First Great Theatrical Experience of 2017 — KONG : SKULL ISLAND in 3D!

It takes a lot to get me out to the theater these days. 2016 was one of my most anemic theater going years. Having only seen a couple movies in the theater (among them the excellent CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR).

The slow movie going year could be linked to several reasons, some personal and singular, and some endemic of larger more encompassing perspectives.

The rise of Netflix and Streaming options has brought cinema quality programming to your living room or bedroom, around your schedule. So no trying to make your schedule fit around a movie showing, and all the baggage of parking, and seats, and annoying crowds, and of course the expense.

So for those reasons and others the theater wasn’t top on my list in 2016.

2017 and I’m incentivized to see quite a few movies in the theater. One reason is the reopening of one of my favorite regional movie theaters, as an upscale adults only dinner and a movie venue.

Perfect for couples or close friends, I decided to check out a matinee showing of KONG : SKULL ISLAND over other available options at this theater (such as LOGAN and JOHN WICK II and GET OUT, all of which I intend to see) for the main reason I wanted to test out the spectacle and 3D quality of this new theater, and what better way than a loud, explosive, monster movie.

So I reserved my seats, picking the perfect seats of course, and quite impressed with their meal and drink menu. Forget the overpriced artery clogging Popcorn and Hotdogs and Candy that comprises the fare of your typical theater, this theater offered a full and quite impressive meal and drink menu, brought to your spacious clean, well kept seats, no less. We had the crabcakes, bistro burger, korean wings, with a Berry Blast drink for me and a Mocha Latte for her. And did I mention the excellent attentive service.

So we are planted in front our huge curved screen, it’s a matinee showing so not only do we have our whole row free, we have our whole section free, with probably a total of less than 20 people in the large yet intimate theater. Meaning the theater and screen is large, but the number of seats are few.

So that’s the setup. What about the movie?

The best part of the Peter Jackson 2005 KING KONG movie, was the one hour period on the island (once we get past Peter Jackson’s annoying portrayal of Native Life as monstrous, evil and subhuman), that one hour was fantastic sequences of monster and Kong Mayhem, and should have been the whole movie.

Once that movie leaves the island it loses all interest and excitement, crawling toward a tepid ending.

KONG:SKULL ISLAND, 12 years after Peter Jackson’s mistake, learns admirably from the flaws of his film, crafting an entire movie on Kong’s home, the Island of Monsters, Skull Island, and it is absolutely kick-ass!

The idea to set it in 1973, at a pivotal time for America and the World, I thought was a stroke of genius and gives real motivation to Samuel L. Jackson’s Ahab inclined character, who see’s in the monster of Kong, this fight, a chance to win the war that he was denied, to change shame into glory. I like the opening, the setup to the actual Mayhem that is Kong, quite a bit, which says a lot about the quality of the filmmaker and the film.

Usually the least interesting part of any monster movie, is the prelude to the appearance of the Monster, when you have to endure boring cardboard characters killing time. That was the issue with the GODZILLA movie by the producers of this film, it was mostly setup and concentration on the human drama, but the humans and the human drama in that movie was as of much interest as watching paint dry.

Here, the setup and the characters feel fleshed out and earned, and part of that is grounding these soldiers in 1973. Survivors, but somehow not victors. Going from one barely war abroad, to a frightening barely understood war at home awaiting them, Skull Island, is very much a reprieve to Jackson’s Colonel. And the men under him, caught in the machinations of dreams of Glory, well they are understood to.

And all the characters are quickly enlisted for this obscure mission, all powerful, compelling actors, not a Jack Black insight. But actors all who can compel and own their time onscreen… their closeups. So I’m thoroughly entertained and into the movie, before Kong goes Ape, so to speak. And when he does go Ape… it is… EPIC!!!

This is why Theaters have value in an age of Netflix and Home Theaters, because a home theater is no match for a commercial theater when you have no annoying audience to deal with, this was the fury of Kong unleashed… this was spectacle, this was Blockbuster, and this was worth every penny paid!

Should you see it in 3D? I typically find 3D is a wasted expense in most situations. I think it is expertly done here, and is really the type of movie that cries out for really good 3D. KONG is really good use of 3D, and I think like AVATAR is a must see in 3D!

KONG is only the second feature film of Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, nothing in his filmography would indicate he could handle a big budget blockbuster of a monster movie, but much like the Russo Brothers of CAPTAIN AMERICA fame (who also came out of feature film obscurity) Roberts rises to the occasion, shattering expectations.

I loved this movie from beginning to end. It blows away recent failures such as GODZILLA and the aforementioned KING KONG, and bodes well for future films. Stay past the trailer for a nice Marvel style Easter Egg.

Grade: A solid and easy B+!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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2014s GODZILLA is it worth seeing in 3D?!? RealD vs Imax 3D?

The new GODZILLA is now stomping across theaters near you, so I’m going to find a showing tonight and see if the film is enjoyable summer entertainment that does the big lizard proud.

My only question regarding going to see the film is, is it worth seeing in 3D?

Since the last couple of films I’ve seen in 3D (due to lack of 2D options) have been underwhelming at best, and certainly not worth paying more for, these days I tend to only see 2D films, and matinees. Both of which help minimize this inflation of ticket prices and box office #s that Hollywood is big on.

But the following link, and the fact that the author is hard on other 3D movies I likewise was underwhelmed by, tends to give credence to his positive review on GODZILLA’s use of 3D.

Check the review HERE!

Now to determine which type of 3D to try (if you have a choice) see this article HERE!

I’m going to see for myself, and will post whether the movie, 3D and all is worth your time and money!

365 Days of Roku: Day 2 – Crackle’s GODZILLA

the earth remembers
the stones remember
If the earth and stones could only speak
they would tell us many things
—Native American Proverb

godzillamattack

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2003) – This movie is generally considered the best Godzilla film (ignoring as it does every other Godzilla film except the first one) and by the 25th minute mark, when the central conceit of this film is revealed, I begin to believe that.

Never a Godzilla fan I’ve seen other Godzilla films and they generally do not transcend the campy concept of watching rubber suits attack each other, with no real story.

This movie however has a story, only gingerly touched on, of Godzilla as some interpretation of the vengeance of God, a punishment for the attrocities of the War in the Pacific; an engine of destruction powered by the restless dead. It is a movie that has an unexpected conscience, calling to memory Japan’s (in many way’s overlooked) attrocities during the pacific campaign.

From rape and concentration caps, to ethnic cleansing and wholesale genocide, the Godzilla of this film is the personification of all the wrath for those wrongs, married to the mindless, unthinking attrocities of the atomic bomb, of true holocaust.

Godzilla is very much Japan’s antagonist in this film, and the antagonist of all the industialized world, a howling tirade against all that creulty and science that went into his creation.

And if Godzilla is the film’s heavy, the trio of other monsters he squares off against in this film are the protectors of Japan, the souls of earth and air and glade and all that should endure in the flora and fauna and hope of Japan. However it’s hard to, while not condoning Godzilla’s destruction, not root for him against all adversaries, Man or Monster. Given Man’s history it is hard not to root for the King of Monsters and the spirit of vengeance, and see man as some particularly virulent termite deserving of the heel.

This dichotomy makes it a far more complex film then its cheesy and campy origins should allow, as this particular Godzilla film becomes a film about war by walking acts of god, and as such beyond the judgement of men; can at best only be endured and hopefully survived by men.

Or for those seeking to read less into their rubber monster movies, it is also just a good monster throw-down. Either way it grades a solid B+.

PACIFIC RIM aka TITANS OF THE PACIFIC

pacificrim2

pacificrim

The posters for PACIFIC RIM I don’t think do the trailer I saw justice.

“We are canceling the Apocalypse!” That’s just a kick-ass trailer! The posters not so much. They remind me of a poor man’s Transformers. The trailer however makes me very excited for the film.

You can view/download the trailer here!

Tech Talk of the Day and…. Lizards?!!

“What good is wisdom, if it gives no solace to the wise?”
— Dark Side of the Moon

I do think, somewhere the military was fighting Godzilla, as we had helicopters in formation, and fighter planes roaring above our heads, in a hurry to get somewhere.

And it could have been my imagination, but in the distance I could just make out a sound that could have been the roar of a righteously pissed off, gigantic atomic lizard. 🙂 .

Well enough with my perhaps peyote inspired dinosaur diatribe, onto today’s tech tips:

If you use Firefox there’s a feature called Pipelining that’s turned off by default. Here’s an article about turning it on to offer a marginal increase in page load times/responsiveness:

Firefox and Pipelining!

A decent read. And so far I’m testing it out, with no issues.

A couple other tweaks…

A few items I had turned on in the Firefox browser by default, that I’m currently testing in disabled mode, as I don’t use fancy high-faluting graphics when I surf, Plus some of them have, like WebGL, known security issues:

webgl.disabled;true
media.webm.enabled;false
html5.parser.enable;false
html5.offmainthread;false
geo.enabled;false

browser.sessionstore.resume_from_crash;false

And yes I know HTML5 is all the rage these days, but I’m not really a rage type guy. :). Still toying with it and seeing what it offers enabled as opposed to disabled. So I’ll report back on the effect of these tweaks after I’ve browsed with em for a bit.

Oh and here’s a pretty cool read if you are, like me, a newbie to the Opera browser:

Recent versions of Opera by default have a web server built-in, and TURNED ON. Who does that? The vast majority of people using a browser have no need for it to be broadcasting and requesting information like it is a web-server. So if you don’t need your computer/browser to be a web-server, you should consider disabling the Unite and Web Server functions of opera. Here’s more discussion on the pros and cons:

Webserver in your browser?
thoughts on opera browser

So if you read all that and decide you want to disable Unite/Webserver in Opera do the following:

• Enter opera:config in that browser.
• Expand the “User Prefs” section and turn OFF the checkbox for “Enable Unite”.
• Expand the “Web Server” section and turn OFF all those checkboxes, especially the 2 labled UPnP.

For more details go here!

Okay that’s all for this installment. Hope you’ve found some of that useful.

And goshdarn it… is that sound getting closer?!!! GOJIRA!!!! Ahhhh!! Ahhhh! (Yes I have watched too many Godzilla movies :))