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Better than it gets credit for
No, this Mummy doesn't come even close to topping the first one, but I would argue that it is as good or possibly even better than the second one. Yes, there are several things we can quibble about (Brendan Fraser's son looking as old as he does, abominable snowmen from out of nowhere, and a very ho-hum love story) but this movie was not made for the Oscars, people. It was made so that we could check our brains at the door and have fun, and the movie does deliver on that count.
I really liked the idea of using the real-life terra cotta army as the basis for the story. Granted it's not historically accurate of course, but there is a lot of mystery associated with that tomb in China and I feel that if you want to make a $175 million summer popcorn flick with that as its basis, so be it.
Overall, good escapist nonsense.
Eight Below (2006)
Just When We All Thought It Was Curtains For Good Disney Movies
For the past 10-15 years I can count, on one hand with fingers left over, the number of good movies Disney has put out (not counting animated, although only 3-4 of those exist). By that I mean decent family movies devoid of manipulative and contrived plot devices, crude language, sexual innuendo and kicks to the crotch. You might remember the Family Guy episode where Walt Disney comes out of Cryogenic freeze and, after receiving a negative answer to his first question, says "Put me back in." That question should have been "Is my company still making crap?" But whoever got behind this movie needs to immediately be elevated to the top post at Disney and be allowed to keep making movies like this until hell looks like Antarctica did in that movie.
While the acting was not particularly stellar, it was not embarrassing either, and it was actually refreshing not to hear any bad language, or too many clichés for that matter. The photography was some of the best I've ever seen, and the story of the dogs' brave survival is enough to make the most hardened moviegoer reach for the Kleenex...on several occasions. We see the dogs display traits that humans once possessed, like teamwork (the fight with the leopard seal and the hunting scenes), unselfishness (one dog offering a double share of food to the injured one) and real caring and family cohesion (the refusal to leave each other behind). These scenes are not only touching, they are magical, and a metaphor for what our dying society once was.
That alone is enough to make anyone cry.
Madea's Family Reunion (2006)
Proof that audiences like their movies dumb.
I've got a sneaky suspicion that most of the negative reviews and votes for this movie on IMDb were probably the result of a few people (or worse, one person) getting together and deciding to trash this wonderful piece of comedic brilliance in a sorry attempt to get studios to cancel the final six installments of Perry's plays. It's the only way the rating can drop about six entire points even though the movie continues to perform well at the box office.
Here, Perry improves on Diary of a Mad Black Woman (him directing probably had something to do with it.). Madea has a much larger role in this film, and all the actors perform well. It's a known fact in acting 101 that if an actor can make an audience absolutely despise them, like Blair Underwood here (I wanted to reach into the screen and choke his character), then they've done their job.
I think sometimes audiences get uncomfortable seeing things that happen in everyday life on screen. But art mirrors life. You want to escape, go see Lord of the Rings. You want to see a well-written slice of black life in America, go see this movie. You want your movies dumbed down to cliché and nonsense (like 95% of what Hollywood makes) I don't know what to tell you.
Much greater than what people say.
First of all, I've given up on trying to figure out why critics savaged this film so badly. The main reasons I remember reading was that it was (1) Too long (2) Too much focus on Alexander's bisexuality (3) Time shifts back and forth. While the film could have been a little shorter, there is nothing wrong with it as it is. Oliver Stone went for a very broad epic story while at the same time keeping it character driven. Very few films have ever been able to do this, chiefly Lawrence of Arabia and Ben-Hur.
Colin Farrell's Alexander is not larger than life, even though Ptolemy (Anthony Hopkins) refers to him as a colossus. He is a conflicted man, warped emotionally by those close to him, mainly his mother. His affinity for his father in spite of his excesses and his desire to be accepted by him reflect the attitude of many young men today.
As for the relationship with Hephaestion, I felt that it was very tastefully done, as was the one with Bagoas. Stone proves that some things can still be suggested or implied as opposed to expressed and work.
Of course my favorite scenes were the battles of Gaugamela and Hydaspes (India), and if I were to have a complaint about the film, it would have been to include Grannicus as well (the 1956 version with Richard Burton did). Excellent display of phalanx warfare. I thought it was interesting near the end when he talks of making war with the "Roman Tribe."
Had he lived to, would we remember Rome as anything more than a footnote in history now?
Again, great film, certainly Oscar-worthy (but won't get it). It will be remembered.