Review: Lucy

Lucy The Year of Scarlett Johansson continues as she takes on the roll of Lucy. This contemporary sci fi flick continues the often used highly debated "fact" that we as humans only use 10% of our brain capacity at any given time. It asks what happens when we are able to use 100%. The movie answers that question in its own ridiculous yet enjoyable way. The title character Lucy (Scarlett Johannson) finds herself in Tawain for some reason which I don't think was ever explained. She ends up getting kidnapped by Asian drug kingpin Mr. Jang (Oldboy/Min-sik Choi) and against her will becomes a drug mule. They are trafficking a new drug that looks surprisingly like the blue meth that Walter White was cooking. The enterprising kingpin traffics his drugs by placing them inside his mules abdomens. During Transport, one of his employers apparently forgot how things work and begins to go to work on Lucy. The bag is damaged and she gets a massive dose in quite possibly the craziest acid trip anyone could ever have. When she awakens, she realizes she's got powers that she didn't have before. She frees herself from her captors and is on a quest to find out whats going on.

Throughout the film, there are scenes of exposition about the the human brain by Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) and what is possible when we are able to unlock its true potential. During all of this, Lucy needs to retrieve the rest of the drugs and get into contact with the professor all while being tailed by Mr. Jang and his band of thugs.

The film clocks in at a tight 90 minutes and moves at a fairly steady clip so it never gets boring. Johanssons dialog may seem a bit corny but damn if she doesn't deliver it to where you feel it. One thing that director Luc Besson knows is action and while there are very few action sequences, They are pretty solid. The car chase scene is easily the stand out.

It feels like the movie wants to be smarter then it actually is and while I commend them for trying it goes so far off the rails by the final act, you're just kinda left sitting there scratching your head as to what the message was. The premise is ludicrous. The dialog is incredibly heavy handed but handled with care by the actors and the action is solid. It's a very interesting movie because it should collapse under its own foolishness but it comes out being very entertaining. It seems crazy but for a movie that literally is all about the brain this is one of the few times I can truly say turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.

[easyreview title= "Review of Lucy" cat1title="Terrence's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="3.0" overall= false]

Review: Her

Her

Director Spike Jonze’s latest science fiction/romantic comedy is a not only a fun and interesting premise, but a sharp piece of societal onlooking. Taking on the idea of a man who falls in love with the artificially intelligent operating system that runs his computer seems like a easily dismissed topic, but in the hands of Jonze the film is nothing short of a masterpiece.

We start with an awkward anti-social type named Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix). He works, ironically for a company that writes heartfelt letters for those who can't do it themselves. The film takes place in the not so distant future where computers and artificial intelligence are now common place. Theodore's life is fairly mundane and routine, his letter writing is his only outlet. His job plays well as a juxtaposition of his own lack of ability to express himself to the outside world.

When walking down a public corridor, Theodore happens upon an ad for the OS1, a new operating system that promises a fully functioning custom artificial intelligence experience. Soon thereafter we see the unveiling of sorts of the OS1. Prompting unusual questions such as ones about Theodore’s personality and parental relationships the system begins to go fully online and Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) is born. Immediately you can’t help but to notice her ability to speak at a normal human cadance. This helps to get the audience through the premise of the man and machine connection. Samantha is no HAL9000 nor is she Siri. The breathy voice of Johansson lends to the notion of a real person just on the phone far away; making Samantha that much more valid. I found myself many times almost completely forgetting that this isn’t a person in this world, there would be no reveal in the end, no wizard behind the curtain. Instead, Samantha is as present and fully weighted as any other character in the film.

During Theodore and Samantha’s budding relationship we see some of his real life friends Amy (Amy Adams) and Charles (Matt Letscher) working through their own marriage, which seems at times to not be as even footed as a man and an operating system. This of course leads to the largest social on look of the film. Her asks the basic question of “what defines a relationship?” Its up to the audience to decide if what they have is valid. JOnze provides some breadcrumbs to move you along, but ultimately the decision is yours.

Theodore and Samantha’s relationship is simply beautiful in the greatest sense of the word. Two people who are trying to navigate the murky waters of what life has to offer, together. While Theodore is slowly recovering from his pending finalized divorce from his emotional train wreck of an ex-wife Catherine (Rooney Mara), Samantha is learning the infinite space in which she resides. Both growing as people together at completely different rates and possibly directions.

Jonze has truly reached auteur status with this film, and there is no turning back now. I think I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cinematographer, Hoyte van Hoytema. His flair for dramatic imagery and positioning is as close to perfect as I’ve seen in a quite a while. Spike Jonze really impresses with long and deliberate shots of thought provoking silence, tasteful sex scenes with only your imagination at work. He brings you into both Theodore, and equally, Samantha's perspectives. Phoenix has often been cited as one of the best currently working actors in Hollywood. Her, amongst his many previous works, makes that claim again...with purpose. Last, but certainly not least, Scarlett Johansson is fantastic as Samantha. She is able to exude a naiveté and curiosity of a child in parts, and the maturity of a woman coming into her own in others. Her lack of physical onscreen time is never an issue. She makes her presence known from the beginning and it never lets up. Her joins a group of absolutely stellar films in its release year. Run, don’t walk to see Her.

[easyreview title= "Review of Her" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="5.0" overall= false]