Review: The Mummy

I bet there was a time or two in your life when you and your family made an excursion to your local museum, paid the price of admission to get in, passed through the Ancient Egypt exhibit and saw an actual mummy in a sarcophagus encased in an airtight encasing. I’m also willing to wager, that while you were gawking at the decomposing dead person and his/her fancy-schmancy coffin, you were probably thinking “wow. A dead person. What fun!” in the most sarcastic manner while you were on looking.

This reboot of The Mummy is as exciting as looking at a mummy, in its coffin, gathering dust, in a glass case at a museum. Director Alex Kurtzman takes audiences on an expedition across three countries in the span of thousands of years centering on two individuals from different eras bound together by a sinister plot to bring the ultimate evil on Earth.

Tom Cruise is Nick Morton, the unsuspected and unfortunate fool who unearthed Princess Ahmenet, played by Sofia Boutella, a disgraced Egyptian princess who was eager to get into bed with the god of death in order to assume the mantle of Pharaoh in her time but she was stopped before her designs were set into motion. When Ahmenet is freed, she binds Morton to her with a curse in order for him to do her bidding and complete her plans.

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Image by Universal Pictures

If this movie were made maybe 30 years ago, it may have had a higher impact on audiences but this new mummy is so old-fashioned its practically dead on arrival, emphasis on dead!

Writers David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman did their hardest to incorporate some old-fashioned monster movie nostalgia in a modern-day setting to jumpstart what Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll calls “A new world of gods and monsters” but with the clich├ęs, flimsy characters, ridiculous plot holes and straining story, this “new world” in this “Dark Universe” looks very bleak.

I’m not exactly a fan of Tom Cruise as it is, but he certainly didn’t do any favors himself in this movie. He’s a reputable action star but he just doesn’t excite me as a leading man and his character is just so poorly constituted as well.

Some players never really had a chance to flex their chops in this movie themselves such as Courtney B. Vance, while others were left at the mercy of bad writing and execution like Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson and Marwan Kenzari. The only actor who actually held interest for me while watching this flop was Boutella.

Ben Seresin’s cinematography was mediocre, the editing of Paul and Gina Hirsch and Andrew Mondshein was all over the place, Bryan Tyler’s score was unspectacular, the visual effects were so cheesy, it hindered whatever appeal this film had going for it, I didn’t mind the production design courtesy of Jon Hutman and Dominic Waktins, and I especially liked the make-up applied to Boutella’s character.

To say that I was unimpressed by this film is an understatement. The Mummy was better off in its sarcophagus and left beneath the sands.

Movie of the Week: The Mummy

Ever hear the phrase “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?” That should be the moral of this week’s featured film for this woman seeks to bring hell on earth! Princess Ahmenet was once destined for greatness until circumstances robbed her of her chance to achieve them and so she was buried deep beneath the sands of Egypt. Millennia later, her slumber was disturbed by an unsuspecting individual who will now play victim to her wrath upon the Earth and her wrath is practically biblical! Once a beautiful and powerful ruler-to-be, Princess Ahmenet is now The Mummy!

Director: Alex Kurtzman

Screenwriters: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman

Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Courtney B. Vance, Jake Johnson and Marwan Kenzari.

What am I expecting to see?: This movie is set to be quite the kickstarter for Universal Pictures as they unveil their new Dark Universe movie-monster franchise. Truth be told, I’m not holding my breath for something awesome with this remake of The Mummy, I happen to be familiar with the previous remake-turned-trilogy from 1999 and I’m not a Tom Cruise fan, but the fact that director Alex Kurtzman chose to reboot this franchise with a female Mummy fascinates me enough to give this a try. Best case-scenario: this movie will sell me on this new Dark Universe franchise.

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

You know what it is I love about being Spider-Man? Everything!“-Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has the hero up against dangerous new enemies

Webs are spun, lives are changed and dangerous new enemies run amok in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” starring Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network,” “Lions for Lambs”).

Director Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”) returns to helm the rebooted superhero franchise and story picks up a few years where its predecessor leaves off, with Peter Parker and his sweetheart Gwen Stacey, played by Emma Stone (“Easy A,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love”), graduating from high school and prepare to embark on new adventures, but Spider-Man is still keeping the peace in the Big Apple.

The franchise introduces us to new characters such as the ignored and overlooked Max Dillon, played by Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Django Unchained”), an engineer at OsCorp who in his private world, worships Spider-Man to an almost unhealthy level.

On Max’s birthday, he is called in to work overtime in one of the research labs, but he has an unfortunate freak accident that changes him completely. After falling into a vat of electric eels, Max’s body is surging with abundant amounts of electricity but he craves more power and he will stop at nothing to get it, even if Spider-Man stands in his way.

Jamie Foxx is all charged up as Electro in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

I can feel it in the walls, I can feel it in my veins…no matter what you do, Doc, you can’t contain me. You wanna know how powerful I am? Well, I wanna know too. I’m Electro!“-Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro

While Spider-Man has his hands full trying to stop Electro, Peter Parker reconnects with his old friend Harry Osbourne, played by Dane Dehaan (“Chronicle”). Harry has returned to New York after ten years abroad, because his father Norman Osbourne, played by Academy Award winner Chris Cooper (“American Beauty,” “Adaptation”), died of a genetic disease that Harry would one day die of himself.

Harry turns to Peter because he takes pictures of Spider-Man and supplies them to the Daily Bugle in exchange for money and Harry believes that Spider-Man could be his one chance at surviving his terminal illness because Harry has reason to believe that Spider-Man received his powers from a genetically altered spider developed by OsCorp and those spiders, or as Harry sees it Spider-Man’s blood, could hold the key to eradicating the illness.

Feeling desperate, he turns to Electro for help. In exchange for the power substation supplying New York City with its sole source of electricity, Electro must acquire the DNA from the OsCorp spiders and bring it to Harry before its too late.

Soon everyone in the city will know how it feels to live in a world without power, without mercy, without Spider-Man!“-Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro

Spider-Man will face the most dangerous adversary he has yet to encounter in Electro, but something more dangerous awaits him down the road. As for Peter Parker, he is close to uncovering the truth about OsCorp, the disappearance of his parents and the origins and purpose of the spiders who gave him his amazing abilities but the answers to his questions will come at a terrible price.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is loaded with dazzling visuals and great action but unfortunately the film tries to do too much, answer so many questions so quickly there is no time to digest everything and the character development is so radical and rushed, it becomes lost on the audience.

Marc Webb directed a film that revealed how frail and shallow the hero really is and how he is quickly makes a mess and spends so much time trying to clean it up, it is difficult to enjoy. He tries to showcase so many characters that focus is just lost and erratic to pinpoint.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci (“Transformers”) and Jeff Pinker, overloaded this story to the point where it becomes somewhat exhausting to follow everything that is going on. The saving grace is that it leads to something rather promising, however it isn’t what audiences may think it is.

Andrew Garfield did the best job he could regardless of what was given to him. The rest of the cast including Emma Stone, Dane Dehaan, Jamie Foxx, Academy Award winner Sally Field (“Norma Rae,” “Lincoln”), Colm Feore (“Thor”), Felicity Jones (“Brideshead Revisted”), B.J. Novak (“The Dictator”) and Academy Award nominee Paul Giamatti (“Cinderella Man,” “Sideways”) were collectively decent despite the constant overshadowing of each other and rapid exchanges between their characters.

Some of the actors such as Field, Novak, Cooper and Giamatti are simply rushed through whatever screen-time they are given and hardly contribute anything worthwhile to the film.

The main problem with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a simple one: it can’t help its franchise step out of the shadows left by other successful franchises of its genre and really make a name for itself. It has an abundance of promise and it is trying to accomplish something rather unconventional yet there is no growth, no impact.

The ending is rather shocking yet, fans of the comic lore seem to see it coming.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a rather peculiar head-scratcher for a super-hero film. In fact it is a film, like its title character, that is its own worst enemy.

Movie of the week: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Andrew Garfield swings around the skyscrapers of New York City once more in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Marc Webb returns to direct the adventures of New York’s friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. In this sequel, Peter Parker is living the good life. He has Gwen Stacey at his side to confide in, his old friend Harry Osbourne returns after ten years abroad and he loves being Spider-Man and the city reciprocates that love for they see him as “The Hero,” especially in the eye of Max Dillon, an employee of Oscorp who is often overlooked in life. While on the job, Dillon suffers a horrible accident that gives him extraordinary electrical power and he quickly becomes a threat to New York City. Through Dillon, Spider-Man realizes that everything in his life goes back to one source: OsCorp. Peter Parker may finally find the answers to why his mother and father disappeared when he was young and why OsCorp is at the center of everything significant in his life, but in order to find the answers he has been looking for, he will have to survive the fight of his life.

What am I expecting to see?: “The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise is somewhat overlooked due to both DC and Marvel producing, what some might call, more exciting an innovative features but what Marc Webb is doing with his adaptation of Spider-Man is very fascinating because it attempts to give insight into a particular character and the direction they are steering the film in is very bold. I’m expecting this to assert itself as one of the super-hero film franchises audiences should see because there is a lot packed into this film. The cast of Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Dane Dehaan, Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti look as if they can surprise audiences and fans of the comic lore but the visual effects seem to be at the forefront of what is driving this film. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinker’s screenplay better be chocked full of the unexpected because “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has a difficult task of trying to crawl out of the shadow of Marvel’s Avenger’s Iniative or what DC is trying to accomplish with Zack Snyder’s Superman saga.