“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” – best buddy/action/comedy/drama ever?

Updated: Jul 5


4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS

Nicolas Cage plays an over-the-top version of himself and Chilean actor Pedro Pascal plays super fan, Javi Gutierrez.


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“THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT”


4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2022; R for profanity throughout, some sexual references, drug use and violence; streaming via Amazon Prime Video (4K), Apple (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)


Best extra: “SXSW Film Festival Q & A”






HE DIDN'T WANT TO DO IT.

The idea of playing an absurdly over-the-top version of himself was the last thing Nicolas Cage wanted to do until Irish director/writer Tom Gormican sent him a letter going into a bit more detail on the surreal, genre-hopping piece that he and co-writer Kevin Etten had created. Cage not only signed on, but is one of the film's producers.

“It starts out as this little, almost indi-ish family drama … He ends up heading to Majorca, where the film takes a distinct turn into a more thrillery genre. And from there it elevates into a full-blown, almost-Michael Bay action film.” — Kevin Etten, writer


The story follows the character "Nicolas Cage" and he is having a hell of time, but not in a good way. Professionally, he's in a slump and personally, he's a train wreck. We see him try to connect to his daughter, Addy (a stressed Lily Mo Sheen), suffocating under his ridiculous self-absorption. Cage gets pep talks from a younger, even more obnoxious version of himself, "Nicky." After a stunningly awful appearance at a birthday party, he heads home to find himself locked out of his hotel suite for back rent. He needs a new project or else.

Luckily (?), his agent Richard Fink (a sly Neal Patrick Harris, an actor who can be both charming and smarmy at the same time according to Gormican), has booked him a gig with a super fan, Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal, internationally known for his roles in “The Mandalorian” and “The Game of Thrones.”) He’s a billionaire arms dealer here, who offers Cage one million dollars to attend a party at his compound in Mallorca a.k.a. Majorca, Spain. Javi is the ultimate fan-boy, initially irritating – eventually sweetly endearing. The pair bond over their passionate love of films.


(1) Surprisingly “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Weight” only made $29 million worldwide. (2&3) Princess Maria Delgado (Katrin Vankova), the daughter of the President of Catalonia is a huge fan of Nicolas Cage, but shes kidnapped. (4) Nick Cage talks to his younger ego. (5) Nick and his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris) try to determine his next career move.




As Cage gets off the plane, he's followed by two CIA operatives, (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz - two comic veterans playing straight man to Cage's antics). He is informed by the spies that good old Javi has kidnapped the daughter of a Catalan politico and the girl's life is in danger.

Only one man can help them...

Will Nick Cage save the day?

Will he and Javi write the blockbuster film of the year?

Will Nick be the man he needs to be for his family?

What's the big deal about "Paddington 2"?

This is a VERY good year for original film-making. "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" is a movie lover's movie, filled with Easter eggs referring to Cage's decades long career. If you want to see something really unusual, entertaining, surreal and hilarious – and especially if you’re a Nicolas Cage fan – get thee hence.


“This is a fictionalized, surrealistic, abstract, comical account of a weekend – and I hate saying my name like this – in Nicolas Cage’s life.” — Nicolas Cage, actor, producer



(1&2) Nick embarrasses himself at his daughters birthday party. (3) Nick accepts $1 million to attend the birthday of billionaire Javi Gutierrez. At the airport CIA operative Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) begins to follow Nick. (4-6) Javi Gutierrez transports Nick to his compound on the island of Majorca, Spain.




VIDEO

We’ve seen cinematographer Nigel Bluck's work in a bunch of films: “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings,” 2001; “Deadpool,” 2016; the underrated “Prodigal Son” series pilot, 2019; “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” 2019; and “True Detective,” 2015-2019. “Massive Talent” was captured on Arri Alexa 4.5K digital cameras mounted with Panavision lens (2.39:1 aspect ratio) and nicely masted in true 4K. That works well for both the 4K and 1080p discs, with excellent color and detail. The landscape scenes are striking in 4K, filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia, standing in for Mallorca.

The HDR10 and the more refined Dolby Vision are graded with a slightly dark tone, while the 4K and Blu-ray both produce a brilliant warm palette and are well saturated no matter the setting. Blacks are solid, but we still get plenty of detail during night and dark interior scenes.

AUDIO

Both discs feature a Dolby Atmos track, perfect for clear dialogue throughout and terrific for carrying the explosive, shoot-em-up and car/motorcycle chase action in the last third of the film. Mark Isham, Oscar-nominated for “A River Runs Through It,” wrote the score.



“I grew up with Nicolas Cage’s performances … He can do practically any genre. We’ve seen him in romantic comedies, in ‘Moonstruck.’ We’ve seen him in weird avant-garde theater films like ‘Mandy’ … in his action films like ‘Con Air’ and ‘Face/Off.’ This script changes genres five times during the course of filming, and I said to him, ‘You’re the only person that we think could pull this off.’” — Tom Gormican, director




EXTRAS

Lionsgate, who outbid HBO Max and Paramount for the movie rights, has a bunch of bonus features beginning with an audio commentary featuring Gormican and Etten, former script writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman.” It’s a feature-length (1 hour, 47 minutes), scene-by-scene breakdown, with personal anecdotes mixed in.

"The Mind" is Cage's nickname for Gormican. This one describes why and how Cage was persuaded to come on board. “Everybody Needs a Javi covers Pedro Pascal's lovable fan-boy/possible master criminal. "Second Act Action" highlights how the show shifts from an absurdist character piece to a Michael Bay thriller on a dime. “Cages 5 and Up” is where children from five on up take on some of Cage's most iconic scenes. "SXSW Film Festival Q & A” with Gormican, Etten, Pascal, Lily Sheen (Addy Cage), and Cage host a hilarious question and answer session from March 2022 in which we learn that we can expect a Nicolas Cage musical eventually. It's the only thing he hasn't tried yet.

— Mike Reynolds and Kay Reynolds


(1) Javi brings Nicks wife and daughter to his compound so the family can work on their issues. (2) Javi is confronted by his crime boss brother, Lucas. (3) Nick defends himself with the gold guns used in Face/Off, part of Javis fanboy collection. (4) Javi and Nick do their best to escape the bad guys. (5) Nick disguises himself as a renowned Italian godfather, to rescue the hostages. (6) Another confrontation! (7) Nick watches Paddington 2 with his daughter and wife. (8) Javi, using the golden guns, and his wife Gabriella (Alessandra Mastronardi), take on Lucas and his men. (9) Lucas (Paco León) threatens Nick.






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