All posts by Zach A.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE MUMMY (2017)

You know, sometimes doing film reviews don’t work out in your favor. I had this whole first paragraph for my THE MUMMY  review prepared by telling you a true story. This friend, when I was growing up, picked up one of his dog’s giant shits, let it sit in the sun for a couple of days, wrapped it in gauze, and called it a “gross, smelly mummy.” Then I was going to compare that experience to this movie by calling it a “mummified piece of shit.” There was more to it, but the review was absolutely going to work in my favor. I went into the theater expecting the movie to be DOA, because I was never excited by the trailers, the Rotten Tomato score is awful (somewhere in the 20s), and I still love the 1999 one with Brendan Fraser (the rest of them sucked). But alas, the movie is honestly not bad at all. I was entertained by it, Tom Cruise still brought his A-game, even though he was terribly miscast, the effects were good, I chuckled several times, and I liked the way they set up the Dark Universe and look forward to seeing more films, especially if Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll comes along for the ride.

I think critics were expecting too much. I think they were expecting the Dark Universe films to be well…darker? And while this is much darker than the 1999 Mummy film, it still has that “tone.” In fact, there is one scene in the film, if you spot very carefully, that makes me think that those Mummy films exist in this Dark Universe canon (you’ll see, and if you don’t see, there are plenty of articles already spoiling what that connection is). Maybe the critics didn’t want that ‘tone’ again? But if you get too dark, then people start complaining Batman V Superman style and you get royally stomped on in that regard. So where is that line? Where is the line where you can be dark, but also fun and adventurous and have a great time at the movies? I thought this movie honestly traveled that line very well. There were parts that made me jump, and parts that were intense, but also parts that were fun and exciting. So…again, what is the line that audiences and critics are expecting?

I agree with the critics on a couple of things. The movie does almost start out as an exact storytelling remake of the 1999 film, but then gets into it’s own thing by the plane crash that you see in the trailers. Tom Cruise didn’t need to be in this movie at all. He is in his 50s and is playing a character that seemed to be written in his early to mid 30s. And there are a couple of scenes where a dead character is talking to Cruise a la a giant rip off of An American Werewolf in London. But other than those three complaints, the film really isn’t that bad. In fact, the hour and 45 minutes went like that *snaps fingers.* I was incredibly entertained, the action was well shot and fun, Sofia Boutella makes a better Mummy than Arnold Vosloo did in the 1999 version, Tom Cruise still brought his acting A game, I liked the humor, and a whole bunch of other little things.

Plus, I really like the way they handled Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (if you think that is a spoiler, come on). You know that CGI crap from Stephen Sommers Van Helsing movie? Nowhere to be seen here. Hyde comes out more like the novels made him, more human like with a menacing behavior and a little more strength, with it very much being a change in performance required by Russell Crowe. Really loved what they did with that. And the little nods to future films were cool (by the way don’t stay after the credits, nothing there).

So will you like it just because I think the critics were wrong and I liked it? Of course not. You might hate it as much as them and think I am completely out of my fucking mind. I am just giving you my opinion. I had a fun time, think it is a fun adventure that families could share together, and think there are worse films to see at the theater right now than this. Does it get close to the masterpiece that is Wonder Woman? Hell no. Is it better than Guardians Vol. 2? Those are two different films, but again, hell no. This movie isn’t the freshest batch of popcorn you could have at the theater right now. It is more like day old popcorn, that you just douse and douse with a whole bunch of butter to enjoy at the moment, nothing more and nothing less.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MEGAN LEAVEY

Wow, this movie was so much better than I expected. And you know why I expected it to be a “meh” kind of movie? Because the fucking marketing for this film is completely wrong. Let me guess, you think that most of the 2 hour run time is due to Megan Leavey trying to adopt her Marine war bomb sniffing dog and trying to overcome many obstacles to do it? WRONG. Spoiler alert: That’s the last 15 minutes of the film. This is more of a war movie than any of the trailers and TV spots are letting on. Some people have asked why the fuck this movie isn’t called A Dog’s Purpose, because it makes more sense other than that other Lifetime nonsense crap that came out in January. It’s because the movie is really about Megan Leavey. Sure the dog is in there a lot too, but it’s about Leavey’s personal journey to connect with another soul (that soul being the dog) and to find her place in life in an atmosphere that is almost too dark to see through.

And it’s a very, very good film. Not a masterpiece per say, there are better war films out there, but at my screening last night, there probably wasn’t a dry eye (out of happiness) in the theater, and that’s saying something. Kate Mara gives her best performance here since House of Cards, honestly this may be her best performance in anything to date because a lot of people consider her wooden, but she is anything but that here. The film is actually very entertaining for its subject matter, the pacing is near perfect, and the story flows fluidly from point A to B to C. At the beginning she is a troubled young adult, goes through Marine training and dog training, and comes out after an injury only to find out she connected with her bomb sniffing dogs soul. It’s actually quite touching, and it probably wouldn’t have worked with Mara or the dog.

Draco Malfoy…oh excuse me, Tom Felton shows up as a Marine that is an expert already in the field of dog bomb sniffing, and he is getting a good job trying to make a general audience forget he ever said the word “POTTER!” with such hatred. Common is pretty good as the overall leader of the dog bomb sniffing unit of the Marines, and Ramon Rodriguez shows up as a fellow Marine/love interest, and maybe the only part of the story that could’ve been cut out and had not made much of a difference. It would’ve been better if they had just been really good friends and not lovers. Also, I wonder if that part was shoe horned in to make the film longer, as it didn’t need to be. I’m going to look further into it, but if that did indeed happen, then I guess putting it in the film was okay.

I’m just looking at a picture of Megan Leavey right now, and holy shit does she look like Kate Mara, so the casting director did pretty well with her job for this movie.  The movie also does a pretty good job with the overall tension of finding bombs and whether or not someone has a bomb on them or not. I have not felt that kind of tension since The Hurt Locker (still the better film) and I commend the movie for making me be on the edge of my seat during those scenes.

Overall, there are many movies like this one. Whether they work or not is another story. There are some that have worked, and many, MANY, that have not. I think the marketing of this film is ultimately going to hurt the audience that sees it, but Megan Leavey is one of those films that completely works during it’s two hour run time. I was entertained more than I thought I’d be, and was way more engaged with the emotional bond between Leavey and Rex than I thought I would be. While PG-13 this is I would consider a very good older family film. But probably not for kids under 10 years old. Highly recommend, it is better than it looks in previews. I guarantee it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CHURCHILL

Well this is going to be one of my short and sweet reviews because, there really isn’t much to this quick hour and 40 minute film. Which was kind of the problem. CHURCHILL is about Winston Churchill obviously, but it only focuses really on four days of his life, the four days leading up to D-Day and his rallying speech. Mainly how he was against the operation to begin with, but out of passion, afraid that they would not win, and over 20,000 soldiers would die for nothing. His wife trying to calm him down, he tried do to everything he could to stop the troops from ever entering the beach.

Well, we all know what ends up happening, spoiler alert, D-Day happens anyway and the allies eventually stop Hitler and his regime. While the movie was watchable it was a little bit of a bore. I would’ve rather have a whole 2 hour and 30 minute film about the entirety of one of the world’s greatest leaders. Especially with Brian Cox in the role. He is excellent here, but I feel like a story focused on something else would of taken his excellent performance and made it classic and award worthy. His wife, played by Miranda Richardson is good too, but she mainly just gets mad at him and has to calm him down a couple of times, to understanding what his mind is going through.

I didn’t learn a lot about Winston Churchill in this film, and I feel like that was a crime, like I was robbed. So I can’t recommend this really other than to say maybe just watch it for Cox’s performance? I don’t know. The movie literally had no purpose. I get what the screenplay writer was trying to do, to avoid that ‘bio’ pic. But sometimes the ‘bio’ pic is exactly what we need. This could’ve been included in the bio pic, but for only like maybe 10-15 minutes of screentime? Yeah…that would’ve been better.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS – THE EPIC FIRST MOVIE

“Uranus is a gas giant.” Did you laugh at that sentence? If you did, you are more than likely to enjoy Dreamwork’s new CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS – THE EPIC FIRST MOVIE. I laughed at that and laughed at many other things including a toy turtle shower joke. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, considering that this movie is epically 20 years too late. The first Captain Underpants books premiere in 1997, when I was 11 years old. I am now 30.  Yikes. But I decided to see it because of it’s good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and due to the fact that I like the writer Nicholas Stoller, who gave us Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him To The Great, Neighbors, and the recent animated film Storks, which I also liked quite a bit. I’m glad I did, because I did have a good time. While not a new classic film to watch over and over again, it is an excellent film that families can enjoy together.

In this film, there is not only enough entertainment for the kids, but jokes that adults will only get as well. And the adult jokes don’t cross the line for once. I also like what they did with the property, doing pretty much being completely faithful to its source materials, but with more wild and zany humor to keep the very young to the very old’s attention. The movie is a short 85 minutes, and the pace is lightening fast and perfect, barely giving you a moment to breathe. I won’t explain the plot on here because to explain any of it will be giving most of it away. Let’s just say it’s about two best friends that own their own comic book company/series and they have to deal with school and their a-hole of a principal.

The voice acting also makes this movie. I usually find Kevin Hart annoying and not funny but this is the first voice acting he has done where he actually sounds not too much like himself and a kid-like, like his character George. In fact, if you go back and read the novel after seeing the movie, all the voice actors they got transpose perfectly in your head to what you read on the page. Thomas Middletitch, who plays Richard as Silicon Valley, is perfect playing Hart’s best friend Harold. Nick Kroll, after being the awesome Douche in Sausage Party, does a awesome as Professor Poopypants. And finally Ed Helms as Captain Underpants is spot on perfect for what I thought he would sound like. The voice acting can make or break a picture, but fortunately here it only enhances its zaniness.

Well I already kind of answered this question but is this film appropriate for your kids? Absolutely! If you are worried about the adult jokes, they really aren’t that bad, are actually quite funny, and your kids probably won’t get them anyway, and if they do, they’ll find them amusing and not be overly sensitive. This is a great family picture by Dreamworks. Usually Disney and Pixar are the only two to do it perfectly, but maybe Dreamworks can take this and start translating it to all of their animated films. But yeah, this is a surprise summer movie for me. I laughed a lot, enjoyed the story, and enjoyed my time. Definitely not wasted.