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: Holmes & Watson

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Holmes & Watson and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Etan Cohen

Oh goody!  Will Ferrell and John C Reilly are teaming up once again to make a silly comedy!  That’s gonna be GREAT, right!?  RIGHT!?  Okay fine, they don’t have THE BEST track record out there, but I still don’t want to dismiss this out of hand!  I mean… I probably SHOULD, considering how… not very good the trailer was, but those don’t always faithfully represent the full movie, and they wouldn’t just dump this right in the middle of a VERY busy time of the year just to die a quiet death, right!?  Well I guess we’re gonna have to see if that’s the case, though for both of their sakes as box office draws, I hope they put quite a bit of effort into this one.  Does this send up of Sherlock Holmes manage to capture the spirit of the books while also making a laugh out loud comedy, or is this a joke that’s way too late to the party and would have been an utter embarrassment even if it WAS timely?  Let’s find out!!

Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) is somehow England’s greatest detective despite being an utter fool who makes obvious mistakes over and over again, but I guess he’s got a good hype man in his partner John Watson (John C Reilly) who seems to be keeping at least some of his worst tendencies in check while also pumping him up to the general public through his novels about their various crime solving adventures.  However, this latest caper involving a murder at Buckingham Palace and the threat of death upon The Queen (Pam Ferris) if Sherlock doesn’t find the killer first is just the kind of mystery that will put his mind and their friendship through the ultimate test!  Complicating matters is the fact that Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) is still at large but may have fled to the Americas as well as a new doctor in town Rose Hudson (Kelly MacDonald) as well as her… assistant I guess, Millie (Lauren Lapkus), who have both captured the hearts of our dynamic duo.  Will Sherlock be able to crack the case before this mystery tears him AND his straining friendship with Watson apart at the seams?  Will Watson finally get the nerve to demand more respect and an equal title as co-detective with Sherlock who is notoriously egotistical and not one to share the spotlight?  Is it even possible for THE GREATEST DETECTIVE ALIVE to get to the bottom of how this utter fiasco made it into theaters!?

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Hey, at least YOU didn’t pay money to see this!

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Cinema Dispatch: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and all the images you see in this review are owned by Annapurna Pictures

Directed by Angela Robinson

You know, if we’re gonna get biopics like that upcoming one about Charles Dickens that looks like a Monty Python sketch, we might as well start doing them about comic book creators too!  The early years of Marvel with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, watching Batman evolve from comic book hero to Hollywood star through the eyes of Bob Kane, heck The Alan Moore story could be a freaking twelve hour Netflix series considering how much comic book controversy he’s managed to find himself in over his career!  What we’ve got NOW though is probably the most interesting story of them all which is about Wonder Woman creator Professor William Marston and his unorthodox relationship with his wife Elizabeth Holloway and a former student of his Olive Byrne.  Heck, it’s not only a great story to tell about queer women (though there is some contention of that) in a time where that wasn’t even legal, it also has incorporates radical feminism, BDSM, and comic book scare mongering that eventually led to the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s.  With such fascinating material to work with, can it be turned into an engaging and interesting biopic, or is this a whole lot of scintillating window dressing for yet another rote history lesson?  Let’s find out!!

Our story begins in Radcliffe University (a women’s only branch of Harvard) where the brilliant psychology professor William Marston (Luke Evans) and his much more brilliant wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) are teaching psychology while working together on some other projects such as a lie detecting machine which is actually true.  They did invent the polygraph which is a significant event in this film.  Anyway, William is teaching a course on DISC theory (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance) when one of the students catches his eye.  Her name is Olive Byrne and soon becomes a TA for the Marstons; helping them with their legitimate experiments and some that may just be for fun.  Eventually, this precarious situation between the three of them has to come to a head at some point and… well that’s where things get kind of awesome but also REALLY stressful.  Oh, and at some point the dude creates Wonder Woman off based on the experiences and he has with the two women in his life as well as his own theories on feminism and even some of his sexual hang-ups which are REALLY noticeable if you read the earliest issues of the book.  Will this trio of likeminded misfits find a place in the world that is openly hostile to them and their way of life?  What will happen when puritanical busy bodies get start to understand the radical subtext within the pages of the comic book that are becoming more and more popular with children across the country?  Wait, is THAT why Wonder Woman has a lasso!?

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“The safe word is Themyscira.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The BFG

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The BFG and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

Directed by Steven Spielberg

The fact that Spielberg hasn’t made a Roald Dahl film up to now seems like either an oversight.  That or maybe the guy thought that it would have been too obvious for the reigning king of cinematic wonder to adapt a story from one of the best children’s book authors of all time.  If you think about it, the really good Dahl adaptations come from unconventional places, whether it’s Mel Stuart who’s known for Willy Wonka and basically nothing else outside of television, Henry Selick who’s only done four movies in over twenty years (one of which is James and the Giant Peach and another is Monkeybone), and even Matilda which was directed by Danny DeVito of all people; a director known for The War of the Roses where Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner kill each other over spite, and Death to Smoochy which had Ed Norton in an awful Barney suit.  The most mainstream examples I can think of would be Fantastic Mister Fox from Wes Anderson and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from Tim Burton, the former proving my point as the most mainstream we can get for good Dahl is Wes Anderson and the latter probably being the worst Dahl adaptation pretty much BECAUSE of how Hollywood it was.  Now the biggest director of all time is stepping up to the plate to adapt one of Dahl’s books that has yet to have a major film adaptation, though there was an animated one that no one really cares about.  Can Spielberg work his magic yet again for material that seems perfectly suited for him, or will the magic of Dahl’s work be lost when adapted under the Disney umbrella?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows a young orphan named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who suffers from Insomnia… I think, and she stays up late enough one night to see a giant roaming the streets of her town.  Sophie tries to return to her bed but unfortunately it’s too close to the window and the giant kidnaps her to take back to his home in Giant Country which doesn’t seem too hard to get to as the secret portal or whatever is just off the northern coast of Scotland.  The giant is played by Mark Rylance (who will at some point be known as BFG which does NOT stand for what you think it does) and tells Sophie that he plans to keep her there so that she doesn’t blab to the world about the existence of giants.  Now normally this would be the setup for a horror movie, but BFG turns out to be a vegetarian which means she’s safe from being eaten, and that the giant is actually super sweet which makes this situation more like an adoption without that pesky paperwork.  Now of course the movie isn’t just about these two hanging out together as the main conflict arises when we discover that not only is BFG a rather small giant, but that the other giants are total pricks who like to eat children and bully and the kind old man for reasons that I’m sure make sense to the giants.  Can Sophie come up with a way to stop the other giants from picking on BFG?  Will the other giants discover that BFG has a human around which will set them off on a rampage?  Wait, why is BFG responsible for people having dreams?  Seriously, what does that have to do with anything!?

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“What is that dream about?”     “Eh… I’ll tell you when your older.”

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