In an ongoing effort to support our local cinemas, we have recently viewed two films that were (then) showing only at the theaters.
The first was Nicolas Cage in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” The second was the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum vehicle, “The Lost City.”
Nic Cage proves that he has a sense of humor about being Nicolas Cage. Pedro Pascal co-stars and received reviews equivalent to Cage’s for his charming portrayal.
The synopsis reads: “Nicolas Cage stars as… Nick Cage in the action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalized version of Cage must accept a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous super-fan (Pedro Pascal). Things take a wildly unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and forced to live up to his own legend, channeling his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones. With a career built for this very moment, the seminal award-winning actor must take on the role of a lifetime: Nick Cage.”
Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz were a pleasant addition to the cast, but the film lost its ebullient lightweight comic energy about halfway through and ended up dependent on the finale of an ordinary chase scene. It was enjoyable, but the promise of the first half of the film is not lived up to by the finale (despite a quick cameo by Demi Moore lasting about 20 seconds.)
“The Lost City” stars America’s Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, banking on her likability to engage her fans in this story of a romance writer who is kidnapped by Harry Potter—err, Daniel Radcliffe.
Here is the synopsis for that film: “Reclusive author Loretta Sage writes about exotic places in her popular adventure novels that feature a handsome cover model named Alan. While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta gets kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who hopes she can lead him to an ancient city’s lost treasure from her latest story. Determined to prove he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan (Channing Tatum) sets off to rescue her.”
When Brad Pitt enters the plot, mid-story, as gun-for-hire Jack Trainer, he looks terrific and, a bonus, age-appropriate for Ms. Bullock at 58 to her 57. I couldn’t help but wonder if Bullock tried to get Brad to take the lead role of Alan, her cover model. She revealed that, actually, it was their mutual hairdresser who told Pitt he should take the small part adding, tongue in cheek, “Hairdressers really are the power of our country, if not the world.”
Channing Tatum does well as the hunky cover model who wants his female boss to take him seriously as a prospective love interest. Bullock says of him, “He’s a body wash commercial.” Or, later, she describes Channing as “a Ken doll on a motor bike.” But as the only individual trying to rescue her after she is kidnapped, the pair grow closer as their adventure continues.
Throughout, Sandra Bullock is clad in a purple glittery jumpsuit. She asks, “Do I need to be wearing a glittery onesie?” That is her primary outfit throughout the Oren Ugiel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee scripted series of implausible adventures. The film is directed by Aaron and Adam Nee, with cinematography by Jonathan Sela, with the visual effects departments of Factory VFX, Craft Apes, and Lone Coconut assisting and the Dominican Republican providing the jungle sets and waterfalls.
The scene that many will remember is Sandra Bullock plucking leeches off the bare buttocks of 42-year-old Channing Tatum. The couple also dances, demonstrating that they each know their way around a dance floor.
In the midst of the film there is a brief discussion of feminism and sexism, which seemed odd and out of place. But there are truly funny lines throughout, like the one aimed at an elderly Black woman, when her daughter says, “Let’s go in the other room and we can talk about whatever war you lived through.” There are also the throw-away lines like, “I have a rule about not going into super creepy caves,” which the pair does in search of the fabled Crown of Fire.
Like Cage’s “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” this is not an Oscar-worthy film, but it is fun.
It was nice, for a change, seeing the 15-year age gap be the older woman/younger man demographic. Seems about time after all the years of the pairings of couples like Bogie and Bacall.
We enjoyed both films for what they were: throw-away popcorn sit-coms, which Sandra Bullock has always excelled atl. Brad Pitt was a true gift, mid-movie, and Channing Tatum acquitted himself nobly, as he had done in “Dog” earlier this year. Not a bad way to spend the late afternoon.