The Mummy – A Movie Review


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The Mummy

I am not a movie critic. And, by that I mean, I am not critical of movies in the manner in which those who have more refined tastes might be. I tend to know what I am going to like going into a film and tend to buy tickets to movies I know I am going to enjoy. Additionally, I typically set my expectations where I think they will be met.

So, while some films disappoint others because they fail to be more than they suggest they will be, I often find myself saying of those sorts of movies: that was just what I expected and wanted.

Case-in-point: The Mummy.

This Tom Cruise vehicle was exactly what it looked like it would be: an over-the-top romp with solid action, simple characterization and tongue-in-cheek dialogue.

Cruise stars as Nick Morton, an unscrupulous solider of fortune who finds himself in the wrong place at the right time when he and his sidekick Chris Vial (delightfully assayed by Jake Johnson) accidentally unearth the titular mummy’s tomb. Suspecting there is money to be made, Nick ensures that the sarcophagus of the mummy is raised and that he is along for the ride back to London with it.

What could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, pretty much everything.

It is spoiling little to mention that transport of the mummy is interrupted by a plane crash that all of the characters do not survive. Following the crash, some resurrections and chase scenes, the mummy ends up in the heart of London, reanimated, angry and harboring an intense fixation on Tom Cruise’s Nick.

Let the games begin.

And let yourself go. Know what the movie is and you will enjoy it. Expect high art and you might be disappointed.

Sofia Boutella is the mummy and she is making something of a career out of playing characters buried under piles of makeup. While she was far more engaging (and playing a much more developed part) in last summer’s Star Trek Beyond, she is more than up to the challenge of playing the raving and revenge seeking mummy and, if the particulars of her plot are not entirely clear, who cares? Aren’t we all having fun?

Certainly Russell Crowe had the kind of fun only an actor of his caliber who can rise or lower himself to the level of his material can. Again, it is not much of a spoiler to reveal that he plays Dr. Henry Jekyll (yes, that one) and he seems to be the key to comprehending the goings on of the movie. Because he is Russell Crowe, he handles the massive exposition he is asked to relay with ease and, because he is Russell Crowe, he absolutely kills in a scene in which he is allowed to cut loose. I hope to see more of him if Universal’s Monster Movie Plans launch the way the studio would like them to.

Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise. He gives himself completely over to the movie and the jokes about him being mummy-like in the fact that he never seems to age are absolutely on point. We all know there is a dividing line between those who like Tom Cruise and those who hate Tom Cruise. I am in the I love Tom Cruise camp. What do I expect from Tom Cruise? Exactly what I got in The Mummy.

Perhaps I should want more from a movie. Granted, that is a defensible perspective and, yes, I do like to be surprised by a movie, surprised by twist and turns and defiance of expectations. But I did not need that from The Mummy. It was just what I desired on a summer evening. Is it particularly memorable? No. Was it perfectly fun? It absolutely was.

THE MUMMY receives THREE DOUBLE PUPILS out of a possible FIVE.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Tom Cruise

Link’n’Blogs – 6.23.17 – Solo Change


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Did you hear the one about the young movie directors who were given the assignment of directing a movie about one of the most beloved characters in science fiction film history only to be FIRED with 3/4 of principal photography completed and to be replaced by one of the biggest directors in the business? Click the photo!

Han-Solo-Film-Logo-Unofficial

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Filed under Han Solo, Link'n'Blog, Movies, Star Wars

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 14 – 20, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:

TwoOne

 

The best comic I read last week was 

Dark Days: The Forge #1.

Writer: Scott Snyder, James Tynion II

Artist: Jim Lee, John Romita jr., Andy Kubert

Dark Days: The Forge is the prelude issue to what has been billed as a massive crossover event, the seeds for which have been laid in books written by Scott Snyder. Over a long time. Like almost 10 years. This event is called Metal and is reputed to span the entirety of the DC Universe in terms of time and space.

If you’re going to do something like that, you had better set things up very well.

Snyder and co-writer James Tynion II do just that. The story contains genuine shocks and surprises, character moments large and small, epic reveals and emotional arcs. While it centers on Batman and his family, it touches on areas of the DC Universe which have, lately, been sadly unexplored.

No more.

DC was smart enough to recruit top artists to illustrate the book and it looks awesome page-after-page. I love the fact that the company assigned Andy Kubert the Hawkman pages as more than an appropriate homage to the work of his father. Jim Lee’s work is evocative and strong and John Romita jr.’s Batman has really grown on me. These guys know what they are doing and they deliver epic images throughout the book.

If Dark Days: The Forge is any indication, Metal promises to be a wonderfully fun event.

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

Only Three of Us Are Lucky Enough… Father’s Day 2017



The older I get and the more people I encounter in my life, the more I understand that I am one of the lucky ones. Not everyone enjoys a terrific relationship with their father for reasons of all kinds and I am sorry for those who do not.

But I am blessed enough to have had a great father and I will speak for my two sisters here: we were blessed to have Dad as our dad.

Whatever I try to be as a father, I learned from how my father fathered me. When I think of the memories I would like my children to have of me when they are adults parenting kids on their own, I want them to have memories similar to the ones I have of my dad.

  • Walking across the campus of my college alma mater, Catholic University, last week, I said to The Cinnamon Girl “That’s where the bank was where I opened my first adult account. Dad and I did that one afternoon my first week on campus.” He was taking care of me as he ever did.
  • Just yesterday, the hashtag #FirstComics was making the electronic rounds and I tweeted a picture of the first comic books in my collection (comics which are framed on the wall of my office). Dad bought them for me.
  • I think of dad each time I strap on my twelve string guitar. It has a hole in it that dad fixed.
  • We bought a new car in the spring and the impulse to check in with dad on what he thought was so very strong. He always had car advice even if it was not always good advice.
  • When my mother-in-law passed away last week, one of the first thoughts I had was how would Dad respond? What would Dad do?

I could share many more memories but I will conclude with this: I love my father. I always will.

I am one of the lucky three who can call him my dad.

Family 1989

Me, my sisters, our mother and father in London in 1989. Lucky family to have Dad as our dad…

 

 

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Filed under Cinnamon Girl, Family, Fathers and Daughters, Fathers and Sons, Fathers Day, The Cinnamon Girl

Link’n’Blogs – 6.16.17 – Fictional Fathers


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Father’s Day is this weekend. Who are you favorite fathers in fiction? I found a list that’s pretty solid, non-comic-book-y and inclusive of my personal favorite literary character of all time (and, no, it’s NOT To Kill a Mockingbird‘s Atticus Finch, though he’s up there!)… Click the photo!

Atticus Finch

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Filed under Family, Fathers and Daughters, Fathers and Sons, Fathers Day, Literature

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: May 31 – June 6, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:

OneThreeTwo

The best comic I read last week was

Batman #24.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: David Finch

Batman has been a very solid book throughout the New 52 and Rebirth publishing eras. DC has wisely entrusted it primarily to two stellar writers, Scott Snyder and Tom King. When King took over the book, it seemed that he was following a thematic and structural path set out by Snyder but, in recent arcs, King has illustrated a new found deftness and confidence that is distinct from Snyder’s tone and exciting to read.

He’s been paired with a number of amazing artists who have alternated on the arcs of the book. This issue belongs to David Finch and Clay Mann and, while I believe Mann’s work is a better match for the tighter illustrations of Michel Janin than Finch’s, the combination works in this issue with Finch and Mann going back-and-forth on thematic parts of the story.

Finch is one of the top ten pencillers in comics and, while I have found his line work inconsistent in past issues, he delivers for Batman #24. Matching the tone of the writing, Finch layers on detail in quieter panels while shifting into solid action when the story calls for it. Mann has a sleek approach that I really like and his parts of the narrative deal very much with the emotions of the characters which he conveys extremely well. The two deliver artwork up to the impressive and important caliber of the story.

King’s pacing through the his storylines on the book has been extremely drawn out and decompressed. That fact has led to critiques of the book but, when long story threads play out the way they do in Batman #24, I cannot see why anyone would complain. Tying up loose ends from at least three prior arcs, King writes a powerful issue and, if the promise of the last page is realized, one that could actually alter the status quo of Batman for some time to come.

That cannot be said of every Batman story.

King understands his character and has made him a bit more accessible, a bit more human and a bit more… dare I say, fun.

It is interesting to see how the DC Comics Universe in general and this title in particular have tried to follow the company-wide mandate of telling stories about characters which are positive and hopeful. King has done that in Batman while staying true to the gothic roots of the Dark Knight. It’s been impressive to read.

 

 

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

Link’n’Blogs – 6.9.17 – Greatest Romantic Movies


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

It’s my anniversary today so I thought it would be appropriate to feature a list I came across on Entertainment Weekly’s website last year: The Greatest Tearjerker Romantic Movies. There are some terrific (and terrifically sad!) movies here. Hard to argue with the list. Click the photo!

Ghost

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