godzilla prehistoric movie

Revealed at Comic-Con last July, the first trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters was glorious. The prospect of an elemental assault on the senses, wall-to-wall fights with 17 monsters — maybe even some poignant family drama — seemed to rise up before one’s ensorcelled eyeballs with every subsequent trailer.

If Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim was the ultimate mechs-versus-monsters movie, then King of the Monsters promised to be the ultimate kaiju-versus-kaiju movie, a gift to Godzilla fans everywhere. Based on some of the early reactions as the movie drew nearer this May, I was expecting to be bludgeoned into submission by a repeating sledgehammer of kaiju action.

There’s some of that in the movie, though not as much as you might think. To talk about what works and what doesn’t in King of the Monsters, we’ll need to open a barrel of radioactive spoilers. Grab your hazmat suit, then, and let’s get to it before the earth unleashes a fever to fight “the human infection” and we all perish.

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The Wild Goose Lake Review

There’s something satisfyingly convoluted about Diao Yinan’s delightfully dense film The Wild Goose Lake, Cannes Film Festivalwhich recently played at the . Named after a vacation spot where the film is set, it’s a land of motorcycle thieves and bathing beauties, a criminal element living in a kind of mild truce with the local police. Read More »

Vivarium Review

I always figured there was no better case for birth control than being on a long flight with someone else’s screaming child. Vivarium ups the ante, finding domestic bliss even more harrowing in this clever yet frustrating Cannes Film Festival selection by Irish director Lorcan Finnegan. Read More »

A Portrait of a Lady on Fire Review

A Portrait of a Lady on Fire is, as the title evokes, an artistically rich and provocative film out of Cannes, one where the passions and obsessions of two women ignite in ways rarely seen on screen. A tour-de-force film by director Céline Sciamma, the film is both evocative and enervating, casting a spell on the audience that feels as dreamlike as the Britany seaside location. Read More »

Atlantics Review

Mati Diop’s Atlantics is notable for a number of reasons. First, it’s the first film from a black woman to ever play in competition in the Cannes film festival, a notable achievement in and of itself. Second, it’s tied to a number of other films at this festival that twist genres, incorporating elements from horror and thriller film into what’s ostensibly a story of lost love, where the ghosts of the past continue to haunt those left behind.

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Ma Trailer

It’s rare to see a movie that is so ballsy as to literally introduce a gun in the first act, only to potentially refuse to have that gun go off, defying the law of Chekhov’s Gun in fiction. Such may be the case, though, with Ma, a strange new thriller that eventually tips into straight-up horror. Much of the film, directed haphazardly by Tate Taylor, is all about hinting at what might be going on inside the mind of a seemingly friendly lady played by Octavia Spencer. As is often the case, the setup is better than the payoff.

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godzilla king of the monsters review

Mass extinction has never looked so gorgeous. Over a period of 132 mind-numbing minutes, Michael Dougherty‘s Godzilla: King of the Monsters lays waste to humanity with stunning tableaus colored in ghostly blues and faded golds, resulting in visual landscapes worthy of Aivazovsky’s brush. It’s a pity the world built around all that jaw-dropping monster mayhem is so damn dull. Cities are leveled, Lovecraftian monsters reign supreme, and the only thing I felt was a bad case of ennui. The ultimate kaiju smack-down shouldn’t be this boring.

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The Souvenir review

(This review originally ran during our coverage of the Sundance Film Festival. The Souvenir is in theaters today.)

Almost all narrative films follow the same structure. A clear beginning, middle and end. A main storyline involving main characters. A problem or situation that must be worked out or resolved. There are very few deviations of this format, for two distinct reasons. One is that we’re accustomed to it – it’s all we’ve ever known. The other is that it works – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So when a movie comes along that bucks the trend, shrugs off the norm, and unfolds in a different way, it can be quite jarring. Such is the case with Joanna Hogg’s transcendent The Souvenir. Hogg ignores a traditional narrative approach for a series of vignettes that make up a bigger picture. It works wonderfully – if you stick with it. But you need to prepare yourself for the long-haul.

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Frankie Review

Ira Sach’s Frankie is a light, lovely film about complicated family dynamics and coming to terms with mortality. With a formidable cast anchored by Isabelle Huppert, the sun-dappled setting and multi-generational storyline makes for a relaxed, enjoyable visit with this extended onscreen family.

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Parasite Review

For decades now, South Korea has generated some of the strongest, most original cinema in the world. With a pantheon of directors that seamlessly draw from a myriad of genres, their films manage to be deeply provocative, with grand themes and subtle character moments interspersed with broad shifts in tone. Bong Joon-ho has been celebrated for his strange and dark tales like Okja, Snowpiercer and The Host, each of them equipped with high-concept sci-fi elements that create an unsettling vision of the world. With his latest, Parasite, he shifts gears once again, creating a family drama wrapped in a grifter’s guise that’s blisteringly good.

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