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"Lucy" will be discussed soon on the podcast but at least one member of Scarjo-loving Tfe refuses to see it. Here's Matthew Eng to tell you why. - Editor
I don't care if Lucy is every bit the gloriously silly and shamelessly outré action fireworks show that gung-ho summer audiences have made into a "surprise hit." I care even less that Luc Besson has managed to curb his own gonzo cheese-fest tendencies to a running time of less than 90 minutes, compared to the ceaselessly spinning tops and chiseled self-mythologizing of every Christopher Nolan movie post-Insomnia. And, though it's been tempting, I finally don't care that Besson and Co. have seemingly put the newly-rejuvenated Scarlett Johansson (so good in Under the Skin; so great in Don Jon) on a pedestal of full-out Film Goddess proportions, in a genre where movies in which women are front and center and not merely »
- Matthew Eng
Tuesday night means Best Shot. This week we're looking at Ingmar Bergman's biggest success stateside both at the box office and with Oscar voters. If Cries and Whispers is not quite his most famous classic today, it remains one of the true essentials within his celebrated filmography. This mysterious and utterly gorgeous film won Bergman's longtime Dp Sven Nykvist the first of his two Oscars for best cinematography. It concerns three sisters, one of whom is dying, and the family's maid. Naturally it's very depressing. But great art always transcends.
If you're running late with your choice for Best Shot, take heart and finish watching. My own entry in this "best shot" party will be up tomorrow so yours can be too. I have a good excuse. Today I finalized all the prep work for both the '73 Smackdown festivities (running from Thursday to Saturday here) and all the »
- NATHANIEL R
Firstly, Academy Award winner and dancer supreme Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter) has joined to take on the role of King Louie, made famous by musician Louis Prima in the original, who resides as leader of a group of apes and monkeys. Secondly, Emmy nominee Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Community) will breath life and vocals to Akela, legendary leader of the wolf pack.
The distingused pair join an already eclectic cast of actors, including Scarlett Johansson (Under The Skin) as Kaa, Academy Award winners Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3) as Bagheera and Lupita Nyongo’o (12 Years A Slave) as Raksha, Idris Elba (Luther) as Shere Khan and newcomer Neel Sethi who makes his screen debut as Mowgli, the »
- Scott Davis
Wow, this year has been full of some ambitious filmmaking. Movies like Under the Skin have challenged the boundaries of cinema to show that art should not abide by any sort of rules or regulations.Snowpiercer was prime evidence that outlandish concepts allow creativity and fun to flourish. Now even filmmakers who have been primly associated with straightforward movies are getting in on the act.
Based on the marketing and Luc Besson’s name some may assume Lucy will be the latest Taken clone where a scantily clad Scarlet Johnasson travels around Europe bludgeoning random thugs for our mind numbing amusement. In fact that is not the case as Lucy shows even old directors can learn new tricks. Besson uses a La Femme Nikita »
- Dan Clark
Amir here, with the weekend’s Scarlett Johansson re Box Office report
‘twas a battle between two kickass heroes at the multiplex this weekend, and the The Rock’s old school muscles and sword and sandals fell to the fierce power of ScarJo and the wonder of technology. Lucy beat Hercules to top the weekend. Those weren’t the only new releases that entered the top ten: the anonymously titled And So It Goes starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas started with a tepid $2k per screen average for the slightly older crowd, while A Man Most Wanted did really solid business on only 361 screens. Experts are currently analyzing whether the audience interest stems from Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final performance or the work of Iranian character actor Homayoun Ershadi.
Weekend Box Office
01 Lucy $44 *New* Trailer thoughts
02 Hercules $29 *New*
03 Dawn Of Planet Of Apes $16.4 (cum. $172) Review
04 The Purge: Anarchy $9.8 (cum. »
- Amir S.
The year of ScarJo continued in high fashion this weekend, with the action-thriller Lucy surpassing expectations and reaching the #1 spot at the North American box office. Taking in an estimated $44 million from 3,173 theatres, Lucy became the actor’s biggest opening for a non-Marvel film. That is also a larger opening than Salt ($36 million), which starred kick-ass heroine Angelina Jolie and opened in late July, 2010.
With Johansson receiving a lot of acclaim this year for her roles in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Her and Under the Skin, a lack of options for female moviegoers and a dazzling trailer, Lucy was expected to open at the top – but not to this extent. With competition from Hercules and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, mixed reviews and an R rating, an opening over $40 million is a big surprise.
Lucy is the fourth original film from Universal to open at #1 this year – after Lone Survivor, »
- Jordan Adler
The actress may have benefited more from her work on the Marvel movies than any other member of the superhero ensemble save for Robert Downey Jr., whose work as Iron Man transformed him into perhaps the biggest box office star on the planet. Evidence of Johansson’s raised profile was on display this weekend, as the actress powered “Lucy” to a $44 million debut, the third biggest female-driven action opening of all time.
- Brent Lang
It’s a big win for Johansson, solidifying her as an action star to rival Angelina Jolie. “Lucy” ranks as her largest non-Marvel opening, edging out 2009′s “He’s Just Not That Into You” ($27.8 million). It’s been a very good few months for Johansson, who scored critical raves for playing a sultry, Siri-like voice in “Her” and a conflicted alien seductress in “Under the Skin,” and made bank reprising her role as Black Widow in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
“Her bankability is beyond reproach and her street cred is beyond comparison,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “She can bounce gracefully between indie movies and esoteric movies and then rise to the top box office charts.”
Universal acquired “Lucy” for $40 million, which makes its opening »
- Brent Lang
Written and directed by Luc Besson
Let there be no doubt: the concept which powers Luc Besson’s new film Lucy, that human beings use only 10% of their brain capacity on average, is pseudoscience garbage. However, that fact ought not disqualify the film immediately. In truth, a little pseudoscience can go a long way at the movies. If you can accept Tie fighters making sounds as they fly through airless space in Star Wars, or the mysterious and completely unscientific powers of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, then Lucy should be no problem.
In fact, Lucy might be all the better for leaving “real” science behind. The Bradley Cooper vehicle Limitless also posited a person with the full 100% of his brain unleashed, but its commitment to realism made its hero uninteresting – superintelligent Cooper just wasn’t that different than regular Cooper. Freed from the constraints of the real world, »
- Mark Young
2014 has already seen some very good films released, with the likes of Boyhood, The Fault in Our Stars, X-Men: Days of Future Past and others doing great business and turning heads in the process. The remainder of 2014 will also see a large number of film releases, and some of those are highly intriguing. Let’s take a look at ten of the films that I, personally, am excited for in the second half of 2014.
Director, James Gunn, tasselled my hair playfully when he put a little independent film named “Super” on the table in 2010, an underrated Rainn Wilson fronted comedy drama about a guy who thinks that god is telling him to fight crime. When I heard that Gunn was bringing his sense of humour and action to Guardians of the Galaxy my interest hit a high note. With a cast including the enjoyable everyman Chris Pratt »
- Chris Cummings
“Lucy” opened to a higher-than-anticipated $17 million and is headed toward a strong $45 million debut weekend. Meanwhile, “Hercules” grossed $11 million on Friday on track for a $30 million launch.
Johansson plays the titular femme fatale in Luc Besson’s actioner from Universal. She’s a drug mule who turns superhuman when she mistakenly ingests a drug that gives her access to increasingly more and more brain power at the expense of her humanity.
The actress is a formidable threat to Johnson, the quintessential action star, as she’s proven capable of seamlessly alternating between indies and action pics, from an alien in “Under the Skin” to Black Widow in the “Avengers” and “Captain America” movies. Johansson has the highest grossing film of the year in the U.S. so far with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier. »
- Maane Khatchatourian
Does digital data offer indicators that can be used to monitor marketing effectiveness and predict box office success even before awareness turns into intent? We analyzed this weekend’s new movies across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google (the methodology behind the numbers is laid out in the appendix below) over the seven days leading up to their release, when marketing campaigns should be at their peak.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson faces off against two foes as Hercules: Scarlett Johansson goes one-on-one with The Great One as ass-kicking sci-fi star “Lucy” and Kellen Lutz, who played the same role in “Legend of Hercules” earlier this year. The “Twilight” favorite fought his way to an $8.8 million opening. It seems certain that WWE’s most electrifying man in all of entertainment will win the “Hercules” battle, but who will win this weekend’s war?
The Atlas-sian shoulders of Johnson have carried the weight of the marketing campaign. »
- Tobias Bauckhage
At the beginning of the year who would have thought that two Scarlett Johansson movies, released mere months apart, would invite such perfectly legitimate comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey? The more surprising detail of that little tidbit is just how radically different those two movies are. One, Jonathan Glazer’s nine-plus-years-in-the-making Under the Skin—a shocking yet downbeat tale of Johansson as an alien predator stalking human males throughout Scotland—was a revelatory cinematic experience which commented on the delicate distinctions of humankind. The other is Luc Besson’s batshit insane, Lucy.
The cinematic quality between the two are complete polar opposites, and yet both feature Johansson in a near-robotic role with similar thesis statements about life. There’s something for everybody with these two films—the high brow and the low, and a little bit of everything in between—but I’ll give you one guess as to »
- Sean Hutchinson
Directed by: Luc Besson
Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Release Date: July 25, 2014
Plot: Accidental high dosages of a mental drug cause an accidental mule (Johansson) to embark on achieving 100% full brain usage.
Who’S It For? Those who like their action movies to be trippy.
Lucy is unmistakably a product of writer/director/producer Luc Besson simply by its structure. It applies the same type of ticking-clock storytelling that has motivated the tension of his projects like The Transporter, Taken, and 3 Days to Kill; movies that he helped create as a writer and/or producer, but did not direct. In Besson’s own take on the structure he helped fortify for others, Lucy begins with the tensity of these movies, but then it warps.
This film’s transporter is Johansson’s Lucy, an American living in China who is tricked »
- Nick Allen
Whether suiting up as Black Widow or luring oafish, young men to their otherworldly demise in Under the Skin, or wrangling Joaquin Phoenix with her voice alone in Her, Scarlett Johansson appears to be the ideal choice to play the next-level woman, a female character made supernatural with all the powers she beholds. So thank goodness writer/director Luc Besson has her front and center in Lucy, his latest sci-fi, evolutionary actioner that promises to blow your mind as well as your entertainment meter. Without Johansson, the film would slip by as pretty thin on both excitement and existentialism. Thankfully, Lucy doesn't fail in either department, but the frustration that the whole, messy ordeal leaves behind is far too noticable. Not quite as noticable as someone as stunning and talented as Johansson, but it's there. Read on! The stunning lead plays, you guessed it, Lucy, your typical 20-something trying to »
- Jeremy Kirk
The animated adventure-comedy “Rio 2,” from 20th Century Fox, easily snagged the top spot on both national home video sales charts the week ending July 20.
The sequel earned nearly as much at the box office as the 2011 original – $130.3 million versus $143.6 million – and, with no high-powered competition, sailed to the top spot on both the Nielsen VideoScan First alert sales chart, which tracks overall disc sales, Blu-ray Disc and DVD combined, as well as Nielsen’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.
The prior week’s top seller, Warner’s “The Lego Movie,” slipped to No. 2 on both charts, with a two-pack featuring both “Rio” films, available exclusively at Walmart, selling enough copies to debut at No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart.
“Rio” fever ran so high that the original, released on disc more than three years ago, shot back up into the top 10 on both sales charts, finishing at No. »
- Thomas K. Arnold
A topic worth thinking carefully over though this stream of consciousness must do for now.
Esquire claims that 1999 was the last Great Year of Movies. Several good points are made but Of Course the writer had to throw out that exhausting false equivalent "tv is better than film" argument again that actually has very little to do with the topic at hand. Stop people of the internet. Think before you type. The two art forms are not interchangeable - they have different strengths and weaknesses and the transcendent TV series are but a tiny sliver of the product on TV just as the most magical movies are a tiny sliver of films made. The best TV is not equivalent to cinematic blockbusters, what's equivalent to that if you must have your damn equivalencies are massively watched shows like The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Duck Dynasty and Modern Family and »
- NATHANIEL R
In the Sky With Diamonds: Besson’s Latest a Crock of Crack-pot Sci-Fi
It’s rather a shame to report that Luc Besson’s latest directorial effort, Lucy, is an underwhelming disappointment. A host of intriguing ideas get liquidated by silliness, uncertainty, and rampant narrative contradiction. Sure, at least this film doesn’t generate that kicked-in-the-teeth feeling that his last film, 2013’s The Family so generously employed, but for a film that initially promises to bring us the kind of fetishized ass-kicking females that graced his most notable efforts, like La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element, its inability to reach this potential is doubly frustrating. Oddly structured and clearly uninterested in employing consistent logic in how increased use of brain capacity eventually leads to super powers, the whole endeavor feels like a half-baked idea carelessly patched together.
- Nicholas Bell
Limitless, Transcendence and now Lucy - Hollywood’s continuing fascination with the underused brain seems especially ironic when you consider that none of these films’ screenwriters used more than 10% of theirs. Yes, I’m sorry to report that Lucy is not the mind-bending, heart-pounding thriller that the trailers had made us hope it would be. Instead, the Luc Besson-directed and scripted flick arrives as a curiously deformed mess, one filled with plainly bad ideas stretched out long past the point of admissability and a stunningly flat performance from lead Scarlett Johansson.
I’m not going to hate on the actress too much, though – after all, Johansson is just employing the same vacant stares and chatbot-esque speech patterns I loved when I saw her in Under the Skin. The fault is really with Besson’s script for hobbling her Lucy with interminable dialogue so baffling and rambling that you can »
- Isaac Feldberg
When I spoke to Luc Besson at Wonder-Con this year, we had a fair amount of time aside from the panel I moderated and the interview we did. At that point, we discussed the entire premise of his new film, "Lucy," and how it's based on a myth. If you've seen the trailer for the movie, you've seen Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman lecturing to a room full of people. "Imagine if we could access 100% [of our brains]. Interesting things begin to happen." Great line. Totally wrong. Evolution has actually increased the size of our brains because we use them so much, and so efficiently. We use way more than 10% of our actual brain capacity, and we use our brains in ways that science barely understands. So we are starting from a preposterous place with "Lucy," and if that's going to drive you crazy, then I would skip it completely. The film starts there and gets way sillier. »
- Drew McWeeny
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