

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And to top it all off, who should show up but none other than Harry/Galahad (Colin Firth). Turn out the Statesmen picked him up a year ago after he’d been shot in the head and where able to revive him with special medical technology (yes, the Statesmen have found the long sought after cure to a bullet in the head). Unfortunately Harry has retrograde amnesia and Merlin and Eggsy have to find a way to jog his memory and get him back to active duty.

The person responsible for the downfall of Kingsmen and Charlie’s new arm is the worlds biggest drug lord, Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore). Her scheme is to corner a monopoly on all illicit substances, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and then infecting the world’s supply of drugs with a virus that slowly kills users. With millions of people infected Poppy demands the President to legalize all substances, ending the war on drugs and in doing so making herself richer and beyond the laws grasp. If the President doesn’t comply, all those infected will die… except the President is a @$$hole who decides to let people die under the pretense of ‘’we don’t negotiate with terrorists’’.   tatum

The Kingsmen and Statesmen team up to take down Poppy and save the world. The story here feels like a plot ripped straight from Archer and older, camper spy movies, but it absolutely works. What was wrong for James Bond in the 90’s is perfect for the world of Kingsmen. So while newer spy films focus on realism and seriousness, Kingsmen delivers exciting action and ingenious innovation with a dash of campy humour without ever losing sight of the plot and the end result is the same: save the world.

(I wonder if Statesmen have a position open for Agent Guinness?).

By Daniel Murphy

Wind river

Wind River

’Danger comes with the territory’’, the tagline say it all. Director Taylor Sheridan takes us on a Wind rivermurder mystery on an Indian reservation in Wyoming, a veritable Third World country in the American heartland. (If only there was someone who could, I dunno, make America great again for its Native citizens, but alas such a person doesn’t exist).

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!

We follow US wildlife agent Cody Lambert (Jeremy Renner), as he takes his son to visit his ex-wife’s Native parents on the Wind River reservation. While tracking a mountain lion that attacked cattle, Lambert discovers the body of Natalie Hensen, a girl who was friends with Lamberts own late daughter. Calling in the Tribal police who in turn call in FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) to investigate. Banner enlists the help of Lambert and his expertise as a tracker to help find Natalie’s killer, Lambert agrees to after promising Natalie’s father Martin that he’ll kill the person responsible.

The autopsy reveals Natalie was raped before escaping, having run six miles in the snow,wind riv 2 barefoot before collapsing from frozen air bursting her lungs. Banner and Lambert then interrogate Natalie’s brother Chip (Martin Sensmeier) who tells them Natalie was dating a white man named Matt (Jon Bernthal). Along with Tribal police they head to the oil refinery where Matt works. Matt’s co-workers attack, a flashback sequence revealing they where the ones who assaulted Natalie and beat Matt to death. In the following shootout, Banner gets blasted; saved only by her Kevlar, while the Tribe cops are all killed, but Lambert shoots the remaining oil workers, gets Banner a medical helicopter and then hunts the last man.

After tracking down Pete, the man responsible for Natalie and Matt’s death, Lambert forces him to confess before letting him run off, where Pete then dies the same way Natalie did. Banner recovers and Lambert returns to Martin to tell him his daughter have been avenged (and you thought I wouldn’t slip an Avengers reference in there, this film has 3 Marvel actors for crying out loud!)

Wind River could best be described as a modern Western, like a western it features a small town,wind riv 3 a killer on the loose and a lone lawman out to bring justice. It also doubles as a social commentary about life on Native American reservations, which are beset by poverty, drugs and mental illness, the Tribal police chief even says how many Natives will get arrested just to have a 3 warm meals and a place to sleep. It also touches on the sexual victimization of Native women, and how they are the highest demographic of missing persons in the US, the characters of Lambert and Matt are motivated to protect the women they love without going into full white savior territory and you do feel for not only them but for all those still resigned to reservations like Wind River.

If you want to check out more police procedurals like this, I recommend Skinwalkers: the Navajo Mysteries available on Netflix or if you’re more of a reader pick up Vertigo comics series Scalped.

By Daniel Murphy

 

 

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We All Float Down Here!

Dara O Briain once stated in one of his shows that nostalgia is basically, “heroin for old people…. it4Oh the good old days.” I know what you’re thinking, what has this got to do with, if anything, the new version of Stepehen King’s IT? Well dear reader if you will allow me to indulge for a bit, I will explain. When news broke of this reboot in 2009, I was actually quite happy. Calm down Tim Curry fans, chill the beans. I saw the original miniseries years and years ago. It terrified me, mostly because of Tim Curry truth be told. The miniseries riveted me to the spot and I lost sleep for at least a fortnight. But I re-watched it upon hearing the reboot idea and well meh. The first half of the series stands up but it loses direction for the second half and that ending? Jesus. Woeful. So how does the remake stand up?

Well to be totally honest it blows the original out of the greywater (see what I did there?). The film has been moved out of the 1950’s and is shot into the 80’s, more specifically 1989. One of the many reasons I adored this movie. There are posters of Gremlins, Beetlejuice adorning the kid’s walls and the local movie theatre is showing Batman and later on that faithful summer, rather tellingly A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5: Dream Warriors.it 3

The posters on the walls belong to the kids central to the plot. Bill, Richie, Ben, Mike, Eddie, Stan and Bev, or as they affectionately call themselves, The Losers Club. These kids are dealing with a lot, an awful lot. That awkward phase that most of us went through, unsure of where you stand in life but comforted by familiar faces and generally having solid friendships. They have to deal with parents that either won’t accept what is happening in the town of Derry, Maine. That is the disappearance of a lot of kids and the suspected cause, the terror that is Pennywise The Dancing Clown (a phenomenal Bill Skasgard, who is absolutely amazing and brings a terrifying clown to life).

They also have to deal with the terror of the high school bully, in this case there are four and are led by your average local sociopath, Henry Bowers, seriously that boy ain’t right! And this is the heart of the story. These kids have a lot to deal with in their everyday lives, terrible adults it 2who should know better, adolescence, puberty, bullies and the clown. Now let’s clear something up here. IT is not Pennywise, there that had to be sorted. It is merely the form the entity, or Bob Gray takes as it is primal fear and very alluring to young kids and even bigger kids! It is merely a face of fear that moulds to fit a person’s particular fear.

Things I Loved about this film:

The Losers Club. Seriously the kids in this movie were all amazing and their chemistry was off the charts. Their adventure over the course of the summer made me laugh and cry. They were the heart and soul of this movie.it 1

Skasgard, Holy Christ, his contorting eyes, his voice, his costume his general existence. Terrifying.

The nostalgia. This movie is a mix of The Goonies and Poltergeist

The effects. I am aware that there was CG used but it looked seamless and was terrifying.

The last fifteen to twenty minutes. No spoilers here but be prepared to cry.

Things I Did Not Love:

We have to wait nearly two years for Part Two!!!! Blast it!!

No all joking aside, go see this movie. It is one of the best King adaptations ever. Loads of heart, scares were not plentiful but I’m glad for that. Modern horrors are mostly rubbish and full of cheesy jump scares which renders the film useless. The cast are phenomenal and you will leave feeling things other than abject fear!

By Jamie T. Murphy

American Made

As  be expected from Tom Cruise, he does a lot of running in this film, only its not a cardioam workout, this time he’s running drugs, guns, guerrilla fighters for the CIA, Cartels, Contra’s and the DEA all over the course of a few years. This is the Barry Seal story.

T.W.A. pilot Barry Seal (Cruise) is recruited by ‘’Schafer’’ (Domhnall Gleeson) for the CIA in 1978, to fly over Latin American countries with Communist affiliations gather intelligence on ‘enemies of democracy’’. Being a hotshot pilot, Barry agrees and pretty soon feels the need, the need for speed (you can be my wingman anytime). However he quickly becomes a victim of his own success, after arriving in Colombia in ’78 he is quickly brought before the future Medellin cartel, including a young Pablo Escobar for any fans of Narcos.am 1

 Instead of killing Barry, they pay him to smuggle cocaine into the US and with his wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) and his children to provide for, Barry does so. After being arrested by Colombian police, Schafer bails Barry out and makes him a new offer, smuggling guns into Nicaragua to arm the Contra’s ‘’freedom fighters’’ against the Communist regime. Schafer also re-locates Barry’s family to Mena, Arkansas, bequeathing him an air field and 300 aches of land. Barry finally tells Lucy the truth and soon they get swept up in the excess and glamour of the 80’s (*snort* HOO! BEST DECADE EVER! ) (y’know, apart from mass incarceration, AIDS and Able Archer…and bad hair)

By ’82 the Seal household is literally overflowing with cash and Barry has expanded his operations to include more pilots, affectionately called ‘’the Snowbirds’’ all the while out running the DEA, ATF and the FBI all at once while Escobar goes crazy and declares war on the Colombian government, and Lucy’s deadbeat brother steals from Barry, gets caught and after he’s taken care of  (we never learn who by) Schafer decides to burst Barry’s bubble and cut off all ties to him and then Barry is arrested but freed by the DEA  and now he’s working for the White House to get pictures incriminating the Medellin and giving the US the justification it needs to am2get behind the Contra’s and oust Communist’s from Central America.

Over the course off the film Barry narrates over old home video recordings he made in ’86 to document his side of things and shed light on the events as they transpired. In fact the director Doug Liman frames every shot like it was taken on an old VHS camera, which is a nice technique and paint the era it was set in. The plot never wastes a minute and every scene serves a purpose, and Barry goes through more alliances and loyalties than 4 seasons of Game of Thrones and after the Mummy flopped Tom Cruise is back on top form, American Made is part documentary, part history lesson, part political drama and an autobiography, all based on a true story about lies.

By Daniel Murphy

 

 

 

Detroit

The word ‘’relevant’’ is used by Hollywood to refer to any film that captures the current climatedetroit in a meaningful way. And sadly, Detroit is very much relevant in America’s social and political landscape today and the truly saddening thing is that once the movie is over and the credits roll, you have to wonder, what, in 50 years, has changed?

July 23 1967. Police arrest patrons at an after hours club over a liquor licence. Dozens of black Detroit citizens are lined up and rounded up in police paddy wagons while a mob demands to know why they are being arrested, shortly after a riot on 12th street breaks out. The story doesn’t follow the riots themselves, but focuses on what happened at the Algiers motel. But before that we need to know the people involved.detroit 2

Philip Krauss, (Will Poulter) Detroit police officer who we first see shooting an unarmed looter in the back but allowed to return to active duty. Algee Smith (Larry Reed) a singer with the soul group ‘’the Dramatics’’, who missed his shot at the big time because of the riots, along wit his friend Aubrey, they had to the Algiers to weather  out the riots where they meet two white girls Karen and Julie Ann whom they befriend. Security guard Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega) is protecting his corner store and decides to try and ease tension by offering National Guardsmen coffee, right when everything goes horribly wrong.

Carl Cooper, one of the Algiers residents, fires a starter pistol with blank rounds, which the National Guard and police mistake for sniper fire, as such they return fire and Carl is shot by Krauss who then plants a knife next to his body. All other residents are arrested –  Algee, Aubrey, Fred, Karen, Julie and Vietnam veteran Greene (Anthony Mackie).

What follows is Krauss interrogating each suspect with threats and taunts demanding to knowdetroit 3 who fired the shots, when he doesn’t get immediate answers he pulls one of them into the other room and pretends to kill him to terrify the others into confession. This goes on for 30 uncomfortable minutes with everyone too scared to say anything as well as honestly not knowing. But Krauss is on a power trip, and one of his fellow officers shoots Aubrey for real, not realising Krauss’s interrogation. The worst part is to Krauss, it was just a game.

Days after the riots died down, Dismukes is arrested for the Algiers murders. Unable to find the starter pistol, Krauss let everyone go providing they never speak about what happened but his fellow officers confess and they all go to trial. But despite the testimony of everyone who Krauss brutalized, the all-white jury finds them not guilty. For everyone else, they go on with their lives knowing justice was never truly served.

No spoiler warning because it’s not a story, its history, of tragedy and how hatred utterly detroit 1destroyed the lives off so many innocent people who had nothing to do with the riots. Like Django Unchained Kathryn Bigelow pulls no punches, and if you feel only uncomfortable after watching Detroit then I say you have it pretty easy.

If you want to learn more I suggest checking out Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th on Netflix or for a more honest and light-hearted take on American race relations, Justin Simien’s satirical Dear White People as well as Jordan Peeles critically acclaimed Get Out.

By Daniel Murphy

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The Dark Tower

It’s an oft repeated critique regarding the adaptation of a novel into film, one we’ve all used,dark tower 3 ‘’the book was better’’. Such is the case with Stephan King’s Gunslinger saga centering on the Dark Tower trilogy. Now I confess that I have never read the Master of Maine’s Gunslinger series so I’ll be judging this on its own merits as I am not qualified to speak ad nausea on the nuances of King’s writing. OK? OK.

Jake Chambers, a teenage boy has nightmares and vivid dreams regarding a mysterious tower and a plot to destroy it by a malevolent man in black (Matthew McConaughey). Despite his mother, step-father and therapist all telling him that it’s just a dream and him trying to cope with the death of his father, because he is a teenager in a fantasy setting, he is naturally correct and there is indeed a tower and the man in black’s dark tower 4henchmen, the fake skins, out to capture him.

Evading capture Jake finds himself at a house he saw in his dreams and enters, discovering a portal to Mid-World, where after wandering the desert for a day he meets the other figure in his dreams, the man opposing the man in black, the Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba). Roland is initially dismissive of Jake until he tells him about his dreams and the tower and the man in black. Roland tells Jake the man in black is Walter Padrick, a wonderful sorcerer trying to destroy the Dark Tower that stands at the epicenter of all worlds to let the Darkness in.

Walter has been using children to power a machine that damages the Dark Tower by using their Shine- a psychic power that some children possess, just like in The Shining. Apparently Jake’s Shine is ‘’pure’’ and Walter can use him to bring down the Tower single handily. During one of Walter’s attacks on the Tower a demon from the Darkness slips through and attacks Roland before getting six shots of lead for its trouble, but Roland is injured and they head for a village which also has a portal that leads back to ‘’Keystone Earth’’- Jake’s world. After patching themselves up and preparing for a final encounter, they go in pursuit of the Man in Black.dark tower

Much like how Valerian and the city of A Thousand Planets condensed its source material, so too does The Dark Tower. And unfortunately if this is your first introduction to the Gunslinger or Stephan King in general, you may be disappointed. The film is only ninety five minutes long and yet it feels as if not enough is going on, the plot moves forward quickly and the world that King imagined that is presented to us here feels cliched regarding a vague evil plot to destroy the world using Love craftian horrors from beyond the universe, it just feels rather underwhelming like ‘’yeah it’s the apocalypse must be Tuesday’’.

Although the performances by our leading men doesn’t disappoint, while Tom Taylor as Jake is just a very bland Harry Potter, McConaughey and Elba are on top form as the Man in Black and the Gunslinger. McConaughey is charismatic and malevolent, charming but never losing that menace and never letting you forget that. Elba’s performance as Roland really captures the characters sense of lost purpose and his struggle to hold on and fight despite being the last of the Gunslingers, , but as for the Dark Tower  itself and director Nikolaj Arcel, let’s just say they dark tower2have forgotten the face of their father .

(If the kid from the Shining could sense the collapse of the tower, he should have gotten Roland, Andy Dufresne, Carrie, Cujo and the gang from Stand by Me to from Stephan King’s Avengers, now that would be awesome.)

By Daniel Murphy

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Review

Strange to think that something so influential that it would go on to inspires Star Wars, and yetvalarian 4 we’re only learning about it now 50 years after. Luc Besson’s French sci-fi graphic novel series Valerian and Laureline has had a cult following for decades, and only now Hollywood is attempted a movie adaptation.

We begin with a montage starting in 1975 with Russian cosmonauts docking on board the international space station, followed by representatives of other nations in the years following, until in 2150 representatives from alien species make first contact, within 400 years the international space station grows to the size of a city amalgamate of alien technology and diverse cultures.

That brings us to the present (future?) with agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Caravalarian 1 Delevingine) on route to a mission aboard there sentient ship Alex. Our intro to the title characters is one big exposition dump and a rather clumsy one, where just given all we need to know about the two, personalities, qualifications, etc, in a bicker some conversation that in no way feels organic. So the gist is Valerian loves Laureline but she doesn’t like him blah blah he’s been waiting for the ‘’right partner’’ (he totally stole that line from Captain America) but enough of that, SPAAACE!

Their mission takes them to Big Market- an inter-dimensional bazaar- to recover a rare Valerian 3specimen, a ‘’converter’’ which is an adorable armadillo dog creature that mass produces whatever you feed it including pearls and diamonds (he and the niffler from Fantastic Beasts would get along famously) before a hasty retreat and arrival on Alpha, the titular City of a Thousand Planets. After securing the converter and slipping into some rejected Mass Effect Armour, they learn there is a radiation leak in the heart of Alpha and before they can be dispatched to investigate, their commander is kidnapped by an alien race from the planet Mul we see at the beginning of the film whose planet was destroyed. Valerian does in search of the commander to try and figure out what is occurring.

For a seemingly simply story, it’s easy to get lost or forget where we are, what follows involves Laureline going on a side quest to find a way to find Valerian, finding him, getting kidnapped herself, and then Valerian having to rescue Laureline from an alien king without causing anvalarian 2 diplomatic incident (I suppose in the future shooting the bad guy and proclaiming ‘’its just been revoked!’’, isn’t a thing anymore). Anyway, to get into the alien palace, Valerian enlists the help of a glamour-pod, a shape shifting alien who works as a burlesque dancer. She name is Bubble (played by Rihanna) and she unfortunately contracts that disease that kills your character after their done being relevant to the plot.

After mourning and subsequently forgetting Bubble, they find the commander and-shock of all shocks, sarcasm of all sarcasm- he’s not really a good guy. Turns out he accidentally destroyed Planet Mul and killed most of its people during a space battle (although ‘’accident’’ is a bit of a stretch) and he’s been trying to cover it up ever since. As you do.

Luc Beeson directs alongside his wife, although sadly this isn’t the best way to promote your creation. The film’s greatest strength is in the world building, showcasing various alien species, cultures, technology it truly feels like a real place in its scope and scale. Our leading duo’s performance is somewhat lacking Delevingine in particular shows little expression in face or voice, and on the subject of Laureline her treatment doesn’t do her justice. She’s either being bossed around by Valerian or having to rescue him (to no thanks I might add), her name is absent from the title when she was one of sci-fi’s first real heroines.

But I can suggest the Valerian and Laureline anime series, now streaming on Crunchy Roll, if your interested and want to see more of Beeson’s universe, until then, to each your own.

By Daniel Murphy

Dunkirk

Hollywood’s long standing love affair with World War 2 is as old as the industry itself, hankeringdunkirk 1 back to the ‘’good old days’’ when the good guys where the good guys and everybody knew who the bad guy was. WW2 movies often detail the personal struggles of the soldiers fighting in the war; such is the case of Dunkirk, Director Christopher Nolan brings to life the story of British troops evacuated from German occupied Europe.

The story begins with a troop of five being gunned down by German soldiers off-screen, as the last Brit, a Private named Tommy manages to escape and make his way to the barricades where French soldiers are holding off the Germans while the British troops prepare to board Destroyers to escape occupied Europe.dunkirk 3

The story is told in three parts, from three different interconnected narratives, part one is the ‘’mole’’ where British troops are awaiting evacuation, part two ‘’the sea’’ where best friends Peter and George take Peter’s Father’s fishing boat and sail to Dunkirk to aid in the exodus, and part three ‘the air’’ showcasing three R.A.F. pilots as they patrol the skies over Dunkirk to protect them against Luftwaffe pilots.

This mosaic of storytelling can feel a bit lackadaisical in places as its jumping from morning to night to the middle of the day, focusing on a different narrative, but it does help paint a concise picture of just how perilous Dunkirk was, the R.A.F being ambushed by Luftwaffe at any time and soon the three are reduced to one, as Tom Hardy’s Captain Farrier is left to guard the skies above Dunkirk solo while he’s running low on fuel. Tommy and his troop getting on-board a Destroyer only to have it struck by a torpedo and then going down in a claustrophobic drowning scene. Peter and George pick up a shell shocked soldier played by Cillain Murphy, whom they lock up, only from him to escape and demand they turn around rather than return to Dunkirk, and when trying to wrest control of the helm, George gets pushed aside and is concussed, when all George ever wanted was to be useful.dunkirk

Dunkirk is certainly ambitious it its scale and the pathos is genuine, but it feels not as epic as it ought to be. There are certainly very tense moments where they’re fighting for their lives and you do wonder who will survive in the end, but we’re not really emotionally invested in these characters. The dialogue is sparse and honestly it feels more like watching human shaped props that are meant to serve as some purveyor of tragedy, but with no real autonomy to themselves. I don’t mean to sound like I’m hating on this, is just the impression I got from watching it, I like to believe Christopher Nolan is a better director than that, because he is, and like I said there is genuine pathos, in fact the most rousing moment is where all the civilian boats come across the channel, luxury yachts, fishing boats to the rescue, and you really feel for the weary soldiers. It doesn’t end on a happy note of course, there is still a war to fight but at least the story ends with Tommy reading Churchill’s ‘’we will fight them’’ speech in the newspaper after he returns home, so out of respect for all the men at Dunkirk, who am I to nitpick?

(Bet if Aquaman showed up at Dunkirk nobody would make jokes about him being lame ever).

By Daniel Murphy