Tag Archives: cgi-ay-ay

Rebourne – Kong: Skull Island (2017)

We’ve got a real Apocalypse Now vibe going on with this movie.

“All Hail the King”

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly

The Original

The faces of Kong

1933’s King Kong was a black and white movie about a movie crew looking for a lost island, finding a giant ape which is in no way a grotesque caricature of a black man. The ape, Kong, falls in love with the starlet – on some level or other – and the crew catch him, then bring him back to New York, where he escapes and is shot from the top of the Empire State Building by biplanes. It was remade in a contemporary setting in 1976, and again in its original era in 2005 by Peter Jackson.  In 1962 Kong was added to the Toho studios kaiju universe in Godzilla vs. King Kong.

The Latest Remake

During WWII, American and Japanese pilots crash land on an island where their attempts to kill one another are interrupted by the appearance of a giant gorilla. In 1974 the island is picked up on satellite imagery. Bill Randa (Goodman), biologist San Lin (Jing) and geologist Houston Brooks (Hawkins) of Monarch tag along with a Landsat survey team to look for monsters. They recruit a helicopter platoon on the way back from Vietnam, lead by Colonel Packard (Jackson) and professional tracker and ex-SAS badass Conrad (Hiddleston), while anti-war photographer Mason Wheeler (Larson) gets herself attached to the survey.

This may seem like a lot of characters, but wait; there’s more. Captain Chapman (Kebbell), a major heading home to his family; Landsat official, Nieves (Ortiz); and members of the platoon including Mills (Mitchell), Cole (Whigham), Slivko (Mann) and Reles (Eugene Cordero).

Continue reading Rebourne – Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Maximum Ride (2016)

You know... it's been a while since I reviewed anything truly dire...
You know… it’s been a while since I reviewed anything truly dire…

“Welcome to Her Nightmare”

Directed by Jay Martin
Starring Allie Marie Evans

A man absconds from an institution in the dead of night, taking a group of children with him, but not his own son. Years later, the oldest of the children, Max (Evans) is their de facto leader and forces them to remain hidden. They are the Flock, a group of experimental hybrids of human and avian DNA, and as a result have fully functioning wings that retract fully into their skinny-ass teenage bodies and other bird-related powers, like enhanced hearing and telepathy. You know, like birds have.

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Rebourne: Pete’s Dragon (2016)

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“Some Secrets Are Too Big To Keep”

Directed by David Lowery
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, Robert Redford

The Original

Pete’s Dragon is the tale of a young boy and his friendship with a magical dragon named Elliot, whose ability to become invisible makes most people assume he’s imaginary. Pete and Elliot stumble into a quaint little town, where Pete is taken in by the lighthouse keeper and his daughter, while being pursued by the violent redneck family who in some means purchased him and wish to assert their ownership. Meanwhile, Dr Terminus is in town, a quack doctor looking to go ‘legit’ by selling remedies made from slicing up Elliot. At the end, Pete has a family, and so Elliot goes off to help the next child in need, as magical friends in disney movies of the era were wont to do.

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A song, a smile and an indentured servitude.

Both the child slavery angle and the threatened violent dismemberment of a sentient being are, of course, discussed through the medium of jaunty, upbeat singing. It’s not terrifying like, say, Darby O’Gill and the Littel People is terrifying, but it is weirdly dark given the tone of the songs, or possibly vice versa. In particular the cheery tune of the number ‘We Got a Bill of Sale Right Here’, and the fact that no one seems to question the Gogans’ claim to ‘own’ Pete on any sort of legal grounds, worries me.

70s Disney; it’s its own brand of messed up.

 

The Remake

In 1977 a car crash kills a couple and strands their young son, Pete, in the forest. Six years later, Pete (Fegley) is living in the care of a displaced dragon he has named Elliot. As a logging operation moves into his home, he is spotted by Natalie (Laurence), the daughter of the foreman, Jack (Bentley), and soon after found by Jack and his fiancee Grace (Howard), a forest ranger. He is eager to get back to Elliot, but his discovery has already led Jack’s brother Gavin (Urban) to find Elliot.

Continue reading Rebourne: Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Spectral (2016)

No real poster, as this is a Netflix original.
No real poster, as this is a Netflix original.

Directed by Nic Mathieu
Starring James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Max Martini, Bruce Greenwood and Ursula Parker

Incongruously pacifist DARPA researcher Mark Clyne (Dale) is called to war-torn Moldova to investigate a series of attacks by seemingly invisible enemies, detectable only using the hyper-spectral goggles developed by his team. The local General (Greenwood) and CIA liaison Fran Madison (Mortimer) think that the enemy insurgents are using active camouflage, while the locals blame the deaths on restless spirits. Clyne’s job is to get a decent picture of the attackers and help a Delta Force team led by Major Sessions (Mancini) to capture a sample of the active camo.

Continue reading Spectral (2016)

Deep Rising (1998)

'From the special effects team...' That's reaching.
‘From the special effects team…’ That’s reaching.

“Full scream ahead”

Directed by Stephen Sommers
Starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Kevin J. O’Connor, Anthony Heald and Wes Studi

Boat pilot Finnegan (Williams) and his engineers Fantucci (O’Connor) and Leile (Una Damon) are hired by the sinister Hanover (Studi) to transport his team of goons to a mystery location in the middle of the ocean. They soon discover that their passengers are mercenary bandits, intent on robbing the colossal cruise liner Argonautica. Unfortunately, the liner has much worse problems.

Continue reading Deep Rising (1998)

Rebourne: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

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Naturally, while the home of the Ministry of Magic looks like a train station, that of the Magical Congress is a skyscraper. Oddly, neither really looks like a government office.

“From J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world”

Directed by David Yates
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo and Colin Farrell

The Original

Harry Potter. Seriously, if you’ve been sufficiently living under a rock to not know, I can’t remotely do it justice here, but I will pencil in a massive rewatch and review sometime after I find the time for my Jackson-Tolkien extended editions marathon.

The important thing, vis a vis Rebourne, is that after seven books – made into eight movies, because the last book is always two movies – JK Rowling swore up and down that she was done with the boy wizard and off to writing grim and gritty detective fiction. And technically that still holds, as someone else wrote the script for the two-part stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and this film is actually a prequel without Harry or any of his immediate relatives (the nearest it gets is a photo of his godfather’s aunt.)

The Totally Unexpected Prequel

In 1926 the US magical establishment, headed by President Picquery (Ejogo), is in turmoil as a series of seemingly magical events, and the actions of dark wizard Gellert Grindlewald, threaten to reveal the magical world to the No-Maj (American for Muggle) community. Unto this came Newt Scamander (Redmayne), a hapless-looking chap with a suitcase full of magical beasts. A series of accidents lead to Scamander crossing paths first with No-Maj wannabe baker Jacob Kowalski (Fogler) and then with ex-Auror Tina Goldstein (Waterston), and his case being swapped for Kowalski’s.

Continue reading Rebourne: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (2016)

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“For Howard, things are about to get R’lyeh crazy.”

Directed by Sean Patrick O’Reilly
Starring Christopher Plummer, Ron Perlman, Jane Curtin, Sean Patrick O’Reilly and Kiefer O’Reilly

Howard Lovecraft (Kiefer O’Reilly) is a melancholy boy, troubled by his father’s descent into madness, which has left as his only caregiver a mother who thinks that taking a small child to visit his dangerously unstable father in an Arkhamesque asylum (it may in fact be the original Arkham Asylum) run by dodgy occultist snarkmeister Dr West (Plummer) is a grand plan. Likewise replacing a bedtime story with just handing him his father’s journal of increasingly deranged scribblings to read as he goes to sleep.

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Doctor Strange (2016)

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“Open your mind. Change your reality” or “Question reality. Change your destiny” or “The impossibilities are endless.”

Directed by Scott Derrickson
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelson

Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is a brilliant, but arrogant, neurosurgeon, pioneering new techniques while telling War Machine (or… wait? Was he actually talking about Diamondback from Luke Cage?) to take his entirely pedestrian spino-cranial injuries elsewhere. Then he gets into a car crash because he’s using his phone while driving at high speed in the rain – we get it already, he’s reckless – and loses most  of the use of his hands.

Continue reading Doctor Strange (2016)

Immortal (2004)

Pyramid power!
Pyramid power!

“The Ancient Gods Have Returned”

Directed by Enik Bilal
Starring Linda Hardy, Thomas Kretschmann, Charlotte Rampling, Frédéric Pierrot

New York, 2095. Central Park is an inapproachable ‘intrusion zone’ and a giant pyramid hovers over the futuristic skyline. Genetically altered humans live side by side with the unaltered, but as second class citizens, while political power resides with the CGI elite. When the Egyptian god Horus (Thomas M. Pollard) is sent to spend one last week on Earth before being executed for a crime that is never really specified, he inhabits the body of altered rights activist Nikopol (Kretschmann) – after blowing up several less acceptable bodies – and goes in search of Jill (Hardy) a white-skinned, blue-haired woman who is capable of bearing him a child.

Continue reading Immortal (2004)

Ghostbusters (2016)

Well? Who?
Well? Who?

“Who You Gonna Call?”

Directed by Paul Feig
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth

When the reemergence of her past involvement with paranormal research leads to the end of Erin Gilbert’s (Wiig) academic career, she unites with her childhood friend Abby (McCarthy), Abby’s new partner Holtzman (McKinnon) and streetwise history buff Patty (Jones) to find, trap and prove the existence of ghosts. As they confront various manifestations, however, they stumble onto the trail of Rowan (Neil Casey), a disaffected genius with a plan to boost the power of ghostly manifestations until the barriers between worlds fall.

Continue reading Ghostbusters (2016)