Flashback Friday: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)

When a film franchise becomes successful, the audience becomes more discerning. Based on the previous movies in the series, we have certain expectations of where the narrative will go.

Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014) is the third movie in the Night at the Museum trilogy. Following the events of Night at the Museum (2006) and Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian (2009), Larry Dailey (Ben Stiller) has to save the magic before all is lost. Along the way, he is helped by old friends Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan), and Teddy Roosevelt (the late Robin Williams in the next to last role before his untimely passing) and new friends. These new friends include Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek).

Though this movie is not as good as its predecessors, it is not all bad. It has the same energy and comedy as the first two films. But there is something missing, though I cannot put my finger on it.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

Movie sequels have a tenuous reputation. Some are worthy of the reputation created by their predecessors, others are nothing but an unnecessary retread of what came before.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian premiered in 2009. In the sequel to Night at the Museum (2006), the audience is taken on another journey with Larry Dailey (Ben Stiller). When his friends Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) are shipped to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. by mistake, Larry has to find a way to return them to New York City. Along the way, he is helped by new pals Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) and old Teddy Roosevelt (the late Robin Williams).

I liked this movie. It has the charm of the original with enough buildup to keep the overall narrative going. What makes it stand out from the first film is the subtle history lesson that the audience may or may not be aware of.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Ranking the MCU DisneyPlus Series

The beauty of a world like the MCU universe is that the number of stories that can be told is nearly endless. Over the last year or so, DisneyPlus has released four different series that extend the narrative beyond the ones that exist on the big screen. The list below is my ranking of the existing series.

  1.  Loki: Tom Hiddleston shines once more as the trickster g-d turned hero. With Owen Wilson as a mid-level bureaucrat and Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie/the Variant, the program takes one of Marvel’s most beloved and iconic characters in surprising directions.
  • WandaVision: A loving rip-off of the family sitcom over the decades, Elisabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany returned to the roles of Wanda Maximoff and Vision. An allegory of grief and loss, it speaks to how difficult it is to lose the ones we love. The highlight at least for me, was Kathryn Hahn as nosy neighbor/baddie Agatha Harkness. That is a character for the ages
  • What If…: This animated series takes the narrative into new directions, introducing new storylines and mixing characters in ways that do not fit into the big screen timeline. From a writing perspective, this program is completely unique and a lovely way to take this world to places where it had not been before.
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Taking place after Avengers: Endgame, this is sort of a buddy comedy meets series with a not-so-subtle political message. Though it was did not quite hit the mark as other series did, it was still relatively engaging. The addition of Erin Kellyman’s character, who turns from baddie to hero was a nice twist that I happily did not see coming.

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Loki Review

Audiences love a good antagonist. They have the ability to make the narrative more interesting and challenge both the protagonist and the audience.

The new DisneyPlus series, Loki, premiered on Wednesday. It start where Avengers: Endgame left off. When Loki (a glorious Tom Hiddleston) is able to get his hands on the Tesseract, he evades justice. But it is a short escape. Captured by the Time Variance Authority or TVA, he is accused of changing the timeline. His minder, Mobius (Owen Wilson) is in charge of building the TVA’s case against the prisoner. But when a greater evil emerges, Loki may turn from villain to hero.

What a way to kick off a new series. Hiddleston, Wilson, and company are having fun and it shows. I loved the transition from Loki being a straight up baddie to a complicated character who you want to root for, in spite of his past. Kudos goes to the production design team who created a set colored by shades of 1970’s brown and burnt orange. It is a nice change from the bright and colorful world that the Avengers live in.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New episodes are released every Wednesday on DisneyPlus.

Throwback Thursday-Slightly Sexist Movies Marketed To Men That Secretly Appeal To Women- The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) & Wedding Crashers (2005)

To anyone who goes to the movies, its quite obvious that a majority of lead characters are often male and women are sometimes portrayed solely as sex objects.

But some of these movies have a secret. While they appear to only attract male moviegoers, there is something about the plot that brings in female moviegoers.

In a romantic comedy or drama, we have become used to the plot line of the sexually inexperienced female and her sexually experienced male counterpart. In 2005, this idea was flipped on it’s ear in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Andy (Steve Carell) has dated a little, but has never had complete sexual relations with a woman. Egged on by his friends to finally do the deed, he goes to the traditional places to meet women, but nothing really happens until he meets Trish (Catherine Keener). Trish is a single mother with three kids. Andy and Trish fall for each other, but he has yet to tell her his secret.

What I like about this movie is that despite some sexist overtones, it is incredibly funny. I also love the idea of the man who has little sexual experience and the woman who has been around the block a few times. Steve Carell is on point as a man who is withdrawn and shy and because of that, his love life is completely different than his peers.

In Wedding Crashers, (2005) John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) don’t use the usual haunts to meet women. They crash weddings, pretending to be guests. All is well until they crash the wedding of the daughter of Treasury Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken) and target two of the Secretary’s daughters, who are bridesmaids, Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Gloria (Isla Fisher). John falls for Claire while Jeremy attempts to seduce Gloria and finds that she is more than his match.

While this movie is incredibly crass and sexist at certain moments, it has a charm to it.  John and Claire’s relationship is sweet while Jeremy and Gloria balance out the sweetness with comedy perfection.

I recommend both.

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