2017 Summer Movie Review: The Mummy

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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.

1/4

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2016 Summer Movie Review: The Nice Guys

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Two L.A. investigators (Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe) are solving the case regarding a dead porn star in Shane Black’s The Nice Guys.

Director Shane Black (Iron Man 3) returns to his roots of Lethal Weapon (in which he wrote the screenplay) and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. And brings the classic buddy action comedy back to the silver screen. The Nice Guys, one of this summer’s most anticipated movies, pays tribute to 1970s culture with ‘80s-style action and irony.

In 1977, Los Angeles is filled with crime and conspiracy. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a divorced, middle-aged, non-licensed private detective. His job involves beating the hell out of his client’s enemies for money. Holland March (Ryan Gosling), however, is the exact opposite. He’s an experienced PI but down on his luck. He’s a single father with a 13-year-old daughter Holly (a gifted Angourie Rice).

Unknowingly, the two private eyes team up to investigate the death of porn star Misty Mountains (as happens in the film’s opening scene). Along the way, they track down a girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley), who might be involved. The situation begins to go all over the place.

One of the reasons The Nice Guys works is the chemistry between Crowe and Gosling. It’s hard to imagine a better duo. They are same but different. They work off each other so flawlessly as two of the worst detectives. There is one scene where a drunken March rolls down a hill and stumbles upon a dead body sitting against a tree. Healy tries to find him, and he responds with a silent scream. Then, they try to get rid of the body by throwing it over a fence and landing on a table during a wedding party. That is one of the movie’s great examples of physical comedy. Who needs an excessive amount of penis jokes if there are references to The Waltons among other original jokes? The jokes don’t stop! With all the wisecracks (“Do you know who else was following orders? Hitler!” March says as a police officer is following orders himself) and sight gags, there is also plenty of fist fights and shootouts to carry through. I enjoyed every bit of this movie.

4/4

Movie Review: Noah (2014)

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Russell Crowe encounters the Flood in Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”

As a Christian, I became very fond with the book of Genesis. It introduces God, and how he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, Cain killing Abel, and much more. But there is one story that is my favorite throughout the Bible. It’s about how God wants to sweep most of humanity because of how the Earth is so corrupt with violence. He calls upon Noah, a righteous man, to build an ark for him, his family, and all the animals (two of each species – male and female) so they can all be safe from the Flood.

Now, in 2014, we have a movie based on this magnificent tale. Noah received a lot of controversy before the movie came out (like The Passion of the Christ ten years ago). Darren Aronofsky, a self-described atheist, the director of The Wrestler and Black Swan (two movies I have yet to see), describes this movie as the “least biblical biblical movie ever made”.

Even though I had high hopes for Noah, I went in with an open mind and tried to ignore people who say the movie doesn’t follow the original source material at all. What did I get? Although different from the actual story, I appreciated Aronofsky’s fantasy that is visually breathtaking, well-acted, and takes the religious themes very seriously.

Noah (Russell Crowe) is portrayed as a flawed protagonist. At six hundred years of age, he begins to have nightmares of the future, saving humans and protecting Earth the best he could. His grandfather Methusaleh (the great Anthony Hopkins) gives him a seed from the Garden of Eden as the only hope to save the innocent. Not only does he work hard to save himself and the animals, but also his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), his three sons (Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Leo McHugh Carroll), and the orphan Ila (Emma Watson). His enemies involve Tubal-Cain (the evil Ray Winstone) and his 200 men who prepare to take over the ark once the rain begins to pour. This leads to an action sequence between them and the fallen angels known as the Watchers in the form of rock giants (reminiscent to Treebeard and the Ents from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers).

Aronofsky and his co-writer Ira Handel create something flawed yet visually breathtaking. It involves themes including sin, caring for creation, and how justice can bring to the good and wicked. Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, and among others deliver really good performances. The backdrops of Iceland, the special effects (a mix of CGI animation and some stop-motion), and the production values are exquisite. I couldn’t ask for a better film score by no other than Clint Mansell. Noah may divide audiences, I would suggest everybody to see the movie for themselves.

3.5/4