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Director: Alex Kurtzman Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe, Jake Johnson Running Time: 107 minutes

The scariest moment in The Mummy comes before its titular monster even shows up onscreen. After the Universal fanfare stops and their globe has faded from view, the title card of the “Dark Universe” appears on screen, signifying The Mummy’s status as the first entry in yet another interconnected series of blockbusters. The repurposing of Universal’s classic monster movies into identikit action flicks to be packaged off to the international market looks like a particularly desperate attempt from the studio to get a slice of Marvel’s pie, and that Dark Universe logo and its confirmation that they are going all in on this may not be the kind of fright to provoke nightmares, but it certainly might lead to a few headaches before going to bed.

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Director: Justin Lin Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Salanda, Idris Elba Running Time: 122 minutes

How much you enjoy Star Trek Beyond may depend entirely on what it is you expect from a Star Trek film. Those looking for a fun night at the movies will likely leave satisfied. Those hoping for a hint of the depth or thematic resonance of the original series may feel short changed.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise. Beyond fittingly promises a story that returns that franchise to its roots, with the crew having finally embarked on their 5 year mission to “explore strange new worlds”.  While some credit is due for attempting to follow through on that promise, it doesn’t excuse the script’s over reliance on by-the-numbers plotting. The story is threadbare and largely recycled; riddled with plot contrivances and a few too many unlikely coincidences. What the film lacks in originality however, it makes up for with a renewed sense of adventure.Read more…