Movie Reviews

Movie Review : The Mummy (2017)

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The Mummy franchise is one that is very close to my heart. I was 10 years  old when the original Mummy came out. This was a time when most English language movies would be dubbed in the regional language and they would usually be horrendously dubbed. But the stars aligned for The Mummy and the dubbing was awesome and I also later got to catch the movie in English. This is one of those movies that my sisters and I watch every time it is on TV. And then there was the follow up, The Mummy returns, another great movie, though it did suffer a bit for being the sequel. (I will not accept the Tomb of the Dragon Emperor as a part of this franchise as it was awful).

I found out about this reboot, just a couple of months ago, and I just knew this would not be one of my favourite remakes. Maybe because the original is such a favourite of mine. I just strongly felt that this was a bad idea. I wanted to catch Wonder Woman when it came out, but as luck would have it, living in a small town, only Baywatch (you heard that right) released here in my podunk town. But lo and behold The Mummy was on the next week. I watched it last Friday.

I know it’s almost been a week since I watched it. Why am I reviewing it so late? Because I was so furious. I do not usually hate a movie. I hated what they did to the franchise. This might get a bit spoilery, so be warned and do not read ahead if you have plan to watch the movie (please don’t). Let me list the things that bothered me with this movie –

  1. The pacing was off. I just felt like the movie dragged in most places. We didn’t get to the juicy Mummy parts (literally) for quite a while
  2. The original was funny, still is. This one just tried too hard. It just seemed forced
  3. The Curse: OK I get that Princess Amonet made a deal with the God of Death Set to be immortal and to give himself a corporeal form. OK, I can deal with that, it is a movie so i can deal with that. But then as a nod to the original they show us the Golden Book of Amun Ra from the original in this movie. So this movie occurs in that universe. So they could have used that book in some way other than to knock someone down (this is exactly how they used it). Maybe it had a clue to how to break the curse if not a total cure for the curse? No they just want to know what “Evil” is.
  4. The Secret Society: They could’ve had the Medjai in this movie. But no, they went with Prodigium, whose purpose is not to destroy Evil but to harness and study it so they can find a cure for it. I can get behind that, but the way they went about it was so weird. They wanted to bring a God, a GOD, mind you in to Tom Cruise’s body and they thought they could study him and use him. Like that would never backfire. I get it. They were thinking of sequel options and thinking of creating a connected universe like with the Kong – Godzilla movies of late. But it just fell flat for me.
  5. The Mummies: In the first movie/original, Imhotep had his followers/priests buried with him and he uses the Book to bring them back and they do his bidding, along with the palace guard mummies. And in that case, they are clearly mummies. But the so called Mummies, apart from Amonet, were more zombies than Mummies
  6. The Ending: As a mortal vessel for Set, Tom Cruise would have control over life and death, he can bring people back to life if he so wished. This is what prompts him to complete the ritual started by Amonet and he becomes Set. Why? To bring back his so called love interest in the series. What’s wrong with that you ask? This was also done in the original you say. Yes it was and there was a justification to it, with the Books of Life and of Death. We have already established that this story is set in the same universe as the one with those books existed. Well then why could he not just use it to get her back? Nope, better just bring great evil down upon ourselves and depend upon the will of this man that was so easily led along by Amonet, but can withstand the onslaught of Set’s will. Sure
  7. The so-called pairing/Love interest: Maybe I can overlook a few of the glaring mistakes made if the pairing worked out well. But Tom Cruise (Nick Morton) and Annabelle Wallis ( Jennifer Halsey) just did not have the chemistry. They had a one night stand and met a few days later and just that day they get into a life or death situation and she just trusts him to break the curse/ be able to withstand being the mortal vessel for a God. It just didn’t work.

I know I might have been a lot harsher on this movie, than maybe I would’ve been if it were not a reboot of a beloved franchise. But I think I would have found this movie weak if it were a stand alone. They just thought more of what sequels they could make to expand the Mummy universe than to the story and editing. All in all this was a disappointing reboot. It’s not impossible to make a great reboot, case in point – Jurassic World. For me this was a one star Movie. And I am usually a generous person when it comes to rating movies.

If there’s one silver lining to this, it is that this movie is so bad, I will probably watch it with my sisters to make fun of it. But probably not anytime soon, as I still hate this movie right now. I am saddened to know that this will be the definitive Mummy not the awesome 1999 Movie.

What did you think of the movie? Do know that this is my opinion, and I would like to know if you liked the movie.

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Book Reviews

Review: Woman With A Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine

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I stumbled upon Woman With a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine quite accidentally while going through instagram stories of people I follow. This was sent to @sumaiyya.books on instagram for review and my curiosity was aroused by the synopsis. The book is set during the days following the attack on Pearl Harbour in the 1940’s and is about an aspiring writer who happens to be Japanese in those times. But it is not that simple.

The book is laid out as a story within a story. It comprises of the book that a Japanese writer (writing under an American pen name), letters from his editor who is editing the manuscript for him and also a spin off that the author is writing as a companion or sequel to the book.

This book grew on me. It was a short read but it was one of those stories that stay with you and one that you suddenly think of while going about your day. Like I said this book starts off as a book within a book. The story is more of a pulp detective yarn where a professor is trying to find out who killed his wife. But suddenly he finds himself in a world that has no idea who he is and it is in fact a month or so in the future and everybody that he comes in contact with hates him on sight for being a Japanese.

We as readers are more clued in as we see the correspondence between the author and the editor about changing the story post Pearl Harbor, to make the protagonist non-Japanese and to turn it in to a pulp spy novel.

This book makes you think and feel a lot of things. It makes you feel for the author (the one in the book) as you get to know his story through the editors letters and get to know his life as a Japanese in America in those times. You also get to think about this question. What happens to characters or stories that writers leave unfinished or abandon partway through? Do they live on or perish? Come to thin of it where do writers get their ideas? McAlpine plays with these questions and our feelings quite well. I really really liked this book. I strongly recommend you to read this book if you can get your hands on it.

Rating – 4.5/5

I am not sure if I can recommend a book that is like this one. Maybe I’ll update this post when I think of something.

Book Reviews

Review: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

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I have always loved Stephen King’s books. He has written a lot of books. I own a lot of his books. He is one of the authors that shows up a lot in my read shelf. But I had never read one of his most famous books – Salem’s Lot. I had to rectify that soon. I am going to try and read all of his books that are out this year. The operative word being “try”considering the sheer number of books he’s written. I thought I would start with Salem’s Lot, because don’t shoot me, I hadn’t read it yet.

While writing this I realize I haven’t really read very many vampire books other than Twilight. Or maybe none are coming to mind at the moment. Well I’m happy I’ve rectified that. 

I really quite liked Salem’s Lot. Stephen King has this knack of writing small towns. I know this is weird but to me it’s reminiscent of Christie’s St. Mary Mead. On the surface his towns seem perfect, but look closely and it has its secrets. The difference is King gives us a lot more detail and his towns are a lot more sinister sometimes. 

I could tell that this book was one of his early books. I could see parts of It and Tommyknockers in this book, what with the small town description, and a little of Needful Things, with the antagonists setting up an antique shop. I’m not saying these books were similar to a great degree, but I did get glimpses. This book felt a little more fast paced to me than his other books, where you get to know the characters a lot more, and not just the main ones. I’m not complaining but it’s an observation.  I just wanted a few more scenes with Mark and Ben Mears. 

I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was a great place to start my journey of reading all of the books by King.  if rate it a 3.5/5 only because I’ve read his later efforts that were so much better and where he refined what he’d written here.

Which King book do you think I should pick up next? I’m not sure I’ll go  chronologically.

If you liked Salem’s Lot I’d recommend –

1. It by Stephen King

2. Phantoms by Dean Koontz

Movie Reviews

Review: Beauty and the Beast

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I have always been a huge Disney fan since I was a small child. So I was stoked to go watch the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast. This Disney classic, I think, has a special place in most book lovers hearts as Belle herself is a bookworm. And to top it off, Belle is being played by Emma Watson who played our favourite bookworm in Harry Potter and is one in real life too. So there was no way I was going to miss watching this movie in the theater.

To better review this movie I watched the 1991 animated version once I got home. While I loved the animated version, and I still do, I prefer this version of the story better. I think it’s mostly got to do with the fact that I am a bit older and the way the live action movie was played is more up my alley now. We got a little more insight into the lives of our characters. We hear about both Beast’s and Beauty’s pasts in this version. Another advantage this movie adaptation has that the previous one does not is technology. The effects in this version was just superb. The songs remained the same but they did tweak them a little. I feel a couple of songs were a little more upbeat, like Be Our Guest and Gaston’s Song.

In the end this is a feel good movie. This is going on the list of movies that I would watch to make myself feel better on days I feel down or even on days I just want to relax. If Disney keeps up with making remakes of their classics I cannot wait to see what they do with The Little Mermaid or even Aladdin.

Highlights of the movie – 

1.Luke Evans as Gaston. He was channeling the essence of Gaston.

2. The Sets, costumes and the effects

3. Reliving your childhood. The nostalgia was strong in this one

Rating : 4/5

If you liked this movie I would recommend –

  1. Watch the original Beauty and the Beast
  2. Aladdin
  3. Read Beauty by Robin McKinley
Book Reviews

Review: And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

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This was one of the books I stumbled across while going through one of my favourite Goodreads reviewer, Emily Mays‘s reviews. I like most of the books she has rated 4 or more stars. This was one of them. And I have been craving creepy books lately and this fit the bill.

And the Trees Crept In is about Silla and Nori, two sisters who run away from their abusive father, to go live with their maternal aunt Cath. She lives in a huge manor, named La Baume, in the middle of Python Woods. Though shocked at first to see two children at her doorstep, Cath takes them in and they are happy for a while. But when Nori, the youngest, wanders near the woods while playing Cath loses it. She warns Nori and Cath not to go into the woods because the Creeper Man lives there and that he would hurt little children who wander in to the woods. Silla thinks this is just a story Aunt Cath is telling them to keep them safely away from the woods. But soon she finds out that her aunt is coming unhinged and that she does believe in this Creeper Man. Cath finally loses it and locks herself in the attic.

Everything goes downhill from there. Because of impending war, the nearby town becomes a ghost town and the food supplies are running low and they’ve started to starve.Then Silla starts noticing things too. She notices the woods creeping in and starts seeing a tall man with a horrible grin and no eyes. And the roots are creeping ever closer.She cannot escape as that would mean going through the woods where the Creeper Man is. She can’t tell if she is going crazy or really seeing him.

This book has everything a chilling read needs – a Boogeyman, a Haunted house, a crazy lady and a protagonist who cannot tell if she is going crazy or not. And I was scared after reading around 20% into the book. I couldn’t fall asleep because of the way the creeper man is described in the book. The hysteria builds up throughout the books. There’s creepy poetry at the beginning of every chapter and the book in interspersed with Silla’s journal entries. I liked the journal bits because they had messages hidden in them.

It dragged on in parts though. Especially the middle. But am I glad I stuck with it. The ending explains all of it. This book reminds me of a movie. I can’t really put it down here in the review without it being a major spoiler. So if you want to know, then comment down below and maybe I’ll tell you. All in all this was a good read. I would rate it a 3.75 out of 5.

If you like reading horror or creepy books I would recommend the following –

  1. The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
  2. Five Stories High

 

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Review: Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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I was just browsing through book haul videos a couple of days ago and stumbled upon Katytastic’s Birthday Book Haul. This is one of the ways I find out about books that I might want to pick up. Halfway through the video I see Kat talk about Every Heart a Doorway and how everyone was raving about it last year. I was surprised on two fronts – 1) I had never heard of it and 2) The author, Seanan McGuire seemed familiar. I instantly went on Goodreads to check what else she had written and then it hit me. She had another pen name – Mira Grant, writer of the Newsflesh trilogy. That was an awesome series and now I had to pick this book up.

Every Heart A Doorway is a book about lost children. And when they come back to their families they are changed. You would think it’s obvious, most of these children are probably runaways who’ve come back home or those that have been released or escaped from their captors. To their parents they are not the same child that went missing. So what do they do? They put them in a special school that specializes in children like them. Little do they know who this school really caters to.

Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children is just what it says. It’s a school for children who have lost their way. Just not the way it is sold to the parents. The children at this school didn’t get kidnapped or get lost, they went through doors in basements, trees etc to a different world altogether. To worlds where they feel safe and happy. A place where they belong. For one reason or another all of these children have been kicked out of these world back to this one. All of them are  trying to get back, to find their doors again. Eleanor West knows what these children are going through, she’s one of them. She started this school because she too went through a door once. She knows most of the children will probably not find their doors again. The school tries to teach the children how to move on with their lives, knowing they will be unable to go back to their worlds.

This story has a variety of characters. I never thought I would come to like so many characters even though the story is so short. This book is less than 200 pages long and it is just jam packed with atmosphere and relatable characters. This book gave a different spin to the children/people we see who feel they do not fit in to this world and some create worlds to escape to. McGuire just put a spin on it and made the worlds real.

This book has elements of fairy tales (the worlds that the children go to through the doors), coming of age , sexual identity (There’s a transgender and an asexual protagonist in the book) , mystery (a murder mystery!) and so much more. You would think it would be a little difficult to mix all of these into the story, but McGuire does a great job of it.

This book was just a wonderful way of telling us that each and every one of us that it’s OK to be who we are, that there is a place/someone out there who will love you for who you are. But it is important to first love yourself.

I know I seem disjointed when it comes to expressing how I felt reading this book because I am not a writer per se. But do read this book. It’s a short read but a really great read. I finished this book in less than a day. To me this was a 4.5 stars read

If you read this book and like it, there’s other books you might like –

  1. Alice by Christina Henry. This is a retelling of Alice and I think this is a lot like this book
  2. Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant. I am recommending this book because this is another story by this author and is a great short story. It has the same atmospheric feeling for me.
  3. Beauty by Robin McKinley – Another retelling. This one of Beauty and the Beast. (You will notice a trend, though I like retellings of Fairy tales, I like them a bit darker than usual)