Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Sandra Bullock

Two Films at Your Local Cineplex Now

In an ongoing effort to support our local cinemas, we have recently viewed two films that were (then) showing only at the theaters.

The first was Nicolas Cage in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” The second was the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum vehicle, “The Lost City.”

Nic Cage proves that he has a sense of humor about being Nicolas Cage. Pedro Pascal co-stars and received reviews equivalent to Cage’s for his charming portrayal.

The synopsis reads: “Nicolas Cage stars as… Nick Cage in the action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalized version of Cage must accept a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous super-fan (Pedro Pascal). Things take a wildly unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and forced to live up to his own legend, channeling his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones. With a career built for this very moment, the seminal award-winning actor must take on the role of a lifetime: Nick Cage.”

Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz were a pleasant addition to the cast, but the film lost its ebullient lightweight comic energy about halfway through and ended up dependent on the finale of an ordinary chase scene. It was enjoyable, but the promise of the first half of the film is not lived up to by the finale (despite a quick cameo by Demi Moore lasting about 20 seconds.)

“The Lost City” stars America’s Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, banking on her likability to engage her fans in this story of a romance writer who is kidnapped by Harry Potter—err, Daniel Radcliffe.

Here is the synopsis for that film:  “Reclusive author Loretta Sage writes about exotic places in her popular adventure novels that feature a handsome cover model named Alan. While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta gets kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who hopes she can lead him to an ancient city’s lost treasure from her latest story. Determined to prove he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan (Channing Tatum) sets off to rescue her.”

When Brad Pitt enters the plot, mid-story, as gun-for-hire Jack Trainer, he looks terrific and, a bonus, age-appropriate for Ms. Bullock at 58 to her 57. I couldn’t help but wonder if Bullock tried to get Brad to take the lead role of Alan, her cover model. She revealed that, actually, it was their mutual hairdresser who told Pitt he should take the small part adding, tongue in cheek, “Hairdressers really are the power of our country, if not the world.”

Channing Tatum does well as the hunky cover model who wants his female boss to take him seriously as a prospective love interest. Bullock says of him, “He’s a body wash commercial.” Or, later, she describes Channing as “a Ken doll on a motor bike.” But as the only individual trying to rescue her after she is kidnapped, the pair grow closer as their adventure continues.

Throughout, Sandra Bullock is clad in a purple glittery jumpsuit. She asks, “Do I need to be wearing a glittery onesie?” That is her primary outfit throughout the Oren Ugiel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee scripted series of implausible adventures. The film is directed by Aaron and Adam Nee, with cinematography by Jonathan Sela, with the visual effects departments of Factory VFX, Craft Apes, and Lone Coconut assisting and the Dominican Republican providing the jungle sets and waterfalls.

The scene that many will remember is Sandra Bullock plucking leeches off the bare buttocks of 42-year-old Channing Tatum. The couple also dances, demonstrating that they each know their way around a dance floor.

In the midst of the film there is a brief discussion of feminism and sexism, which seemed odd and out of place.  But there are truly funny lines throughout, like the one aimed at an elderly Black woman, when her daughter says, “Let’s go in the other room and we can talk about whatever war you lived through.” There are also the throw-away lines like, “I have a rule about not going into super creepy caves,” which the pair does in search of the fabled Crown of Fire.

Like Cage’s “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” this is not an Oscar-worthy film, but it is fun.

It was nice, for a change, seeing the 15-year age gap be the older woman/younger man demographic. Seems about time after all the years of the pairings of couples like Bogie and Bacall.

We enjoyed both films for what they were: throw-away popcorn sit-coms, which Sandra Bullock has always excelled atl. Brad Pitt was a true gift, mid-movie, and Channing Tatum acquitted himself nobly, as he had done in “Dog” earlier this year. Not a bad way to spend the late afternoon.

82nd Academy Awards Honors “The Hurt Locker”

The 82nd Academy Awards were broadcast to millions on Sunday, March 7, 2010, and history was made. The first woman won the Best Director Award, Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” and the Best Picture of the Year was an upset: “The Hurt Locker,” a little-seen film about bomb defusers, starring Jeremy Renner.

“Avatar” won 3 Oscars, when all was said and done, one for Visual Effects, one for Cinematography and one for Art Direction. “The Hurt Locker,” meanwhile, raked in the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), Original Screenplay (Mark Boal), Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Mixing.

After those two gorillas in the jungle, the numbers dropped off rapidly: only “Crazy Heart” (with 2) and “Crazy Heart” and “Precious” with 2 apiece challenged for awards this night.

The evening opened with a lame song-and-dance number by Neil Patrick Harris, who had actually been good in this role on an earlier awards show. Neil Patrick Harris sang a song whose message whose message was “No One Wants to Do It Alone.” This is true, and is probably why Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin shared hosting duties for the 82nd annual Oscars. I was disappointed in their performance, as they are both so funny and quick-witted, individually, but their scripted stuff was somewhat weak…although not as weak as Kathy Ireland’s red carpet interviewing. None of the people doing the red carpet interviews this year impressed, least of all Kathy, Sherry from “The View” or the editor of “People” magazine (I think). I never thought I’d say it, but give us back Joan and Melissa Rivers. Army Archerd just died, so he’s definitely out. What about somebody like Mario Lopez or Joan Hart or, really, just about anybody but this trio.

The winners this night were as follows:

Best Picture: “The Hurt Locker”

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (first woman director to win)

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (for “Crazy Heart”)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:  Mo’Nique in “Precious”

Best Animated Feature Film:  “Up”

Best Original Screenplay:  “The Hurt Locker” by Mark Boal

Best Adapted Screenplay:  “Precious”, Geoffrey Fletcher

Best Foreign Language Film:  “The Secret in Their eyes” (Argentina)

Best Original Score:  “Up” (Michael Giacchino)

Best Original Song:  “The Weary King” from “Crazy Heart

Best Art Direction:  “Avatar”

Best Cinematography:  “Avatar” by Mario Fiore

Best Costume Design:  “The Young Victoria” (Sandy Powell)

Best Documentary Feature:  “The Cove”

Best Documentary Short Subject:  “Music by Prudence”

Best Film Editing:  “The Hurt Locker” (Bob Murawksi and Chris Innis)

Best Makeup:  “Star Trek”

Best Animated Short Film:  “Logarama” (French, 16 mins.)

Best Live Action Short Film:  “The New Tenants”

Best Sound Editing:  “The Hurt Locker”

Best Sound Mixing:  “The Hurt Locker”

Best Visual Effects:  “Avatar”

Sandra Bullock’s acceptance speech was the most affecting of the night, for me, as she said, “To that trailblazer who allowed me to have this extraordinary opportunity—and to my lover, Meryl Streep.” Sandra also referenced a time when George Clooney had thrown her into a swimming pool and almost choked up during her acceptance speech. I also enjoyed Mo’Nique pointing out that, at least in her case, the award was truly given for the performance. I agree with that, having seen all the nominated performances, but it didn’t hurt any that Oprah got behind the film Big Time, so that somewhat contradicts Mo’Nique’s comment that politics was not a factor in her win. (She also shared TMI during her Barbara Walters interview, telling the world that she does not shave her legs and has an open marriage with her spouse.)

The evening ended on as always-hurried note, with the dynamic duo of Steve Martin and Alec Baldin signing off very quickly.

Most of the winners were not a surprise, with Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock and Christoph Waltz and Mo’Nique winning, as expected.

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