Tag: Annabelle Wallis

Tag

tagIt’s hard to believe that among the homes and workplaces of ten “ordinary” men, there is a very serious and highly spirited game of tag happening. Director Jeff Tomsic has teamed up with screenwriter Mark Steilen to tell their story. 

Better known for their TV comedies, the duo have adapted for film an article written by Russell Adams in The Wall Street Journal that outlined the aforementioned group of grown men who every February enter into a month-long season of tag. The only taboo? You can’t tag the tagger—other than that, hunting season is open right across the country. 

Wary of overcooking his cast Tomsic has wisely narrowed the film’s focus to five friends; Hoagie (Ed Helms) who is the spiritual hub to the group, Randy (Jake Johnson) the drug-addled goof, Callahan (Jon Hamm) the successful businessman, and Sable (Hannibal Buress) the fragile and intellectually curious one. 

And then there’s Jerry (Jeremy Renner). He has never been tagged, much to the umbrage of the other four.  His “untouchable” status is a comical MacGuffin that provides the film with its narrative direction. However, at its heart Tag is just as concerned with exploring the bonds of their friendship. Any comedy worth its salt does more than just make you laugh and Tag does a wonderful job of hilariously endearing you to their relationships. Not just with each other, but also with Hoagie’s ultra-competitive wife (Isla Fisher) who acts as his support crew and tipping him off against an impending tag.

But the film’s real strength lies in its physical comedy and lets the reigns loose on some downright hilarious hijinks and clever slapstick moments. Yes, it’s very commercial and incredibly silly; but it’s also fun, irreverent, sometimes awkward and often cringe-worthy—the kind that’ll have you watching between your fingers. It’s normally everything I shy away from but here they’ve got the balance bang on … and right now there are not many comedies that can touch it.
 

See my reviews for the NZ Herald and NZME here.

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The Mummy

tmmyIt looks like Universal Pictures want some of that lucrative franchise action. In the opening credits to The Mummy we are introduced to the “Dark Universe” logo — a series that is being spearheaded by The Mummy in what appears to be a new world of characters born out of classic horror; The Hunchback, Dr. Jekyll, Frankenstein, and Dracula, to name a few.  Although, if The Mummy is any indication, they’re going to make a monstrous mess of the whole lot.

In The Mummy we get Tom Cruise in all his blockbuster glory. From his quizzical expressions to his dramatic running style, everything here is so familiar, even down to the cookie-cutter template that this action blockbuster has been styled on. Cruise plays Nick Morton, a military recognisance scallywag who likes to steal antiquities and sell them on the black market.  One amorous night he steals a map from Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) which leads him (and her eventually) to the resting place of a 5000-year-old mummified Egyptian princess named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). Ahmanet was fairly miffed over a family spat back in the day … but I wont bore you with the details. Suffice to say that she comes back to life to set things straight and wreaks havoc over old Blighty.

Where do I start with what is wrong with The Mummy? Well, if you are sensitive to gender representation then you will most likely realise it contains a bunch of a negative stereotypes.  Ahmanet being the monstrous feminine seductress that toys with the male mind might’ve been an interesting angle to explore further, but instead we are dialled back to the old-fashioned conventions of a self-centred hero with his abject love interest in tow. And don’t get me started on the age gap between Cruise and Wallis.

But, at the end of the day the film is meant to be taken as a light hearted romp, so I’ll dispense with further heavy-handed complaints.  Even as a light hearted romp though, it’s still a disjointed mishmash. There are some nice set pieces but none of these coalesce into a coherent film. Character development is poor, leaving any vested interest in their cause waning.  Perhaps the most intriguing character is Dr. Henry Jekyll played by Russell Crowe.  The small glimpse of his struggle to contain the monstrous Mr. Hyde looked like a movie I’d want to see.  Or, if we’re lucky we might see Mr. Hyde run on for Crowe’s beloved South Sydney NRL side — certainly would be a more fun than The Mummy.  In the meantime, buckle your seat-belts, because this looks like only the first of many more monstrous turds flung our way.

You can see the published review here.