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: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Traditionally speaking, the first review of the year is more than likely a negative one. That seems to be the case, for me at least.

Matthew Vaughn (in his own way) pays homage to James Bond with Kingsman: the Secret Service

If I took anything away from Kingsman: The Secret Service, the new action flick starring Academy Award winners Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine, it is that director Matthew Vaughn is a HUGE fan of the classic James Bond films of the 1960s. Seriously, he wrote his fandom of the Bond series into the script of Kingsman, just to make his point abundantly clear to the audience; we understand Matthew, loud and clear.

Anyway, Kingsman is an adaptation of the comic series by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar and centers around Taron Egerton’s character Gary Unwin, known as Eggsy, who is recruited by Firth’s character Harry Hart to join a covert intelligence agency operated outside of any known government. Kingsman have taken an interest in Richmond Valentine, Jackson’s character, an internet mogul who wants to “save the world,” in his own twisted and nefarious vision.

From where I stand with Kingsman, I credit Vaughn for expressing his euphoria of, yet again, directing another movie that is identical to the classic James Bond films, including taking a humorous cue on the classic tropes that come with it, the action, the gadgets, jet-setting to exotic locales like a small church in Kentucky, a villain with particular quirks and a henchmen character with a recognizable physical attribute, Sofia Boutella’s character named Gazelle, but above all, it was difficult to really get behind this movie, which lost all credibility when heads began to explode in a bizarre 60’s psychedelic fashion. And I wasn’t exactly a fan of when guns were pointed at dogs btw (no animals were harmed thank goodness).

In Vaughn’s ode to Bond, this movie is essentially a coming of age tale with shots at government and politicians for failing to actually get anything done, a cry for humanity to take action against global warming, a parody on the myth of King Arthur, product placement of the most evil company on Earth: McDonalds, bad camerawork, iffy editing, stale visual effects, scatter-shot acting, and directing that is screaming to the heavens in practically orgasmic fashion: I WANT TO DIRECT A JAMES BOND MOVIE AS BADLY AS DONALD TRUMP AND THE TERMINATOR WANT TO GET INTO THE WHITE HOUSE!!!

Colin Firth kills in style in Kingsman: The Secret Service

As much as I found Kingsman a hot mess, it wasn’t so bad seeing Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Samuel L. Jackson work in this film. I will always remember Firth’s classy Oscar winning performance in The King’s Speech and he brings that class, sort of, to this action movie; I would never call Firth and action star but he does well with the role of Harry Hart. Typically, Mark Strong plays the villain and these days Samuel L. Jackson is Nick Fury, so these two switching roles with Strong playing Merlin, the Q alternative character, and Jackson as the violence-opposed/genocide-obsessed Valentine, is a nice change of pace for these two (although Jackson was the bad guy in Django Unchained a few years ago).

This movie never stops reminding the audience that this is the closest Vaughn has ever come to directing a James Bond film. Egerton’s Eggsy is probably a young Bond training to become an agent with MI6, Firth’s Hart is probably the Bond substitute with Michael Caine’s Arthur, the guy in charge of Kingsman, is the M substitute, Valentine is probably a hodgepodge of all the iconic Bond bad guys of the Sean Connery era, Sofia Boutella is basically Jaws, but with lethal prosthetic legs instead of metal teeth, Sophie Cookson’s Roxy is probably Moneypenny from Skyfall rather than the secretaries from the old Bond films, the music of the film is sometimes reminiscent to the Bond theme; everything is so repetitiously familiar and unnecessary that it loses track.

Vaughn co-wrote the screenplay with Jane Goldman and though there is humor and action, the story is quite stale. Through all of the homage to the classic Bond franchise, the threat of global warming, the jokes about politicians, Kingsman offers nothing fresh to the spy movie genre. It spends so much time trying to be something else, there is no true identity to this picture; it’s a caricature marketed to young males, who don’t want to see the new Spongebob movie or 50 Shades (or what my mother calls it “S&M trash”), which I fall under.

With Kingsman, Vaughn brings his obsession with classic Bond, together with his experience directing X-Men: First Class, but adds a touch of silliness and parody. This will bring in audiences who are fans of films like Kick-Ass or the Fast and the Furious, but with this movie all manner of class and common sense fly out the window. The only thing remotely classy about Kingsman: The Secret Service are the tailored suits