TITLE: POWER RANGERS
DIRECTOR: DAN ISRAELITE
STARRING: DACRE MONTONGOMERY, NAOMI SCOTT, RJ CYLER, BECKY G., LUDI LIN, ELIZABETH BANKS, BRYAN CRANSTON
When the credits roll, Power Rangers ultimately gets the job done. However, as a whole, Power Rangers feels conflicted about its own existence. The first half of the film, tries way too hard to distance itself from the goofiness of the show. Which is unfortunate because what really works in Power Rangers, is its goofiness. When the film is embracing that tone, it works best. Once we get a taste of Rita (played wonderfully loony by Elizabeth Banks), the entire film shifts dramatically. What started out as a downtrodden, moody, angst-teen-film, suddenly becomes the 90's cheese of the show. Anyone who grew up watching said show (like myself), can't help but get revved-up, once that classic theme suddenly kicks in. The cast, are all fine for the most part, and are really trying to make something from nothing with these characters. It's their chemistry, that really hold the film together, especially during the first half. Bryan Cranston adds a good dosing of gravitas, and Bill Hader's Alpha 5, is actually quite delightful. While the last 45 minutes, are quite fun (I adore Banks in this film), it's a shame how dull the first half is. Power Rangers, gets lost trying too hard to be too serious, instead of having fun. And when the Power Rangers finally "Go Go", it's a tad too late.
TITLE: KONG: SKULL ISLAND
DIRECTOR: JORDAN VOGT-ROBERTS
STARRING: TOM HIDDLESTON, BRIE LARSON, SAMUEL L. JACKSON, JOHN C. RILEY, TOBY KEBBEL, JOHN GOODMAN
Kong: Skull Island, may have glaring flaws. The dialogue can be eye-roll worthy at times, the pacing is off in the mid-section, and the screenplay has more holes than Swiss cheese. However, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, directs the shit out of this movie. Despite the flaws, Kong: Skull Island is helluva lot of fun. They style alone, is worth the price of admission. Despite the lead characters being as hollow as the ground on Skull Island, these are actor's who know what kind of movie they are in. It's not about them. The vast majority of them, know they are going to be monster food. These are stereotypical, archetypal, characters. It's a monster movie. Samuel L. Jackson, is all kinds of fun here, and John C. Riley chews up the scenery to perfection. Kong, is fantastic here. He's leaner, taller, more aggressive, and still has that soft spot for us humans (well, some of us. And those of us who are not blonde women). It's not perfect, but Kong: Skull Island delivers what it promised. It also sets-up King Kong Vs. Godzilla, nicely. It's a fun monster flick, and way more entertaining than the Godzilla of 2014. It even outshines Peter Jackson's King Kong remake of 2005. Jackson, made an Oscar movie disguised as a monster movie. Kong: Skull Island, is a monster movie to its hollow core. And that's OK with me.
DIRECTOR: JAMES MANGOLD
STARRING: HUGH JACKMAN, PATRICK STEWART, DAFNE KEEN, STEPHEN MERCHANT, BOYD HOLBROOK, RICHARD E. GRANT
Logan, is bound to offer those of us who have watched Jackman play Wolverine for the better part of 17 years, a fine sendoff. However, while the film manages to be a different spin on the superhero film craze, not all of it adds up to perfection. The three leads- Jackman, Stewart and Keen, are what drive this film to the end. It is their commitment to these characters, that prevent Logan from spiraling into a muddy mess. The film, makes full use of its "R" rating, which is going to make a lot of people happy. For me, I found some of the gore here, to be overkill. It was gory for the mere sake of being gory. We get it, you have the rating. The film also, fails at its attempts in meta, self-referential story telling. These moments, took me right out of the story, which is bad, as some of it, is vital to the story. Still, when Logan works, it really works. It's a satisfying end to this chapter, in the Jackman era Wolverine series of films. It's a fun time at the cinema.