Costa Rica Photographs

Someday, we will visit Costa Rica. Until then, these pictures will have to do.

Visit this National Geographic page for more beautiful photographs of Costa Rica.

Enjoy.

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Suspension Bridge Savegre River

Suspension Bridge Savegre River

Pacific and Carribbean Oceans

Pacific and Caribbean Oceans

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

Toucan

Toucan

Costa Rica.  Beautiful country.  :-)

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Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong Caves by Drone: Video

Vietnam has an amazing complex of caves that were captured using a drone.

Go to the National Geographic article to learn more about the creator of this video and the Hang Son Doong Caves.  Here is an excerpt:

The biggest cavern in Vietnam’s Son Doong Cave is so vast that it could accommodate a Boeing 747. “You feel absolutely miniscule,” says Ryan Deboodt, a professional photographer whose video of the cave went viral this week. Deboodt spent eight days camped inside the cave, one of the world’s largest, with a GoPro fitted onto a drone.

Very cool.

Enjoy.

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“The Wedding Ringer” Movie Review

3.5-Watertowers(Kevin Hart Subdued, Sort Of)

Joah Gad (as Doug Harris) is about to marry the woman of his dreams, beautiful Gretchen Palmer (played by Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting).  He is panicking because he never really had any close friends and everyone he calls to ask if they could be his Best Man is not available, meaning they could care less.

the wedding ringerThe wedding planner puts him on to Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart) who makes a living being a Best Man for lost souls like Doug.  He is very good at it, but, keeps a professional distance, and as soon as the gig is complete…he goes on his way.  Occasionally, he has to preside at a funeral as the best friend, and again does an amazingly good job.

Doug visits Jimmy’s office (in a basement in an amusement park) and they decide that Doug’s wedding is something that Jimmy has never had to attempt previously: The Golden Tux, meaning he has to supply ALL the groomsmen as well as himself. The Golden Tux is complex and risky requiring a lot of preparation to line up all the groomsmen (a mish-mash of weird looking groomsmen that through the movie you come to like and appreciate), to get all the inter-related friends stories right, and is VERY expensive.

Doug agrees to the Golden Tux package despite the costs and risks because his beautiful wife-to-be, Gretchen, is worth every Penny (get it?)….or is she?

We also find out that one of the lost souls happens to be Jimmy, and, somehow, this wedding changes his life.

“The Wedding Ringer” is better than I thought it would be.  Kevin Hart is more subdued than his normal frenetic self, and is impressive. Josh Gad is excellent and the combination of Gad-Hart have an undeniable chemistry that I hope carries on in future movies.

“The Wedding Ringer” is rated R so it is not for kids. But it is an enjoyable romp that includes some really cool inside jokes; the most memorable being at the end of the movie when they are all on a plane and one of the groomsmen (you will recognize him) says he “does not have a good feeling about this flight”.  VERY FUNNY!

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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Teacher Registration Form: Tracy, CA Teachers

TEACHERS

Jefferson and Tracy Unified School Districts Only (California)

Register to start participating in the ForCarol.com donation emails. Once a month, during the school year, we will send an email to the teachers on the list and the FIRST to respond will receive the donation amount in the email.

Of course….we need money, so PLEASE tell all your friends and family about ForCarol.com and ask them to donate!

Go here to sign up.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” Movie Review

2.5-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Killing, Killing, and More Killing, Weird)

After the fantastic opening credits (must see), you know very quickly that you are in for an increasing death toll (massive death toll to be more descriptive) involving people being cut in half (lengthwise), heads exploding, knifings, shootings, drownings, explosions, and any number of unique ways to die.

kingsmanAfter the loss of a trainee 20 years or so ago, Kingsman Colin Firth (Galahad) visits the trainee’s wife with a medallion and promise to help if they ever need it.  The wife refuses so Galahad gives the medallion to the young son. The son grows up and eventually trains to be a Kingsman.

Currently, another Kingsman (Lancelot, Jack Davenport) takes it upon himself to rescue a kidnapped Professor (Mark Hamill).  He almost single handedly kills all of the kidnappers….almost….from behind he is is hit in the head, and after a few seconds of confusion, falls apart in two pieces, split in two lengthwise by a beautiful assassin, Gazelle (Sofia Boutella).  Her boss arrives once the bodies have been covered up (the boss does not like the sight of blood, it makes him “Hurl”).  The boss is Valentine (a speech impedimented Samuel L. Jackson).

It turns out that Valentine is a super geek afraid that humanity is killing the earth and has decided that the only way to stop the destruction of earth is to kill most of the human population (a story line also told in the book “Inferno” by Dan Brown). He does this by controlling people (to kill, or to explode) via a SIM card in their cell phones, or, for his closest associates & employees, surgically added behind their ears. He gets EVERYONE to load his SIM card by offering FREE cell phone service, forever (knowing “forever” is going to be a short time).

Missing Lancelot, the Kingsman interviews for his replacement. The son with the medallion is one of the interviewees, and we follow the interview process as it weeds out all but one, and then we get to the crux of the movie: trying to stop Valentine from wiping out most of the human race.

Although spies, killing, and murder is dead-on my favorite genre (I read Thrillers), I did not like Kingsman (except for a few VERY unique scenes, like the opening credits or towards the end of the movie; hundreds of heads exploding to marching, or fireworks, music). Lori enjoyed it…go figure.  It is just too weird for me.  It is definitely not for kids, or the sqeeemish, and it is rated R for a damn good reason: Killing on a massive scale.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(The Night Life Might End)

night at the museum secretLarry Daley (Ben Stiller) has a handle on the Museum night life and uses that to his advantage during fundraisers. One night, the museum characters ruin the festivities, but, no one knows why.

Investigating, Larry sees that the golden tablet that came to museum with Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) is tarnishing, but, Ahkmenrah does not know how to fix it.  If the Tablet can’t be fixed, the night life at the museum will come to an end. Only Ahkmenrah’s father, Merenkahre (Ben Kingsley), knows the secret of the Tablet, but he is in a Museum in London (the tomb discoverers split their findings between the two museums).

Larry arranges for he, Ahkmenrah, and the Tablet to travel to the London Museum to learn the secret of the Tablet. When Larry and the box containing Ahkmenrah arrive in London, Larry opens the box and out comes the entire cast of characters from the previous movies!

You know this is going to be a fun night at the London museum!

“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” is a rollicking fun movie every bit as good as the first two, if not better. The touching goodbye near the end of the movie to Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) brought tears to my eyes as they were really saying goodbye to Williams without knowing it. This is also the last role, I believe, for Mickey Rooney.

Night at the Museum 3 is great fun for the whole family. No f-words and plenty of laughs including when Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavious (Steve Coogan) respond to a video online. LOL.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“Into The Woods” Movie Review

ForCarol.com Movie Review 3-Watertowers(Musical Fairy Tale Mash-Up)

into the woodsA childless baker and his wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt) are sent on a treasure hunt into the woods by a wicked witch (Meryl Streep). They are to find items belonging to: Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy), and Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford).  And when they bring these items back, within three days when the moon is fully blue, the wicked witch will reverse a spell put on the baker’s family so the baker and his wife can have a child.

“Into The Woods” they go.

Once in the woods, they meet up with a number of famous fairy tale characters in addition to those listed above. Johnny Depp is the Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, Chris Pine is the Prince who searches for Cinderella after the ball (his singing is hilarious…I mean Capt Kirk singing…I guess I have him type-cast.) and Christine Baranski is Cinderella’s stepmother.

Do they find the items in time?  You will have to watch the movie to find out.

 

An all-star cast highlights this musical mash-up of different fairy tales. Unfortunately, it is about 30 minutes too long, and in that time my rating of the movie took a steep slide down as it got darker and darker and quite stupid as the giant (Frances de la Tour, who was also a giant in Harry Potter) stomped around looking for Jack.

“Into The Woods” is a PG movie good for the entire family with no f-words, but, some of the main characters die, which may be disturbing to those who are sensitive. “Into The Woods” is ok, not great. But, to be fair,Kristen and Lori both liked it more than I did.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

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“The Interview” Movie Review

3-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(Goofy, Gory, Rogan)

Seth Rogan had a major part making this film, and it shows.  “The Interview” is a gross-out movie typical of Seth Rogan.  Sexual innuendos fly, insulting everyone, over the top acting by James Franco (who is fantastic), gore, boobs, and that uncomfortable feeling I always get watching a Rogan movie. But I keep coming back for more, and will continue to do so in the future. NOT for kids, this movie is rated R for a reason.

Rogan (as Aaron Rapaport) is a TV “News” producer of the highly rated, “Skylark Tonight” show starring James Franco as the dimwitted, but, smart, Dave Skylark.

As luck (?) may have it Kim Jong-un the Dictator of North Korea loves Dave Skylark, and in fact, is a super-fan. Aaron reaches out for an interview, and, after some secret meetings, is granted an hour with the supreme leader.

The CIA steps in and wants Kim Jun Un “taken-out” by Rogan and Franco.

Do they complete their mission?

“The Interview” is a controversial film, made more so by the hack attack on Sony, by, supposedly, the North Koreans who decided that they could control (with the addition of terrorist threats) a free countries movie watching habits. WRONG! North Korea found out that a dictatorships reach is not as far as they would hope.

Santa dropped off a Chromecast for Christmas so we watched “The Interview” at home using Google Play.

For more information go to IMDb.

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“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Bilbo’s Great Adventure Ends)

Covering the last 77 pages of the book, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Fie Armies” details the fight for Lonely Mountain now that Smaug has met his fate.

Thorin, the Dwarf King, has fallen ill and is not thinking straight. The Elves and humans join forces to try to work with Thorin, but, he resists.

War is on the horizon between the Elves, Humans and Dwarves.

Seeing an opportunity to ensure peace, Bilbo, takes the Arkenstone to the Elves as a bargaining chip.

In the meantime, the news of the death of Smaug reaches the goblins (Orks in the movie) and they march their army (along with the Wolves) to claim Lonely Mountain (and all the riches within) for themselves.

The five armies: Goblins and Wolves will fight the Dwarves, Humans, and Elves (with air superiority coming later with the Eagles, and in the book, Beorn in his giant bear form).

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is full of action and intrigue (and a few extra characters not in the book). The cinematography is beyond compare and the story is terrific. The fighting is comic book graphic and fine for the entire family, except the most sensitive.

Go to IMDB for more information.  We finally made it back to the movies after Lori broke her leg on October 12, 2014. It felt good to get back to “normal”. We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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Ride UBER and Donate to ForCarol: Drive Safe! Never Forget

Need a Ride?  Try Uber!

ForCarol.com and UBER are collaborating to help promote safe driving!  When you go out (like when you go partying!)  leave the driving to UBER and stay safe.  If you are using UBER for the first time….save $20 on your ride!

The basics of the promo:
-Promo only valid for new users
-Good for $20 off their first ride
-For every new user who takes a ride with that code…Uber will donate $5 to ForCarol

Click on the picture below to get started.

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“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Trailer

Dec 2015 is a long way away, but, here is the first official teaser trailer of “The Force Awakens”.  May the force be with you.

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“This is Where I Leave You” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review (Life is Complicated)

Judd Altman (wonderfully played by Jason Bateman) surprises his wife with a birthday cake. Because life is complicated, he was the one surprised when he caught his boss and wife screwing in the bedroom. So much for that marriage….and job.

this is where i leave youA short time later, his sister, Wendy calls with news of their father’s death. Not a good year for Judd….

When the family gathers for Dad’s funeral, the mother, Hilary (Jane Fonda) announces that dear old atheist-Jewish dad wanted the family to sit in Shiva for the required 7 days. After complaining, they did, and what happens in that 7 day period is the basis of this much better than expected movie.

While sitting Shiva, “This is Where I Leave You” explores the trials and tribulations of each of the family members. Judd is leaving his cheating wife and reconnects with an old love, Penny (Rose Byrne). Wendy is in an unhappy marriage and still loves her injured ex-boyfriend, neighbor Horry (Timothy Olyphant).  Hilary misses her husbands gargantuan penis, but, has a secret and a new set of boobs. Philip (played marvelously by Adam Driver) is the carefree, goofy loser, while Paul (Corey Stoll) and his wife can’t conceive.

We were the only ones who laughed–I guess growing up in NY has it’s advantages–at this line delivered by Fey as she questions the validity of this 7 day adventure: “We are sitting Shiva where we put the Christmas tree”. Classic !

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“The November Man” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Reviews College Scholarships(Bloody Good Thriller)

the november manEx-CIA operative, Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is enjoying retirement when his old CIA handler, Hanley (Bill Smirovich) shows up telling him he has been requested to extract an old friend, Natalia (Mediha Musliovic), from her undercover assignment. Natalia has information the CIA needs to control soon-to-be President of Russia, Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski), but she won’t give that information until she is safe.

Devereaux successfully grabs Natalia and while they are driving she gives him the information the CIA needs, which, unfortunately, made her expendable. Devereaux’s ex-student, Mason (Luke Bracey), is ordered to kill Natalia, and does so. Problem is, that pisses off Devereaux (he loved Natalia) and he kills the entire CIA hit team…except his old friend and student.

Devereaux is put on the CIA hit list to stop him from going after everyone involved in Natalia’s death, and Mason is tasked with his killing.

What follows is a cat-and-mouse thriller that is violent, bloody, and intriguing.

Pierce Brosnan and Luke Bracey are both terrific. “The November Man” is a much better movie than the “critics” seem to think. Again, I think they only watch the trailers, or go into the movie with their minds set based on an early review that they read. They are doing a dis-service to this movie (and others that they do this to) because “The November Man” is a taught, well laid out, thriller with surprising twists and turns. Edge of your seat action at it’s best.

“The November Man” is not for kids or the squeamish as there are sex scenes, boobs, and lots of gushing blood as the body count increases at a rapid pace (not as much as Game of Thrones, but, close). The guard on duty at the theater pulled a couple of youngsters out…I waved goodbye to them as they were leaving.  :-)

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“Chef” Movie Review

4.5-Watertowers(Follow Your Heart…..and Twitter)

chef

Fantastic movie that teaches you to follow your heart, no matter what. Scarlett Johnasson, Jon Favreau & others sparkle. Heartwarming movie.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA Cinemark.

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NOTE:  Count the characters in the main body of the review.  ;-)

 

 

Keith Urban ROCKS Shoreline Sept 6 2014

Once again, Keith Urban showed us that he is simply the BEST country music act in the world.

He was STUPENDOUS as he ROCKED Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA last night.

He invited two young women on stage. One a teenager who held up a sign asking to play guitar with him, and another who won a contest by sending him a video of her singing in her San Jose bedroom.  Both were terrific.

After opening acts by awesome country singers Brett Eldridge and Jerrod Niemann (a personal favorite who has improved immensely since the last time we saw him), Urban showed that he is the brightest star in our universe with a 2 hour and 15 minute show that left me exhausted and the relatively quiet (compared to Arco Arena at least) audience wanting more.

This year Keith walked right past us (I got a high-five) as he ventured out on the grass.

I will add more videos and photos during the week (We met a really nice mom and daughter there and I will wait to hear from them before posting)…so bookmark this and come back.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget (Carol, Chris, Kassy and Bobby)

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“The Giver” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Reviews(Memorable)

Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is different.

the giverIn a world of sameness (as depicted by the “Pleasantville” black and white), equality, and order, Jonas is not afraid to question, not afraid to take a chance.

When the 12 year olds (according to the book, in the move he is older) are ready to receive their life work assignments, Jonas’ number is skipped.  WTF?

Jonas, standing alone, is given a special assignment, one that his personality is suited for (the powers to be find out just how suited he is):  That of the keeper of the memories.

Jeff Bridges (The Giver) is the current keeper of the memories.  He had a disastrous internship several years ago when his apprentice (Taylor Swift as Rosemary) and daughter stepped outside of the boundaries of decorum and was executed. (I see a song here?)

Jonas starts his internship and gradually starts to understand just how controlled and banal his, and everyone elses, life is.  He starts to see colors and he stops the morning injections which take away so much….life.

The Giver is on a mission, and he is lucky to have Jonas fall in his lap. The world is about to change.

“The Giver” is an excellent movie with an excellent cast.  No f-words, but, interestingly disturbing life control issues.  Jeff Bridges has had the rights to this for 20 or so years and wanted his dad, Lloyd, to play The Giver. I am so glad Jeff aged into the role as he is perfect. And Meryl Streep is in it.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“The Hundred-Foot Journey” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Delicious)

After tragedy strikes in India, a family of restaurateurs decide to start a new life in Europe. A short stay in London does not work out, so the Kadam family (led by Papa, played by Om Puri) get in their van and search for the perfect spot somewhere in Europe.

the hundred foot journeyWeeks later, somewhere in France, the van’s brakes fail and they crash.

Luckily, a local resident, Marguerite (played by Charlotte Le Bon) happens by and helps the family tow their van into town and feeds them French cuisine. On the way into town they pass an abandoned restaurant 100 feet across the street from a Michelin One Star restaurant. Papa decides that the abandoned building is perfect for their new life.

Only one problem, the owner of the fancy French restaurant, Madame Mallory (played by Helen Mirren) is NOT happy with having a classless Indian restaurant 100 feet away from her award winning restaurant, and she organizes roadblocks to their success. Luckily, Papa is equally as tough and arranges a few roadblocks of his own…..for her.

The Kadam family cook (he does not call himself a chef), Hassan (played by Manish Dayal), happens to be an outstandingly talented chef and his talents show the instant Papa’s restaurant opens.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is an excellent, heartwarming, movie. The cast is wonderful, the pace is slow but interesting, and the characters are fully formed. There are no f-words that I remember and it would be good for the entire family except for the fact that WE WERE the YOUNGEST people in the audience, so I suspect the attracted demographic for this movie are senior citizens.

So much for additional buzz via social media, haha.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

(NEW logo by Inyoung Hong, our 2014 Scholarship winner)

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“Guardians of the Galaxy” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Reviews College Scholarships(Galactic Adventure)

A thief (Peter Quill played by Chris Platt), two thugs (Groot and Rocket voiced by Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper), an assassin (Gamora played by Zoe Saldana), and a maniac (Drax played by Dave Bautista)” team up to try to save 12 billion people from extinction at the hands of evil ruler Ronan (Lee Pace).

guardiansPeter Quill is hired to steal an orb for a client. He does that, but, once the client finds out that Ronan wants it, he decides that Quill can keep it and shoves him out the door. Outside, Quill is attacked by Gamora who steals the orb for her buyer and both of them are chased by bounty hunters, Groot (“I am Groot”) and Rocket (the racoon).

They are all captured and put in prison, where they promptly stage an escape.

When they are out of prison a battle ensues and Ronan takes the orb becoming the most powerful individual in the galaxy and vowing to kill 12 billion people.

Quill and his team of “losers” are all that stand between Ronan and his goal. Will they succeed?

“Guardians of the Galaxy”  is a fantastic galactic adventure with lots of laughs and tons of action. The cast is excellent and the computer generated Groot and Rocket are amazingly life-like (well, as lifelike as a tree can be). The colors are vibrant and the space battles terrifically done.

I am hooked and cannot wait for the next Guardians movie. A pure winner…..a Marvel of movie making.

Stay all the way thru the credits and you will be rewarded with a funny clip.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this with a packed house at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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“Lucy” Movie Review

4-Watertowers ForCarol.com Movie Review(Transformative, Scarlett Johansson)

Lucy is the name of the oldest known hominid female who bones were found in Ethiopia in 1973.  Go to WikiPedia for more information.

LucyFast forward, 3.2 million years or so, and Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) is about to become the first human to access 100% of her brain; with all the transformative powers that could possibly come with that.

When her American boyfriend in Taiwan asks Lucy to deliver an attache case to a Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi) in a Taipei Hotel, Lucy witnesses the murder of her boyfriend and is forced into employment as a courier for a new drug that Mr. Jang believes will take Europe by storm.

The Jang gang sews a package of the drug inside Lucy’s abdomen and sends her on her way. Lucy (totally unexplained in the movie) ends up being held in a prison like situation and is kicked in the gut by some lowlife. This kick opens the package of drugs and Lucy experiences a number of interesting transformations, two of which are becoming extremely intelligent and increasingly powerful.

We find out—from cuts to a brain researcher, Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman, giving a talk—that humans only access about 10% of their brain. He asks the question: “What would happen if we could access 100% of our brain?”.  Then proposes some theories; including being able to control others and the person’s surroundings.

As Lucy accesses more and more of her brain, her capabilities grow, and we learn that Professor Norman is on the right track with his theories. During this process, Johansson’s character becomes more and more intellectually aloof to her plight, and Johansson plays that aloofness with perfection.

“Lucy” is a unique, interesting, enjoyable, action science fiction movie.  It is rated R mostly for bloody violence (not gory, just bloody). There were a few f-words, but, it is definitely NOT for kids (one set of incompetent parents brought in younger kids).

Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, and Amr Waked (as Detective Pierre Del Rio) are all excellent. We, the audience, root for the good guys and cheer when the bad guys meet their demise.

Go to IMDb for more information.  We watched this at the Tracy, CA CineMark.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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