Lucy

All right, I’ve been having mixed feelings about writing this review, which is coincidentally exactly the same way I feel about the movie itself. I’m talking about Scarlett Johansson’s recent action(?) film, “Lucy”.

I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s action. There was a lot of gunfire and car pileups between loopy science and squicky stuff, so we’re going with action. Why not?

We begin with the titular character and her jerk boyfriend, and I use the term loosely. I don’t think they’ve been together that long, or else Lucy might have noticed that her boyfriend was doing some less-than-legal business in his silly cowboy hat.

Don’t worry. He doesn’t stick around long. (Guh.)

While the beginning of the movie accesses some very real adult fears (the film is about a woman who is kidnapped abroad and forced to become a drug mule), it seems to shove the audience into a spiral of science fiction-y confusion pretty quickly.

Don’t get me wrong.

I really enjoyed the first part of the movie.

The increased brain function Lucy receives through her misadventure is, at first, the source of some real insight into human feeling and a little bit of humor. I loved watching her break down and diagnose her roommate’s medical conditions with a helpful little fact sheet.

I enjoyed that first suggestion of an increased capability of interacting with the world.

…But then it got creepy.

Soon after achieving higher percentages of brain function, Lucy becomes superhuman in an eerie way, seemingly beyond human emotion. After that, it was pretty much an hour or so (?) of watching Johansson kick butt and break things in monotone.

And then we get to the dissolving and evolving weirdness, with a nice dash of the space time continuum and a handy dandy flash-drive. I was confused. I didn’t know if I enjoyed it.

I’m still not sure if I enjoyed it.

The ending felt like “2001: A Space Odyssey” crossed with the closing narration from X-Men United and American Beauty. It indicates that “Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what to do with it.”

No, I don’t!

I don’t want to be kidnapped and have wacked-up pregnancy chemicals sewn into my stomach, I don’t want to rapidly lose touch with humanity. I don’t want to kill a bunch of people and go on an automotive rampage on the streets of France, and I definitely don’t want to do whatever it is she did at the end when she somehow became Hal.

 

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO LEARN FROM THIS, LUCY?

 

I’ll be honest here.

It was…entertaining to watch? It was something I didn’t mind spending the money to see, but I would only rewatch it to see the reaction of whoever I saw it with.

Scarlett Johansson did a great job with a frankly unsettling script, and for that I’ll give “Lucy” one extra point.

3/5

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Sexy Evil Genius

It may seem like this review is horrifically late, but in reality it’s right on time for you to notice it. It was creatively timed, rather.

All right, I’ll say it—I’m sorry.

Recently, Eleanor and I had the opportunity to do some visiting in sunny South Florida, and on a time-honored jaunt to Target—because everything you will ever need can be found at Target—we took a peek at some bargain-priced DVDs and were surprised to find an absolute gem.

I’m talking, of course, about Sexy Evil Genius, and no, it’s not a slutty Halloween costume. For everyone who’s spent hours reminiscing about how great 90s TV was, the inclusion of Michelle Trachtenberg and Seth Green is a real treat.

For anyone who doesn’t, well, they’re a treat anyway. Shut up and let me fangirl.

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Sexy Evil Genius

Genre: Black Comedy, Mystery

Main Cast: Seth Green, Michelle Trachtenberg, Harold Perrinau, Katee Sackhoff, William Baldwin

Trailer:

Rating: 4/5

Don’t let the trailer fool you. The film plays out much more like a black comedy than a thriller or action flick, and therein lies its strength and ultimate value.

The cast works very well together, and the chemistry and hurt feelings are all very apparent from go. Past relationships are explored with all of the sensitivity and wry humor that we ourselves employ looking back upon our misspent youth.

Each failed relationship is brought to light, expounding on our expectations of Nikki—a manic pixie dream girl gone horribly realistic. And more than a little in love with My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.

(No, seriously. The songs are a major plot device.)

There’s very little I can tell you without spoiling at least some of this film, but I’d definitely urge you to at least give it a shot. Nikki is every bit as clever and manipulative as her former lovers give her credit for, and even if you don’t come out on the other side just the tiniest bit in love with her, you’ll have to respect her.

That’s just the kind of woman Nikki is.

When I wasn’t busy laughing, I was muttering disbelieving expletives and shivering at the careful weaving done in an immersive and subtly impactful screenplay. It’s a great ensemble. It’s a great movie. Easily one of my favorites in recent memory.

There’s not a lot of action, and really, there doesn’t need to be.

The film plays with stereotypes—Green’s stifled workaholic, Trachtenberg’s bisexual goth, Perrinau’s hep jazz cat—but the focus is on the tiresome world behind each one. Their backgrounds are clearly all tired and gray, tainted with sorrows and failures. Their lives just aren’t as interesting as they seemed when Nikki was involved.

But when Nikki finally makes the scene, we discover, she may not have suffered quite so well in her madcap world. There’s always been something off about her, and it’s cutting and a girl can’t live forever by making scrapbooks out of other people’s lives.

The humor is real and easy to come to grips with, because while Nikki’s life seems to have done a spectacular series of tailspins into the foothills of one seriously grand kerfuffle, the heartache and the nostalgia dripping from every word and gesture is almost tangible.

I will definitely be watching this again.