And Now, the 'Godzilla vs. Kong' Feature Presentation

We skipped the pre-show, and made it to the main event

Movies Du Monde is paywall-free, but is easier to produce with support from moviegoers all over. If you like what you read here, be sure to share and sign up. If you really like this, please do subscribe or leave a tip - you’ll get comment access in exchange. All feedback is welcome, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Share

Leave a Tip


Dear Moviegoers,

The day has arrived, and Godzilla vs. Kong has been released in theaters and on HBO Max - for the next month, anyway. I planned a wonderful short series of columns (a pre-show of sorts) in anticipation of the film, going into exciting and odd observations about the trailer and the previous entries in this franchise, but…

I’ve begun a video series project for the new streaming platform The Louisiana Film Channel, where I recommend and review one movie per episode. A work in progress, here’s our pilot:

Now that the band-aid has been ripped off, maybe a Godzilla vs. Kong post-show series?

No shrug gifs - I’ll save that idea for later.


Watchlist

What movies go well with jerk politicians caught up in serious criminal sex offenses? Here’s a list:

  • Primary Colors (don’t get in a huff because this is a film “loosely” based on the Clintons, ok - though apologies for kicking the list off with that scandal)

  • Beavis and Butthead Do America (another Clinton era gem, but chosen this time for the appearance of a certain Floridian representative whose in trouble at the moment)

  • The Bad and the Beautiful (an excellent film that should be seen in any context, but listed here for the mid-movie “I like to feel cheap once in a while!” scene)

  • What Planet Are You From? (an otherwise awkward comedy of such great and underrated heights, but one too many shots of Garry Shandlings’ butt and him playing with his mechanical genitals, to be honest)

  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (lmfao)


Links (to read & watch)

“The series finale comes at a time when even the Sandras of the world, who already value the jobs they have and do them well, are on shaky ground.”

Start a Free Blockbuster pickup/dropoff point in your town!

A story on the making of In the Electric Mist

Maybe I should give Crazy Samurai Musashi another look


I Blame Society (with a small bit on Reel 2)

The disturbing entry in the found-footage genre known as Reel 2 is likely something that won’t be matched for a long while. Watching it during this year’s 24-hour Unnamed Footage Festival stream, I nearly gagged multiple times in what I can best describe as a heavy metal thrashing on all that could use some spoiling and soiling. Granted, this was not nearly as much of a hellscape as A Serbian Film (something I refuse to watch again), and it was the technical prowess of the editing and cutting choices that held my interest through and through, but Reel 2 really pressed some dusty buttons of mine.

Keep on pressing, and you just might ring a bell.

One of the higher-profile selections at the Unnamed Footage Fest was the recently released I Blame Society. I actually was turned on to this one weeks prior, through a very clever, curious, and crushing trailer that suggested more than a mere dark comedy. Indeed, it is dark and it is a comedy. It’s also wicked and wrathful, delivering criticism in ways that no average critic could (or probably should attempt). It reminded me of a scene from the classic documentary American Movie, where one of Mark Borchardt’s brothers labeled him as a potential serial killer. He was being serious, but to the audience it was more a window into Mark’s relationships with his family and with himself, and less a literal warning.

I Blame Society isn’t a warning either - not necessarily - but it has the strong passion of one. Starring the writer and director Gillian Wallace Horvat, the film is made up of old footage from a failed personal documentary project, and now new ongoing footage that tries to complete said project. She’s working from a statement that one of her friends made, that she would make for a perfect serial killer. First, Gillian talks to loved ones about this on camera, only to be embarrassed and humiliated by her approach and the awkwardness of the questions. Time passes, and she returns to it all, armed with GoPro’s, poisons, and smiles.

Clearly, the film must come from a place of frustration, and in my opinion, acts on this rather healthily. Lemons into lemonade… that then is poured onto open wounds. The biggest sting in the film happens over a job opportunity meeting with two young white men, who have essentially positioned themselves - and have been accepted without question - as middle-men for Hollywood productions. They scout and outsource a “diverse” “array” of “creatives” to help conceive “inclusive” stories. Their pitch to her is absolutely infuriating, as they not only don’t really listen to Gillian at all, but throw around words without understanding their definitions or applications. They create buzz, and that’s all that’s needed to know.

It’s Frankenstein’s Monster leaves film school and enters the movie industry in I Blame Society - though as cute as I like that description, it’s a total stretch. After watching, the title of the film takes on a rich sarcasm: A play on the old “it’s the fault of society” trope. To those two middle-men that Gillian’s career prospects rest upon, they may take a title like this at face value. Read between the lines, and you’ll understand that it’s a rib from the filmmaker and the killer in the filmmaker’s film. She’s isn’t just saying “you don’t know anything,” but rather she’s screaming it from rooftops, and like bloody murder too.

It might beat us over the head a bit, but never in the scenes where it counts - like when a man gets beaten over the head. I Blame Society is a stellar independent standout and a creative exercise in making a point with the edge of a knife - all without burning any bridges. Sharp. Pretty sharp. Pretty damn sharp.

(Now available on-demand)


Godzilla vs. Kong

For this review, let’s attempt to forget the previous MonsterVerse films. Sure, this might be better understood with them in mind, but what’s to understand? It’s Godzilla fighting King Kong.

This is not to diminish the film in any way. Director Adam Wingard, from The Guest to V/H/S/2 to Death Note, is very much an aware filmmaker. Say what you will and rate however you want, but he approaches and conducts his movies with a clear understanding of what they are and how they should be played. Godzilla vs. Kong, his biggest film to date, is absolutely in the more playful fare of his catalog. It’s no Michael Bay Transformers flick, where human characters run around and talk like sugar-high dolts. It’s also not Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim (though it comes close), where people come together for the good of the world in such fantastical ways.

No, this is a Wingard joint. And here, the beasts run the show.

There are people, of course. There are organizations and arcs from previous franchise films (which we won’t be thinking about), absolutely. But, they’re all performed with the main task in mind: to build up the creature battle to end them all. It’s hard for Kong or Godzilla to exposit motives, so Millie Brown and Rebecca Hall take on those duties, as do others. Still, imagine a movie where the only humans we see are the ones running away from damage. Where it’s all from the perspective of the “monsters.”

This one almost is that. Through amazing details in texture and movement, through great choreography and even greater writing of the iconic beasts, Godzilla vs. Kong is exactly what many of us have been waiting for - more or less. Two behemoths with easily understood and even poignant struggles, rumbling over the ruins of major cities, taking the humans helping them on an adventure one could only imagine. No talking and no b.s. - just a swelling score, scouring looks, and balled-up fists.

It’s the little things, like Kong popping his shoulder into place against a skyscraper, and the staring contest of dominance between him and Godzilla, that make this movie a gem. Things that only true creatives would think of, from animators to performance capture actors to the director. How would Kong react here? When Godzilla gets up, is there a grunt? How do we express spite and frustration with these two? Going back to the original King Kong stop-motion production, these were the thoughts of the entire crew, from the music of Max Steiner to the imagination of Willis O’Brien. It all continues to be applied to this day, and Godzilla vs. Kong is a true testament to those beginnings.

Shin Godzilla is certainly great too - and I recommend everyone buy that disc now - but for those seeking a Rocky-style catharsis in these troubled times (ain’t they all troubled?), few blockbusters this year will be more cathartic. Or fun. Or empathetic. Or relatable.

Action figures come to life, play on the screen, and live on as memories that now live rent-free in our hearts and minds. Godzilla vs. Kong is exactly what you think it is and exactly what you want it to be. It’s not brainless, nor should you shut your brain off when watching. Don’t just see that action; feel it. It’s like a painting come to life, for goodness sake.

It’s a movie. Duh.

What’s to understand?


Movies Du Monde is paywall-free, but is easier to produce with support from moviegoers all over. If you like what you read here, be sure to share and sign up. If you really like this, please do subscribe or leave a tip - you’ll get comment access in exchange. All feedback is welcome, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Share

Leave a Tip