“Kong: Skull Island” – a Silly, Silly Film That Can’t Decide on a Tone

Kong:  Skull Island is an unbalanced amalgamation of B-Movie schlock and hyper-budget  blockbuster special effects (est. $185M).  It teems with A-List stars searching vainly for a place to die so they don’t have to embarrass themselves any longer.  The plot makes some sense, but the specific beats that move it from scene to scene are fairly nonsensical.  And like clockwork, we can’t go five minutes without someone getting eaten, something exploding  / catching on fire, or the titular great ape fighting something.  The film especially founders tonally, where it can’t quite decide how serious it should be.  Even the gigantic action set pieces are bizarre and uneven – sometimes incredibly realistic and other times practically cartoons.  At its best, Kong:  Skull Island is an expensive farce; the most fun you can have is wondering aloud what possessed so many people to light so much money on fire in such a strange way.  At its worst, it is a hum-drum reiteration of better movies without anything particular noteworthy about it at all.

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“The Lobster”: A Sardonic Defense of Individual Choice in Romance

The very best satire establishes absurdity as commonplace, and Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English-language feature film The Lobster is a fascinating example.  Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, this dark romantic comedy imagines a dystopia where single people are sent to a hotel and given 45 days to find a new partner.  Should they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into the wild.  Some attendees don’t wait that long, and escape into the bordering forest to live in a kind of fugitive singleness.  The Lobster viciously jests through this dichotomy, exploring the nature of relationships and how societal pressures can paradoxically be the cause of both settling and celibacy.

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