‘The Mummy’ Likely To Die A Slow Death

Remember 2014’s Dracula Untold?  That Luke Evans starrer was originally supposed to be the first movie in Universal’s Dark Universe imprint till they did a ‘Green Lantern‘ and changed their minds.

Though based on reviews coming in for Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy reboot they might have been better served by going with their original plan.

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich calls The Mummy, “…the worse movie Tom Cruise has ever made–it stands out like a flat note on a grand piano.

Robert Abele, writing for The Wrap says that “(The Mummy)…is an out-of-the-gate stumble that doesn’t even have the sense to sport its own so-bad-it’s-fun personality. It’s the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster that’s cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller or even Tom Cruise vehicle.

Which isn’t to imply that all reviewers disliked the new take on a classic horror character.

Jeff Grantz of Heroic Hollywood says that “Overall, I really enjoyed The Mummy.  I think that this was an excellent start to the “Dark Universe…

Mixed reviews are nothing new, though what’s problematic for The Mummy is that the negative review are extremely negative, while the positive ones appear filled with caveats; so expect The Mummy–despite the presence to A-list actors like Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe–to slowly sink beneath the desert sands.

This is a manifestation of the issue I discussed on Screenphiles, namely that Universal, with Dark Universal, is trying to make stories that are bigger, grander and more epic than they have any reason for being.

The Cause of the Academy Award Snafu Revealed!

I didn’t see last week’s Academy Award presentation mainly because I think as Americans we spend way too much time celebrating ourselves.

An award for this, an award for that; it seems like there’s one for just about every activity that you can think of.  And since they’re become so relatively common–maybe they’ve always been and I didn’t notice–that they feel progressively less meaningful.

And that’s not to say that they’re worthless, though they’re seem to be doing their damnedest to become so.

Then I heard about the Oscar snafu and wondered how it could have happened, especially since people of color having been overlooked by the Academy for a very long time now.

Though having seen the video below, I think I get it.

Raising Hell(boy)

When I read yesterday that the kibosh had been put on Hellboy III by none other than Guillermo Del Toro himself, I have to admit that I was a bit put out.

And what his account lacks in detail, it more than made up for in finality. 

As I said, I was a bit bothered, till I gave it some thought. The first Hellboy premiered in 2004, and like most projects Del Toro tackled, the love he felt for the subject matter saturated every frame.

The sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army came four years later, and managed to build on what was introduced in the first movie, while at the same time expanding on the world of the  B.P.R.D (the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense).

And as usual, it was a beautiful movie.  Del Toro was one of the first directors I can recall who used color to saturate a scene and I am confident in saying no one does so with more  assurance than he (the Underworld movies attempted a similar technique, but appeared heavy-handed compared to Del Toro’s use of the technique). 

So would I like to see another Hellboy movie?  Sure, especially since they managed to be unlike anything else produced at the time though as far as I am concerned, Del Toro (in movies) was Hellboy’s heart and soul and if he’s ready to turn the last page of this particular comic, then I am too.   

The Case Against Extended Editions (Of Movies)

In terms of keeping ourselves entertained, there are a plethora of options available. 

From the Internet to video games, watching sports or the seemingly hundreds of other things we do to fill time, our entertainment options are so many that studios can’t afford to take moviegoers for granted.

Which is why I see a studio release an ‘extended’ or a ‘Director’s Cut’ I have to ask if executives think we’re all so stupid that we just don’t notice that we’re (more often than not) being screwed. 

Because if a director is doing their job, there’s no reason for an extended or a Director’s cut to even exist. 

For instance, when Joss Whedon was asked if there would be a Director’s Cut of Avengers: Age Of Ultronhe unequivocally said ‘No.’

Reason being, part of a director’s job is to work with the studio to bring their vision to life, and that typically involves a little give and take but that being said, at the end of the day what you see on theater screens should be what the director wanted you to see.

If it’s not, then there’s a problem, though I definitely don’t think the answer is to release extended cuts, as was the case of Suicide Squad; or a Director’s Cut, in the case of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Reason being, in my book that’s known as double dipping, which is a big ‘screw you’ to moviegoers. 

But it goes deeper than that.  Extended editions that don’t add value slowly undermine viewers faith and trust in movies, and with so many illegal ways to get content you’d think studios would be doing all they can to fight such ha creeping cynicism.

Then again, I’ve been wrong before. 

Can Geoff Johns Save The DCEU?

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Can Geoff Johns save the DCEU, otherwise known as the DC Extended Universe?

Let’s just say I HIGHLY doubt it.  And it’s worth mentioning that I speculate out of love because–while DC characters like Batman and Superman aren’t my favorites–I don’t wish them ill, either.

Which is why I find the movies released so far just vexingly disappointing.

Check out my reasons why in the video below.

Etiquette

This isn’t typically the sort of thing I write about, though as someone who’s been in more that his share of Twitter fights, I find this video fascinating.

And that’s because it shows a very mean-spirited behavior in real time, though it also shows the role of etiquette, which I define as the often culturally-determined, typically unspoken rules that governs relations between people.

In the real world, if I am going though a door, and someone is following closely behind, I tend to hold it for them.  Or if I sneeze or yawn in a public space, I cover my mouth (or if my hands are occupied, at the very least bow my head).

In the latter example, both not only help prevent the spread of germs, but are also respectful of others around me.

In reference to the video, it’s worth repeating that the Tweets don’t originate with the men that are reading them, though their reactions are interesting.

Quite a few of them are so ashamed of what they’re reading that they can barely speak (one or two even seem like they’re going to break into tears), though I think that that’s less to do with the words themselves than the fact that the person those words are designed to denigrate are right in front of them.

When I’m entangled in such a situation online–while I try to give as good as I get–I also understand that that approach is often like throwing gasoline on a conflagration.  Best case scenario, I might be able to shut down the aggressor; though what’s likelier is that even if I ‘win’ I’ve made a bad situation worse, and the feeling you get for it is quite unlike anyone you’re likely to experience.

In other words: heads you lose, tails you lose (like Aliens vs Predator, though for entirely different reasons).

This is where etiquette comes in.  I try not to say anything on line that I wouldn’t say to someone to their face because it they were present the likelihood that we’d be fighting over something really stupid would be remarkably high (like the anticipated box office of Captain America: Civil War).

And unlike what many of our parents tell us about sticks and stones, there have been many times that I would have preferred a punch or two to the vitriol that emanates from some people’s mouths.

Or keyboards.

 

Will Hollywood Ever Learn? -Gods Of Egypt Edition

Alex Proyas is a pretty interesting director and I’ve enjoyed quite a few of his movies, particularly The Crow and Dark City  (I didn’t mind I, Robot, despite its story having little to do with Issac Asimov’s story).

That being said, his latest project, Gods of Egypt, has me scratching my head.

Gods of Egypt - Gerard Butler

In the poster above that’s Gerard Butler playing Set, the Egyptian god of Death (thankfully in the movie he at least seems to assume his jackal-headed guise at times) though if you look at the trailer virtually everyone of consequence is apparently played by a white person.

Didn’t we get enough of this bs casting with Aloha?  And I am not saying that Egyptians were black–despite the fact that for a period of time the country was conquered and ruled by Nubia, who definitely WERE–though they were certainly brown-skinned, and most definitely not white (though  Egypt was also conquered by the Roman Empire, and ruled for a time by the Ptolemies).

Then there’s the fact that Egypt is actually on the continent of Africa (though culturally is more Middle Eastern in nature).

And since the people weren’t white, why would they choose white people to represent their gods?  It’s either indicative of a people with a massive inferiority complex, or it just doesn’t happen.

My money’s on the latter.

Gods of Egypt - Horus

And I get it.  Hollywood isn’t exactly known for even attempting to depict such things accurately–a few days ago I was watching an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Energy Eater, when I noticed an American Indian character played by William Smith.  Smith has had a storied and fascinating career, and while he’s an American, he’s not Indian.

And speaking of Kolchak, Richard Kiel played an American Indian spirit in the episode Bad Medicine.

He is also not an American Indian (though I suspect that his size was what the producers were more interested in, and at over seven feet tall he’s got plenty of that).

What bothers me about casting like this is that I would have no issue with it at all if American Indians and African Americans were so common in movies and on television that casting white people in roles that traditionally aren’t wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

Though that’s just not the case.  There are plenty of American Indian, African-American, Middle Eastern actors that could use the work AND result in a more accurate portrayal of an American Indian diablero or  Egyptian deity.