2017 Summer Movie Review: The Mummy


Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) unveils something evil in the reboot of The Mummy. (Source: IMDb_

The Mummy has been around for a long time. Boris Karloff played the titular character in 1932, and became one of the most memorable horror movie villains. In 1999, it rebooted as a straight-up action-fantasy-thriller starring Brendan Fraser as the cocky hero embarking on a journey to rid the curse of an Egyptian tomb, while two sequels followed after that. Today, The Mummy is rebooted again as the first installment of a new cinematic universe featuring the Universal monsters. The “Dark Universe” is going to feature the Bride of Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Invisible Man, Van Helsing and Dracula, and the Wolf Man.

In the latest reimagining, The Mummy is a female instead of male. With Tom Cruise doing what he does best, he cannot save this shallow dud of a movie.

Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier-of-fortune looking for ancient artifacts to sell at a black market. In Iraq, he and his friend Chris Vail (Jake Johnson, who plays one of the most annoying characters in cinema) discovers a tomb of an Egyptian princess. Her name is Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who is betrayed by the Pharaoh and is buried alive. Thousands of years later, her spirit returns with a vengeance. After surviving from a plane crash (don’t ask), Nick wakes up in a London morgue, and learns that he is cursed by the princess (again, don’t ask). Along with archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis, Annabelle), Nick must “outwit” Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe), and rid Ahmanet’s curse once and for all.

Cruise has starred in some bland movies. However, this is the first movie of his I genuinely hate. Along with director Alex Kurtzman and screenwriters David Koepp and Christopher McQuarrie, the movie is fascinating within the first thirty minutes explaining the backstory of Ahmanet (which makes the audience ask more questions). Then, it all goes downhill with Cruise and the gang wrapped in (no pun intended) a ridiculous script with plot holes big enough to ride a bus through. None of the characters have any charisma whatsoever; making it damn near impossible to care on what’s going to happen next. While the humor feels forced and the movie takes itself so seriously, it does have its fair share of unintentionally goofy moments. For instance, whenever Nick and the Mummy go head-to-head, she would smack him upside the head and send him flying. And also, Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll (horribly miscast, by the way) must have been added in the movie as a build-up to a possible standalone film in the franchise. This is not a good start for the Dark Universe. I highly doubt it will get better in the future.



Movie Review: Inferno


Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) go through the corridors in Ron Howard’s Inferno (Source: IMDb)

Dan Brown is never shy of facing controversy. Not only has his fourth book—The Da Vinci Code—been criticized for its portrayal of Christianity, but also he has been accused of plagiarism by Lewis Perdue. As a result, the 2006 film adaptation got banned in several countries including Egypt and India. The sequel, Angels and Demons, is no different.

I always love a good mystery. That’s what I got in both of these movies. Director Ron Howard has directed two of the most ambitious movies of his entire career. Inferno, the latest Dan Brown adventure, is certainly no exception.

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is back. This time, he wakes up in a hospital in Florence, Italy, with amnesia. He keeps seeing visions of hell, and later teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones). They learn about billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), his lecture on Earth’s overpopulation, and how his virus—based on Dante’s Inferno—will serve as his resolution. They begin to race against time through Europe to end the catastrophe while a security company—led by Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan, Life of Pi)—is after them.

Sadly, Inferno is the weakest of Robert Langdon adventures, but it’s nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be. It has several bumps in the road. While Hans Zimmer’s score keeps the suspense going, it does lack the powerful choir from the previous two films. It had a rough start with the choppy editing. Once the mystery comes into play, I became invested in what is going on. It’s hard to deny Tom Hanks’ presence as Langdon; he plays out as if he knows his studies. Like his performance in Sully, he’s the smartest man in the room.

Filmed on location in Florence, Venice and Istanbul, there are times in which Inferno feels like a travelogue than an actual film. Its love of history connecting with the mystery fascinates me. There is something in David Koepp’s screenplay that rubs me the wrong way (spoiling it would be truly unnecessary). Thanks to Ron Howard’s direction and the camerawork by Salvatore Totino, Inferno still has the thrills, twists and turns that made the two predecessors so enjoyable.


Movie Review: Mortdecai

Johnny Depp becomes mustachioed in "Mortdecai", the lost sequel to the "Pink Panther"

Johnny Depp becomes mustachioed in “Mortdecai”, the lost sequel to the “Pink Panther”

I appreciate Johnny Depp as an actor. From playing an innocent man who has scissors for hands to a pirate going on countless adventures, his quirky nature is always quite entertaining. However, he overplays these type of roles to the extent. Mortdecai, the latest collaboration of Depp and director David Koepp (Secret Window), is no exception. Depp plays Charlie Mortdecai, an aristocratic art dealer who embarks on a globetrotting mission to find a missing Goya painting. There are rumors of a code to a Nazi bank account. His man servant, Jock Strapp (Paul Bettany), comes along with him to get their hands on it before anyone else can (sound familiar?).

I cannot imagine another performance by Johnny Depp to be worse than Tonto in The Lone Ranger. Unfortunately, his performance as the title role tops it. You can tell how he’s really trying to get a laugh from the audience. The comedic timing feels off that it’s hard to get one. His jokes – notably about his mustache and having a gag reflex every time he kisses his wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) – fall flat and become repetitive. With a lazy screenplay, some boring action, and a massive waste of talent by a gifted cast consisting of Paltrow, Betanny, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, and Jeff Goldblum, Mortdecai is a ginormous mess of a film. Even so, how can Jock stay alive from being severely injured many times? Easily a contender for one of the worst movies of the year and the decade.