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Tag Archives: Adult Swim

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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Mr. Blog’s Tepid Book Club

12 Jul

July 12, 2012

Hey everyone. Never, in the history of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride, which dates back to my great-grandfather’s colonial pamphlet Zebediah Blog’s Persnickety Ride in 1786, have The Editors and Staff thrown our support behind a book. Today we make history.

Casper Kelly’s More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer is right up the alley of anyone who reads this blog. Not only does it have a similar sensibility to this blog, but it has the added benefit of being better written. Check it out on Amazon. Go ahead, that image is clickable.

Here is the book description:

Award winning TV writer Casper Kelly (Squidbillies, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, Stroker & Hoop, Aqua Teen) brings his hilarious, absurdist, and dark vision to the page in this debut collection, perhaps the first with a horror host guiding you between the stories. Enter the mind of one of the seven dwarfs wrestling with his fevered sexual desire for Snow White. In another story, a cash-strapped elderly man in the future is quietly pressured to “retire” by having his brain put in a vat and live out the rest of his day in a virtual reality paradise. “Sex Fantasies at Work” follows an office drone who suspects he’s always at work and his entire home life is merely implanted memories. Read what Charles Yu calls “one of the funniest books I’ve read in years,” what Jack Pendarvis likened to Donald Barthelme by way of E.C. comics, and Joe Randazzo, the editor of The Onion, calls simply “f***ing awesome.” “F***ing awesome” – Joe Randazzo, editor of The Onion
So who is this guy? Here’s his bio:

Mr. Kelly

Casper Kelly writes bizarre late-night television primarily for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim on shows such as Squidbillies, Stroker & Hoop, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, and others. His cartoon strip, Fried Society, appeared in alt weekly newspapers across the country and his other creative work has been featured in Wired, Entertainment Weekly, online literary magazines, and various film festivals. He won an Annie. That’s a fairly big animation award. Although it’s no Emmy or Oscar, don’t want to give you that impression. He acted in a feature film that played at Slamdance. He is very tall and when people round a corner suddenly and see him they tend to involuntarily exclaim “Gah!”. He lives in Atlanta.
 
I know what you guys are thinking: “Why should I listen to those knobs and tools on Amazon? All they want is to steal my credit card number and order inflatable porn things.” Well I have to admit that you are probably right but I also think you should risk it and check out this book. Here is Mr. Blog’s personal review:
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Do you like stories about spaceships and cancer but wish there were more stories about spaceships and cancer? For too long the cancer and spaceship demographic has been underserved, but fortunately Casper Kelly has stepped in and filled a long neglected need.

But seriously, More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer is not for everyone. And that’s a good thing. The world needs people who read the fine print on white bread packages or breathlessly await the next sparkly teen-angsty vampire novel, despite their being over 35 years old and well-past the point where they should be breathlessly awaiting such things or-

You get the idea.

More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer is a collection of more-or-less related short stories. At first glance, sure, the conflicted duck who is in charge of a firing squad and his friend who bears more than a passing resemblance to a gorilla may seem off-putting, but stick with it. This book is not only funny, but it is insightful. While it may not give you the answers you are looking for, it is a strangely accurate (and at times poignant) look at human nature as filtered through the fantasies of a man who dreams he is the last man on Earth, a great-great-great-grandfather who has lived long past his prime, and a family under assault by killer axe-waving ATM machines, among others.

There are B-movie horror hosts to guide you (a skeleton, a werewolf, and a sort-of killer undead chick) but each of them has their own problems too. Poor Professor Badbones, for example, who loses his hosting gig less than halfway through the book. You’ll read about larger breasted ninjas, brains living in virtual reality worlds (ok, that’s the same story) a man who desperately wants to make a hat for a king, and even some characters with whom you will relate. 

The stories are all interesting and at times laugh-out-loud funny. (That’s LOL for the teens out there.) I said that this book is not for everyone and I mean that. But Casper Kelly has a nice body of work, take a second, look it up, I’ll wait, it’s in his bio, and if anything there has made you laugh- Harvey Birdman, or especially my favorite, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, then this is the book for you. Or perhaps I should say that you are it for the book, because this is a book (and author, it didn’t write itself) that demands a following. I’m ready for the sequel, Even More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer.

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I do have to admit up front, right here at the end, that while I will not get a single cent from the sale of this book, I was given a free copy to review. However, the free book in no way influenced my review. If it was awful I would simply not have posted this on my blog. I really did enjoy this book and hope that this is just the first of many more free books coming my way.
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