The Sloth loves a kick-ass female lead. The Bride from Kill Bill, Ripley in Alien, you get the drift. So Lucy, a sci-fi-esq tale of a female assassin from the director of Leon (one of the best films EVER), sounded right up our street.
Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is having a bad day, forced to deliver a briefcase with unknown but presumably dodgy contents to notorious criminal Mr Jang (Min-sik Choi). Mr Jang, who surrounds himself with gun wielding mobsters and splices and dices anyone he doesn’t like, is a drug smuggler who transports his wares inside the stomachs of human mules, of whom Lucy is to be the next.
However, a technical hitch occurs in transit. One of Lucy’s intestinal packages bursts open, flooding her system with Jang’s drug, a wonder-product that allows humans to utilise all 100% of their brain capacity. Cue a cut to The Science Bit: Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) lecturing college students on the heights man could potentially reach if we employed more than the pathetic 20% or so that we actually use. Design self-slicing kebabs, that kind of thing.
Literally pumped full of drugs, Lucy develops an increasing array of astounding human super-powers as her brain capacity steadily rises. Unfortunately, this coincides with a mirrored decline in her empathy and emotional skills. No matter. Wired and intent on revenge against Jang, Super-Lucy still takes time to rope in Professor Norman to study and record her ground-breaking cerebral experience for the Greater Human Good.
Don’t try to make any sense of this. Switching rapidly between high octane action thriller and bonkers pseudo-intellectual scientific theorising, we suspect The Science Bit would hold less water than Rab C Nesbitt’s string vest. But that doesn’t matter. Like spending an afternoon with a toddler high on tartrazine, it’s wildly energetic, hugely entertaining and pays zero attention to conventional logic. Plus which, Scarlett makes a cracking super-human heroine. Enjoy. Then have a lie down.
UK release 22 August
We LOVE a cracking animation. We’ve watched Up more times than permissible for a grown adult and it never fails to make us laugh (talking dogs flying planes!!). So we approached The Lego Movie with nervous anticipation. Would it deliver that vital adult / kiddie crossover appeal?
Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a construction worker. He’s earnest, dull and always follows the instructions. Which is handy because Emmet lives in a Lego universe presided over by Lord Business (Will Ferrell), a megalomaniac despot determined to replace all creativity with rigid conformity, aided by his bi-polar henchman Good Cop / Bad Cop (a marvellous Liam Neeson). Literally rigid, as Lord Business intends to smother the Lego world in glue, never to be broken apart and rebuilt again.
Working to thwart this dastardly deed are an underground resistance movement of Master Builders, free-thinking liberals who NEVER follow the instructions, throwing together random Lego parts to create motorcycles, spaceships, bridges, the crazy fools. Headed by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and assisted by action heroine Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), they include every pop culture icon you can think of, from an exasperated Superman (Channing Tatum) who fends off The Green Hornet’s (Jonah Hill) creepy idolisation to arrogant babe-magnet Batman (Will Arnett) and a grandiose Gandalf (Todd Hansen). Vitruvius predicts a Special One shall appear, to save the Lego universe. Against all odds, that Special One turns out to be Emmet.
It’s bonkers. A kaleidoscopic rush of saturated colours and intense action that whirls from one scene to the next, taking in the Wild West, futuristic cityscapes and the trippy, candy coloured Cloud Cuckoo Land (if the writers didn’t ingest performance enhancing substances before coming up with that sequence, we’re a giraffe). Crucially, it’s backed with a witty and surprisingly satirical script that continually throws out surreal gems. From New Zealand described as the land of “Knights, poverty, leeches and illiteracy” to Bad Cop absent-mindedly crooning Danny Boy, there is much to savour. And look out for the live-action nostalgia trip towards the end. If that doesn’t warm your cockles then there’s no hope.
UK release 14 February
Hollywood’s never ending quest for the Generic New Baddie has moved on. We’ve had the Ruskies, then the Middle East, now in Olympus Has Fallen let’s hear it for: The North Koreans! Boo!! Hiss!! This is actually one of Hollywood’s smarter moves as Netflicks haven’t reach North Korea yet, so at least they’re not cannibalising their revenue streams.
The Olympus of the title is The White House, which suffers a spectacular attack by North Korean terrorists who storm the battalions and infiltrate President Aaron Eckhart’s secure bunker. These are proper terrorists. They’ve got B52 bombers modified with impenetrable force fields. Stonking big dumper trucks with spikes stuck on the front that steam through lines of police cars at 60 mph. And working knowledge of the Spock Death Grip. They want missile launch codes (Old Skool! The Sloth liked that. Been far too long since terrorists wanted missile launch codes) but don’t worry, it’s all going to be OK because the Yanks have got: Gerard Butler!
Gerard is a gruff, blood-spattered one man army. He don’t take orders from nobody, bossing around Acting President Morgan Freeman (c’mon Morgs, just fess up to your Reagan ambitions), scything through mountains of terrorists and still finding time to call his missus and tell her he loves her. Whadda hero.
There’s something pleasingly retro about Olympus Has Fallen. It has briefcases with scary flashing countdown clocks inside. Secret Service agents muttering ‘Package is on the move’ into their wrists. And stirring music to accompany stirring Presidential speeches proclaiming ‘God Bless America’. Forget the digital age, let’s hear it for some good, old-fashioned analogue action.
UK release 19 April