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!

Movie of the Day: WOLVES (2014) by David Hayter

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David Hayter-‘s WOLVES- I really didn’t love the trailer for WOLVES, but being a werewolf movie, my favorite genre of horror movie, I thought i’d give it a try. Initially I thought this was going in TEEN WOLF and TWILIGHT territory, but thankfully it strayed pretty quickly from that path, becoming a far better and more satisfying film than the trailers hinted at.

Combining great performances, a compelling story, outstanding direction cinematography and editing, and a stellar soundtrack, and some of the best Werewolf makeup and transformations and you have just a home-run of a film. Jason Momoa is such a galvanizing physical presence and is perfect here in his role of crazed Alpha dog.

This one I saw for free courtesy of HULU, it is an easy MUST OWN. Grade: A-.

WOLVES (2014) aka: Les Loups-Garous, CANADIAN-IMPORT, UNRATED EDITION (+ Theatrical Version) REGION A BLU-RAY

Wolves


Cary Fukunaga (TRUE DETECTIVE) to direct Stephen King’s IT


Stephen King’s greatest monster movie coming to a theater near you?!!

Stephen King for four decades (This year marking the 40th anniversary of his first novel, CARRIE) has been the undisputed king of the horror blockbuster. His name on a novel, for longer than most of you have been alive, a straight shot to the bestseller list.

That said, as someone who has read much of his output, I’ve personally found him hit and miss. However his 1000+ page novel… IT, I consider a masterpiece and King at his apex.

Some factions will argue THE STAND, but these are misguided types who should be avoided. :). THE STAND emphasing the bloat for bloat’s sake, and caricature finally falling into stereotype that would become too prevalent in King’s work, it cannot stand, when placed against his… IT.

And the TV mini-series adaptation of IT starring a great cast (including the late, great John Ritter) I was a huge fan of as kid, and remain so as an adult. It is, for all its horror, a sentimental and bitter-sweet ode to friendship and faith and childhood’s gains and losses.

So the news that this celebrated property is slated to come to the big screen in the 21st century, has me interested. King Adaptations are typically a hard sell, for the reason… most aren’t very good at adapting King.

What is oft strongest in King’s work is the internal monologues and scene setting that don’ t lend themselves to the pacing or the look of the big screen blockbuster.

But I will be happy for the new film to be an exception to recent King adaptations, and surprise me in a goodway. However I am concerned about talks of splitting this into two films, recent history showing studio’s moneygrubbing greed, comes at the expense of a quality, satisfying story.

But time will tell, read the above link for the details.

 

PACIFIC RIM aka TITANS OF THE PACIFIC

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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 :))