Monday, 25 August 2014

Film Review: "Lucy" (2014).

“Life was given to us a billion years ago. What have we done with it?” This question is asked in Luc Besson’s latest film Lucy. The French-American Science-Fiction Action film is directed, written and edited by Luc Besson. The film follows a woman who was accidentally caught in a dark deal and turns the tables on her captors, and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

It stars Scarlett Johansson as the title character, along with Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked and Choi Min-Sik. The performances in this film were brilliantly performed despite being wasted on a B-Movie script with pretensions of prescience For the title role, Besson required "an actress who could be believable as extremely vulnerable, as well as superpowered, when her exposure to an illicit substance inadvertently makes her acquire incredible skills." And that's exactly what Johansson brought to the role. Johansson shines in this pseudo-intellectual action flick that represents Luc Besson's finest work since The Fifth Element (1997). Lucy may be the most powerful film character ever created. She has the powers and abilities of Professor X, The Doctor, Dr. Manhattan, Galactus, God from Bruce Almighty (2003), Scarlet Witch, and Tetsuo from Akira all combined into one. For Mr. Freeman, despite giving a brilliant performance as the scientific mind of the film, his character I felt was under-written and didn't do much. Which was a bit of a shame. This principle applies to Waked who also gave a great performance but I felt his character didn't really serve the plot other than to help Lucy with her mission. However, Choi Min-Sik gave the best performance in the film and stole the show. Besson said that Mr. Jang is the "best villain" he scripted since Gary Oldman's character, Norman Stansfield from Leon: The Professional (1994), adding that "Whereas Lucy is the ultimate intelligence, Mr. Jang is the ultimate devil." Which is exactly what I thought. He was the best Besson villain since Stansfield and Min-Sik not only fit the role like a glove, but also played the role perfectly.

In his latest outing, Lucy, acclaimed commercial filmmaker Luc Besson remains with his distinctive visual style, but the film ' s silly concept only diminishes the movie's overall enjoyment. With vast plot holes and superhuman leaps of logic, for all its gloss, hipster pretensions, plot craters and sometimes risible attempts at action, the film traffics in large, troublesome ideas about the human mind now and where it could be in the future, even if the film itself is far too convoluted and compromised to do those hairy questions justice. The film is nothing more than a rhythmless, shapeless, and, with the exception of a few shots, cheesy-looking. In the end, it presents itself as an ambitious, old fashioned, ideas-driven science fiction film that is never as mind-expanding as its futuristic images and topical, dystopian ideas seem to promise. It is not only a disappointing effort from Besson, but it is also one of my least favorite films of the year.

Simon says Lucy receives:

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Film Review: "Hercules" (2014).

"No matter how far you go, man cannot escape his fate. Who are you? Are you a murderer? Are you a mercenary who turns his back on the innocent? We believe in you! We have faith in you! Remember the deeds you have performed, the labors you have overcome! Are you only the legend, or are you truth behind the legend? Now, tell me, WHO ARE YOU?"
This questions is asked in Hercules. This 3D action fantasy adventure film directed by Brett Ratner; adapted by Ryan J. Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos; based on the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars. Fourteen hundred years BCE, a tormented soul walked the earth that was neither man nor god. Hercules was the powerful son of the god king Zeus, for this he received nothing but suffering his entire life. After twelve arduous labours and the loss of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods finding his only solace in bloody battle. Over the years he warmed to the company of six similar souls, their only bond being their love of fighting and presence of death. These men and women never question where they go to fight or why or whom, just how much they will be paid. Now the King of Thrace has hired these mercenaries to train his men to become the greatest army of all time. It is time for this bunch of lost souls to finally have their eyes opened to how far they have fallen when they must train an army to become as ruthless and blood thirsty as their reputation has become.

It stars Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and John Hurt. The cast gave impressive performances, but one could not help feeling most of the time it was nothing but one big "gun show" ensemble full of hulking behemoths. Especially in the case of Dwayne Johnson. To prepare for the role, Johnson took on a grueling training routine, stating: "I trained and worked harder than ever for 8 months for this role. Lived alone and locked myself away (like a moody 260-lb. monk) in Budapest for 6 months while filming. Goal was to completely transform into this character. Disappear in the role. Press journalist asked me today, with the mental and physical toll the role had on me, would I do it again? Not only would I do it again...I'd do it fucking twice."

'Hollywood-looking', poorly acted, and dull, Hercules is neither fun enough to qualify as an action movie nor absorbing enough to work on a dramatic level. Essentially a Monday Night Raw episode with mythological dressing. There's nothing here to engage the viewer or make them care one iota about what's occurring on the screen, making it no wonder that this got dumped into theaters in the middle of the Summer season. No one seems to have high hopes for it - though it might well help to pass a wet afternoon when it shows up on TV 15 minutes from now. It may not track, but Ratner still knows how to set up a rousing circus.

Simon says Hercules receives:

Friday, 8 August 2014

Film Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014).

“So here we are: a thief, two thugs, an assassin and a maniac. But we're not going to stand by as evil wipes out the galaxy.” This line, from the trailer, is basically what Marvel’s surprisingly unique film, Guardians of the Galaxy, is all about. Based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and produced by Marvel Studios. It is the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is directed by James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman. In the film, Light years from Earth and 26 years after being abducted, Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser and forms an uneasy alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are on the run as well.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige first mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy as a potential film at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International. Feige announced that the film was in active development at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International during the Marvel Studios panel, with an intended release date of August 1, 2014. He stated that the film's titular team would consist of the characters Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. Nicole Perlman, who was enrolled in Marvel's screenwriting program in 2009, was offered several of their lesser known properties to base a screenplay on. Out of those, Perlman chose Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy, due to her interest in space and science fiction. In early 2012, James Gunn was brought in to contribute to the script. Gunn eventually rewrote the script entirely because "it didn’t work" for him; he would use the film The Dirty Dozen as a reference to convey his ideas of the film to Marvel.

The film features an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. The performances in this film were all superbly performed. Chris Pratt gives a winning performance as Star-Lord. Saldana gave her best performance in a Science-Fiction film yet! Bautista gave a terrific first performance as Drax. Diesel and Copper gave the best performance of the entire film as Cooper stole the show as Rocket and Diesel was the heart and soul of the film. Pace gave a menacing performance as Ronan. As well as Gillan as Nebula. Reilly gave the films comical touch.

It is an out-of-body experience. Guardians of the Galaxy is the movie that's going to entertain a lot of contemporary folk who have a soft spot for the virtually ritualized manners of Marvel comic-book adventure and it is Marvel’s most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie ever made! Gunn has succeeded in his attempt to create the biggest possible adventure fantasy based on Marvel’s most unknown property and films from his childhood. A legendary expansive and ambitious effort to the sci-fi genre, Gunn opens our eyes to the possibilities of that kind of blockbuster film-making and things may never be the same. In conclusion, it is a grandiose and unique epic with a simple and whimsical heart.

Simon says Guardians of the Galaxy receives: