By Vernor Rodgers
Find out where it's playing
"GODZILLA VS. KONG"
In a world devoid of COVID-19, "Godzilla vs.
Kong," in theaters, more or less for a month, would be hitting the
hundreds of millions in box office bucks, perhaps a billion
worldwide. But after four weeks it was just about at $87 million,
hardly a summer blockbuster. So, bad timing on its release.
This movie is a lot of chaotic fun, once we
finally get to the main event of these two superstar monsters, King
Kong and Godzilla, kicking the crap out of each other and pretty
much destroying Hong Kong in the process. But aside from a prelim
bout on the ocean, the G vs. K brawl takes a while to finally
unfold. Naturally, a story has to be set up to explain why Kong,
who's been literally bottled up on Skull Island inside a sort of
biodome, and Godzilla, in the depths of the ocean seemingly at peace
with those pesky humans who shoot missiles at him, face off in a
messy bout worthy of MMA specifications.
That of course means we must have some key
humans around. So there is Alexander Skarsgard (brother of Pennywise
himself, Bill) as Nathan Lind, one of those outlier scientists in
the mold of Aaron Eckhart's Josh in "The Core," Dennis Quaid's Jack
Hall in "The Day After Tomorrow" and Dr. Grant of Jurassic Park
fame. He teams up with Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), the supposed
expert on King Kong except she'd be lost without the assistance of
Jia (Kaylee Hottle), a child and mute refugee who is the only person
who can communicate with the massive simian and the only person big
Interestingly, the smartest people here
include a conspiracy theory podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree
Henry), who teams up with his No. 1 fan, brilliant teen Madison
Russell ("Stranger Things" star Millie Bobby Brown). Hayes is a very
low level employee of Apex Cybernetics, which feeds on his
conspiracy obsession. Apex is owned by Walter Simmons (Damien
Bichir), who postures as a man leading the ever accelerating
progress of cyber technology for the good of the world but who is
very focused on his power and lining his already bulging pocketbook.
Thus the audience fidgets while witnessing
the shenanigans of these people, eager for the battle to start.
Once it does, it is sensational. You can
marvel at the advancements of FX that has come a long way since the
1950s' Godzilla escapades of a man in a rubber lizard outfit
stomping around a scale-model Tokyo, crumbling model buildings.
Then a third party enters the fray, an Apex
creation that is sort of a Transformers version of Godzilla. This
forces the two former foes to set aside their differences for a
while as this mechanized terror throws another variable into the
equation. Popcorn time.
"GODZILLA VS. KONG"
"THE MORTUARY COLLECTION"
As for small-screen entertainment, this
little gem was featured on Shudder and now is in DVD-Blu-ray
release. Clancy Brown, who has a filmography list of 298 credits
dating back to 1985, including "The Shawshank Redemption," "Starship
Troopers" and a wonderful and sympathetic portrayal of the
Frankenstein monster Viktor in "The Bride," is a co-producer of this
movie and stars as Montgomery Dark, a creepy, enigmatic old
mortician in the town of Raven's Head who delivers inappropriate
remarks at funerals and only sees life's value as the stories it
Written and directed by Ryan Spindell,
"Mortuary" is set up as an anthology. One day, Dark's pretty much
solitary and grim existence is disrupted by a visit from a teen
girl, Sam (Caitlin Fisher) who claims to be interested in filling a
job opening at the mortuary while also showing an interest in seeing
the body of a young boy, Dark's latest "client" whose memorial
service has just wrapped up.
As Dark gives Sam a tour of the place, his
orientation is punctuated with three stories of how some local
-- A woman who pickpockets
wallets at a party is overwhelmed by curiosity toward a locked
medicine cabinet in a bathroom and learns the hard way that things
are locked for a reason.
-- A handsome college
student, Jake (Jacob Elordi), goes around campus, claiming the
patriarchy is dying and uses that as a means of distributing condoms
to coeds as a symbol of sexual liberation and a prelude to inviting
them to a fraternity party (read: potential sexcapades). Jake meets
Sandra (Ema Horvath), an innocent looking young lady who turns out
to be a willing partner, as long as protection is used. When Jake
violates this, the tables turn on him in a most grueling and
-- In a gory and sad story,
Wendell (Barak Hardley) is a man probably in his late 20s or early
30s who has to care for his terminally ill wife Carol (Sarah Hay), a
tragic situation that has him on the brink of financial and
emotional ruin. A freak event that could liberate him from all this
trauma instead has a devastating psychological effect on him.
Sam is only mildly impressed with these
stories. By the time Dark has finished telling the stories the two
people are in the crematorium, where the body of the little boy is
about to be incinerated. It is here that Sam confesses she is not
interested in a job, but just wants to see the boy one more time,
claiming his death is her fault. Then she tells her own story, which
leads to a couple of unexpected twists.
Like many horror movies, "The Mortuary
Collection" does not wrap up in a brightly colored bow. That is why
we horror fans love the genre.
"THE MORTUARY COLLECTION" Official Trailer:
Another offering on Shudder, "Hunted" is
appropriately titled and is simply the story of Eve (Lucie Debay), a
woman in charge of a construction project and dealing with the
stress of the job who decides to hit a bar to chill out. Naturally
she is hit on by a pushy guy and subsequently rescued by another man
who seems more gentlemanly. Eve and the guy (Arieh Worthalter) hit
it off even though the man claims his brother, who also is the bar,
is reeling from the death of his girlfriend.
The night seems to be going swimmingly until
Eve gets in the car with the two men and learns they are not
siblings and in fact have other plans, namely abducting Eve.
The guy, whose name is never revealed, and
his accomplice -- also anonymous -- turn out to be something of a
macabre and terrifying version of Abbott and Costello or Laurel and
The Guy is a particularly menacing person
who can be a decent well-mannered person one minute and vicious and
violent the next. He psychologically messes with his friend, known
only as The Accomplice, is cruel to him, then gentle and something
of a mentor.
Eve gets zapped unconscious and stuffed in
the trunk of The Guy's car. But an accident on a remote road in the
middle of a forest enables Eve to escape, albeit bound and gagged.
From this point it is a chase story wherein
The Guy and The Accomplice find their advantage withering, thanks to
bad luck and the elements. Meanwhile, Eve transforms from a helpless
victim to the aggressor. By the end both Eve and The Guy are pretty
The story is supposed to be an updated
version of Little Red Riding Hood, but in fact for all the symbolism
it is simply a chase story and ultimately very
predictable. Director Vincent Parronnaud collaborated with three
writers in putting this together. There might be some satisfaction
at the end but the build-up is shaky and inconsistent at best.