Directed by Ishiro Honda Starring Akira Takarada, Rhodes Reason, Mie Hama, Linda Miller, Hideyo Amamoto
Do you know what I haven’t had in a while? A proper bad movie night. Well, that’s what I could have answered yesterday.
UN Kongologists Carl Nelson (Reason) and Jiro Nomra (Takadara) are exploring the waters near Kong’s home on Mondo Island (Skull Island’s post-rebrand nomenclature, I guess,) in a submarine, accompanied by ship’s nurse Susan Watson (Miller). Meanwhile, the diabolical Dr Who (Amamoto) is building a robot Kong based on research stolen from Nelson, bankrolled by a never-specified Asian state which is represented by rubbish secret agent Madame X (Hama, whose character is apparently also known as Madame Piranha), who want him to use the robot to dig up a vast quantity of Element X to kickstart their nuclear programme.
Directed by Michael Bay Starring Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Santiago Cabrera and Peter Cullen
In the wayback, King Arthur and his knights triumph over the Saxon hordes when the ‘wizard’ Merlin (Stanley Tucci) brings a group of twelve Autobots to join them in the form of King Gidhora.
Centuries later, Optimus Prime (Cullen) is drawn back to Cybertron, where his mission to destroy his creator is interrupted as Quintessa (Gemma Chan), self-styled ‘goddess of life’, delivers the bitch-slap of obedience and tasks Prime to retrieve her staff of power, given to Merlin long ago.
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
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).
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.
Directed by David Lowery Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, Robert Redford
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.