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The Lost City | Welcome to the Jungle – Review



Globe-trotting adventures feel like as much of a rarity as erotic thrillers — thank God for Deep Water — and yet we’ve gotten Uncharted and The Lost City in less than two months. While those two films do share some similarities, being that they riff off of Indiana Jones-type adventure flicks, the former was based on a popular video game franchise while the latter is an original film about every writer’s biggest fear: Writer’s block. While this 110-minute adventure sails due to its leads and self-awareness, it’s dragged down by far too many lulls past the first 30 minutes. For as fun as The Lost City can be, almost comparable to cotton candy, it’s equally forgettable. I will be amazed if anyone can name the crown that Daniel Radcliffe is pursuing in this film any longer than five minutes after watching the film.

Loretta Stage (Sandra Bullock) is a best-selling author who writes the type of romance-adventure novels that your mom likely looked at in Barnes and Nobles. Like George R. R. Martin, Loretta has hit a bit of trouble when trying to write a satisfying ending to her 20-book series; spending her days locked in her house with enough champagne to fill a bathtub. Once she magically finds the inspiration to finish the book, titled The Lost City of D, she embarks on a book tour to promote it where she is kidnapped a la Taken by billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) who believes the lost city from Loretta’s books is real. Loretta’s cover model, Alan (or Dash), steps up to the plate to save Loretta and prove that you should never judge a book by its cover (very clever).

You can’t say that The Lost City doesn’t hit the ground running. Within 10 minutes Loretta is on her book tour, another 10 goes by and she’s kidnapped and we have our adventure. Brad Pitt shows up to be sexy and kick ass not even another 10 minutes after this. The opening act of The Lost City absolutely bops and draws you in hook, line, and sinker. What proceeds, however, is a choppy mess that is a mixed bag of some great moments between the two leads and a story so generic that the story, unlike The Lost City of D for much of its time in production, writes itself.

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum star in Paramount Pictures’ THE LOST CITY.

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum make for a pair of two people that you would never imagine having any chemistry if they were paired up together, yet they kill it. The Lost City is almost entirely dependent on the two, and both of their characters are so far out of their elements in the film that you can’t help but chuckle when Loretta mentions her sequin tracksuit being a rental or Dash slapping an already-unconscious body after Brad Pitt knocks the person out. Both Loretta and Dash have a desire to prove themselves as more than they appear: Loretta wants to find fulfillment in something at this stage in her life while Dash wants to be seen as more than a pretty face; he’s reminded on numerous occasions that their situation of peril is not one requiring his shirt being ripped off.

Tatum is an actor whose career feels underappreciated. My generation may know him from G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, others may know him from Magic Mike or the Jump Street reboot, but when Loretta calls Dash on his bullshit while reciting his whole life story, it felt like a self-aware joke about Tatum’s actual story. Loretta says that Dash “got by on good looks,” “coasted through school,” and “moved to LA but realized being the most handsome man doesn’t make you a leading man.” Unfortunately, this sentiment rings true for many in Hollywood, and it does make Tom Holland, who has star power if nothing else. Long gone are the days of movie stars putting butts in seats, it feels like everything is about franchises (something Tatum would know).

Sandra Bullock and Daniel Radcliff star in Paramount Pictures’ THE LOST CITY.

Daniel Radcliffe plays the rich son that is out to prove himself against his siblings and parental figures trope that Antonio Banderas just played in Uncharted; though there’s a lot less slicing of throats in The Lost City. Nonetheless, Radcliffe chews up a lot of scenery when he’s on-screen. Mind you, there is no disappearing spell in play here, maybe it’s due to COVID restrictions, but Fairfax just disappears after the first 30 minutes. There’s a scene here and there of him reacting to a given situation, but he’s really not present until the last act. Maybe this was a conscious effort to focus the film on Bullock and Tatum, but when the antagonist, who is in high pursuit of these two, is just nowhere to be found, it’s weird.

Fairfax’s goons are about as insignificant as he is throughout the film, but you have to applaud the effort to find a “Jason Statham type” with Thomas Forbes-Johnson’s heavy who looks like Dr. Robotnik and sounds like Jason Statham.

Speaking of weird, all of the rage on Twitter is how Spider-Man: No Way Home used a soundstage and greenscreen in almost every scene. The Lost City won’t cross $1 billion, so not as many eyes will see it, but the same could be said here. Yes, the $74 million budget is like pocket change for a blockbuster like No Way Home, but it feels painfully obvious that Bullock and Tatum spend most of their time on soundstages in the film. It takes away any sort of suspension of disbelief that you may have while watching. Hell, the third act looks like it takes place in the same cave as Uncharted‘s while swapping the pirate ships for a tomb.

The PG-13 rating was completely unbeknownst to me upon writing this review. It’s certainly not surprising considering Sanda Bullock mutters “cheese and rice” enough times that you’ll quickly realize it’s unironic. It would also explain why both Bullock and Tatum are used as PG-13 eye candy including one fully-nude butt. It’s not like the rating changes my perception of the film as a whole, but it certainly would have explained some of the flat jokes and awkward dialogue that sounded like a teenager making his first raunchy jokes. A lot of the jokes are very low-hanging fruit; take Loretta’s book being titled The Lost City of D, for example. I know I can’t be the only one who rolled their eyes when someone said the “D” stands for “dick.”

More than anything, it’s a shame that The Lost City had to spoil its own biggest cameo/moment in the trailers. It did lead to some misdirection — as Pitt’s character doesn’t come off like more than a glorified cameo, even in the trailers — but I remember thinking to myself that the film was either moving way too fast early on or it was 80 minutes long. This leads to the top-heavy unbalance that the film has. It begins with such highs that nothing after these moments tops itself.

The Lost City harkens back to the days when sexy leads can carry a film with very little substance and make a ton of money on a small-to-mid budget. With The Batman still legging out, will The Lost City make gangbusters? Probably not, but the mid-budget rom-com starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, and Brad Pitt certainly could be the “little engine that could.” As for the film itself, no one will watch the film for its plot; even despite the fact that it’s the closest thing to an old-school action rom-com of the past. So with that said, it’s a mindless fun time that does have some heart, specifically with Tatum’s character. What really needs to happen to take this franchise to the next level is Sony and Paramount working together to combine the Uncharted and Lost City franchises.

Paramount will release The Lost City in theaters on March 25.


Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

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Expendables 4 Movie Review | Explosive & Funny!



Expendables 4 (Lionsgate Movies)

The following piece was written during the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie material being covered here wouldn’t exist.


A new generation of stars join the world’s top action stars for an adrenaline-fueled adventure in Expend4bles. Reuniting as the team of elite mercenaries, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, and Sylvester Stallone are joined for the first time by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia. Armed with every weapon they can get their hands on and the skills to use them, The Expendables are the world’s last line of defense and the team that gets called when all other options are off the table. But new team members with new styles and tactics are going to give “new blood” a whole new meaning.

Iko Uwais as Suarto Rahmat (Lionsgate Movies)

The Expendables Film Series

I highly recommend catching up on the other movies in the Expendables film series.

Expendables 1 (2010)

The only life they’ve known is war. The only loyalty they have is to each other. They are the Expendables: leader and mastermind Barney Ross (Stallone), former SAS blade expert Lee Christmas (Statham), hand-to-hand combat specialist Yin Yang (Li), long barrel weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Crews), demolitions expert Toll Road (Couture), and precision sniper Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren). Living life in the fringes of the law, these hardened mercenaries take on what appears to be a routine assignment: a covert, CIA-funded operation to infiltrate the South American country of Vilena and overthrow its ruthless dictator General Garza (David Zayas). But when their job is revealed to be a suicide mission, the men are faced with a deadly choice, one that might redeem their souls or destroy their brotherhood forever.

The Expendables Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 2

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time — six tons of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. That is done the Expendables way….

The Expendables 2 Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 3 (2014)

In The Expendables 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. In order to defeat Stonebanks, Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.

The Expendables 3 Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Movie Review

Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Sylvester Stallone bring the explosive energy needed to give us an explosive performance on-screen. The new members, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia bring in a breath of fresh air with new attitude and fighting styles to keep us entertained. This movie is the fourth in the Expendable film series, but there is definitely no clear link between this movie and the prequels. Each movie in essence is a new mission and Expendables 4 can be watched without watching the previous movies. I suggest watching the previous three movies to experience the explosive action that you get when you combine our favorite action heroes.

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross, leader of the Expendables (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 4 was great and delivered yet another action-packed mission filled with awesome fights, humor, cultural references and explosions. However, it wasn’t difficult to spot the main villain and there aren’t much surprises in terms of the new action stars who join this mission.

The movie starts us off with the Expendables in a race against time to retrieve nuclear warheads, but the mission goes south and instead of sticking to orders, one of the soldiers attempt to save his team member instead, which results in a failed mission and a casualty. The story follows the combination of accomplishing the mission while delivering a can of revenge-based whoop-ass. The last fight isn’t as explosive as the cast but still manages to deliver a plot-twist finale.

Megan Fox, Andy Garcia & Jacob Scipio, some of the newest members of the Expendables (Lionsgate Movies)

A future sequel should really consider a completely new group pick up the baton and leave us in suspense as to who the new heroes and villains could be. I love a good surprise with a side of plot twist in any movie.

There is no post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the very end. The trailer doesn’t spoil any of the plot twists you can expect from the movie. Overall, my rating for Expendables 4 is a 3.5 out of 5.

Make sure to watch at a cinema near you!

Expend4bles Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

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Sung Kang’s ‘Shaky Shivers’ is a Campy Horror-Comedy With Superb Performances



Brooke Markham and VyVy Nguyen in 'Shaky Shivers' (Cineverse)

If you thought that Sung Kang can only thrill you with amazing car stunts, then you are wrong. The acclaimed star is set to take you on an entertaining ride with his directorial debut titled ‘Shaky Shivers’.

The latest horror-comedy film marks the feature directorial debut of Sung Kang, renowned for his roles in the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise and several other big projects. The movie stars Brooke Markham and VyVy Nguyen, with an ensemble cast including Jimmy Bellinger, Erin Daniels, and Herschel Sparber.

A still from ‘Shaky Shivers’ (Cineverse)

From the very beginning, ‘Shaky Shivers’ grabs hold of your attention with the comedic chemistry between lead actresses Brooke Markham (Lucy) and VyVy Nguyen (Karen). Their hilarious banter and dynamic friendship draw you into their world of magic, mayhem, and monstrous encounters. While a few other characters make appearances, the heart of the film rests on the shoulders of Karen and Lucy, whose relatable and believable friendship makes the story even more bewitching.

One of the best aspects of the film is how Sung Kang skillfully directs the title despite limited cast and limited settings. It still manages to keep audiences engaged and entertained. Kang also pays homage to classic horror films like ‘American Werewolf in London’ and injects fresh energy into the scenes while showcasing his comedic flair.

A still from ‘Shaky Shivers’ (Cineverse)

If you are one of those who enjoy unapologetically goofy and fun movies, ‘Shaky Shivers’ is undoubtedly a fun watch. Embracing its campiness, the film doesn’t try to be anything other than an enjoyable ride filled with supernatural elements. The characters have a helpful book of spells that they use to solve problems, which adds a clever and funny element to the story that will make you laugh..

While categorized as a horror-comedy, ‘Shaky Shivers’ leans more towards comedy than horror. However, don’t worry, as the supernatural beings like werewolves, zombies, and witches make their presence known throughout. The practical effects and impressive monster makeup, reminiscent of old-school horror flicks from the 70s and 80s, immerse you in a world of creatures and enchantment.

A still from ‘Shaky Shivers’ (Cineverse)

The plot of ‘Shaky Shivers’ escalates in an exciting and compelling manner, filled with unpredictable twists and goofy surprises.  While it may not leave you terrified, the perfect blend of supernatural ambiance and comedic moments guarantees plenty of laughter and enjoyment.

In conclusion, ‘Shaky Shivers’ is a must-watch horror-comedy that delivers on laughs, friendship, and supernatural encounters. With its engaging storyline, talented cast, and Sung Kang’s impressive directorial debut, the film is a delightful addition to the genre. So grab a large tub of popcorn and take your family for this fun-filled ride.

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Sex Education Season 4 is a Spectacular (and Overstuffed) Conclusion to One of Netflix’s Extraordinary Series



Official posted of 'Sex Education' Season 4 (Netflix)

When the first season of Sex Education came out on Netflix in 2019, it felt pretty daring and exciting for everyone. While there were many shows about teenagers and sex, ‘Sex Education’ stood out because it talked about these topics openly and covered them in a pretty detailed manner. Without any guesses, the show became really popular and is now considered a classic on Netflix. For 3 long seasons, viewers have seen students of Moordale, and everyone around them, dealing with a lot of complications, but now, it’s time to say goodbye to some of our character as the Netflix series has returned for its fourth and final edition.

At the end of Season 3, Moordale Secondary School closed down. This means that Otis, Eric, Aimee, Jackson, Vivienne, Cal, and Ruby have to go to a new school, Cavendish Sixth Form College. Some of them fit in well, while others struggle. And while Otis tries to focus on his therapy work, he finds out that there are other young people who are experts on relationships and sex in town.

Gillian Anderson as Jean Milburn in ‘Sex Education’ Season 4 (Netflix)

One of the strengths of Sex Education is its diverse and inclusive representation. The show shines a light on various sexual orientations, gender identities, and cultural backgrounds, providing a platform for underrepresented voices. Season 4 continues to explore these themes, introducing new characters who add depth and complexity to the narrative. On ghe other hand, the only problem with Season 4 is that there are too many things going on at once. There are so many sub-plots that might distract you at times and make you feel that this story might have looked good if there was another season in pipeline.

Even then, the writing remains sharp and witty, creating relatable and genuine teenage characters who grapple with their own insecurities and desires.

Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong in Sex Education Season 4 (Netflix)

The performances in ‘Sex Education’ Season 4 are consistently strong. Asa Butterfield brings vulnerability and charm to his role as Otis, portraying the character’s growth and maturity. Ncuti Gatwa shines as Eric, capturing both his strength and vulnerability as he navigates new relationships and personal challenges. Emma Mackey delivers a nuanced performance as Maeve, showcasing her character’s intelligence and emotional depth. Mimi Keene is stupendous as well and bring another layer to her character which was so nice to see. Meanwhile, Gillian Anderson does what she is best at: deliver another extraordinary performance.

Emma Mackey as Maeve in Sex Education Season 4. (Netflix)

On the other hand, Aimee Lou Wood continues to mesmerise us with her charm and simplicity. Directors should definitely look at her and give her a leading role soon because she deserves it. Another actor that is surely a star in the making is Anthony Lexa, who portrays Abbi in Season 4. Her performance adds an additional charm to the series and gives a hope to Trans actors that they can too achieve their dreams.

A still from ‘Sex Education’ Season 4 (Netflix)

The final edition tackles difficult topics with sensitivity and care, highlighting the importance of consent, communication, and understanding in relationships. The show’s ability to tackle these issues head-on without becoming preachy is a testament to its thoughtful storytelling.

While the final season of ‘Sex Education’ does have some pacing and narrative issues, the strength of the performances, the thoughtful exploration of important issues, and the show’s commitment to inclusivity make it a satisfying and engaging watch. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to these beloved characters, but the legacy of Sex Education will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the television landscape.

Sex Education Season 4. (L to R) Mimi Keene as Ruby, Asa Butterfield as Otis in Sex Education Season 4 (Netflix)

In conclusion, ‘Sex Education’ Season 4 continues to deliver a standout and boundary-pushing narrative that explores sexuality, identity, and personal growth with humor and sensitivity. Despite some minor flaws, the show remains a shining example of inclusive storytelling and offers a heartfelt farewell to its beloved characters.

Some goodbyes are hard and this is certainly one of them.

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