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Posts Tagged ‘Lucy’
Watch the whole thing HERE!
There’s not much going on story-wise in “The Peanuts Movie.” Like the comic strips that ran in newspapers for fifty years the plot is boiled down to its essence. In this case Charlie Brown is in love with the new girl in town. Add in some hijinks, a moral and faster than you can say, “Good grief, Charlie Brown,” you have an amiable update of the classic cartoon.
In this Paul Feig-produced movie the herky-jerky animation of the cartoons we grew up with is replaced with state of the art computer imagery but all the other familiar elements are comfortably in place. Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy piano score tinkles on the soundtrack, Linus’s blanket still provides security, Lucy’s has attitude and Charlie Brown is still a heaving mass of preadolescent insecurities.
When a new family moves in across the street from Charlie (Noah Schnapp) he is instantly smitten by his new neighbour, the Little Red-Haired Girl (Francesca Capaldi). “Maybe she won’t know about my imperfections,” says Charlie as he tries to figure out ways to impress her. Meanwhile Snoopy (Bill Melendez from original archival audio from the original television shows) has fantasy battles with the Red Baron for the affections of a pretty beagle named Fifi.
While Snoopy engages in aerial loop-de-loops to win Fifi’s love, Charlie Brown does some loopy stuff of his own. “Why is it everything I try turns out wrong?” he sighs. In the end, however, he learns that doing the right thing and showing compassion are more important than showing off for recognition.
For many people happiness will be a new look at Charles M. Schulz’s most famous creations. Feig and Steve “Horton Hears a Who!” Martino have been an extremely respectful to the source material, making a movie that feels like Schulz’s strip with a twenty-first century makeover.
The gentle humour of the TV specials is firmly in place—even a “wild” chase scene at a talent show is slow down to kid-friendly speed—as is the old-school values of the strip—project confidence, don’t slouch—but most importantly the spirit of the Charlie Brown remains intact. Schulz’s stories were always more about heart than actual plot and that is amply on display here but a shortage of story means the film occasionally feels padded out with Red Baron versus Snoopy sequences and music montages to reach the ninety minute mark.
Despite Charlie Brown’s myriad insecurities “The Peanuts Movie” is an extremely confident reworking of Schulz’s beloved creation.
Giant labyrinthine puzzles are almost as old as mankind: Prehistoric mazes were built as traps for malevolent spirits, while in medieval times the labyrinth represented a path to God. But recently, the idea of people struggling through a complicated network of paths has made for some striking visuals in movies.
This weekend, The Maze Runner sets much of its action inside a gigantic maze where frightening mechanical monsters called Grievers wander, tormenting Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) as he navigates the maze to pick up clues that help him piece together memories of his past. The sci-fi story is just the latest to feature a maze as a major plot point, but just as Labyrinth’s Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is warned, “nothing is as it seems” in these movie puzzles.
Remember Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? Like Thomas in The Maze Runner, the boy wizard has to make it through a maze (in this instance to find the Triwizard Cup), but instead of fighting magical creatures, this hedge maze is magical; shape shifting to make the journey extra difficult. The 1972 horror film Tales from the Crypt contained an even more sinister maze.
Made up of five stories, the film culminated with the tale of a labyrinth told with razor-sharp wit. Set in a home for the blind, the patients get even with the institute’s cruel director by placing him in the centre of a maze of narrow corridors lined with razor blades. It’s a cutting edge story, that, according to besthorrormovies.com “rivals the ‘death traps’ of Saw and ‘tortures’ of Hostel while only showing a single small cut of the flesh.”
In The Shining, the axe-wielding father Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) chases his son Danny (Danny Lloyd) through the Overlook Hotel’s hedge maze. The quick-thinking boy escapes by retracing his steps, confusing his maniacal dad. The documentary Room 237 offers up a number of interpretations of what the maze and Danny’s escape represents. One theory suggests it reflects Greek hero Theseus’ slaying of the Minotaur and escape from the labyrinth, while another speculates it’s a metaphor for conquering repression. Whatever the subtext, it remains one of director Stanley Kubrick’s most tense scenes.
And finally, Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Dracula sees Lucy (Sadie Frost) sleepwalking through a garden maze, chased by Dracula (Gary Oldman) in wolfman form while Pan’s Labyrinth features a maze as a place of safety for Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) to evade her attacker.
Watch the whole thing HERE!
“Lucy” is a different style of movie–the philosophical action movie. Imagine a mix of “Limitless,” “La Femme Nikita,” “The Matrix” and a Philosophy 101 textbook with half the pages torn out and you’ll get an idea of the film’s loopy feel.
Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) begins the story “just like you, vulnerable, uncertain, frightened of death,” but when the bag of drugs some very bad people “slipped into her lower tummy” bursts her life is changed forever. She doesn’t overdose, instead the drug expands her mind to ten times the usual capacity. She becomes a turbo-charged human who can “do things I’ve never done before, and can control the elements around me,” change her appearance and move objects with her mind. With great power comes great responsibility, so she contacts a world famous neuroscientist (Morgan Freeman) to pass along her newfound knowledge, but not before unleashing the power of her mind on the drug dealing baddies who got her into this mess.
The metaphysical aspects of the story are about as deep as a lunch tray, but director Luc Besson sure knows how to weave enough action through his absurd stories to keep things entertaining. If you can wade through the silly scientific theories there are some great scenes that are more fun than a barrel of neuroscientists. In one fight scene all the bad guys have knives and guns while Johansson taps into her inner Jedi Knight to defeat them without raising her hand. That sequence alone is worth sitting through the entire 80 minute running time.
Morgan Freeman fans might find less to be enthused about. He is a lot device, a character who provides some much needed context and scientific gravitas–does anyone have more gravitas than Freeman?–and while he is one of two top billed stars in this movie, his part could’ve been played by almost anyone. The movie really belongs to Johansson who starts off as a bubbly party girl and ends the movie as the keeper of the secrets of the universe. It’s a bit of a stretch but her performance shifts as she becomes less and less human–“All the things that make me human are fading away,” she says–and more and more a flesh computer, capable of understanding the very essence of life.
That’s right, this is an action film with a higher purpose. It even comes with its own Terrence-Malick-by-way-of-Stanley-Kubrick tribute. I don’t want to give away anything, but with a movie as loopy as is one, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that there is some wild time travel back to the beginning of time. I guess it’s an attempt to add some profundity to the story but it plays more like a Philosophy 101 student on an acid trip.
“Lucy” isn’t as smart as it thinks it is, but it is a cleverly made summer diversion.
Synopsis: Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) begins the story “just like you: vulnerable, uncertain, frightened of death,” but when the bag of drugs some very bad people “slipped into her lower tummy” bursts, her life is changed forever. She doesn’t overdose. Instead the drug expands her mind to 10 times the usual capacity. She becomes a turbocharged human who can change her appearance and move objects with her mind. She contacts a world-famous neuroscientist (Morgan Freeman) to pass along her newfound knowledge, but not before unleashing the power of her mind on the baddies who got her into this mess.
Richard: Mark, Lucy is a different style of movie, the philosophical action movie. The philosophy is all mumbo-jumbo but that doesn’t matter because the film is filled with many enjoyable scenes. Imagine a mix of Limitless, La Femme Nikita and The Matrix run through Luc Besson’s absurd style of moviemaking and you get the idea of what this movie is all about. What did you make of it?
Mark: The movie is great when it remembers it’s a thriller but when the pseudoscience and dime-store spirituality takes over, it becomes oppressive. I always can depend on Besson for brisk pacing but he slows it all down for a series of lectures — literally, with Morgan Freeman narrating his part as seems to be his custom now.
RC: Freeman is one of two top-billed stars in this movie, but his part could have been played by almost anyone. The movie really belongs to Scarlett Johansson, who starts off as a bubbly party girl and ends the movie as the keeper of the secrets of the universe. It’s a bit of a stretch, but if you can wade through the silly scientific theories, there are some great scenes that are more fun than a barrel of neuroscientists. In one fight scene, all the bad guys have knives and guns while Johansson taps into her inner Jedi Knight to defeat them without raising her hand. That sequence alone is worth sitting through the entire 80-minute running time.
MB: I liked lots of scenes in the movie, especially at the beginning when Johansson realizes how much trouble she’s in. Afterward she’s a bit of an automaton but a very hot one. And what did you think of the trippy psychedelic visuals and time travel revelations toward the end?
RC: You mean the Terrence-Malick-by-way-of-Stanley-Kubrick tribute? I don’t want to give away anything, but with a movie as loopy as this one, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that there is some wild time travel back to the beginning of time. I guess it’s an attempt to add some profundity to the story, but it plays more like a Philosophy 101 student on an acid trip.
MB: Loopy is right, Richard, maybe even crazy. But at least Besson cribs from the best.
When the Reel Guys aren’t at the movies, one of their favourite things to do is talk about going to the movies. This week Richard and Mark have a look at talking apes, a vengeful Scarlett Johansson, and a singer with a papier-mâché head and a talking raccoon. So throw some popcorn on the BBQ, crank up the air conditioning and enjoy the Reel Guys’ most anticipated films of the summer season.
Richard: Mark, I was a huge Planet of the Apes fan as a kid. Loved the rubber masks, the twisty endings and the “YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP!” scene still blows my mind. Saw them over and over, and even enjoyed the bad ones like Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Today, as an adult, I have a full-sized Cornelius bust with faux chimpanzee hair in my office. So, given my obsession with simian cinema, my inner 14-year-old goes a bit ape every time I see the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer. What’s got you excited this summer?
Mark: I’m a Planet of the Apes fan, too, Richard. The idea of animals acting like humans is a welcome change from my life in show business, where humans act like animals. I’m really looking forward to Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson in a Luc Besson revenge/action flick. This is Scarlett’s moment, and this is going to be the movie to make her a megastar. The trailer made me spill my popcorn!
RC: Johansson is doing interesting work these days, splitting her time between rock ’em, sock ’em movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and smaller movies like Chef and Under the Skin. Michael Fassbender has a similar career arc. We last saw him in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Next up he’s in Frank, a strange indie based on the life of Frank Sidebottom, a real-life English musician who wore a giant papier-mâché head complete with painted-on eyes, ruby red lips and slicked-back hair.
I love Fassbender for still taking chances on movies like this when he could easily cash big Hollywood paycheques time after time.
MB: Sounds like one strange biopic, Richard! A more commercial variant I’m looking forward to is Get On Up, the James Brown story starring Chadwick Boseman. The Godfather of Soul never wore a papier-mâché head, but he was big on ermine capes and tantrums, so this should be a lot of fun. And what a soundtrack it will be!
For life lessons and laughs, there’s And So It Goes, a mature rom-com starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. Bring your CARP card for discounts on soft-chew treats from the concession stand.
RC: I don’t have a CARP card …. yet. I do like soft chew candies, however. As far as movies go, I’m curious about Guardians of the Galaxy. So many of the summer’s blockbusters have been oh-so-serious affairs that I think this one promises some good laughs and action.
MB: The cast suggests it might be more than your typical sci-fi adventure. But it’s Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz in Sex Tape that gets me hot. Big laughs, lots of action, at least of the horizontal variety.