Reel Reviews: Graphic novels brought to life

By on August 2, 2017

‘Atomic Blonde’

If you’re a fan of spy intrigue, you are going to love “Atomic Blonde.” Oh, and it won’t hurt if you have an affinity for ‘80s alternative music, either.

Charlize Theron is Lorraine Broughton, a clandestine ass-kicker brought in by British spy forces in a reality where the Berlin Wall did not fall through diplomacy in 1989. A Cold War secret document containing the names and aliases of every spy has become available on the black market. Broughton is sent in to retrieve the information and comes in contact with Brit David Percival (James McAvoy), a German brainiac known as Spyglass (Eddie Marsan, “Sherlock Holmes”), a naïve French agent named Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella, “The Mummy”), and a slew of Russians. The action is almost non-stop and a bit aggressive, but the story wraps nicely around the fight scenes and car chases.

Like all good spy thrillers, the main question is: Who is the bad guy? But, “Atomic Blonde” takes the question one step further by making us all ask: What is a bad guy? Think of Broughton as being a female Jason Bourne, except with a bit more intensity and intent.

Some moviegoers are scoffing at this flick, calling it Blonde Wick in a not-very-creative attempt at comparing Theron’s character to John Wick (most recently portrayed by Keanu Reeves in “John Wick 2”). Wick wouldn’t last long against Broughton’s premeditation and stealth. The comparison also comes from the fact that “Atomic Blonde” is directed by stuntman turned writer/director David Leitch. Leitch was a producer and uncredited director of the first “John Wick.” He’ll have another shot at appeasing a demanding fan base in 2018 as he is currently directing “Deadpool 2.”

Stay tuned …

“Atomic Blonde” is no “Blonde Wick,” according to reviewer Michael Upton. Movie-goers who enjoy action-packed spy intrigue will get their money’s worth with this film, he says. (image from
Denver & Delilah Films)

‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’

Valerian. Valerian. Valerian.

For those who suffered through “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” you are surely sick of hearing that word over, and over, and over again! We get it, director Luc Besson, the lead character’s name is Valerian; we heard it loud and clear the first two dozen times it was repeated in this epic fail hyped as cinematic beauty.

Valerian (Dane DeHaan, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) is a space Major traveling the galaxy with his love interest/partner Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne, “Paper Towns”). For this mission, they are in search of a cute pangolin-like creature who is the means of existence for a once expired planet… and, so on, and space so forth.

I didn’t read any of the pre-opening hype about this movie. All I knew is it looked pretty in the trailers and it was directed by one of my favorite directors, the same guy who brought us “The Fifth Element,” “The Professional,” and “Lucy.”

This preteen/tween targeted romantic sci-fi might as well have been produced by Nickelodeon. “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is downright horrible. I can defend this position with the mention of one scene to anyone who disagrees: the Rhianna scene. If you think this was necessary filmmaking to move the plot and not an utterly absurd filler meant to bolster the career of a pop star I have no time even discussing the other demerits of this box office clunker. Usually, when I don’t like a movie, I simply recommend people wait to see it on demand or video; I’m not sure if I can even do that for this movie.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at

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