Lucy

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Lucy
swan_humdrum
Runtime 98 minutes.
OK for children.

Scarlett Johansson in “Lucy.”

Scarlett Johansson in “Lucy.”

Talk about your superhero movies. This one is really preposterous. It is based on the premise that humans use only 10% of their brains and postulates what could happen if they could access more, or all. But what this film supposes is about as realistic as Moses supposes his toeses are roses. But that song ended with “Moses he knowses his toeses aren’t roses, so Moses supposes erroneously.” This film ends with a much more unrealistic conclusion than poor Moses’ story.

“Lucy” (Scarlett Johansson) is the name given to the earliest human ancestor that has yet been discovered. I am loathe to tell the story because I think it’s much more enjoyable to see a film in a state of ignorance but it’s impossible to review this film without telling a lot of what goes on.

Lucy gets stuck as a mule with a bag of drugs sewn into her stomach by a really bad guy, Mr. Jang (Choi Min Sik). When the bag splits and the drug invades her body she becomes akin to a superhero because it increases her access to her brain power. As it continues to increase, she gets more powerful.

This is where the film gets truly ridiculous, even more so than other superhero movies. She not only becomes enormously smart, she gets powers that control gravity and other people’s movements.

That’s where it lost me. It just strained credulity to the breaking point. Writer/Director Luc Besson went overboard here and it’s unfortunate. If he wanted to deal with the increased use of the capacity of the brain, he should have come up with a story in which Lucy’s superior brain power vanquishes evil. Instead he has her brain turn her into a physical superhero, which is a fatal non sequitur.

Johansson is a beautiful woman and a fine actress, but she’s made some unfortunate choices lately (Under the Skin, Don Jon). In accepting roles like these and in action movies like Captain America and The Avengers that emphasize special effects and ridiculous stories, she denigrates her God-given talent. But I guess that’s where the money is.

A Most Wanted Man
swan_humdrum
Runtime 121 minutes.
OK for children.

Philip Seymour Hoffman in “A Most Wanted Man.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman in “A Most Wanted Man.”

Director Anton Corbijn has admirably captured the tenor and flavor of John le Carré’s long, boring, wordy books by translating his 2008 novel into a long, boring, wordy movie. He takes almost two hours to build up to a most unsatisfying denouement, which is consistent with the depressing tenor of most of Carré’s writings. I have to give it to him, though; there’s no way this can be called a Hollywood Ending.

There are a couple of reasons why people might want to spend good money to see this. The first is that it’s the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last film. Unfortunately, it’s not one of his best performances because little is asked of him except to look old, fat, and sloppy. He does, however, do that very well.

The second is to see the beautiful Rachel McAdams cavort in the tightest jeans in the history of blue jeans. I heard that John Travolta’s contract for one of his movies required that he be supplied with 8 tight T-shirts each and every day. I guess that was so that they would always be tight and each was discarded when it showed the slightest sag.

I wouldn’t doubt that this was also in McAdams’ contract because I’ve never seen tighter jeans on a living person. In fact they are so tight it must have taken an entire crew to get them on her body.

There is one laughable anomaly in the film, however. McAdams is trying to hide her Islamic client to spirit him away from the authorities. So she has him shave off his beard so he looks completely different. The two of them then try to slip surreptitiously away. One thing didn’t change, though; McAdams still has her beautiful long blonde hair shaking in the wind and she’s still wearing her tight jeans. Could it not have occurred to them that to get away, both had to be disguised?

If you haven’t determined by now, when half of this review is devoted to McAdams’ jeans, that there’s nothing much in this movie worth commenting upon, I guess I haven’t done my job.

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