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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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  • 8 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.

Review: Luc Besson's 'The Family' Starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer & Tommy Lee Jones

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 12, 2013 4:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The term “dark comedy” used to mean a film or program that dealt with laughs but also discomforting adult situations and themes. For most filmmakers today, that now serves as a green light to portray death and violence with as little consequence or moral dimension whatsoever, giving protagonists a chance to guiltlessly resolve their complex problems with a little casual bloodshed. Slapstick has become so degraded that now all it takes is a blow to the head for directors to believe they’ve earned the audience’s approval, as if they are dogs yapping at the sensory stimulation. If that’s the case, then Luc Besson’s “The Family” is best left to the kennel.

"I Can't Wait To See How It Ends": New Teaser Trailer For Luc Besson's 'The Family' Starring Robert De Niro

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 19, 2013 11:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The Family Robert De Niro Michelle Pfeiffer
The Robert De Niro hit-to-miss ratio these days simply isn't very good. For every "Silver Linings Playbook," there are things like "The Big Wedding" and "Killing Season" (and that's just in 2013). On the one hand, we're kinda glad to see him working with a director of at least some weight in Luc Besson (though his best days seem similarly far behind him). We just wish the action-comedy "The Family" looked a bit more promising.

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