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Movie Review: “The Mummy” is a Mediocre Summer Blockbuster

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Just a heads up, this is NOT a reboot of the “The Mummy”(1999) film starring Brendan Fraser. Universal Pictures has relaunched classic monster movie characters as part of the Dark Universe franchise, beginning with “The Mummy” (2017).

Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, a US soldier in Iraq who in his free time steals priceless antiquities with his reluctant partner in crime, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson).

During one of their “hunts for gold”, the two men and archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) stumble upon the remains of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was entombed for eternity after her treacherous acts of evil five thousand years ago. By uncovering her remains they have also awakened her spirit, allowing Ahmanet to finally finish out her plan to rule the world.

Okay, so the plot is pretty thin and hardly original, but the movie does have it’s entertaining moments thanks to Cruise and Johnson’s comic relief and the constant action-packed sequences.

The film also eases us into another Dark Universe character, Dr. Henry Jekyll, adequately played by Russell Crowe. Though his character was there to study Ahmanet, and be another obstacle for Nick and his quest to escape the supernatural madness, somehow Dr. Jekyll felt forced in this story. However, the possibility for an interesting Dr. Jekyll is there and I’m looking forward to seeing Crowe as the lead in a Jekyll and Hyde origin film.

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“The Mummy” as a whole isn’t much to brag about. The entire cast does a decent job, and the story is very basic. What we currently have here is an average, but fun fantasy adventure that has gotten the ball rolling on what is suppose to compete against Marvel and DC movies. Luckily, “The Mummy” has set the bar real low for the future Dark Universe films.

This film will probably get a lot of negative reaction as it brings nothing fresh beyond some jokes and cool CGI. Yet, I can’t help but see potential in what’s to come. Once the franchise finds its footing and brings this world together in a more natural way, it could be something special? Or maybe I’m just being optimistic, who knows!

In a summer filled with anticipated blockbusters it’s hard to say that “The Mummy” will rise above movies like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or “Wonder Woman”. However, if you’ve already seen those two films and you’re looking for a quick thrill to satisfy you in theaters till “Spider-man: Homecoming” comes out, then “The Mummy” is worth a few bucks.

Rating: 3/5

“The Mummy” opens in theaters June 9.

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Movie Review: “The Fate of the Furious” Surprisingly Entertains

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For many of you, it’s no surprise that the 8th installment of the Fast and Furious franchise is actually a fun watch. However, since I haven’t enjoyed these films since the first one, “Fate of the Furious” was oddly refreshing.

In comparison to “Furious 7”, this sequel has a more focused plot, better humor, and more jaw-dropping special effects.

“The Fate of the Furious” reunites the films’ core crew of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, and later additions Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. And even though Paul Walker is no longer with us, he is still recognized and even honored in this movie.

Without giving too much away, “The Fate of the Furious” continues with the theme of the family. This time with an expansion of family. This is very clear after the first sequence in which Dom (Diesel) beats a random guy in a car race and a street full of kids begin to surround them and cheer him on. In the midst of the praises, Letty (Rodriguez) notices a couple with a baby and then turns to Dom, asking him if he’s thought about having kids. Next, is a scene with Hobbs (Johnson) and his daughter, and so on…We see what the film is trying to relay here.

One day while Dom is walking on his way home, he runs into cyber-terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) who blackmails him into her latest mission, forcing him to turn on his crew. His team and the entire audience is bewildered by his betrayal, which leads to one ridiculous car crash after another as they hunt down Dom from places like New York to Berlin.

Like every Fast and Furious film there are flaws. As predicted, there are numerous unrealistic car chases. It’s mind-boggling how everyone can just jump out of an insanely fast car with no more than a scratch. And of course, there’s also the painfully cheesy one-liners which have lessened this time around, more so due to the fact that Vin Diesel has been given less dialogue.  Wise choice on the screenwriter’s part since Diesel is the weakest actor of the bunch and shines much more when he’s just looking tough or angry, or basically not speaking at all.

On the other hand, Diesel’s costar’s Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are much better performers and steal the show with their love/hate banter. And as silly as Theron’s hair may look, it doesn’t take away from her role as a truly heartless and conniving villain.

So, yes, as expected there is plenty to laugh and roll your eyes at in this film. But there is also a lot to be in awe of, mainly the incredibly entertaining action sequences and the few twists and turns that go along with it.

“The Fate of the Furious” has its speed bumps, but stays on a fun track.

Rating: 3/5

“The Fate of the Furious” opens in theaters April 14.

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Interview: Evan Ross & Wes Chatham talk “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 2”

The wildly successful “Hunger Game” franchise concludes with the much-anticipated finale, “Mockingjay Part Two.” I sat down with stars Evan Ross (son of Diana Ross) and Wes Chatham (The Help) about the climatic finale.

“Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 2” Interview with Evan Ross and Wes Chatham

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Interview: Nicola Peltz & Jack Reynor talk “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

I had some great laughs during my interview with Nicola Peltz  & Jack Reynor for the blockbuster hit, “Transformers Age Of Extinction“. A couple weeks ago we discussed their first impressions of each other, which animated series they would want to see turned into a live action film, and what movie inspired them to become actors.

Aired originally on ICTN’s About Towne.

Click here to watch Interview with Nicola Peltz & Jack Reynor

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Interview: “Divergent” Stars Miles Teller & Jai Courtney talk Heart Throb Status and More!

It’s the most anticipated film of the year.  Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now) and Theo James (Underworld: Awakening) is sure to have as much success as The Hunger Games and Twilight trilogies.

The first installment of the saga is set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into five distinct factions based on their personalities.  Tris (Woodley) discovers that she is Divergent, meaning she does not fit into any of the factions; and soon discovers that in order to stay alive she must hide in a faction.  The only problem is she chooses the most physically challenging one, Dauntless meaning “the brave.”  As she struggles and fights through most of the film to prove herself to her new faction, she encounters many obstacles.  This includes the hard-headed, tough leader Eric (Jai Courtney) and a non-stop competitive bully, Peter (Miles Teller).   While training for Dauntless, Tris uncovers a horrifying plot forming in her seemingly perfect society.

The film held a special premiere in Dallas a couple weeks back.  The “bad boys” themselves, Miles Teller and Jai Courtney, walked the red carpet and took pictures with many extremely enthusiastic Divergent fans.  The next morning I got a chance to sit down with the two stars at Dallas’ Ritz Carlton Hotel to discuss the movie, the fans, and their fears.  Now don’t be fooled by the characters they play.  Their kindness and dry sense of humor made for one hilarious interview.

Miles Teller and Jai Courtney: “Divergent” Video Interview

I have to give you guys props for last night on the red carpet.  You handled your fans really well.  I mean right when you (pointing to Miles) walked in, I saw you take a picture with a girl and she just grabbed your face and kissed you on the cheek.

Miles: “Yeah, yeah…”

Jai: “He’s use to that though; that happens all the time.”

Miles: “Yeah that’s, uh, you know, that’s a part of the business when you’re a heart throb (Jai laughs)… No.  This one girl was like can I touch your hair?  And I was like, yeah, sure.  And she was like “oh God!” (Pulls hair and shakes head aggressively)  Alright, so now I know if somebody asks “can I touch your hair?”  I’m going to say “no.”  So, like, you learn as you go.  It’s hard in the moment though.  It’s like; you (points to Jai) kissed a girl last night.  You kissed a girl on the cheek, you told me.”

Jai: “I was kissing girls all over the place.  It’s a free country.”

Miles: “Yeah, it’s a free country (laughs).”

                                                                                                                                             

Clearly your fans are very bold.  What’s the boldest thing so far on this tour that a fan has done to you guys?

Miles: “Well this is our first stop on the tour…”

Jai: “Yeah that was it.  You saw all of it.  But it’s only going to get bolder from here.”

Miles: “…but teenage girls, they can be aggressive.  I see One Direction videos, they’re…I mean no I don’t, (whispers) love them, Harry Style’s is my fav.” (Jai laughs)

                                                                                                                                             

Well you two play some not so nice characters in this movie. But I’d say the biggest “jerk moment” from both of y’all is probably when Eric had Peter beat up Tris.

Jai: “Woah!”

Miles: “Well that’s a little; I mean it’s not really revealed like that.”

Jai: “I mean, it’s part of the training.  I didn’t have Peter beat up Tris.”

Miles: “Yeah.”

I mean you basically set it up.

Miles: “Oh my God, obviously she’s on Tris’ side were not going to win this argument.”

Jai: “You’ve misinterpreted things grossly.”

Miles: “I mean we’re just trying to survive Dauntless; is all we’re trying to do.”

Jai: “It’s a training exercise.  She’s going to face tougher guys than Peter out there in the real world.”

Miles: “Yeah, I mean not tougher, but (Miles takes at a tough man sniff) taller.”

Jai: “Yeah, taller.”

                                                                                                                                     

So obviously that scene wasn’t hard for you guys to shoot at all then?

Jai: Morally?  No (Shakes head).

Miles: “Well I mean Shai, at first; they did it with Shailene’s stunt double.  And they said look three guys grab her.  And they told the stunt double to; you know, kick and do all that.  And she beat the crap out of these three dudes.  So I was nervous to get in there.  But then they said, yo, choke Shailene out.  And I was, like, get in here.  Come to daddy.  So, you know, just a little bit of that.”

                                                                                                                                         

The funny thing is that there are some fans that want Peter and Tris together, even though he’s so horrible to her.

Miles: “I know right?”

And I think that stems from a girl wanting a bad boy still.  Why do you guys think girls want the bad guy, even when they’re so horrible to them?

Miles: “I mean we’re more exciting.  You know, like, nice is very cliché.  You want a nice guy to go to the donut shop.  If you want a bad boy, you better be able to role with the punches.  (Jai laughs) We’re sexy.  We look good in leather.

Jai: “Right?” (Looks to me)

Miles: “You tell me.  What are you into?  Do you like a bad boy?”

I think I like a… well there is an excitement to them, but I prefer a gentleman, and you can be a bad boy as long as you’re a gentleman.

Jai: “You can be a bad boy and a gentleman.”

Miles: “Right, well I think that girls think that they can make a bad guy change.  I think for girls that’s the challenge.  But most of the time, they don’t change.  But I’d love for Peter and Tris to hook up.”

I think I’d like to see that.

Jai: “Yeah I’d watch that.”

Miles: “Yeah, right?”

                                                                                                                                                  

We get to see a lot of the characters greatest fears in this movie, and like Four said, “Everybody is afraid of something.”  So what is something that you guys are afraid of?

Jai: “I’m not much into arachnidan.”

Miles: “What is, is that a spider?

Jai: “Yeah, Not into spiders.”

Miles: “Spiders or snakes, what would freak you out more?  Cause there’s two different movies about them?”

Jai: “See snakes don’t freak me out.  I don’t want to get bitten by one, but like I would hold one.”

Miles: “You would hold one?  You’re cool with that?  What about sharks, great white sharks?”

Jai: “Grew up wrestling them dude.”

You (To Jai) are a bad boy.

Jai: “You know it.” (Miles laughs)

Miles: I don’t like cats, I’m not afraid of them…

Jai: “Cats suck!  I’m with you on that.”

Miles: “…I’m allergic to them.  I feel like a cat is, like, plotting to kill me.”

Jai: “We’re going to lose fans here.”

Miles: “Were going to lose our cat audience here.  That’s fine; we got our dog audience…Oh, losing my youth!  I’m afraid, I mean, I’m not afraid of getting old.”

Jai: “You’re getting old man.”

Miles: “Dude, you’re like 32 years-old man.”

Jai: “We’re the same age brother.”

Miles: “No we’re not!”

Jai: “Yes, we are (Laughs).”

Miles: “There’s no way this (Points to himself) is the same age, man.  Look at you.”

Jai: “He can’t come to grips with that.”

 

To set the record straight, both Miles and Jai are 27 years-old.

 

Divergent hits theaters March 21.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

Interview: Aaron Paul & Scott Waugh talk “Need for Speed”

Aaron Paul, widely known for his two time Emmy winning role as Jesse Pinkman on the hit series Breaking Bad,  skips the the meth and focuses on revenge in the new action blockbuster, Need for Speed.

Need for Speed is a fun thrill ride that is enjoyable for all audiences.  The script does lack depth and may not be the most original premise, but Paul’s always incredible acting and the amazingly shot sequences will have you so captivated you may not even notice.

I got a chance to sit down with Aaron Paul and the director of the film, Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) to discuss the movie, horrible past jobs, cars, and more!

Click Here for Aaron Paul & Scott Waugh Interview

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Need for Speed hits theaters today!

Movie Review: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Burns Brighter than the First

If for some reason you thought Jennifer Lawrence would get lazy or dial it back a bit after her Oscar win last year, you would be incredibly wrong.  If anything, she’s proving that she would be worthy of many more!

Now I loved the first Hunger Games, but Catching Fire is in every way better than the first.  The actors seem more mature and comfortable.  There is more character development and much more chemistry between Katniss and both of her love interests, Peeta and Gale.  And overall the directing was better.

In the second installment of the Hunger Games franchise, Katniss has returned home to District 12 after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta.  As Katniss and Peeta are about to start a victory tour around the country, President Snow pays her a visit.  He explains that when she defied the Capitol by breaking the rules so that she and Peeta could both survive the last Hunger Games, she inspired rebellions in the districts.  Now she must continue to pretend to be in love with Peeta, or her family will be killed.  The two play along well and keep up the charade to avoid any conflict with Snow.  However, after Peeta, Katniss and Haymitch save Gale during a dispute with the Commander, Snow becomes angry over a “once again” defiance.

Snow announces that the 75th Hunger Games will be the Quarter Quell, meaning a new rule will be added to the games.  In an attempt to show the Capitol is still powerful, the new rule states that existing victors from each district much compete again!

This film allows us to get to know all the characters a lot better.  It was nice to see Effie as part of the Katniss team along with Peeta and Haymich.    Stanley Tucci as Caasar still makes for some great comic relief.  And thank you Jena Malone, who plays the blunt Johanna Mason, for continuously saying what everyone in the theater was thinking.  The best thing about Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is how you could feel every emotion Katniss was feeling.  Whether it was the reminder of Rue’s death, or even the love she feels for Peeta and Gale.  Whatever the emotion, she nailed it and it will be the reason that you may tear up at multiple times through out the film.

Though the premise may sound like a repeat of the first film, it’s not.  They are heading in a completely different direction, and with a more central focus of “remembering who the real enemy is.”  With the films just picking up right where they left off, the build up has audiences anticipating something big.

It is an absolute must see for everyone, even if you haven’t read the books (like me).  I assure you it is a film that not only entertains visually and mentally, but it accomplishes one of the main reasons I love film; an escape from the stress of our lives.  Catching Fire might just be one of the best films of the year so far!

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is in theaters now!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Official Theatrical Trailer HD