Archive for July 28, 2014

Movie Review: Lucy (2014)

July 28, 2014 1 comment

Movie Review: Lucy (2014)

Lucy Poster

Luc’s Lucy is a lucid Limitless that’s a little limited

A Limitless Matrix where Yakuza are the Agents (Smiths)


Director/Writer Luc Besson (Leon The Professional, The Fifth Element) retells a Matrix coming-of-powerful tale with a female lead (Scarlett Johansson) and more international flavor. We lose the Kung-fu (none here), but keep the prophetic black man as Morgan Freeman steps in as a professor Morpheus/Norman. If you think about it, this story could have been the Trinity awakening story that occurred before NEO took that pill.


The trailer shows us a woman forced to carry an experimental drug in her stomach that is slowly leaking into her bloodstream. The dosage unlocks the greater potential of the human brain and she begins to acquire extraordinary powers. Well yeah, it’s like where Neo asks about dodging bullets and Morpheus says ‘…You won’t have to’. So we wait for the big moment that The Black Widow becomes a better Avenger and does more than shoot guns. Unfortunately, the big pay off isn’t as big as it should be. Neo flew away from that phone booth at the end of the Matrix and we kinda scratched our heads. Lucy unlocks our ultimate potential and doesn’t do a whole lot.

Lucy movie image

Yeah, more Matrix talk. See, the Agents were built up over the entire movie as being total bad-ass so when Neo is able to stand up to them, it was a thrilling turning of the tables. The generic Yakuza in Lucy are killers, for sure, but never really more than gangsters with guns. If you ignore the fact that twenty-five plus Japanese men in dark suits and glasses, running around Europe, are basically invisible to all authority, then yes Lucy is in plenty of danger. Are you scared for her? No, not really. You pretty much think she’s fine ten minutes into the movie and that spoils the final confrontation(s).


Now I don’t mean to sound totally down on Luc’s Lucy. There are some brilliant cut scenes and references to nature and origins and cave- . Suffice to say, it’s a fun ride with a few familiar set ups, scenes and scenarios. Scarlett is fierce and sexy and is the perfect seasoning to keep this movie fresh past the expiration date. If you don’t expect too much more than the trailer, you’ll enjoy Lucy. I’m not a movie critic, I’m just critiquing a movie.


Want more Johansson? See my review for Under the Skin.


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Movie Review: Under the Skin (2013)

Movie Review: Under the Skin (2013)

Under the Skin movie poster

Once you get under, what do you do with it?

The alien serial killer you root against and then for and then against and then…


Under the Skin is a tough one. How do you review it? Most reviewers are either confirming the big reveal ending or basically telling you everything that happens in the movie. Maybe we should stick to what you should be looking for going in, what you actually get and what you feel coming out.


Writers Walter Campbell and novelist Michel Faber (whose book Under the Skin is based on) give us an abstract piece that leaves us groping for meaning and understanding. We become foreigners (aliens?) watching events play out and hope that at some point we figure out the Why. Through repeated scenes we get the motif of a femme fatale luring men to their doom. Every time we see this scenario happen, we are given more details to work from and more pieces to assemble the puzzle’s point. Director Jonathan Glazer shows us some incredible moments where humanity is in mortal peril. There are tight special effects and many scenes without special effects that will make you wonder how he filmed them. The atmosphere locks into place, supported by an eerie soundtrack and a stoic performance from Johansson. She plays it fake and real and there’s claims that cameras were hidden throughout the movie and all her pick-up scenes were non-actors actually being seduced by Scarlett.


Going in? Strange movie, you can’t be too sure what to expect. Inside; an interesting bit of movie-art. And fortunately there is a proper ending that allows us to rethink what we’ve just scene and put all of the puzzle parts in place. Under the Skin is a solid entry and departure. I believe the more cerebral sci-fi fans among us should enjoy it.


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