REVIEW: NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3: SECRET OF THE TOMB

CAST

Ben Stiller (Zoolander)
Robin Williams (Hook)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)
Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder)
Ricky Gervais (Muppets Most Wanted)
Jake Cherry (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
Rachael Harris (Barley Lethal)
Dan Stevens (The Guest)
Rebel Wilson (Grimsby)
Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Rami Malek (Battleship)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Mizuo Peck (A Case of You)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
Percy Hynes White (The Gifted)
Mickey Rooney (Revenge of The Red Baron)
Bill Cobbs (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Andrea Martin (Black Christmas)
Brennan Elliott (Curse of Chucky)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Anjali Jay (Izombie)
Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Brad Garrett (Finding Dory)
Matthew Harrison (Thirteen Ghosts)
Jody Racicot (Flash Gordon)
Louriza Tronco (The Order)

In 1938 Egypt, a team of archaeologists discover the tomb of pharaoh Ahkmenrah, including a young Cecil Fredericks, finding the magical Tablet of Ahkmenrah. The locals warn the group that removing the tablet will end its magic. In present day New York City, Larry Daley remains the night guard of the American Museum of Natural History. He, Theodore Roosevelt, Sacagawea, Attila the Hun, Jedediah, Octavius and Dexter the capuchin monkey help re-open the Hayden Planetarium. A new wax Neanderthal resembling Larry named Laaa is introduced, identifying Larry as his father. Ahkmenrah shows Larry that the tablet is corroding, which later causes the exhibits to act erratically, causing mayhem at the planetarium’s reopening. Afterwards, Larry catches his son Nick throwing a house party, who plans on taking a gap year to sort out his life.Larry reunites with Cecil, now in retirement, who realises the end of the tablet’s magic will cause the exhibits to become lifeless. Cecil explains Ahkmenrah’s parents, Merenkahre and Shepseheret, may be able to restore the tablet’s power, but are located in the British Museum. Larry convinces the museum’s curator, Dr. McPhee, to let him ship Ahkmenrah to London to restore the tablet, convinced that McPhee knows its secrets. Larry and Nick travel to the British Museum, bypassing the night guard Tilly. To Larry’s surprise, Roosevelt, Sacagawea, Attila, Jed, Octavius, Dexter, and Laaa have come as well. Laaa is left to stand guard while the others search the museum, the tablet bringing its own exhibits to life.They are joined by a wax Sir Lancelot who helps them fight off the aggressive museum exhibits like a Xiangliu statue and a Triceratops skeleton. Jedediah and Octavius fall through a ventilation shaft, but are rescued from an erupting Pompeii model by Dexter. The group find Ahkmenrah’s parents, learning the tablet’s power can be regenerated by moonlight, since it is empowered with the magic of Khonsu. Lancelot mistakes the tablet for the Holy Grail and steals it, leaving to find Camelot. Larry and Laaa are locked in the employee break room by Tilly but escape, Laaa remaining behind to distract Tilly, but they become attracted to each other.Lancelot crashes a performance of the musical Camelot, starring Hugh Jackman and Alice Eve as King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, but Larry and the others chase him to the theatre roof, where the New York exhibits begin to die. Lancelot then sees that the quest was about them and gives the tablet back. The moonlight restores the tablet’s power, saving the exhibits. They decide that Ahkmenrah and the tablet should stay with his parents, even if it means the New York exhibits will no longer come to life. Back in New York, Larry spends some final moments with his friends before sunrise. Three years later, Larry now works as a teacher, and a travelling British Museum exhibit comes to New York. Tilly becomes the new night guard, and gives the tablet to Dr. McPhee, showing him its power, and allowing the exhibits to awaken again. Outside, Larry watches them party inside.Fans of the franchise will be pleasantly surprised by the heartfelt and sentimental Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. The thoughtfulness and homages to ancient history are present and the jokes have a wide enough range to make any age giggle.

REVIEW: NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

CAST

Ben Stiller (Zoolander)
Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
Carla Gugino (San Andreas)
Mickey Rooney (Revenge of The Red Baron)
Bill Cobbs (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Jake Cherry (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
Ricky Gervais (Muppets Most Wanted)
Kim Raver (24)
Charlie Murphy (Norbit)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Anne Meara (Zoolander)
Robin Williams (Hook)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Rami Malek (Battleship)
Pierfrancesco Favino (The Last Kiss)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)
Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder)
Brad Garrett (Finding Dory)
Mizuo Peck (A Case of You)
Matthew Harrison (Watchmen)
Jody Racicot (Flash Gordon)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)

Larry Daley is a divorced man from Queens, hoping to find a good job to impress his ten-year old son Nick, his ex-wife Erica believing he is a bad example for their son. Larry is hired at the American Museum of Natural History to replace the retiring security guards Cecil Fredericks and his colleagues Gus and Reginald. Larry meets the museum’s neurotic curator Dr. McPhee, and museum docent Rebecca Hutman, who plans to write a dissertation on Sacagawea. On his first night, Cecil hands Larry an instruction manual on what to do in the museum, warning him not to let anything “in or out.”Larry soon discovers that at night, the museum’s exhibits come to life and cause havoc for him. Amongst the lively exhibits are a playful Tyrannosaurus skeleton named Rexy; a mischievous capuchin monkey named Dexter who destroys the instructions; the warring factions of cowboys and legionnaires led by Jedediah and General Octavius; violent Attila the Hun; a talking Easter Island Head that desires gum; the fire-seeking neanderthals; and a wax model of Theodore Roosevelt, who is in love with Sacagawea.Roosevelt explains to Larry that the exhibits have come to life every night since the arrival of an Egyptian artifact, the Tablet of Akhmenrah, the mummified pharaoh trapped in his sarcophagus. He also explains to Larry that as night guard, it is his job to make sure that no exhibit sets foot out of the museum, otherwise they will disintegrate into dust if the sun rises while they are outside. The next day, Cecil advises Larry to research history to make up for the instructions’ destruction. He studies in libraries and from Rebecca. Larry puts his new knowledge to good use on his second night, but some of his plans backfire and the neanderthals set their exhibit on fire, leading to one becoming dust after venturing outside. After having doubts and almost getting fired the next day, Larry offers to introduce Sacagawea to Rebecca, but she thinks he is mocking her.On his third night, Larry brings Nick to the museum to watch the exhibits come to life, but they strangely do not. They catch Cecil, Gus, and Reginald stealing artifacts, who explain the tablet’s magic has allowed them to feel physically young in their old age, and plot to frame Larry for the theft while they enjoy a happy retirement. Nick activates the tablet, but Cecil steals it, locking Larry and Nick in the Egyptian exhibit. They free Akhmenrah, and rally the exhibits to stop the thieves and retrieve their colleagues who fled out into Central Park. Gus and Reginald are captured, but Cecil escapes by stagecoach.Larry and several exhibits give chase, where they stop Cecil and recover the tablet, using its magic to escort all of the exhibits back into the museum before sunrise. Rebecca witnesses this and makes amends with Larry, subsequently introduced to Sacagawea. The next day McPhee fires Larry, but when they go into the museum, they find it is crowded due to last night’s strange activities, and Larry is rehired. During the credits, Cecil, Gus, and Reginald were granted mercy by Larry and work as janitors.While the story could have been a little better, that’s a minor quibble. For the most part, this is exactly what it sets out to be, fun entertainment the entire family will enjoy.

REVIEW: KIDDING – SEASON 2

Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)

Starring

Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Cole Allen (May I Be At Peace)
Juliet Morris
Catherine Keener (Get Out)
Justin Kirk (Molly’s Game)

Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Bernard White (Silicon Valley)
Matt Gourley (Time Belt)
Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
Nicole Marie Appleby (Killer Therapy)
Tara Lipinski (7th Heaven)
Joel Swetow (THe Orville)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Carrie Ann Inaba (Austin Powers in Goldmember)
Marie Osmond (Rooster)
Sharon Osbourne (Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties)
Eve (XXX)
Sheryl Underwood (The Bold and The Beautiful)
Mae Whitman (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Ariana Grande (Sam & Cat)
Lesley Stahl (Eagle Eye)
Stacy Keach (THe BOurne LEgacy)
Arnold Chun (Rampage)
Sala Baker (Braven)
Annette O’Toole (Smallville)
Matthew Hancock (Electric Love)
Andy Milder (Apollo 13)
Mariana Paola Vicente (Self/Less)
Jennie Pierson (Powerless)

Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)Season 1 of Showtime’s Jim Carrey–led dark comedy Kidding was one of the best and most underrated television shows of 2018. The story of a children’s TV host (not Mr. Rogers, but Rogers-adjacent) whose inability to express negative emotion after a lifetime of repression is as relevant as ever in 2020, when the question of what to do with bad feelings generates unyielding discourse on mental health, trauma, and masculinity.Jim Carrey and Juliet Morris in Kidding (2018)Season 2 picks up after Jeff’s bottled rage exploded in a worst-case scenario for his character and sprints towards a remarkable exploration of what it means to acknowledge pain. It might seem hyperbolic to describe Kidding as TV’s most brilliant comedy, but the evidence is abundant in every single episode of Season 2. The writing is close to perfect, with laugh-out-loud one liners and gut-punch realizations that unravel the characters and always serve the core message of the show. None of Kidding’s dialogue comes off as a throwaway line or unimportant aside (even in the episodes featuring a talking baguette), which makes each 30-minute chapter of Jeff’s story feel dense and satisfying in a way many individual dramedy episodes lack.Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)Season 2 picks up after Jeff’s bottled rage exploded in a worst case scenario for his character and sprints towards a remarkable exploration of what it means to acknowledge pain.  That dialogue is brought to life by Kidding’s incredible cast, with Frank Langella and Catherine Keener performing particularly well as Jeff’s father Seb and sister Deirdre. Kidding’s blended tone of magical realism and hard truth is difficult to nail and those two show up wielding sledgehammers. Keener’s exasperated reactions to the chaos surrounding her, and the position of authority she assumes to manage it, make for some of the funniest scenes of the season. As for Langella, he pulls double duty in playing Seb and also voicing the younger version of his character. Also, young actor Juliet Morris deserves an Emmy in every category for her performance as Deirdre’s potentially evil, axe-wielding daughter Maddy. Everything that comes out of that kid’s mouth toes the line between abjectly horrifying and wildly inappropriate. Her world-weary deadpan delivery is one of Kidding’s secret weapons.Jim Carrey and Judy Greer in Kidding (2018)And then there’s Jim Carrey. The Mashable review of Season 1 pointed out the similarities between Carrey and his character, two megastars whose inner life is overshadowed by the emotionally blunted comedic characters that made them famous. Kidding isn’t afraid to utilize Carrey’s recognizable comedic strengths — funny voices, rubbery expressions, and supernatural powers of rapid enunciation — to fuel the meta-comparison, and proves in Season 2 that no one could play Jeff and elicit the same depths of emotion and understanding from his audience. No one could play Jeff and elicit the same depths of emotion and understanding from his audience. Carrey can make a goofy face look devastating and make devastation look goofy. He deserves another Golden Globe nomination for Kidding, if not an Emmy this time. Preferably with a win.Ariana Grande in Kidding (2018)One of Kidding’s episodes this season will serve as the bar every other TV show must meet or surpass to become the best 30-minute comedy episode of the year. It’s only February, but the technical sophistication and emotional arc of episode 2, “Up, Down, and Everything in Between,” is just that good. In it, transitional camera work moves Jeff from the real world to the world of his television show in a bafflingly beautiful single take that gives off an illusion similar to seeing the Land of Oz in color for the first time. The rest of the episode follows him on a musical adventure that has Jeff singing, dancing, getting roasted by puppets, and finally confronting the root of his emotional repression in a finale that may or may not have made a Mashable reviewer cry three times while rewatching and once when she glanced at a completely unrelated vacation advertisement that made her think about it on the subway.Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018) Kidding is a smart show that knows its tone and feels entirely sure of what it’s doing at all times. It’s superlative television. .

REVIEW: DICK TRACY (1990)

CAST

Warren Beatty (Bonnie and Clyde)
Al Pacino (The Godfather)
Madonna (Evita)
Glenne Headly (Sgt. Bilko)
Charlie Korsmo (Hook)
Seymour Cassel (Boiling Point)
Michael J. Pollard (Scrooged)
Charles Durning (Attica)
Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
Frank Campanella (Capone)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
William Forsythe  (The Devil’s Rejects)
Ed O’Ross (Another 48 hrs)
James Tolkan (Masters of The Universe)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride)
R. G. Armstrong (Predator)
Henry Silva (Ocean’s 11)
Paul Sorvino (The Gambler)
James Caan (Elf)
Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Stig Eldred (King Kong 2005)
Chuck Hicks (Star Trek II)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek: DS9)
Neil Ross (Batman: TAS)

war-of-the-worlds-1953-martian-hand-on-shoulder-sylvia-van-buren-ann-robinsonAt an illegal card game, a young street urchin witnesses the massacre of a group of mobsters at the hands of Flattop and Itchy, two of the hoods on the payroll of Alphonse “Big Boy” Caprice. Big Boy’s crime syndicate is aggressively taking over small businesses in the city. Detective Dick Tracy catches the urchin (who calls himself “Kid”) in an act of petty theft. After rescuing him from a ruthless host, Tracy temporarily adopts him with the help of his girlfriend, Tess Trueheart.
ww-53Meanwhile, Big Boy coerces club owner Lips Manlis into signing over the deed to Club Ritz. He then kills Lips with a cement overcoat (referred to onscreen as “The Bath”) and steals his girlfriend, the seductive and sultry singer, Breathless Mahoney. After Lips is reported missing, Tracy interrogates his three hired guns Flattop, Itchy, and Mumbles, then goes to the club to arrest Big Boy for Lips’ murder. Breathless is the only witness. Instead of providing testimony, she unsuccessfully attempts to seduce Tracy. Big Boy cannot be indicted and he is released from jail. Big Boy’s next move is to try to bring other criminals, including Spud Spaldoni, Pruneface, Influence, Texie Garcia, Ribs Mocca, and Numbers, together under his leadership. Spaldoni refuses and is intentionally killed, leaving Dick Tracy, who discovered the meeting and was attempting to spy on it, wondering what is going on. The next day, Big Boy and his henchmen kidnap Tracy and attempt to bribe him; Tracy refuses, prompting the criminals to attempt to kill him. However, Tracy is saved by Kid, who gets prized by the police with a Honorary Detective Certificate, which will remain temporary until he decides a name for himself.
16-215041_0x420Breathless shows up at Tracy’s apartment, once again in an attempt to seduce him. Tracy shows he is only human by allowing her to kiss him. Tess witnesses this and eventually leaves town. Tracy leads a seemingly unsuccessful raid on Club Ritz, but it is actually a diversion so officer “Bug” Bailey can enter the building to operate a secretly installed listening device so the police can hear in on Big Boy’s criminal activities. The resultant raids all but wipe out Big Boy’s criminal empire. However, Big Boy discovers Bug and captures him for a trap planned by Influence and Pruneface to kill Tracy in the warehouse. In the resulting gun battle, a stranger with no face called “The Blank” steps out of the shadows to save Tracy after he is cornered and kills Pruneface. Influence escapes as Tracy rescues Bug from the same fate given to Lips Manlis, and Big Boy is enraged upon hearing that The Blank foiled the hit. Tracy tries again to get the testimony from Breathless he needs to put Big Boy away. She agrees to testify only if Tracy agrees to give in to her advances. Tess eventually has a change of heart, but before she can tell Tracy, she is kidnapped by The Blank, with the help of Big Boy’s club piano player, 88 Keys. Tracy is drugged and rendered unconscious by The Blank, framed for murdering the corrupt District Attorney John Fletcher, and is detained. The Kid, meanwhile, adopts the name “Dick Tracy, Jr.”
war-of-the-worlds-1953-martians-attack-humansBig Boy’s business thrives until the Blank frames him for Tess’ kidnapping. Released by his colleagues on New Year’s Eve, Tracy interrogates Mumbles and arrives at a shootout outside Big Boy’s club where his men are killed by the police and Tracy. Abandoning his crew, Big Boy flees to a drawbridge and ties Tess to the gears before he is confronted by Tracy. Their fight is halted when the Blank appears and holds both men at gunpoint, offering to share the city with Tracy after Big Boy is dead. Big Boy takes advantage of a distraction and opens fire before Tracy sends him falling to his death in the bridge gears. Mortally wounded, the Blank is revealed to be Breathless Mahoney, who kisses Tracy before dying. All charges against Tracy are dropped. Later, Tracy proposes to Tess when he is interrupted by the report of a robbery in progress. He leaves her with a ring before heading away with Dick Tracy, Jr.dicktracy_727Overall, a really fine movie that has become misunderstood over the years since its release and is incredibly underrated. This is a perfect example of capturing the essence of a comic book, from style to eccentricity.