Tag Archives: alpha

HUSTLERS (2019) – My rating: 8.3/10

Hustlers is a crime drama written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, based on New York magazine’s 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler. Jennifer Lopez is also a producer on the film through Nuyorican Productions, alongside Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay through their Gloria Sanchez banner. The plot follows a crew of strippers in New York City who begin to steal money by drugging stock traders and CEOs who visit their club, then running up their credit cards. I had no idea the New Yorker article would become a movie, they did a good job.

**** SOME SPOILERS BELOW ****

In 2014, former New York City-based stripper Dorothy/Destiny (Constance Wu) is invited for an interview with Elizabeth (Julia Stiles), a journalist working on a story involving Dorothy’s former friend and mentor, Ramona Vega (Jennifer Lopez). Seven years prior, Dorothy, known by her stripper name as Destiny, is working at Moves, a strip club, to support her grandmother (Wai Ching Ho) but is barely getting by. Mesmerized by Ramona’s performance plus all the tips she earns, Destiny meets her on the roof of the club. Ramona looks Destiny over and decides to take her under her wing thus forming a formidable team. Destiny enjoys her newfound wealth and friendship with Ramona. A year later (2007), the financial crisis strikes and both women find themselves short of cash. Destiny becomes pregnant and bows out of the stripper scene. Unable to find a regular job,
Destiny goes back to stripping at the club but Moves has changed: the financial crisis has impacted their business, and the club is primarily staffed by immigrant women from Russia willing to perform sex acts for money, a line Destiny is unwilling to cross. She reconnects with Ramona, who introduces her to a new scheme. Along with her two protegées, Mercedes (Keke Palmer) and Annabelle (Lili Reinhart), Ramona targets rich men at bars, get them drunk, then escorts them to Moves where the girls steal their credit card numbers and charge them to their limit. Destiny joins in and learns Ramona uses a mix of ketamine and MDMA to impair judgment and cause memory loss in their targets, a tactic deemed worthwhile since their victims will rarely admit to being robbed by strippers.

Hustlers is a pretty decent, indecent movie about some very hard working women who feel instant, illegal money is worth the risk of jail. I must first mention 50-year old J. Lo has done a magnificent job of keeping her body sexy, tight and presentable for any role she’s up for.  While she looked a little amazon-ish next to 37-year-old Constance Wu, she still has it going on.  However, none were a match for Keke Palmer (26 years old) who was a fantastic addition to the gang.  Hustlers is obviously not for children nor is it for sanctified worshippers who don’t need to see how some desperate women choose to live their lives for money. Hustlers pretty much keeps you intrigued and entertained.  The film has grossed $110 million worldwide and received positive reviews from critics, with Lopez’s performance singled out for praise. I enjoyed Hustlers, especially the brilliant performances by J. Lo and Constance.  I recommend Hustlers for those who don’t mind a good sexy movie.  Check It Out!

 

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (2017) – My rating: 8/10

Since I don’t read comic books, I didn’t know what to expect or even that this movie was derived from a comic book series. The pitch was “Valerian is the most beautiful movie we’ll ever see.” It was compared to Avatar and I was convinced that if it was half as good as Avatar, it still would be pretty fantastic as far as outstanding special effects goes. As it turns out, some of this was right but not all. It wasn’t until two thirds through, I found Valerian becoming more than tolerable and even interesting. The acting was good but the story was a little confusing. Then something happened; camera, action, a change of pace — oh boy, I think I like this after all.

A space station called Alpha was started in the 28th century where millions of creatures from different planets could live peacefully, exchange knowledge and cultures without any problems. What began as a space station around the planet Earth, grew as many nations from Earth and races from other planets joined. One of the planets called Mül was a low-tech humanoid race that lives peacefully in a tropical paradise. They fish for energy-containing pearls and use certain animals to duplicate the pearls.  Their philosophy was to give back what was given to them, much like Luke 12:48 – (NLT) “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”

Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are romantically involved as well as special agents of the human police forces. In a dream, Valerian sees this planet in all it’s beauty and glory.  As this idyll is destroyed by spaceship debris crashing onto the planet, Valerian wakes up to find he and Laureline on a mission to retrieve one of the rare animals from his dream, called a “converter”, from a black market dealer.

Valerian interrupts a meeting of the dealer with two prospective customers for the converter, both looking like the humanoids from his dream. He and Laureline obtain the converter, and he surreptitiously steals one of the pearls that had been given to the dealer as payment.  They now return to Alpha, where they are told by their Commander, Arün Filitt, (Clive Owen) part of the station has been infected by an unknown force, rendering it highly toxic, and troops sent into the area have not returned, plus the infection is spreading. Laureline and Valerian are assigned to protect the commander. However, while briefing an assembly about the infection, they are ambushed by the humanoids, who incapacitate all participants and kidnap him. Valerian frees himself and the others and chases the kidnappers, who head for the infected area. Valerian loses control of his vehicle and Laureline loses contact with Valerian who infiltrates the residential sector of the group with the help of a shapeshifter named Bubble (Rihanna).

While this is all starting to sound a little confusing, you probably can understand why I became a little loss in the beginning.  Trust me, it all comes together and even is fun and very interesting, especially when Rihanna enters the scene.  It definitely was not the fabulous movie they promised but it was descent.  You’ll learn why and who destroyed the planet Mül, as well as what happened to the planet’s beautiful inhabitants.  Also Valerian ask for Laureline’s hand in marriage, does she say yea or nay?  Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is not too violent and the special effects are fantastic.  Nicely done!    You will also get to see: Ethan Hawke as Jolly the Pimp, Herbie Hancock as a Defence Minister and hear John Goodman as the voice of Igon Siruss, a Kodar’Khan pirate captain and the galaxy’s most-wanted criminal.  Check it out!

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