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Lucy Review


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'

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

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


OK
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

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