Posts Tagged ‘john c reilly’


kongs kull island

In 1973,Bill Randa (John Goodman) works for a government agency called Monarch, Randa and his assistant Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) convince a Senator not to defund Monarch by showing him a picture of Skull Island, a heretofore undiscovered island.  Brooks says the U.S. must explore the island before the Soviets do, and that convinces the Senator to fund the trip, complete with a military escort. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) leads the military escort, and brings along a tracker from the Royal Air Force, James Conrad, (Tom Hiddleston) who is paid handsomely for his duties.  The military escort also carries with it a photographer, Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) who wants to find out what the secrecy behind Monarch is all about.

The group flies through a storm and find Skull Island, they also find what Randa and Brooks are looking for, Kong, a giant ape who rules the island, and doesn’t care much for helicopters.  Kong slaps down the helicopters like flies, but miraculously, not only do Conrad, Brooks, Randa, Packard, and Weaver survive, they meet a group of natives, and Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) another American soldier, who has been stranded on the island since WWII. There are two schools of thought among the Monarch survivors, one led by Packard, wants to hunt and kill Kong for killing his men, the other, led by Marlow, wants to save Kong, because there are worse monsters on Skull Island.  Which side wins the argument?

The viewer has to suspend a lot of belief to find this movie the least bit believable.  First of all, suspend belief that the big hairy ape grounds all the helicopters and all the passengers don’t die instantaneously from impact or the conflagration that follows impact.  All sci-fi asks viewers to suspend reality to some degree, but this movie does so more than most.  The characters have no depth, even the main characters are one dimensional.  The story really adds nothing to the Kong mythology, Kong is still the protector of people, but yet he kills some people.  Kong also still has a soft spot for the ladies, a tired holdover from the Fay Wray era. And the shift in location and time period from Japan to an island off Vietnam, only sets off a faux debate on the merits of the Vietnam war.  This is hardly a topic to be discussed with sound bites in a science fiction movie about a giant ape.

For all the fine, A-list actors in this movie, the acting is only so-so.  Samuel  L. Jackson is clearly having fun playing an alpha-male bad guy, and it shows. Tom Hiddleston plays a mercenary with a heart of gold.  Has anyone ever heard of a nice guy mercenary?  Me neither, therein lies the problem.  Brie Larson won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Room, but why would Larson  go from playing such a weighty role to a do-nothing character like Mason Weaver is mystifying. Larson essentially takes still pictures for the whole movie, like a glorified tourist.  John Goodman is convincing as a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist, whose conspiracy turns out to be true. John C. Reilly provides a lot of the comedy relief as an American pilot who takes a decidedly Zen approach to Kong.  If Jackson, Goodman, and Reilly were in this movie alone, Kong Skull Island would have been a lot more fun.  Hiddleston and Larson play their roles a lot more seriously than they should, and that wrecks the campy nature of the film.

In a movie with a weak script, and somewhat lackluster acting, the direction is something that stands out for being quite good. The cinematography is spectacular, and the high altitude shots of Vietnam are spectacular, I’ve seen pictures of those mountains and it was very well represented in the movie.  The CGI, which usually interferes with my enjoyment of a movie, was really well done.  Kong looked very real and moved in a realistic way, some CGI just looks like a bad video game, but this CGI seemed natural for some very unnatural creatures, and the creatures were well integrated with their backgrounds, everything seemed well-matched.  The pacing was good, for a long movie, and  director Jordan Vogt Roberts got mostly good performances from everyone involved, although this cast didn’t need much help. Vogt Roberts is mostly a TV director, so this was an extremely ambitious big screen project to take on.

Kong Skull Island:  Kong doesn’t monkey around, but the film has limited a-peel.


The Lobster

David’s (Colin Ferrell) wife has fallen out of love with him, so he goes to a hotel to meet a new partner.  If he can’t meet a partner in 45 days, he will be transformed into an animal, and sent away.  David chooses to be a lobster.  David meets other men who are desperately trying to meet women, like the Lisping Man (John C Reilly) and the Limping Man, (Ben Wishaw) who meet women with varying degrees of success.  David meets a woman called The Biscuit Woman (Ashley Jenson) who will do anything to please him, but he’s simply not interested.  Every evening, the guests in the hotel are invited to go into the wilderness and hunt The Loners, a group of people who live in the wilds alone with no partners.  If the guests tranquilize a loner with their dart gun they are given an extra day to stay at the hotel and find a partner.  David is no good at hunting, but realizes time is flying and he must find a woman quickly.  He inexplicably chooses the Heartless Woman, (Angeliki Papoulia) who after a short time, kills David’s dog, Bob.(Ryac,Jaro)  David cannot live with this woman one second longer, but where can he go in a society as rigid as this one, and will he ever find true love?

It’s anybody’s guess what the lobster is about but it seems to be about finding love in a repressive society, and being a non-conformist in a society that stresses conformity above all.  Because all the characters are repressed, love is expressed in the most mundane, pedantic, unromantic way, that even love, the most joyous of all emotions loses all its magic.  The hotel guests seem like those poor people on those singles cruises, desperate to find love in the worst way, and they do find it in the worst way. There were a lot of good ideas in this film and some humor, but the film is presented in such a hyper dramatic avant-garde way, that it soon becomes as joyless as its characters.  More humor would have definitely made this film more enjoyable, and less of an endurance test. The ending is so abrupt, and ambiguous that the viewer is left to decide how the movie should end.

Colin Ferrell delivers his lines in a droll, deadpan way, but it wears thin after a while, and soon the viewer is pleading for just a hint of emotion, anything to show he’s alive, and he gained a lot of weight, so he looks like a middle aged loser with nothing left to lose.  Rachel Weisz similarly delivers her lines with the joy of somebody reading a phone book, and is saddled with reading some sophomoric voice-over narration, surely she can do better this this role.  John C. Reilly is wasted here as a simpering wimp with a lisp.

The director apparently thinks he’s Fellini reborn, but he isn’t.  When the first shot is a shot of a woman shooting a donkey, the viewer knows he’s in for two hours of arthouse hell, and there are many strange scenes here.  Tranquilized people stacked like cordwood after being shot with dart guns, people voguing in the woods, the strangeness doesn’t end. The music especially makes this movie much darker than it should be, even what should be the joyful moments in this film are punctuated by foreboding, ominous classical strings.  The actors deliver their lines just as the director wants them to, and the pacing is uneven.  The film is much too long at nearly 2 hours, this premise could have been neatly wrapped up in an hour and a half.   The Lobster won three awards at Cannes.

The Lobster:  Left me crabby.