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a u s t
i n c h r o n
i c
l e
. c om
JULY 25, 2014
T H E A U S T I N C H R O N I C L E
55
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f i lm
l i s t i n g s
KIcK
D: Sajid Nadiadwala; with Salman Khan, Jacqueline
Fernandez, Randeep Hooda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
(NR, 146 min., subtitled)
Not reviewed at press time.
In this Hindi
film, a couple who are about to marry reveal
their secrets, but little do they know that a
certain thief is the starring character in both
of their sagas.
– Marjorie Baumgarten
Tinseltown South
J
lucy
D: Luc Besson; with Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman,
Choi Min-sik, Amr Waked. (R, 88 min.)
When a beloved talent goes off the rails,
invariably a return to classic form is to be
wished, although that rarely happens. Still,
sometimes there can be a re-eruption of
vision in an unexpected way. Among my all-
time favorites, Besson’s best films are taut
– cinematically explosive, skillfully plotted, fan-
tastic narratives. But when was his last great
film as a director:
The Fifth Element
in 1997?
Lucy
is a glorious mess, a film that casu-
ally wanders through a variety of genres.
Which is fine. Besson can mosey wherever
his fancy takes him because few films are so
deliriously anchored by a performance as this
is by Scarlett Johansson’s.
Set up by her boyfriend, Lucy (Johansson)
is forced to become an unwilling drug mule
when a dangerous Asian cartel surgically
inserts a stash of a new, secret superdrug
into her body. Her life threatened, she is
forced to go along to transport her stash.
When she is beaten up and kicked by other
captors, the packets of drugs burst. Almost
immediately the somewhat overwhelmed Lucy
begins to evolve into a human being who can
exercise 100% of her intelligence.
In a charming but clumsy manner, we
are set up for the whole story early on by
intercuts to a lecture by professor Norman
(Freeman) on brain capacity. The hoariest
gambit imaginable, having a voice within the
film actually give endless exposition, just
shouldn’t work. Even worse is the nature
footage Besson cuts in during the initial
stages of Lucy’s “recruitment,” which fea-
tures natural predators and their prey. The
point is so blatantly made that the undead
would get it. Yet rather than drooping into the
pan where
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
for-
ever dumped such narrators and narrations,
somehow it works. The MacGuffin becomes
so clearly spelled out that the film can dance
off in many directions as Lucy’s expanding
capacity keeps elevating her abilities. She
develops ever-new skills for violence and
exercising control.
The best comic-book movie in a long time,
though based on no comic,
Lucy
is a film
that mates classic Besson with Quentin
Tarantino in a go at the mystical, world-
solving vision found in Stanley Kubrick’s
2001: A Space Odyssey
and Terrence Malick’s
The Tree of Life
. Rendered just as cosmi-
cally as those two but far more grounded
in pulp, it is less spectacular, though oddly
more definitive. A daring, giddy joyride of an
adventure,
Lucy
races along, leaves a swirl-
ingly confused trail behind it, as it tracks a
single intelligence that’s rapidly evolving from
human to universal.
HHHH
n
– Louis Black
Alamo Lakeline, Alamo Slaughter Lane, Alamo
Village, Barton Creek Square, CM Cedar Park,
Hill Country Galleria, CM Round Rock, Southpark
Meadows, CM Stone Hill Town Center, Flix
Brewhouse, Highland, Gateway, iPic, Lakeline,
Moviehouse, Tinseltown North, Tinseltown
South, Westgate
PerSecuted
D: Daniel Lusko; with James Remar, Dean Stockwell,
Raoul Trujillo, Bruce Davison, Fred Dalton Thompson,
Gretchen Carlson. (PG-13, 91 min.)
Persecuted
is a profoundly conservative,
Christian ideological take, guised as a classic
Seventies paranoid thriller. Certainly unique,
this is another targeted release, specifically
aimed at groups sharing its beliefs.
Famed evangelist James Luther (Remar)
stubbornly and courageously refuses to
endorse the Fairness in Religion bill spon-
sored by Sen. Harrison (Davison), which will
legally grant all religions the same status
and protections.
This would seem innocuous enough, at
worst more Constitution-weakening nonsense
from the knee-jerk left, but no, the bill’s sup-
porters are completely amoral and vicious
schemers willing to do anything to get their
way. Rather than a plea for equality, the leg-
islation is part of a far more deadly and per-
vasive war on Christianity. The ultimate goal
is the destruction of civilization as we know
it, though that extreme is implied not stated.
Furthermore, why this is desired, except by
hearts of pure evil, is never broached.
Luther’s refusal to go along evidently sig-
nificantly lowers the bill’s chance of being
passed. Thus Harrison orchestrates an
elaborate scheme in which Luther is framed
for rape and murder. All steel and passion-
ate religious conviction, determined to clear
55
openings
Alludu Sreenu
(nR)
And So It Goes
(Pg-13)
The Fluffy Movie
(Pg-13)
Hercules
(Pg-13)
I Origins
(R)
Kick
(nR)
Lucy
(R)
A Most Wanted Man
(R)
Wish I Was Here
(R)
ratings
HHHHH
As perfect as a movie can be
HHHH
slightly flawed,
but excellent nonetheless
HHH
Has its good points,
and its bad points
HH
Mediocre, but with one or two
bright spots
H
Poor, without any saving graces
la bomba
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