Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his take on a new release in theaters, one on Disney+, and one you can catch on Netflix.
THE LOST CITY (in theaters)
Sandra Bullock has been making audiences laugh with her rom coms for decades. She’s using those physical comedy skills as a romance novelist in The Lost City. Bullock plays Loretta Sage, who could barely finish her latest novel, “The Lost City of D” and now she must go on a press tour with her cover model Alan, who’s played by Channing Tatum. Loretta and Alan don’t quite see eye to eye, and after a disastrous event, she’s kidnapped by Daniel Radcliffe’s Abigail Fairfax. He’s a wealthy billionaire who believes that the “Lost City of D” is a real place, and that Loretta can help him find the tomb holding the coveted Crown of Fire. Loretta finds herself wrapped up in the plot of one of her novels and it’s up to Alan to come to the rescue.
-Starring: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt, Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
-There’s a throwback feel to the film with it being a Romancing the Stone meets Miss Congeniality and The Proposal.
-With this story being about an author being trapped living out the plot of her novel, it allows the film to play into the tropes and commentary of these fluff books. There are plenty of jokes about riding in on a white horse, there are double entendres with the title, and it can play up the dangers of the jungle with a volcano and wild animals.
-It’s the kind of situation comedy where it goes from bad to worse for Loretta and Alan. It was clear very early on that the ensemble and the directing team all knew the exact movie they were making as the heightened style is firmly in place.
-Bullock gets to be the straight-laced one of the group while still throwing her body around when need be. Channing Tatum is an absolute riot and is here to remind you of his comedic chops with a Fabio-like entrance and a character who at first doesn’t seem very bright, but one with a good heart. Daniel Radcliffe flexes his comedic side as the greedy villain. It’s a casting choice you wouldn’t typically see in a film like this, but it works thanks to Radcliffe.
-There’s effortless chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, which is key to having a film like this work. We come to realize they’re not playing one-dimensional characters. Alan is more than the dumb cover model, while Loretta is given a backstory as a recent widow, which infuses the climax with more heart.
-The pace may dip at times, but this film doesn’t need to reignite the genre or come with clever twists. It succeeds at being two hours of easy entertainment with guaranteed laughs and clever dialogue thanks to its trustworthy comedic ensemble.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
MOON KNIGHT (Disney+)
Marvel has had a string of hit series based on beloved characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Their latest series, Moon Knight, introduces audiences to a brand-new character whose played by Oscar Isaac. When we first meet Oscar Isaac’s character, Steven Grant, he’s a socially awkward guy who works at the gift shop of a museum dedicated to Egyptian history. At night, he’s forced to strap himself to his bed and tape his door shut due to his debilitating nightmares. His reality and nightmares begin to merge together, and he finds himself with special powers, hearing voices, and mixed up in the life of a mercenary named Marc Spector who has a connection to Egyptian gods.
-Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, May Calamawy, and the voice of F. Murray Abraham
-Moon Knight will run six episodes roughly 50 minutes. I’ve seen four of the six, which is far more than what press usually receives.
-Marvel Studios is taking a gamble with Moon Knight as the series is not nearly as family friendly as their other series. It’s certainly a darker, scarier, and more intellectually probing piece for Marvel as we begin to piece together that Steven aka Marc suffers from dissociative identity disorder.
-The first episode is an absolute blast of chaotic energy and world building easily drawing the audience into Oscar Isaac’s characters. There’s a sense of The Mummy meets Venom as Steven starts to unravel once he meets Ethan Hawke’s Arthur and this alternate world starts to take shape. He’s left asking why people call him Marc, he’s attacking vicious beasts in the museum and running from government agents.
-The first episode is action packed with deliberate needle drops from Tom Jones to Wham. The second and third episodes are far more dialogue heavy with Steven and Arthur’s conversations about Egyptian mythology and the gods wreaking havoc. Head writer Jeremy Slater drops another bomb during Episode 4 that will keep the audience on their toes.
-There’s an enigmatic quality to Hawke’s character. It would be easy to categorize him as the antagonist in the series, but Hawke methodically blurs the lines of what we should expect out of the character.
-The material gives Oscar Isaac plenty to play around with given the erratic nature we find him as he switches between Steven, Marc, and Moon Knight.
-Marvel’s new series is full of little clues and puzzle pieces, so you’ll want to pay attention closely throughout. It plays with reality, dreams, and the subconscious in unique ways. And like all things Marvel you’ll never know what surprises lay ahead.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
THE ADAM PROJECT (Netflix)
Time travel exists. You just don’t know it yet. That’s what we’re told at the beginning of Ryan Reynold’s new film The Adam Project. Newcomer Walker Scobell plays Young Adam who can’t seem to catch a break. He’s beaten up at school, bickers with his mom, and is still mourning the death of his dad. He’s at the prime age of 12 when life seems even more heightened. He and his dog go investigate a strange noise outside and encounter a strange man in his dad’s garage. He just happens to be the adult version of himself (Ryan Reynolds) sent from the future. He’s got real proof from scars on his chin to his dad’s watch. Adult Ryan is fighter pilot in space but was shot through a worm hole. It’s their dad who invented time travel and now the Adams have to fix the past in order to save the future.
-Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldana, Catherine Keener
-The Adam Project is the latest collaboration between Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy after last year’s smash hit Free Guy. Levy has now been tapped to direct Deadpool 3.
-Levy is also one of the producers and directors of Stranger Things, and this film has a similar nostalgic, sci-fi fantasy feel to it. It’s clear Levy is inspired by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and the Amblin films of the ‘80s as there are references to Back to the Future, Return of the Jedi, and more. Before you go and think this will just be another film that overly relies on a nostalgia trip, that is just the icing on the cake.
-The heart of this film belongs to the father/son story that is fleshed out in the second half once the Adams are reunited with their father. Just image what you would say to a loved one if your relationship was cut short. Naturally, you’ll start thinking think about the advice you’d give to your younger self.
-The Adam Project gets major points for its introspective journey, but Shawn Levy still adds in the laughs and big action scenes on top of it once Adam’s wife and other fighters from the future drop in including the film’s villain played by Catherine Keener.
-Adult Adam plays right into Ryan Reynolds wheelhouse. We get the sarcastic, attitude-filled Reynolds we enjoy but it’s sprinkled throughout next to the deeply emotional side of him which is on full display. It’s wonderful to see him open himself up in a different way.
-The Adam Project is that wonderful, feel-good movie that can touch the soul if allow yourself to go on that introspective journey the Adams do. You may even do the ugly cry. I want more of these types of stories from Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS