Archives for posts with tag: sofia boutella

MV5BZDRiOGE5ZTctOWIxOS00MWQwLThlMDYtNWIwMDQwNzBjZDY1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU0OTQ0OTY@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Into Darkness was so uninspiring that Beyond didn’t prompt me to go to the cinema. And while perhaps it was better on a big screen, I’m glad its cost was only the marginal one of a Hulu membership rather than whatever crazy amount the kids are asking at the movies these days.

Jim Kirk’s (Chris Pine) birthday is coming up. You may recall that this is also the day on which his father died, and, if you don’t, this movie is going to have some daddy issues come out of nowhere to remind you. That’s right, Captain James Tiberius Kirk, all of like twenty-eight years old, and in command of the nicest fanciest fastest awesomest starship ever to grace the galaxy, is moping into his stolen scotch about how he’ll never achieve anything.

And then he acts like a dumbass.

Some lady alien (I think Lydia Wilson?) comes hurtling out of a nebula towards a space station bleating a distress call. So the Enterprise goes into the nebula after her crew that is obviously a trap. And some other alien, Krall (Idris Elba), cuts the Enterprise apart with swarms of tiny spaceships and she crashlands on a planet and the crew is dispersed and/or enslaved until Krall can unleash a weapon to destroy the Federation.

It’s basically The Rock, but in space and worse.

Because (spoiler alert, and I don’t even care) of course Krall is actually some Starfleet captain who disappeared centuries ago and then felt abandoned by the Federation and now he’s hanging out on space-Alcatraz until he can destroy space-San Francisco with his weird space-nerve gas. Somehow he has also developed some sort of magic-adjacent skill whereby he can suck the life out of people and prolong his life. All he has to do is touch them and then he starts looking increasingly weird and unlike Idris Elba and seriously why hire Idris Elba if you’re going to put him in nineteen tons of make-up.

It’s really dumb, and it doesn’t hang together, and it’s not even that much fun, even though Simon Pegg helped write it. Sulu’s happy home life is maybe the best part, and that’s fifteen seconds.

Director: Justin Lin
Rating: PG-13
Length: 122 minutes
Score: 2/5

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To be honest, I enjoyed the hell out of this. Does that mean it’s any good? Yes and no. Look, it’s not my fault if you expected this to be either the happy-go-lucky nonsense of the Brendan Fraser original or an actual proper film. Would either option have been better? Probably.

You know the plot. An Egyptian princess, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), nearly manages to summon Ultimate Evil into the world, but she’s stopped just in time, mummified alive, and buried in the desert. Some time later, an unscrupulous antiquities looter, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), his dimwitted sidekick (Nick from “New Girl”), and a beautiful archaeologist, Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), find the mummy, free the mummy, and must defeat the mummy. Since this one is set in the present, there’s more ISIS and science-adjacent goofiness. Neither of these is an improvement.

MV5BMjM5NzM5NTgxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDEyNTk4MTI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Among the film’s strengths are its energy, Cruise’s commitment, and, occasionally, Nick from “New Girl”‘s comedic chops. One gets the impression that every pitch meeting Cruise attends now ends with him saying, “Sure, but turn it up to eleven.” Mummy not enough for you? Crusader zombies! Tom Cruise has been on screen for seven whole minutes? Drop a missile on him! Archaeologists in films aren’t wifty enough already? Add Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) into the mix! And Edward Hyde (Russell Crowe with less make-up)!

So, yeah, it’s not half-assed. But it’s not really something worth whole-assing. It doesn’t add anything except unnecessary moralizing and special effects. It’s not quite silly enough–one feels the lack of John Hannah keenly. Boutella, one feels, is wasted in her rôle. We all know she’s athletic and beautiful, but Ahmanet could have slightly more personality. And whatever, Jenny. I get that we don’t want to have Evelyn’s cutesy incompetence, but you’re a cipher. And no woman archaeologist wears her hair down in the field.

Everyone told me this was awful, and it wasn’t awful. It was mindless and full of explosions, which is what I expected and wanted. Get a great big bag of popcorn.

Director: Alex Kurtzman
Rating: PG-13
Length: 110 minutes
Score: 3/5

If you saw the trailers for Kingsman, you probably thought that it looked like a heightened version of James Bond, with stylish rooms full of guns and a slightly off sense of humor. And it sort of is that, but also tonally so, so different. Colin Firth kills a lot of people. A lot.

Kingsman is both a Savile Row tailor and a stateless band of elite spy-assassins with cute Knights of the Round Table nicknames. They’re all English, though, and, until this film starts, posh.* Their brief is…unclear, but appears to involve general world-saving type things. Arthur (Michael Caine) is in charge, and the three agents with whom we most interact are Galahad (Firth), Lancelot (Jack Davenport), and Merlin (Mark Strong). Merlin is basically Q, but mean. They’re trying to find a new agent to replace a dead comrade, so we start out with a bunch of posh kids (particularly Edward Holcroft as Charlie and Sophie Cookson as Roxy), and one streetwise youth, Eggsy (Taron Egerton).

They are pitted against a tycoon with world-domination and/or cleansing ambitions, Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, with a hell of a lisp and a baseball cap in place of his trademark Kangol, but otherwise the same). He has an assistant with blade prosthetics on her legs (Sofia Boutella), and those blades are not euphemistic. Also he has kidnapped Mark Hamill(!).

The acting is better than you’d think, frankly. Both Firth and Strong are glintingly, urbanely intense, in a very pleasing way. Egerton makes the chip on Eggsy’s shoulder both irritating and comprehensible, which is no mean feat. Beyond that, though, there’s not much there. Roxy is unfortunately rather a cipher, but it’s probably something of a step to have a woman in this sort of movie as anything other than ornament, so I guess maybe we shouldn’t be picky. And the clothes and interiors are great.

This is sort of Avengers (Marvel-type) meets James Bond, but it’s less than the sum of its parts. The cartoonish notes–down to its comic book pedigree, presumably–are discordant and sometimes offensively flippant. The violence is all extremely well choreographed, but a lot of people die. It’s not very gory, but perhaps it’s not gory enough. We are constantly told that the stakes are high, but it never really seems that way.

*Maybe not, though, with Michael Caine. Unclear.

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Rating: R
Length: 129 minutes
Score: 3/5