The Mummy 2017

Weekend Movies: Keeping It Under Wraps

In the wake of the wildly successful first week of ‘Wonder Woman’, three new movies arrive to contend with it. One is a big-budget studio tentpole with a seemingly bottomless marketing budget, while the other two are small, barely-advertised pictures that you wouldn’t typically expect to see open on such high screen counts. My opinion: None of them stands a chance of dethroning ‘Wonder Woman’.

With expensive “cinematic universe” franchises being a big thing right now (Marvel, ‘Star Wars’, etc.), Universal wants to get in the game with new incarnations of its classic monster characters. In fact, this is the studio’s second attempt at doing so. Acting like ‘Dracula Untold‘ never happened, the “Dark Universe” is unleashed this weekend with Tom Cruise in ‘The Mummy‘.

Brendan Fraser is nowhere to be found (nor is The Rock, for that matter). This new action-packed iteration of ‘The Mummy’ is set in the modern day. Cruise plays a crooked and selfish long-distance reconnaissance soldier who, with his trusty sidekick (Jake Johnson), heads into the desert of Iraq with the hopes of finding a famed treasure – only neither of them have any idea what they’re up against. When the evil Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is mistakenly released from her imprisoning tomb, Cruise needs the help of some smart archeologists (Annabelle Wallis and Russell Crowe) to find a way to break the princess’ curse. Full of fun, tension and even a few tricks up its sleeve, ‘The Mummy’ is much better than it looks – but that doesn’t mean it’s void of flaws.

Two years ago, the drama ‘Max‘ gave a superficial look at the impact a trained dog could have on a military unit. Now, with a “true story” label, Bleecker Street thinks that story needs to be told again. Playing out like a PG-13, dog-centric version of ‘Hacksaw Ridge’, ‘Megan Leavey‘ stars Kate Mara as a Marine in a unit with trained dogs. An aggressive and unruly dog wins her over, so she dedicates herself to it entirely. Before long, the two complete more than a hundred missions together, saving lives and making a difference along the way. While I love a good true war story, I’ve never connected with a drama starring an animal, so I’ll sit this one out.

I like a good art house indie horror movie, but I have a hard time believing that even the best of them can perform well when, 1) it’s released on more than 2,500 screens, and 2) it’s not marketed at all – not to mention marketed with misdirecting advertisements.

It Comes at Night‘ stars Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo as two post-apocalyptic survivalists with a strict methods that have kept them and their teenage son alive for quite a while following a world-ending pandemic. Christopher Abbott and Riley Keough play two young parents who struggle to keep their small family alive. This slow-burner excels as their worlds calmly come together amidst the paranoia and fear that surrounds them. Imagine a smaller version of ‘The Road‘. While I found it to be quite a good horror film, I can easily see how the ending will leave many moviegoers disgruntled.

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