LUCY directed by Luc Besson (France/USA, 2014)
Ever wondered what would happen if humans achieved the power to use 100% of their brains? No, me neither but Luc Besson has given the matter some thought and this overblown piece of cinematic nonsense is the consequence.
What makes the movie so unbearable is that you get the impression that Besson takes seriously the debunked scientific premise that humans only make use of 10% of their grey matter. Not only that, but it is packed full of psychobabble and pseudo-spiritual musings that are preachy, absurd and humorless.
Scarlett Johanssson is charged with the task of convincing us that she has undergone this altered state but since she is laden with a truly dismal script she fails miserably. View full article »
GIRL IN TRANSLATION by Jean Kwok (Riverhead Books, 2010)
As a compelling, at times shocking, account of a young immigrant’s life in America this book has many merits. As a convincing work of narrative fiction it leaves a lot to be desired.
The episodic nature of the novel is problematic in that the story has a disjointed quality. As the author jumps from one event to the next, the reader is left with more questions than answers.
In the opening chapter we learn that the mother of the first person narrator, Kimberley Chang, had suffered from tuberculosis in China but her state of health is something which is barely mentioned therafter.
Later on, at the age of 18, when it is clear that Kimberley (Kim) needs to obtain U.S. citizenship, she applies and studies hard for naturalization but we are never told how the actual test went. The cumulative effect of these gaps is disorientating and infuriating. View full article »
BEFORE SUNRISE (1995), BEFORE SUNSET (2004)
+ BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013) directed by Richard Linklater
There’s a fundamental difference between being older and acting older. This came out strongly in Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ and is also a strong feature of the characters of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) in the director’s consistently marvelous ‘before’ trilogy.
What makes this such a mighty cinematic achievement is the absence of what I would call Hollywood moments. You know those scenes where couples break up and make up during a freak downpour or in a public place where the emotional (melo)drama is absurdly heightened.
Hawke and Delpy are so completely in their roles that there is never the sense that we are watching stars pretending to be ordinary. There is a genuine lack of artifice which makes their love story both romantic and moving without ever being cloying or sentimental. You don’t feel manipulated into taking sides. View full article »