Screening Room: ‘Kong: Skull Island’

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It’s been a few years since King Kong was smashing up the planet. Fortunately, the makers of Kong: Skull Island have remedied this problem with a half-gonzo reworking of the old giant apt smash-’em-up material set in the waning days of the Vietnam War.

Kong: Skull Island is opening wide this week. My review is at Film Journal International:

This is a movie so eager to show off its skyscraper-sized primate that it trots him out before we’ve even gotten to the credit sequence. In this iteration’s 1944-set opener, two downed fighter pilots (American and Japanese) parachute onto a tropical island beach and set about trying to kill each other before being interrupted by Kong’s glowering eyes…

Here’s the trailer:

Screening Room: ‘High-Rise’

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Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel High-Rise is opening this week in limited release and is already available on VOD. My review is at PopMatters:

Setting High-Rise in 1975, Ben Wheatley takes full advantage of what we remember from that time, the macramé, matted hairdos, condo living, and marital infidelity. But more important, the movie—based on J.G. Ballard’s bloody skewer of a 1975 novel and now available on VOD in the US—underlines the era’s capacity for antisocial mischief. Without today’s surveillance culture and social media, it’s easier for viewers to swallow the story’s basic conceit, that the inhabitants of a brand new luxury high-rise can, in mere months, whip up a self-contained, brutally violent maelstrom without anybody on the outside being any the wiser…

Here’s the trailer: