Bob Ducsay

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The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Review


Terrible
In the classic movie monster hierarchy, the cloth-clad Mummy really scrapes the bottom of the scare barrel. Aside from his close kinship with the zombie -- sadly, this is one Egyptian artifact that avoids the mandatory skin eating -- there's really nothing inherently spooky about a reanimated corpse with limited super(natural) powers. This is especially true of the sarcophagus' latest big screen incarnation. In Rob Cohen's horrid The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, our wrapped rascal is literally as menacing as an inert stone statue.

Ever since the end of WWII, the rough riding O'Connell Family -- Rick (Brendan Fraser), Evelyn (Maria Bello, subbing for Rachael Weisz), and college age son Alex (Luke Ford) -- have been in semi-retirement. Gone are the days when they would circumnavigate the globe looking for ancient treasure and kicking antiquated butt. When they get the chance to return a precious diamond to the people of China, they jump at the chance. Unfortunately, the gem is instrumental in the resurrection of the evil Emperor Han (Jet Li), a ruthless tyrant bent on conquering the world. Luckily, an ancient witch (Michelle Yeoh) has cursed him to an eternity embedded in rock. Of course, it won't be long before our haphazard adventurers have him up and around -- and seeking immortality via his massive terra cotta army.

Continue reading: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Review

Night at the Museum Review


Grim
Right around the time a monkey urinates on Ben Stiller's head, I came to terms with the fact that Shawn Levy's high-concept comedy Night at the Museum would choose the lowest road possible as it searched for scatological humor.

That Levy -- the pandering director responsible for this year's atrociously unnecessary Pink Panther installment -- would stoop to such levels doesn't surprise me. No, I'm more upset that it took me so long to begrudgingly accept that what could have been inspired fluff for the whole family is, in fact, is a silly parade of slapstick antics aimed at audience members age eight and under.

Continue reading: Night at the Museum Review

Van Helsing Review


Grim
Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker receive zero writing credit for Stephen Sommers' lopsided Van Helsing, and you can hear the immortal authors breathing a sigh of relief from beyond the grave. The novelists' legendary creatures may receive prominent placement in Universal Studio's big-budget rollercoaster ride, but the half-baked ideas propping up the mediocre monster mash belong solely to writer/director Sommers - for better or for worse.

Van Helsing ends up as a high-concept adrenaline rush that never stops generating lesser concepts over its elongated 145-minute run time. Wheels start turning when Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) funds the creation of the Frankenstein monster (Shuler Hensley) to power a machine that will allow the vampire's offspring to live. The prince of darkness is trying to please his voracious brides, while the final descendent of a line of Transylvanian vampire hunters (Kate Beckinsale) is trying in vain to stake the brute before he ends her life. The wild card in this mix is Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman), a hired gun with a guilty conscience working for the Catholic Church to vanquish various evil beings.

Continue reading: Van Helsing Review

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