Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies stopped by with a review of “Kong: Skull Island”. Then he and Steve went head-to-head with differing opinions on the Amy Adams sci-fi movie “Arrival”.
Here are Paul’s thoughts on both movies:
KONG: SKULL ISLAND (theatrical release) We have seen many iterations of King Kong before. Kong: Skull Island is the fourth take on this legendary creature. This version takes place in 1973 in the middle of the Vietnam War. John Goodman plays a government agent looking for more money to spend on an expedition to a mysterious island off the South Pacific. He wants to discover a land where “myth and science meet.” He gathers the money and a crew of explorers, soldiers, and a photographer to fly out to this island risking their lives in the process. The island is continually surrounded by a hurricane system making their entrance alone a massive risk. They make their way in only to find themselves face to face with King Kong, a massive ape looking to kill anything that dares to harm the island. With a few swipes of his huge paw, he takes down a majority of their helicopters leaving the expedition crew scattered on the island. Kong isn’t the only creature endangering their mission. The island contains a variety of enlarged animals, mythical creatures, monsters, and a tribe of natives. The expedition team has no idea how to get off the island, let alone survive amongst these monsters. -Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins, Toby Kebbell -There are far too many characters stuck on the island and the script doesn’t give these great actors anything interesting to work with outside of running around and acting scared. Samuel L. Jackson plays into his usual type going so far as recycling his classic line from Jurassic Park. -John C. Reilly is the only one trying to make his character interesting as he plays the comic relief, a kooky pilot that’s been stranded on the island for twenty years. -Didn’t really care enough about any of them making their deaths less effective. You learn early on that no one is safe or immune from Kong and the creatures. -With this being the fourth King Kong movie, I appreciate that they took a different approach with the character as it taps into the myth and lore of that island. There is no attempt at bringing him to New York City and climbing the Empire State Building. Evident it’s inspired by ’70s Vietnam War movies like Apocalypse Now. It’s visually more appealing than I would have expected. -The movie works best when it focuses on being a creature feature with cheesy dialogue. This appears to be the biggest and most destructive Kong to date, and there’s something fun and exciting to see him destroy the other monsters on the island. He’s still the main star of the movie, and once again I felt a bit sympathetic to him. -Stay around for a post-credit sequence as it teases the eventual franchise bringing Godzilla into the mix. Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? There are plenty of flaws along the way, but watching King Kong pound his chest, roar, and show who’s boss makes it worth taking in on a large format screen. RATING: 3 out of 5 TICKET STUBS ARRIVAL (home release) Arrival is the latest film to examine what life may be out there beyond this planet. It stars Amy Adams as Dr. Louise Banks, a college professor who specializes in linguistics. What seemed like a normal day on campus is anything but when she arrives to class to find that a majority of her students are gone or buried in their phones. There is breaking news that twelve space pods have landed across the world. Little is known about the pods but the U.S. Army has been able to successfully enter the pods and note the presence of an alien species. Dr. Banks is approached by Colonel Weber of the Army to join their team and translate the communication that has been captured from the aliens. She’s partnered with Dr. Ian Donnelly, a theoretical physicist who has a slighter different way of thinking about the origin of a species. Together they risk their lives by getting right up close with the aliens in order to bridge the gap of communication between each species. -Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker -Adams has that maternal side to her that embodies the heart of the character all the while having that sassy and direct nature to prove she knows what she’s doing and can be taken seriously in male-oriented workspace. -Nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Amy Adams was ROBBED! -I was hooked right from the beginning. It’s a film that lives very much in the present for its characters and the audience. So much of it is kept a mystery with its limited scope at any given time so the audience never gets ahead and sees more than what Dr. Banks or Dr. Donnelly are experiencing as they learn more about the aliens. -The basic concept of communicating with aliens is at the forefront, but Dr. Banks goes about it in a very elementary way using visual clues and tactical gestures that are at the forefront of attempting communication with anyone that doesn’t speak the same language you do. Banks’ continual exploration of communication challenges her outlook and life and how we view the time we are given. – It fires on all cylinders as its stunning visuals, score, and the questions posed by Dr. Banks mirror the exact dialogue about communication that the film seeks out. -I bet it will be that thought-provoking movie that sits with you longer than expected. -There’s a big twist in the movie that reshapes how you think about it. Amy Adams final big revelation really moved me as I think about my future and us raising children.