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Lucy Review


Very Good

Luc Besson gleefully combines two of his favourite movie elements - fit women and wildly insane action - in this raucous guilty pleasure. It's almost as if he's trying to make his own version of Inception, but this is one of those films that only pretends to be brainy and existential. It's actually a slick, silly, improbable action romp. And it's a lot of fun.

The title refers both to the very first female and an American student (Scarlett Johansson) living in Taipei whose loser boyfriend (A Hijacking's Pilou Asbaek) ropes her into making a delivery to notoriously vicious crime boss Jang (Oldboy's Choi Min-sik). Grabbed by Jang's goons, she's forced to become a mule, with a kilo of experimental drugs implanted in her abdomen. When it bursts, the drug allows her to access much more than the 10 percent of the brain humans normally use. By the time she hits 20%, she can already control people and objects around her. And the percentage keeps climbing. So she heads to Paris to meet mental capacity expert Norman (Morgan Freeman) and figure out what to do. But Jang and his army of thugs are in hot pursuit, so she enlists a local cop (Syriana's Amr Waked) to help.

Besson doesn't like to hang around, so the film takes off like a shot, only barely pausing for breath in its brisk 89-minute running time. On-screen captions keep us updated on Lucy's brain capacity, and it's great fun seeing every advancement she makes on her way to 100%. This allows Besson to indulge in deliriously enjoyable mind-bending action sequences that play out like he's a kid with a giant set of very cool toys. Outrageous car chases, giant explosions and random epic shootouts fill the screen as Lucy expands her mind, begins to bend reality around her and transcends the limits of numbers and letters.

Continue reading: Lucy Review

What The Critics Are Saying About Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy'


Scarlett Johansson Morgan Freeman Luc Besson Amr Waked Choi Min-sik

Early reviews of Scarlett Johansson’s new movie Lucy are piling up ahead of its theatrical release, and it’s looking like the film is an entertaining, if mixed, bag.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson plays the lead in forthcoming thriller Lucy

Directed by Luc Besson, Johansson plays Lucy, a woman living in Taipei and forced to work for drug gangs as a mule. After the drugs she is carrying absorb themselves into her body, her brain begins to use more than the normal 10% of its capacity and becomes close to superhuman.

Continue reading: What The Critics Are Saying About Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy'

Lucy - Luc Besson Featurette


The cast and crew of 'Lucy' - actors Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman and Amr Waked, and producer Virginie Besson-Silla - talk about their experiences working with director Luc Besson in a short featurette ahead of the release of the new sci-fi movie.

'The most interesting thing about working with Luc is that he's the cameraman', Amr reveals. 'He's a director that knows precisely every little atom on his frame.'

'He's a formidable type of character because he knows what he sees in his mind and wants that vision to be executed perfectly', Scarlett adds, as Luc admits that he thinks his technique works so well because he doesn't cut. '[The actors] appreciate that a lot because all this part before action is where they have to prep and if they have to do that every thirty seconds, it's just exhausting for them', he says.

Lucy Trailer


Lucy was just a regular girl living in Taipei, Taiwan before she was brutally kidnapped by a gang while out partying. She wakes up after some hours in a strange room feeling groggy and is informed by a crime boss that she has had drugs implanted into her abdomen for transportation. She is held hostage and chained up, but during a particularly heated confrontation with one of her captors, she takes a blow to the stomach causing the parcel of drugs to leak into her system. As the drugs take hold of her, she starts to feel alert, agile and strongly tolerant of pain. She has the drugs removed from her stomach at the hospital but she has already absorbed enough that she can somewhere take in all information around her and remember it, as well as instantly change her appearance and move objects and people with mind control. With her brain already at the superhuman stage, Lucy starts to worry that she has no humanity left.

BAFTA nominated Luc Besson ('The Fifth Element', 'The Transporter', 'Taken', 'District 13') has directed and written this thrilling sci-fi flick about the hypothetical limitlessness of the human mind. 'Lucy' will be released in the UK on August 22nd 2014. 

Click here to read Lucy movie review

I Saw The Devil Review


Excellent
An epic treatise on the dangers of revenge, this gruelling Korean thriller is worth seeing simply because it's to deeply unsettling. Not only is it startlingly scary and powerfully emotional, it also might be brutally offensive.

When his pregnant fiancee (Oh) is violently murdered, secret-service agent Soo-hyun (Lee) quietly decides to get revenge. He quickly finds the serial killer, Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik), but instead of turning him in, Soo-hyun launches torturous catch-and-release vengeance. As brilliant as his plan is, he fails to count on the fact that the villain is even more pathologically evil than he is, and both men find themselves pushed far beyond their limits as the balance of power shifts between them. Meanwhile, Soo-hyun's boss (Chun Ho-jin) is on their trail.

Continue reading: I Saw The Devil Review

Lady Vengeance Review


Excellent
Never to be labeled a sexist, Korean firebrand Park Chan-wook delivers the third installment in his exceptional Vengeance Cycle, Lady Vengeance, with the unmistakable whiff of feminine ardor. Not only does this film add a breezier, comical tone that neither Oldboy nor Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance had, but it's his most stylistic and broad film to date.

It starts with the release of Lady Vengeance aka Lee Geum-Ja (Yeong-ae Lee) from prison. She was set up for the kidnapping and murder of a young child when she was 19, fearing the real murderer would kill her young daughter. Well, now she's out, and heaven knows what was sowed is going to be reaped. Lady Vengeance sets up an elaborate plan to get revenge for her and all the families of the kids who were killed by Mr. Baek (Choi Min-Sik), an elementary school teacher. She uses every contact she has made in and outside of prison to set up a good life and a good way to avenge the children who were murdered.

Continue reading: Lady Vengeance Review

Oldboy Review


Extraordinary
What can you say about a movie that has not one, not two, but three scenes of improvised oral surgery that make Laurence Olivier's bit in Marathon Man look like Steve Martin's bit in Little Shop of Horrors? For starters, you can say that that's really not the most disturbing thing this Korean import has to offer. Oldboy, as it turns out, is not interested in grossing us out, though not for a lack of trying. It's much more interested in playing with the conventions of the revenge fantasy and taking us on a very entertaining ride to places that, conceptually, we might not want to go.

The film begins with the first of many feints that play with our assumptions. A skinny, unkempt man holds another over the side of a building by his tie. Flash back to a fat, clean-shaven man named Oh Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) acting drunk and disorderly in a police station (in a truly Raging Bull-esque effort on Choi's part, we have no clue that this will become the man holding the tie). He isn't out for five minutes before he suddenly disappears. Next thing he knows, he's in what looks like a hotel room, being fed through a slot in a metal door and being gassed on a regular basis. This goes on for 15 years.

Continue reading: Oldboy Review

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance Review


Excellent
Never to be labeled a sexist, Korean firebrand Park Chan-wook delivers the third installment in his exceptional Vengeance Cycle, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, with the unmistakable whiff of feminine ardor. Not only does this film add a breezier, comical tone that neither Oldboy nor Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance had, but it's his most stylistic and broad film to date.

It starts with the release of Lady Vengeance aka Lee Geum-Ja (Yeong-ae Lee) from prison. She was set up for the kidnapping and murder of a young child when she was 19, fearing the real murderer would kill her young daughter. Well, now she's out, and heaven knows what was sowed is going to be reaped. Lady Vengeance sets up an elaborate plan to get revenge for her and all the families of the kids who were killed by Mr. Baek (Choi Min-Sik), an elementary school teacher. She uses every contact she has made in and outside of prison to set up a good life and a good way to avenge the children who were murdered.

Continue reading: Sympathy For Lady Vengeance Review

Painted Fire Review


Good
Painted Fire is a Korean film biography that traces the life of revered painter Jang "Ohwon" Seung-up, who transformed the country's style of art in the 19th century. Except for its limited production values, it bears a resemblance to American film accounts of art superstars such as Vincent Van Gogh (Lust For Life), Jackson Pollock (Pollock), and Frida Kahlo (the recent Frida). It similarly concentrates on the challenges that face major artists on their way to creating forms of expression that defy accepted standards. "Must learning to paint be so painful?" Ohwon asks.

An orphaned beggar at an early age in a highly class-stratified society, Ohwon can barely afford paper and ink to make drawings. But his need to do so leads to his using whatever materials he can scrape up, which in turn leads to early recognition of his above average talent. As depicted here, the local nobility are all art critics as well as collectors, and they are only too ready to take advantage of a new discovery. This attention to his work develops into a patronage for young Ohwon by Kim Byung-moon that provides him a means to pursue his art free from worries about basic necessities.

Continue reading: Painted Fire Review

Oldboy Review


Very Good
According to some insiders, Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy" was just a hair away from winning the 2004 Palm D'Or that eventually wentto Michael Moore's <"Fahrenheit9/11," which is just as well. Now instead of being an international award winner, it's an extremely cool little gemthat can be truly discovered by appreciative fans.

Bringing Asian cult films to a new level, this Korean importtells the hairy, gripping story of an ordinary businessman (Min-sik Choi)who suddenly disappears, having been kidnapped and kept in a single lockedroom for fifteen years without explanation. When he is finally released,he has one thing on his mind: to find out why.

His entire appearance has now changed, which is just onesmall accomplishment in a great performance by Choi. No longer a tubbydrunk in a cheap suit, he's now a lean, haunted, animal-like stoic capableof battling a platoon of bad guys in a long narrow hallway. In one of thefilm's most astonishing scenes, he does just that, with the camera trackingslowly to the right for the entire duration of this several minute-longfight, as the hero pummels his way through his attackers to the elusive exit.

Of course he meets a girl, a sushi chef (Hye-jeong Kang),and at his peculiar request she serves him a live squid (which the actoractually eats). She takes to him immediately and helps him on his quest.I must admit that when "Oldboy's" carefully prepared revengeplot finally reveals itself in the end, I did not see it coming. Even if,for some reason, astute viewers do predict the ending, "Oldboy"still fills the screen with enough show-stopping images to put an entirecircus out of work.

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Choi Min-sik Movies

Lucy Movie Review

Lucy Movie Review

Luc Besson gleefully combines two of his favourite movie elements - fit women and wildly...

Lucy - Luc Besson Featurette Trailer

Lucy - Luc Besson Featurette Trailer

The cast and crew of 'Lucy' - actors Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman and Amr Waked,...

Lucy Trailer

Lucy Trailer

Lucy was just a regular girl living in Taipei, Taiwan before she was brutally kidnapped...

I Saw the Devil Movie Review

I Saw the Devil Movie Review

An epic treatise on the dangers of revenge, this gruelling Korean thriller is worth seeing...

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Oldboy Movie Review

Oldboy Movie Review

What can you say about a movie that has not one, not two, but three...

Oldboy Movie Review

Oldboy Movie Review

According to some insiders, Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy" was just a hair away from winning the...

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