BARE BONES: THE MUMMY and SNATCHED

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THE MUMMY (2017)

Universal’s second attempt…Dracula Untold was the first, but they distanced themselves from it when it failed to draw box office blood… to start their Dark Universe is a bigger clunker than their Dracula flick. Convoluted plot has adventurer Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) finding the tomb of cursed Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) who gets unleashed and now raises the dead across England as she tries to find both Morton…who she has plans for…and a sacred dagger…which she also has plans for. Also interested in the little mummy honey is a certain Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe)…who has his own plans for the Egyptian princess.

Directed by Alex Kurtzman from a messy script by three writers, the flick is a CGI drenched bore that won’t do Universal any favors in starting it’s Marvel-esque monster series. Cruise is strictly phoning it in and has far more screen time than the actually mummy whose schtick is basically rehashing the same gimmick from the Stephen Sommers movies, but with a girl mummy this time. It’s just plain silly to have Jekyll involved, though at least Crowe got the material and would probably be a fun Jekyll/Hyde in a much better movie. Boutella had a few effective scenes, but otherwise it’s a snoozefest of CGI and a very miscast TomCruise.

-MonsterZero NJ

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SNATCHED (2017)

The idea of teaming up comic legend Goldie Hawn and funny girl of the moment Amy Schumer wasn’t a bad one, it’s just too bad they weren’t in a much more solid comedy. Flick has recently dumped and fired Emily (Schumer) going on a vacation originally planned with her now ex-boyfriend. She takes her mom (Hawn) instead and the two head off to Ecuador. The mother and daughter are kidnapped by an Ecuadorian crime lord (Óscar Jaenada) and now must find a way to escape both the criminal and the jungle in one piece.

Directed by Jonathan Levine from a so-so script by Katie Dippold, this flick starts out funny when it is about mother and daughter trying to bond and get along at the resort. It takes a more serious and far less funny tone once they are kidnapped and then escape with the vengeful criminals hot on their heels. There are some deaths along the way, which the film unsuccessfully tries to make funny and the film only regains a little of it’s comic footing when Schumer’s Emily and some strange women (Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack) mount a half-assed rescue when Hawn is recaptured. Shame the script wasn’t funnier as Schumer and Hawn had a nice chemistry.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: BLUE RUIN and NOAH

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BLUE RUIN (2013)

Directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin is a well made, if not slightly overrated thriller about Dwight (Macon Blair) a man traumatized and turned into a wandering bum by the murder of his mother and father. As the man accused is being released from prison as part of his plea-bargain, Dwight sets a sloppy plan for revenge in motion that escalates into a war with the man’s family that leaves a trail of blood and bodies. The film is somber, but has some suspenseful moments and a quirky sense of humor, too. But there are some flaws, as Dwight seems too inept to get as far with his plan as he does and some plot conveniences help him along. It did always hold my interest, but it didn’t knock me out, nor did I find it even close to the film festival hype it has garnered. A quirky and entertaining little thriller, but I found it kind of forgettable after all is said and done. Reminded me a little of Blood Simple but far less gripping. Also stars ex-Brady Bunch-er Eve Plumb.

3 star rating

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NOAH (2014)

Incredibly pretentious and dreary version of the beloved Bible story by director Darren Aronofsky that he co-wrote with Ari Handel. The movie takes a simple tale about faith, hope and renewal and turns it into a nihilistic fantasy flick that is not only boring, but filled with elements that just seem out of place, like a group of fallen angels that look like Transformers made of rocks and an epic battle right out of Lord Of The Rings. Sure, there are some startling visuals and some top notch SPFX, but it is a grim mess of a movie that takes a very good cast, including Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins (what ISN’T he in?) and leaves them afloat in a sea of pretension. Adding insult to injury, the film refers to God as ‘The Creator’ in what seems to be an effort to nullify the religious aspects of the story and turn it into a bizarre sci-fi/fantasy loosely based on the Biblical tale. A mess and a dull one at that.

2 star rating

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