Featured: Top of Home Page

New ‘Mummy' film, ‘Mamma Mia!' head latest Blu-ray parade

Doug Nye
McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)

A different twist on an old legend, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" (Universal, 2008, $39.98), and an energetic musical that drew mixed reviews, "Mamma Mia! The Movie" (Universal, 2008, $34.98), top the parade of this week's new Blu-ray titles.

The creatures in every previous Mummy movie dating back to the 1932 original arose from the sands of Egypt. "Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" unfolds in China and the new locale gives the franchise a fresh boost. The high definition Blu-ray images and the stirring soundtrack make for a great home-theater viewing experience.

It seems that more than 2,000 years ago, a great army led by Emperor Han (Jet Li) who was bent on conquering all of Asia. But because he killed the man she loved, sorceress Zi Juan (Michelle Yeoh) put a curse on Han and his army, turning them all into the mummies.

Flash forward to 1946 London where Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Evelyn (played this time by Mario Bello) live a most comfortable life. The two have "retired" from searching for artifacts of the past. Everything is perfect, right? Not really, because both are bored stiff with their unexciting routine.

Meanwhile, their son Alex (Luke Ford), now an archeologist himself, has uncovered the tomb of Han. When the British government asks Rick and Evelyn to take the ancient Eye of Shangri-Li to China, they jump at the chance to add more spice to their lives. Once there, they meet Rick and they also learn that the Eye is capable of bringing the evil Han back to life.

That, of course, happens and sparks a breathless thrill ride that includes spectacular epic battle sequences, encounters with legendary Yetis, the discovery that Zi Juan still lives, a visit to the beautiful Shangri-Li and a whole lot of fun. It comes with a digital copy and numerous entertaining extras. Highly recommended for lovers of adventure.

___

The highlight of "Mamma Mia" is an exhilarating performance by Meryl Streep, who happily dances and sings her way through the movie. She seems to be enjoying herself immensely, which makes her a joy to watch. She plays Donna Sheridam, who lives on a Greek island with her daughter Sophie (Amanda Setfried), who is about to get married.

Unknown to Donna, Sophie has invited her mom's former lovers Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Harry (Colin Forth) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) to the wedding because she wants to find out which one is her father.

A slim story thread, perhaps, but who cares? The music is the star of this film. Of course, if you're one of those people who don't like ABBA, then you might want to pass on the film. But if you are fond of their sounds, then you're in for a treat. The "Dancing Queen" number alone is worth it all.

Most everyone is in fine voice with the exception of Brosnan, who gives it a valiant try but obviously is no Sinatra. Fortunately, Brosnan has only a limited number of songs to perform. There are plenty of extras here as well as a digital copy. And don't miss the closing credits. Recommended.

Other Blu-ray titles this week:

"Coach Carter" (Paramount, 2005, $39.99): Samuel L. Jackson is great as Ken Carter, who agrees to take over as basketball coach for his old school, providing the players buy into his emphasis on keeping their grades up and his brand of discipline. They do for a while and the team seems on its way to an undefeated season. But when the players' attitudes begin to change toward classwork, Carter shuts down the gym and is prepared to ditch the season. That sparks an uproar among the parents and the community. Based on a true story. Recommended.

"Into the Wild" (Paramount, 2007, $29.99): In this absorbing film, Emile Hirsch plays Chris McCandless, a graduate of Emory University who decides to abandon modern conveniences for a life in the wilderness. He hitchhikes his way to Alaska, where he encounters a number of adventures and a variety of characters. The experiences have a lasting impact on him. Another film based on a true story. Recommended.

"The Heartbreak Kid" (Paramount, 2007, $39.99): Here's another Ben Stiller comedy that has some humor but not enough. Stiller plays Eddie, who falls for Lila (Malin Akerman) and is so taken with her, he marries her. Turns out to be a big mistake. During his honeymoon with Lila, Eddie meets Miranda (Michelle Monaghan) and realizes she is really the one for him.

"Hot Rod" (Paramount, 2007, $39.99): Andy Samberg plays wannabe stuntman Ron Kimble, who will do just about anything crazy on a bike that is asked of him. Then comes the day when he decides to attempt to jump over 15 buses to raise money for his stepfather's (Ina McShane) heart operation. The kicker? Ron despises his step-father.

"Tommy Boy" (Paramount, 1995, $39.99): Chris Farley plays Tommy, a slow-witted lazy lout who suddenly is thrust into the role of saving the family auto-part business after his father dies. Aided by his equally goofball friend Richard (David Spade), he travels the country trying to sell parts to just about anyone. Also in the cast are Brian Dennehy, Bo Derek, Dan Aykroyd and Rob Lowe.

"Old School" (Paramount, 2003, $39.99): This raunchy comedy stars Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughan and Will Ferrell as three guys who decide leading adult lives is boring and disappointing. They long for their old wild and crazy college days and try to relive them, proving what we already know: Them days are gone forever. Only for those who find lame dirty jokes funny.

"In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" (20th Century Fox, 2008, $29.99): "Lord of the Rings" this ain't. A man named Farmer (Jason Statham) sets out to rescue his wife from the animal-like warriors known as the Krugs. Would-be epic falls way short.

"Death Proof" (Genius, 2007, $29.95): Here's a film that mainly will appeal to fans of director Quentin Tarantino. Stuntmen, driving their supposed death-proof cars, stalk a pair of women. Kurt Russell stars.

"Planet Terror" (Genius, 2007, $34.98): An experimental chemical weapon is released that turns hundreds of people into zombie-like creatures. A group of un-infected people fight to save the world and find out who released the stuff into the air. An example of why the fast-forward button was invented.

"The Cheetah Girls: One World" (Walt Disney, 2008, $29.99): Chanel (Adrienne Bailon), Dirinda (Sabrina Bryan) and Aqua (Kiely Williams) travel to India to make a movie. Among the various songs performed by the girls from Disney are "Dance Me If You Can," "One World" and "I'm The One." Pre-teens and teens should like it.

"The House Bunny" (Sony, 2008, $39.95): Ana Faris stars as a former Playboy bunny who pumps new life into a sorority made of girls who lack self-esteem. Farris takes care of that. Also in the cast are Beverly D'Angelo and Hugh Hefner.

All prices listed are the suggested retail price and can be purchased cheaper for those who shop around.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.