Movie Review: KONG: SKULL ISLAND – mostly enjoyable franchise reboot, but lack of strong characters don’t do the fantastic visuals any favours

I don’t know exactly how old I was when I saw the original King Kong, but I couldn’t have been any older than five.  I recall with reasonable vividness sitting in front of our black and white TV in the Springburn neighbourhood of Glasgow, Scotland, absolutely enthralled by the sheer spectacle, the charm, of the 1933 production that heralded a new era of moviemaking.  There is likely nobody in the western world who doesn’t know King Kong – even if they have never seen the original, Kong exists among the pantheon of famous movie monsters, along with Godzilla, Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Frankenstein, and Dracula, to name a few.  Kong has a place in our hearts because he reminds us as ourselves.  Possessed of a humanistic sense of justice and primal strength, Kong represents us – stripped of the daily bullshit and phoniness that we all succumb to, Kong is us laid bare, and mostly shat on by the kind of assholes we have to deal with now and then.  Too high and mighty an opinion for you?  Not a problem – Kong also works as a spectacle monster movie, even when the scripts are no good, the nature of the beast guarantees battles between colossal creatures to feed the eyes.

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Movie Review: ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE

only lovers

You might know from reading my review of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (if you haven’t, go!  Now!) that I appreciate a good vampire movie, so, enthusiastic about said movie, I fast-tracked Only Lovers Left Alive written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, a movie-maker whose body of work I actually have very little experience of.  I know the name, of course, and I know he’s made a lot of movies, but any previews I’ve seen have never interested me too much.  I came to this movie because of the subject matter, expecting it to be arty and somewhat pretentious, and that’s exactly what I got.

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Movie Review: HIGH RISE

High RiseI haven’t read much J G Ballard in the last twenty-odd years, but as a teen and then young man, I gobbled up his more famous novels with gusto.  Crash (1973), Concrete Island (1974), and High Rise (1975),  remain three of my favourite novels.   Like many genre-enthusiasts, I have a strong interest in dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature, and reading High Rise when I was twelve or thirteen is certainly one of the fundamental building blocks of who I am today. Continue reading “Movie Review: HIGH RISE”

Movie Review: CRIMSON PEAK – Del Toro’s Gothic tale unconvincingly lightweight, overly reliant on CGI.

Crimson Peak

I always approach Guillermo Del Toro’s movies with some hesitation. In my opinion he’s made two absolutely terrific movies in The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, but he’s also made mediocre fare like Mimic and Hellboy, and flat out garbage like Pacific Rim and Hellboy 2. The trailers for Crimson Peak didn’t exactly set my heart fluttering either. A lot of greenscreen CGI work in a haunted house movie is an almost guarantee of bullshit, and then there’s Tom Hiddleston.
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