Drew’s Movie Reviews Turns 4! Anniversary Celebration: My Fave Five New Movies I Watched in Year 4

Hello, friends!

I’m happy to see you could make it to my blogiversary celebration! Four years ago today, I took the plunge and started this little blog of mine. To celebrate this milestone, I have reviewed all three of the Brendan Frasier Mummy films.  If you missed any of them, here they are:

The Mummy
The Mummy Returns
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

I have seen some great, and not so great, films over the past 365 days.  Per tradition, here are my five favorite films I watched during my fourth year of blogging.

Wonder Woman movie poster5) Wonder Woman

I had a hard time deciding what movie was going to fill this fifth spot. This slot also could have gone to Spider-Man: Homecoming or Atomic Blonde. Instead, I chose Wonder Woman for several reasons. First of which, Gal Gadot makes for the perfect Wonder Woman. Also, it gives girls a female superhero they can look up to. But finally, DC finally made a good superhero movie as part of their Extended Universe (DCEU). The final act left a lot to be desired and turned into your hero vs villain slug fest. However, I think the first two-thirds made up for it easily.

John Wick: Chapter 2 movie poster4) John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick made my top films of Year 2 and I rated Chapter 2 higher so it should come as no surprise this made the list again this year. Chapter 2 does everything that a good sequel should do: ups the stakes for the the main character, develop the main character more, and build the world around them. John Wick definitely had a lot more to deal with but we also learned a lot more about his past. My favorite thing about these movies is the assassin underworld it created. In the first film, only the surface was explored. Like Wick’s past, we learn much more about this assassin world.  Going into the film, I wasn’t sure that I wanted a second John Wick movie but now I can’t wait for the third.

Moana movie poster3) Moana

Disney has been on an awesome trend lately of making great films and Moana keeps the trend going. Auli’i Cravalho, a first-time actress, does wonderfully as the titular character. Dwayne Johnson has quickly become one of my favorite actors at the moment and Maui was the role he was born to play.  I could honestly go on and on about how much I love this film but you can just read my review for all that. 😛

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie poster2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I honestly wasn’t a big fan of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. As a result, I was a little more weary going into Rogue One than I would have expected. This movie seems to be one of the more polarizing films among Star Wars fans but I greatly enjoyed it. Several characters did not get the development the deserved, mostly the movie saw them as expendable. However, this is one of the most action-heavy chapters of the Star Wars saga. The final third of the film was one giant action scene that eclipses the last third of The Return of the Jedi. It also gave fans one of the most badass Darth Vader scenes. What more could you ask for?

Your Name movie poster1) Your Name

Not to sound like an insensitive jerk, but I have never been so happy for someone to have gotten sick than when my buddy’s wife got sick, leaving him with an extra ticket to the limited theatrical release of Your Name. Because had she been healthy, I would have missed this wonderful film. The best word to describe this film is gorgeous. And the story is equally as beautiful and engaging. It’s funny to see interviews with the director saying he doesn’t feel this film should be getting all the praise it has because I think it deserves all that praise and then some. Your Name isn’t only one of the best films I have seen in the last year, it is one of the best films I have seen ever.


And that’s it! I have finished another year at DMR. I can’t thank all of you enough. Every like and comment remind me why I’m still blogging. Your love and support means the world to me and I would not be here without you. Thank you all so much! Let’s make year five even more memorable. 😀

Until next time, cheers!

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Review

Synopsis
Alex O’Connell (Luke Ford), trying to escape the shadow of his famous parents Rick (Brendan Frasier) and Evelyn (Maria Bello) O’Connell, locates the cursed first Emperor of Qin (Jet Li) in China. However, General Yang (Anthony Chau-Sang Wong) is also after the Emperor to resurrect him to rule the world. When the Emperor is awakened, the O’Connells must once again stop a terrible evil from taking over the world.

Review
It seems that in today’s movie landscape, studios try to milk their successful franchises for every cent they can. Brendan Frasier’s Mummy series is one such casualty. Released seven years after The Mummy Returns, Universal brings Rick O’Connell (Frasier) out of retirement to once again battle a mummy, one that is not Imhotep this time, and does so with a different creative team. The results, as you might guess, are a bit of a mixed bag.

The mummy this time, known as The Emperor, is played by Jet Li, who does well with such a one-dimensional character. Although his good performance might be because the role is much more action-heavy this time than Arnold Vosloo’s role as the mummy and Li excels at such action sequences. However, the character seemed to lack any motivation except for personal power, which is pretty generic. I wasn’t expecting anything deep from this sort of film but at least Imhotep’s actions were fueled by his love for Anck-Su-Namun.

Rachel Weisz did not return for this film. Instead, the role of Evelyn was played by Maria Bello. As Evy, I don’t think Bello did a bad job. She held her own during the action sequences and I don’t really have anything negative about her acting. However, throughout the entire movie, there was this small feeling like there was something off. She merely lacked the chemistry Weisz did with Frasier. It felt like they were simply going through the motions and didn’t feel like they were having as much fun together as Frasier and Weisz did. Although, Bello did have a good introduction scene which clearly noted she was not the same Evy as before.

Speaking of no chemistry, an older Alex O’Connell (who lost his English accent somewhere over the years) is played by Luke Ford. Alex forms a relationship with Lin (Isabella Leong), a protector of the Emperor’s tomb because how dare there be a young, handsome man in an action movie who doesn’t have a love interest. Like Frasier and Bello, Ford and Leong lack the chemistry to make their characters’ relationship feel genuine. That’s not even including the writing that makes it feel forced. Their entire relationship feels shoehorned in because they wanted a new couple by the end of the film.

I think this movie’s biggest flaw, though, is that it lacks the fun the previous two Mummy movies possessed. It is much more action-oriented than the previous films and lacking the comedy element. Which is not entirely a bad thing since there are plenty of action movies that don’t have a comedic component. However, there was a sense of whimsical fun the other films had that made them extremely entertaining, even if slightly campy. There is just too much seriousness in this film for the franchise it is a part of.

I thought The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was OK 😐 As an action movie, it’s pretty good but when it is compared as a Mummy movie to the rest in the series, it doesn’t hold up. The sense of fun feels left behind and there is a lack of chemistry between the actors. This is one franchise where the studio should have left well enough alone.

Also read my reviews for The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Rob Cohen – Director
Alfred Gough – Writer
Miles Miller – Writer
Randy Edelman – Composer

Brendan Frasier – Rick O’Connell
Maria Bello – Evelyn O’Connell
John Hannah – Jonathan Carnahan
Luke Ford – Alex O’Connell
Isabella Leong – Lin
Michelle Yeoh – Zi Yuan
Jet Li – Emperor
Anthony Chau-Sang Wong – General Yang
Jessey Meng – Choi
Liam Cunningham – “Mad Dog” Maguire
David Calder – Roger Wilson

Lightning Review: The Mummy Returns

Synopsis
Meela (Patricia Velasquez) the reincarnation of Anck-Su-Namun, locates Imhotep’s (Arnold Vosloo) body in the city of Hamunaptra. She hopes to use Imhotep’s powers to defeat the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson) and take control of the army he commands. Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) calls upon Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frasier) and his wife Evy (Rachel Weisz) to once again defeat Imhotep.

Review
What makes The Mummy so enjoyable is that it never took itself seriously and just had fun with its story. The Mummy Returns is much of the same which, like any sequel, is both a good and bad. The core group of Brendan Frasier, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and Arnold Vosloo returns and have the same fantastic chemistry from before. Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bay has a much bigger role this time around and syncs with the group very well. The film’s sense of humor is pretty much the same as before, although the comedy is not as prominent this time around. It seems this time, there was more of a skew towards the action-adventure side of things instead of a pretty even balance like before. Not that that’s good or bad, it just gives the film a different feel. Newcomer Shaun Parkes as Rick’s pilot pal Izzy is my favorite of the new members of the cast but he feels underused, especially since he is a funny addition. The Mummy Returns is Dwayne Johnson’s first big movie role. I say big but he only appears in the opening scene and as CGI in the final battle scene, which has not aged well at all.

I thought The Mummy Returns was GOOD 🙂 While not nearly as charming as The Mummy, it is still a decent popcorn flick.

Also read my reviews of The Mummy and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Stephen Sommers – Director / Writer
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Brendan Frasier – Rick O’Connell
Rachel Weisz – Evelyn Carnahan
John Hannah – Jonathan Carnahan
Freddie Boath – Alex O’Connell
Arnold Vosloo – Imhotep
Oded Fehr – Ardeth Bay
Patricia Velasquez – Meela / Anck-Su-Namun
Alun Armstrong – Mr. Hafez
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – Lock-Nah
Shaun Parkes – Izzy
Dwayne Johnson – The Scorpion King

The Mummy (1999) Review

The Mummy (1999) movie posterSynopsis
Evy (Rachel Weisz) is a librarian who is interested in Egypt’s history. When her brother Jonathan (John Hannah) introduces her to Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frasier), who has been to the hidden city of Hamunaptra, the three of them set off for the city. While in Hamunaptra, they inadvertently release Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), an ancient evil who had been sealed away for more than three thousand years.

Review
If you’ve read my list of my five favorite films from my childhood, then you will know that The Mummy was a go-to film for me in my younger years. If you didn’t know that, well then now you do. Sometimes watching a film as an adult that you loved as a child can skew your viewpoint as to whether or not the film is actually good or you just like it now because you liked it then. Could this be the case for me with The Mummy? Do nostalgia goggles make me like this movie more than I should? No, not at all.

Even after nearly 20 years later, I still find myself continually enjoying this film. A lot of that comes from the three main protagonists. Brendan Frasier, Rachel Weisz, and John Hannah are simply marvelous together. It’s hard to pick a favorite our of the three. Frasier as Rick O’Connell has the action side of things down. O’Connell is the leader of the three, showing them how to get to Hamunaptra, always ready for any fight, whether that is with his fists or with one of the many guns in his arsenal. Evy, played by Weisz, hasn’t been out in the field much but is very knowledgeable in Egyptian history, easily filling a role neither of the boys could do. Even though Frasier gets many of the film’s comedic moments, most of them belong to Hannah’s Jonathan, Evy’s kleptomaniac and somewhat self-centered brother.

Besides perfect casting, the three leads have great synergy. The three of them together result in several of the best scenes of the film. It is clear that they were having a good time and were having fun making the movie, which makes it more enjoyable for the audience in turn. Each character had their own voice and personality, allowing for each one to have a unique part so they didn’t all feel like similar characters, which it feels like some comedies do. It wasn’t just the heroes who stand out but the main villain as well. Arnold Vosloo was great as Imhotep, the titular mummy. Vosloo has noble malice about him that fits Imhotep perfectly.

One of The Mummy’s strongest aspects is that it has a clear sense of identity. Yes, the film is based of the 1930s horror classic, and it payed homage to that by trying to add a few scares every here and there, but it is primarily an action/adventure/comedy film and it understood that. There was a good balance between the action and the comedy. It’s also a little cheesy but it embraced it. I think a lot of this came down to the actors. As I said before, they were clearly having fun and it prevented the moving from taking itself too seriously, embracing itself for what it is.

This sense of identity and balance between action and comedy gave the movie a good pace. It moved quick but not too quick. There was plenty of action but it never became too much. The story was understandable but not too complicated or too simplistic. It kept moving forward without being bogged down by unnecessary side plots or characters. Writer/director Stephen Sommers did a great job finding the perfect balance.

I thought The Mummy was GREAT 😀 It is hard to pick what I like best about this film. Brendan Frasier, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and Arnold Vosloo all did fantastic with their parts and meshed well together. The story is simple yet fun, and the film feels much shorter than it is. I find myself watching this movie on a regular basis and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Also read my reviews of The Mummy Returns and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Favorite Quote
Evelyn: You lied to me.
Jonathan: I lie to everybody. What makes you so special?
Evelyn: I am your sister.
Jonathan: Yes, well that just makes you more gullible.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Stephen Sommers – Director / Screenplay / Story
Lloyd Fonvielle – Story
Kevin Jarre – Story
Jerry Goldsmith – Composer

Brendan Fraser – Rick O’Connell
Rachel Weisz – Evelyn Carnahan
John Hannah – Jonathan Carnahan
Arnold Vosloo – Imhotep
Kevin J. O’Connor – Beni Gabor
Jonathan Hyde – Dr. Allen Chamberlan
Oded Fehr – Ardeth Bay
Erick Avari – Dr. Terrence Bey
Stephen Dunham – Mr. Henderson
Corey Johnson – Mr. Daniels
Tuc Watkins – Mr. Burns
Omid Djalili – Warden Gad Hassan
Bernard Fox – Captain Winston Havlock
Patricia Velasquez – Anck Su Namun
Aharon Ipale – Pharoh Seti I

Christmas in July Blogathon 2017 Wrap-Up

Hello, friends! Well, here we are at the end of this year’s festivities. In case you missed any of them, here are all the entries this year:

Silent Night Review (Darren)
Die Hard Review (Rob)
Top Twelve Less Obvious Christmas Movies (SG)
Santa Claws Review (Keith)
Edward Scissorhands Review (Kelechi)
5 Christmas Movies to Show My Daughter (Allie)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Carl)
Best Christmas Scenes in Movies (Kim)

Since I didn’t have an entry this year (in my own blogathon, the shame!), you haven’t seen yet who I am inviting to our holiday party. My guest is a YouTube personality that I have greatly enjoyed following. She is a violinist who covers songs from movies, video games, and anime. She also has several albums of original music. Every party needs great musical entertainment, so I am inviting Taylor Davis.

Let’s take a final look at our guest list:

Damn. Now that’s a guest list I can get behind! HUGE thank you to all of the participants this year! All of you make this such fun. 🙂 Alas, the 2017 Christmas in July Blogathon has officially concluded. However, do not fret! This was only meant to tide you over until the actual holiday season, which if you are keeping track (which I’m sure Allie is), is less than five months away. It will be here before you know it.

But, wait! I’m not done yet. July 30th marks my fourth blogiversary. To celebrate, I’m reviewing one of my favorite trilogies: the Brendan Frasier Mummy trilogy. Well, maybe the third one isn’t high on my favorites but the first two make up for it. Anyway, those will be posted across the next two days. I look forward to you joining me in those festivities as well. 😀

Until next time, cheers!

The Best Christmas Scenes in Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2017

And here we are, the final entry of this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon. And what a better way to end it than with my friend and Ultimate Decades co-host, Kim of Tranquil Dreams. I could list everything she does on her site but that would take way too long. If you some how don’t follow her already, head over to her site once you’re finished here and give it a look. A movie doesn’t have to be all about Christmas. Some movies just have a single Christmas scene then move on. Kim is here to celebrate those little Christmas moments in non-Christmas films.


Isn’t July such a great month? Isn’t Christmas also such a fantastic holiday? It is why this blogathon is such fun to put together. Yay to Drew for getting this together. Everyone talks about the Christmas movies a lot and say Die Hard and Lethal Weapon being a non-traditional Christmas movie all the time. A lot of movies, non-traditional ones, have some great scenes and here are my Top 5 in no particular order.

Christmas/Yule Ball – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire stirs up some great memories, mostly of lining up 3 hours on day 1 at the theatres and while not a Christmas movie, although I do have friends that marathon this during Christmas, one of the best scenes is the Christmas, or Yule, Ball as everyone takes a break from the dangerous magical competition and celebrate the holiday. It is a pivotal moment in the movie where the characters and their relationships start becoming more complex. Hermione looks beautiful. Overall, it is a magical Christmas…literally.

Christmas Gift(s) – Lady and the Tramp

In my mind, Disney has a lot of Christmas scenes tucked away here and there but I could be wrong, however nothing beats the cuteness overload in Lady and the Tramp (one of my favorite Disney movies) as they wrap up the movie with this Christmas scene and all the baby Ladies and Tramps rolling on the floor. I love dogs and puppies just steal my heart away every single time. If you think carefully though, Lady and the Tramp starts with Lady being gifted to from Jim Dear to Darling for Christmas.

Jingle Bell Rock – Mean Girls

It comes as no surprise that Mean Girls is on this list. Jingle Bell Rock performance is a must for the mean girls, aka The Plastics in the annual Winter Talent Show. The scene itself is a pivotal point that changes the roles and importance. It’s funny, uncomfortable and awkward. There are character tensions and changes in characters. Jingle Bell Rock is just a great Christmas song also.

Today For You – Rent

Rent starts (and I think ends) on Christmas. It mixes in so many emotions and themes. The songs are completely reflective of the story. Christmas never comes better in a fun performance that introduces Angel to everyone with an energetic and pretty funny performance of Today For You. Angle is a ray of positivity and sunshine despite all her own problems to the downer that the movie started on with losing power and starving in the cold.

Christmas with Strangers – While You Were Sleeping

I know this choice seems a little like it’s straddling the sidelines of non-traditional Christmas flick since it’s set mostly on the holidays but it is primarily a romantic comedy set during Christmas so doesn’t really count as a Christmas movie (even if I watch it a lot during the holidays). However, you can watch this any old day and still just fall in love with Bill Pullman and Sandra Bullock and pretty much everyone here. Christmas with strangers seems weird especially when they mistake your identity but it sure was a warm  and fun celebration. Not to mention, she wakes up the next morning and bumps into Bill Pullman’s character and stand under the mistletoe. So many moments, so hard to decide.

Honorable Mention: Batman Returns

I remembered this scene by accident as I was looking up other Christmas scenes. So I guess I’ll toss this in honorable mention as I can’t remember the exact scenario and really can’t elaborate on it too much. Batman is frequently set during Christmas so its a pretty solid choice for a non-traditional film in general.

As for my Christmas guest, it’s really hard to decide. I just finished Pretty Little Liars and Season 7 made realize how much I wanted these two characters to get together and that they really are the best for each other (of course, my dreams don’t come true and I’m sure this isn’t a spoiler) so even with long hair, I still think this guy is super good-looking and charming as heck and yup, Drew Van Acker…again.

Thanks so much again for Drew on hosting this blogathon!


Thanks, Kim! And that’s it! The final participant in the blogathon. If you missed any entries, I will be back shortly with the list of all of them, as well as my guests that I am inviting to our holiday party. Be there or be square.

Until next time, cheers!