Didn’t know this, but Universal Studios is trying for a multi-movie story, similar to Marvel and DC’s, about monsters, vampires, fairy tales, etc. The first movie in the franchise is this weekend’s The Mummy. They are off to a bit of a rocky start. I came in with low expectations, and they were exceeded, but that is damning The Mummy with faint praise. (Side note; I remember when Maverick came out my dad really enjoyed it, b/c Mel Gibson had played so many tough guy roles, and In Maverick he was also vulnerable, while still being the hero. That is what Tom Cruise was trying for in this movie. He was still mostly typical Tom Cruise, but threw in some regular dude moments. He even tried to crack some jokes. With this and Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise might be evolving. (Side note to the side note; You can’t just write Cruise or Tom, you have to write Tom Cruise.)) The Mummy just isn’t as good as its trying to be. It has the ingredients, but at the end of the day it is just a generic action flick. And if you’re trying to build a franchise off of a generic action flick, you better make the best damn generic action flick out there. The villain isn’t villainous enough; the sidekick isn’t Jack Sparrow enough, the hot chick isn’t desirable enough, and the story isn’t unique enough. The Mummy is like a North Korean missile, impotent and only momentarily news worthy. The acting is pretty good, and the directing is alright; they’re all trying real hard, but the whole thing is just underwhelming. Universal’s version of trying new things is doing all the same things over again and promising there will be more where that came from.
And really, “The Mummy”? Come on! You couldn’t put any more effort into the name than that?
Don’t take your kids. They don’t cuss or have bloody scenes, but but there are some zombie scenes that are going to keep them up at night.
I don’t even know if I should tell y’all this part, but when Wonder Woman started getting amazing reviews I said to myself, “of course, no self-respecting liberal media member is going to give the first super hero movie with a female main character a bad review.” So my macho sexism kicked in and I went into WW looking for bad. I found some: Gal Gadot is not a very good actress and is much better in small doses, and the film struggles when its trying to crank out the story. But that is about it. WW is the best DC movie so far. It edges out Man of Steel, and is a mile better than Batman v. Superman. The action scenes are pretty good, using slow-mo to give WW a sense of power. Chris Pine is funny; basically playing his cool Captain Kirk role, and the other actors do a good job. The comic book junkie in me thinks the best part is that DC finally got out of its own way and allowed its hero to be super. People get stabbed and shot, but there is barely a drop of blood; no sex on screen. If your kids can watch Iron Man they are safe here.
One thing about the empowering women thing; I’m recommending WW b/c it is an enjoyable movie. WW will make a lot of money, but if studios think that is b/c this movie features a female character I think they are setting themselves up for a bad time. I think the same thing about Deadpool; it made a lot of money b/c it is a quality film, not b/c it was rated R. Learn the appropriate lessons from success, make good movies.
The less enjoyable movie I saw yesterday was Alien: Covenant. The first two movies in the Alien franchise, from nearly 30 years ago, had a really unique and compelling vibe. Those movies were suspenseful, spooky, and attention grabbing even as a minimal amount was taking place on screen. A:C desperately wants to rekindle that old magic, but is far too safe and replaces spook with shock, attention grabbing with boring, and suspense with practically nothing at all. A:C has no creativity and no risk. The first hour and a half is a slog. The last half hour is better, but only b/c it just shifts into action movie mode and becomes just an average movie. So that is my synopsis, A:C is 3/4 below average and 1/4 average. Not a great recipe. The acting is probably the best part, but the actors have no story, no direction and nothing interesting to work with (except Michael Fassbender, who is brilliant as usual). There is blood, some parts that try to be scary and a sex scene, but in realty those don’t matter, b/c there is no reason to go to this movie, kids or otherwise.
Fate of the Furious is in the running for most ridiculous of the Fast and Furious franchise. The acting is probably the worst in the franchise, and, if memory serves, F8 also has the worst writing. The writing is bad enough to where even The Rock loses some of his luster. Jason Statham is awesome, but he doesn’t have enough scenes to carry the movie. The action is what you’d expect, if you had big expectations, and knew that unbelievable and physically impossible stuff was going to happen. I don’t feel like I’m breaking any new ground here, so let me skip to the end.
F8 is a movie for Fast and Furious fans, everyone else should avoid it. In most of the FF movies great action overcomes bad acting and middling writing; in F8 the writing and acting drop so low that they are too much to overcome. Credit where credit is due, the franchise keeps upping the action, keeps it fresh, but all their creative talents flow to the action and leave the movie part of the movie sorely lacking.
The time has arrived! Once again, it’s blockbuster season, and I will be attending movies most every Friday with a bunch of other single guys that don’t have dates. Don’t judge. To kickoff the second best season of the year (football being first, of course) Marvel gives us Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Lets make this easy by just comparing it to where it stands among the other Marvel movies. If the first Avengers is the best, then GGv2 sits in the second group alongside the original Guardians, and the second two Captain America’s: Winter Solider and Civil War. The story is well done, bringing it lots of small pieces without making it feel cluttered or leaving any necessary characters underdeveloped. The action scenes are good and fairly well spaced. The best part is that you really fall for the individual characters and the team as a whole. They tell a lot of jokes, and they hit far more often than they miss. The only real problem is that GGv2 is a sequel, it lacks that fresh out of the box feel of the original. But if that is the biggest issue then GGv2 should rank among the best sequels ever.
Taking your kids is going to be slightly complicated. They cuss a handful of times, very much on purpose. And there are a few sexually themed jokes. They might fly right over your kid’s heads, but I’m letting you know they’re there. I don’t remember any blood, and all the fighting is sci-fi, unrealistic stuff.
I don’t know exactly how to write a movie review for The Shack. You either already know you are going to see it, or are uninterested and won’t be seeing it. The Shack isn’t fun in the way most movies I am entertained by are fun, but no one expected it to be. I will say that I have seen some really bad faith based movies. In fact, most of them are bad, cringe worthy, and practicably unwatchable. The Shack is none of those three things. They spent the money to hire actual actors (and that makes a world of difference); the writing is average for a movie (therefore, miles ahead of most faith based movies); and the production values are also of reasonable quality. The story is good, they handled the rough parts tastefully, but still with most of the impact, and if you buy the premise then the characters will pull you in.
I don’t think you would have had to have read the book to be able to grasp the movie, but it would help, of course. As far as movies go, The Shack is the best player on the JV team; a stand out as long as you’re not comparing it to the bigger, stronger players. But as far as faith based entertainment goes, it is top shelf.
The kids will be fine, as long as you don’t mind answering a bazillion questions on the ride home.
Oh! I almost forgot the best part. Overly religious people will be crapping their pants. They’ll be tripping over themselves to misquote or argue some irrelevant point. It brings my heart great joy to watch religious people scramble.
Kong: Skull Island is pretty good, but that’s it, just pretty good. Kong, and the other beasties, look good; I never really stopped to notice that they were all CGI. Can’t say the same for the actors though. There were some talented people in the movie, but I feel like they sorta mailed it in. Blame for that usually goes to the director, but the directing wasn’t all bad either, b/c he tied a story together that we all already know, and made it seem somewhat fresh. But, you could lay that credit at the feet of the writers; but you’d also need to shake your head at them for mixing too much cheese and pretension in with their quality work. So…..K:SI is just pretty good. Better than the last King Kong movie, but not as good as other stuff that is out right now, and certainly not as good as some summer blockbusters will be.
So you can put K:SI on your to rent list, but not at the top. For the kids: they wanted to make it PG-13, so they threw in two cuss words, and there are some moments when guys are bloody and beat up after getting in a helicopter crash or eaten up by one of the monsters. Middle schoolers will be fine, not so confident that younger kids would be.
Do I gush over comic book movies? Yes. Should Logan win an Oscar anyway? Also yes.
Normally, I’m one of the last to leave the theater, I don’t get in any hurry. I did my same, non-hurried shuffle at the end of Logan, but most people were still in their seats as I walked past. They looked shell-shocked, and undoubtedly felt emotionally drained, like I did. Leaving Logan you almost feel like you’ve been in a fight, beat up a little bit. My armpits were sweaty, my heart was a little heavy, but I felt very satisfied. It was like watching Schindler’s List or Passion of the Christ; an emotional experience that empties you out in the best way.
You know how books are normally better than movies, b/c the book has so much more time to develop the characters and plot? Well, Logan is the closest movie I’ve seen to replicating what a book can pull off. Part of that is b/c we’ve been watching Hugh Jackman develop the Wolverine character for 15 years, and part of it is b/c there is no wasted motion in Logan. The acting is good, the fights are, finally, appropriately brutal, and the special effects are subtle and blended in perfectly. What sets Logan apart is the story and the characters. Bottom line, it was just a really fantastic movie.
It’s rated R. They cuss, stab people in the head, and don’t hold back on the death scenes. Logan ain’t a kids movie, but the only reason you should skip it is if you can’t enjoy a movie b/c of the things in the previous sentence.