Some Oscar wins are the product of decades of work. Some reward powerhouse performances that carry a film. Sometimes, though, they go to the best five minutes of the year. I’m not a giant Anne Hathaway fan. I am not a part of the disturbingly vocal “Hathahate” community on the net, but I honestly have never been blown away by her. The giant exception to that is the best five minutes performed by any actor or actress in 2012: Hathaway’s phenomenal performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” in Les Miserables.
Holding the camera for five minutes by simply acting your way through a song performance is about as difficult a task as a screen actor can be handed, but Hathaway is mesmerizing. “I Dreamed a Dream” is unquestionably Les Miserables’s signature number, and there are a staggering amount of awful things happening to her character by the time she breaks into the anthem about shattered hope. It would have been easy to end up chewing the scenery or being swallowed by the material, but Hathaway gives a nuanced and powerful vocal that stole this film. I saw this on Christmas Day 2012, which was a bit of a surreal experience. To me, misadventures of tuberculosis-ridden French revolutionaries does not exactly say, “Seasons Greetings!” I was, however, soundly outvoted by my family. While I may be lukewarm on the film as a whole, this scene was easily more than worth the ticket price.
Russell Crowe had about as good a five years as any actor has in the late 1990s – 2000s with films like The Insider, LA Confidential, A Beautiful Mind, and Gladiator. Not only is Crowe a chameleon as a dramatic actor, he’s an outstanding action star, and if the sometimes temperamental star is in the right setting, he has a very sardonic, dry comedic prowess. He helped kick off the DC Extended Universe, doing a better Jor-El than Marlon Brando (granted it helped that no one ever cared less about a part than Brando did being Jor-El) in Man of Steel, but aside from that and 2016’s The Nice Guys, good parts have been rare for Crowe in the last decade. I’m not sure if the Australian star has lost his desire, or if he’s burned too many bridges, but when you can light a fire under him, he’s one of the best actors alive, so hopefully the right part will come his way soon. Continue reading Russell Crowe’s 10 Best Movies→
Dark Universe is a very cool concept: a shared cinematic universe where all the classic Universal Studios movie monsters (Frankenstein, Dracula, Van Helsing, The Wolfman, etc.) are given a new spin for a new generation and set loose in this horror/adventure sandbox. The first film to come out of that concept is The Mummy. It has the star power of Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, the interesting idea of making the mummy female, and the trailers made it look like an action adventure/horror blast that would kick off this new world of “gods and monsters”. Then, until Transformers 5 and The Emoji Movie came along to save it, the film was saddled with the title: “Worst Reviewed Film of Summer 2017.” Is it really that bad? Let’s put it this way: the Dark Universe’s chances of success are pretty dim after this dull opening installment. Continue reading Movie Review: The Mummy (2017) *Tough Start for a Universe*→
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s success has, of course, started the Hollywood copycat mill churning and shared universes are being planned at every studio. The best idea, in concept, is resurrecting the classic Universal Monsters (The Mummy, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, Van Helsing, The Invisible Man, etc.) into a shared “Monsterverse”. Universal has put serious star power into the opening film, The Mummy, casting Tom Cruise and adding Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. The first two trailers emphasized the action/adventure aspect of the film and pleasantly surprised me by how good they looked, but to truly recapture the spirit of the original, classic monsters, they’re going to need to bring the screams. The final trailer for the film focuses on the horror/monster aspect of the film and, it appears, Universal hasn’t forgotten that the original appeal of these creatures was they not only captured the imagination of audiences but scared them silly as well. Hopefully the finished product will be as good. Full plot summary from Coming Soon below; The Mummy will open June 9, 2017.