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Entries in The Lost City of Z (6)

Monday
Jul242017

The Furniture: Indulging Fantasy in 'The Lost City of Z'

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

by Daniel Walber 

The Lost City of Z begins with Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) in hot pursuit of a stag, risking his limbs to win the respect of his superior officers. Two things are obvious in an instant: his athletic ability and the enormous chip on his shoulder. Burdened by the memory of his alcoholic father, he throws his whole body into the quest for social redemption.

Unfortunately, this burst of exertion doesn’t pay off. He does get the stag, its lifeless head displayed prominently at the evening ball. But it’s not enough. The labyrinthine snobbery of England is presented by writer/director James Gray as an impossible obstacle, as resistant as the dense rainforests where Fawcett later seeks his fortune.

After this initial frustration, Fawcett accepts a cartographic mission to Bolivia. There, he is seduced by tantalizing stories of a lost city of gold. It becomes his obsession. In turn, the contrast between rigid England and lush Amazonia drives the film’s visual logic...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul012017

C O N S I D E R - Favorites of 2017, 2nd Qtr

THE YEAR'S FIRST HALF IS OVER! But rather than wait for this "halfway mark" for year in review listicles we started at the end of the 1st quarter so you'll have to combine those lists (movies / actresses / actors) with the highlights from your host's April through June screenings for a complete "halfway mark" take. Got it? Unlike many critics orgs and the Oscars, The Film Experience believes that moviegoing is a 12 month long activity and each month can hold worthy efforts.  Here are 4 or 5 highlights of what we've seen the past three months per Oscar category in alpha order. How will they measure up to what's still to come?

Key movies I regret missing this quarter: Beatriz at Dinner, HeroGifted, Manifesto, and Their Finest

PICTURE and/or DIRECTOR and/or SCREENPLAY
(i couldn't decide which to cut so this first grouped selection is 6 wide)


BABY DRIVER (Edgar Wright)
THE BIG SICK (Michael Showalter)
THE LOVERS (Azazel Jacobs)
LOST CITY OF Z (James Gray)
THE WEDDING PLAN (Rama Burshtein)
WONDER WOMAN (Patty Jenkins)

Lots more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr232017

What did you see this weekend? I caught a masterpiece!

This weekend saw several new films hitting theaters including the trashy Unforgettable (reviewed), the epic The Promise, and Ben Wheatley's Free Fire (reviewed). Apart from the Disney Nature documentary Born in China and the almost-wide expansion of last week's newbie The Lost City of Z, none made much of an impact with moviegoers, as the holdovers just won't quit filling theaters. Boss Baby and Going in Style, for example, only dropped 20% in their 4th and 3rd weekends respectively.

I spent the weekend hitting the Tribeca Film Festival (our reviews have already begun) but the highlight by far was the rare opportunity to see Lina Wertmüller's Seven Beauties (1975) which is best known to Oscar buffs as the first instance of a woman being nominated for Best Director. The film was more amazing than I was prepared for. We're talking a tonally daring, politically charged, sexually crazed, harrowing and hilarious World War II movie. Most movies don't even have 10% of its verve and personality. I was riveted from the first frame to the last and if you ever have a chance to see it (or live in NYC) you'd be insane to pass it up. I'm going to try to hit at least one or two more Wertmüller movies while the series is running at NYC's newly renovated Quad cinema. 

What did you see this weekend? 

TOP WIDE (800+ theaters)
01 Fate of the Furious $38.6 (cum. $163.5) Ranking the Franchise
02 Boss Baby $12.7 (cum. $136.9) Review
03 Beauty & the Beast $9.9 (cum. $471) Review
04 Born in China $5.1 NEW
05 Going in Style $5 (cum. $31.7) 

TOP LIMITED 
01 The Lost City of Z $2.1 (cum. $2.2) 614 screens Review 
02 Colossal $584k (cum. $1.3) 224 screens Review
03 Their Finest $555k (cum. $1.1) 176 screens
04 Norman $136k (cum. $272k) 18 screens
05 T2 Trainspotting $80k (cum. $2.2) 160 screens

Sunday
Apr232017

Review: "The Lost City of Z"

by Chris Feil

A sprawling, formally immaculate epic like James Gray’s The Lost City of Z is a rare enough to seem like a novelty these days, and Gray’s rendering makes the film feel no less precious. It plays almost like a delicate jewel box on the screen, as if any minute it will crumble to our modern touch. Z looks and breathes of a bygone era.

Charlie Hunnam stars as Colonel Percival Fawcett, an unheralded military man who rises to prominence for exploring the uncharted Amazon in the early 20th century. His first expedition leads to an obsession when he discovers signs of an ancient ruins, suggesting a developed civilization previous undiscovered by western eyes. Fawcett’s three increasingly less successful journeys could be seen as indicative of the virtue or punishment of an obsessive goal, depending on your vantage.

While the film’s trajectory is familiar to epics over the most recent decades, what sets the film apart is its complex emotional terrain...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct192016

NYFF: The Lost City of Z

Here's Jason reporting from NYFF on the Closing Night film from James Gray.

Most of us aren't fortunate enough to have our lives live themselves in a perfect three-act structure. "Here I was born, and there I died," says the ghostly Madelaine in Vertigo, with an entire lifetime intuited by a comma - that's just second-act stuff, after all. Colonel Percival "Percy" Fawcett -- the real-world explorer whose explorations formed the basis first for David Grann's book The Lost City of Z and now the movie from The Immigrant director James Gray -- made three trips into the Amazonian jungle searching for his El Dorado, lending his life-story the perfect apparatus for yarn-spinning. A beginning, a wandering middle, and something approaching an end...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr132016

YNMS: The Lost City of Z

Laurence here. Many people were disappointed by the way James Gray's The Immigrant went mostly unnoticed beyond critics' groups. From the story to the stars, it seemed like a fairly strong prospect to garner Gray some mainstream awards attention, but the Weinsteins never seemed confident in it. Now Gray is making a decidedly more bombastic play to voting members with his new film, The Lost City of Z. This time he's paired up with Jennifer Aniston's former production company, Plan B, which has become very good at producing Best Picture nominees.

Based on David Grann's non-fiction bestseller of the same title, The Lost City of Z stars Charlie Hunnam as Percy Fawcett, a British explorer in the 1920s who led an expedition to the Amazon rainforest in search of a mysterious lost city. Grann's book chronicles the numerous attempts over the years to follow Fawcett's footsteps, with evidence emerging in 2005 that the city perhaps did, in some form, exist. The film seems to primarily function as a biopic of Fawcett, whose obsession with Z's existence led him to the heart of darkness. 

Let's break down the now hard-to-find trailer after the jump...

Click to read more ...