To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky visuals with exaggerated action. It's certainly nothing like the involving classic monster movies they're trying to reignite, such as the 1932 Boris Karloff classic The Mummy. But this movie has more in common with Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible and Jack Reacher blockbusters, with added swimming zombies.
Cruise plays Nick, an American army officer and mercenary who with his cohort Vail (Jake Johnson) has just located a long-lost burial site deep in Daesh-controlled Iraq. Somehow, the hot archaeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) arrives immediately to stop him from plundering this tomb. It turns out that the sarcophagus contains the remains of ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was mummified alive for making a pact with the evil god Set and then murdering her father and brother. Now transported to London, she returns to life with a vengeance, casting a spell on Nick to help reassemble Set's dagger and finish her nefarious plan. So Jenny turns to her deeply unstable boss Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) for help.
There's rather a lot of mythology building going on here, setting things up for the further adventures of Jekyll's secret society, which is trying to deal with ancient evil like a mash-up of Men in Black and Night at the Museum. Without the humour. There are some throwaway gags here and there, but director Alex Kurtzman stages everything with a gloomy sense of foreboding that simply never gains traction. The thin plot seems constructed merely to connect a series of enormous action set-pieces, which are all very well choreographed but never remotely exciting. It doesn't help that everything on-screen has been extravagantly over-designed, with cavernous sets that have been made deliberately dark and sooty. But this leaves the entire movie feeling artificial, random mayhem in fake places.
Continue reading: The Mummy Review
American-raised actor Lawrence (Del Toro) returns to his family manor on an English moor, where his wild-haired father Sir John (Hopkins) lives with his Sikh servant (Malik). Lawrence discovers that his brother has just been killed in the woods by a vicious creature, which later wounds him as well, turning him into a werewolf. And on the first full moon, he finds himself on the hunt as well as chased by a Scotland Yard detective (Weaving). But maybe a gypsy woman (Chaplin) and his brother's ex-fiancee (Blunt) hold the key to his salvation.
Continue reading: The Wolfman Review
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
It is an entertaining fictionalization of high school graduation weekend of the senior class of 1976 in Linklater's former home city of Austin, Texas. Jocks, rednecks, cheerleaders, stoners, frosh, and the other high school demographic groups are all lovingly and respectfully rendered on Linklater's canvas. Though I didn't graduate until the mid-'80s, I'm pretty sure that the amount of pot smoking is this film is not exaggerated. And as evidence of the director's commitment to brutal realism, Foghat's "Slow Ride" is heard not once, not twice, but three times before the end of the movie. Rock on.
Continue reading: Dazed And Confused Review
How much is too much when it comes to Law? Before the female readers answer, consider this: The handsome Brit has his well-manicured hands in three current projects and will release three more films between now and year's end. Needless to say, your tolerance for Law's antics will determine how much you'll enjoy Alfie. Director Charles Shyer's mixed bag of tricks includes a continuous conversation through the imaginary fourth wall and a camera lens that's terrified to let Law wander too far out of frame.
Continue reading: Alfie Review
The Scorpion King ably rehashes the plots of the variety of other, better films including Gladiator, the Indiana Jones series, Flash Gordon, Beastmaster, and even The Goonies. Set 5,000 years ago, a warlord named Memnon (Steven Brand), acting on crazed Napoleonic urges, ravages the land and bends its people into totalitarian rule. With the aid of a seer who foretells the future, Memnon stands invincible against all aggressors.
Continue reading: The Scorpion King Review
Unfortunately for Perry, it's April 1992, and not a very good time to be an arrogant, white LAPD officer. The Rodney King trial has set L.A. on the precipice of Armageddon, and the verdict - to be announced imminently - has become the focal point for a metropolis simmering with class and racial tension. Perry, however, has more pressing matters to worry about. His partner, a wet-behind-the-ears rookie named Bobby Keough (played with baby-faced blankness by ex-Felicity hunk Scott Speedman), has screwed up an arrest, and Perry - always looking to back up a fellow brother in blue - has killed the defenseless perp (with Keough's gun) rather than letting him escape. The film begins with both officers knee-deep into lying their way through an eight-hour inquiry, since Perry has decided that his incompetent protégé should take the heat for the killing anyway. As far as Perry is concerned, one's first shooting inquiry is a right of passage - a baptism into an immoral system that's primarily sworn to protect and serve its own members.
Continue reading: Dark Blue Review
The "someone else", in this case, are Elaine May and Warren Beatty, screenwriters of that earlier romantic comedy, which itself was a remake of 1941's Here Comes Mr. Jordan. But Beatty and May crafted a fresh story with a modern update and some sex appeal, while paying homage to the old version. Down to Earth is just a much weaker version of the same movie.
Continue reading: Down To Earth Review
So, when the movie was as bad as the previews, I was not a happy camper.
Continue reading: The Mummy Review
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