REVIEW: LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN

CAST
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Lucy Liu (Charles Angels)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Michael Rubenfeld (The Recruit)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and The Beast)
Stanley Tucci (Transformers 4)
Kevin Chamberlin (Road To Perdition)
Dorian Missick (The Cape)
Mykelti Williamson (Con Air)
Daniel Kash (Bitten)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
During the film’s opening credits, two bookies are separately ambushed and murdered by their unseen killers; elsewhere, a young man is killed by a sniper. In a bus terminal, a young man is approached by Goodkat (Bruce Willis), who tells the story of Max and the Kansas City Shuffle: two decades earlier, Max borrowed money from the mob to bet on a fixed horse race, only for the horse to die mid-race. To set an example to make sure nobody else would try to bet on a fixed race, the mob killed Max, his wife and young son Henry. Goodkat concludes that a “Kansas City Shuffle” is a misleading double bluff, and so tricks and kills the young man, before loading his body into a truck.
In New York City, Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) is staying in his friend Nick Fisher’s apartment and, upon being visited by Nick’s neighbor Lindsey (Lucy Liu), discusses Nick’s disappearance and why his apartment was unlocked. Lindsey suggests that Nick may be missing and, after she leaves, Slevin is kidnapped by two henchmen, who take him to “The Boss” (Morgan Freeman). Mistaking Slevin for Nick, The Boss orders him to repay a large gambling debt or kill the son of his rival, “The Rabbi” (Ben Kingsley); The Boss believes The Rabbi is responsible for assassinating his son (seen in the intro), and wants The Rabbi’s homosexual son, Yitzchok “The Fairy”, to be killed in revenge. Slevin then returns to the apartment, but is kidnapped again by two Jewish henchmen working for The Rabbi. The Rabbi also mistakes Slevin for Nick, and also demands he repay a large gambling debt. Slevin returns to The Boss and agrees to kill The Fairy. Concurrently with Slevin visiting the mob bosses, it becomes apparent Goodkat is involved in both sides and is responsible for Nick’s debts being called in, and he plans to kill Slevin after The Fairy dies (though his motivations remain unknown).
Slevin and Lindsey go out to dinner, where Slevin arranges a date with The Fairy. Slevin is approached by Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci), who is investigating The Boss and The Rabbi; the detective hassles him again later; Slevin reveals his full name. Slevin arrives at The Fairy’s apartment and fatally shoots him, only for Goodkat to appear; rather than shoot Slevin, however, he finishes The Fairy, who pulls out a gun, revealing Slevin and Goodkat are affiliated. Slevin then brings the bus terminal victim’s body, revealed to be Nick Fisher, into the apartment while Goodkat kills The Fairy’s bodyguards. Together they blow up the apartment and the bodies, faking Slevin’s death in the process. Goodkat and Slevin kidnap The Boss and The Rabbi, with both awakening restrained in The Boss’s penthouse. Slevin appears and explains the overarching twist: Slevin is Henry, the son of the ill-fated Max, and the mobsters who killed Max were The Boss and The Rabbi. Goodkat is revealed as the assassin hired to kill young Henry, but after an attack of conscience took him in and raised him instead.
Twenty years later, Goodkat and Slevin killed The Boss’ son and both mobsters’ bookies, stealing the bookies’ ledgers in the process; after finding Nick Fisher owed a great deal of money to both sides, they killed him and stole his identity. As gang warfare loomed, both mobsters went to Goodkat, who agreed to both kill and protect The Fairy on the condition they call in Nick’s debts, granting Slevin and Goodkat unhindered access to the heavily guarded mobsters and Nick Fisher as an ally respectively. After revealing his plan, Slevin suffocates The Rabbi and The Boss by taping plastic bags over their heads, killing them the same way they killed his father. Since Lindsey earlier photographed Goodkat for Slevin, Goodkat shoots her to protect his identity. Finally, it is revealed that Detective Brikowski killed Slevin’s mother when his own gambling debts were called in by the mobsters; Slevin kills Brikowski as the pseudonym “Slevin Kelevra” is explained: “Lucky Number Slevin” was the horse his father had bet on, and “Kelevra” is Hebrew for “bad dog,” mirroring Goodkat’s name.
Sometime later at the bus terminal, Slevin is met by Lindsey, and it is revealed that Slevin, aware of Goodkat’s intentions, explained his true identity to her and helped fake her death. Goodkat appears, aware of the trickery; since Goodkat spared Slevin as a boy, he sympathizes and agrees to let her live. The film closes with a flashback to Goodkat deciding not to kill Henry; “Kansas City Shuffle” by Bennie Moten (Performed by J. Ralph) starts playing on the radio as they drive away together.
A clever film with a twist at the end. I enjoyed it and so might you if you like thrillers with a twist at the end. An all star cast adds to the pleasure.

REVIEW: THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES

CAST
Tom Hanks (The Road To Perdition)
Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Melanie Griffith (Tempo)
Kim Cattrall (Star Trek 6)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters 2)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Rita Wilson (Jingle All The Way)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash)
Donald Moffat (The Thing)
Marjorie Monaghan (Babylon 5)
Sam Sorbo (Hercules:TLJ)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Richard Belzer (Law & Order: SVU)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Terry Farrell (Star Trek: DS9)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)
Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) is a Wall Street investor who makes millions while enjoying the good life and the sexual favors of Maria Ruskin (Melanie Griffith), a Southern belle gold digger. Sherman and Maria are driving back to Maria’s apartment from JFK Airport when they take a wrong turn on the expressway and the two find themselves in the “war-zone” of the South Bronx. They are approached by two suspicious black youths after Sherman gets out of the car to move a tire placed purposely in the middle of the road. Sherman jumps back into the car and Maria guns the engine in reverse, running over one of the teenagers and putting him in a coma. The two drive away and decide not to report the accident to the police.
Meanwhile, indigent alcoholic journalist Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis), anxious for a story to make good with his editor, comes upon the hit-and-run case as a rallying point for the black community calling upon Jewish district attorney Abe Weiss (F. Murray Abraham), who is the Bronx District Attorney seeking re-election. According to Judge Leonard White (Morgan Freeman), almost all of DA Weiss’ prosecutions end up with black and Puerto Rican defendants going to prison and Weiss is seeking a white defendant for purposes of convincing the minority-majority community that he is worth re-electing.
Weiss recognizes the press coverage inherent in prosecuting the callow Sherman, who has been discovered as the hit-and-run driver, in order to cultivate the image as an avenger for the minorities and be propelled to the mayorship of New York City. As Sherman is brought to his knees, New York City fragments into different factions who use the case to suit their own cynical purposes.
Finally, Sherman is left without any allies to support him except for the sympathetic Judge Leonard White and the remorseful Fallow. Fallow gains a tremendous advantage and insight into the case when he is dating a woman who is the sub-letting landlady of Maria’s apartment, and knows of secret recordings of conversations in the apartment made by the authorities to prove that the woman is not in fact living in the rent-controlled apartment herself. She discovers information about the McCoy case (where Maria states she was driving the car), which she gives to Fallow, who in turn covertly supplies it to Sherman McCoy’s defense lawyer. Sherman gets his hands on a tape and plays the recording in court, where it reveals Maria directly contradicting the evidence she has just given, showing she has been perjuring herself and causing her to faint. Sherman plays the tape in a tape recorder inside his briefcase connected to a small loudspeaker that he holds on the desk.
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When the judge orders that he approach the bench with this evidence, he asserts that the tape is all his (making it admissible evidence and it is technically truthful since it refers only to the dummy tape he was holding and ignores the real tape that is hidden which is not his), resulting in his acquittal. The people in the court go into an uproar, to which Judge White launches into a tirade that they have no right to act self-righteous and smarmy, or that they are above Sherman, considering Reverend Bacon (John Hancock) claims to help disadvantaged New Yorkers but actually engages in race baiting, or that the District Attorney Weiss pushed this case not in the interest of justice but in the interest of appealing to minority voters to further his political career by appealing to their desire to “get even”. After the Judge made his point, he begs the people to be decent and change their ways, letting Sherman go.
The film ends as it begins, where there is a large audience applauding Peter Fallow’s premiere of his book. Fallow says that Sherman McCoy has moved away from New York City to an unknown destination, presumably to live in obscurity.
I still can’t understand, after all these years, why this film was and still is so underrated. To me is one of De Palma’s masterpieces, where you can enjoy all his talents but still you breathe all the focused and cruel genius of Tom Wolfe and his best book. Not to mention that the adaptation of the book is brilliant and manges to keep the core and the best of it in a just 2 hours movie, even adding some moments that were not present in the books but sound absolutely brilliant, coherent and useful to carry on the story. Actors are funny and acting direction absolutely perfect, both in comical timing, and in the way actors approach their characters.

REVIEW: MILLION DOLLAR BABY

Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby (2004)

CAST
Hilary Swank (The Reaping)
Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Jay Baruchel (Robocop 2014)
Mike Colter (Jessica Jones)
Brian F. O’Byrne (Flashforward)
Anthony Mackie (Ant-Man)
Margo Martindale (Mike & Molly)
Riki Lindhome (The Muppets)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy)
Tom McCleister (Twins)
Spice Williams-Crosby (Star Trek V)
Kim Strauss (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
million-dollar-baby-clint-eastwood-hilary-swank
Margaret “Maggie” Fitzgerald, a waitress from a Missouri town in the Ozarks, shows up in the Hit Pit, a run-down Los Angeles gym owned and operated by Frankie Dunn, an old, cantankerous boxing trainer. Maggie asks Frankie to train her, but he initially refuses. Maggie works out tirelessly each day in his gym, even after Frankie tells her she’s “too old” to begin a boxing career at her age. Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris, Frankie’s friend and employee (as well as the film’s narrator), encourages and helps her.
Frankie’s prize prospect, “Big” Willie Little, signs with successful manager Mickey Mack after becoming impatient with Dunn’s rejecting offers for a championship bout. With prodding from Scrap and impressed with her persistence, Frankie reluctantly agrees to train Maggie. He warns her that he will teach her only the basics and then find her a manager. Other than Maggie and his employees, the only person Frankie has contact with is a local pastor, with whom he spars verbally at daily Mass.
Before her first fight, Frankie leaves Maggie with a random manager in his gym, much to her dismay; upon being told by Scrap that said manager deliberately put her up against his best girl (coaching the novice to lose) to give her an easy win, Frankie rejoins Maggie in the middle of the bout and coaches her instead to an unforeseen victory. A natural, she fights her way up in the women’s amateur boxing division with Frankie’s coaching, winning many of her lightweight bouts with first-round knockouts. Earning a reputation for her KOs, Frankie must resort to bribery to get other managers to put their trainee fighters up against her.
Eventually, Frankie risks putting her in the junior welterweight class, where her nose is broken in her first match. Frankie comes to establish a paternal bond with Maggie, who substitutes for his estranged daughter. Scrap, concerned when Frankie rejects several offers for big fights, arranges a meeting for her with Mickey Mack at a diner on her 33rd birthday. Out of loyalty, she declines. Frankie begrudgingly accepts a fight for her against a top-ranked opponent in the UK, where he bestows a Gaelic nickname on her. The two travel Europe as she continues to win; Maggie eventually saves up enough of her winnings to buy her mother a house, but she berates Maggie for endangering her government aid, claiming that everyone back home is laughing at her.
Frankie is finally willing to arrange a title fight. He secures Maggie a $1 million match in Las Vegas, Nevada against the WBA women’s welterweight champion, Billie “The Blue Bear”, a German ex-prostitute who has a reputation as a dirty fighter. Overcoming a shaky start, Maggie begins to dominate the fight, but after a round has ended, Billie knocks her out with an illegal sucker punch from behind after the bell has sounded to indicate the end of the round. Before Frankie can pull the corner stool out of the way which was inappropriately placed on its side by Frankie’s assistant, Maggie lands hard on it, breaking her neck and leaving her a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic.
Frankie is shown experiencing the first three of the five stages of grief: first seeking multiple doctors’ opinions in denial, then blaming Scrap in anger and later trying to bargain with God through prayer. In a medical rehabilitation facility, Maggie looks forward to a visit from her family, but they arrive accompanied by an attorney and only after having first visited Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood; their only concern is to transfer Maggie’s assets to them. She orders them to leave, threatening to sell the house and inform the IRS of her mother’s welfare fraud if they ever show their faces again.
As the days pass, however, Maggie develops bedsores and undergoes an amputation for an infected leg. She asks a favor of Frankie: to help her die, declaring that she got everything she wanted out of life. A horrified Frankie refuses, and Maggie later bites her tongue repeatedly in an attempt to bleed to death, but the medical staff saves her and takes measures to prevent further suicide attempts. The pastor Frankie has harassed for 23 years, Father Horvak, warns him that he would never find himself again if he were to go through with Maggie’s wishes.
Frankie sneaks in one night, unaware that Scrap is watching from the shadows. Just before administering a fatal injection of adrenaline, he finally tells Maggie the meaning of a nickname he gave her, Mo Chuisle (spelled incorrectly in the film as “mo cuishle”): Irish for “my darling, and my blood” (literally, “my pulse”). He never returns to the gym. Scrap’s narration is revealed to be a letter to Frankie’s daughter, informing her of her father’s true character. The last shot of the film shows Frankie sitting at the counter of a diner where Maggie once took him.
The ending was haunting but incredibly poignant. This film was impressive, excellently crafted and definately worthwhile seeing, not least for the excellent performances of the cast

REVIEW: EVAN ALMIGHTY

 

CAST

Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Lauren Graham (Bad Santa)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks 2)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting..)
Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Johnny Simmons (Jennifer’s Body)
Graham Phillips (The Good Wife)
Jimmy Bennett (Orphan)
Ed Helms (The Hangover)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
Dean Norris (Terminator 2)
Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory)
Jon Stewart (The Faculty)
Catherine Bell (JAG)
Molly Shannon (Wet Hot American Summer)
P.J. Byrne (Black Lightning)
Arden Myrin (Insatiable)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)
Meagen Fay (That’s My Boy)
Suzy Nakamura (Horrible Bosses 2)
Jan Hoag (Scream Queens)
Lamont Thompson (The O.C)
Tucker Smallwood (Contact)

MV5BMTk0ODQyNDc3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTA2MTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Newly elected to Congress, former local television news reporter Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) leaves his hometown of Buffalo, New York and moves to suburban northern Virginia, where his congressional campaign declares that he will change the world. Evan prays to God (Morgan Freeman) to give him this opportunity. On the other hand, his wife, Joan (Lauren Graham), expresses her concern about the new location and prays that she, Evan, and their three sons (Jimmy Bennett, Graham Phillips, and Johnny Simmons) will be closer together as a family. On the first day of his job, Evan is given a prime office space, where he is accompanied by his three congressional staffers, Rita, Marty, and Eugene (Wanda Sykes, Jonah Hill, John Michael Higgins), and invited to co-sponsor the Public Land Act bill with his boss, Chuck Long (John Goodman). Soon after Evan’s arrival to Congress, six strange things start to happen around him:MV5BMTU1NzA3OTI1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjg4NjA3._V1_His alarm clock repeatedly goes off at 6:14 a.m. Ancient tools and gopher wood are delivered to his house. Pairs of animals simply follow Evan without any apparent reason (with birds even flying into his office through the window). Evan grows a beard that immediately reappears no matter how many times he shaves. Eight vacant lots in Evan’s neighborhood are purchased in his name.The number “614” increasingly appears everywhere he goes.Evan soon learns that the number refers to the verse in the Book of Genesis, where God instructs Noah to build an Ark in preparation for a flood. God repeatedly appears in various guises before finally revealing himself to Evan, cordially insisting that Evan should build an Ark as well. God explains to Evan that a flood is coming, and that the only opportunity Evan will have to change the world is by saving his community instead. God also tells Evan to inform others about the flood should they ask him later. Evan’s family initially believes that he is having a mid-life crisis. Later, his three sons suspect something greater is occurring and assist him, along with various animals, in the construction of the Ark, although Joan does not. The fully constructed ark is at the center of the image with a downcast sky. A large ramp on the left side of the image is leading up into the ark. In the foreground of the image is a paved street.

Animals eventually follow Evan to Congress. When Long discovers this, he allows Evan latitude at first, but warns him that he will no longer tolerate it if it happens again in the future. Meanwhile, Evan’s staffers are outraged by his change in appearance and behavior. When Evan returns to the Ark, God presents him with a robe, and later tells him that the flood will likely come at midday on September 22. When Joan becomes suspicious of his behavior, Evan tells her the truth: God has been talking to him and is responsible for his new looks and recent actions, although Joan does not believe Evan and is convinced that he is beginning to lose his mind. After wearing the robe for some time, Evan finds it comfortable, but soon realizes that God will not allow him to take it off and wear anything else after two failed tries to change his clothes later. The next time Evan arrives at Congress, animals follow him once again.Film Title: Evan AlmightyOnce Evan finally explains his reason for this, his facial hair, and his robe, he is temporarily suspended from Congress after humiliating himself in front of many witnesses. Long later removes Evan from the Public Land Act bill that he is co-sponsoring with him. Joan watches the news on television and initially believes that Evan is going insane, and decides to return to her mother’s home. Joan packs up her van and takes her sons to come with her, much to their reluctance. Evan deduces that God purposely had him suspended from Congress so that he would have more time to build the Ark, although Joan remains skeptical and departs. Evan decides to build the Ark alone, gaining media attention and public ridicule, as hundreds of animals assemble in pairs. Meanwhile, God appears to Joan as a waiter at a diner, wearing a name tag displaying “Al Mighty”.MV5BMTk4NTc1NTc0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDQ4NjA3._V1_In this guise, God listens to Joan as she picks up the newspaper she was reading and shows it to him, which mocks Evan and features him building the Ark. Joan explains that Evan claims that God asked him to do it, but she is concerned that Evan is only losing his sanity and allowing himself to become the laughingstock of the neighborhood. Sympathetic toward Evan, God tells Joan that perhaps it is an opportunity for him, and explains that he himself does not give things but only the opportunity by which to obtain things, citing togetherness of families as one of these things. Seeing God’s meaning, Joan returns to Evan with new-found faith and helps him and the animals finish the Ark together in order to prepare for the flood. Meanwhile, word reaches Evan that Long has commissioned a dam and has cut corners in doing so.On September 22, Evan loads hundreds of animals onto the newly finished Ark in front of spectators and live news crews, who continue to mock him. Later, Long and the policemen arrive with a wrecking ball crew and try to destroy the Ark, since it violates numerous building codes. Minutes pass with no sign of rain, provoking spectator scorn. A large rainstorm does come, but it is brief. Joan asks Evan to leave the Ark and believes that maybe God did not mean a literal flood, but a metaphorical one. However, Evan witness Long’s dam burst from the distance, causing all of the spectators, reporters, and policemen to immediately seek refuge in the Ark, which rides the flood through the streets and landmarks of Washington, D.C.. The Ark reaches its final destination in front of the Capitol, which disrupts the vote on the Public Land Act bill. Evan tells Long that the flood was caused by his poor design of the dam, which incites other Congressmen also present to turn against Long.

After Congress puts the Public Land Act bill on hold to investigate Long’s defective dam and the animals returning to their natural habitat, Evan is given his job back with a promotion, and celebrates these events by finally shaving his beard, changing back into his regular clothes, and going on a long-promised hiking trip with his family. When God reappears once again during the hike, Evan is initially disappointed when he realizes that he never needed to build the Ark again in the first place, since the flood only happened because of Long’s defective dam. However, God reassures Evan that he now has a perfect life as well as everything that he had originally prayed for, and that this would not have happened otherwise. Evan is happy to realize this, as God informs him that the right way to change the world is by doing one Act of Random Kindness (ARK) at a time. During the film’s closing credits, God issues a new commandment to the outgoing audience: “Thou shalt do the dance”, and later follow by the footage where the film’s cast and crew dance to “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory.

Evan Almighty is predictable on every turn, and has enough humor to satisfy. The animals do their part to provide a fair share of fecal humor. Morgan Freeman offers up plenty of wisdom in the role of God. Steve Carell does an exceptionally adequate job of delivering very humorous dialogue, which in his style is sure to be adlibbed in great part. The sheer amounts of animals in this film are overwhelming and a treat to behold. Overall the storyline and humor feel very cliché. Evan Almighty was a mild success, but just does not offer anything special apart from a few good laughs.

REVIEW: BRUCE ALMIGHTY

 

CAST

Jim Carrey (Kick-Ass 2)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jennifer Aniston (Rumor Has It)
Philip Baker Hall (50/50)
Catherine Bell (JAG)
Lisa Ann Walter (War of The Worlds)
Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Nora Dunn (new Girl)
Eddie Jemison (Izombie)
Sally Kirkland (JFK)
Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Noel Gugliemi (Training Day)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Ara Celi (Machete)
Max Grodénchik (Star Trek: DS9)
P.J. Byrne (Black Lightning)

yukyukuykyukyukBruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News at WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. He is in a healthy relationship with his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), but also has a mild crush on his co-worker, Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell), who barely seems to notice him. Bruce however continues to suffer unfortunate events and it reaches his breaking point when he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who then steals dialogue from Bruce’s segment in accepting the promotion on-air. Bruce becomes furious and aggressively and profanely criticizes the station during his first live report, leading to his dismissal from the station. Following a series of other misfortunes, Bruce complains that God (Morgan Freeman) is “the one that should be fired.”

Bruce later receives a message on his pager, directing him to an empty warehouse where he meets God, who offers to give Bruce His powers to prove that He is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that there are rules to the job he must follow, albeit only two: firstly, Bruce cannot tell anyone else that he has God’s powers; and secondly, Bruce cannot use the powers to alter or interfere with free will. Bruce ignores God and is initially jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain, such as training his dog to use the toilet, chasing away thugs by spewing out a swarm of hornets, and sexually impressing Grace. Bruce also finds ways of using the powers to cause miraculous events to occur at otherwise mundane events that he covers, such as discovering Jimmy Hoffa’s body or causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a cook-off, earning him his job back. Bruce then uses his powers to cause Evan to make a fool out of himself on-air, causing Evan to be fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor.

After taking Grace to a fancy dinner and telling her he made anchor (angering her, as she thought he was going to propose), Bruce begins to hear voices in his head. He re-encounters God, who confronts Bruce on using his powers for personal gain and not helping people. He also explains that the voices are prayers to God that Bruce must deal with. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive the prayers and respond, but finds that the influx is far too great for him to handle — even though God had stated that Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area — and sets the program to automatically answer Yes to every prayer. Bruce attends a party celebrating his promotion. When Grace arrives, she finds Bruce being seduced and kissed by Susan, and quickly leaves.MV5BMTk0ODQyNDc3M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTA2MTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Bruce follows Grace, but she is heartbroken and will not listen to him. He tries to use his powers to convince Grace to stay but cannot influence her free will. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that the city has fallen into chaos due to his actions. Bruce returns to God, who explains that He can’t solve all the problems, and that Bruce must figure out a way to solve it himself. Bruce then begins to solve his problems in life practically, such as helping a man whose car broke down across the street, training his dog normally, and allowing Evan to have his job back. Bruce returns to his computer system and goes about answering prayers as best he can. As he reads through them, he finds a prayer from Grace, wishing for Bruce’s success and well-being. As he reads it, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with Bruce anymore.

Bruce is stunned and walks alone on a highway, asking God to take back His powers and letting his fate be in His hands. Bruce is suddenly struck by a truck, and regains consciousness in a white void. God appears and asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce admits that he only wants to make sure Grace finds a man that would make her happy. God agrees and Bruce finds himself in the hospital, shortly after being revived—near miraculously—by the doctors. Grace arrives and the two rekindle their relationship, with Bruce and Grace later becoming engaged. After his recovery, Bruce returns to his field reporting but takes more pleasure in the simple stories. Bruce and Grace announce their engagement on live TV.BruceSchiemoThe film ends with the beggar who Bruce had previously run into on various occasions finally revealing himself to be God. Morgan Freeman delivers a fantastic performance as the Man himself, displaying a God whose infinite wisdom is somewhat reflected through Freeman’s massive talent as an actor. He is the kind of God who takes his job very seriously, but in such a way as to advise his followers that there are times when you need to slow down and do some manual labor in life. I love his line that some of the happiest people in the world come home smelling to high heaven at the end of the day.2840726-morgan_godBruce Almighty is one of the more memorable comedies, It is a comedy written and performed in good taste, but with enough relatively low-brow humor to keep the everyone entertained. This is a meaningful comedy for the whole family.

REVIEW: LUCY

 

CAST

Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Min-Sik Choi (Lady Vengeance)
Pilou Asbæk (Hijacking)
Amr Waked (Syriana)
Julian Rhind-Tutt (Rabbit fever)
Analeigh Tipton (Warm Bodies)

 

Scarlett Johansson in Lucy (2014)Lucy (Johansson) begins her day ruffled after an evening with this week’s boyfriend, Richard (Pilou Asbæk). After much finagling, Richard gives up trying to convince Lucy to drop off a mysterious suitcase to Korean mob boss Mr. Jang (Min-sik) and instead handcuffs the valise to Lucy’s arm and shoos her in the door. Cut to Jang’s luxury suite, where Lucy is forced to reveal the possibly dangerous contents, which turn out to be bags of a synthetic drug capable of boosting brain function. Jang implants bags of the stuff inside Lucy and several other unwilling drug mules for travel, but the contents in Lucy’s stomach leak, instantly giving her an acute awareness of her surroundings and the ability to fight like a trained assassin. Lucy contacts scientist and professor Samuel Norman (Freeman), who lectures on the would-it-be-possible science of increasing brain function, and dodges Jang’s incoming assassins as she uses increasingly more of her brain.Scarlett Johansson in Lucy (2014)Besson inserts title cards each time Lucy’s brain usage hits a new milestone. Her powers at first consist of lightning-fast reflexes and the ability to solve problems without hesitation, and quickly grow to include a plethora of lethal fighting moves and the ability to control electrical current. Each cheeky title card bookends another explosion of drug-fueled super powers, and anyone complaining about the film’s science should be infuriated by the time Lucy starts manipulating technology and her own physical form. Johannson’s wide-eyed concern and cautious embrace of Lucy’s newfound gifts buoys the film. She is a fine actress doing a good job with less-than-serious material. Rarely are female leads given anything of substance to do in action films, so I applaud Besson for writing this role for a woman. Lucy allows its heroine to teeter on the brink of annihilation. Lucy is both resigned to die and determined to use the synthetic boost to overcome the otherwise-fatal drain on her body.Scarlett Johansson and Hao-Hsiang Hsu in Lucy (2014)Director Luc Besson returns to his European action roots in Lucy, a lightweight but wholly entertaining actioner with Scarlett Johansson in the lead as a woman whose inadvertent ingestion of a synthetic compound unlocks the full capacity of her mind. The science may be junk, but the action is exciting and there is plenty of humor from the able cast, which also includes Morgan Freeman.