Movie Review: GODZILLA King Of The Monsters

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godzilla king of the monsters
Warner Bros. / Toho
2019
PG-13

“They’re everywhere. Battling for dominance. Arrival alpha to Godzilla.”

  • Members of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species–thought to be mere myths–rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.

Five years, and we finally got a sequel to the 2014 second attempt for America to make a good Godzilla movie. Mind you, this seems to be a part of a larger “Monster Universe” that included King Kong: Skull Island back in 2017. And now, after watching Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, I once again find myself hungry for more giant monster goodness.

Of course, like with any Godzilla movie, this one really works best when the monsters are throwing down, rampaging and causing the destruction we all paid to see. And here, we get plenty–Godzilla, along with Toho classics Mothra, King Gedorah and Rodan, along with brief cameo appearances by other giant beasties that I certainly hope to see go up against Godzilla in future installments. And King Kong is definitely one of the cameos here, and is slated to go up against Godzilla in the next movie in the Monster Universe. But, I digress, before I completely geek out all over everyone.

For the most part, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (not to be confused with the re-edited American title of the very first Godzilla from 1956) makes for a fun, mindless summer popcorn flick with plenty of ‘splosions and big monster fights and destruction. For the most part. See, like the other Godzilla movies (it’s not just the 1998 and 2014 American versions, either), all the fun stuff we came to see is interrupted periodically to focus on these boring human drama bits that, sure, I can understand why you would want to put something like that in these movies. They’re stand-ins for the, what do you call ’em, the people watching the movie…surrogate something-somethings. Of course, the underlining theme in this is that it’s the humans who are the real monsters, and it’s an eco-terrorist organization wanting to use the titans (as they refer to the giant beasties) to cleanse the world of humanity and begin anew as it always was meant to be. You know, that old gem of an intelligence insult.

Anyway, if you can get past the human focused part of the story, Gozilla: King Of The Monsters is some fantastic giant monster-whompin’ fun. Recommended for a rental.

Movie Review: COLOSSAL

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colossalNeon
2016
R

“Hi. She’s the monster, I’m the robot.”

Well, now, this was a pleasant surprise. Once in a while I do tend to come across a movie that, from both the title and the descriptor, I expect it to go one way and fit neatly within the confines of my genre place-settings…but then, upon watching it, you end up with something completely different all together. Such was my experience with the movie Colossal.

The story itself involves an unemployed New York socialite named Gloria who, after a messy break-up with her boyfriend, movies back to her hometown in New England. There, she rekindles a friendship with a childhood friend and starts working at his bar. Soon, though, news reports from Seoul, South Korea begin coming in about a giant monster that causes terror and destruction every night that coincides at 8:30am Eastern Standard Time in New England. The very same time that Gloria would find herself walking across the town park. It doesn’t take long for Gloria to realize that she is somehow the cause of this colossal beast manifesting, and begins to try and make things right. Only, her childhood friend’s dark side begins to manifest itself as well, and now it’s both a figurative and literal battle for Gloria to break free of the madness that has become her life.

Yeah, that synopsis doesn’t really do the movie justice, does it? That doesn’t take into consideration that, as the movie unfolds, you realize the Giant Rampaging Monster aspect is really more incidental as a background metaphor for the darker drama that is playing out in the foreground. Gloria is a damaged and deeply flawed alcoholic who’s running away from her insecurities. Her childhood friend–his name is Oscar, by the way–comes off as nice and sympathetic at first, but little by little his manipulative and abusive personality manifests itself.

Colossal is my first Nacho Vigalondo movie. Looking into this director’s information, it seems he’s known for taking generally accepted genre types and turning them on its ear. After watching Colossal, I would have to agree that yes, he seems very good at it. Colossal was not what I was expecting, and this is in a good way. Highly recommended.

Movie Review: BIG ASS SPIDER!

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big ass spiderEpic Pictures
2013
PG-13

A giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampage the city of Los Angeles. When a massive military strike fails, it is up to a team of scientists and one clever exterminator to kill the creature before the city is destroyed.

Yes, I watched this movie based on the name alone. Yes, I was expecting mindless cheesy sci-fi big monster B-Movie. Exactly how mindless and cheesy, I didn’t really know; I mean, there is that exclamation point, which usually is a hallmark of either a wacky comedy, or grindhouse exploitation. Given the cover art, I was leaning more towards “wacky comedy”.

Big Ass Spider! ended up being far more entertaining than it should have been. The movie’s title promises us a big ass spider, and boy howdy does it deliver the goods on that end. Somehow, seeing the constantly-growing alien spider that escaped from the military lab that spawned it rendered in all it’s CGI glory actually works to make this more fun than had they tried to make things with practical effects. Quite frankly, that rampage through the park made me all giddy, clapping in glee like a preschooler at a puppet show. Also, EXTERMINATOR WITH A BAZOOKA! ‘Nuff said.

On the Cheese-O-Meter level, Big Ass Spider! ranks quite a bit above your standard Asylum-made Sy Fy Channel flick, mainly due to the movie being in on the joke. If B-Movies like this aren’t your thing, then keep away from this. But, then again, if you didn’t get that from the title alone, it’s your own fault. However, if the idea of seeing a CG-rendered giant spider rampage through LA is your idea of a great time, grab your friends and whatever libations you may imbibe and have yourselves a ball.

Movie Review: The GIANT GILA MONSTER

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GIANT GILA MONSTERHollywood Pictures Corporation
1959
NR

“Only Hell could breed such an enormous beast. Only God could destroy it!”

A small town in Texas finds itself under attack from a hungry, fifty-foot-long gila monster. No longer content to forage in the desert, the giant lizard begins chomping on motorists and train passengers before descending upon the town itself. Only Chase Winstead, a quick-thinking mechanic, can save the town from being wiped out.

This here is a classic example of cheesy 1950’s sci-fi goodness. Low-budget “B” movie with hip but good-natured teenagers, hot rods, fake rock-n-roll that’ll make you cringe, all with really bad and laughable effects. The giant gila monster in question happens to be a very obvious regular-sized gila monster filmed on scale models, and you never really see the gila monster in the same shot as the actors. Fun stuff. Could’ve done without the hero of the movie singing (mushrooms and spirituality? Wha?). Otherwise, nifty cult classic, here…