The Lost City (2005)
User ReviewsReview this title
I liked the music specially the showman that portrayed Benny More. Also the choreography was very good and the dancers where spectacular, in particular the fellow that participated as a solo. The guy playing the trumpet at the beginning and end of the movie was superb.
It gives an overall picture of the history from that period in the island nation and without being documentary it respects the motives and shortcomings of any historical process such as this one.
Thanks Andy for this movie, and keep up the good work.
What an excellent job in picking places that can make you really think it was filmed in Havana! You can feel as if you are really there! There are those who wonder how Andy Garcia could have portrayed Cuba so realistically when he left the island as a 5 year old child. But it is at those very young tender years that impressions are made that stay throughout ones lives. My early trips to Cuba have remained very vivid in my mind. I understand him so well.
You can feel that he put his all in this movie. Countless Cubans can relate to the story that is told. What a heart-wrenching moment when he leaves Cuba and his only keepsake is taken away from him! How many Cubans must have passed through this same scene?
The music warmed my soul. I would listen to it over and over.
And that last scene! well, I don't want to give it away. You have to see it.
And I despise Castro's regime.
One thing is to hate Castro's regime and another different thing is to say this movie is good.
I believe that people who gave more than one star to this poor turkey is speaking and writing out of political passion, not from a cinematic point of view.
I'm not going to criticize the poor and incomplete portrayal of the politics and reality of this movie,s vision of Cuba (I never saw a poor black guy or a Cane plantation worker in this movie, like Cuba was Disneyworld) This movie, AS A MOVIE, sucks donkey.
The main character is implausible, stereotypical and unreal (and bad acted to boot) First of all, is simply ridiculous that a Nightclub owner was the son of a intellectual University professor. Worse, a romantic night club owner with strong family principles and a passion for Classic Ballet!!.
In this lamentable parody of a movie, Garcia is a poor, pathetic and full of clichés caricature of a Puritan Casablanca's Bogart, better suited for films like AIRPLANE or SPY HARD.
Come on!!! Like it or not, EVERYBODY knows that, despite all the flamboyancy and quality of the spectacle, Pre-Castro Cuba's was a Maffia's paradise (As it was Las Vegas), and the Nightclubs were Luxury Bordellos with strong ties with the Maffia and any kind of Thugs and lowlifes (IF NOT DIRECTLY OWNED BY THEM), where, prostitution and illegal activities of all kinds were a commonplace.
And GAMBLING WAS ABSOLUTELY LEGAL IN PRE-CASTRO CUBA (still is in most of the Caribbean islands) so there was NO reason (other than pathetic soap opera moralism) for Fico to not fulfill Lansky's wishes.
The pathetic and unreal portrayal of a humble, nice and easy going Meyer Lansky is simply ridiculous.
The real Meyer Lansky was a though MAFIA BOSS, a ruthless murderer and one of the MOST powerful figures in Maffia's History, who didn't ask for favors.
In fact, He wouldn't had paid a personal visit to a stupid Club owner.
And NOBODY would say NO to Meyer Lansky so easily.
AH!! The Writer ( poorly played by a painfully miscast Bill Murray) is one of the most unnecessary, annoying and unfunny characters in cinema history since JAR JAR BINKS.
You take out Bill Murray's parts from this crappy movie and nobody wouldn't notice the smallest change.
This character has no impact at all in the entire movie, other than spitting unfunny and out of place one liners.
The "writer" is just annoying and unnecessary filler.
The rest of the characters are totally forgettable, severely undeveloped and incredibly unsympathetic.
There is no reason, background or origin for any of the character' s actions.
For example, Luis spouse (Ines Sastre) who played a simple wife who didn't show no political background, opinion or interest, who wasn't involved in any kind of political movement AT ALL who didn't know nothing about her husband's secret political activities during the entire film suddenly, out of nothing, in a blink of an eye becomes the quintessential symbol of Castro's revolution and his most powerful advocate, just because she was the wife of an "in the closet" revolutionary.
The weak stories never gets to a developed state.
Ther is no conclusive moments. All the movie looks like a perennial first chapter of a very boring soap opera To worsen things, the movie is excruciatingly long and slow.
Special mention has to be made to Eduardo's revolutionary beard, a Landmark in the annals of the cheap looking make-up art in film history, only found in B or Z movies.
It looks like a cheap Halloween "werewolf" beard from PARTY CITY.
The only OK (Not fantastic, just OK) thing about this movie is the photography.
The Music was great.
But this was a MOVIE, not a CONCERT.
EEEEECH!! The Dialog!!! What can I say? There is one scene in which the conversation looks like it was entirely made out of SLOGANS and phrases taken from a clichéd political campaign scrapbook.
I'm sorry Andy, but your labor of love SUCKS.
Maybe next time.
Andy Garcia's Bittersweet Valentine To Cuba
Andy Garcia has always been a favorite of mine to watch on screen, with his fiery, impassionate no-holds-barred, cool-as-a-cucumber performances with both excessive and implosive turns and his passion is now on full display in his directorial debut, a valentine to his beloved homeland Cuba.
Garcia stars as Fico Fellove, a nightclub owner and musician in Havana, circa 1958, on the cusp of the Cuban revolution and a drastic turn of historical events that will forever change his heart and soul.
The ones that possess and fight for both of these are namely his loving family led by the patriarchal Federico (Milian), a good man of professorial status at the university and his caring wife Dona Cecilia (Perkins), who still insist their family meet for Sunday dinners promptly at six o'clock with no excuses. Those providing the turmoil are his brothers Luis and Ricardo (Carbonell and Murciano respectively) who consistently are chomping at the bit with their disputes about the impending revolution and the desire to remain a patriot despite the odds of Communism infiltrating the masses. Fico remains the peacekeeper and will not tolerate any disrespect towards his decent-hearted father but the dam will only hold for so long as the siblings go their separate ways.
When Luis is killed in an attempted coup-de-tat assassination on loathed Presidente Batista (Fernandez) Fico can only see the writing on the wall when he allows his heart to open to Luis' widow, the beautiful Aurora (Sastre); the two fall in love and marry. Shortly thereafter things get worse when Ricardo has fled to the deep jungles of the covert military ops of Fidel Castro after he was arrested and beaten by the corrupt chief of police, the vile hand crop bearing Colonel Candela (Mechosa) who has slain Luis. Fico knows this but is powerless to do anything, which makes the tragedy unfolding even more devastating for him to burden himself with.
Garcia does an admirable job in capturing the flavor of the late 1950s look of the imbroglio-to-be with an elegant production design created by Waldemar Kalinowski and gorgeous cinematography by Emmanuel Kadosh that does justice to his ideal yet struggling nation under fire. The surprisingly literate screenplay by G. Cabrera Infante is an informative although fictitious timeline of events potboiling but the simmering, languid pacing deserves a heavy edit with its lethargic run time of nearly two and a half hours. It is obvious Garcia is focused on how things are to be depicted and it is remarkable in this seven year labor of love finally has emerged but there is a somewhat uneven tone throughout in deciding to be a "Casablanca" tinged melodrama or a "Godfather" wannabe with its sprawling plot lines and economy with words. Although I love Bill Murray, his unnamed "Writer", is a court jester ham bone comic sidekick that is at times a tad distracting; oh who am I kidding - I loved him! His entrance alone is worth the price of admission in a seersucker suit (trousers altered to shorts for the humid climes) and a panama hat.
Although the aspirations of Garcia is a mixed crazy quilt of political intonations and soul-searching empathy he should be proud of delivering something that means something if not to the audience than to himself.
This is Cuba, its music, its pain, its joy, its tears, its love and its hatred but this is Cuba. A lot of people are going to cry over this movie and lot are going to open their eyes too. Hollywood should take note of this movie and stop producing the crap they are doing now. We need movies with soul like this one. Thanks Andy!!! Viva Cuba Libre!!
Also, the dialogue is reminiscent of Star Wars, Episode III. The lucky movie-goer will get to witness at least five scenes between totally uninteresting people where the conversation goes something like this:
"I love you"
"I love you too. *kiss* But we can never go back to the way we were."
"Because - things have changed."
"I'll always love you."
*single tear* "Goodbye, so and so"
Anyway, it's really awful. Don't see it. Just buy the soundtrack.
I read in an article that the original script came out to more than 300 pages, and Garcia had to be pushed to shorten it down to 125 or so! The plot, the storyline, the characters are all cartoonish, superficial and one-dimensional. This is not about being politically correct or being pro this and against that. I am just speaking as a movie fan who expected more from an artist such as Andy Garcia. I mean is this the same man from "Night Falls On Manhattan" "Hero", "The Dissapeareance of Garcia Lorca" and other good movies? I think not!
One critic called this movie, if it can be called that, a personal story that turned into a vanity project. How right he is. This encapsulates the main problem with this flop. I think that in making this movie, Garcia let his personal bias and feelings compromise his artistic integrity, and gave birth to an egotistical, narrow-minded infatuation with his own view on things. He confused the story he wanted to tell with his own ego-driven diatribe.
While he might be entitled to be enraged, biased and personally touched by certain events that affected him and his family, as a director he let that alone dictate the course of his own creation, without any thought of how the public, who perhaps is not familiar with the events portrayed in the movie, would assimilate and digest the story he so dismally tries to get across.
The one bright spot in this mess, was Ines Sastre. She is simply put fantastic, even in such a god-awful failure as this. When the movie reached the two hour mark I was ready to get up and leave the theater, the only thing that kept me in the seat was just looking upon her face, a face that tells its own story, even if it does not say anything! I would suggest that perhaps it would have been more interesting if Andy Garcia did a a documentary about his own experience as a Cuban exile, and about his family etc. Otherwise, "The Lost City" is not even worth renting!
The movie is just too darn pretty. It presents a Cuba that may be familiar to the upper class and the rich American tourists, and neglects to mention the Cuba that demanded a revolution. This Cuba, one of poor, uneducated peasants that were in virtual slavery on sugar and tobacco plantations and women who sold themselves to tourists, is seen only in Mikhail Kalatozov's Soy Cuba, which will be released in a deluxe edition this month.
The movie worth watching for Garcia's performance and the performances of Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, and Elizabeth Peña, as well as some great Afro-Cuban music.
It probably did great box office in Miami.
Luis, Fico's brother whose revolutionary alias was "Peligro," or Danger, reminds me a lot of my father. My father was just like Luis. He was a member of the upper middle class who dreamed of a democratic form of government for Cuba. My father fought against Batista's oppressive and brutal regime, just like Luis did. There were many times my Dad could've been killed by Batista's henchmen. I wouldn't be here writing this review if that had happened. At one point Dad had to leave the country. He was exiled in Venezuela in 1958, the year before Castro took over the island. Young idealists, like Dad, and Luis, made Fidel's rise to power a reality. However, most had no idea Castro would become a totalitarian dictator who would destroy the island of Cuba.
The film's portrayal of what happened to Fico's family was right on the money. Many Cuban families were split apart during that turbulent period. Some families were politically divided, others were separated by the exile of family members who fled Fidel's regime. My family was no exception to this rule. The revolution made enemies of friends, and even family members. Fidel was, and continues to be, a dividing force for many Cubans on both sides of the Florida straits.
I just finished watching the movie at 11:15PM and suddenly I have a hankering for a "media noche." For those of you not familiar with it, a "media noche" is a snack size petite Cuban sandwich named after midnight. I wish I could just slip into my red dress and go dancing in old Havana. Beny More and his Afro-Cuban band is a favorite of mine. What I'd give to have seen him perform live on the stage. Oh, how I wish I had a time machine to go back to that era!
On a more serious note, many members of the Cuban aristocracy financed Fidel's rise to power. Just as it was portrayed in The Lost City, some members of the upper class not only paid with their wealth but with the blood of their sons and daughters. Not all rich Cuban families owed a privileged societal standing to Batista. Many wealthy Cuban families had been landowners since before Cuba gained independence from Spain. Batista had staged a military coup d'état in 1952, removing the prior elected leader, Carlos Prío. The brutalities committed under Batista's regime were real, but not nearly as horrific as the atrocities perpetrated against those who dared oppose Fidel Castro.
But Andy Garcia's tale of a wealthy family coming apart like this lovely island during the Cuban revolution suffers from the self-indulgence that so often weakens the work of writer/director/producer combos. Who is going to say, "Andy, enough of those close-ups of you looking longingly at your lost loves? After about an hour and a half, we sure wish someone would! It leaves me wondering why, with all Cuba has gone through, our government continues to punish Cubans with economic sanctions that do no harm to Castro, but keep the Cubans from thriving from their hard hard work and record breaking high literacy rates.
It looked as if it might happen, but time after time I found myself suddenly lost, having had the thread I was trying to follow ripped away, leaving me to decide whether to try to pick it up again or look for another one. I don't think this was my fault; I don't usually have any trouble following a story, even a not-very-well written one.
So I blame the script and the editing; the camera work was quite good, although I was hoping for a good peek at Havana of that era, or even this one, but I since found out the film was shot in the Dominican Republic, which isn't going to look much like Cuba, methinks.
So, while I can understand why some people gave this film top marks, I am not able to do that for any movie that keeps losing me as consistently as this one did. Some of this could be redeemed on a repeat viewing, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to stay awake.
Sorry, Andy, maybe next time.
Andy Garcia had so much better just take on roles that suit him, like the lovey-dovey compassionate husband, outside of this crock of BS of a movie.
Does this comment contain spoilers? Nothing can possibly spoil this movie more than it is already by its very existence.
I noticed other comments about how deep and insightful this movie is. In my view it is far from that. We had our own share of communism in Romania, so I guess I know what I'm talking about. Mr. Garcia does not. He only has a shallow vision about what happened there, about the drama of the people and about what a revolution means (or at least this is what he shows to us).
Regarding the main characters, I found them to be unconvincing. I count here the entire family of the main character. And all the time we have close-ups of Mr. Garcia's eyes, reminding me about the expression of Steven Seagal.
I wouldn't have bothered to write a review, but I really felt cheated for the time I spent watching the movie. Whatever you want (history, romance, drama, good acting, etc.) try something else.