It's the 1970s and Captain James Conrad and Lieutenant Colonel Packard are leading a group of soldiers and explorers to a seemingly idyllic unmapped location in the Pacific.
Unfortunately, their journey requires some serious collateral damage, as they are forced to bomb the island and unwittingly incite the treacherous ire of Kong, the King of Skull Island. He crushes them - literally. That's what happens when you bomb the habitat of a giant ape. But soon they realise that Kong isn't the only outsize creature they have to fear, because the island is home to a group of demonic monsters as well, some that resemble spiders and others that resemble reptiles. Their only hope is to enlist the help of the island's inhabitants, tribal men and women who worship the great Kong but disapprove of the Americans' willingness to attack their home.
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts ('The Kings of Summer'), 'Kong: Skull Island' is a re-imagining of the King Kong story, following him to his home on Skull Island where he first originated. The screenplay was written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein, and filming spanned locations the likes of Hawaii, Australia's Gold Coast and Vietnam. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly, the film is scheduled to be released on March 10th 2017.
It's been four years since Mel Gibson played a lead role in a movie, and with all of the tabloid headlines in the meantime it's been easy to forget how magnetic he is on screen. He's looking rather grizzled in this action thriller from French filmmaker Jean-Francois Richet (Mesrine), but his piercing presence turns what's essentially a cheesy exploitation film into something remarkably gripping.
He plays an ex-con tattoo artist named Link, who lives out in California's Mojave Desert, next door to his 12-step sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy). His home may be a trashy trailer, but he has cleaned up his life. Although his quiet reverie is disturbed by thoughts of his 17-year-old daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty), who has been missing for four years. So he's stunned when she calls him out of the blue for help. Kicking into action, he rescues her and immediately discounts her stories that the ruthless henchmen of her late gangster boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna) are after her. It doesn't take long for Link to realise that Lydia isn't exaggerating, and as they go on the run, he turns to old prison friends (including Michael Parks, Dale Dickey and Miguel Sandoval) for help. Even though he doesn't really trust anyone.
Director Richet doesn't seem very interested in the father-daughter drama at the centre of this film, even though it's far more involving than the madcap action carnage. Gibson and Moriarty do what they can to create some chemistry amid the mayhem, but they only have a few scenes in which they can push their characters a bit further. And frankly after the set-up, the audience needs that to put the violence in context. This is mainly due to the fact that the brutal pursuit is fairly predictable, and the side characters, as well played as they are, are little more than stereotypes.
Continue reading: Blood Father Review
John Link hasn't been the best father, up until recently he's constantly been on the wrong side of the law and usually at the bottom end of a bottle too. Having been in prison, John and his daughter have become estranged, Lydia is actually missing and has been for years. John's only real connection to his daughter is the missing poster he keeps pinned up in his RV.
In recovery and now working a legal job as a tattoo artist, John admits that there's not much he wouldn't do to right the wrongs of his past - including losing contact with his daughter but also says there's very little he can do. When he receives a phone call from Lydia claiming that she's in serious danger, John is glad to hear his daughters voice but also worried about her safety.
As the father and daughter return to his home, John raids Lydia's possessions looking for answers and what he finds leads him to believe that she's in real danger. Lydia informs her dad that she's been living with a cartel leader and that, after accidentally shooting him, his crew is now out for vengeance. John must turn to past associates in order to formulate a plan to protect his troubled daughter.
James Conrad is a British captain who leads an international envoy to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to charter some of Earth's most distant and mysterious lands. The captain is accompanied by a number of other members on the team including Randa, a government official who appears to know a few of the islands mysteries; a female photojournalist called Weaver who is known for her war photography; US Lieutenant Colonel Packard who is in charge of the UK troops who are also part of the mission.
As the vessel approaches the island, spirits are high and the team are ready to take choppers to the green land known as Skull Island. Soon their mission becomes disastrous as the inhabitants are far more feral than they could ever imagine. Equipped with guns, Ammunition and rocket launchers, the humans feel that they're able to overcome whatever may await them on the island but the truth is that they could never come face to face and beat the beast that awaits them.
Kong: Skull Island is the latest reboot of the King Kong story and it focusses on the start of the story originally told in 1933.
Continue: Kong: Skull Island Trailer
Based on real events, this sharply well-made film shifts from a rather light-hearted comedy into a horrific thriller. And it feels unnervingly natural as it does so. Where this goes is a bit relentless in its exploration of the darkest aspects of human capabilities, but it's also bracingly truthful. At the same time, it shows the enduring value of an experiment that seemed to go perilously wrong.
In Northern California in 1971, a group of 24 university students respond to a newspaper advert asking for participants in a psychological experiment. On the toss of a coin, organiser Dr Zimbardo (Billy Crudup) divides the young men into guards and inmates, and places them in a makeshift prison where they can be observed. And things start to turn nasty very quickly, as guard Christopher (Michael Angarano) targets snarky prisoner 8612 (Ezra Miller) for extra punishment. The guards also turn on the especially vulnerable 819 (Tye Sheridan). And when the inmates revolt, Zimbardo allows the guards to carry on with their increasingly harsh discipline. But Zimbardo's girlfriend Christina (Olivia Thirlby), herself a psychologist, worries that the situation has gone too far.
It's intriguing, and perhaps obvious, that it had to be a woman who saw through a scenario that had become little more than an out-of-control expression of masculinity. Even more telling, Zimbardo and his team became part of the experiment themselves, as they allowed and were fascinated by the abuse heaped on the prisoners by play-acting guards who let the power go to their heads. Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G.) shoots this in an unusually stripped-down style that gives the film a documentary tone. This low key approach means that the pacing sometimes feels draggy, as the intensely internalised suspense cycles around and around again. But what this is revealing about human behaviour is invaluable, and seriously terrifying.
Continue reading: The Stanford Prison Experiment Review
'Me and Earl' sold to Fox Searchlight for several million dollars.
You've probably heard plenty about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl over the past couple of weeks. The indie-drama premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and currently holds a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Thomas Mann stars in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Last night, at the Sundance awards ceremony in Park City, the movie won both the U.S Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, echoing the same feat achieved by Whiplash at the 2014 ceremony. That movie was recently nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and its likely Me and Earl will be a serious contender at next year's event.
Continue reading: 'Me And Earl And The Dying Girl' Wins Both Major Prizes At Sundance
The Sundance Film Festival has seen a ferocious bidding war this week.
We'll be talking about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl a lot. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's drama debuted at Sundance on Sunday and sparked a ferocious bidding war for the rights to distribute - with Fox Searchlight trying to hold off Lionsgate and Focus Features.
Nick Offerman stars in the critically acclaimed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which should sell for $12 million at Sundance
According to Deadline, the bidding has reached $12 million for the worldwide rights, which would overtake the previous Sundance sales record of $10 million, paid for Spitfire Girl, The Way Way Back, Little Miss Sunshine and Hamlet 2.
Continue reading: Sundance: 'Me And Earl And The Dying Girl' In Ferocious Bidding War
Popular high school chicks Wren and April can't believe their luck when they are invited to long-haired heartthrob Aaron Riley's much anticipated Halloween party. It appears Wren's only problem is to work out what her costume's going to be; that is until she's about to leave the house and her mother drops the bombshell that she's to babysit for her eccentric younger brother Albert while he goes Trick-or-Treating dressed as Spider Man. As if things weren't bad enough, while Wren and April are moping about missing the party, Albert disappears on his own. Anxious that her mother will find out she's been neglecting her responsibilities, Wren and April set out on a frantic search for Albert; who is being used an accessory by a man who has set out to avenge a broken heart; whilst swindling 'nerds' and suffering public humiliation along the way.
Continue: Fun Size Trailer
Thomas, JB and Costa want to make a name for themselves, now that they are in their senior year of high school. As they approach their seventeenth birthdays, they have the idea to throw an epic birthday bash, at Thomas' large house while his parents are away.
Continue: Project X Trailer
Craig (Gilchrist) is a 17-year-old overwhelmed by thoughts of suicide. So one night he heads to the emergency room for help, then talks the doctor into admitting him for observation. He's a bit shocked that he'll be there for at least five days, but quickly becomes friends with Bobby (Galifianakis) and Noelle (Roberts). His parents (Graham and Gaffigan) are supportive, and his doctors (Davis and Davies) help him work through his issues. But the biggest challenge is to sort out his feelings for Nia (Kravitz), the girlfriend of his best pal (Mann).
Continue reading: It's Kind Of A Funny Story Review
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