The Lost City (2022)

Quick Synopsis: While on tour promoting her new book, reclusive author Loretta (Sandra Bullock) gets kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire who hopes she can lead him to an ancient city’s lost treasure from her latest story. Alan, her cover model (Channing Tatum), wants to prove his worth to her so tries to rescue her.

This will not be the best film you see all year, but it is not bad. The plot is very predictable, you can guess pretty much everything that will happen from the trailer, you can probably even guess specific lines. But it’s also a lot of fun. It’s incredibly funny, with some amazing dialogue. Heard some of the biggest laughter of the year in this. It’s not aiming to be deep or make you sad, there’s nothing here that’s even approaching the island of tears. It’s not going to make you re-evaluate life or think differently. It’s not going to affect you emotionally. But it’s not supposed to. It’s supposed to be popcorn entertainment, and it does that very well. There are no moments where it feels too stupid (unlike Moonfall) in a way that takes you out of the film. There are a few moments where the backgrounds don’t quite mesh well enough in a way that seems believable. Side note: is it just me or is that happening more and more lately? Big budget films seem to have lost the ability to green screen in a way that seems real.

Other than that, visually it works too. There are no spectacular visuals or shots which will blow you away. The action scenes look good though, the directors are talented enough that even when there is a lot of stuff going on, you know exactly what is happening, who it is happening to, and where everybody is. There are no “wait, I didn’t see what happened there, the camera was moving too much” moments that plague films like Ambulance.

The performances are all fine too. Bullock is an acquired taste, she’s not someone who I’d see a movie because of, but she’s not someone I’d avoid. That opinion is probably because she primarily does really broad romantic comedies, and they can be very bland. But when she’s given a good script and character, her comedic chops really shine.

Tatum also does great. It’s strange to see him play someone so uncoordinated and unsure, but he pulls it off. When he does comedy, he does it very well (as has been shown in 21 and 22 Jump Street). He’d have made a great Drax in Guardians Of The Galaxy if they couldn’t get Batista. Daniel Radcliffe seems to be having a lot of fun, I think he’s at the stage in his career now where he’s just doing films for shits and giggles. His introductory scene contains a LARGE selection of cheeses, yet the only thing Radcliffe chews is the scenery, delightfully.

So in summary, you don’t need to rush out to see it, but it is worth a watch if you can. It’s just under 2 hours long, but I’ve yet to see a film fly by as quick as this one did. In summary, it’s not the greatest thing ever, but it’s a lot better than you expect it to be.

5 Amazing Comic Book Movies Still To Come In 2017

5. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Okay, not technically based on a comic book, but is the sequel to a film that is. The trailer for this will be released later today, two teasers already been made (one of which is the entire trailer sped up to fit into 10 second, very cool and innovative way of doing it, already led to people slowing it down and discussing it). No idea how they’re going to bring back Colin Firth’s character, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure they wouldn’t bring him back for no reason, not as though they’re short of credible actors in this film; they’ve got Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore etc. Not released until September but already really looking forward to it.

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4. Wonder Woman

Saw the trailer, loved it. Gal Gadot was one of the best things about Batman Vs. Superman, so the fact her character has FINALLY got a full length feature is very exciting. Basically seems like an origin story, which I’m okay with as her origin hasn’t permeated popular culture that much so for new people they would need to know that. Of course, it would have been a better idea if they did this film BEFORE Batman Vs. Superman as at the moment I can’t see their being any tension in it all. Not for her character anyway, you know she’s going to survive so you won’t worry if she’s safe, which means that unless the film kills somebody she’s close to it won’t be able to land emotionally enough to be effective. Really hope this does well, mainly because if it doesn’t, internet assholes (and studio executives) will blame the fact it’s a female character for the failure, and be more reluctant to do female-led movies in the future.

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3. Justice League

Mainly curious about this one. Personally (and I’m happy to be proven wrong), I think the DC Extended Universe scheduling has been a complete mess so far. BvS should not have been the second film in the series, you need to build up tension between the characters first in other films so that it feels like it means something, as it was it just felt like “hey, this is happening” “and? Who cares?”. They’ve done that fight so early on in the series that there’s not that much left for them to do, there’s not many “big events” they have to call back on (especially since they’ve also already done The Death Of Superman). Related to this, Justice League should not be released this year. It’s too big a film to come out so soon after Wonder Woman, they’ve already released the trailers for this before Wonder Woman is out. They’re really rushing this through and it could end up harming the product in the long run. Although I am still kind of excited about it, so what do I know?

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2. Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2

Released very soon, really looking forward to it. Had a kind of average marketing campaign, I’d hoped the marketing campaign of Deadpool would lead to more innovative and unique marketing for “quirky” comic book films, but seems like it’s just standard “trailer tease, trailer, second trailer, release” kind of thing. Trailer looks good though, slight risk that they’re intentionally trying to create memes with it, which hasn’t been too annoying in the trailers but if the rest of the film is like that it could be off-putting. Guardians is in a weird place this time, the first one was so good that expectations are high, which is almost the complete opposite of what the situation was last time, where everybody expected this to be the iceberg that sinks the MCU Titanic. Have to wonder whether this will be the film where they explicitly acknowledge the link between it and the rest of the MCU. Also, I really hope it’s not just going to be a rehash of the first one. I want to be amazed during this, but I trust Marvel, so I think I will be.

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1. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was one of the (many many) highlights of Captain America: Civil War, so much so that it almost made audiences completely forget that this is the third reboot of the franchise in a short period of time. Confession time: He’s one of the characters I’ve never really liked in films, he’s always supposed to be a teenager but is never played as one. At least, not an actual teenager, he’s played like the leading man in a teen drama where “anxiety” and “shy geek” just means “is friends with the most popular girl in school but hasn’t dated her yet” and the only sign of their geekdom is that people with letters on their jacket (I now know it’s their school letters, but I will never stop having a small part of me think it’s their initials so they don’t forget their names) shove them into lockers. This Spider-Man however is a teenager, he geeks out over superheroes, he messes up, he gets overexcited (which then leads to more mistakes). More importantly: he’s fun. He’s a funny, engaging character whom is inherently likeable, and should do well in his full length debut, which is thankfully, not an origin story.

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Note to directors: EVERYBODY knows this scene, it’s NEVER been needed in a film

 

4 reasons The Hateful 8 is worth seeing and 4 it’s not

4 reasons The Hateful 8 is worth seeing
and 4 it’s not

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Out the gate; this isn’t Tarantino’s best film, nor is it his worst (like some people have been calling it), but like most things there are two sides to it. So here are those two sides, four reasons you should give up your hard earned cash to go see this lil’ epic, and four reasons to wait and see it by other means.

 

The Good

  • Tim Roth & Walton Goggins: The film is of course an ensemble piece with a stellar cast who are (mostly) outstanding; from Kurt Russel’s and Samuel L Jackson’s badass bounty hunters (Jackson is particularly on form), to Jennifer Jason Leigh’s now Oscar nominated turn as the creepily vulgar and frequently hilarious fugitive, Daisy Domergue. 973753f0-7b77-0133-4d9b-0e3f8b958f63

But it’s Tarantino veteran Tim Roth and Justified’s anti-hero Walton Goggins (seriously if you haven’t seen Justified DO!) who steal the show, the scenery and nearly the whole damn picture. Mr Roth is on rip-roaring scene chewing form as the extremely Twee British Hangman Oswaldo Mobray, who’s every smug verbal extremity and every sly glance and gesture leaves you in stitches, whether he’s debating the-hateful-eight-debuts-first-teaser-trailerthe ethics of justice with the brash Kurt Russel, or stopping everyone from shooting each other. Walton Goggins on the other hand is just having a blast as the fun loving, dorky, hill-billy-esque former confederate, who is so country and western he says things like, “I’ll be double dog dammed”, and you can’t help but smile at his every slapstick manoeuvre. He and Roth are like the two sides to the same chocolate and cheese coin. Goggin’s character also has the best (and I think only) arc in the film.

  • The cinematography/ the setting: Shot in glorious 70mm (which I didn’t see it in), there is just something awesome about a Western in the snow, and the landscape is captured beautifully to the point where the opening few shots could be confused with The Revenant. And then after the loooooong opening act (we’ll get to that in the next section), when we get to the much advertised cabin setting, it managed to keep that prestige in what really should of been a claustrophobic mess.
    hateful-81But the cabin is large and surprisingly complex, with each corner, from the bar to the fireplace, becoming their own country and safe ground for the characters. What I’m saying I guess is for a film predominantly set in one room, it still feels large and epic.hateful-eight-5

 

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  • The music: Of course with a score from the Godfather of Western composers Ennio Morricone, how could this not be one of the reasons? But beyond the classic western theme that’s winning all the awards, far less appreciation is being said for the other uses of music and score; with awesome music from The Exorcist 2 and unused tracks from The Thing being part of the soundtrack, and it fits perfectly. As well as a violin quintet that perfectly shapes the mystery vibe the film strives for in its second act. One thing Tarantino hasn’t lost is his impeccable ear for soundtrack.

 

  • The Ending: I won’t ruin it for the few people who haven’t seen it, but I will still reservoir_dogs_queer6talk about it. It’s bloody, it’s fun, its ambiguous, yet somehow also satisfying enough, as those you want to see get it do (for the most part) and those you want to see make good also do (for the most part), without resorting to anything overly happy….Though the more I think about it the more it seems like a re-tread of Reservoir Dogs. Still for a film that gets so messy in every way, it has strong closing minutes.

 

 

The bad (and the ugly…sorry)

  • The twist: So again I won’t ruin it for those who haven’t seen it and for some reason

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    Without context this doesn’t give away too much

    may be debating whether to from this list, but I’ll say this: you can ignore it all you want and enjoy a lot of other aspects about it, but the twist breaks the film and makes the three hours you spend watching kind of pointless. As by the twists logic the film could have been finished within Kurt Russel storming into the cabin, and the more you marinade over it, the less it, and so many other situations, make sense. If you can put that aside (which I can do to a point) the film still works, but you shouldn’t have to ignore the plot to enjoy a film.

 

  • The length: This is Tarantino at his most Tarantino and self-indulgent. I understand the idea. He wants to make it a classic epic Western, but that isn’t an excuse for 40 minutes of set-up before ‘the plot’ sets in, nor another half hour of flashbacks just to explain the overwrought twist, orjust the endless monologues and detours, with only about half lending anything to the situation or are really entertaining.

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    Now I know what some of you are thinking, we need all that time to introduce all the characters and flesh them out…and that leads directly into the next point…

 

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  • Joe Gage and a third of the cast: A third the cast are just kind of dull, underdeveloped and uninteresting. I wouldn’t be shocked if Tarantino had the title first, but then gave up halfway trying to fill it with 8 interesting characters. Bruce Dern’s old racist confederate general is probably the most interesting uninteresting character, but he’s really just there to flesh-out Goggin’s and Jackson’s characters. Michael Madsen is….there; he showed up, he spoke. And dernDemián Bichir’s character’s biggest trait is that he’s Mexican…oh and he played piano in that one scene. For a film this long and boasting an apparently hateful 8 (even though theres like ten of them really), its inexcusable that almost half the cast are uninteresting mexicajnunderdeveloped characters, there just to pad out the length like tissue in a bra.

 

 

 

  • What it could have been: A lot of people have been comparing this to Clue or calling it a form of whodunit and it is…for a minute…when it feels like it.qz6uv0xwBut it gets so bogged down with detours, homage, pointless scenes, sucking it’s own dick, and having a bullshit twist it never really gets there. And it could have been great if it did! A Tarantino whodunit, that just sounds amazing. With the same set of

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    Very underrated comedy!

    characters (well maybe a few less), and the same set-up and location, all that needed to happen was someone dies, and then the film is them trying to work out who did it, as the tension and egos run high. Instead it kind of does that in the second middle, but then makes that whole section pointless with the reveal of who did it, how, and why. Rule number one of twists: if it isn’t more interesting than what you have already established then don’t do it.

 

Through writing these eight reasons, for all the things I like about it that make it worth a see, the more I’m discovering how big the problems are and how they weigh down what could of (should of) been a classic Tarantino, if Tarantino hadn’t gotten in the way.

Films to look Forward to in 2016

Batman V Superman: March 25

PHDHoUG4AUNdHI_1_lBecause despite the last trailer giving WAY too much away, who isn’t going to see this film? It’s Batman fighting Superman…for at least a third of the film anyway. And despite that trailer there’s still hope. The idea that Batman is turned against Superman because of the chaos he caused in Man of Steel is good screenwriting; it makes sense from a character point and helps bring the films together. The casting is also very solid, with Batfleck actually looking to be one of the best iterations of the Dark Knight yet. But we all still need to take a step back to wait and see whether Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is the trainwreck everyone is HOPING it will be, or whether like Keaton and Ledger before him he will turn in a great performance despite the naysayers. I have no idea, but I at least love how much fun he seems to be having.

 

Deadpool: February 10

I limited this list to only Deadpool_postertwo superhero films because I didn’t want it to be inundated with them, and I wanted this to be a cut away from a lot of most anticipated lists by not just focusing on the big blockbusters coming our way (but saying that I am looking forward to Civil War and Dr Strange).
Now Deadpool; the reason I chose this over the many superhero flicks of 2016 is because this is by far the riskiest. R rated, fourth wall breaking, X-Men Movie universe expanding, and Ryan Reynolds’ starring; it’s had the best advertising campaign of any superhero film that manages to introduce the character while staying true to his roots, and is being made by people who clearly care deeply about making it an authentic adaptation. So let’s hope all those good intentions don’t pave the way to hell this time.

 

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Hail, Caesar!: February 26

Because it’s the Coen brothers (who I’m not the biggest fan of so not just dick sucking), doing a satire of the golden age of Hollywood with an all-star cast of old (Clooney and Brolin) and new talent (Hill and Tatum), with a the truly Coeny plot about a Charlton Heston type movie star being kidnapped, and the hapless Hollywood fixer who has to find him. It should be a very gaudy picture, with its only hurdle to clear is the early February release date, which could be a) a sign that the Coen’s just don’t give a shit, or b) the studio wants to drop it where no one will see it. We will see.

 

 

 

Everybody Wants Some: May 13

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His first film since his cinematic milestone and masterpiece Boyhood, Linklater returns to his stoner roots, with the spiritual sequel to possibly the best hangout film ever, Dazed and Confused; the 70s set stoner comedy that always found the chuckles, but never lost the poignancy of leaving your teenhood behind. This latest outing is set in the 80s and picks up exactly where Boyhood left off (if a few decades earlier) with a group of teens (played by refreshingly unknown actors) integration into their first year of college life and their college baseball team. Now this doesn’t sound that different from your typical stoner/gross out comedy of today, but with Linklater’s sensitive directing and thoughtful mind for youth and character, what sounds like a typical set up will (hopefully) be another timelessly funny and heartfelt film that captures that moment between teenhood, everything else, and who knows what.

 

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: November 18

I like the Harry Potter films about as much as the next guy, I grew up with them. But honestly I might be looking forward to this more than any of those films, because I always found the most fascinating part of them to be the world itself. And now we have a film set in that world, Seventy years before the original films (so in the 20s), set in New York, led by one of the best young British actors working today Eddie Redmayne, and was penned by J.K Rowling herself…I’m shocking myself how game I am for this film, and you all should be too! It’s Harry Potter without Harry Potter!

 

The Disaster Artist: TBA

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The adaption from the unsurprisingly hilarious but surprisingly poignant novel about the making of The Room, the infamously best worst movie ever made, but is really about the friendship between its crazy maker Tommy Wiseau and his co-star Greg Sestero. Produced by Seth Rogan and directed by James Franco (who with his directing record doesn’t scream hope), but with a screenplay adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the screenwriters behind The Fault in Our Stars, The Spectacular Now, and 500 Days of Summer, I became far less worried. And that was before the all-star cast started flocking to it like moths to an eccentric flame. James Franco of course is taking the role of Mr Wiseau himself, and his little brother Dave is Greg, but as well as them; Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, Alison Brie, Sharon Stone, Josh Hutcherson, and Bryan fucking Cranston, are also co-starring. With such a shockingly A-list cast, we can only hope they’ve all gathered because of the strength of the script and talent involved, and nothing less. If Franco can make this even half as good as the novel, this could be one of the best films of 2016.

 

The Nice Guys: May 20

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If my look at Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang didn’t give it away, I love Shane Black when he does buddy movies. So it’s great to see him return with what looks like a spiritual sequel (or prequel) to that, with this 70s set dark comedy crime thriller that brings us the inspired pairing of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling; an enforcer and hapless private eye who team up to find a missing girl and solve the murder of a porn star…how can you not be stoked for that! So let the guilty violence and laughs commence!

 

 

 

 

Moana: November 23

moana-poster-conceitual-camundongoDisney’s next animated film after the disappointing Big Hero 6 (and fuck you it wasn’t that good) brought to us by the directing duo behind some of Disney’s greatest films (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Treasure Planet) and will follow an ancient Oceania tribal girl as she searches the South Pacific for a fabled island, helped by a demi-god voiced by Dwayne Johnson. Don’t know much beyond that, but with the talent involved we can but hope for another Disney classic, or at least something up there with Tangled and Frozen.

 

 

 

kuboKubo and the two strings: August 19

 

But this is the animated film I’m looking forward to most in 2016! Brought to us by the same team and studio behind the stop-motion masterpieces Coraline and ParaNorman, comes this action fantasy set in ancient Japan about a teenager fighting demons and searching for the magic armor his legendary samurai father once wore….it’s a STOP MOTION ANIME! I MEAN…how can you not be wetting yourself at the awesomeness of that! And with an all-star cast, the talent behind the scenes, and the recent trailer for it, all we can do now is wait and hope.

La La Land: July 15

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A musical dramedy about the romance between a jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling, and an actress played by Emma Stone, and J.K. Simmons is in it too. Really the only reason this has made the list is that its writer and director Damien Chazelle’s follow up to his jaw-breakingly great Whiplash. Whether he’ll be able to live up to that will have to be seen, but I find it a good sign he appears to be going for a very different vibe for this film.

 

 

High-Rise: March 18High_Rise_2014_Film_Poster

The new and probably highest profile film from the bizarre director of Sightseers, A Field in England, and Kill List (the only of his films I have seen), Ben Wheatley; and stars Tom Hiddleston as the newest resident in a self-contained block of highrise apartments with a vicious classiest system, in this dark comedy Sci-fi thriller…or something like that. Co-starring Jeremy Irons and Elisabeth Moss, there is still a bit of mystery about this film, for all those who haven’t read the books it’s adapted from, as the advertisement has done a good job in being vague on plot but specific on tone and style. And with early release reviews beginning to come in I’m seeing almost equal people calling it a failed attempt at something grand, or hailing it as a masterpiece. So I’m glad its release date isn’t too far into this year, before we get a chance to judge for ourselves whether Mr Hiddleston has been using his Marvel down time on worthy projects.

Live by Night: October 7

2E0BBB1A00000578-3300941-image-a-62_1446500565850Ben Affleck finally took a break from acting to get back to his much more interesting career as a director, with this follow up to Argo. Adapted from another Dennis Lehane novel like his first and best film Gone Baby Gone, it’s a period crime thriller that follows the prodigal son of a police captain as he becomes a bootlegger and later a gangster legend. Again here because of the director and writer’s track record, he’s currently three for three on great thrillers, and I doubt Affleck’s in a hurry to break the streak; especially with his next directorial project being the first solo Batman film in the new DCCU. And that’s before mentioning that Mr Leonardo Dicaprio has taken on a producer hat for it.

Of course these are only vague predictions on what will be some of the best films in the coming year, as we all know that best films tent to come out of nowhere with a sharp left hook, not let us see it coming from months away.