“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 Hateful Eight” Toys with Truth and Race, but Ends Up Less than the Sum of Its Parts

The eighth film from Quentin Tarantino is not his best, but it might be his most political. The Hateful Eight was born from the TV Westerns of the 1960s where a group of outlaws would kidnap the main character in a sort of bottle episode. Well, Tarantino pondered, what if the audience didn’t know who was the “good guy” once we got to the bottle? As the back stories unfolds, various clues indicate that perhaps we shouldn’t be so trusting of what we are being told – by anyone. From there, Tarantino’s brand of pithy dialogue and penchant for violence takes over as percolating racial tensions begin to boil over.

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The Hateful 8 Trailer is Pure, True-to-Form Tarantino Beauty

The first official trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s eighth theatrical feature, The Hateful 8, was released yesterday. The film appears to be a mish-mash of Django Unchained and Reservoir Dogs, fusing the Old West bounty hunting of Django with the ensemble cast and bottle-episode feel of Dogs (possibly with some non-linear storytelling thrown in for good measure). We get to see a number of Tarantino regulars in the trailer, plus a few newbies, bumping elbows in a log cabin in the middle of the winter. Check it out:

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