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In a Football interrupted month I have been to see eight films, fortunately they have been better than England’s Performance at the World Cup:

Edge of Tomorrow: This time loop, alien invasion, war movie is far more than just a Tom Cruise Vehicle. Using the time loop well to create in interesting and exciting story with just enough dry dark comedy. It also finds a suitable part for the normally underused Emily Blunt.edge of tomorrow

22 Jump Street: When 21 Jump Street was announced no one expected 27 year old Jonah Hill and 30 year old Channing Tatum to work, as it turned out that was half the joke of the movie. So how do you follow that? By doing exactly the same thing again and making a joke of the fact you are doing the same thing again. Worth seeing for the closing credits alone.22 Jump Street

Belle: The true (ish) story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of the nephew of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield and Lord Chief Justice of England. Raised by her great-uncle and his wife, the film speculates on what impact Belle may have had on his ruling in an important court case of the day, one contributed to the abolition of slavery. A little lightweight but beautifully shot and really well acted.Belle Movie Stills

Oculus: A horror film full of TV stars Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), Rory Cochrane (CSI) and Brenton Thwaites (Australian soap Home and Away) doesn’t fill you with confidence. However Mike Flanagan’s movie based on his own earlier short is well scripted with a great concept; most of the film is set in a single location but at two different times. A superior horror that aims to disturb rather than shock and succeeds admirably.Oculus

3 Days to Kill: Kevin Costner plays a terminally ill CIA hit-man trying to bond with his estranged daughter whilst doing one last job in return for an experimental drug that may save his life. Written and produced by Luc Besson comparisons with Taken are inevitable, so I will compare it to Taken! Not as nasty as Taken but also not as focused or as taut.3 Days to Kill

Jersey Boys: “Goodfellas the Musical”. Clint Eastwood’s movie of the stage musical of the same name tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from their beginnings in New Jersey. The characters do not break into song and dance, instead the singing is restricted to performance, rehearsal and the bands recording sessions; however the characters do break the fourth wall and narrate direct to camera, this is distracting. Largely enjoyable but unmemorable.JERSEY BOYS

Cold in July: After a small town Texas family man (Michael C. Hall) shoots and kills an intruder, the dead man’s farther Sam Shepard turns up. Avoiding the pitfalls of going all Max Cady the story takes an interesting twist. Set in the late 80’s the electro-synth gives a real 80’s feel and is reminiscent of John Carpenter and early Michael Mann. The most accessible and mainstream of Jim Mickle (writer, director) and Nick Damici (writer, actor), although not their normal horror, the film is still a genre film, and a real genre film, not a mainstream movie pretending to slum it.Cold in July

Chef: After suffering career death by social media the chef of the title goes back to his roots and opens a food truck. Much has been made of the plot of the film being a metaphor for writer/director/start, Jon Favreau returning to his indie roots, this kind of loses its way given the A list cameo’s and supporting cast. Forget all this and take the film for what it is, an amiable comedy road movie charting the fall and redemption by bonding with his young son.Chef

Cold in July and Oculus came close but are not movie of the month. Released in the last few days of May and still in cinemas as we enter July, now it earns the ultimate accolade, my movie of the month is: Edge of TomorrowEdge-of-Tomorrow

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3 Days To Kill opened a couple of weeks ago to universal derision, it surprisingly isn’t that bad. With a script by Luc Besson and a plot featuring an aging CIA hit-man, comparisons with Taken are unavoidable. Kevin Costner does a good job with a flimsy and derivative story that loses its way in the middle. The action scenes and the family bonding both work on their own merits but the film fails to join the two elements together into a coherent movie. Not as nasty as Taken but also not as focused, it is worth seeing for any fans of either Costner or Besson, but we should expect so much more from Luc Besson.3 Days to Kill

Both as a director and writer/producer Besson has been responsible for some great films. Subway (1985) was the beginning of the style over substance tag (known as Cinéma du look movement ) that has followed Besson for his entire career, but with this much style how much substance do you need? Five years later came the film that introduced me to non English language cinema: Nikita (1990), I rented the VHS when I was 15 years old (I know it is an 18 and I was 15, but the video shop man didn’t notice or care!) about a year after its cinema release, I was drawn to the movie mainly because I liked the cover. Often criticised for lack of originality, Nikita has surely influenced more movies than it was influenced by. Anne Parillaud’s reluctant government assassin has spawned a Hollywood remake, two TV shows and countless imitators. Léon(aka The Professional) (1994) is widely regarded as Besson’s best film thanks to the just over-the-top enough turn by Gary Oldman and the sensational feature debut of 12-year-old Natalie Portman. It is also notable as Besson’s first film in English. Again in English, this time with an even less restrained Gary Oldman, The Fifth Element (1997) saw a new direction for Besson, a big budget Sci-Fi adventure. it has its problems but on the whole is a fun with some interesting ideas. Better know as a writer and producer in recent years, he is still able suprise as a director as he did with the bizarre but brilliant Angel-A (2005) and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010). Sadly less well know, possibly because they are in French, I would recommend both movies to anyone who hasn’t seen them.nikita

Probably the best know of his writer/producer movies is The Transporter (200, 2005, 2008), starring Jason Statham, they are exactly what you expect from Besson and Statham, slick, glossy, well made, dumb action. Also falling into that category but with more comedy is Taxi (1998) and its three sequels (2000, 2003, 2007). Also notable for early appearances from Marion Cotillard nearly a decade before La Vie en rose. I wouldn’t bother with parts 3 and four or the American remake (2004) but the first two films are great. There were three films released in the UK in 2006 to feature parkour: Breaking and Entering (2006), Casino Royale (2006) and District 13 (2004) (original title Banlieue 13, also known as District B 13). Only District 13 stars parkour founder David Belle. Belle and writer/producer returned for a sequel District 13: Ultimatum (2009) and Brick Mansions (2014), neither were as good as the exciting and innovative original film. Lockout (2012) is a B Sci-Fi starring Guy Pearce and go-to kidnap victim Maggie Grace. The story is derivative and the effects terrible, but the film itself is tremendous fun and really Enjoyable.Lockout

Working across multiple genres, Besson also wrote, produced and directed the Arthur and the Invisibles movies (2006, 2009, 2010), and the biopic of Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady (2011). I haven’t seen any of these films so can’t comment on them other than to say they were not well received critically. Returning to the director’s chair for his next film Lucy, set for release in August (in UK). Starring Scarlett Johansson in the title role it looks from the trailer like a riff on the ideas of Limitless. A return to large budget Sci-Fi and yet another film to feature a strong female lead, I am looking forward to it.the lady

All this producing isn’t an act of randomly placing his name on movies to help distribute them, in 1999 he founded the Paris based EuropaCorp, one of the few independent studios that both produces and distributes movies. As well as the films Besson has creative infuemce over, he has also produced Nil by Mouth (1997), directed by Gary Oldman; The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, by Tommy Lee Jones (2005) (and Tommy Lee Jones’ upcoming The Homesman) and Tell No One (2006), by Guillaume Canet. Three fantastic films that may not have been made if not for Besson and EuropaCorp. While I respect what Besson is doing with EuropaCorp, I would just like to see a few more great films directed by him and a few less mediocre ones written and, or produced by him.

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