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My Review of Kong: Skull Island

17 Mar

March 17, 2017

Before we begin, I’ll tell you right upfront that though I am going to try to keep the spoilers at a minimum I have a terrible track record so expect me to spoil this film for you.

This is a fun film and I enjoyed it a lot, and although it is set in the same universe as Godzilla, there is no comparison at all. Godzilla was pretty good but ultimately disappointing, this one is very good and not disappointing. Unless you want to see him climb the Empire State Building. But what do you expect? This film isn’t called Skull Island for nothing. He doesn’t go to New York.

In a nutshell, a bunch of soldiers and scientists land on Skull Island. The soldiers are there to help the scientists with a “geological survey,” which was just a lie to flush the monsters above ground. And it works. It works really well. It works too well. Out of nowhere Kong decimates them and from there on it is a trek for the survivors to the other side of the island while dodging monsters and beasts, but for one man it becomes an obsession to kill Kong. (And of course that man is Samuel L. Jackson. The subtitle of this film should be King Kong vs. Samuel L. Jackson.) Will he kill Kong? (No. See? I told you I’d spoil it.) Will the humans make it to the safety of the other end of the island? (Some of them yes, most of them no.) Does Brie Larson spend most of the film in a tank top, often soaking wet? (Mercifully yes.) 

So here’s the good:

  • This film is faithful to the original from 1933, despite being a reboot and having no relation to the original. No, I am not drunk. Let me explain. This film is set during the 1970’s and details the first time outsiders set foot on the island. Take the original film- the island, the natives, the wall, Kong, etc., but now leave out Carl Denham and the rest. Imagine that they never set foot on the island. In Skull Island, it is easy to believe that this is what the original island would be like if no one else ever set foot on it. Sure, they updated it a bit, but this is clearly the same island. Also, the film opens with the sound of old airplanes and machine gun sounds over the credits, which leads into the first scene of a WWII air battle, but I also found it to be a homage to the climax of the original film.
  • It can actually be compared to Apocalypse Now. Yes, really, and I am not just talking about the posters. 
    Skull Island generally follows the same basic plot as Apocalypse Now. A group of Vietnam-era soldiers in an untamed jungle doggedly moving upriver and through more and more danger to a climax with a mad colonel. True, Apocalypse Now doesn’t have a giant ape, but it does have Marlon Brando, so I call that a tie.
  • The first action sequence with Kong vs the helicopters is awesome. You will love it.
  • John C. Reilly is hands down the most fun character in the film. If you know him from Adult Swim’s Check It Out, his character is about 60% Dr. Steve Brule. If that means nothing to you, go to YouTube right now. Seriously, go. I’ll wait for you.
  • Kong is all over this film. This isn’t like Godzilla where we had a few murky shots and were constantly waiting for the monster to show up again. 
  • The soundtrack is all 1970’s classic rock. Grace Slick! Black Sabbath! The Hollies! 

And here’s the bad. But it isn’t too bad. 

  • There were no dinosaurs. In every King Kong film, even the ones from Japan where he fights robots, he fights dinosaurs. And although I said above that the island is identical to the original, this is the one exception. No dinosaurs. Kong did fight a lot of reptilian skull crushers, but they looked more like those lame MUTOS Godzilla fought in his last American film than Dinosaurs. And while that makes sense since they are set in the same cinematic universe, it was a glaring omission. King Kong fights dinosaurs! (That will be rectified when King Kong vs. Godzilla comes out in a few years.) 

This is the real problem I had with the film: It had no heart. You didn’t root for Kong. There was no “humanity” in him as there was in every other version of the giant ape. This Kong is just gruff. And it is understandable since he is an orphan who spends his life fighting other monsters. But it doesn’t make you root for him. He protected the humans in this film but never seemed to like them or have any connection to any other human. The film tried to make up for that by giving one of the human characters a tear-jerker ending and it worked, if the intent was to make everyone leave the film feeling good, but it did nothing to make us like Kong. 

Like the original, the female lead ended up in the ape’s palm, but unlike the other versions this was a rescue and there was no connection between them. It wouldn’t have surprised me if Kong just dumped her back in the water. 

This was a fun film and a good action film. This may not be the Kong that you remember or the Kong that you want, but it works. You get your money’s worth. And since we already know that King Kong vs. Godzilla is going to be made, my geeky fanboy take on that after seeing both monsters in action, is Kong will easily take out Godzilla.

Just like Kirk would beat Picard in a fight.

Here’s Brie Larson in a tank top. Think I’d leave you hanging? That ought to sell some tickets. Tell ’em Mr. Blog sent you.

 

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Final Score: Mets 1, Fans 0

28 May

May 28, 2016

Today the Mets are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1986 World Series Championship team. There will be a great celebration at Citifield with the members of the 86 team reuniting, with highlights, events, and giveaways. However, thanks to the usual incompetence of their owner, Fred Wilpon, most of the team’s fans won’t see any of it. Frankly, Cheap Freddie doesn’t care.

So how did Wilpon mess it up?
1- He scheduled it on the Memorial Day weekend, a time when people have travel plans, or go to the beach, or barbecue. It will be close to 90 degrees here in New York and many people won’t be watching. But that doesn’t matter because…
2- The celebration will take place an hour before the actual game. Problem is, the game is being aired on FOX (which is even worse than ESPN when it comes to ruining games) and they will not be showing the celebration. They may show highlights during the game, but fans want to cheer the players, the classic moments, the plays, everything the celebration has to offer, not a clip dropped in between pitches. The irony is that Fred Wilpon also owns sports channel SNY, which airs the majority of the Met games. They are the Mets home station and had they the rights to air this game they would show every second of the pre-game celebration. But FOX has this game. And Freddie knew it.

So why did New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon schedule the celebration on a day when most people would have other plans and the television network would not show it? Why did he guarantee that most fans won’t see the celebration? He did it because the Mets are playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets and Dodgers are not heated rivals. They do not have a celebrated history together. The simple, sad truth is the Fred Wilpon is a Dodgers fan. That’s all. This is not a guess or a theory. Freddie has talked and talked about his love of the Dodgers. When the Mets new stadium was built, it was designed as a replica of Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. When you enter, the lobby is a tribute to- you guessed it- the Brooklyn Dodgers, with pictures and displays of the Dodgers, and the highlight was (and still is) a giant tribute to Jackie Robinson. Jackie never played for the Mets. So the Mets 86 World Series tribute is on the worst possible day simply because New York Mets Team Owner Freddie is a Dodgers fan.

mad-mr-met-at-citi-field-copy

But that’s not all. Awful Fred Wilpon also ruined the day for most of the fans who will be in the stands today. Here’s the next way Wilpon messed it up.
3- The Mets are giving away replica World Series rings to the first 15,000 fans in the stadium. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, no. Citifield will be sold out today and the stadium holds 45,000 fans. So 15,000 fans get rings and 30,000 fans get ugatz. In other words, Fred Wilpon has created an event where it is GUARANTEED that 2/3 of the fans will be given NOTHING but bad feelings. Unless you count an empty wallet, since parking costs $23 and even a hot dog is $6.25, highest in the major leagues.

The night before was jersey night. ALL fans got a replica jersey. So on the actual celebration day, why cheap out? The Mets don’t even pay for the giveaways. Oh no, not a penny is pried out of Freddie’s iron-clad wallet. These are sponsored. The sponsor pays for these. All the Mets need to do is add to the contract that there be enough giveaway rings for everyone. If the sponsor can’t afford it, get another. This is NEW YORK and this team went to the WORLD SERIES last year. There is no shortage of potential sponsors.

But this is a Fred Wilpon team. Last year they were sponsored by- this is true!- SendInTheClowns. com. Can you imagine a more appropriate company?

clowns mets

So get ready for the Mets Celebration!
Get ready to not see it!
Get ready to not get the free gift!

Wilpon sucks.

 

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