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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

my week at the movies: ‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,’ ‘Swing Vote,’ ‘Tropic Thunder,’ ‘Sixty Six,’ ‘Stealing America: Vote by Vote’

I like the Mummy movies and I don’t care who knows it. And I am absolutely determined to enjoy The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor [opens wide August 1] as much as I possibly can. If that means I have to plug my ears and loudly sing-a-ling “La la la, I can’t hear you!” every time director Rob Cohen — taking over for Stephen Sommers — does something stupid, so be it. If it means I have to acknowledge that even Maria Bello is not so cool that she can replace Rachel Weisz, so be it. My expectations of pretty low for this one: just gimme a not-entirely-stupid summer historical action fantasy, and I’ll be fine. Holy crap: I just discovered Russell Wong is in this. *swoon*

I feel like Swing Vote [opens wide August 1] is coming out of nowhere — I’ve barely been marketing to about it at all. All I know is that Kevin Costner plays an “apathetic, loveable loser,” and those are the roles he’s best in, so I’m there. Also it has Nathan Lane and Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer as the President of the United States. Some high-profile women in the cast might be nice, but I can’t have everything, now can I?

It’s all boys again in Tropic Thunder [opens wide August 13] — Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Steve Coogan, and Robert Downey Jr — but at least two and a half of them are pretty decent. Maybe even three of them, if you count half of Black and half of Stiller as one. It’s directed by Stiller, too: if he can harken back to the genius he demonstrated with his Ben Stiller Show so long ago, he could be looking at an upgrade in my esteem.

I don’t know much about Sixty Six [opens limited August 1] except that it’s a British film from two years back, it features the goddess Catherine Tate (recently of Doctor Who) among its cast, and it’s from director Paul Weiland, who’s a vet of Blackadder and Mr. Bean but who came to Hollywood this year with the execrable Made of Honor. Two outta three ain’t bad, I guess.

Stealing America: Vote by Vote [opens limited August 1] is not, alas, science fiction, but a documentary. *sigh*

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