The Film Boards drops out of Exospace this month to experience the other-dimensional adventure of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Luc Besson brings this graphic novel adaptation to us in what the trailers described as a vision that was “a lifetime in the making” from source material that “inspired a generation.” We’re getting thuggy with it to identify which generation in what lifetime.

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There’s something about the wacky sci-fi fantasy eye-gasm The Fifth Element that is very divisive. On one side, it’s a bizarre, nonsensical, mess that hardly has a story worth talking about. On the other, it’s groundbreaking in its visual effects, inventive in its production and costume design, and a romping, mind-numbing good time. While the characters who aren’t weird muppet-y aliens would be better served by actually being cartoons, they’re played by big-name actors who all get into their roles with undeniable fervor and relish. It’s amazing how much of a mess the film is, yet a lot of people really dig it.

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It’s the perfect description of the awkward yet touching relationship between a simple 40-something assassin and a wise-beyond-her-years pre-teen girl, and it’s at the heart of our next pick in our Luc Besson series, his first foray into English-language cinema, 1994’s Leon: the Professional, or more simply just Léon.

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We’re starting off our Luc Besson series with a film that fascinates us, even if it sometimes devolves into a cartoonish atmosphere. This week, we chat about Besson’s 1990 film Nikita, or La Femme Nikita if you’re so inclined. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we start off this series with this Pygmalion-like tale of a young woman trained to be a government assassin.

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