Written/directed by Luc Besson

From Bradley Cooper in an earlier incarnation of bumped-up brainpower, in 2011's LIMITLESS, to Scar-Jo in LUCY, we are tantalized by the notion that we are only partially utilizing our remarkable brains. In the case of Cooper, the plot revolved about the machinations of a super-ON Wall Streeter presaging and manipulating the Market via brilliant leaps of analysis and gestation of the data (using a drug that pumped him beyond the usual capacity of humans to think, dissect issues, and function). For years, celebrated French Director Luc Besson has given us some chewy, flinty, memorable female power heroes in celluloid: Milla Jovovich (dubbed "the reigning queen of kick-butt" in 2006) in THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997); JOAN OF ARC (1999); not to mention the unforgettable, feisty-yet-dewy Natalie Portman in 1994's THE PROFESSIONAL.

Here, Besson directs the shapely and sharp Scarlett Johansson in LUCY, a more-than-slightly unprovable action-thriller that tracks a regular woman adventitiously caught in scurrilous dealings without her wanting any part of them, but who deftly turns the tables on her Asian and Occidental bad guy captors. Rendered increasingly mentally capacious by virtue of accidental ingestion of a superdrug, she morphs into an affectless and merciless Spartan so evolved beyond human logic that she cannot be bested, shot, caught, or controlled. If you've seen the trailer, you see her vanquish would-be killers by a scornful glance or shrug. Though it is fun to imagine what immense unleashing of our brain-power might enable us to accomplish, there's little scientific evidence, we know, in the hypotheses demonstrated here—effortlessly changing one's eye-color and hair, de-weaponizing men at 40 paces with a look, floating people out of interference's way onto a ceiling—but it's amusing and interesting, and some of the set-pieces dazzlingly remind one of Kubrick's historical and future captures in 2001.

Not an epic, but a colorful amuse-bouche. And there's no better metamorpher than romantic, medieval, puzzler, centurion, political, nourish, strong-minded advocate than Ms. Scar-Jo.

Into the Storm

 Directed by Steven Quale

Storm trackers, drugged-up extreme-sport nutjob thrill-seekers, and regular townspeople experience an unprecedented (and, admit it, unlikely) drumbeat of major weather touching down in the town of Silverton.
An unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes hits the innocent [fictional Midwest] town of Silverton. Much like the 1996 earlier icon of tornado/Sharknado-revisited disaster pics, Twister, which gave us the novel image of a cow slowly turning end over end, along with assorted high-capacity family vehicles twirling up in the air, starring Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman as showcased storm chasers, the breathtaking special effects of Storm are, well, blow-you-away great.

Few stellar or known cast members stud this go-round of town-center being de-roofed and de-schooled in moments, but one thing is true. Like the dialogue or not, empathize with the somewhat cardboard-y characters or not, the last half of the film is just plain harrowing. The sound alone is deafening. In the theatre we saw it in–the premiere of the film, mind you (we sat behind Paris Hilton, no less)—the persistent sound of water dripping ominously seemingly in the walls of the theatre seeped into your brain, a foretelling of the massive drenching and howling winds and whirls to come.

The queue at the women's room after the film wrapped was the longest in years (probably since Lawrence of Arabia's clamorous line for water after that film's arid desert scenarios)—you really feel squeezed by the power of this cyclonic Level 5-plus storm system bedeviling hundreds of school kids and major characters taking shelter from the miles-long storm front. Most seek shelter, while others dispossessed of sanity run toward the boiling vortex, testing how far a besotted storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime piece of film.
It isn't altogether unconvincing, either, even given the expected damsel and teen swain in distress and all the ruckus amid dialogues—huge airplanes lifting up and blowing around like so many badminton feather shuttlecocks. STORM tosses you plop into the very eye, to hear and feel Mom Nature at its most voracious. There's a heraldic moment when one newsie, lofted high above the storm by the swirling winds in his storm "tank' breaks through the dark black turmoil of the ferocious winds, and full redemptive sunlight hits him, and the audience, full in the face, before plunging him back into the maelstrom. If one waits and holds on, we gather, the sun will come out, tomorra.

Our question: Is this underwritten by Algore et alii, another entry into the non-event of warmism; an extreme weather cataclysmic bit of nonsense pushed by the uninformed left?





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1 Comment so far

  1. John ( other John ) on August 18, 2014 6:23 pm

    Wow, you sold me!

    On, The Storm, that is.

    Forget rhyme or reason, the world is in chaos, and we’re all afraid, no matter what the plot. And we don’t need characters to identify with, for we are alone, helpless. And what we desire is the catharsis of being released from pure adrenaline, to the biomechanistic reflex of urinary relief, in a comforting soft lit theater.

    At its most basic level, how you described the movie is as a simple, visceral, thrill. Feeling a bit dulled, lately, that may be just the ticket. And, hopefully, another reason by example I keep postponing expenditure on any new surround system for the home, because either these are best done on a grand scale, or, as is likely just a truism, you could care less for appreciating a movie like this, at home. Sounds like a win : win. On one hand indulge the biochemistry of excitement and irrationality of artificial fear, on the other reinforce a more logical argument to not waste resources on my home “theater” setup, by paying a small fee for a unnecessary experience.


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