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
Scarlett Johansson heads up Luc Besson's 'Lucy'
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 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' has been a big hit and Universal want a sequel.
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 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
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
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.
Luc Besson's movies are preposterous fun.
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.
Amber 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
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
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.
Check out the first trailer for the new thriller from the 'Léon' director.
The first trailer has been released for Lucy, the brand new thriller from French director Luc Besson and actress Scarlett Johansson. The Avengers star takes centre stage as the titular character in this gritty, futuristic, sci-fi adventure and plays a drug mule who finds herself accidentally given extraordinary superpowers by the bag she's transporting.
Scarlett Johansson Plays A Drug Mule Who Finds Herself With Superhuman Powers In 'Lucy.'
After being kidnapped in the Taiwanese city of Taipei, Lucy finds herself in a dangerous situation where a bag of mysterious chemicals has been placed in her stomach. As the drug leaks out she is gifted with superhuman strength and a massive intelligence boost, which enables her to defeat her captors.
Most of these movies feature actors, actresses and filmmakers who really should know better...
10. A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III - Charlie Sheen exploits his bad-boy image in this fractured comedy in which he plays a paranoid idiot who thinks his ex is trying to kill him. But the story is wafer-thin, and the film is almost overpoweringly indulgent.
Read more about 'A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III' here
9. Pain & Gain - Michael Bay's comedy may feature enjoyably offhanded performances from Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, but it's also the year's most offensive movie. Playing a true-life murder for laughs is only the first mistake.
Watch the trailer for 'Pain & Gain' here
Read the full review for 'Pain & Gain' here
Continue reading: The 10 Worst Films Of 2013
Despite a promising trailer and a great cast, this French-American comedy-thriller is a complete misfire because Luc Besson seems unclear about how to create a black comedy. He merely mixes silliness and violence, but the script is so lazy that it's neither funny nor suspenseful. With the talent on screen we keep hoping everything will come together at some point, but it never does.
It's set in Normandy, where the Manzoni family has just moved after another disastrous attempt at witness relocation. They snitched on the mob back in America, and are having a tough time blending with locals anywhere. Even here, Fred (De Niro) gets a little too frustrated with a plumber while Maggie (Pfeiffer) doesn't take insults lying down, and their kids Belle and Warren (Agron and D'Leo) quickly take over the system at their new school. Their handler Stansfield (Jones) is doing his best, but it can't belong before what they are up to gets them noticed back home.
For a French movie, this is oddly packed with negative French stereotypes, from the ugly casting to the locals' backwards technology (only the Americans have mobile phones). And everyone speaks English with a silly accent. But then the script is packed with head-scratching inconsistencies and far-fetched touches. We never believe a single element of the plot, which leaves these solid actors looking lost on screen. De Niro, Pfeiffer and Jones have at least played these characters before, so know how to punch the comedy notes.
Continue reading: The Family Review
Robert De Niro teams up with Martin Scorsese and Luc Besson for 'The Family'.
Thinking of heading to the theater this weekend to catch a new release? Well, as the major studios prepare their premium Oscar-bait for the November and December release dates, there isn't a whole lot to choose from. Still, Luc Besson's new comedy The Family - starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer and executive produced by Martin Scorsese - should satisfy family crowds not keen on seeing another Insidious movie.
Robert De Niro Means Business In 'The Family'
The off-beat movie follows a mafia boss and his family who relocate to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite the best efforts of Tommy Lee Jones's Agent Stansfield, the family can't help but revert to its old ways and eventually get tracked down by a couple of former mafia cronies. Of course, chaos ensues in the most unlikely of settings.
Continue reading: 'The Family': Who Says Robert De Niro Doesn't Make Good Movies Anymore?
The Trailer for upcoming black comedy 'The Family', starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, has been released.
From director Luc Besson (Taken, Léon) comes a new gangster movieThe Family- only this time Besson has made a black comedy. The Family stars Hollywood heavyweights Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer as a husband and wife duo. The pair co-starred together in 2007's Stardust but hadn't actually 'performed' together until now.
The plot follows the Manzoni family, led by patriarchal Giovanni (De Niro), who are placed under witness protection after snitching on the mafia. After the mafia turn on him, wanting him dead, Giovanni's family are moved en masse from Brooklyn to Normandy in France reinventing themselves as 'the Blakes' but encounter difficulties when trying to fit in.
Giovanni Manzoni is a gangster boss who has been placed under witness protection by Agent Stansfield after betraying the mafia. However, wherever they are relocated and whatever names they are given, they always manage to get themselves into trouble as blending in to their new towns becomes more and more difficult. With their lives under threat from their old pals again, the Manzonis are moved to Normandy in France where they become the 'Blakes'. Unfortunately, they have barely moved one day before the family manage to create chaos yet again, with Mrs Blake blowing up a convenience store in response to a snide comment from the French shopkeeper, the daughter getting into numerous fights and the son in trouble at school for theft and bribery. As expected, they manage to attract attention from the mob and they are forced to fight back to protect themselves in the only way they know how.
Continue: The Family Trailer
Aung San Suu Kyi, born in Burma, watched her father die when she was three years old. Her father had lead Burma into independence from the British empire in 1947, as well as founding the modern Burmese army. But in that same year, he was assassinated by his rivals.
Continue: The Lady Trailer
As daughter of Aung San, founder of independent Burma, Suu (Yeoh) has a place in her nation's heart. She lives in Britain with her Oxford-professor husband Michael (Thewlis) and their sons (Raggett and Woodhouse), and when she returns home to care for her ailing mother, she gets involved in the pro-democracy movement. This terrifies the military junta that rules with an iron fist, so they put her under house arrest just before the 1990 election that her party won in a landslide. Then the military refuses to cede power.
Continue reading: The Lady Review
In Colombia, feisty 9-year-old Cataleya (Stenberg) witnesses her parents' massacre of by Marco (Molla), henchman the drug kingpin Luis (Benites). Years layer (now Saldana) she's in Chicago, where she's been raised by her uncle (Curtis) to be a stealthy assassin. Now she's trying to draw Marco and Luis out of protective CIA custody by leaving clues at each murder scene. And it seems to be working. With an FBI agent (James) on her trail and a boyfriend (Vartan) who knows nothing, she's playing a dangerous game.
Continue reading: Colombiana Review
Maverick French film director, writer, and producer Luc Besson takes us on another wonderful journey through an imaginary world in his adaptation of 'The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec' a much loved 1970's Franco-Belgian comic adventure written and illustrated by Jacques Tardi.
The setting is Paris, France. The year is 1912. Our protagonist Adele Blanc-Sec is an intrepid young investigative journalist who will go to any lengths to achieve her goal.
Charly (Reno) retired from his job as a Marseilles mob boss to spend time with his family. But someone has it in for him, and after he survives being shot 22 times, Charly and a cop (Fois) start looking for who did it. Charly immediately turns to the other local bosses (Merad and Berry), childhood friends with whom he took a vow of loyalty. But soon all-out war breaks out between thugs on various sides, and the division of loyalty isn't as clear-cut as it should be.
Continue reading: 22 Bullets [l'immortel] Review
You can't help but feel ever so curious about how the characters are going to get themselves out of this conundrum: Upon awakening after a car accident, Hannah (Lili Taylor) realizes she's in possession of her daughter Sam's body (Olivia Thirlby). Hannah's husband Benjamin (David Duchovny) is in a tough spot: He loves his wife to death (and wants to do nasty things to her) but she's trapped in their 16-year-old daughter's body. What's a guy to do?
Continue reading: The Secret Review
Date of birth
18th March, 1958
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Luc Besson gleefully combines two of his favourite movie elements - fit women and wildly...
The cast and crew of 'Lucy' - actors Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman and Amr Waked,...
French filmmaker Luc Besson continues to combine family themes with intense violence (see Taken), but...
Lucy was just a regular girl living in Taipei, Taiwan before she was brutally kidnapped...
Despite a promising trailer and a great cast, this French-American comedy-thriller is a complete misfire...
Giovanni Manzoni is a gangster boss who has been placed under witness protection by Agent...