Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Movie Review: The Mummy

There could be spoilers in here.  You might use caution if you worry about that.

I’ve been a Tom Cruise fan for a while.  My second book was a sort of fan fiction, based on fantasies about him — though I changed the name to make clear that this novel was about my fantasies, not about him.  I did get a bit turned off, because he left Nicole Kidman just at the time when my ex announced he was going to leave me. This was too close for comfort. A lot of my anger at my ex got transferred to him.

Still, I do sometimes like to see his movies.

I liked this one.  It got poor reviews, but I still liked it.  I’m not even sure it showed at my local multiplex.  I looked around for it. I had to see it in NYC. 

It was an old fashioned horror movie, with a mummy, zombies, plagues of vermin — and Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde thrown in.  That last was a bit strange — what was he doing here? But — hey — why not.

The mummy is fun.  She manages to be beautiful and hideous at the same time.  She vomits mercury.  Vomiting is gross, but mercury is beautiful.  She has a lovely body and parades around mostly naked — but pieces of her face are missing.  And she has the power to reduce buildings to dust — very cool — and summon the vermin.

This isn’t a really scary horror movie.  It’s not like I was ever tempted to scream, for instance.  It’s more of a fun horror movie — like “Wow!  Look at all our cool special effects!”

I think we’re sort of jaded about special effects.  If we had seen this movie 20 years ago, we likely would have been more impressed.  We shouldn’t be jaded.  The special effects are still amazing.

So Tom often gets bad reviews.  Critics sometimes accuse him of not being able to act.  Now that I’m acting, I’ve been thinking about this.

Watching this movie, do I really believe that Tom Cruise is a scuzzy scavenger who steals antiquities in the Middle East and callously hurts women with one night stands? No.  I think he’s a gorgeous, rich guy who lives in luxury, beams a million dollar smile, and mostly keeps his nose pretty clean — but who likes to pretend he’s a scuzzy character. 

Do I think seriously that this guy can single handedly fight off a half a dozen zombies simultaneously while driving a vehicle? No. It’s obviously ridiculously fake.

Does it make sense that he suddenly risks his life for this one night stand lady who he snuck out on leaving her asleep?  Does it make sense that he’s suddenly in love with her?  No — though I think guys do fall in love with women who they feel they can successfully rescue.

Does it makes sense how long he swims vigorously under water without breathing?  Probably not.

But that’s the fun of it. I see his basic enthusiasm coming through.  He’s having fun.  He loves doing this.  He loves the character.  He loves the special effects.  He wants to do scenes with rats crawling all over him.  He wants to get caught naked and act embarrassed (tho we suspect he isn’t at all embarrassed) == and he still looks remarkably good naked, BTW.  He wants to get to fight zombies.  He wants to meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, even though it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for them to show up here.  He just wanted to cram it all in — an old fashioned horror movie with modern special effects.

There were fairly young boys in the theater.  They weren’t scared.  They were eating popcorn & having a good time, watching Tom do all this fun stuff.

Also, there were the mandatory running scenes.  I guess he’s not really running as fast as he looks as he’s running, because the beautiful actress running with him doesn’t seem to have that much trouble keeping up — but Tom runs with total commitment.  You think he’s running fast. There are YouTube videos devoted to him running https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8Q2MgdMskQ He’s very graceful when he runs.  There’s smoothness to it.  You see feet off the ground a lot.

Let’s contrast this movie with “The Revenant.”  I was recommended to see that other movie by an acting professional — a guy who teaches acting.  He loved it … it was so well done from a professional point of view.  The acting was superb.  The cinematography was gorgeous.  Professionals loved that movie

I hated “The Revenant.”  You really believed that Leonardo DiCaprio was this dying nut, slogging through the freezing wilderness, seeking vengeance for his dead son.  You really believed that he was in pain, dying — that the wilderness was harsh, unforgiving.  You could feel it.  It was awful.  It was so long — so painful — so convincing.  Blecch.  Not fun.

I go to the movies to be entertained, not tortured.

Then there was this whole interchange with the critics.  Where Tom says he makes movies for fans not critics.  And critics say that's the wrong attitude. But I can see his point.  Critics like movies like "The Revenant."  That movie is art.  It appeals to the refined tastes of people who taste movies like fine wines.    The Mummy is a movie -- a movie where you go hang out and maybe eat popcorn -- not a movie for critics.

Anyway, so, yes.  Bring those pre-pubescent boys, not really young ones, not under 8, but ones who want to see a lot of chasing and punching — or maybe early teens.  This is likely right for them.

And just relax.  Don’t expect to actually feel like you’re going through this with a real person on screen.  It’s fun.  It’s a show. 

I liked it. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Reading signs

I see a pretty moth on the trail. It gives me quite a show, flapping its wings, allowing me to film it,  and even comes by my feet and again flaps its lovely wings for me. Should I be honored at this display? Or should I regard it as an ominous sign, because the predominant color of the moth is black? Or will I be accused of being racist for even asking this question?

video