There are those who may think that Hollywood has given us way too many giant monster movies already. But I felt like a giddy kid at an old-time Saturday matinee when I saw “Kong: Skull Island.” This action-packed fantasy adventure employs eye-popping state of the art special effects to create believably scary creatures and an exotic environment. But, most importantly, establishes a sense of wonder and the feel of genuine peril.
A team of explorers, led by an obsessed John Goodman, travel to an uncharted island in 1973. He’s the only one who realizes the real dangers that lurk there. The terrific cast also includes Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson. But John C. Reilly nearly steals the movie as a shell-shocked WWII veteran who miraculously survived for on the island 30 years.
But the real star is the movie’s titular colossus who protects the natives and his dangerous turf from a wild assortment of gigantic monsters. It’s violent enough to more than earn it’s PG-13 rating, but “Kong: Skull Island” is also funny and involving even if it’s script adds nothing new to the genre. I give this Kong four out of five giant bananas.
“The Ottoman Lieutenant” is the kind of sweeping historic romance that Hollywood seldom makes anymore. Unless they do it better than this, we may not see many more. During the early days of WW I, a Christian American nurse working at a rural hospital falls in love with a Muslim Turkish officer who is assigned to protect her. The lead actors have no chemistry or charisma and the horrors that transpired in this part of the world are mostly glossed over. Where are Julie Christie and Omar Sharif when we need them?
Also opening this week, “Kedi” is a documentary about the wild cats that inhabit the streets of Istanbul.