Tag Archives: Huge Lizard

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).

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The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Nananananananana
Nananananananana

“Always be yourself… unless you can be Batman.”

Directed by Chris McKay
Starring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes

In crime-ridden Gotham City, the Joker (Galifianakis) launches a devastating attack in concert with a vast assortment of other villains, only to be soundly (and rhythmically) defeated by Batman (Arnett). When Batman declines to acknowledge his greatest foe (because he doesn’t do ‘ships,) however, Joker concocts a plan of breathtaking audacity to take his nemesis down a peg or two.

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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.

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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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Tale of Tales (2015)

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“A feast for the imagination”

Directed by Matteo Garrone
Starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and John C. Reilly

Once upon a time, there was a Queen (Hayek) who could not bear a child. At the advice of a necromancer, the Queen’s husband (Reilly) slays a sea monster. The King is also killed, but the Queen eats the heart of the monster and is instantly pregnant. She and the virgin kitchen maid who cooks the heart give birth to identical boys even before the King’s funeral, attended by two other monarchs: a King (Cassel) whose appetites know no restraint, and another King (Jones) with a beloved daughter.

"There. Sure glad I don't look stupid in this."
“There. Sure glad I don’t look stupid in this.”

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Spawn (1997)

Never mind the acting, look at the graphics!
Never mind the story, look at the graphics!

“From flesh to steel. From blood to blade. From man…to Spawn.”

Directed by Mark A. Z. Dippe
Starring Michael Jai White, Martin Sheen, Nicol Williamson and John Leguizamo

Al Simmons (White) is a top operative for A-6, a government deniable black ops group with huge fricking signs on their building, run by Jason Wynn (Sheen) and his pet psychopath Priest (Melinda Clarke). When he learns that A-6 is using him to run ops with heavy civilian casualties, Simmons announces his intention to retire and marry his fiancee Wanda (Theresa Randle).Unsurprisingly, Wynn and Priest murder him up a treat.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu (2009)

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Directed by Henry Saine
Starring Kyle Davis, Devin McGinn, Gregg Lawrence and Barak Hardley

This isn’t based on a specific Lovecraft story, although its main source of inspiration is obviously “The Call of Cthulhu,” written in 1926 and published in 1928.

When cultists of Cthulhu discover one part of a two-part relic that will release their god from his undersea prison, the mysterious Council — a bunch of bearded goodies — decide that the only person who can keep their half of the relic safe until danger passes is the last living descendant of H.P. Lovecraft himself. Unfortunately for them, that descendant is aimless slacker Jeff Phillips. With the relic in hand, Jeff and his best friend Charlie go on the lam, picking up nerdy Cthulhu expert Paul along the way and aiming to meet up with grizzled old sea captain Olaf, who apparently knows something about fighting Cthulhu. Hot in pursuit are Cthulhu’s number-one guy, Starspawn, and his army of Deep Ones. Well, there are like two or three of them. His squad of Deep Ones. Yadda yadda final battle, yadda yadda dynamite, yadda yadda new life as professional adventurers, the end.

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Pacific Rim (2013)

Prepare for spectacle!
Prepare for spectacle!

“Go big or go extinct.”

Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba

When huge monsters known as Kaiju emerge from an interdimensional rift in the floor of the Pacific Ocean, humanity unites to create a defence; colossal battle mechs called Jaegers, whose pilots become the new rock stars.

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Minions (2015)

Basically, the heroes are one of each of the significant morphemes of minion.
Basically, the heroes are one of each of the significant morphemes of minion.

“Go back to where it all began”

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda
Starring Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm

After a potted history of the evolution of the Minion species and the tribe’s service to history’s greatest monsters, from T. rex to Napoleon, the Minions find themselves at a loose end, living an idyllic but apathetic life in an icy cave. Only Kevin (Coffin, who voices all of the Minions), the ‘smart’ one, has the notion to seek a new ‘big boss’, taking Stuart, the artist, and Bob, the innocent, with him.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: Dagon (2001)

Horror in Spanish!
Horror in Spanish!

Reviewed by Tim Deegan

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Ezra Godden and Francisco Rabal

The Story

This film is based less loosely than many on ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’, in which a posh backpacker comes to the deserted town of Innsmouth, encounters the town drunk and hears a tale of dark trades and (gasp) miscegenation with fish people, then finds himself trapped overnight and pursued by shambling foes.

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