The Mummy (2017)

Director: Alex Kurtzman

Writer: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman (Screenplay) Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet (Screen Story)

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

 

Plot: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: American Mummy in London

 

Story: The Mummy starts as we get the traditional history lesson about what Princess Ahmanet (Boutella) did to become the cursed woman from Ancient Egypt. Roll forward to present day Iraq where treasure hunting soldier Nick Morton (Cruise) and his partner in crime Chris Vail (Johnson) move in on an insurgent controlled town. In this town they make a discovery which bring archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Wallis) to work with the army to bring the discovery back.

When the discovery of Princess Ahmanet selects Nick as her latest choice to raise Set the God of Death to life to reign terror on Earth, Jenny brings Nick to Dr Henry Jekyll (Crowe) to find a way to stop this ancient terror from rising once more.

 

Thoughts on The Mummy

 

Characters/PerformanceNick is a solider that enjoys treasure hunting for his own profit, he is a selfish man but once he works with Jenny we see a different side to him as he also gets to cheat death. Dr Jekyll is a character we know from history but this time he seems to be a leader of an organisation that fights evil. Jenny is the archaeologist that has searched for Princess Ahmanet for her whole life and now she gets to fight something she never thought. Princess Ahmanet is our ancient Egyptian that has been raised from the dead to bring her terror back to Earth, this character is the highlight of the film but you still want more from her. Chris Vail is basically the friend from American Werewolf in Paris.

Performance wise, Cruise disappoints here, he is miss-casted because he doesn’t pull of the confused out of his depth to the level we are used too in these films. Russell Crower, well as a supporting character he does struggle to make an impact. Annabelle Wallis is fine but you just don’t believe must of her characters decisions. Sofia Boutella once again shows she is very capable of these roles which need unique body movement. Jake Johnson tries the comic relief but it doesn’t click every time.

StoryYou know the Brendan Fraser Mummy, well this is incredible similar story just in modern times, we have one very well-designed moment and that is showing how the extremists are destroying monuments which can cover Nick’s tracks. Otherwise this is one of the most painful origin attempted stories of recent years, we have a villain which should be one of the most interesting of the year but almost becomes second fiddle to the bigger universe that the film wants to create. Nothing here is overly memorable, original or worth seeing again.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action sequences are a mixed bag, we have the plane crash which we all saw in the trailer but otherwise it is Tom Cruise 101 with running, sand storms and losing fist fights. The adventure side get sucked out of the film once we hit London and the fantasy side of things just doesn’t come off believable.

SettingsThe Iraq setting was fine for me, but we don’t focus on that area long enough which most of the film taking place in England and mostly London and seriously how many times can we destroy London on film?

Special EffectsThis is yet another mixed bag for me, certain moments look great but other moments come off painfully CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a failed attempt of a Universe builder, it is miss-cast with Cruise, this should have gone to a younger name that could work in the universe for years to come and a character in Nick that is remotely interesting. I will accept that this was needed to bring the modern era for this bigger picture which does clash the ancient world with the technology world but we don’t focus on that enough.

 

Overall: Disappointing action film that focuses on Easter Eggs over producing us a story.

Rating

 

 

Seventh Son (2014)

seventhDirector: Sergey Bodrov

Writer: Charles Leavitt, Steven Knight (Screenplay) Joseph Delaney (Novel) Matt Greenberg (Screen Story)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Antje Traue, Olivia Williams, John DeSantis, Kit Harington, Djimon Hounou

 

Plot: When Mother Malkin, the queen of evil witches, escapes the pit she was imprisoned in by professional monster hunter Spook decades ago and kills his apprentice, he recruits young Tom, the seventh son of the seventh son, to help him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantasy Film ABC

 

Story: Seventh Son starts when evil witch Mother Malkin (Moore) escapes her prison and only Master Gregory (Bridges) can stop her, but this time she is stronger than ever. We move to meet small town farm boy Tom (Barnes) who is struggling with visions and he just happens to be the seventh son of a seventh son which brings Master Gregory to take him on his adventure.

As Gregory trains Tom, Mother Malkin prepares her troops which include her niece Alice (Vikander). We watch as both sides are coming together for a final showdown but Tom and Alice feel almost lost in the middle of the battle not understand why they are both involved.

Seventh Son is a fantasy film that really follows the ABC of basic fantasy but doesn’t make us sit back and go wow like other films have. This is slow running and with the heavyweight cast I think it would be fair to say we would expect more from stars of this calibre. There are some good moments but like a lot of films at the moment this really is just a builder for a franchise and doesn’t hit the marks needed.

 

Actor Review

 

Jeff Bridges: Master Gregory is the warrior that has been battling witches for decades, he is the last remaining fighter against them and is training an apprentice. He selects Tom his next apprentice who is the seventh son of a seventh son making him the best choice. Gregory has a history with Mother Malkin which makes their battle even more personal. Jeff gives a good performance what was it with that accent.greg

Ben Barnes: Tom Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and selected by Master Gregory to be his latest apprentice in the fight against witches. He is the son of a witch trained to fight against them while also falling in love with a witch. Ben struggles to make as much impact as the rest of the bigger named stars.

Julianne Moore: Mother Malkin is the Queen of the evil witches who wants complete rule over the world, she has been locked away by Master Gregory but with the blood moon arising she is ready to claim her throne winning a life time battle against Master Gregory. Julianne is making a habit of this villainous roles give the performance you expect but you would have to say this could be one to help fund her braver performances else.mother

Alicia Vikander: Alice is the niece of Mother Malkin, a good witch trying to understand why there is a war between the two sides, she falls in love with Tom but will she turn to the dark side of make her own path. Alicia uses this performance to show what she is capable of with such a poorly written character.

Support Cast: Seventh Son has a very creditable supporting cast of well-respected stars that all play basic supporting character clearly wasting their talents.

Director Review: Sergey BodrovSergey doesn’t give us the most convincing fantasy adventure film, with basic easy to make action sequences.

 

Action: Seventh Son has the action you would expect to see and in the most part have seen before.

Adventure: Seventh Son tries to take us on this big adventure that we really just don’t get excited about.

Fantasy: Seventh Son has a world full of fantasy creatures throughout.

Settings: Seventh Son puts us into a fantasy world we have seen plenty of times before.
Special Effects
: Seventh Son has great effects with the shapeshifting creatures al coming off looking very realistic.

Suggestion: Seventh Son is one that only fantasy film fans might like, this isn’t one of the best but far from being the worst. (Fantasy Fans Try)

 

Best Part: The effects are good.

Worst Part: Wasting top talented stars.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Left open for one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $95 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: When darkness falls, the son will rise

 

Overall: Basic fantasy film offering nothing new to the genre

Ratingcard

Wonder Woman (2017)

Director: Patty Jenkins

Writer: Allan Heinberg (Screenplay) Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs (Story)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Tagmaoui

 

Plot: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: DC Just Kicked Marvel’s Ass

 

Story: Wonder Woman starts in the present day (this works because we know Wonder Woman is part of the modern-day fight) where Diana (Gadot) receives the original photo of her with fellow soldiers Steve Trevor (Pine), Sameer (Taghmaoui), Charlie (Bremner) and The Chief (Rock) during the First World War.

This launches us into a flashback as Diana recounts her training under the greatest Amazon Warrior Antiope (Wright) first against her mother Hippolyta (Nielsen) wishes but soon with open arms. When Steve crashes into the oceans surrounding their island, he comes telling stories of a great war raging. Diana decides it is her destiny to fight to save the innocent and joins Steve in battle, but the outside world is nothing like she had expected and soon she will learn the politics, bravery and horrors of a modern war as she goes in search of Aires the God of war that she believes in causes it all, while Steve is on a mission to stop the latest weapon spreading. Can Diana unlock her destiny and become the hero the world is looking for?

 

Thoughts on Wonder Woman

 

Characters/PerformanceDiana is the warrior that wants to fight to save the world, always pushed to improve her abilities, she learns more about her true self on this adventure, while also having comical moments of not understand but reality checks by others. As Wonder Woman, she is the weapon we all came to see as he highlight of Batman v Superman and just continued to grow our love for this character. Steve Trevor is an American spy, he knows about the new weapon which could end the war and will do everything to stop it from causing more casualties. He is a good man that is showing Diana the way in this world. Hippolyta and Antiope are good character even if they fall into the typical mother and trainer routine. Ludendorff gives us the villain that will do anything to win the war however violent it is. The rest of the characters all either add laughs, menace or surprises to the story.

Gal Gadot is wonderful in this role, she is beautiful, naïve and can kick ass to save people all without blinking an eye. Chris Pine is a brilliant choice for this role as brave American not full off himself either. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright fill the middle-aged roles well both look beautiful and offering the advice from their characters. Danny Huston is easily one of the best go to guys in Hollywood for a villain role and he doesn’t fail to deliver. The rest of the cast all do great jobs throughout.

StoryThe story is an origins story but this time it is our aged mentally Diana looking back on what made her want to protect humans from war. This is also a brilliant war movie showing how unknown eyes would be in complete shock and terror in what they are seeing from the humans in battle. The story does feel grounded when it is just Diana witnessing the war but when she becomes Wonder Woman it turns full comic book which is good for the world created in this universe of DC characters.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is a mix of slow motion action sequences and big war set pieces, each one improving upon the last. The only negative in the action comes in the final battle. The adventure puts us on the mission to try and stop the war. The fantasy comes from Diana’s belief in Gods both good and evil being behind the war.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different environment Diana must enter after leaving her paradise, if it was London, the Front during war or the war bases which battles take place on. This helps us understand each decision Diana is making.

Special EffectsThe effects all look fantastic from start to finish of this movie and full expect to enjoy what you see.

Final ThoughtsAs a comic book movie, this is simply fantastic, wonderfully shot, powerful story that drives Diana to uncover her destiny and enjoy character. But as a major fan of the little things here, if this is Diana remembering the events how does she know what Ludendorff is up to? This of course is just being picky and is a question thrown around when people talk Titanic too, so we are in the top ranks of films here.

 

Overall: DC might just have won the battle this year with this brilliant addition to the superhero genre.

Rating

 

 

The Great Wall (2016)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Writer: Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (Story)

Starring: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, Hanyu Zhang

 

Plot: European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big Bad, Forgettable

 

Story: The Great Wall starts with a Great Wall history lesson as we learn the wall was constructed to keep enemies out some known others are legend, this is one of the legends. We meet the European mercenaries William (Damon), Tovar (Pascal) and their men on the run. Finding themselves under attack William and Tovar find an enemy unlike anything they have seen before but that is the least of their worries as they are still being hunted down but find themselves at the mercy of the Chinese.

Captured by the Chinese, Commander Lin Mae (Jing), General Shao (Zhang) and Strategist Wang (Lau) must decide what to do with the men and if their story is true. William and Tovar find themselves trapped in the middle of a battle between the Chinese and their defensive wall and blood thirsty creatures, a war their never asked for but a battle they were always ready to fight in.

 

Thoughts on The Great Wall

 

Characters/PerformanceWilliam is one of the Europeans who finds himself using all his combat skills to help the Chinese fight the creatures that terrorise their people and if they can get through the world. This battle gives William a chance at redemption for the wrongs he has committed in life. Tovar is his partner who wants to continue the darker path but his loyalty to William keeps him stuck between the lines.  Commander Lin is the strong leading women, she is willing to sacrifice herself to protect her people and he combat skills excel. Ballard is the once captured man who has become part of the battle but against his own will. The rest of the characters are all what you would expect in the wildly over the top action fantasy adventure films.

Performance wise, Matt Damon does struggle in this role, his accent skills are terrible as he bounces between most European from scene to scene even though he holds his own in the action sequences. Pedro Pascal is fun getting most of the comic relief throughout the film. Willem Defoe is the usual odd ball supporting role with Tian Jing being the star of the show.

StoryThe story does work in places, the mystery about the Great Wall will always make for an appealing story, while most of the history is known it is always interesting to see a twist on what could be a story about the history behind it all. The fantasy elements of the story is what drives this but in the end it is nothing more humans versus monsters with people needing to work together to make them win.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is big, but at times hard to follow with the adventure coming from how the humans battle to survive. The fantasy side does work but also feels like something we have seen way too often.

SettingsHaving the film set mostly on the Great Wall works in my opinion because it plays into the fantasy idea of the wall being built to fight an ancient enemy.

Special EffectsThis is a film that is very heavy on the CGI and you can tell because a lot of them miss and look bad for the overall quality of the film.

Final ThoughtsI found this to be over the top, unoriginal but easy to watch, I don’t think this will be up for any awards just become forgettable.

 

Overall: This is an easy film to watch but nowhere near a classic

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – A Cure for Wellness (2017)

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writer: Justin Haythe (Screenplay) Justin Haythe, Gore Verbinski (Story)

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Ivo Nandi, Adrian Schiller, Celia Imrie

 

Plot: An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Extended Mystery Horror Thriller

 

Story: A Cure for Wellness starts young executive Lockhart (DeHaan) is sent to a remote wellness centre in Switzerland to bring the CEO Pembroke (Groener) back to help close a merge in New York. After being involved in a car accident Lockhart finds himself with a broken leg and now a patient of the Wellness Program.

Still searching for Pembroke, Lockhart makes a deal with the director Volmer (Issacs) to stay for a couple of days to finish up the treatment for Pembroke. In this time Lockhart meets a mysterious young woman Hannah (Goth) the only other young patient who he tries to unlock the secrets of the program, which will test his own sanity.

 

Thoughts on A Cure for Wellness

 

Characters/PerformanceLockhart is the driven ambitious young man who has nearly reach the peak of his career at such a young age, he is haunted by his past which does include his father’s suicide and his mother’s death, this leaves him alone but in search for answers once he becomes the latest patient in the program. Volmer is the director of the clinic, he constantly remains calm through any incidents that occur and does have his own motives for the clinic. Hannah is the mysterious young woman also in the clinic, she is the only young patient there and she is Volmer’s main project but we are left to wonder about her past.

Performance wise, Dane DeHaan is good in this leading role and you can clearly see why he is tipped for a great career. Jason Isaacs always makes for a good doctor figure and this is no exception, while Mia Goth continues to make a name for herself in these stranger roles.

StoryThe story is filled with questions which always makes for a good story, I will have to point out that this is a long film nearing the 2 and half hour’s mark and even at that you can see how the pace can be questioned but it doesn’t feel long. We get a new look into the asylum genre which I feel is something we needed but the weakness is that we never hit the full levels of any of the genres involved.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy elements of this film come from the world we are placed into, this also comes for the sci-fi side of everything too. The horror comes from see what happens within the walls which is quite shocking at times but the best use of the genres comes from the mystery element which keeps us guessing from start to finish as we simply don’t know where it will go.

SettingsWith most of the film taking place in the clinic we find ourselves trapped just like Lockhart in a place which doesn’t have an escape because being there means you don’t want to leave.

Final ThoughtsThis is one long mystery thriller that doesn’t stop you wanting to see where the film will go and then it will leave you shocked by the end.

 

Overall: A rewarding mystery thriller

Rating