Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - Page 10 News List

Movie releases

By Ian Bartholomew  /  Contributing reporter

Lucy

In 2011 we had Limitless when Bradley Cooper played a slacker who becomes a turbo charged killer after taking a drug that let him access 100 percent of his brain. This is the girls empowerment version with Scarlett Johansson in the Cooper role. In this case, Johansson is forced to be a drug mule in a deal that goes badly wrong. The drug inside her transforms her into a merciless warrior who wreaks havoc and reveals new possibilities for the human race. Lucy revels in the theme of waifish young women discovering their inner Shiva, and has distant echos of other Luc Besson films such as La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional, though visually venturing into gaudier science fiction territory. Lucy has all the hallmarks of his work, from its frenetic pace, stylized mayhem and visual sophistication, but this latest work actually seems to work as a story as well, other than going spectacularly off the rails toward the end — and even that kind of works in the context of this film. For local audiences, a point of interest will be that much of the action is set in Taiwan, with ample use made of local Taipei landmarks.

Boys

A made-for-TV gay interest movie from the Netherlands manages to provide some neat twists and turns to a plot that seems pretty formulaic at the outset. This is a coming-of-age, self-discovery movie about Sieger (Gijs Blom), who is training in the new athletics team for the national relay championships, and meets the intriguing and unpredictable Marc (Ko Zandvliet), who joins the squad. The two become close friends, and over the summer holidays, the friendship becomes something more. There is all the usual stuff about jealousies and insecurities as Sieger, trying to fit in with his sports team crowd, becomes involved with a girl. The treatment of this well-worn theme is sensitive and inventive, and performances are strong, and it has picked up a number of awards on the festival circuit.

Jacky In The Kingdom Of Women

Role reversal comedy from France, Jacky in the Kingdom of Women is a satirical take on gender politics, with humor that runs the gamut from biting to broad to scatological. It is not subtle, but occasionally hits the target, though it never tries to go much beyond its original setup, and the gender jokes quickly become a little stale. It is not helped by the Ruritanian backdrop, with star Charlotte Gainsbourg looking fetching in a variety of militaristic uniforms. The film is set in the Kingdom of Bubunne, where women are in power while men wear veils and do domestic tasks. Jacky, a lovely young man who dreams of marrying the ‘Colonelle’ has to struggle like a Cinderella to realize his dreams. Occasionally amusing.

Blind

This finely honed drama from Norway about a writer whose loss of sight only serves to sharpen her creative imagination. This debut feature for screenwriter Eskil Vogt is also a showcase for the talent of actress Ellen Dorrit Petersen (Troubled Water), in whose head much of the film takes place. Vogt proves a master of detail, and manages to “show” us a world perceived through sightless eyes, so that even making a cup of tea becomes a protracted suspense set piece. There is not much by way of plot, and the film moves forward as a extended portrait of its central character, whose uncertain or distorted grasp of reality provides dramatic tension. Vogt shows a fascination with the creative processes, and the uses of writing as a means of escape, vicarious experience, catharsis and self-discovery. He finds ingenious cinematic ways of visualizing a writer’s fickle temperament in a manner that echoes the Spike Jonze film Adaptation. For all its quality, Blind requires commitment from the viewer to appreciate the subtle uses of cinema to tell an interesting story.

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