Movie Review: “Lucy”

Starring
Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-Sik, Amr Waked
Director
Luc Besson

There’s an episode of “Phineas and Ferb” where the gang is in Tokyo, and a J-pop music video breaks out. As they’re leaving (still dancing, of course), Candace looks at Isabella and says, “I have no idea what just happened.” The final third of Luc Besson’s “Lucy” prompted a similar reaction. It is just barely connected to the events that preceded it, morphing from a story loosely in the vein of Besson’s (great) 1994 film “The Professional” into something along the lines of this year’s (not great) “Transcendence.” If anything, Besson made an outstanding case against the notion that humans should try to maximize their brain power. Sure, we might become brilliant, but we’d also become crashing bores.

Lucy (Scarlett Johannson) is scraping by in Taipei, partying too much and studying too little. Her drinking buddy Richard (Pilou Asbaek) asks her to deliver a briefcase to businessman Mr. Jang (Choi Min-sik, who looks like a Korean Russell Crowe). When Lucy refuses, Richard forces her to do it by handcuffing the case to her wrist. She delivers the suitcase, only to discover that it contains a new, powerful synthetic drug, and she will be forced to smuggle one of the packages of the drug inside her body for distribution elsewhere. She is assaulted shortly after the package has been placed inside of her, and the package breaks. As the drug flows through her body, Lucy’s ability to tap into the farthest resources of her mind expands. The now-enlightened Lucy uses her newfound intelligence, as well as her ability to manipulate the space around her (levitation, force fields, etc.), to get even with Mr. Jang, while simultaneously contacting Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) to show him that his theories on the subject of brain usage are dead on the money.

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Movie Review: “Magic in the Moonlight”

Starring
Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Eileen Atkins
Director
Woody Allen

Woody Allen has made some real stinkers over the course of his 50-year career, and though “Magic in the Moonlight” isn’t quite bad enough to be included among the director’s absolute worst films, it’s not very good either. Allen’s movies have always been pretty hit-and-miss, but since 2005’s career-altering “Match Point” – in which he inadvertently became a foreign film director by working almost exclusively in Europe – he’s only made three legitimately great movies. But while Allen has proven that he’s still capable of delivering a good film on occasion, he seems more concerned with maintaining his yearly output no matter what the cost, and that quantity-over-quality way of thinking only underlines the problems with his latest comedy.

Set in the late 1920s, the movie opens in a Berlin theater during a performance of world-renowned magician Wei Ling Soo. But just like the magic tricks in his show, it’s all a ruse. Wei Ling Soo isn’t Chinese at all, but rather the terribly racist stage persona of grumpy and arrogant Englishman Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth). He’s an elitist at heart who despises charlatans that give his profession a bad name, so when his longtime friend Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney) asks for his assistance in debunking a young spiritualist named Sophie Baker (Emma Stone), whom he believes is scamming the heir of the wealthy Catledge family, Stanley is all too happy to oblige. The pair heads to the Catledges’ mansion on the French Riviera in order to observe Sophie in action and catch her red-handed, but against his better judgment, Stanley begins to believe that she’s the real deal.

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Picture of the Day: Amber in a bikini

Here’s curvy Italian model Amber hanging out in a bikini in Miami Beach.

Amber in a bikini

  

Experience The Home Theater: Home Entertainment At Its Finest

If you’re building a home theater, you want to do it right, considering all possibilities and exploring alternate angles. If you want a fine experience, don’t lift a finger until you’ve put a handle on the following information.

Acoustics

To start, consider sound quality and acoustics. A large-screen television is not put to full use if you don’t buy quality speakers to produce surround sound. Also, purchase a receiver that acts as an audio/visual ‘mixing board,’ letting you DJ the quality of sound, balancing front and rear speakers, sound bars, etc.

True home entertainment stimulates all the senses; a quality system does not feature a large TV alone. Purchase a receiver, rear speakers, game consoles, and more to enhance the at-home entertainment. Surround sound speakers should be placed to the front side, above and a bit to the rear of listeners. Don’t aim speakers at peoples’ ears but rather position the components at a 45 to 60-degree angle spread (High dispersion speakers help disseminate sound out of the speakers into the room.)

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How to Turn Critics Into Motivators in Your Training Plan

shirtless man working out with dumbell

Sticking to an exercise training program requires you to have killer confidence in yourself. That can be tough to do if people around you don’t give you the support you need. If people are criticizing your efforts, don’t quit. Instead, turn their criticism into motivation using these tips to achieve your fitness goals.

Only accept constructive feedback

Just as you need to train your body, you also need to accept the old adage that you need to train other people how to treat you. Be honest with your coworkers, friends and family members and tell them upfront that what they are saying isn’t helping. Be clear that, although you want their honesty, you also want the truth delivered in a kind, positive way that keeps your goals in mind. Ask for an explanation for what they’re telling you. Forcing them to do encourages a better dialogue, ensures that they think through comments and makes it easy for you to spot unwarranted claims.

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