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Luc Besson Casts Cara Delevingne for Sci-Fi 'Valerian'


Cara Delevingne Luc Besson

Luc Besson's next movie will be an adaptation of the graphic-novel Valerian, with Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan in the lead roles. The French director's action-thriller Lucy earned in excess of $450 million last year.

Luc BessonLuc Besson has cast Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan in Valerian

Based on the hugely popular French book series, Valerian will follow an 11th century peasant girl and her time-travelling companion. The movie will be written and directed by Besson and produced by his wife Virgnie Besson Silla. Production is set to begin at the end of the year with a global release slated for summer 2017.

Continue reading: Luc Besson Casts Cara Delevingne for Sci-Fi 'Valerian'

Taken 3 Review


Grim

As with the first two films in this dumb but bombastically watchable franchise, writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen seemingly put no effort into writing a script that can even remotely hold water. This is such a boneheaded story that it boggles the mind, eliciting laughter every time it tries to show some emotion or menace. But watching Liam Neeson charge around on a personal mission, cleaning up the criminal underworld in the process, is still rather good fun.

Back home in Los Angeles, former super-spy Bryan (Neeson) is trying to re-bond with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) while waiting for his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) to leave her sweaty but wealthy husband Stuart (Dougray Scott) and come back to him. But this dream is cut short in a twisted act of violence that leaves Bryan as the prime suspect. With Inspector Franck (Forest Whitaker) on his tail, Bryan traverses the city trying to unknot the mystery and find out who the real villain is, so he can clear his name and protect his family. With the help of an old pal (Leland Orser), Bryan manages to taunt and elude the cops at every turn while tracking down the nasty Russian mafioso Malankov (Sam Spruell). But something is clearly not right here.

Instead of centring on one far-fetched kidnapping, pretty much every character in the story gets "taken" at some point in the movie. The film benefits from this break in the formula, creating a relentless pursuit that runs right through the story. So even if the details never remotely ring true, and even if most scenes feel badly contrived, it's thoroughly entertaining to watch Neeson's stand-in stuntman leap across backyard fences or drive like a maniac on the freeway, causing mass carnage in his wake. Sadly, director Olivier Megaton directs and edits the film by chopping scenes into splinters, then reassembling them so they make no sense at all. It's loud and fast and incomprehensible.

Continue reading: Taken 3 Review

Los Angeles premiere of 'Unbroken' - Arrivals

John D'Leo, Luc Besson and Talia Besson - Shots of a variety of stars as they arrived for the Los Angeles premiere of the action drama movie 'Unbroken' directed by Angelina Jolie. The premiere was held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 15th December 2014

The Homesman Review


Good

Strong characters and a vivid sense of life in frontier America give this film a kick of authentic energy that makes it a gripping journey. While it may be a little too serious for its own good, the movie is strikingly shot and played to bring out the gritty tenacity of people who dare to live in such a foreboding place. And a couple of shocking twists in the tale keep us on our toes.

In the Nebraska Territory in 1853, life was so difficult that three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto and Sonja Richter) in a small community are driven mad by the isolation, desperation and harsh weather. Their husbands are too busy surviving to do anything about it, so the local pastor (John Lithgow) arranges for the strong-willed spinster farmer Mary Bee (Hilary Swank) to escort them back east to civilisation. She needs a "homesman" to help make the arduous five-week journey, so she drafts in drunken scoundrel George (Tommy Lee Jones). During their long trek across the plains, they have a series of potentially life-threatening encounters with the likes of well-armed Native Americans, an interfering opportunist (Tim Blake Nelson) and a cruelly dismissive hotel owner (James Spader).

The characters are strikingly feisty, starting with Swank's fiercely no-nonsense, self-sufficient Mary Bee, who one local observes is as good as any man around. She's also rather annoyingly holier-than-thou, which explains why she's has so much trouble finding a husband to help her. And these three women really push her to the breaking point: Gummer's Bella is consumed by grief, Otto's Theoline moans day and night, and Richter's Gro is a delusional menace. So it's a good thing that Jones provides some comic relief as the rapscallion George, a snarky realist who's the only likeable person on-screen.He also emerges along the way as the true protagonist of the tale.

Continue reading: The Homesman Review

The Homesman Screening at the AFI Film Festival

Luc Besson - Photographs from the American Film Institute Film Festival and a screening of 'The Homesman' in Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 12th November 2014

Screening of Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

Luc Besson and Virgine Besson Silla - Screening of Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart - Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 24th September 2014

Luc Besson and Virgine Besson Silla

'Lucy' Merges Bessons' Obsessions: Action, and Beautiful Women


Scarlett Johansson Luc Besson

Luc Besson is clearly a cinematic force to reckon with, invading our cinemas this year as a producer (The Homesman) and writer (3 Days to Kill and Brick Mansions). And as a writer-director, his action romp Lucy has already topped the US box office and is expanding globally over the next two weeks to Europe, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Scarlett JohanssonScarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Besson hasn't made many films that didn't have some element of action in them. But he never blows things up just for the spectacle. "If the action doesn't have a soul or purpose, I'm not interested," he says. "If it's pure action for its own sake, I enjoy it like a cheeseburger: you eat it, then you're hungry."

Continue reading: 'Lucy' Merges Bessons' Obsessions: Action, and Beautiful Women

'Lucy' Is Fantastic, But There Will Be No Sequel, Says Besson


Scarlett Johansson Luc Besson

Director Luc Besson has generated modest acclaim for his action-thriller Lucy, though the Frenchman says it is unlikely there will be a sequel. Fans of the movie have been clamouring for news of a second movie - as have representatives of Universal Pictures - but Besson told reporters in Taiwan: "I don't see how we can do one."

Scarlett JohanssonScarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

"It's not made for that," he said in an interview with the local press. "If I find something good enough, maybe I will, but for now I don't even think about it."

Continue reading: 'Lucy' Is Fantastic, But There Will Be No Sequel, Says Besson

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

Reviews: Scarlett Johansson Saves Luc Besson's Messy "Lucy"


Scarlett Johansson Luc Besson

Let’s talk about Lucy. Luc Besson’s latest sci-fi/action/horror/mess has so far been described as anything from unscientific to outlandish to downright laughable. So far critics have decried the plot, interspersed with gratuitous stock footage of hunting cheetahs (no, really) as a “frantic exercise in pseudoscience and goofball metaphysics” (The Chicago Reader). Still, even its worst critics admit that Lucy has its strong points – Scarlett Johansson’s performance being the strongest. Based mostly on her acting, The Telegraph's review goes as far as to call Lucy "the blockbuster of the summer."

Scarlett Johansson
If nothing else, Lucy is worth seeing for Scarlett Johansson alone.

According to Den of Geek’s Ryan Lambie, Johansson is “the magnet which holds Besson’s bonkers storyline together. The genre elements may scratch up against one another or sometimes collapse entirely, but Johansson remains a relateable, likeable lead, even when her character does things that go against the grain of a leading lady somewhat.”

Continue reading: Reviews: Scarlett Johansson Saves Luc Besson's Messy "Lucy"

A Week In Movies: Guardians Holds Two Premieres, Plus First Glimpses Of Fifty Shades, The Imitation Game And Mad Max: Fury Road


Chris Pratt Zoe Saldana Vin Diesel Scarlett Johansson Luc Besson Chadwick Boseman Donald Sutherland Benedict Cumberbatch Keira Knightley Dakota Johnson Jamie Dornan Tom Hardy Charlize Theron

Guardians of the Galaxy

In the wake of especially strong buzz from critics who have seen the film, the cast of  assembled for their world premiere in Los Angeles this week, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Glenn Close, Karen Gillan and Michael Rooker. They then dashed across to London for a Leicester Square premiere, where they were joined by Disney/Marvel colleagues Mark Hamill and Chris Hemsworth, plus Diesel's Fast & Furious costar Elsa Pataky. The film opens next week. Browse through our gallery of the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy - Los Angeles, California, USA. We also have some shots of celebrities at the 'Guardians of Galaxy' premiere in London.

Luc Besson's new action romp Lucy opens today in the US and next month in the UK. In a new short feature, Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman give a backstage look at working with Besson on the movie, including glimpses of the crew filming elaborate action scenes. The clip ends with a brief trailer for the finished film. Watch 'Lucy - Luc Besson' Featurette.

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Guardians Holds Two Premieres, Plus First Glimpses Of Fifty Shades, The Imitation Game And Mad Max: Fury Road

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.

'3 Days to Kill' Combines Themes of Luc Besson's World


Luc Besson Kevin Costner Amber Heard

French writer-director-producer Luc Besson has created an entire industry by bringing American stars to Europe and turning them into action heroes in movies that oddly mix grisly violence with family values. His latest venture is 3 Days to Kill, starring Kevin Costner as a dying former CIA black-ops operative who's trying to bond with his teen daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and ex-wife (Connie Nielsen) while also doing one last job in Paris.

3 Days to KillAmber Heard in '3 Days to Kill'

Besson's first foray into this odd genre hybrid was with Leon (aka The Professional) in 1994, starring a very young Natalie Portman as an orphan rescued and trained in the art of assassination by hitman Jean Reno. From here he turned to Jason Statham for the three Transporter romps, Liam Neeson for the Taken movies, John Travolta in From Paris With Love, Paul Walker in Brick Mansions (a remake of his French thriller District 13) and even Robert DeNiro in The Family. These films are so preposterous that they just about work as guilty pleasures, as long as audiences can overlook the vaguely obscene mixture of violence, innuendo and children.

Continue reading: '3 Days to Kill' Combines Themes of Luc Besson's World

3 Days to Kill Review


OK

French filmmaker Luc Besson continues to combine family themes with intense violence (see Taken), but at least this film has a wry sense of humour about it. Director McG refuses to take the story seriously (see Charlie's Angels), balancing the escalating body count with a silly father-daughter drama to make this an enjoyably absurd guilty pleasure.

Kevin Costner stars as Ethan, a veteran CIA hitman who finds out that he's only got three months to live. So he retires and returns home to Paris to reconnect with his ex-wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and their now-teen daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld). But just as he discovers a family of immigrants squatting in his flat, the vampy CIA operative Vivi (Amber Heard) appears and coaxes him back into service for one last job, paying him with both cash and an experimental cancer treatment. So as he tracks down international arms dealers, he's also trying to bond with Zooey over three days of babysitting while Christine is away on business. But of course this is also just when the violence breaks out.

McG does a great job of cutting back and forth between these two story strands: the tetchy-sweet fatherly stuff and the action-man shootouts, car chases and fist-fights. Ethan even has to interrupt a spot of torture when Zooey gets in trouble at school. This wildly bizarre mixture of goofy sentimentality and vicious brutality takes in all of Paris' picturesque landmarks. And since this is a Luc Besson script, it's only a matter of time before the two elements merge for a big climax. Yes, everything is ludicrously predictable, but there's just enough spark to keep us entertained.

Continue reading: 3 Days to Kill Review

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