‘Kong: Skull Island’ Review

(AOTN) The main problem with all of these mega-blockbuster films, going back to the original King Kong has always been incorporating the human elements with these massive monsters, whomever they may be.  It’s one thing to make the monsters in these flicks look visually compelling enough to keep the audiences fleeting interest at bay, let alone tell a compelling story.  For example, the thing that the 1993 original Jurassic Park or 1995’s Independence Day had were compelling HUMAN characters.  Sure these movies used the newest and baddest special effects of the time, the thing that separated these from the rest of the Blockbusters are the human characters audiences can get behind.  Independence Day doesn’t work without Will Smith or Jeff Goldblum.  Jurassic Park isn’t the same film without Sam Neil or Jeff Goldblum (this is not to say Goldblum is the glue of forming a Blockbuster, I completely forgot he was in both until I wrote this but he IS fantastic).  Having digressed big time, it is to say Kong: Skull Island while not on a level of timeless, has proven itself a step ahead of the rest, and an exciting and valiant attempt to bring back the giant monster flicks of yesterdays past.

The original Inkg Kong trailer:

Jumping back years chronologically in Legendary’s Godzilla/King Kong Universe, the GKK as I will refer to it, Kong: Skull Island begins circa 1944.  Two fighters from World War 2 (WW2) land  onto an island in the South Pacific, one American and one Japanese.  After engaging in some hand-on-hand combat, we are quickly introduced to the star of the show, Mr. Kong, the king of kings.  Fast forward the timeline to 1973 and we are introduced to our new set of protagonists.  Led by William “Bill” Randa (John Goodman) and fellow scientist, is geologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) who set their sight on the unexplored “Skull Island”.  With a great leading cast including but not limited to James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), Preston Packard (Sam Jackson), Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), San Lin (Jing Tian), and Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell), the crew set out to explore the formally unexplored Skull Island.

First things first.  Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts did an amazing job of paying homage, yet it makes something completely unique.  It’s hard to stray far from the original without people crying foul.  Kong incorporates enough yet says, “hey, I’ve got something to say”!  Luckily for fans, Kong doesn’t have a weird interspecies relationship with a woman, but has a satisfyingly intimate relationship with humans.  Kong is the main “bad guy” but isn’t necessarily the “bad guy”.  Like 2014’s Godzilla, Kong ills many a people, but isn’t maliciously killing them.  Kong like Godzilla has clearly defined motives that make the audience root for that character.  Humans, you me him and her, are impeding on their turf.  Much like the less-than-subtle Vietnam comparisons, these creatures want to be left alone.  The country of Vietnam didn’t want Western influence inflicting the destruction of their country, yet it happened.  As a member of the West, shit, I’m sorry.  The take-over of things that aren’t ours is in the blood and tradition of our country, and is exemplified in our arts.  Enter Kong: Skull Island, a love-letter to the Vietnam era directly influencing both the aesthetics and message of the new King Kong.

Moving past my rants-and-raves and weird political metaphors, Kong: Skull Island is simply a fun action monster movie.  Unlike 2014’s Godzilla, Kong doesn’t hide its titular character.  Within the first 8 minutes of the film, audiences are introduced to the scale of the title character.  He’s huge.  People small.  Kong king.  People… not king Kong.  This is exactly what you want out of this type of movie, it’s just done more style and care than one may expect.  Going back to my initial rants, this Blockbuster seems to have been made with more care and craft than audiences expect.  It’s a $200 million movie which one can walk away from and realize it was done with ONE specific vision.  Now there may have very well been a too many cooks-in-the-kitchen, but it feels like one filmmakers vision of what a monster movie could be.  Skull Island is done in an stylish manor that respects filmmaking in both past and present yet has a fresh feeling to it…sort of.  It’s not perfect, but it will excite both nerds and average movie-goers universally.  The saving grace of the film is its insane cast.

Leading the charge and keeping the audience fully locked in was the character Hank Marlow portrayed by John C. Reilly.  We first met this character in the opening scenes of the film, as the American solder who fell to the island with the rival Japanese soldier.  We pick this story up 29 years later, as the rest of the cast lands on the island looking for their buried treasure.  The heart and soul of these movies must be the glue, and while these characters minus Reilly’s don’t quite hold up to the necessary standards, there is enough to keep audiences engaged.  My real qualm with the film is the lack of character development, but thats a hard task to ask.  It’s like an episode of 24.  But, you have less than two-hours to complete and you have to tell both a visually strong yet cohesive story to satisfy both Democrats and Republicans.  Kidding, but its hard to make everyone happy.  Kong: Skull Island is a fantasic attempt at this, and is so far superior to movies like Jurassic World, it’s laughable.  It’s a silly monster movie that knows exactly what it is, but strives for more.

Kong:Skull Island
is now playing in theaters nationwide.

The post ‘Kong: Skull Island’ Review appeared first on Age of The Nerd.

‘Kong: Skull Island’ Review

(AOTN) The main problem with all of these mega-blockbuster films, going back to the original King Kong has always been incorporating the human elements with these massive monsters, whomever they may be.  It’s one thing to make the monsters in these flicks look visually compelling enough to keep the audiences fleeting interest at bay, let alone tell a compelling story.  For example, the thing that the 1993 original Jurassic Park or 1995’s Independence Day had were compelling HUMAN characters.  Sure these movies used the newest and baddest special effects of the time, the thing that separated these from the rest of the Blockbusters are the human characters audiences can get behind.  Independence Day doesn’t work without Will Smith or Jeff Goldblum.  Jurassic Park isn’t the same film without Sam Neil or Jeff Goldblum (this is not to say Goldblum is the glue of forming a Blockbuster, I completely forgot he was in both until I wrote this but he IS fantastic).  Having digressed big time, it is to say Kong: Skull Island while not on a level of timeless, has proven itself a step ahead of the rest, and an exciting and valiant attempt to bring back the giant monster flicks of yesterdays past.

The original Inkg Kong trailer:

Jumping back years chronologically in Legendary’s Godzilla/King Kong Universe, the GKK as I will refer to it, Kong: Skull Island begins circa 1944.  Two fighters from World War 2 (WW2) land  onto an island in the South Pacific, one American and one Japanese.  After engaging in some hand-on-hand combat, we are quickly introduced to the star of the show, Mr. Kong, the king of kings.  Fast forward the timeline to 1973 and we are introduced to our new set of protagonists.  Led by William “Bill” Randa (John Goodman) and fellow scientist, is geologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) who set their sight on the unexplored “Skull Island”.  With a great leading cast including but not limited to James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), Preston Packard (Sam Jackson), Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), San Lin (Jing Tian), and Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell), the crew set out to explore the formally unexplored Skull Island.

First things first.  Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts did an amazing job of paying homage, yet it makes something completely unique.  It’s hard to stray far from the original without people crying foul.  Kong incorporates enough yet says, “hey, I’ve got something to say”!  Luckily for fans, Kong doesn’t have a weird interspecies relationship with a woman, but has a satisfyingly intimate relationship with humans.  Kong is the main “bad guy” but isn’t necessarily the “bad guy”.  Like 2014’s Godzilla, Kong ills many a people, but isn’t maliciously killing them.  Kong like Godzilla has clearly defined motives that make the audience root for that character.  Humans, you me him and her, are impeding on their turf.  Much like the less-than-subtle Vietnam comparisons, these creatures want to be left alone.  The country of Vietnam didn’t want Western influence inflicting the destruction of their country, yet it happened.  As a member of the West, shit, I’m sorry.  The take-over of things that aren’t ours is in the blood and tradition of our country, and is exemplified in our arts.  Enter Kong: Skull Island, a love-letter to the Vietnam era directly influencing both the aesthetics and message of the new King Kong.

Moving past my rants-and-raves and weird political metaphors, Kong: Skull Island is simply a fun action monster movie.  Unlike 2014’s Godzilla, Kong doesn’t hide its titular character.  Within the first 8 minutes of the film, audiences are introduced to the scale of the title character.  He’s huge.  People small.  Kong king.  People… not king Kong.  This is exactly what you want out of this type of movie, it’s just done more style and care than one may expect.  Going back to my initial rants, this Blockbuster seems to have been made with more care and craft than audiences expect.  It’s a $200 million movie which one can walk away from and realize it was done with ONE specific vision.  Now there may have very well been a too many cooks-in-the-kitchen, but it feels like one filmmakers vision of what a monster movie could be.  Skull Island is done in an stylish manor that respects filmmaking in both past and present yet has a fresh feeling to it…sort of.  It’s not perfect, but it will excite both nerds and average movie-goers universally.  The saving grace of the film is its insane cast.

Leading the charge and keeping the audience fully locked in was the character Hank Marlow portrayed by John C. Reilly.  We first met this character in the opening scenes of the film, as the American solder who fell to the island with the rival Japanese soldier.  We pick this story up 29 years later, as the rest of the cast lands on the island looking for their buried treasure.  The heart and soul of these movies must be the glue, and while these characters minus Reilly’s don’t quite hold up to the necessary standards, there is enough to keep audiences engaged.  My real qualm with the film is the lack of character development, but thats a hard task to ask.  It’s like an episode of 24.  But, you have less than two-hours to complete and you have to tell both a visually strong yet cohesive story to satisfy both Democrats and Republicans.  Kidding, but its hard to make everyone happy.  Kong: Skull Island is a fantasic attempt at this, and is so far superior to movies like Jurassic World, it’s laughable.  It’s a silly monster movie that knows exactly what it is, but strives for more.

Kong:Skull Island
is now playing in theaters nationwide.

The post ‘Kong: Skull Island’ Review appeared first on Age of The Nerd.

‘Kong: Skull Island’ Film Review

(PCM) Going into the theater with doubts about whether or not we were going to enjoy the Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures film “Kong:Skull Island” we came out pleasantly surprised by just how much we ended up enjoying this film. When taking a look at other critical reviews of the film, we almost have to wonder if we were watching the same film as some of these other guys. Many were complaining that there was not enough King Kong in “Kong: Skull Island” and we definitely have to disagree!

We get our first look at King Kong within the first five to ten minutes of the movie and he is pretty much front and center throughout the rest of the film. In other monster movies of this type we generally only get to see glimpses of the monster and it is not revealed in its’ entirety until well into the third act of the film. This is not the case with “Kong: Skull Island”, as King Kong claims this movie as very much his from the start.

What the film may be lacking in story it certainly makes up for in visuals. It is absolutely stunning. As we mentioned in our podcast review of this film, we immediately thought that this film had the look of an epic theme park ride. We highly recommend taking full advantage of these spectacular visual elements of the film and checking it out in IMAX, but definitely in 3D. d

The film  ells the story of a diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers uniting to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong. “Kong: Skull Island” stars Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers,” “Thor: The Dark World”), Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), John Goodman (“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Argo”), Oscar winner Brie Larson (“Room,” “Trainwreck”), Jing Tian (“Police Story: Lockdown”), Toby Kebbell (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), John Ortiz (“Steve Jobs”), Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton”), Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”), Shea Whigham (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Thomas Mann (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”), with Terry Notary (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) and Oscar nominee John C. Reilly (“Chicago,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”).  Jordan Vogt-Roberts directed the film from a screenplay by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly, story by John Gatins.

When speaking about the film, director Vogt-Roberts says, “Kong represents all the mystery and wonder that still exists in the world. That’s why he will never stop being relevant.” The film also gave us a chance to just lose ourselves with the teams epic adventure with edge of your seat action sequences, fight/battle scenes and strategically timed elements of humor and heart. Actor Tom Hiddleston suggests, “Kong embodies the internal clash between our civilized selves and the place in our consciousness that still has a very real sense of something bigger than ourselves. How do you reconcile this massive creature who is both a terrifying force of nature and a sentient being with an intelligence that is different from ours but no less sophisticated?” 

You can listen to our full review of “Kong: Skull Island” below:


Pop Culture Madness! – Kong Skull Island Film Review

For more information about “Kong: Skull Island” please visit: 

kongskullislandmovie.com

The post ‘Kong: Skull Island’ Film Review first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Film Review: Walt Disney’s ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Starring Emma Watson And Dan Stevens

(PCM) We found ourselves pleasantly surprised after attending a recent screening for the upcoming live-action adaptation of the Walt Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast” that overall we thoroughly enjoyed the film. We had a few reservations going in that perhaps giving this story the live-action makeover would take something away for the classic 1991 animated film that won over our hearts, however this was certainly not the case. In fact, the film had more of the opposite effect. Disney’s impeccable use of CGI animation with the new film actually enhanced our viewing experience and we found ourselves looking at this beautiful love story in new and different ways.

For those who may not be aware of the original story, “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

The all-star cast were able to breathe new life into this very nostalgic tale. Casting the bright and beautiful Emma Watson in the leading role as Belle was the perfect decision as it is quite apparent from the opening musical number of the film “Bonjour” that she was made for this role. Director Bill Condon was able to re-imagine the film in some rather clever ways with some added dialogue quips and some slight modernization by humanizing certain character attributes. This appears to be the new direction that Disney is taking with many of their classic films. What began with the success of the live-action adaptation of the “Jungle Book” and continued on with “Maleficent”, the studio has taken things a step further with “Beauty and the Beast”. We can’t wait to see what they will do with “The Lion King” which has already been revealed to be the studios next live-action adaptation film.

You can listen to our full “Beauty and The Beast” review below:


Pop Culture Madness! – Beauty And The Beast Film Review (2017)

For more information please visit: 
http://movies.disney.com/beauty-and-the-beast-2017

The post Film Review: Walt Disney’s ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Starring Emma Watson And Dan Stevens first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

‘A Cure for Wellness’ Review

A Cure for Wellness is a strange film to wrap my brain around as I attempt to write a comprehensive review and assign the film a number representing its “quality”.  While strange is certainly a fitting word for Gore Verbinski’s (2002’s The Ring, Pirates of the Caribbean) latest feature, it does the film absolutely no justice.  You may see me use words like strange, weird, bizarre, and so on and so forth, I just don’t know how else to describe exactly what I witnessed.  One clarification before I fully dive into the deep cavernous experience that is A Cure for Wellness. I need to point out that weirs and other such synonyms are good.  When I use those words it comes from a place of excitement that the filmmakers (as well as the studios and financiers) would take these risks, when the payoff could be very minimal.  Look no further than the films opening weekend and how poorly it performed- earning an estimated $4.2 million from 2,704 theaters.  With a reported $40 million budget, the film will struggle to earn back its money, which is a shame because movies like this need to be made.  In a time of $200 Blockbusters or $2 million indies, we need mid-level budgeted movies.  This is especially true with A Cure for Wellness– while it has many flaws, it’s refreshing to see a movie like this still can be made in 2017.

So what exactly is A Cure for Wellness about?  Well, to keep the things as simple as possible I refer to the official IMDB synopsis (plus I’m too lazy to write my own):

An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.

Dan DeHaan (Chronicle, The Place Beyond the Pines) stars as the ambitious Wall Street exec Lockhart, who’s sent on a mission to retrieve the CEO of his firm from a remote rehabilitation center isolated in the Swiss Alps.  There he meets Dr. Heinreich Volmer, played by Jason Isaacs (Lucius in the Harry Potter series), the lead doctor in charge of the entire facility.  Let’s just say strange things begin to happen to Lockhart as things appear darker than the surface level within the institution.  Any more plot analysis would harm you (the reader’s) enjoyment of this film.  You just need to know the set-up, and buckle into the twists and turns A Cure for Wellness will take the viewers through the eyes of our protagonist Lockhart.

The most striking thing about the film is its visual ascetics.  Say what you will about Verbinski’s storytelling methods, the guy can shoot a visually striking movie.  Was his last film 2013’s The Lone Ranger any good?  No.  But it sure looked beautiful.  A Cure for Wellness is a slightly better film with beautiful images and imaginative use of camera work.  Besides just making the film look “cool”, the visuals help aid in the descent taken on by our main character Lockhart.  Things are bright and shiny while in New York, but as he approaches the Swiss Alps things begin to change.  The change doesn’t happen quick however.  While I appreciate not rushing into the craziness, the plot structure is a bit off.

Things take too long to to materialize, and at a hefty 146 minutes, its the opinion of the author that the filmmakers could have trimmed some of the fat.  I appreciate that the movie takes risks, especially not spoon feeding the audience your standard three act structure.  It helps in setting the tone and letting the audience learn about the characters.  Having said that, it doesn’t dive too deep into the characters as there seems to be almost no character development.  Just when you think you’re seeing growth of Lockhart for example, its quickly forgotten, and leaves him almost exactly how he was in the very beginning of the film.  At one point early on, Lockhart breaks his leg and spends almost the entire film on crutches.  If he had simply broken his arm, they could have shaved of 20-30 minutes and gotten a tighter film.  I’m joking of course, but despite trying new things, A Cure for Wellness ultimately falls a bit flat.

The script and the way the plot is delivered may have its problems, but beyond the beautifulness of the film the acting is superb.  DeHaan is absolutely captivating as the lead.  He’s able to convey so much emotion without words in a simple and extremely subtle way.  He hops around on crutches exploring the “wellness center” for half the film, yet he had my full attention.  Opposite DeHaan Mia Goth (Nymphomaniac: Vol. II, Everest) has many of the similar qualities.  She has a very unique look to her and the scenes between the two are exquisite and immensely intriguing as we (the audience) try to figure out just what the heck is going on.  Great casting all around.  It would have helped if the characters went through more change and some constant themes featured throughout were also fully fleshed out.  We could have had something truly special but it’s still not-to-shabby of an effort.

While not my favorite movie, I applaud the effort and the risks taken by the filmmakers to craft this weird beautiful thriller.  These types of films are a dying breed.  If you love movies, it’s important to support these types of outings.  A Cure for Wellness isn’t a property owned by Disney or some action figure/board game company, it’s its own thing.  We need more of this.  I picked some aspects of the movie apart but overall had a great experience watching it.  They made a weird movie with a mid-range budget.  Go see it.  Judge it for yourself.  But, go see it so we can keep getting these types of movies instead of 7 Paranormal Activity flicks (not trashing the franchise, its just enough already).

A Cure for Wellness is currently playing in theaters nationwide, and is worthy of a trip to the theater to experience it with an audience.

 

 

 

The post ‘A Cure for Wellness’ Review appeared first on Age of The Nerd.

‘Get Out’ Film Review

(PCM) We can’t come up with enough praise for Jordan Peele’s directorial debut “Get Out” which will be released via Universal Pictures. Peele did a fantastic job with this film which he both wrote and directed. It was an edge-of-your seat thrill ride from beginning to end. While the film’s premise may have stirred up some controversy, it was one of the most brilliant takes on race relations that we have seen.

At no point in time did the film come off in any way as offensive and because of Peele’s background in comedy, being one half of the comedy duo Key & Peele, there was a perfect blend of satire and comedic moments tossed throughout this film as a way to break-up some of the more tension-filled scenes. The pacing was spot-on and at no point did the film drag or feel forced in one particular direction or another to drive the plot forward.

Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, Sicario) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams, Girls), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy (Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips) and Dean (Bradley Whitford, The Cabin in the Woods).

At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.

Equal parts gripping thriller and provocative commentary, Get Out is produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum, as well as Sean McKittrick (Donnie Darko, Bad Words), Edward H. Hamm Jr. (Bad Words) and Jordan Peele. The film also stars Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men series), Stephen Root (No Country for Old Men), Milton “Lil Rel” Howery (The Carmichael Show), Betty Gabriel (The Purge: Election Year), Marcus Henderson (Pete’s Dragon) and Lakeith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton).

When speaking about the production process for various scenes in “Get Out”, Jordan Peele comments, “In one, you’re trying to get a laugh, and in the other, you’re trying to get a scare. It was exciting for me to use everything I’ve learned in comedy for my favorite genre, which is ‘thriller.’”

Peele went on to explain that the idea for the film, “came from my wanting to contribute something to the genres of thriller and horror that was unique to my voice. The fact that it goes to race goes to the area I’ve worked in a lot, which is comedy. This was a movie that reflects real fears of mine and issues that I’ve dealt with before.”

We highly recommend “Get Out” for those who are fans of a solid thriller and can wholeheartedly agree with the critical praises this film has been receiving. You can both watch and listen to our full review of “Get Out” below:


Pop Culture Madness! – “Get Out” Film Review

For additional information on “Get Out” please visit:

Official Site

#GetOut

The post ‘Get Out’ Film Review first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

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