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Directed by: Morten Tyldum  Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen  Running Time: 116 mins


Passengers is not the nice romantic sci-fi film you’ve been led to believe. What’s disconcerting is that it thinks it is. Thanks to a horribly misguided plot development in the first act of the movie Passengers is a film so far from what it wants to be that it’s staggering to imagine how anyone involved thought it was a good idea. Not only is this plot development completely unnecessary, it unintentionally transforms the whole thing into a profoundly uncomfortable experience.

Fair warning to all here, it’s going to be kind of impossible to discuss the film’s issues without stating what this plot development entails, so rather than continuing to talk in circles, let it be known there are spoilers ahead!

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Director: Gareth Edwards Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk Running Time: 133 minutes


The ambition to have a Star Wars movie come out every single year may end up hitting a point of diminishing returns, but for now the annual return to a galaxy far, far away is still fresh enough to be music to the ears of fans and lining to the pockets of Disney. No one knows quite like they do how to appeal to a wide range of demographics; though The Force Awakens definitely owed a lot of its success to the memories it stirred in fans who had been left in the cold by the prequels, it aimed and succeeded at continuing the series tradition of kid appeal, something that goes right back to George Lucas’ attempts to recreate his own childhood joy watching pulp sci-fi serials. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is unlikely to sell as many toys as last year’s film, but it should provide older fans that have grown up with Star Wars with they’ve always wanted: more of the actual wars.

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Luc Besson is back, returning to big budget science fiction for the first time in 20 years. That film, The Fifth Element was charming, bright and ridiculous, like a comic book come to life. Owing more to Flash Gordon than Star Wars, the film offered jaw-dropping visuals coupled with quirky performances elevating it above the normal summer blockbuster fare.

Now the first trailer has dropped for Besson’s latest film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Adapted from the long-running French Valérian and Laureline created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières, while it certainly looks spectacular, it can’t help but feel a little familiar.

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The current incarnation of HBO’S Westworld series is now on the eve of its fourth episode and enjoying universal critical approval. Mixing thought-provoking science fiction with disturbing horror, the show poses a number of ethical and social questions about socialites rapid adoption and integration with technology. Where do we draw the line between artificial life and human life? Is it murder or infidelity if none of it is real? These are poignant questions in 2016 and the show could not have arrived at a better time to explore these themes. To get a better understanding of this new incarnation we here at Film in Dublin have decided to revisit the Cult 1973 original. Released incidentally only 2 days after the opening of Disney World Florida, Westworld posits a future where rich tourists can enjoy luxury vacations in a state of the art adult theme park, their every needs served by lifelike robots. The vacation becomes a nightmare when the androids start malfunctioning and killing the guests. 43 years after its release, this low budget SCI-FI now seems sharply relevant. It is a cautionary tale of man’s inability to see its own fallibility in the pursuit of innovation.

 

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Director: Justin Lin Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Salanda, Idris Elba Running Time: 122 minutes


How much you enjoy Star Trek Beyond may depend entirely on what it is you expect from a Star Trek film. Those looking for a fun night at the movies will likely leave satisfied. Those hoping for a hint of the depth or thematic resonance of the original series may feel short changed.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise. Beyond fittingly promises a story that returns that franchise to its roots, with the crew having finally embarked on their 5 year mission to “explore strange new worlds”.  While some credit is due for attempting to follow through on that promise, it doesn’t excuse the script’s over reliance on by-the-numbers plotting. The story is threadbare and largely recycled; riddled with plot contrivances and a few too many unlikely coincidences. What the film lacks in originality however, it makes up for with a renewed sense of adventure.Read more…