[REVIEW] ‘THE LOST CITY’ or Welcome Back Sandy B and the Adventure Romance

All of my regular readers know I love a good romance. This is true with all kinds of romances- comedies, adventure, tragedy etc. Unfortunately for me and other fans of the genre Hollywood hasn’t given us much to enjoy in the last few decades. This is what has led romance fans like myself to turn to Hallmark and Netflix to get our romance fix. The adventure romance is a particularly fun genre that plays on tropes of rescue, opposites attract and escapism. My friend Alysa Lucas and I just did a whole episode of Hallmarkies Podcast talking about 4 fun adventure romances:

It was with all this in mind I was extremely excited for the new film The Lost City starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. I’ve been on a bit of a rough streak lately so I was ready for a movie I loved and as I’m a huge fan of this genre it seemed aimed to please.

And it did…

I don’t know how others will feel but this film did everything I needed it to do. It lets its 2 stars shine with terrific chemistry, the adventure sizzles and most importantly it’s laugh out loud funny. I particularly liked the way it pokes fun at erotica and romance novels without demonizing them or the joy they give many women.

The Lost City review: A big screwball swing for old-school action-comedy | EW.com

And it’s not just Tatum and Bullock that shine in the film. Brad Pitt is extremely funny in an extended cameo (more Pitt in the inevitable sequel please!). I also enjoyed Daniel Radcliffe as the antagonist Abigail Fairfax (yes the name is a funny joke). Oscar Nuñez pops in for a few funny scenes. Patti Harrison (who I loved in Together Together last  year) gets a few laughs and Da’Vine Joy Randolph does a good job as Bullocks exasperated publicist (although they probably do spend too much time on her subplot).

The Lost City: See Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock in New TV Spot | PEOPLE.com

There is a long scene where we get to see Tatum’s tooshie, which I thought was hilarious, but more traditional romance viewers might take issue with. It’s also very silly and over-the-top so anyone expecting a realistic jungle story might be disappointed (but then why are you watching this movie?).

The Lost City' Box Office Opening Weekend Estimates - Variety

As I said, some of the subplots go on a bit too long but I didn’t care because I was laughing. It also wasn’t as much of a Romancing the Stone rip-off as I thought it would be. Pitt’s character is a riff on the Jack T Colton character from that film but Bullock’s character is more confident than Joan Wilder played by Kathleen Turner. Yes both films are about neurotic romance writers but they are executed quite differently. Plus, Tatum’s character Alan is actually quite shy and awkward, which I wasn’t expecting.

If you are like me and love adventure romances you will love The Lost City. It’s a great time at the movies I’ve missed! I’m also so glad to see Bullock back in rom-coms. She’s so good at them and it’s been a long time (since The Proposal in 2009!).

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

 

Jupiter Ascending Review

Jupiter-Ascending

I must just be in a very good mood this month. Just in April I liked the ridiculous action picture Furious 7, the dopey romance movie Longest Ride and now the over the top scifi space opera movie Jupiter Ascending.

Directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski of Matrix fame Jupiter Ascending is just nutty enough to be entertaining. I can totally see why a majority of critics hated it because it is so silly but I didn’t take it very seriously and had fun with it.

Basically the plot is Mila Kunis plays Jupter Jones a daughter of Russian immigrants who finds out she is the reincarnation of an extra terrestrial queen who was murdered after being alive for 91 millennium (rough to go down that way!).

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As the genetic match Jupiter can now ‘own’ the earth but the 3 children of the queen are not happy about this arrangement so they each send down emissaries who try to kill/capture Jupiter. This all catches her quite off guard as she is a simple cleaning lady.

Channing Tatum plays Caine Wise a part wolf species who is quiet, thoughtful and ‘one step up from a dog’. He is the hero of the movie constantly rescuing and listening too Jupiter prattle on about her life. Hmmm…I wonder if they are supposed to be together in the end?

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Caine is hired to find and protect Jupiter so that she can marry one of the brothers named Titus played by Douglas Booth. All the performances in this movie are very campy and silly. Titus is kind of like Chuck from Gossip Girl in space.

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Tuppence Middleton is the sister who tries to befriend Jupiter so she can manipulate her. She bathes in a special water daily that like the magic flower in Tangled makes her young. (She’s only been alive 14 millennium after all).

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And finally Eddie Redmayne is Balem who is the rightful heir to Earth and is resentful this stupid girl has come to thwart his plans of literal world domination. He wants to keep earth as his harvest grounds for the eternity liquid which takes 100 people to make 1 vial and oversees a refinery of sorts to make the liquid. Redmayne is so ridiculous in the role with a quiet gravely ‘bad guy’ voice that I found hilarious when I think it was supposed to genuinely menacing. Either way I had fun watching it.

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Sean Bean also appears as a tough guy who is part honeybee (like I said this is a nutty movie). Jupiter it turns out can rule the honeybees so Striker is easily convinced of her royal qualities. “Bees sense greatness when it is near them”…

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I’m not sure if the Wachowskis intended there to be a strong Oedipus complex to the movie but especially considering Lana’s story it is a little strange. All 3 of these siblings are kind of in love with their mother and gush about how beautiful she was. One of them is about to marry her!

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As we expect with a Wachowski film the visuals are dazzling and the characters are very creative in their design. The costumes, makeup and hair are also superb

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The action is a ton of fun with the highlight being an early battle between Caine and Balem’s thugs in Chicago. Caine has these air powered rollerblades that let him fly around the city and the special effects look flawless. They create an easy out as far as humans by having a memory erasing device like in Men in Black so they can harvest their humans without anyone noticing.

That’s not to say the movie is perfect. I wish Jupiter had been a little bit of a stronger character. She makes some pretty dumb choices and is manipulated rather easily. She also is constantly the damsel in distress needing to be rescued.

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It also gets a little Phantom Menacy with all the discussion of land ownership and the ‘rights’ to the Earth by the siblings. Too much exposition, a convoluted script and definite plotholes in the story detract a little. Jupiter’s earthly family is also a complete caricature of a Russian family. Quite cringe inducing but they are in the movie very little.

In a way it is too bad it did so poorly because I would be curious to see what the Wachowskis could do with this world. Perhaps Jupiter would be a stronger character in sequels but sadly we will never know.

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I first heard about Jupiter Ascending because when it premiered at Sundance the crowds booed. I get it. It’s probably too nutty for a stuffy crowd like Sundance. It would have been better to premiere it at a comicon or something like that. I could see this movie developing a cult following of sci-fi fans who like the campiness and style of the film.

In the end Jupiter Ascending is far from a masterpiece but as a hokey piece of sci-fi family soap opera with some good action and beautiful world building I enjoyed it. With the exception of some very dopey dialogue driven scenes it clips along fast enough to keep me mildly engaged and amused. I don’t need to see it again but I enjoyed it none the less. The only thing I can think to compare it too is a really silly episode of Star Trek. It’s kind of like a telenovella but in space.

As far as content there is some nudity including more than one bare bottom and action fight sequences that get a bloody. No real language that I noticed.

So I’d say give it a shot and maybe you’ll find something to entertain you too!

Overall Grade- B Content Grade- B

To get a little more feel for the film here is the trailer.