Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

The CBS Sunday Morning show was about cancer, and one of the segments focused on Sheryl Crow.  My parents phoned me, and my mother said that her dog had been sick for the last couple of days.  When I saw a commercial for the ASPCA, I thought about contributing.  If I were a rich person, perhaps I would do it.  I shopped for groceries and listened to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on the radio before I headed to the Grand Lake Theatre.  I took a photo of the ducks outside the library before I walked over to the theatre.  “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” was showing on one of the small screens.  It was the most expensive French film of all time, but it was proving to be a flop in this country.  There was an unusual, quiet feeling to it that American audiences probably found boring.  Even the weapons were relatively quiet.  Luc Besson did direct “The Fifth Element” and “Lucy,” but this one had a story that was not so compelling, and the relationship between the two main characters was excruciating.  Dane DeHaan was Valerian, and he projected a kind of diluted Leonardo DiCaprio personality, white Cara Delevingne was Laureline, and she was something like Susan Dey and Mariel Hemingway.  A.O. Scott described her as the supreme superciliary celebrity of our time.  I’ve seen DeHaan in “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Lincoln,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and “Knight of Cups.”  The story of Valerian had elements of Star Wars and “Avatar.”  We see these alien living a peaceful life with these strange pearls and the strange creatures that produce pearls, and their lives are disrupted.  Ethan Hawke shows up, and I liked watching him, but he was so natural in “Boyhood” that just about anything else from him falls short.  Rihanna appears, although her characters comes and goes so that it feels that she was just inserted into the film for a bit of box office value and for so-called diversity.  The movie should have been beautiful and inspiring, but it is really just unexciting.  I thought it was better than something like “John Carter,” but there was no real emotion to it.  It felt as though Besson had forgotten about the audience.  I wanted to like Laureline because I thought Kara might have a Fanning sister quality to her, but this script made me not care about anything in the movie.  Whatever happened to science fiction movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey”?  Those movies made us talk about them because there was some thought behind the concepts they gave us.  This one just throws at us two young people with lukewarm chemistry, an unadventurous adventure, and some alien beings that attempt to win our sympathy.   On my way home, I heard that the A’s won their game against the Mets, hitting three home runs getting a winning score of 3-2.  Matt Chapman got the big hit for that last run.  I browsed through the record store but didn’t see much that I wanted except for the Beatles singles.  I listened to the Robert Hilburn Rock ‘n’ Roll Times radio program on KCSN.  He had songs from some of the best albums of 2017, which were by Jason Isbell, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, Father John Misty, and Valerie June.  I watched a bit of Columbo before I fell asleep, and I watched the end of Kolchak: The Night Stalker.  On the KPIX Sports Report, Tim Kawakami talked about leaving the world of newspapers to write for a website.  I don’t think I would want to pay for any of this sports writing because I can observe for myself and make up my own mind.  Some of the people who died on July 24 include Martin Van Buren (1862), Peter Sellers (1980), Isaac Bashevis Singer (1991), Virginia Christine (1996), G.D. Spradlin (2011), Chad Everett (2012), and Marni Nixon (2016).  Today is a birthday for Lynda Carter (66), Michael Richards (68), and Ruth Buzzi (81).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 24, “Blow-Out” with John Travolta was released in 1981.  In 1982, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” was Number One on the singles chart.  In 1992, “Mo’ Money” was released.  In 2012, Sherman Hemsley, known for the role of George Jefferson on television, died of lung cancer at age 74.

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