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From comic books to pop stars, there's a little bit of everything coming to the movies

Movie Theater (Alexandre Chassignon / CC BY-SA 2.0/MGN Online)

CALLING ALL COMIC BOOK FANS

An exclusive comic book featuring the stories that inspired the upcoming film VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS will be available for free to Las Vegas fans (and fans from all around the world) at your local comic book stores next Saturday, May 6, 2017.

In anticipation of the July 21 film release of VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS here in Las Vegas (and around the world), this 32-page free issue will feature a preview of the story from the comics that inspired the film, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes content from this highly anticipated summer film.

The original ground-breaking French comic series of VALERIAN AND LAURELINE was created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres, and inspired a generation of artists, writers, and filmmakers. VALERIAN AND LAURELINE ran for 43 years and is collected in 23 volumes. This year, the series is celebrating its 50th anniversary coinciding with the feature film's release.

The visually spectacular new adventure film from Luc Besson stars Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, and Rutger Hauer.

The 32-page preview issue will be printed at its original, European size. To check for our local Las Vegas comic book stores, please visit www.FreeComicBookDay.com.

A STAR IS BORN

Filming began last month for one of the most anticipated projects scheduled for an early fall release next year. Warner Bros. Pictures describes A STAR IS BORN (2018) as "a re-imagining of the musical." In his directorial debut, four-time Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper is directing the film. He is also playing "Jackson Maine" – a country music star who is on the brink of decline when he discovers a talented unknown named Ally.

The actress playing Ally is Stefani J. Germanotta. For those of you who are not familiar with that name, she is also known as Lady Gaga. This is her first leading role in a major motion picture, and there is already potential Oscar buzz surrounding the potential of this performance. She received an Oscar nomination for the song "Til it Happens to You" from THE HUNTING GROUND (2015).

The plot – released by the studio – states: "As the two begin a passionate love affair, Jack coaxes Ally into the spotlight, catapulting her to stardom. But as Ally's career quickly eclipses his own, Jack finds it increasingly hard to handle his fading glory."

In addition to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, the main cast includes Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Elliott.

The screenplay is by Will Fetters, Bradley Cooper, and Eric Roth. The story is based on a story by William A. Wellman and Robert Carson. Mr. Cooper has surrounded himself with strong production support. Matty Libatique is the director of photography and was Oscar-nominated for BLACK SWAN. Jay Cassidy is the editing director and was the recipient of three Oscar nominations including AMERICAN HUSTLE, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and INTO THE WILD.

A year from this fall is a long way off. However, the release coming in the fall is part of a studio roadmap hoping for ultimate Oscar gold.

FURIOUS UPDATE / NO SHOW SCREENING PUZZLE

As THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS enters its third weekend, the film juggernaut is approaching the $1 billion mark.

The major film opening this weekend is the Emma Watson and Tom Hanks thriller, THE CIRCLE. I will publish my in-depth review of this film together with a tribute to Tom Hanks next Thursday.

The film is rated PG-13 and runs 110 minutes. The director is James Ponsoldt, who was responsible for THE END OF THE TOUR (2015). Our local film critics are wondering why this Emma Watson / Tom Hanks sci-fi thriller never had a local screening. That mystery will be solved next Thursday.

Looking ahead to what's coming this summer? Bob Fisher has the blockbuster box office guide to this summer's movie season!

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