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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Cindy Prascik's Review of Hercules & Lucy

Dearest Blog, today it was off to the cinema for a double-bill guaranteed to make me feel like a doughy old lump: Dwayne Johnson's Hercules and Scarlett Johansson's Lucy.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.

First on the docket was Hercules.

Having successfully completed his legendary Twelve Labors, Hercules and his band of mercenaries find something besides gold that's worth fighting for.

Now, reader(s), you just knew this one was going to be silly, didn't you? Yeah, so did I, but it doesn't take itself very seriously at all, so I didn't mind. Dwayne Johnson is, as always, a truly engaging screen presence. You'll probably never see this guy carting home an Academy Award, but dude knows how to win and hold an audience.

You'll wonder why John Hurt and Ian McShane (one of my all-time favorites), even bother with stuff like this, but the movie is better for having them, so no complaints here. I'm sure their bank accounts have no complaints, either. The wonderful Rufus Sewell is also a welcome addition. Hercules' effects are decent and of course HUGE, if nothing too special. The story is passable entertainment, but, with such scintillating dialogue as, "Don't just stand there, KILL SOMEBODY!" isn't exactly Aaron Sorkin.

Hercules runs 98 minutes and is rated PG13 for "epic battle sequences, violence, suggestive comments, brief strong language, and partial nudity."

If it's just brainless fun, well, I'll take self-aware silliness like this over pompous drivel like the Planet of the Apes franchise any day.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Hercules gets five and a half.

Next up was ScarJo headlining Lucy.

A party girl living abroad is forced to carry drugs out of the country. When the package leaks inside her, it expands her mind's capacity to unthinkable levels.

Okay, confession time. I am what Hollywood refers to as "part of the problem." I don't generally see movies that star women. Women's movies don't interest me, and even an action thriller starring a woman wouldn't have made my list on a stronger weekend. Having said that, I've been falling a little bit in love with Scarlett Johansson's voice of late (but who hasn' I right, Joaquin Phoenix??), and since it was a weak weekend and Hercules wouldn't work with another screening of Jersey Boys, Lucy wound up the default closer of my double-header.

I admit, I was surprised by Lucy, and not altogether pleasantly. I wasn't bored--which I feared I would be--but at some point the movie degenerates from a solid-if-predictable action movie to broadly-drawn science fiction, and, while I didn't hate it, I also didn't love it. Johansson is capable in the lead, not to mention pretty darn hot, and Morgan Freeman is steady if somewhat underused.

I very much like the idea, but am unsold on its execution, and if the little science-class movie clips were kind of clever the first dozen times, I got tired of that trick before the halfway mark. To its credit, the movie keeps moving and doesn't wear out its welcome, but it would have fared better had filmmakers toned down the sci-fi a bit.

Lucy clocks in at 90 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality."

A little something different to break up your summer of superheroes and sequels, of a possible nine Weasleys, Lucy gets six...which would probably be at least half a Weasley higher if it were Louis instead.

Until next time..

Do I care if this movie is terrible? No, I do not.

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