Cinema Dispatch: Godzilla vs. Kong

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Godzilla vs. Kong and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Adam Wingard

It’s no secret that I was not a fan of King of the Monsters which was particularly surprising to me as I always get a kick out of seeing giant monster movies!  There was just too much pretention and import without enough depth or butt kicking fight scenes to justify how lethargic much of it was, but if there was anything about the movie that caught my interest (aside from them using the Blue Oyster Cult song for the credits), it was the promise of seeing Godzilla and the King Kong from Kong: Skull Island lace up the gloves and duke it out in a battle to end all battles!  Well the one thing that giant monsters were not able to overcome was the Pandemic as this got pushed back for several months, but the day has finally arrived and they even put it on HBO Max to boot!  Is this the titanic clash between two legendary movie monsters we’ve all been waiting for, or is this a bigger letdown than Batman v Superman?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Monarch has decided that instead of leaving Kong alone on his mysterious island that is probably not even on Godzilla’s radar, they’ll capture him, chain him up, and put him in a fake jungle so that… I guess he and Godzilla don’t have a punch up.  It seems that Kong himself wasn’t consulted on this as he’s constantly wrecking up his cage and has to be restrained whenever he’s out of it, but in any case, along with that there’s a new Super Science company in town named Apex run by some dude named Walter (Demián Bichir) who believes that there’s some sort of Unobtanium-like SUPER OIL that requires drilling even deeper into the Earth to get.  How deep?  Well so deep that apparently you empty out into a whole new world which is where the monsters they’ve been dealing with are actually from.  A rag tag team of scientists are assembled to try and prove this Hollow Earth theory and since they’ve already got a giant monster under lock and key, they can use his… something something science babble to help them find the entrance to the Hollow Earth and make perhaps the greatest discovery in all of human history!  Said team is made up of some geologist dude (Alexander Skarsgård), Kong’s caretaker (Rebecca Hall), her adopted daughter (Kaylee Hottle), and Walter’s very annoyed daughter (Eiza González) along with like five or six nameless army dudes. Now all this however assumes that Godzilla, the supposed protector of Earth, doesn’t come in and wreck Apex/Monarch’s plans, but hey I guess if they’ve got Kong on hand anyway, why not let him punch the giant lizard a few times along the way?  Oh, and Millie Bobby Brown is back on a Goonies adventure to discover the secrets of Apex along with a nerd (Julian Dennison) and a conspiracy theorist (Brian Tyree Henry) who has no problem dragged teenagers along on a life threatening adventure.  Then again, Rebecca Hall has someone even younger tagging along with her, so either way there seems to be way too many irresponsible grown-ups running around here.  Will Apex and Monarch be able to find the hidden entrance to the Hollow Earth and perhaps find some answers about Kong as well?  What does Apex want with this new energy source, and could Godzilla’s recent aggression towards them be somehow connected?  Am I the only one picturing a better movie where the giant ape and the giant lizard just say SCREW this and work together to destroy everyone involved with this ridiculous venture!?

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“Join me, brother! These humans care NOTHING for our kind!” “I would, but… your face… is so… PUNCHABLE!!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Godzilla vs Kong)

Godzilla vs Kong and all the images you see in this trailer talk are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Adam Wingard

Warner Bros’ bold move to release their movies on streaming the same day as theaters is going to be one of the more interesting stories of 2021, and this film is probably going to be the one indicate its direction.  Sure they gave us Wonder Woman 1984, but that had been delayed so long and theaters were still staying closed for the foreseeable future that it almost felt like WB throwing the world a bone or perhaps even a Christmas present.  A present that was pretty wonky and not nearly as its predecessor, but I guess it’s the thought that counts.  This one is a bit different because the vaccine means that people are going to try and get back to a normal life; some faster than others while the responsibility of such actions remains… dubious at best.  I’m HOPING things get fixed before the Summer, but I’m guessing there’s going to be more than enough people out there saying it’s already fixed today.  So with that said, this movie is one that COULD conceivably be delayed for a full theater release without waiting too long, but WB is committed to this strategy and we’ll have to see how it pays off for them; if releasing these big blockbusters on streaming will build up HBO Max enough to offset the costs, or if they are just throwing money down the drain because they couldn’t wait for a safer time to release.  As interesting as all that is though, we’re here to talk about the trailer that they released so let’s take a look at it!

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My biggest fear going into this is that I was NOT a fan of Godzilla: King of the Monsters and that this would be a continuation of that.  I found the whole thing rather insufferable with just how much the overwrought drama weighed down the monster fighting action of which there was already a dearth of.  Oh sure, you can go back to the Japanese Godzilla films and point out how much human drama was in THOSE, but first I wouldn’t say they were SPECTACULAR either, and second they didn’t have a bloated runtime dragging things down even more.  Twenty minutes of Kaiju action in a ninety minute movie is better than twenty-five minutes of Kaiju action in a hundred and thirty minute movie; especially when the action itself is obscured by so much bad weather.  Frankly the giant dudes in costumes brawling in full day light may not have looked the best but had a lot more charm than King of the Monsters. 

TEAM KONG, ALL THE WAY!!
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Cinema Dispatch: Blair Witch

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Blair Witch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Adam Wingard

Normally I don’t review movies if I haven’t seen the original, but oddly enough I DID see Blair Witch 2 on TV once, so I at least have that going for me.  Honestly though, this being a years later sequel to a movie that’s not all that complex (some people get lost in the woods and are killed by a witch or something) means that I’m probably not gonna get lost trying to decipher whatever mythology or legacy this movie is cashing in on.  So does this turn out to be a true Blair Witch movie for a new generation (whatever that would entail), or is this another pointless reboot of a series that was firmly a product of its time?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place almost two decades after the original where a few teenagers went missing in a nearby forest and the only thing found was fragments of video that seemed to imply something spooky must have happened.  Now that the brother of one of those teenagers is all grown up, James (James Allen McCune) along with his friends Peter and Ashley (Brandon Scott and Corbin Reid) are going into the forest to see if they can find anything and are taking along a local filmmaker Lisa (Callie Hernandez) to document the expedition.  Things get a bit off track right away though as some local Blair Witch nuts Lane and Talia (Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry) ,who ALSO discovered some of the original footage, insist on going along with them.  It doesn’t take too long for things to get spooky though, and now there’s a studio backing this, there’s a chance we might be able to see whatever it is that’s fucking with them!  Can these campers manage to survive whatever curse or magic spell or whatever the hell it is that’s trapped them in the woods?  Will James find that his sister is still alive after all these years?  Just what is the true source of all this weird stuff that’s going on!?

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It was aliens the whole time!  I freaking knew it!!

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Living on Netflix: VHS 2

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Can’t really escape it can I?  The first one was a flawed mess, but had some potential that a sequel could easily improve upon.  Not only that, but there’s a third movie coming out soon which makes this review quite relevant.  So then, do they improve on the mistakes made in the last one, or are they just going to make the same mistakes that every other horror sequel makes by making it bigger but losing the spark of originality that made the previous one noteworthy?  There’s only one way to find out and that’s to keep on reading!!

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Living on Netflix: VHS

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If I’m gonna spend the month of October reviewing horror movies, at some point I’ve got to talk about anthologies.  Horror is by far the most prolific genre when it comes to combining short films into a movie with classic examples like Creepshow, Three Extremes, and Trick ‘r’ Treat.  I imagine that the reason why horror is the preferred genre is that it’s probably the easiest one to still work effectively in a shorter time frame.  The fear of death or harm is easily conveyed, and an audience doesn’t need as much backstory to root for characters to survive as they would for say, a tragic romance or a story about revenge.  V/H/S has been on my radar for a while now and has generally been well received for the creative way it was able to combine several tropes of the horror genre (found footage, anthologies, etc) with a format that many fans believe was the best way to experience these kinds of films.  So does this movie actually succeed in being a throwback to a period in horror that’s fondly remembered, or is it a mishmash of poorly done short films held together by a shaky premise?  Only one way to find out, and that’s to keep on reading!!

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Living on Netflix: You’re Next

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This movie premiered a few years ago, but it didn’t get a wide release until 2013.  With a cast composing of horror movie mainstays like Barbara Crampton, and several horror directors such as Joe Swanberg and Ti West, this movie was almost destined to be a cult hit before anyone had even seen it.  The hype for this movie in the horror film circles was insane, and I think a lot of it had to do with the time between the initial premiere and the time it took for it to reach the film festival circuit.  It gave the movie some time to build up a legend about itself considering that very few people had a chance to see it.  So now that any shmuck can watch it on Netflix, we have a chance to see it for what it is away from the massive amount of hype that this movie had built up on it’s strange journey from obscurity to your streaming device of choice.  Does the movie succeed on its own merits, or is this another example of something becoming inexplicably popular for a brief moment in time?  There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep on reading!

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