Out Of Sight (1998)

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[Credit: Universal Pictures]

Buddy Bragg: Here ma’am. Let me help you with these. Beautiful young lady like you shouldn’t be carrying groceries. Let a man do that for you.
Parking Lot Woman: Now, I didn’t ask you for help, so don’t expect a tip.
Buddy: Oh, that’s okay ma’am. I’ll just take your car.

Starring: Jennifer Lopez as Karen Sisco, George Clooney as Jack Foley, Ving Rhames as Buddy Bragg. Don Cheadle as Maurice Miller and Albert Brooks as Richard Ripley, dir. Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven).

out of sight bar jack karen
Cinematographer: Elliot Davis (Twilight, Birth Of A Nation, I Am Sam)
[source: orbo]

The Mummy (2017): Brendan Fraser Deserves Better Than This (Review… In Japan!)

For roughly the entire month of August, my brother and I traveled all around Japan seeing the sights and scarfing down on some incredible food. While staying in Okinawa for a few days, we decided to venture to the local theatre to see what was cooking. Unfortunately, the two films I would be into rewatching, Wonder Woman and War For The Dawning Of The Rise For The Planet Of The Apesweren’t out yet so we had a choice between The Mummy or the latest Pirates movie… We chose The Mummy and quite honestly, any bit of enjoyment I felt for it was due to the fact that I was vacationing in a foreign country.

(For those interested in my Japan adventures, scroll down to the end of this review!)

the mummy eyes
The eye thing was cool | Universal Pictures

The Mummy strove to kick start Universal’s Dark Monster Universe by featuring Tom Cruise doing all the things that make Tom Cruise Tom Cruise. The end product results in Super Cruise teaming up with Jane Seymour after they’ve had sex once (and apparently fallen madly in love following it) and fighting an ancient force who I kept referring to as “Imhotep.” The film also stars Jake Johnson and Russell Crowe doing his best Dr. Strangelove impression. It is directed by Alex Kurtzman (People Like Us)

So I have certainly seen worse things in my life. Universal’s attempt at getting into the modern cinematic universe game unfortunately falls flat which is truly a shame because the premise of The Mummy is actually pretty interesting. I’m obviously aware that the iconically classic 1999 Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz-led film of the same name bares no cinematic connection with this one, however if there was some way to harness even half the fun & heart featured in The Mummy (1990) and shove it down the throat of 2017’s, I would’ve enjoyed it much more.

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The Mummy | Universal Pictures

As I mentioned, 2017’s The Mummy is not the worst thing in the world to spend an afternoon watching. I can certainly tell the $125 million budget went toward the action set pieces and Tom Cruise’s attempt at being a roguish lovable scoundrel. These set pieces were visually pleasing and featured occasional bouts of humour which caused some nice sharp air being blown out of my nose. Sofia Boutella is easily the strongest aspect to the film, her performance as the mummy Ahmanet contained a (somewhat) clear motivation and during the sequences which asked for more out of her emotionally, she definitely went there. Virtually every other aspect, however, was a jumbled, cringey mess with an overabundance of expository flashbacks and so many goddamn jump scares the Paranormal Activity franchise probably sued.

I understand why Tom Cruise is cast in this, but for the love of Gods, I hate that he is cast in this.

We are beaten over the head with the idea that he is a character type I despise: the roguish and brazen wacky rascal who throws the rule book out of the window because RULES ARE FOR NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDS. Listen, if you’re in an ancient cave thing where you’re unsure what anything is or how valuable it has the potential to be, why not just take your weapon out and shoot at something… We don’t have time for being safe, damn it! Just shrug your shoulders and whip it out! While I love Cruise’s early works and actually enjoy the Ethan Hunt character in the Mission: Impossible films, The Mummy becomes unbearable at parts because of Tom Cruise. I get the foreign market appeal he brings and honestly, the film performed as well as it did because of Cruise’s name so I do not place any blame on the studio for making that creative decision… I can rightfully hate them for that decision but hey, studios gotta eat. 

The secondary characters are serviceable but are really not that great either. Jake Johnston’s comical sidekick character from American Werewolf In London became mind-numbingly annoying as the film progressed and Russell Crowe who actually isn’t a terrible Jekyll/Hyde – He just kind of sleep walks his way through until the moment where SPOILER Hyde comes out and his constant need to beat himself out of it reminded me of a shitty impression of Peter Sellers’ legendary portrayal of Dr. Strangelove. END SPOILER

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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb | Columbia Pictures

Annabelle Wallis… Man. She was given absolutely nothing to work with. I actually love her performance as Henry VIII’s third and most beloved wife, Jane Seymour in the Showtime series The Tudors. It wasn’t the most arduous of roles to prep for, however the chemistry she shared with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and most importantly, the sheer elegance she brought to that role still sticks with me even years after her character… departed (history spoiler: he didn’t behead Jane). Ever since then, I’ve been waiting for her to nab a role that showcases and challenges what she’s made of and this role as Dr. Damsel In Distress is simply not it. I don’t need every female character in an action movie to remind us that she’s an independent woman who don’t need any assistance because regardless how sharp your skills are, you may eventually need some form of help whenever a difficult situation arises. What I do need is for her to be treated like a human being whose hair and makeup become just a tad disarrayed when they’re in a car rolling down a hill.

If you take her character out of the film completely, virtually no form of story progression would occur because she’s used as that classic damsel who gets into trouble and oh look! Thank God our trusty handsome rogue is here to save her and progress the story! The entire final act comes slumping along because she consistently finds herself in need of assistance from Tom Cruise. You know, I do appreciate that her character was seemingly not having any of Tom’s shit during the beginning of the film, it stunned me when she actually stood up for herself when this dork of a man was running his mouth rather than her finding it endearing. Here I go, bringing up 1999 again but Rachel Weisz’s character of Evie in that film served a purpose beyond being O’Connell’s love interest. Their bond gradually developed as the film progressed, her intelligence was as vital a part to her as her beauty was and holy hell, was that beauty beautimous. 

Side note: If you’re familiar with the Roanoke season of American Horror Story, you’ll know that one of the common complaints to come out of that season was virtually every scene where Queen Sarah Paulson‘s character would scream out “MATT! MAAAAAAAAAAATT!” Since her character was seemingly in danger at every turn. We’d constantly be hit with a screaming “MATT!” which eventually turned into a meme itself. The Mummy does a great job in containing its own MATT with Wallis’ character screaming out “NICK! NIIIIIIIIIICK!” at every single turn. 

Alright let me wrap this up here, there were moments when I had to plug my ears a bit because the fast paced music suddenly slowed down and I knew a jump scare was imminent. I don’t want shitty jump scares in my action movies. I don’t want shitty jump scares in my horror movies. I think every film should be allotted one shitty jump scare and then it tries to find a way of making the movie scary without thrusting its erect audio into my ear drums. There are also some logical inconsistencies toward the final battle I couldn’t shake and if the Dark Universe is going full steam ahead with their already planned slate (STOP DOING THAT, MOVIE STUDIOS. STOP PLANNING YOUR 10 MOVIES WHEN THE FIRST ONE HASN’T EVEN GONE INTO PRODUCTION) they must try to do as much revamping as they can to avoid another gorgeously empty shell of a picture. 

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[Credit: Universal Pictures]

If you’re looking for a film with a great performance by Sofia Boutella and want to roll your eyes while watching CG porn, check out The Mummy (2017).

The Mummy receives 2/5 Matt Damon heads.


featured image credit: Universal Pictures

Japan 2017

As mentioned, my brother and I visited the amazingly stupendous country of Japan for about 29 days. The cities we visited included Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa Island, Nara, Kyoto, Kobe and I’m pretty sure that’s all. Major highlights ranged from feeding deer at Nara Park to feeding our faces with some of the finest cuisine I have ever had in my life.

The quick slideshow below shows a few pictures taken throughout our visit. Among the captivating places we visited, we journeyed to where Bob whispered a final goodbye to Charlotte at the Shibuya Crossing and also endured a sweltering day at Universal Studios Japan. If you have the means and are interested in stepping into a world of pure inebriation, make your next vacation be Japan. 

6/5 Damon heads.


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IT (2017): An Entertaining Thriller Featuring A Fantastic Band Of Merry Losers (Review)

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[Credit: Warner Bros.]

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, IT tells the story of a group of children who must overcome their fears in order to take on the clown straight from Wal-Mart during Black Friday, Pennywise. IT stars Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Olef and Bill Skarsgard and is directed by Andrés “Andy” Muschietti (Mama).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Let me preface this by saying the original Tim Curry-led IT miniseries from 1990 single handedly made me as terrified of clowns as I am today. I’m sure there are plenty of happy clowns floating about that demand to be taken seriously and to them I say, Godspeed.

This iteration of IT features a group of young friends that I absolutely adored watching. I honestly expected to be tired of them as the film progressed because kids in movies can certainly become an annoying nuisance, however each kid had their own distinctive characteristics that made them feel like an actual person and not a boring stereotype. Lead Jaeden Lieberher who plays Bill, brother to Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), does a fantastic job in portraying a heartbroken older brother determined to figure out what happened to his adorable brother. 

While every respective kid actor did a great job, the standout for me was Mr. Eddie Hypochondriac Kaspbrak fantastically portrayed by Jack Dylan Grazer. While every kid served their role well, Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard particularly as the constant comic relief, Grazer’s dialogue and the way he delivers these lines – whether it be humourous (and he is hilarious when the script calls for it) or absolutely terrified, Grazer is incredible. I honestly didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did, it was quite the pleasant surprise. 

The overall camaraderie between each member of the Losers Club was incredibly enjoyable to watch as well. The backstory for lone female Loser Beverly (Sophia Lillis) enthralled me because of how well Lillis interacted with her on-screen father despite the fact that they only had a few scenes together. 

The 1990 adaptation featured a group of adults coming together to fight off IT and their respective childhoods are depicted through flashbacks. This adaptation is told in real time during the 1980s and I quite enjoyed seeing that change. It allowed for the audience to grow attached to the characters while remaining unsure of who may succumb to IT’s it-ness. 

I was intrigued with the horror aspect of the film mostly because of how it affected the kids in the group. Pennywise himself (Bill Skarsgard) did have his moments where he got me, however his overall frightfulness kind of depleted as the film progressed. The sequences which called for a child to be face-to-face with the Clown were easily the most terrifying moments. One particular scene featuring Bill in the cellar was the highlight of the film because of the intimate feeling of it, you could feel Pennywise’s presence however not being able to see him or looking around the screen for him was why I enjoyed that scene as much as I did. When you’re faced with an evil entity, the less you see them the more terrified you become. 

The other bombastic horror scenes resorted to the quiet music… thencomesthe WHUPPAH! that plagues many horror films although I will say there were one or two moments that didn’t utilize the cheap scare and even a few that utilized it well. The opening Georgie scene was brilliant and definitely made me feel a bit unnerved, SPOILER I did not expect that thing with the arm at all. I don’t know how I feel about the unexpected silliness of it because on one arm hand, a little kid getting his arm torn off by a crazy clown’s teeth is horrifying yet I think leaving it up to the viewer’s imagination would’ve been a better idea. END SPOILER.

I don’t know how many audiences are expecting the graphic visual imagery of it but I was relishing in all that gory goodness. When disturbing and (somewhat) gross elements are introduced in a film and it’s executed correctly, not solely relying on gore porn, it enhances the flick immensely since you don’t want to watch what’s on screen because of the terrifying imagery, not because you’re grossed out that someone’s limb is torn off. There was one specific moment, however, involving stabs to the stomach that were seemingly played off like it was nothing.

How Were The Other Aspects Of IT?

It’s astounding to me that this is only director Andy Muschietti’s second theatrical release. Certain sequences were shot as if it were a hardened veteran behind the lens and I appreciated his interest in occasionally thinking outside the box. The brief opening title card got a whoa out of me.

IT is a gorgeous looking film, all the vibrant colours featured in the lived-in environment and the fearful moments were stunning to look at. I do think the final battle was a bit muddled and the quick cuts made it a bit difficult to know what was going on in certain points. With how visually pleasing virtually all of the film was, something should’ve been done about the occasional bursts of loudness heard in certain sequences… Can’t hate on the audio too much though. The New Kids On The Block love featured in IT was a-mazing. You know you’re a cover girl when you can insert random NKOTB songs in whatever sentences happen to arise… 🙂

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[Credit: Warner Bros.]

If you’re looking for a wildly enjoyable horror flick to watch with a bunch of friends who suffer from coulrophobia, check out IT.

IT receives 3.5/5 Matt Damon heads.


featured image credit: warner bros.


A Match Made In TV Heaven: Cate Blanchett Will Play Lucille Ball In Aaron Sorkin’s New Amazon Series

Amazon Studios is adding to their growing roster of original programming which so far includes the alternative historical drama The Man In The High Castle and dramedy Transparent. The company recently acquired Lucy and Desi, a drama series scripted by the master of dialogue, The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin.

Academy Award winner (and upcoming bad-ass MCU villain) Cate Blanchett will portray the titular Lucille Ball. While little is known about what the series will depict, the pioneering comedienne and her relationship with Desi Arnaz has been a point of discussion for over half a century.

We Love Lucy: Amazon Celebrates A TV Legend

Among a myriad of other achievements made throughout her illustrious career, Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions, in 1962. The studio, which was originally formed in 1950 by Ball and Arnaz, went on to produce such works as Star Trek and their wildly popular TV sitcom, I Love Lucy.

[Credit: CBS]
There are discussions underway as to who will portray the important role of Arnaz, with Deadline adding Javier Bardem’s name into the mix as a potential candidate. Of course, one can’t love Lucy without Fred and Ethel (portrayed by William Frawley and Vivian Vance respectively in the original series).

Ball and Arnaz’s children, Lucie Luckinbill and Desi Arnaz Jr. are involved in the series as well, providing their authorization to depict the tumultuous love/business relationship between their famous parents. Deadline refers to this rights package as one that,

“empowers the use of memoirs written by both Ball and Arnaz, rights their children have controlled since their parents died.”

Getting The Right Lucy And Desi Is Priority #1

In order for this series to have any merit or gain any traction, they must ensure that the chemistry between the on-screen Ball and Arnaz is nothing short of perfect. The couple captivated audiences for decades with their hysterical humor and undeniable charm, and their remarkable spirit needs to be appropriately honored in Amazon’s latest venture.

Although their marriage endured some major hardships and a subsequent divorce, the pair reportedly remained friends for the rest of their lives as their sitcom remained a staple on American television for generations. With Blanchett on board, there’s reason to be hopeful that the show will manage to capture that special something Lucy and Desi shared.

(Source: Deadline)
featured image source: ‘Carol’ | The Weinstein Company

Who do you believe should play Desi Arnaz to Blanchett’s Lucy? Let me know your picks in the comments below!


Gifted (2017)

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[Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures]

Seymore Shankland: Mary, you knew that the problem was incorrect, why didn’t you say anything?
Mary Adler: Frank says I’m not supposed to correct older people. Nobody like a smart-ass.

Starring: Chris Evans as Frank Adler, McKenna Grace as Mary Adler, Jenny Slate as Bonnie, Octavia Spencer as Roberta and Lindsay Duncan as Evelyn, dir. Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, (500) Days Of Summer).

gifted movie cinematography
Cinematographer: Stuart Dryburgh (Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Piano)
(Source: r/Cinemagraphs)