It can not quite capture old film magic

How can we expect audiences to react to adult films like this if they lack the charm of the genres they plunder to get inspiration?
Photo: Kimberley French / Paramount Pictures

I have a confession to make: I have never warmed up to Sandra Bullock as a star. It’s not because I did not enjoy her presence on screen. It’s just that she on her own does not feel like a supernova; she attenuates or brightens by virtue of whom she acts against. When’s Keanu Reeves? That’s when she’s really shining, in movies like the 1994s Velocity, where her determination and humor flirt perfectly with Reeves’ adorable machismo. (I even have a soft spot for their dynamics in the admittedly weird romantic drama of 2006, Søhuset.) She has the appropriate charm in Miss Congeniality, a 2000 film that once again highlights her stinging steadfastness while giving her physical comedy alongside seasoned stage partners like Michael Caine and Candice Bergen. In the 2013s Gravity, her drive is so well utilized that the chemistry she cultivates with George Clooney continues long after he disappears. But as an inflexible matriarch in The blind side, a 2009 film built on bald unpleasant race politics that earned her an Oscar for best female lead, she fails to feel whole or engaged. As the film’s supposed center, she lacks any power beyond the frozen white saviorism.

The lost city, released this weekend, is the kind of movie meant to rest on the laurels of star power. Not only Bullocks, but also her immediate cast members. The film – which scans as To romanticize the stone cosplay updated for the current moment – is the kind of romantic action-adventure cape we have not seen in decades. It does not waste time. In a fleet of 92 minutes, the film dives into a story about Loretta Sage (Bullock), a very successful novelist whose life has been defined by loneliness since the death of her beloved husband. Her apparent knowledge of a lost city – reflected in her dizzying new book – gets her kidnapped by a mad, disgruntled billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who thinks she can find the priceless treasure he has spent lots of cash on finding . Loretta turns out to be more skilled than her prison guards realize, and she’s not alone – the sweet himbo who models on her covers, Alan (Channing Tatum), sets out to rescue her, leading to big jinks and , at least theoretically, romantic sparks. against the backdrop of a dangerous jungle on a forgotten island. “The film comes with an extra set of stakes specific to Hollywood’s post-pandemic future,” New York Times‘says Kyle Buchanan. “When the theatrical business gets smaller, will people still see an old-fashioned comic adventure where the actors lack superpowers beyond the charisma of the A-list?” Here’s the problem. The lost city may have A-listers, but it does not possess the necessary craftsmanship to focus on their skills. Audiences should not be blamed for the film if they are cold. How can we expect people to react to adult movies like this if they lack the charm of the genres they plunder to get inspiration?

The lost city is not terrible, just aggressively mediocre. It’s the kind of movie you put on in the background after encountering it on TBS while folding the laundry on a Sunday afternoon. If anything, The lost city shows not a lack of stars, but a persistent inability of modern Hollywood to know what to do with them. The idea of ​​making a thin mask To romanticize the stone renew with an older actress (Bullock is a few years shy of 60), whose defining characteristic is her intelligence – which innately radiates warmth and romance and adventure – is a good one. But the creators of The lost city think it’s enough to point a camera at her. They forget To romanticize the stone had Robert Zemeckis to shepherd a screenplay by Diane Thomas, a waitress who became a screenwriter and who died tragically and young. The lost city has Adam and Aaron Nee directing a story of a bunch of men and Dana Fox. It’s romance of choice, and no one has any idea how to capture the warmth needed to make the couple work.

The lost city aims to be fast, dizzy, an easy pleasure. It’s mostly harmless, except for one certainly big problem: the strange colonialism lurking in the story and the condescendingly thin portrayal of the indigenous people living on the supposed island where the main action takes place. It’s an aspect that is not new to The lost city, clearly in these romance-adventure films focused on white people who find love on the background of so-called exoticism. Once you notice this tearing aspect, you can not help but twist. The discomfort is not helped by the directors and the film photographer, who cannot capture the awe of natural surroundings or enlighten the actors in ways that truly highlight the beauty of their bodies. Instead, they are framed, illuminated and blocked in ways that hide their beauty instead of putting it on a pedestal. (A dramatic cave sequence near the end is so sad that it’s embarrassing.)

But perhaps the most conspicuous problem is the lack of proper chemistry between Bullock and Tatum, which cannot produce the friction required by a fateful romance. I can see why Tatum and Bullock have appeal on the side. He is welcoming but not overbearing in his charm, and good at playing carefree men with an inner sweetness and ability to dance. She has a fierce self-esteem and a fearless intellect. But there is no “it” factor. You know what I mean: the undeniably potent fire between actors that makes us want to sunbathe in their glow and also mess with them taking their clothes off and falling into bed. For a film about a novelist trying to exist within a very specific canon of adventure films, there is an astonishing lack of sexiness. So when the two finally kiss at the end of the movie, it feels superficial – as if the movie just remembered: “Oh yeah, of course, they should have some physical connection. ” Bullock has a more exciting connection with Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt), a former Navy SEAL and full-time badass who is introduced by eating the insides of a coconut. Alan gets him to help save Loretta in a cameo that doesn’t last long, but leaves the most intense impression. Pitt knows what this film needs and how he can turn his own image around. (Has anyone in Hollywood leaned as much into the sensuality of his own consumption as this man?) His long blonde hair falls behind him as the bombs he has planted explode, bringing a tinge of memories about his status as a heartbreaker in the early 1990s. Legends of the Fall. His physicality (and that of his stuntmen) is exuberant, graceful. When Loretta flirts with him and asks why the hell he is so beautiful, with a twinkle in his eye, he replies, “My father was a weatherman.” That’s the kind of specificity and élan the rest of the film lacks.

It’s clear at the moment Pitt is on screen what his fate will be, but it’s a short trip I enjoyed being on. The remaining film is dull and tired. Of course, Radcliffe is aiming for gonzo intensity. As Loretta’s agent, Da’Vine Joy Randolph tries his best to bring energy to the film, but the only thing I felt was disappointment that Hollywood can not stop falling into the “Black best friend” trap. Everything in the story feels micro-controlled, all edges are smoothed off. Even when Loretta and Alan witness a hidden tomb surrounded by lush foliage, with the melting lava from a volcano framing the discovery, I felt neither curiosity nor wonder. I fixed instead on the smoothness of the scenario and lack of texture. Finally, The lost city never stumbles into the cord of the brain of pure pleasure – visually, emotionally or otherwise.

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