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The Playlist

Luc Besson's Statement Of Intent For 'Lucy' Compares The Film To '2001,' 'Inception' & 'Leon The Professional'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 28, 2014 1:38 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Lucy, Scarlett
Luc Besson's "Lucy" opened this weekend, and if there was any doubt that audiences want to see Scarlett Johansson kick ass, those were put to rest. The movie outmuscled the Dwayne Johnson-starring "Hercules" for the top spot, and even managed to score better-than-expected reviews (including ours). Indeed, the critical community hasn't been this kind to a Besson film in years, and perhaps it has to do with the overall ambition of the film.

Box-Office: Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Lucy’ Beauty Outperforms Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Hercules’ Brawn

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • July 27, 2014 11:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Lucy
Call it a battle of the beauty and the beast if you like. Though audiences didn’t seem to love Luc Besson’s “Lucy” or Brett Ratner’s “Hercules”—at least considering those dismal Cinemascore ratings (C+ for the former). But they were unsure about either and curious, as reviews for both hit rather late in the week. And so viewers chose “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson—reviews being largely, “ridiculous, but entertaining”—over Dwayne Johnson and “Hercules”—reviews more akin to “ridiculous and just bad.” The critical buzz surely didn’t hurt, Besson not having made a critically lauded film in some time, and perhaps audiences wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And so “Lucy” perched itself atop the box office this weekend, hauling in approximately $44 million. That makes for the highest grossing box-office debut for a Scarlett Johansson-starring vehicle ever (all those Marvel films don't really count) by a rather large margin. Perhaps 2006's the "Black Dahlia" ($10 million opening) is the last movie that could be considered a "starring" role for the actress.

Review: Luc Besson's 'Lucy' Starring Scarlet Johansson And Morgan Freeman

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 23, 2014 12:00 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Lucy
There's a moment in Luc Besson's “Lucy” when Scarlett Johansson's title character has cracked the code of existence like a videogame cheat. She goes Rust Cohle on who are appropriately the smartest minds of the world, explaining how numbers are just one of many false constructs that humans use to bring sense to a life of chaos. Which is amusing, since “Lucy” itself is all math—one beautiful superstar (a game Johansson), one Morgan Freeman (Morgan Freeman), a chase, some fights, superpowers, a brief moment of transcendence, gorgeous colors, all wrapped up in an 80-minute bow. Merely the presence of these elements are a delight, nevermind the inconsistently lyrical manner in which Besson combines them. It's basically the perfect summer movie, because it's designed to be.

From 'La Femme Nikita' to 'Lucy': Director Luc Besson Talks The Strong Women In 6 Of His Key Films

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 22, 2014 3:54 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Lucy, Scarlett
For a man who makes his living writing and producing muscular action movies like the "Taken" franchise, Luc Besson is a filmmaker who has continually shown an amazing sensitivity and fondness for strong female characters. These aren't buxom bimbos that wield Uzis and mutter one-liners; these are fully dimensional characters that Besson is seemingly fascinated by, since they turn up in everything from historical epics to tiny, Kapra-esque comedies. The newest Luc Besson heroine is the title character played by Scarlett Johansson in this week's "Lucy," about a young woman who, after accidentally ingesting an experimental drug, unlocks the potential of the human brain. It's crazy and kind of awesome, and the latest in a long line of Besson's strong female characters.

Watch: Scarlett Johansson Kills Dudes Dead In Violent First Red Band Clip From Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’

  • By Edward Davis
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  • July 9, 2014 2:55 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Lucy, Scarlett Johansson
Real talk: what was the last decent film writer/producer/director Luc Besson made? We looked at where things went wrong in this Assessment feature from last year. But really? “I always follow my instinct," Besson told us in September of 2013. Considering that last good film might be 1997’s “The Fifth Element” maybe that instinct hasn’t served him so well? But he’s back one year after “The Family” with Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer that didn’t change anyone’s opinion of his late-era career trajectory.

Watch: Scarlett Johansson Is Back In Action In First Trailer For Luc Besson's 'Lucy'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 2, 2014 12:27 PM
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  • 10 Comments
Scarlett Johansson, Lucy
How does one describe Luc Besson's "Lucy"? Well, we'll just let Scarlett Johansson explain it herself. "I wouldn't say it's science fiction, but it's definitely a thriller," she told Darren Aronofsky in Interview magazine last fall. "I play a character who, throughout the course of the film, begins to use a greater and greater capacity of her brain."

Review: '3 Days to Kill' Starring Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld & Amber Heard

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • February 20, 2014 1:38 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Three Days To Kill
French filmmaker Luc Besson used to make arty entertainments that came packaged with an element of exploitative sizzle (things like the endlessly remade "La Femme Nikita" and "The Fifth Element," which was like a European comic book version of "Star Wars"). At some point, though, his interest in directing faded, his personal output became sporadic and scattershot, and instead he refashioned himself as a kind of European Roger Corman, co-writing and producing a slew of trashy thrillers that had marginally more sheen and complexity than your average direct-to-cable premiere. "3 Days to Kill" is the latest feature to emerge from the Besson hit factory, and is one of the filmmaker's better productions, mostly because he seems to have found a kindred spirit in director McG, who has overseen a number of junky guilty pleasures himself.

The Assessment: Luc Besson's Directorial Career In 7 Films

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • September 18, 2013 2:34 PM
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  • 9 Comments
The Assessment: Luc Besson
"I always follow my instinct," writer/producer/director Luc Besson told us in interview last week in regards to his choice of directorial project. But just where has that instinct led him? He's a fascinating filmmaker, and not exclusively for the films he makes, but also for the career decisions he's made along the way that have puzzled many onlookers. He started out as an indie darling, making stylistic, often visceral and even arty action films that were infused with his love of American genre films, comic books, and music videos. Intelligent, left of center and shot through with a distinctly European sensibility for all their U.S. influence, these early works were a rare breed of critically respectable action film. Soon the Frenchman was essentially known as a modern auteur, and one with a hip, young edge.

Box Office: 'Insidious Chapter 2' Out-Spooks 'The Family' With 2nd Best September Opening Ever

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • September 15, 2013 1:27 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Insidious 2
Friday the 13th weekend... Black cats, broken mirrors, a horror sequel trumps a Robert De Niro-Luc Besson-Martin Scorsese mob comedy...

Interview: Luc Besson Talks Scorsese's Influence On 'The Family,' Returning To Sci-Fi & Not Getting Paid For 'Nikita'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 12, 2013 5:40 PM
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  • 0 Comments
On Friday, Luc Besson, the madcap French filmmaker behind "Nikita," "Leon: The Professional," and "The Fifth Element," takes a break from overseeing his European action genre movie empire to, unleash his newest directorial effort, "The Family." The movie stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer as former mobsters sent off to live in Normandy, France, as a very extreme form of witness relocation (Tommy Lee Jones is their gruff FBI handler). Like most of Besson's other concoctions, it veers wildly from extreme violence to maudlin melodrama to broad physical humor, sometimes in the same scene. This is par for the course with Besson.

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