NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB REVIEW

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One last time? Probably for the best.

The first one I’ve actually seen all the way through and thankfully the last.

The others I’ve always caught bits. They seemed a little silly but fun. All you can hope for with the influx of films filling the big screen.

So what happens in this one? Larry (Ben Stiller) spans the globe (Well . . . London), uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.

In a word, meh. Not bad but not great either.

A bizarre Indiana Jones-esque opening didn’t really get things going. Some predictable Egyptian mumbo jumbo about a curse surrounding the magic tablet felt a little unnecessary.

However, we are soon back at the Smithsonian with the gang doing their thing. BUT alas, the tablet is corroding and the statues are acting weird. Causing havoc on the public and pulling strange faces.

It was a shame knowing that this was Robin Williams’ last film. Especially when his character Teddy Roosevelt was a little lacklustre and flat. His farewell speeches did hit home a little harder. BUT it felt like a blip on an extensive film career from a comedy actor that was gone too soon.

It was also farewell to another comedy icon, the late Mickey Rooney in a blink and you’ll miss it cameo.

The cast do their best but the gags seem few and far between. And the premise to get them all together for one last hurrah was lazy and a little tame.

Ben Stiller was entertaining (as usual). The discovery of his neanderthal counterpart Laaa shouldn’t have worked BUT somehow his stupid face pulling got a chuckle out of me.

BUT some of the gags were old hat. I mean the scene in which he must explain why Laaa must stay behind (Only to then follow him or mimic him) was predictable and done to death.

Dick van Dyke has still got the moves but I felt his appearance wasn’t needed. A feeble attempt to get all the gang back in the movie.

Ricky Gervais always did irritate me (in these films). And from the opening, he still did. However, the more rubbish he spouted and the flimsier his floundering became, I found my face cracking.

Things did seem to get going when Stiller finally got to London to stop the curse.

I thought Rebel Wilson was going to poke fun at the British stereotype a lot more and annoy me but no! She was just being Rebel Wilson. When she got to improvise it wasn’t bad. BUT she did go on a little too much.

Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) was brilliant as the newest addition, Sir Lancelot. He made a hilarious entrance and took it up a notch. However, once he started suffering from a little Buzz Lightyear syndrome, my interest waned.

The whole “I’m a knight not a statue” routine did go on. BUT that was only because there wasn’t much else on offer.

Even Larry’s subplot with his son seemed rushed and put together poorly to try and fill the void. The corny “Choose your own path and don’t drop out of high school” spiel just felt predictable and run of the mill.

The special effects were brilliant and I think they missed a trick by not shooting it in 3D. However, the overuse of CGI on Dexter the monkey did spoil things. BUT then you’re not going to get Crystal the Monkey to disco dance. Or hang off a trapeze for crying out loud!

For every good gag, they seem to repeat it or milk it dry. Tut tut tut.

Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson had two good gags that were heavily flogged in the trailers. One involving a giant Roman catapult to operate a keyboard to post a humourous comment and another involving a fire and a monkey that used the only liquid available at his disposal.

Yeah . . . You get the picture.

The pair were hilarious in the other two films but this time round, they weren’t in it enough and when they were; they just didn’t hit it off or make you laugh as much as you hoped. Which is pretty much my summary of the film.

And the big secret to help save the tablet was laughable. No, really! All those hit and miss shenanigans for a terrible conclusion.

There were some fantastic cameos that I didn’t expect from the legendary Sir Ben Kingsley, Alice Eve and a certain Marvel icon. I won’t say much more. It didn’t have me howling with laughter but he certainly got the odd titter.

A running gag with said mystery actor went on far too long.

The closing moments were nicely done but then it seemed to end so abruptly and flatly that was a bit anti-climactic. It made sense but I haven’t felt so baffled and disappointed with an ending since Lost.

If you want to distract the little ‘uns for 90 minutes, it does the trick but there are better family films out there. *Cough* Shaun the Sheep *Cough*

2.5/5

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SAVING MR BANKS REVIEW

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Thank you for saving me from burning my Unlimited card!

A pleasant surprise to come out of the cinema after a film with a smile. An easygoing, heartwarming, brilliantly written and superbly acted drama.

Be warned, there will be no rant or comical anecdote. The critic in me is in action. Apologies.

Now for those who aren’t familiar, I have an Unlimited card which entitles me to see whatever I want at the cinema. A challenge that has drained me.

I have found it incredibly difficult to answer people when they ask, “What’s your top 10 this year?”. I feel that films this year have either failed to hit the mark, contained brilliant BUT poorly executed concepts or were merely poor rehashes of classics that didn’t need to be touched in the first place. However, I may finally have a contender to add to my 10.

Now, I’m a fan of Disney. And I’ll admit I loved the film Mary Poppins (Yeah, losing serious man points here but hey ho). When I first heard that a film had been made about the story behind the story of Mary Poppins, I was intrigued.

As soon as the film begun, I was hooked by the sheer acting grace of one of my favourite actresses Emma Thompson. We join the uptight snobby PL Travers as she is invited to LA by Walt Disney himself to discuss signing over the movie rights to Mary Poppins.

Strapped for cash and afraid to lose her home, Travers is reluctantly forced to consider his proposal BUT finds his charm offensive offensive. And as flashbacks reveal, her connection to the character is a lot more personal than anyone could have imagined.

As soon as Travers breached the loud, bright, OTT enthusiastic Californian bliss of Disney Studios, you knew you were in for a treat. From the flight complaints regarding a baby’s noise levels to the stray suitcase invading her designated space. Even the crazy terms that she demanded; NO animation, NO music and absolutely NO Dick Van Dyke?! Hilarious BUT true. This did actually happen.

The supporting cast were brilliant. Paul Giamatti was charming as the nauseatingly enthusiastic chauffeur. BB Novak and Jason Schwartzman were very funny as the mad song writers. However, cudos must be awarded to the legend that is Tom Hanks, who truly captivated Disney and stole the show at every chance.

Watching Thompson and Hanks banter and compete with one another was fantastic. Disney truly has his work cut out for him. I was disappointed that Thompson didn’t get an Oscar nod after all the consideration.

What sets this film apart was the flashback sequences. They slowly unearthed Traver’s past from her childhood in Australia with her father (Brilliantly portrayed by Colin Farrell). As we delve further into Travers’ past, we get to see why she’s so reluctant to let Mary Poppins go and why she has become the woman that she is today.

I felt that Ruth Wilson (who played Alice in the brilliant TV drama Luther) was wasted in her role. Understandably, the film’s focus was always going to be on Travers’ relationship with her father. A pivotal point in Poppin’s development BUT it was a shame. However, she was given a moment to shine in an emotionally tense scene. I don’t want to say too much now because I want people to see this.

An endearing little affair. If a little long at the tooth BUT I didn’t need a spoonful of sugar to make this go down (Come on, I had to get one in).

I initially thought that Travers’ character was exaggerated for the feature BUT during the closing credits (Hardly a spoiler), an old recording of a conversation with the real Travers and some Disney execs was played. Thompson really did do her justice.

Great acting, great writing, good film.

4/5