Also known as: The Mummy 3 (informal title), Untitled Rick O’Connell Adventure, The Mummy 3: Curse of the Dragon (working titles) Release Date: July 24th, 2008 (Moscow premiere) Directed by: Rob Cohen Written by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar Based on: characters by Stephen Sommers, Lloyd Fonvielle, Kevin Jarre Music by: Randy Edleman Cast: Brendan Fraser, John Hannah, Jet Li, Maria Bello, Russell Wong, Liam Cunningham, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong, Michelle Yeoh
The Sommers Company, Relativity Media, Universal Pictures, 112 Minutes
“I hate mummies! They never play fair!” – John Carnahan
Fuck me. This was damn near unwatchable and getting through it was a hell of a challenge. But I wanted to complete the trilogy for the sake of reviewing them all.
This was so bad and weird that Rachel Weisz passed on it after reading the script and not wanting to play mother to a twenty-two year-old son. I guess Brendan Fraser came back after they threw like fourteen million dollars at him.
The only other returning cast member from previous films was John Hannah.
Somehow, Rick O’Connell has a kid that’s in his twenties, even though Rick looks the same as he did in the previous two movies. If you remember, the son was like seven years-old in the previous film and he wasn’t even born yet in the one before that. But whatever.
This time Evie is played by Maria Bello. Generally, I like Maria Bello but man was she poorly cast for this role. She doesn’t look like Evie, doesn’t act like her and it just breaks the movie. It’s a situation where the film would’ve been better off having the character omitted, whether that came from being an offscreen death or divorce.
In this story, the heroes go to China and we get a new mummy played by Jet Li. I hope Li got a fat paycheck too because this utilized him poorly.
Additionally, the special effects seem like they’re worse than they were in the previous movies.
Man, this just shouldn’t have been made. It’s absolute shit and I probably would’ve hated it more had I seen it in the theater back in 2008.
At least now, I can say that I’ve seen it, reviewed it and can go on to forget it.
Also known as: Silvercup (working title) Release Date: September 1st, 2021 (France) Directed by: James Wan Written by: Akela Cooper, James Wan, Ingrid Bisu Music by: Joseph Bishara Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michole Briana White, Mckenna Grace, Zoe Bell
Boom! Studios, Boom Entertainment, Atomic Monster, My Entertainment Inc., Starlight Media Inc. New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, 111 Minutes
“It’s time to cut out the cancer.” – Gabriel
*There be spoilers here!
I went into this movie blindly and I would say that this is the best way to approach Malignant. I hadn’t seen a trailer and frankly, I didn’t know of its existence until it hit HBO Max (at the same time it hit theaters) and then I saw that Joe Bob Briggs was really happy with it.
Having now watched it, I really wish I would’ve seen it in the theater and I still might on my second viewing of it.
I’ve got to state that this was just solid, top-to-bottom and I think it could very well be James Wan’s best movie that I’ve seen, apart from my original theatrical viewing of Saw. That film’s legacy was destroyed by its countless, underwhelming and eventually terrible sequels. I hope that Malignant doesn’t follow suit and become a watered down franchise like Saw or James Wan’s Conjuring universe.
It’s hard not talking about this movie without spoiling it. So if you know nothing about this, you should stop reading here. Seriously, it’s worth checking out and something I’d consider one of the ten best horror films of the last ten years or so. But you should just jump into it, knowing nothing, and just enjoy the ride.
So here come spoilers, galore. Turn back now or ruin the film for yourself; you have been warned.
The intro to the movie clues you in that there’s some sort of creature that’s very dangerous but you only get an obscured glance of it through opaque plastic curtains. It’s hard to tell what it is and whether it’s some sort of mutant or supernatural (possibly spiritual) force that’s taken physical manifestation. The only real clue you’re given is from dialogue spoken by the lead doctor referring to it as “cancer”.
As we meet Maddie, the main character, years later, we see her life, her shitty relationship and discover that she’s in her third pregnancy after losing the two previous babies. Her boyfriend is immediately abusive, physically, and that leads into the first encounter with the creature in current time.
Initially, this feels like either a haunted house or possession movie. However, as the plot rolls on and new clues and experiences are presented, it’s much more complicated and complex than that. We eventually learn that Maddie has a direct connection to this monster and then Matrix-type shit starts happening as reality bends and shifts and the plot becomes more layered, more complex yet incredibly more interesting without becoming a convoluted mess. At this point, you’re just filled with questions and intrigue.
Fast-forward and many developments later, you learn that Maddie was a Siamese twin and that her other half was an evil, murderous bastard named Gabriel. Gabriel was the “cancer” that was mostly cut out from Maddie, however, they couldn’t fully remove him without killing her, so the remaining part of him, that was attached to her brain, was shaved back and pushed into the back of her skull. You also find out that he fed off of her unborn babies in an effort to regain his power. Maddie getting her head slammed into the wall by her boyfriend was enough to finally wake Gabriel back up.
So with the big reveal, the film reminds me of Brian De Palma’s Sisters, as well as an obscure 1988 film, Brain Damage. Granted, I don’t think that Wan stole from these movies, as this story is still really original and stands on its own two feet.
Everything comes to a head when Maddie is in a holding cell, the prime suspect in several murders, and Gabriel finally regains full control and brutalizes the shit out of the other inmates, who were bullying and brutalizing Maddie. This scene is just cool as fuck and Maddie/Gabriel takes action like a character from The Matrix. The really neat thing, anatomy-wise, is that Gabriel’s face is attached to the back of Maddie’s head, so her body does its martial arts badassery physically backwards. It’s a bizarre but incredibly cool sight.
In the end, Maddie gains full control back from Gabriel and suppresses him seemingly into nonexistence, again. However, the film ends kind of abruptly after this and it’s unclear what will happen to her, as the only cop that learned the truth is presumably dead. And with that, it’s obvious that there will be a sequel.
They should learn from Saw and The Conjuring, that sequels will dilute the effect of the original movie. However, everything Wan touches seemingly turns into gold and I assume that this will also be milked to death. Still, I liked this enough that I would see a sequel and just hope for the best.
What really made this movie work so damn well was the incredibly convincing performance by its star, Annabelle Wallis, who I loved and hope to see more from in the future.
I also liked a lot of sequences in this, especially the stuff in the Seattle Underground. It’s a really cool location to utilize for horror and it’s been weirdly underutilized for decades. This movie makes the most out of that setting and it also gave us some really good action when Gabriel was on the run from the main cop in the story.
In recent years, the horror genre has been fairly shit. Malignant was one of the very few films that grabbed my attention, kept me glued to the screen and exceeded any expectations I could’ve had for it. Additionally, it’s finely directed, wonderfully acted and a cool, unique story that is a legitimate mindfuck of the highest caliber.
Release Date: April 8th, 2004 (Los Angeles premiere) Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Written by: Quentin Tarantino Music by: RZA, Robert Rodriguez Cast: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Julie Dreyfus, Gordon Liu, Michael Parks, James Parks, Bo Svenson, Samuel L. Jackson, Larry Bishop, Sid Haig, Sonny Chiba
Super Cool ManChu, A Band Apart, Miramax, 137 Minutes
“Bitch, you don’t have a future.” – The Bride
I dropped my review of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 a week ago but I watched them back-to-back and reviewed them that way, as well. But I like to save my last review on Fridays for bigger, well-known films, so that’s why this one dropped out of sequence.
I wanted to watch these back-to-back primarily to get the full effect of the story. I’ve done that before but it’s been a really long time since I’ve watched these and I wanted to really make a day out of it due to how much I loved them when they were still fairly current films.
As I said at the end of my review for the previous film, it was a near masterpiece but it was also outdone by this movie.
I think the main reason for that, is that this one switches to more of a spaghetti western style than the Yakuza revenge flick the previous movie was. Martial arts are still alive and well in this picture, though, and it gives this a really unique feel. Also, despite the tonal differences in the films, the martial arts aspects still tie them together well and in some regards, this reminds me of the Kung-Fu television series, which oddly enough, also featured David Carradine, this film series’ primary antagonist.
I liked the spaghetti western feel because, well, I’m a big fan of that style. This was also Tarantino’s first attempt at delving into a western aesthetic and he did a tremendous job with it. Sure, this is more of a neo-western, as it is set in modern times but it kind of laid a solid foundation for him to build his skills off of in the genre. Without this, he may not have done Django Unchained or The Hateful Eight. Granted, in my opinion, this film is still superior to both of those.
Another thing that makes this the better half of the series, is that it is the culmination of everything that The Bride has set out to achieve. It’s the finale, the big final fight. But this also doesn’t give you a grand final battle. Instead, it subverts expectations in a beautiful and much more meaningful way. Unlike most modern filmmakers who like to take giant shits on well-established franchises like that never-been-laid fucknut Rian Johnson and that fart sommelier J. J. Abrams.
Anyway, the climax of the film is incredible and it has probably the best acting I’ve ever seen from David Carradine, as well as Uma Thurman. You believe that they have a lot of love between them, as well as a lot of anger and it’s fucking heartbreaking to watch, regardless of how many times you’ve seen it. Adding in the fact that there’s a young child placed between them makes the final showdown emotionally tragic but more complex and serious than it otherwise would’ve been. At this point, this moves beyond just being a simple revenge story, as the hope for a real life emerges at the end of The Bride’s violent journey.
Apart from the finale, the film also subverts expectations well in how Bud dies. He’s someone else on The Bride’s hitlist but he gets the best of The Bride and actually defeats her, quite easily. He underestimates her drive, though, and she goes right back on the hunt while he feels he’s safe from her wrath. However, by the time The Bride reaches him again, there’s a pretty big twist, which pits her against Elle, the second to last name on her list.
The fight between The Bride and Elle in Bud’s mobile home is damn good and it utilizes the cramped environment exceptionally well.
In the end, this is just a great fucking motion picture and one of Tarantino’s best, hands down. It’s my favorite and even though it’s not as talked about, these days, as his other movies, it’s still the best of the lot from where I stand.
Rating: 9.5/10 Pairs well with: the other Kill Bill films, as well as other movies by Quentin Tarantino, as well as the many films this homages.
Also known as: M:I-6, Mission: Impossible VI (alternative titles) Release Date: July 12th, 2018 (Paris premiere) Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie Written by: Christopher McQuarrie Based on:Mission: Impossible by Bruce Geller Music by: Lorne Balfe Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, Vanessa Kirby, Wes Bentley, Frederick Schmidt, Ross O’Hennessy, Wolf Blitzer (cameo)
“There cannot be peace without first a great suffering. The greater the suffering, the greater the peace. The end you’ve always feared… is coming. It’s coming, and the blood will be on your hands.” – Solomon Lane
These movies are so damn good! Well, at least from the third one forward. I’m still sour about my initial experience with M:I-2 from twenty years ago.
Anyway, this one is a hair below the previous chapter but it’s still a near perfect, spy thriller masterpiece.
There is really only one negative with this film and that’s the exclusion of Jeremy Renner. However, Renner had become too busy with his work as Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so his absence is understandable. Also, adding Henry Cavill to the cast was a massive plus, even if he doesn’t survive beyond this chapter… or so, one would assume.
Other than Renner, this brings back everyone from the previous film, as well as bringing back Michelle Monaghan in a role that was thankfully bigger than just an uncredited cameo like in the fourth movie.
This one also adds in Angela Bassett as the CIA director, who is a secondary antagonist until she sees the light and learns to trust America’s greatest hero, Ethan Hunt. We’re also introduced to a new character, played by Vanessa Kirby, who I sincerely hope returns in future films. Not just because she’s f’n gorgeous but because her character is really damn interesting, badass and I’d just like to see her get to develop more, as they keep pumping out these movies because Tom Cruise is ageless.
The plot feels a little heavy and overloaded but thankfully, by the end, everything kind of falls into place in a good way. I also felt like this didn’t just build off of its direct predecessor by featuring the same villain and key characters but it also sets up the future, as the main villain is still alive and one would assume that he will come back into play again, almost becoming Mission: Impossible‘s equivalent to James Bond‘s Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Plus, Sean Harris is f’n chilling as hell in this role and despite him being a monster, I want to see more of him. Although, I do eventually want to see him catch a bullet or an even more over-the-top death.
I think that my favorite thing about this film, though, was the rivalry and personal war that developed between Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and Henry Cavill’s August Walker. While Cavill dies, their final battle was so damn enjoyable that I wish he hadn’t. And no, I don’t think they’ll bring him back because that’d be stupid, based off of how he gets taken out, but killing him was a mistake due to how well he and Cruise worked together.
Additionally, the action in this chapter is top notch and nothing short of what you would expect.
I also feel like I need to give props to the film’s score by Lorne Balfe, who successfully experimented with the classic Mission: Impossible theme in multiple parts of the picture. I liked his fresh take on the score, as it felt like it belonged and didn’t come off as a composer trying too hard to stand out and make his own mark. It meshed well with what we’ve become used to over the last few films and just built off of that.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is impressive. But most importantly it was entertaining as hell and a shit ton of fun.
I’m also just going to come out and say that this series, after the disastrous second chapter, is my favorite film series post-2000. They’re consistently great, always leave me impressed and make me yearn for more.
Rating: 9.25/10 Pairs well with: the other Mission: Impossible films.
Also known as: Mission: Impossible 5 (working title), MI5 (informal title) Release Date: July 23rd, 2015 (Vienna premiere) Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie Written by: Christopher McQuarrie, Drew Pearce Based on:Mission: Impossible by Bruce Geller Music by: Joe Kraemer Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris
“I can’t protect you, that’s why I need you to leave.” – Ethan Hunt, “That’s not your decision to make, Ethan! I am a field agent, I know the risks! More than that, I am your friend, no matter what I tell the polygraph every week! Now you called me because you needed my help! And you still do! So I am staying! And that is all we are gonna say about that!” – Benji Dunn
Man, I was a fool for quitting this series after the pretty terrible second film. Each movie since then has gotten better and better and frankly, I’m incredibly impressed by these stupendous movies! I shouldn’t have ignored the hype, I should’ve bought in and just enjoyed these on the big screen. Well, thankfully there are two more installments currently being filmed.
Getting into this particular chapter of the franchise, all my favorite surviving members of the series are back and it’s great seeing them pick up where the fourth film left off while also adding in Alec Baldwin and Rebecca Ferguson, who I absolutely fucking loved in this. I’m glad they chose to let her stick around for more films after this one, as she hit it out of the park and became the best female in this series almost immediately. Although, I was curious about Paula Patton’s absence and hope that her character appears at some point again, in the future.
This chapter also establishes a great villain and villain group that our heroes have to face. It’s sort of like Ethan Hunt having to face his own version of James Bond‘s SPECTRE but a lot less hammy and a bit more scary, as these film’s tend to veer more towards realism than the classic SPECTRE stories in the earliest Bond movies.
And while this might easily be brushed off as a rehash of that idea or other similar stories with villainous, secret terrorist groups like Hydra or Cobra, this group feels more plausible in the real world.
As is customary with these awesome flicks, the movie is full of incredible stunts and action sequences. While I think the previous film edges out this one in that regard, this is a slightly better movie, overall. That has a lot to do with the story but also in how this expands the mythos in a cool new way while building up from the franchise’s very strong foundation (excluding M:I-2 of course).
In the end, this was near-fucking-perfect for what it is. It gives me hope for the sixth film, which I still haven’t seen, as well as the two sequels yet to come. If the series maintains its quality beyond this chapter, it may become my favorite franchise of the modern era, post-2000.
Rating: 9.5/10 Pairs well with: the other Mission: Impossible films.
Also known as: Heyday (fake working title), M:i:III (promotional abbreviation) Release Date: April 24th, 2006 (Rome premiere) Directed by: J. J. Abrams Written by: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J. J. Abrams Based on:Mission: Impossible by Bruce Geller Music by: Michael Giacchino Cast: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Simon Pegg, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Laurence Fishburne, Eddie Marsan, Greg Grunberg, Aaron Paul
“You can look at me with those judgmental eyes all you want, but I bullshit you not, I will bleed on the American flag to make sure those stripes stay red.” – Brassel
Mission: Impossible II was such a disappointment when I saw it in the theaters, that I never saw another Mission: Impossible film after it. However, I’ve heard great things about the more recent sequels and I’ve been motivated to go back and give the franchise another shot.
Having already revisited the first two films for review purposes, I have now reached the third one, which is the first one I’ve never seen. Granted, I knew about the gist of the story as a former roommate used to talk about the movie a lot. He was also a J. J. Abrams mark until 2009’s Star Trek kicked his hard-on into the sun.
Speaking of which, this is directed by J. J. Abrams. I actually have to say that this is one of the best films he’s directed, if not the best from the ones I’ve seen.
This actually doesn’t get wrecked by relying on too many of the tropes that have made some of Abrams’ other films and television shows, predictable and tiresome. Sure, there’s the whole MacGuffin thing and the big swerve and he also borrows heavily and obviously from other films, even ones in this picture’s own franchise, but the final product was entertaining and palatable.
The film is also helped by the performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Cruise and most of the other key players. Hoffman really stands out in this and I might even say that his talent far exceeded what was needed for this movie.
The action sequences were good, even if some of them felt familiar. The bridge battle, for instance, was very True Lies. However, at least sequences like that didn’t just outright copy their influences and tried to do something unique. Now had we had Cruise reaching for his wife to save her from her car going into the ocean, I probably would’ve called shenanigans much louder.
One thing I did like about this film is that it seemed more serious than the two before it. With that, it kind of reinvents the series and wipes away the gigantic misstep that was the second film. Because of that, this is the best film out of the first three.
In the end, this was a solid, fun movie with good action, good characters and a few performances that were much better than they had to be. Although, the twist ending about the bad guys having someone on the inside was just a rehash of the ending from the first movie and it was kind of lame. But I guess Abrams couldn’t help himself.
Rating: 8/10 Pairs well with: the other Mission: Impossible films.
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