Kong: Skull Island (Review)

Kong: Skull Island (Review)

Kong: Skull Island is the second movie of planned Monsterverse franchise because every movie has to be a franchise now.  Unlike other would be movie franchises, this one isn’t half bad.

I love Godzilla, both the American reboot and the monster.  It was because of that love that I saw Kong: Skull Island, since at some point in the future, they’re supposed to duke it out in a glorious fight for the ages.  I probably shouldn’t have gone in with that mindset because these two movies couldn’t be more different.

Whereas Godzilla was a dark and gritty monster movie set in the modern day, Kong: Skull Island is a movie set in the 70s or at least, a version of the 70s that’s been greatly exaggerated to the point of near parody.  This film is more of an adventure film right down to a handsome, rugged man who must save their lives while trapped on the island.  I say man because I honestly don’t know any of their names.

There are multiple characters throughout this film but they’re all very shallow characters.  What you see is what you get from these people.  You never learn anything deeper about them because you’re not really supposed to.  There’s just a group of people trapped on an island with a giant ape.  And I was perfectly okay with that.

This movie does not take itself seriously at all, it is simply a movie meant to entertain the audience, which is exactly what monster movies were supposed to do.  Sure, there is always room to tell a deep and meaningful movie, but I’m not gonna fault a monster movie for being stupid.  This film is stupid but in the fun perfect way.  It’s a film that knows what it’s trying to do and it does it very well.  And I had a good time with it.

John Wick (Review)

John Wick (Review)

Yeah, I’ve only just recently watched this movie.  Sue me.

There are two things about this movie that I think makes it stand out from other action movies.  It’s ability for you to sympathize with the main character and its world building.  On the surface, it seems to be a movie about a man who’s going to kill the people who killed his dog and stole his car.  And you’d be right, that’s exactly what it is.  The film takes it’s time in introducing these elements, however.  It doesn’t begin with a loud opening meant to grab your attention.  It begins with the funeral of the main character’s wife and the days of grief that followed.  In fact, we don’t even learn that John used to be a feared hitman until 30 min into the movie.

And this is where the world building really shines.  Everywhere John goes, people seem to know who he is and what he does.  As John reenters his old life, we see the places he used to go, the tools he used to have and the underworld lifestyle that seems to blend with the rest of the world.  The world of assassins that exists in this film seems to be just behind the layer of civilization, hidden in plain sight, making John’s trek into his old life an interesting journey.

The only complaint I have is that the action sequences, while impressive in their own right, doesn’t seem to have the same punch that’s seen in Atomic Blonde (also by David Leitch) or The Raid.  Though I’m willing to forgive this due to the film’s low budget and it’s other strengths.

So, in conclusion, yeah the film is pretty good.  Shame that I hadn’t seen it earlier.

Dunkirk (Review)

Dunkirk (Review)

Do you remember the docking sequence from Interstellar?  Well, this movie is like that all the way through.

This film is easily the best film I’ve seen this year and it’s not a traditional film.  It’s weird to say that since the movie looks like your typical war movie in the vein of Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge.  It is anything but a typical war movie.  Why?  Well, it’s all in the editing.

Dunkirk tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation; specifically, it’s three different stories showing three different views of the evacuation from three different locations.  There’s the story of a British soldier on the beach trying to get on a boat by any means necessary to leave, the story of a father, son and their hand using their personal sail boat to help ferry soldiers to safety and the story of two pilots protecting the beach from German bombs.

The twist (because it’s Christopher Nolan and there has to be a twist):  The story on the beach takes place over a week, the story at sea takes place over a day and the story in the air takes place over an hour.  Sounds weird on paper, but the execution is a thing of beauty.

When I say “it’s all in the editing,” I mean it’s all in the editing.  The story is told nonlinearly and is given the impression that the events are happening all at the same time, linked together through similar emotions or events.  At certain points, you can start to see where they events link up in terms of time.  In fact, in one story, you can actually see what’s going to happen at the end of another story.

It sounds confusing but it really isn’t, because most of the time, you’re not paying attention to how the stories link up, you’re paying attention to the action.  Not just the action of warfare but the decisions that characters make.  This film is incredibly silent with barely any dialogue among the main cast unless it’s necessary.  This film is primarily visual.  You don’t need to hear the cast talk about their plans, you just watch as they carry them out, fighting against the ticking clock (and I’m serious, there is the sound a ticking clock ticking throughout the entirety of the film.  Literally.  No joke.  If you listen, you can hear that maddening ticking sound, telling the characters that they are running out of time).

I always love Christopher Nolan films because he always challenges you to think about what you’re seeing.  You’re not just a passive observer, you’re supposed to be thinking as you view the film.  You’re supposed to participate.  Dunkirk is probably his most challenging film because unlike Inception, he doesn’t explain everything that’s going on three times.  In Dunkirk, you know what’s happening because you’re thinking about it and you’re seeing it happen in front of you.  You feel the emotions that are linked across space and time.  Dunkirk is purely and simply a true viewing experience.