Category: Dan Stevens

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (Movie 2014)

4 Kernels

Stars: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Dan Stevens, Ricky Gervais

All right, setting aside serious movies about war, death, and intrigue, let’s talk about Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. I went to see this last week when I felt depressed and sat down, ate popcorn, drank water, and had a good laugh.

Like any other kid, I enjoyed the first one when everything in the museum comes alive at night after the sun goes down. It was a unique story that brought laughs. I missed the second one (I don’t know why) but am glad I tuned in for the third.

Ben Stiller is great as Larry Daley.  When he discovers that the mysterious Egyptian tablet that brings the museum to life is corroding and turning everybody back to wax, he and the crew (Teddy Roosevelt, Jedediah, Octavius, Ahkmenrah, Sacajawea, and Dexter) come to the rescue. Apparently the only one who knows the secret about the tablet is Ahkmenrah’s father, who is on display in the British Museum with his mother. Larry convinces Dr. McPhee to let him go to London and take a few of the exhibits with him. He packs them in wood crates filled with Styrofoam, and Larry, along with his teenage son head for the British Isles to save the museum’s occupants from dying.

They get past a dorky security guard at the British Museum. As soon as I saw the inside I screamed,”I’ve been there!” It was a familiar scene of the sweeping staircase to the left and right in the lobby.  Of course, walking into the museum with the tablet causes everything to come to life for the first time, which starts the hilarity of the show.  Not only is Larry running for his life, but so are all the other characters from the New York Museum. Some of the lines spoken and scenes are downright hilarious, which brought a lot of out-loud laughs from me and the audience.

A new character in the mix is Lancelot who comes to life, played by Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey.  Yes, he’s alive, and handsome as ever his his armor, long hair, and blue eyes. It’s his nose, however, that will have you in stitches toward the end. He, like the others come alive for the first time but don’t quite get what has happened to them.

Ben Stiller is looking rather handsome in the flick, and Robin Williams has a hollowness about his eyes that will break your heart. The movie was dedicated to him and also Mickey Rooney, who died before release. Mickey had a bit part at the beginning, as well as Dick VanDyke. Speaking of bit parts, even Hugh Jackman turns up in a scene with Dan. Another new character is a Neanderthal, who looks like Larry. The bantering between Larry and the cave man is a hoot.

Needless to say, if you’re looking for a good kid-friendly and adult humorous movie, you’ll love all the new creatures coming to life.  The old ones will warm your heart, and the sacrifice they all make at the end will touch your heart.

To quote Teddy in the movie, which made me think instantly of Robin, I thought this line poignant under the circumstances. Makes me teary-eyed.

Teddy Roosevelt:“Smile, my boy. It’s almost sunrise.”

Summer in February (Movie 2014)

Stars:  Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning, Dan Stevens
 
If you are still mourning over Dan Stevens dying in Downton Abbey, here is a picture with the blond-haired, dreamy eyed Englishman.  However, don’t expect much when it comes to the story, except that Dan comes across pretty much the same as Matthew Crawley.  Apparently, this was filmed after this departure from Downton.
Where do I begin? Hum, well, it’s a period movie, apparently about a factual event.  Dominic Cooper plays A. J. Munnings, a talented artist who went onto to be a famous English painter.  Set on the Cornwall coast in England, it’s a story of a group of artists who do nothing but paint.  Dan Stevens, who plays Gilbert Evans, is not an artist, but a friend of A.J. and in the military.
The story is a strange love triangle.  Enter Florence Carter Wood, another young wannabe artist. She arrives in Cornwall to be with her brother and meets both A.J. and Gilbert.  Gilbert quickly falls in love with her, but A.J. wins the spoils instead. However, the entire affair is nonsensical.  Florence, who comes across as a pretty, young aristocratic woman, finds A.J. fascinating because of his talent.  However, he has a dark side wherein he is moody, belligerent, and drinks too much. Even though his personality is well revealed before the wedding, she for some odd reason proceeds with the marriage as if she is helpless to do so otherwise. Of course, her decision reaps an unhappy life, while Gilbert broods over his loss of his true love.

Since I don’t want to give the “spoils” away on this plot, I’ll keep my remaining comments minimal regarding the final outcome.  The location on the Cornwall coast has spectacular scenery. There are a few unnecessary scenes of total frontal female nudity, which added absolutely no value to the story whatsoever.  (Three of these individuals in Summer in February also starred in the 2008 BBC Sense & Sensibility – Dominic Cooper, who played Willoughby; Dan Stevens, who played Edward Ferrars; and Hattie Morahan, who played Elinor.)

Unfortunately, I cannot come away with anything lasting about this movie.  Though well acted, the story itself turned out to be a melodramatic affair that made no sense to me whatsoever. The only pleasure in it was seeing Dan Stevens once again in a familiar period piece.

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