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.

Stan & Ollie Movie Review

No matter how bright the career of a performer is, he or she likely to experience at least one downturn in their career.

From the 1920’s to the 1940’s, Laurel and Hardy were the darlings of the movie going audience. But then things changed and their careers took a downturn.

The new movie, Stan & Ollie, follows the titular characters in the early 1950’s. In hopes of reinvigorating their career, Stan (Steve Coogan) and Ollie (John C. Reilly) go on tour in England. While the tour is well received, old emotional wounds spring up between the friends and performing partners. Even with their wives, Lucille Hardy (Shirley Henderson) and Ida Laurel (Nina Arianda) supporting them, will these old friends complete the tour or will the past end the tour prematurely?

I have to admit that while I have heard of Laurel and Hardy, I have never seen any of their films. That being said, I really enjoyed this film. I enjoyed it because the film was funny, heartwarming and it was the story of two performers who are not in the prime of their lives and are willing to take a shot at reviving their careers.

I recommend it.

Stan & Ollie is presently in theaters. 

Philomena- Phenominal Film

The only way to start my review is to say that Judi Dench is an international treasure an actress.  Every performance is so nuanced and different, that the audience sometimes forgets that it is one performer playing all of these characters.

Philomena is the true story of woman’s journey to find the son she was forced to give up.

In the 1950’s, Philomena Lee (Sophie Kennedy Clark) has a son outside of wedlock. Her only home is a nunnery where she works in slave labor like conditions and is only allowed to see her son an hour a day. When her son is taken from her, Philomena is heartbroken, but never forgets her first child.

50 years later, her daughter Jane (Anna Maxwell-Martin) meets a disgraced journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) who takes up the story as a human interest piece. That leads them to Washington DC where they search for her son.

This movie is fantastic. Both Steve Coogan and Judi Dench give nuanced, understated performances. I love the yin and yang of Philomena’s faith in spite of her experiences and Martin’s lack of faith.  The thing I loved most is that despite what the nuns did to her, Philomena still clings to her faith and forgives those who took her child from her.

This film and all involved deserves any and all awards send it’s way.

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