Tag: scarlett johannson

MOVIE REVIEW | Lucy (2014)


“Learning is always a painful process. Like when you’re little, and your bones are growing, and you ache all over.”

When I wrote about Luc Besson and La Femme Nikita, I said, “He embraces the big, dumb action and rides it to the absolute limit.  And because of that, his movies actually succeed in becoming something more than that, better than that, smarter than that.”  And the old chestnut of humans only using 5% of their brains, so what would happen if we used 100%, is the epitome of a big, dumb premise.  Combining that director, with that plot trope, then casting Scarlett Johansson as an ass kicking super human using all 100% is kind of irresistible.  So why did it take me a year to finally get around to seeing Lucy?

In Taiwan and hanging out with her new boyfriend, Lucy (Johansson) is tricked and forced into delivering a mysterious briefcase to a shady business man.  When her boyfriend is shot and she’s dragged upstairs, Lucy realises she’s caught up in something extremely dangerous.  Opening the brief case, she finds a weird, blue powder.  A weird blue powder that turns out to be some new drug.  A weird new drug that is soon packed in a plastic bag and sewn into her stomach to be muled. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Under the Skin (2014)


“When is the last time you touched someone?”

Ever get to the end of a movie and have no idea what it was about? I don’t mean you were just confused by the plot. I mean, you have no idea what emotion the movie was trying to elicit, how you were supposed to see the characters and their actions, what message the movie set out to impart. Well, if you want a complete lack of answers to these and dozens more questions, you should watch Under the Skin.

Scarlett Johannson is some sort of alien. She tools around Scotland in an anonymous white van, louring in men, before taking them to some sort of giant sensory deprivation sex warehouse. But the poor bastards are engulfed in a weird, invisible liquid to have their skin harvested before any rumpy can get pumpy. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Her (2013)

A man works in an office designed for little people and discovers a portal into the mind of real life character actor John Malkovich…  In an adaptation of a book about flowers, the premise of the book is immediately abandoned for Nicolas Cage to play the real life screenwriter of the movie and his completely fictional twin brother…  A feature length adaptation of a 40 page kids book that’s mostly pictures.  I don’t know if ‘high concept’ is the correct phrase to describe the work of Spike Jonze, or if ‘bat shit, nutso crazy’ is more accurate.  Whatever it is, his latest effort fits in well, as a man falls in love with his phone, in Her.

In the not so distant future, Joaquin Phoenix is that man, Theodore Twombly.  He writes seemingly heartfelt, personal letters on behalf of others for a living, which is a direct contrast to the emotionless, shut off life he leads outside of work, ever since breaking up with this wife (Rooney Mara).

Already reliant on his phone and computer games as a way to avoid any interaction with real people, apart from his old friend Amy (Amy Adams), he knocks things up a notch when he downloads a new operating system for his phone that boasts the most sophisticated artificial intelligence ever.  Named Samantha and voiced by Scarlett Johansson, Theodore’s phone quickly becomes a close friend and trusted confidant, before moving on to the next level.  The level of love and sustained moments of gettin’ it on.

Not many film makers could turn this concept into a believable movie.  Charlie Kaufman gets a lot of credit for coming up with the wackiness of Being John Malkovich and  Adaptation, but what about the bloke who manages to reign in the wacky and turn them into movies with genuine emotion that we can somehow relate to?

It’s making this story believable that makes Her so impressive.  From a writing and directing standpoint, Jonze somehow makes the goofy concept of “Man falls in love with Siri” surprisingly realistic and understandable.  Sure, the husky, sultry voice of Scarlett Johansson is a good start, but it’s a lot more than that.  Jonze makes the relationship believable because he makes it so real.

And what makes it so real is Jonze’s decision to inject it with the good and the bad of a real relationship with a real person.  Samantha might be a computer program, but for every dream girl attribute that you could imagine the designers of artificial intelligence might try to emulate, she also has plenty of negative emotions.  Happy and adoring one minute, petty and jealous the next.  And the very human Theodore Twombly is just as quick to indulge in his own pettiness and jealousies.

This, combined with the world Jonze creates in which the idea of people falling in love with their operating systems is quickly accepted, means the gimmick is just as quickly over shadowed by a legitimate love story that feels just as real to the audience as it does to Phoenix’s character.

Directed By – Spike Jonze
Written By – Spike Jonze