Tagged: Max Borenstein

Summary: After the Vietnam war, a team of scientists explores an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10th March 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 19th July 2017

Country: United States, China

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Screenwriter: Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, Dan Gilroy, John Gatins (story), Merian C. Cooper (characters), Edgar Wallace (characters)

Cast: Will Brittain (Young Marlow/Marlow’s Son), James Michael Connor (General Ward (voice), Eugene Cordero (Reles), James Edward Flynn (Sgt. Dren), John Goodman (Bill Randa), Corey Hawkins (Houston Brooks), Tom Hiddleston (James Conrad), Mark Evan Jackson (Landsat Steve), Samuel L. Jackson (Preston Packard), Richard Jenkins (Senator Willis), Tian Jing (San), Rachel Joseph (Iwi), Toby Kebbell (Jack Chapman/Kong), Brie Larson (Mason Weaver), Thomas Mann (Slivko), Thomas Middleditch (Jerry (voice)), Jason Mitchell (Mills), Miyavi (Gunpei Ikari), Terry Notary (Kong), John Oritz (Victor Nieves), Allen Rachel (Secretary O’Brien), John C. Reilly (Hank Marlow), Shea Whigham (Cole)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR KONG: SKULL ISLAND REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Kyle McGrath’s Kong: Skull Island Review:

The second film in Legendary Pictures “MonsterVerse” Kong: Skull Island is the story of a team of soldiers, scientists and explorers who at the end of the Vietnam war set off to an uncharted island in the Pacific. Almost immediately they encounter the wrath of the mighty King Kong who destroying their military helicopters leave them stranded on Skull Island. The survivors must traverse this unknown land to reach their originally planned evacuation point completely unaware that there are things on this island much worse than a 100 foot tall monkey.
I thoroughly enjoyed 2014’s Godzilla. While I thought the movie had some issues I feel it captured the perfect tone and representation of the titular King of the Monsters. I had heard about Kong: Skull Island from one source that it didn’t take itself too seriously and then from another that it took itself too seriously. After seeing the film I think it’s a mixture of both and it isn’t alway pretty.
From the beginning the filmmakers attempts to make “Apocalypse Now but with monsters” comes off as comedic. The opening scene which itself is set at the height of WW2 as both a US and Japanese soldier crash land on the island and duke it out before being interrupted by Kong feels more like a parody than anything. I was seriously expecting it to turn out to be “golden age of Hollywood” crew making some schlocky movie as a reference to the storylines of other “King Kong” films before being attacked. But no, this is the tone of the movie, rather than awe or drama I’m expecting a punchline and usually getting one from one of the movie’s many comedy relief moments. At a moment of high tension as Kong is about to eat some unfortunate soldier it jump cuts to a man biting into a sandwich. This is comedy stuff and drives a steamroller through any tension the film has built up and turns it into a joke.
The other serious moments, or attempts at serious moments come from the characters mostly, all of whom are non entities. There are simply way too many characters in this movie and not enough plot to go around to flesh them all out in 2 hours. One of the shortcomings of Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005) was the amount of time early on spent on supporting characters who either weren’t going to make it or weren’t going to be relevant at all by the halfway point.
Their stories felt genuine at least however. Here every other character has some monologue about their past. They talk about writing letters to their mama back home, or their newborn son they’ve never seen or they reminisce about some village they obliterated in ‘nam. All of it feels so melodramatic and ridiculous, again like it came from a parody film such as Black Dynamite and it comes from characters who probably shouldn’t be in the movie at all as their only purpose is to be fodder for some beastie or in some cases not even that. I know it’s complaining about “forced diversity” or “trying to appeal to the Chinese audience” in movies is low hanging fruit but it helps if in a movie your writers give a black guy and a Chinese girl something more substantial to do than just exist, follow the main characters around and talk to each other every now and then to remind us they’re there.
All of this damages the movie. I don’t care about the plot or Samuel L Jackson’s Colonel Kurtz-surrogate insane military commander because so much screen time is dedicated to redundancies. I would say it feels like a movie that has had 30 minutes of story cut out of it if it wasn’t for the low quality of what IS in the movie telling me otherwise.
Now while the actual monster on monster action fares much better and let’s be honest that’s what people came to see even that I found to be harmed by the need at comedy relief. We’re told about “Skull Crawlers”, the REAL threat on the island and what our hero Kong is up against, in a scene which needs to be interrupted for some jokes from long marooned soldier John C. Reilly told in exactly such a fashion that you’d expect from him. The result is on par with a Bond villain slipping on a banana peel in the middle of his master plan speech to James.
That said fans of the genre may get more out of this movie than out of Godzilla 2014. Purely from the fact that while in that film the filmmakers wished to hide the monsters from us as much as possible, here they can’t seem to wait to show it to us.
The film is what it is, a monster themed popcorn movie with cheesy comedy, wafer thin characters and story and 100 foot ape. I do believe that much more could have been done with it however if the filmmakers just knew more what tone they wished to take and story they wanted to tell. The film is tries to mix serious moments with comedy but comes off more like Hot Shots 2 than Mash.

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:  

 

 

IMDB Rating:  Kong: Skull Island (2017) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Kong: Skull Island Reviews: N/A

 

Trailer:

Godzilla

Summary: The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th May, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, Japan

Director: Gareth Edwards

Screenwriter: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham (story)

Cast: CJ Adams (Young Ford), Juliette Binoche (Sandra Brody), Carson Bolde (Sam Brody), Garry Chalk (Stan Walsh), Bryan Cranston (Joe Brody), Jake Cunanan (Akio), James D. Dever (Captain Freeman), Catherine Lough Haggquist (PO #1 Martinez), Sally Hawkins (Vivienne Graham), Richard T. Jones (Captain Russell Hampton), Hiro Kanagawa (Hayato), Eric Keenleyside (Boyd), Anthony Konechny (Thach), Brian Markinson (Whelan), Gardiner Millar (Fitzgerald), Elizabeth Olsen (Elle Brody), Ty Olsson (Jainway), Victor Rasuk (Sergeant Tre Morales), Patrick Sabongui (Lieutenant Commander Marcus Waltz), Al Sapienza (Huddleston), David Strathairn (Admiral William Stenz), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody), Ken Watanabe (Dr. Ichiro Serizawa), Ken Yamamura (Takashi)

Runtime: 123 mins

Classification: M

OUR GODZILLA REVIEWS & RATINGS:

Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s Godzilla review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #79

Stars(3)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Godzilla review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #79

Stars(3)

David Griffiths:

Fans of Godzilla films want and deserve a good Godzilla film, after all the poor suffering souls have nothing but a bad taste in their mouth after the 1998 Matthew Broderick led disaster. Well now comes the 2014 update and on the surface it seems that in a rare oddity Hollywood has finally picked the right director to be at the helm of a major project. Anyone that can remember just how good Monsters was will attest to the fact that Gareth Edwards knows how to make a damn fine ‘monster flick.’

This time around we find Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston – Get A Job, Cold Comes The Night) alarmed at the seismic activity going on around the Japanese nuclear power plant where he works. To his surprise nobody seems to take him seriously and the result is a catastrophe that results in the death of many other workers including his wife.

Flash-forward to fifteen years later and Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Kick-Ass 2, Anna Karenina) is now a bomb expert in the military. He is also married to emergency room nurse, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen – Oldboy, In Secret) and has a young son that his military service takes him away from far to often. It is therefore understandable that he is frustrated when on a rare time at home he receives a call from Japanese authorities informing him that Joe has been arrested entering into a quarantined zone.

After bailing his father out Ford learns that his father believes that the authorities are keeping something secret inside the ‘zone’ and he wants to get inside to find his old data and to see what is going on. Reluctantly Ford follows his father and soon learns that experts, including Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins – The Double, Blue Jasmine) and Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe – Unforgiven, Inception) have been keeping a very large secret that is about to unleash itself onto the world.

It is easy to see Edwards’ handy work all over Godzilla. His monster sequences are well worth the price of admission, especially the ‘monster fights’ and at times he isn’t afraid to pull the focus away from these battles to show what the humans such as Ford are doing at that time. However while these sequences do look impressive as a whole Godzilla is held back from becoming a great film because of several reasons.

One of the major flaws of Godzilla is the characterisation. While you hardly go into a ‘monster flick’ expecting an epic back story for each character it is disappointing to find that a lot of the characters here in Godzilla are dangerously one dimensional. For example Dr. Serizawa is one of the more interesting characters although very little is learnt about him, then there is the massive under use of Elle, which results in the crime of seeing an award winning actress like Elizabeth Olsen become little more than scenery as she simple watches monsters go by with her mouth open like a Laughing Clown. The lack of characterization causes a problem later on in the film when the audience begins to realise that they really don’t care whether some characters survive the slaughter or not.

Of course though one of the most important things for a film like Godzilla however is what do the monsters actually look? Well Godzilla himself looks fine, Edwards’ team has actually done a pretty good throw back to the Godzilla of old. The same however cannot be said for the other Kaiju monsters that appear in the film, call me an old-fogey but somehow they seem just a little bit too metallic and robotic like for me. Their look makes them look very fake while on the other hand Godzilla’s natural look makes it almost believable that such creatures do live somewhere out there under the sea.

The decent storyline however does allow some of the actors to show their worth though. Bryan Cranston is given some moments to show his dramatic range, a welcome relief after the teaser footage they showed us a couple of months ago made it look like he might have been going for a comedic portrayal of his character, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson pulls on a serious face and actually shows that he may have what it takes to become an action hero in the future. As previously mentioned though some of the cast – especially Elizabeth Olsen and Ken Watanabe – are completely wasted in their one dimensional roles.

Godzilla is certainly far from a bad film. The good storyline and decent action sequences make it a worthy watch and Gareth Edwards should be congratulated for that, but sadly some elements of the script will still leave some serious film lovers wanting more.

 

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

IMDB Rating:  Godzilla (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Godzilla′: Nil

Trailer: