THE LOST CITY
Released March 25and
How about a fun movie for a change? –The Lost City, a romantic comedy disguised as an action thriller.
The Nee brothers, Aaron and Adam, made this film, a monumental undertaking for both, whose background is in writing, visual effects, documentaries, commercials and music videos. Their 2006 feature The Last Romantic was shot with a digital video camera to critical acclaim despite never being released. Aaron’s work as a cinematographer has been called “some of the finest DV cinematography in independent cinema…”. Unsurprisingly, The Lost City’s visuals and cinematography are rich and exquisite, shot on location in the jungles of the Dominican Republic, which serves as the subtropical home of an uncharted island civilization. The Lost City is a commendable second feature for these two brothers.
The plot, of course, is one that’s been brought up time and time again, and it can work every time if embellished well. The story of The Lost City is reminiscent of Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. This time, however, an actress in her 50s and an actor in her early 40s portray the romantic couple. It works in The Lost City because the rugged hero embodies the “damsel in distress” personality, the classic “dumb blonde” as played to the end by the always entertaining Channing Tatum. He really became sort of a Marilyn Monroe for a new generation. He has mastered the art of displaying a character whose innocent and ignorant looks belie an intelligent and complex persona.
Tatum grew up in the bayous near the Pascagoula River in Mississippi, struggling with ADD and dyslexia as a child. After high school and some college, he did odd jobs, including as a stripper. He dreamed of making a film about his exploits in this field. Years later, that dream became Magic Mike, the beginning of Tatum’s rise to one of the world’s most popular and prolific film actors.
I love watching Sandra Bullock’s seemingly effortless amazement. Bullock grew up in Nuremberg, Salzburg and Vienna, a native German speaker, often playing small roles on stage when she accompanied her mother on European opera tours. Her US Army father moved the family to Washington DC when she was a teenager. Bullock has starred in over 50 films and produced numerous film and television projects. Due to her fame, she has been involved in some scary real-life situations with deeply troubled fans. The weak point of The Lost City, unexpectedly, is the character development of Bullock, the novel writer who is out of his element and literally falls into one of his own novels. Bullock seems totally at ease and naturally funny as always. The directors could have done a lot more with his costumes to play up the many ridiculously comedic situations, and could have given him a more dramatic personality arc as a reclusive writer turned adventurer.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph is fabulous as “Beth Hatten” literary agent. Daniel Radcliffe is delightfully twisted and evil as “Abigail ‘that’s a gender neutral name ‘Fairchild.” Watch Hector Anibal, who plays henchman ‘Rafi’, to be a future breakout star. Brad Pitt makes a hilarious cameo of the ubiquitous hunk. One of the funniest lines in the film, spoken by Pitt, appears in the trailer – a big marketing mistake. Having already seen him in the trailer, his impact in the film is deflated. Overall, The Lost City is very well written and directed, full of unexpected situations and double meanings, with hidden visual and musical hints for those who recognize them. The extra scene in the credits hints at the possibility of a sequel. I would see it!
Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a talent manager at Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. [email protected]