Dunkirk (left) is from British director Christopher Nolan and stars Kenneth Branaugh and Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets (right) is from French director Luc Besson and stars Dane DeHann and Cara Delevinge. - Image: Contributed

The Movie Guy: An instant classic at the box office

Kelowna movie columnist says critics are calling Dunkirk one of the best war films of all time

By Rick Davis

There is plenty to be excited about at the movies this weekend with two new movies from two of the most visionary directors of all time.

Christopher Nolan cemented his status as an auteur with only his second feature, the mind-bending Mememto. He went on to direct the acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige, Inception and Interstellar but with Dunkirk, critics are calling it his masterpiece and one of the best war films of all time. It is a fact-based World War II thriller about the evacuation of Allied troops from the French city of Dunkirk before Nazi forces take hold and stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, James D’Arcy and Kenneth Branaugh. Not your typical movie in the season of escapism, but it will be considered a classic that should be seen in theatres.

Considered to be the French equivalent to Steven Spielberg, Luc Besson has directed powerful and visually stunning movies like The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Fifth Element and Lucy. His company, EuropaCorp, has produced over 80 films like The Transporter series, the Taken trilogy, I Love You Phillip Morris and Columbiana. His movies are mainstream but have just enough French expressionism to give them a unique quality.

One of my favourites of his is The Fifth Element, which is the perfect example of his filmmaking – a sci-fi adventure featuring one of the top action stars at the time (Bruce Willis) and mixing it with just enough unique visuals and narrative to give a very original experience. I use The Fifth Element as the example because it is why I am excited about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Fans of The Fifth Element never got a sequel but this may be even better as it is based upon a ground-breaking series of comics which inspired generations of artists, writers and filmmakers.

Set in the 28th century, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and is partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. The two are assigned a mission to the astonishing city of Alpha – a metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence and cultures. But there is a dark force at the centre of this so-called City of a Thousand Planets and Valerian and Laureline must identify the menace not just for the sake of Alpha, but for the entire universe.

Girl’s Trip may sound like the recent Rough Night, in which a group of women reunite for an outrageous party, but critics seem to like this one much better. Starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish, it is a raunchy comedy about a group of women who travel to New Orleans to rekindle their friendship and along the way do enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make even the Big Easy blush. Critics are especially fond of Haddish (The Carmichael Show), calling this her breakout role.

Rick Davis is the general manager of Landmark Cinemas Xtreme. Email: lcc163-gm@landmarkcinemas.com Twitter: @rickthemovieguy