Posts Tagged ‘Scarlett Johansson’

The Ultimate Time Heist

Avengers: Endgame

Directors: Anthony & Joe Russo

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Robert Redford, Michael Douglas, Josh Brolin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Karen Gillen, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Angela Bassett, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Linda Cardellini, Frank Grillo, Hiroyuki Sanada, James D’Arcy, Bradley Cooper, Samuel L. Jackson, Ty Simpkins    

Ironman

Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with the highly anticipated sequel to Avengers: Infinity War with Avengers: Endgame featuring all the famous superheroes that fans have grown to love including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Antman, Hawkeye and Captain Marvel as they band together to go back in time to retrieve the infinity stones to reverse the evil Thanos’s ultimate revenge at the end of Infinity War where he made half the population vanish including such beloved heroes as Spiderman, Black Panther and Doctor Strange.

Thor

As Endgame starts, Ironman is stuck in space, Thor takes to drink in the New Asgard and Captain America is despondent that the Avengers are at their lowest point ever.

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel played by Brie Larson rallies the troops along with Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson. Jeremy Renner returns sporting a fantastic haircut as Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye to assist the remaining Avengers as they devise a time travel device to allow them to go back in time to three separate intergalactic locations to retrieve the highly precious and powerful Infinity Stones. It’s the ultimate Time Heist as Antman points out.

Hawkeye

What follows is a fantastic feast of Superheroes which directors Anthony and Joe Russo will have hard core Marvel fans both laughing and crying at the deluge of their cinematic idols as they all band together to destroy the evil Thanos.

Black Widow

While some of the plot points in this three hour long superhero extravaganza don’t all get resolved, it certainly opens up a whole lot of new possibilities such a possible separate Hawkeye film? Sequels to the hugely successful Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy are both on the cards as well as another Spiderman film. So there is no shortage of geek fan crushing that will occur in Avengers: Endgame and the subsequent films to follow. Once again Marvel knocks it out of the park judging by the lucrative response at the international box office.

The Hulk

Avengers: Endgame is a culmination of all the Marvel films of the last decade and hints at a new start for some of the lesser known superheroes to flesh out their story lines. Let’s face it with an overcrowded universe, audiences will battle to identify with any one superhero but rather applaud and cheer at the massive team of Avengers and all their trusted sidekicks. Audiences should look out for cameos by Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier and of course Thor’s malevolent brother Loki played by Tom Hiddleston.

Antman

Avengers: Endgame is definitely for Marvel fans and trust me everyone from the previous films are in it. It’s definitely worth seeing and gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Retro Intergalactic Superhero

Captain Marvel

Directors: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck

Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Djimon Hounson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Rune Temte

Just before Avengers: Endgame hits theatres, Marvel had to introduce one more superhero to the galaxy of stars. It’s the Retro intergalactic Captain Marvel wonderfully played by Oscar winner Brie Larson also known as Airforce Pilot Carol Danvers who gets whisked into space to become indoctrinated by the Kree Civilization, an advanced alien race headed up by the mysterious Supreme Being icily played by Annette Bening in her Marvel Comics debut.

Audiences can be forgiven for thinking that they had bought cinema tickets to a Star Trek reboot as the first twenty minutes of Captain Marvel is entirely set in space. Until Captain Marvel miraculously escapes an intergalactic feud between the Kree and the Skrull tribes and lands up in Los Angeles in 1995 in a blockbuster video store of all places, the film effortlessly shifts its location from outer space to a particular time and place.

In California, Captain Marvel teams up with a youthful Nick Fury wonderfully played by Samuel L. Jackson whose screen chemistry with Brie Larson is electrifying.   

Like all the other Marvel films and particularly those that loved Avengers: Infinity War, then Captain Marvel is a fun mixture of superhero and Guardians of the Galaxy and fits right in with the current trajectory the Marvel films are going. More significantly it is the first entirely female centred superhero film, with Brie Larson doing a sterling job, although admittedly the film does not quite match up to DC Comics’s brilliant Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins.

There is sufficient plot twists, location changes as Captain Marvel and Nick Fury travel to Louisiana to discover her real human identity as Airforce Pilot Carol Danvers as they team up with fellow co-pilot Maria Rambeau played by rising British star Lashana Lynch.

Oscar nominee Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley) plays the arrogant Kree commander Yon Rogg who proves to be a worthy adversary to Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel is a fun filled retro intergalactic romp of a film engagingly written and populated with some witty one liners. Brie Larson pulls off the role of the latest female action superhero with credibility and nuance as she struggles to discover her real identity and where her role as Captain Marvel fits in to the larger Avengers scheme of things.

Flashy visual effects and some great onscreen chemistry save Captain Marvel from being just another superhero film and this gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

Audiences should definitely see Captain Marvel before watching Avengers: Endgame. Recommended Viewing for Marvel fans only and regular attendees of Comicon.

Thanos’s Deadly Compromise

Avengers: Infinity War

Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, William Hurt, Letitia Wright, Pom Klementieff, Carrie Coon, Winston Duke

Following the phenomenal success of Thor: Ragnorak and Black Panther, Marvel has capitalized on its extended cinematic universe with the new Avengers: Infinity War featuring a plethora of superheroes from Spiderman to Ironman, from Captain America to The Hulk not to mention bringing in the Guardians of the Galaxy gang for additional support.

If Avengers: Infinity War feels a bit excessive, that’s because it probably is combining the Avengers franchise with that of the more quirky Guardians of the Galaxy. Some fantastic moments occur when Spiderman played by Tom Holland meets Peter Quill aka StarLord played by Chris Pratt or when Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr disagrees with the wizard Doctor Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The snappy dialogue is sometimes lost amidst the greater quest to fight the evil universe destroyer Thanos played by Josh Brolin.

Thanos is equally conflicted about having to gather all the infinity stones including the one for Souls in which he has to make a choice between himself and his adopted daughter Gamora played by Zoe Saldana. In the meantime, his evil minions are wreaking havoc on earth in New York and in the magical technologically advanced African kingdom of Wakanda where Vision played by Paul Bettany along with Captain America  and Scarlett Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen seek the assistance of Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman.

Audiences have to suspend their disbelief but judging by how packed the cinemas are for Avengers Infinity War, they are quite happy to do so. This film is pure sci-fi fantasy with little of the action taking place on earth. Most of the fight sequences occur on outer galactic planets like Titan.

Thor needs his hammer back and seeks the help of Eitri played by Peter Dinklage who forges a brilliant new weapon out of a powerful star, the celestial capability of which was last seen on the forgotten kingdom of Asgard.

Whilst directing brothers Anthony and Joe Russo compile an absolute Geekfest with Avengers: Infinity War with enough alien creatures and superheroes to stockpile Comicon for the next decade, it’s a clear sign that the Marvel Universe has ambitious plans to expand even further.

That said Avengers: Infinity War has a convoluted story line weighed down by too many subplots but if viewers see it as a precursor to a second film then they will not find the surprise ending so disruptive….

Avengers: Infinity War gets a film rating 7.5 out of 10 and is strictly for Marvel comic book fans who have followed all the films from the original Iron Man 10 years ago.

The visual effects are fantastic as will be the box office receipts. See it to believe it.

 

 

Neon Inspired Family Feud

Thor: Ragnarok

Director: Taika Waititi

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Ray Stevenson, Scarlett Johansson, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Taika Waititi

New Zealand director Taika Waititi was Oscar nominated back in 2005 for his Live Action Short film Two Cars, One Night.

Marvel Studios recruited him to inject new life into the Thor films and that he certainly does with Thor: Ragnarok, a neon inspired family feud of mythical proportions featuring Thor played again by hunky Australian actor Chris Hemsworth along with his pesky brother Loki played by Tom Hiddleston and new addition to the family Hela played with vampish delight by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Blue Jasmine).

Thor returns to Asgard only to discover that Loki has banished Odin, their father to a virtual retirement home. Upon a brief visit, the brothers discover that Odin, wonderfully played with a sombre delight by Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) has got an elder daughter Hela who was banished from Asgard for being the Goddess of Death and wreaking havoc on the nine realms.

Cate Blanchett relishes her role as Hela, the Goddess of Death, inspired by Maleficent and certainly quite intent on destroying her defiant younger brothers.

Thor and Loki land up on a weird dystopian outer planet overseen by the demonic Grand Master, a superbly camp performance by Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), who immediately instructs Thor to fight in a massive arena against a formidable beast: The Hulk. Enter Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, played with bewildering amusement by Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Foxcatcher, Spotlight).

Eventually Thor gets Loki, The Hulk and a hard-drinking Valkyrie played by Tessa Thompson last seen in the HBO series Westworld, to return to Asgard to defeat the demonic Hela who is assisted by a reluctant henchman Skurge played by Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek and The Loft).

The only criticism is that the middle section of Thor: Ragnarok detracts from the film’s central narrative, which is essentially a legendary family conflict.

Thor: Ragnarok is a fun-filled comic book film which thankfully does not take itself or the characters too seriously and is a clear indication that Marvel films are definitely trying to create memorable characters for the lucrative toy manufacturing market just before Christmas.

As with all the latest Marvel films, franchise opportunities abound. Thor: Ragnarok is light-hearted and hellishly entertaining. Audiences should look out for a great cameo by Benedict Cumberbatch reprising his role as the illusive Doctor Strange.

If audiences enjoyed The Avengers and the first two Thor films, then they will definitely savour Thor: Ragnarok which is comically inspired from another Marvel hit franchise, The Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thor: Ragnarok gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Cerebral Survivors

Ghost in the Shell

Director: Rupert Sanders

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Peter Ferdinado, Daniel Henshall, Yutaka Izumihara, Chin Han

Humanity’s tendency towards self-destruction and rejuvenation is carefully examined in director Rupert Sanders futuristic thriller Ghost in the Shell featuring Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation), Michael Pitt and Danish actor Pilou Asbaek.

Drawing influences from Ridley Scott’s ground breaking film Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell is based on a manga or Japanese comic of the same name by Masamune Shirow .

Johansson plays a cybernetically enhanced soldier with a human brain and a robot body Major who specializes in counter terrorism. Set in an advanced rendition of a nameless Asian city in the future with holographic images projected onto luminous skyscrapers, Major goes into retrieve a cyber geisha who hacks into the augmented brain of a corporate designer who is murdered.

As the backstory of Ghost in the Shell unfolds, Major was designed by Dr Ouerlet played with suitable panache by Oscar winning French actress Juliette Binoche (The English Patient). However when Dr Ouerlet is also targeted by cyber humans Major along with the assistance of Batou played by Danish actor Pilou Asbaek rushes to save her creator.

As Batou and Major trace the hack to a Yakuza nightclub, Batou gets injured in an explosion while Major confronts the source of the hack, the mysterious Kuze awkwardly played by American actor Michael Pitt who first rose to fame by appearing naked alongside Eva Green and Louis Garrel (Saint Laurent) in Bernardo Bertolucci’s ménage-a-trois film The Dreamers set in Paris in 1968.

Major experiences glitches or flashbacks to her former life and embarks on a quest to find out what really happened to her human body before she was cyber enhanced by the mysterious Tanka corporation run by the crazed CEO Cutter played by British character actor Peter Ferdinando (300: Rise of an Empire).

Despite the convoluted plot, is Ghost in the Shell worth watching?

If you are a serious fan of Anime yes. If you enjoyed Blade Runner, this sci-fi film will certainly not live up to expectations and occasionally be lost in translation.

Visually the film is astounding, yet in terms of originality Ghost in the Shell is nothing extraordinary and many of the philosophical reference points will be lost as the narrative descends into another inexplicable action film.

Cinema enthusiasts should note that Masamune Shirow original manga was heavily influenced by the Hungarian philosopher Arthur Koestler non-fiction 1967 publication Ghost in the Machine about humanity’s ability to self-destruct based on the Phenomenological concept of mind body dualism introduced by British behaviourist philosopher Gilbert Ryle in his 1949 book Concept of the Mind.

Phenomenology is the philosophical study of the structures of experiences and consciousness something which director Rupert Sanders attempts to convey in Ghost in the Shell through Johansson’s firm portrayal of Major rediscovering her anatomical past.

Ghost in the Shell gets a rating of 7 out of 10 enhanced by its glossy visual effects although the acting needed serious stimulation and the bizarre characters required an authenticity check.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ghost_in_the_Machine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Koestler#Fiction_.28nove

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga = Japanese Manga

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anime – Anime = Japanese hand drawn or computer animation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology (philosophy) – Phenomenology = philosophical study of structures and experiences

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Ryle

2016 Berlin Film Festival

2016 Berlin International

Film Festival Winners

2016-biff

The 66th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 11th to the 21st February, 2016

The Berlin International Film Festival known as the Berlinale takes places annually in February and is regarded as one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

hail_caesar

Opening Night Film: Hail, Caesar! directed by Joel and Ethan Coen starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand and Channing Tatum

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Golden Bear for Best Film:  Fire at Sea  by Gianfranco Rosi

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Silver Bear for Best Director:  Mia Hansen-Løve for Things to Come

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Silver Bear for Best Actor:  Majd Mastoura for Hedi

the_commune

Silver Bear for Best Actress:  Trine Dyrholm for The Commune

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Silver Bear for Best Script: Tomasz Wasilewski for United States of Love

Clash of the Superheroes

Captain America: Civil War

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Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Bruhl, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, William Hurt, Paul Bettany, Martin Freeman, Tom Holland, Alfre Woodard, Frank Grillo, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Paul Rudd, Emily Van Camp, John Kani, Marisa Tomei

I was never a fan of superhero comics as a kid, but as an adult, the superhero films have captured my imagination. Who can forget The Dark Knight Trilogy by Christopher Nolan who reinvented Batman? Or the recent Batman v Superman blockbuster by Zack Snyder, a sure precursor to the Justice League films set for release in 2017 and 2018?

Moving away from DC comics, their direct rival Marvel has expanded their superhero universe exponentially and in the third installment of Captain America: Civil War, a more iconic superhero pops up, Spiderman curtesy of a Marvel and Sony sharing agreement to reinvent Spiderman within The Avengers universe. Smart move on the part of Marvel and especially Sony whose two previous Spiderman reincarnations were faltering: The Amazing Spiderman and its psychedelic sequel.

Captain America: Civil War features a plethora of superheroes, so many in fact that the inevitable showdown which the title refers to is quite spectacular to behold.

captain_america_civil_war_ver39

Captain America leads the one camp as he defends his friend Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan along with the help of Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon played by Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Antman), Antman played by the hilarious Paul Rudd, Hawkeye returning from retirement played by the roguish Jeremy Renner.

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The other camp is headed up by opinionated tech billionaire Iron Man, wonderfully played again by Robert Downey Jnr, joined by the War Machine played by Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) and Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson. Tony Stark aka Iron Man also enlists the help of a young and precocious Peter Parker, wonderfully played by young British actor Tom Holland (The Impossible) as he reinvents Spiderman promising an energetic reinvention when Holland will appear in his stand alone film called Spiderman: Homecoming.

Adding some much needed diversity to The Avengers universe, Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman (Gods of Egypt), who is also starring in his own origin Black Panther film coming in 2018 also joins team Iron Man as he aggressively fights Bucky Barnes who he believes is responsible for the death of his father, a suitable cameo by South African acting legend John Kani (Coriolanus, The Ghost and the Darkness).

While the Clash of the Superheroes is spectacular and at times appears like a spandex orgy it is really Daniel Bruhl (Rush, Woman in Gold) as the master villain Zemo who has instigated the division between the Avengers as revenge for what occurred in The Avengers: The Age of Ultron, in which his whole family was killed in a supernatural skirmish in some fictional East European country.

Captain America: Civil War is a superb superhero film as the Russo brothers who direct this third instalment of the Captain America trilogy dexterously managing to combine all these diverse superheroes in a brilliant duel whilst also introducing some new and iconic characters. Fans of Iron Man, Ant Man and all The Avengers films will relish this caper standoff sure to capture the imaginations of many Comic con fans and paving the way for Marvel’s relentless cinematic expansion of all their gang of masked crusaders, a sure rival to DC Comics Justice League, although both superhero franchises will definitely benefit financially at the box office.

Captain America: Civil War is highly recommended viewing especially for some superb cameos by seasoned character actors including William Hurt, Alfre Woodard, Martin Freeman and Marisa Tomei.

 

 

57th BAFTA Awards

THE  57TH BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 15th February 2004 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

lord_of_the_rings_the_return_of_the_king

Best Film:  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

master_and_commander_the_far_side_of_the_world

Best Director: Peter Weir – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

lost_in_translation_ver2

Best Actor: Bill Murray – Lost in Translation

Best Actress: Scarlett Johansson – Lost in Translation

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Best Supporting Actor: Bill Nighy – Love Actually

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Best Supporting Actress: Renée Zellweger – Cold Mountain

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Best British Film: Touching the Void

station_agent

Best Original Screenplay: The Station Agent – Thomas McCarthy

lord_of_the_rings_the_return_of_the_king

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Philippa BoyensPeter Jackson, and Fran Walsh

Best Visual Effects: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

In_This_World

Best Foreign Language Film: In This World directed by Michael Winterbottom

57th BAFTA Awards

 

Comic Book Pastiche

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

avengers_age_of_ultron_ver11

Director: Joss Whedon

Cast: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett, Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, James Spader, Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell, Stellan Skarsgard, Thomas Kretschmann, Julie Delpy, Andy Serkis, Anthony Mackie.

The Avengers are back in director and writer Joss Whedon’s much anticipated sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron featuring all the Marvel superheroes and some new ones in a CGI laden special effects extravaganza, which is at times confusing and other times absolutely fascinating. At a running time of two hours and twenty minutes, director Whedon has sufficient screen time to flesh out all the characters individually as well as give nuance to some of their more complicated relationships.

avengers_age_of_ultron_ver14

Like the relationship between The Hulk, aka Bruce Banner wonderfully played by Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) and the Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson who seems to be the only avenger that can calm the Hulk’s penchant for destructive anger.

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The relationship between goodie two shoes Steve Rogers aka Captain America, played by Chris Evans and Nordic God Thor played by the hunky Chris Hemsworth is also subtly explored considering that the former is a World War two hero and the latter from another dimension.

Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as egotistical Billionaire Tony Stark, aka Iron Man and his irrepressible desire to mould any technological discovery, in this case the power artificial intelligence to his own advantage.

The Age of Ultron refers to the ubiquitous Altron a powerful A.I. force which is hell bent on human destruction and vain enough to realize that he can survive the aftermath, beautifully voiced with an underlying menace by James Spader (Bad Influence, more recently in the hit TV show The Black List).

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The sexy Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton aka Hawkeye ‘s character is fleshed out as a devoting family man which is entirely incongruous with his status as a member of the Avengers, but hey who cares?

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Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson play evil orphaned Eastern European twins Pietro and Maximoff who soon turn on Ultron when they realize his megalomaniac tendencies. Even Lord of the Rings’ Andy Serkis makes an appearance as a South African mercenary Ulysses Klaue and the Johannesburg downtown sequence is truly phenomenal to watch as is the action scene in Seoul, South Korea.

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If audiences get confused with who all the avengers are, there are ample filmic references to each of their own background stories from Thor: The Dark World, including a brief appearance by Idris Elba and also Captain America’s Agent Carter, played by Hayley Atwell. Marvel is indeed expanding their universe exponentially and if The Avengers: Age of Ultron’s audience figures are anything to go by, this will prove to be another superhero box office smash hit.

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The Avengers: Age of Ultron is fun entertainment and definitely aimed at Iron Man, Thor and Captain America cinema fans especially all the witty references and innuendo’s involving lifting Thor’s hammer which are neatly laced into a script which may seem convoluted but then again when it comes to Artificial Intelligence its more an infinite mess which at some point needs to be reined in.

Audiences should look out for brief cameos by Anthony Mackie, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Delpy, Don Cheadle and Thomas Kretschmann. If The Avengers: Age of Ultron appears to be a pastiche of all the previous Marvel films, then director Joss Whedon has certainly achieved the impossible, not to mention making a narrative out of the dangers of artificial intelligence plausible and entertaining.

It’s best for audiences to suspend their disbelief and enjoy The Avengers: The Age of Ultron for what it is: a comic book orgy with a giant budget and loud, awe-inspiring special effects which will be sure to nurture any young adult’s imagination for awhile.

 

 

 

Lucy loses the Plot

Lucy

lucy_ver2

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Amr Waked

It’s a pity that Luc Besson return to the directorial chair seems to have backfired distinctively even with the able assistance of the ever luminous Scarlett Johansson (Don Jon, Matchpoint, Girl with a Pearl Earring) in the title role of his latest Sci-Fi action thriller Lucy. Lucy’s name comes from the first female Homo Sapien.

The bizarre plot revolves around a particularly sadistic Taiwanese drug ring headed by the sinister Mr Chang played by Min-sik Choi which have roped Lucy and three other unsuspecting drug mules into transporting a super potent mind expanding bright blue drug CPH4 from Taipei into all the major European capitals from Berlin to Paris. Think Neil Burger’s film Limitless on speed.

Whilst Limitless was vaguely plausible, Luc Besson’s Lucy takes the utterly strange sci-fi route which explores the full improbabilities of the premise, that what if humans could use 100% of their brain capacity. If this maximum cerebral capacity occurred, it would deliver contemporary society into a matrix of space and time so devoid of human capability that the effects of such a boost would enable humans to become time travelling virtual computers.

Unfortunately not even Oscar Winner Morgan Freeman as a distinguished neuroscientist Professor Norman could save Lucy both the film and the character from degenerating into a thick mass of black mess. After such superb films as The Fifth Element and Nikita, Luc Besson has clearly lost his touch as a director and should perhaps stick to writing the Taken franchise, as his screenwriting skills have clearly matured whilst his directorial skills have languished considerably.

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Lucy is a short, violent sci-fi heavily stylized action film based on a premise which however visually fascinating soon becomes plainly silly and Besson does not allow much time in the film for any significant character development, that of Lucy’s, Professor Norman or any of the supporting cast. Director Neil Burger’s more honed film Limitless did just that which made it more believable culminating in an elegant thriller launching Bradley Cooper as a much superstar.

The concept of Lucy as an international drug thriller had so much potential, but unlike its title character it does not use its full narrative properly. Besides what were Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman thinking? Clearly the chance to work with French director Luc Besson enticed them into a ridiculous plot which did not use their full potential as brilliant actors. Whilst the Taipei sequence is dazzling, Lucy clearly loses the plot in Paris.

Even the supporting cast including Julian Rhind-Tutt (Rush) as the Limey and Egyptian actor Amr Waked (Syriana, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) as a confused French policeman Pierre Del Rio are both under utilized. Lucy has dazzling special effects and a superb musical score by Eric Serra, but that’s about as much as this thriller has going for it. Lucy can be back up viewing for a lazy Saturday afternoon. Not Recommended.

 

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