REVIEW: KING KONG – THE EXTENDED CUT

CAST

Naomi Watts (Birdman)
Jack Black (Gulliver’s Travels)
Adrian Brody (Hollywoodland)
Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted)
Colin Hanks (Roswell)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Evan Parke (Alias)
Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four)
John Sumner (Power Rangers RPM)
Craig Hall (30 Days of Night)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Tom Hobbs (Winners & Losers)
Jed Brophy (Brain Dead)
William Wallace (Step Dave)
Stig Eldred (Power Rangers SPD)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)

In 1933, during the Great Depression, New York City vaudeville actress Ann Darrow is hired by financially troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to star in a film. Ann learns her favorite playwright, Jack Driscoll, is the screenwriter. As their tramp steamer, the SS Venture, journeys to the mysterious Skull Island, Ann and Jack fall in love. Captain Englehorn has second thoughts about the voyage, prompted by crewmen Lumpy and Ben Hayes’ speculation of trouble ahead.Deep in the southern waters, the Venture receives a radio message informing Englehorn that there is a warrant for Carl’s arrest due to his defiance of the studio’s orders to cease production. The message instructs Englehorn to divert to Rangoon, but the ship becomes lost in fog and runs aground on the rocky shore of Skull Island. Carl and his crew explore the island and are attacked by natives, who kill Carl’s sound technician as well as one of the sailors. Ann screams as she is captured, and a loud roar is heard beyond a wall. The matriarch of the tribe targets Ann, muttering the word “Kong”. Englehorn kills one of the natives and his crew break up the attack and return to the ship. They lighten their load to float off the rocks and carry out repairs, but Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped. The natives offer Ann as a sacrifice to Kong, a 25 feet (7.6 m) tall gorilla. The crew returns fully armed, but is too late as Kong takes Ann and flees into the jungle. Ann wins Kong over with juggling and dancing, and begins to grasp Kong’s intelligence and capacity for emotion.Englehorn organizes a rescue party, led by Hayes and Driscoll. They encounter and kill a Ferrucutus. The rescue party is then caught in the middle of a pack of Venatosaurus saevidicus and the herd of Brontosaurus baxteri they are hunting, and six people are killed, including cameraman Herb. The rest of the rescue party come across a swamp where actor Bruce Baxter and two others leave the group. The rest cross the swamp on rafts, only to be attacked by “Scorpio-pedes”, as well by a “Piranhadon”, which devours three sailors. The rescue party is making their way across a fallen log over a ravine when Kong attacks. Five crewmen, including Hayes and Choy, are killed after being thrown off the log, and the rest of the crew ride the log down the ravine and land in a pit. Kong returns to Ann and rescues her from three Vastatosaurus rex. Kong takes her to his lair in the mountains. The remaining rescue party find the pit to be full of giant insects. Lumpy is killed by the maggot-like “Carnictics Sordicus” while two others are killed by spider-like creatures. Englehorn, Baxter and the two crewmen return, saving the last four members of the rescue party from the pit. As Jack continues searching for Ann, Carl decides to capture Kong. Jack goes to Kong’s lair, inadvertently waking him and provoking a swarm of flying Terapusmordax. As Kong fights the swarm, Ann and Jack escape. They arrive at the wall with Kong pursuing them, and Ann becomes distraught by what Carl plans to do. Kong bursts through the gate and attempts to get her back, killing several sailors, but is subdued when Carl knocks him out with chloroform.In New York City, Carl presents “Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World” on Broadway, starring Baxter and an imprisoned Kong. Ann is played by an anonymous chorus girl, and Kong becomes enraged after realizing that the girl on stage is not Ann. After breaking free from his chrome-steel chains, he wrecks the theater and chases Jack. Kong knocks Jack out by stopping his car and flipping it, then encounters Ann again. Kong and Ann share a moment on a frozen pond in Central Park until the army attacks. Kong climbs with Ann onto the top of the Empire State Building, where he fights off six F8C-5 Helldiver Navy planes, downing three. At the end of the confrontation, Kong is mortally wounded by the gunfire and gazes at Ann for the last time before falling from the building to his death. As Ann is reunited with Jack, civilians, photographers, police and soldiers gather around Kong’s corpse. Carl makes his way through the crowd, takes one last long look at Kong and says, “It wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”Wow, what a set. As complete a set of all things Kong as one could possibly hope to obtain. In the end there is only one overriding question; is this set worth upgrading. And despite my reservations about the actual extended version of the film, this set is well worth the upgrade; extras alone do not a DVD make, but with such a quality product so lovingly put together as this one, it is hard not to admire. If all DVD’s took as much care in their presentation as this one does the format would be irreplaceable. Picture, sound and extras, this is a quality product and deserving of the title delux.

REVIEW: SUMMER OF SAM

CAST

John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland)
Mira Sorvino (Mimic)
Jennifer Esposito (Crash)
Michael Rispoli (The Rum Diary)
Saverio Guerra (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bebe Neuwirth (Jumanji)
Mike Starr (Ed Wood)
Anthony LaPaglia (Empire Records)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
John Turturro (Transformers)

It is the summer of 1977, and New York City lives in fear of the “.44 Caliber Killer”, who shoots young women and their male companions. The killer, David Berkowitz, later identifies himself as “Son of Sam” in a note left at a murder scene. Berkowitz lives in a messy apartment, where he is driven crazy by the barking of a neighbor’s large black dog and has a vision of the dog directing him to kill. In an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, hairdresser Vinny and his pretty wife Dionna go disco dancing at a local nightclub, where they meet Dionna’s attractive cousin Chiara. Vinny offers to drive Chiara home while Dionna remains at the club. Vinny and Chiara then park on a residential street and have sex in the car. Son of Sam watches them, but he is scared off when the couple accidentally set off the car horn during sex and, embarrassed, quickly drive away. After they leave, Son of Sam kills another couple who had parked behind Vinny. When Vinny picks up Dionna back at the club, she notices the smell of vaginal lubrication on his face and realizes he had sex with Chiara, but does not let on that she knows.

On the drive home, Vinny notices police near the location where he had parked with Chiara, and sees the dead bodies of the slain couple. The religious and guilty Vinny, realizing he could have been a victim, decides that God spared him in order to give him a chance to reform his ways and stop cheating on his wife. Although Vinny loves Dionna, their sex life is suffering because Vinny enjoys anal sex, “69” and other sex acts that he considers kinky, but he cannot bring himself to discuss or perform these acts with a wife. He is also having an affair with Gloria, the owner of the hair salon where he works. The next day, while Vinny is hanging out with neighborhood drug dealer Joey T and his friends, Vinny’s old friend Ritchie, who has been away for some time, suddenly reappears, sporting a punk spiked hairdo and clothing and affecting a British accent. Vinny, Joey T, and the others dislike the change in Ritchie, and he soon finds himself unwelcome in the neighborhood. However, Ruby, a promiscuous local girl, is attracted to Ritchie, and the two begin a relationship. Unlike other men, Ritchie takes an interest in Ruby as a person, not just as a sexual outlet. She learns that he makes money by erotic dancing and prostituting himself at a gay theater, but remains loyal to him and over time begins to dress in punk fashion herself.

As the Son of Sam killings continue, tension rises in the neighborhood. A police detective from the neighborhood asks the local mob boss to help him find the killer; Joey T and his friends also make a list of possible suspects, including Ritchie whom they regard as “a freak”. Ritchie and Ruby invite Vinny and Dionna to come see their punk band perform at CBGB, but once there, Dionna feels intimidated by the punk crowd and refuses to go in. Vinny and Dionna instead go to Studio 54, where they are denied entry, and finally end up at Plato’s Retreat where they take drugs and participate in an orgy. Vinny becomes upset when he sees Dionna appearing to enjoy the experience of having sex with another man, even though he himself is having sex with other women. He berates Dionna in the car on the way home, causing her to get mad and reveal that she knows he cheated on her with Chiara. She storms off to stay at her father’s house. Vinny begins to drink and use drugs heavily, and makes a scene at Gloria’s hair salon, causing her to angrily throw him out and then inform Dionna about their affair. Upon hearing from Gloria, Dionna leaves Vinny for good.

Joey T and his gang decide that the latest eyewitness sketch of Son of Sam released by the police resembles Ritchie, and unsuccessfully attempt to track him down at CBGB. Joey persuades the unstable Vinny, who is high on drugs he has taken to dull the pain of his impending divorce, to help them lure Ritchie out of his house, since Vinny is the only local friend Ritchie still trusts. Unbeknownst to Vinny and his friends, the police have already arrested David Berkowitz, the real Son of Sam. Vinny goes to Ritchie’s family home, where Ritchie and Ruby are packing up to leave town, and lures Ritchie out on the pretext of talking about his failing marriage; once he has gotten Ritchie outside, he warns Ritchie under his breath to run, but Ritchie does not heed the warning and is attacked and severely beaten by Joey T and his gang. Ritchie’s stepfather, Eddie, emerges from the house brandishing his gun and rescues the badly injured Ritchie, telling the attackers that Ritchie is not the Son of Sam and that the TV news is reporting that the police have just arrested the real killer. Unable to face Ritchie, Vinny walks away.

‘Summer Of Sam’ was not what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it very much for what it is, an excellent snapshot of the time and a focus on interesting people’s lives and feelings. It’s a long film, and sometimes it does drag on, but it’s still one of those films you just have to tick off your list to see.

REVIEW: THE PIANIST

CAST

Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland)
Emilia Fox (Silent Witness)
Michal Zebrowski (Na dobre i na zle)
Ed Stoppard (Branded)
Richard Ridings (Highlander: The Series)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)
Valentine Pelka (8mm 2)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)

In September 1939, Władysław Szpilman (Adrien Brody), a Polish-Jewish pianist, is playing live on the radio in Warsaw when the station is bombed during Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland. Hoping for a quick victory, Szpilman rejoices with his family at home when learning that Britain and France have declared war on Germany. But the promised aid does not come. Fighting lasts for just over a month, with both the German and Soviet armies invading Poland at the same time on different fronts. Warsaw becomes part of the Nazi-controlled General Government. Jews are soon prevented from working or owning businesses, and are also made to wear blue Star of David armbands. By November 1940, Szpilman and his family are forced from their home into the overcrowded Warsaw Ghetto, where conditions only get worse. People starve, the guards are brutal, and starving children are abandoned in the streets. On one occasion, the Szpilmans witness the SS kill an entire family in an apartment across the street during a round-up. On 16 August 1942, Szpilman and his family are transported to Treblinka extermination camp as part of Operation Reinhard. But a friend in the Jewish Ghetto Police recognises Władysław at the Umschlagplatz and separates him from his family. He becomes a slave labourer and learns of a coming Jewish revolt. He helps the resistance by smuggling weapons into the ghetto, on one occasion narrowly avoiding a suspicious guard. Szpilman eventually manages to escape and goes into hiding with help from a non-Jewish friend, Andrzej Bogucki, and his wife Janina.In April 1943, Szpilman watches from his window as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which he aided, unfolds and then ultimately fails. After a neighbor discovers Szpilman in the flat, he is forced to flee to a second hiding place. The new room has a piano in it but he is compelled to keep quiet while beginning to suffer from jaundice. In August 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising, the Polish resistance attacks a German building across the street from Szpilman’s hideout. Tank shells hit the apartment forcing him to flee. Over the course of the following months, Warsaw is destroyed and abandoned. Szpilman is left alone to search desperately for shelter and supplies among the ruins. He eventually makes his way to an abandoned house where he finds a can of pickles. While trying to open it he is discovered by Wehrmacht officer Wilm Hosenfeld who learns that Szpilman is a pianist. He asks Szpilman to play on a grand piano in the house. The decrepit Szpilman manages to play Chopin’s Ballade in G minor. Hosenfeld lets Szpilman hide in the attic of the empty house. From here, he was regularly supplied with food by the German officer.In January 1945, the Germans are retreating from the advance of the Red Army. Hosenfeld meets Szpilman for the final time promising he will listen to him on Polish Radio after the war. He gives Szpilman his German Army greatcoat to keep warm and leaves. However, this has almost fatal consequences for Szpilman because he is mistakenly thought to be a German and is shot at by Polish troops liberating Warsaw. In Spring 1945, former inmates of a Nazi concentration camp pass a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp holding captured German soldiers and verbally abuse them. Hosenfeld, who is among those captured, overhears a released inmate lament over his former career as a violinist. He asks the violinist if he knows Szpilman, which he confirms. Hosenfeld wishes for Szpilman to return the favor and help release him. Sometime later, the violinist is able to bring Szpilman back to the site but they find it has been long abandoned.Later, Szpilman works for Polish Radio and performs Chopin’s Grand Polonaise brillante to a large and prestigious audience. An epilogue states that Szpilman died at the age of 88 in the year 2000 while Hosenfeld died in Soviet captivity in 1952.While being very hard to watch sometimes, this is a movie that “Schindler’s List” was supposed to be. This movie doesn’t judge anybody, or tries to explain anything – it shows historical events as a reflection of one man’s fate, making a powerful testimony that stays with you long after the beautiful last shot and the end credits are over.

REVIEW: DRAGON BLADE

CAST

Jackie Chan (Rush Hour)
John Cusack (Identity)
Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland)
Lin Peng (1911)
Choi Si-won (Helios)

In northwest China, 48 BC, a security company under Han China’s current government called The Silk Road Protection Squad is committed towards stopping battles and promoting the idea of peace. Huo An (Chan), the captain, successfully averts a battle between the Indians and Huns. The group returns to their unnamed home city, where Huo An’s gentle Uyghur wife Xiuqing (Mika Wang) serves as a schoolteacher for orphans. However, the government uncovers evidence that someone in the group is corrupt, causing the entire group to be sentenced to construction work at Wild Geese Gate, a ruined fortress. Once they arrive, the group pays respects at the shrine of a fallen Chinese general. They originally were child-slaves of Hun descent, but the general had later rescued them.
Not long after, Wild Geese Gate is threatened by a legion from the Roman Empire in need of water and supplies, among which is a blind boy named Publius (Jozef Waite). After a stale-mated duel between Huo An and Lucius (Cusack), the Roman general, the latter agrees not to assault the city in return for being let inside. The legion uses its superior engineering skills to speed up the construction work, an act which boosts the morale and happiness of the inhabitants, who are divided among several different races, such as Chinese, Uighur, and Turkic. Huo An returns the favor by sending men to assist Lucius’s envoys in reaching the Parthian Empire. A celebration is later held and Huo An is made an honorary centurion.
Lucius reveals that he and Publius are fleeing from Publius’s brother Tiberius (Brody), a corrupt soldier who murdered their consul father and blinded Publius so Tiberius could become consul. As Tiberius approaches with 100,000 soldiers, Huo An insists on helping Lucius, pointing out that Tiberius is a threat to the Silk Road in its entirety. Shortly after Huo An leaves to find reinforcements, the corrupt group member from earlier sends Chinese soldiers to murder Huo An’s wife and attack Wild Geese Gate. The legion is imprisoned in the non-Chinese trading city of Kroran, where Tiberius has chosen to camp. Tiberius proceeds to murder Publius.
Huo An and the few loyal Chinese soldiers travel to Kroran, pretending to surrender, but once they are inside, they destroy the Roman legion’s cages. However, they are unable to free Lucius, who is about to be burned to death in a special solitary cell. Huo An fires an arrow and kills Lucius before the fire gets him. As Huo An’s and Lucius’s soldiers are surrounded, the armies of several other races arrive and fight against Tiberius, including the Indians, Huns, Uighurs, and Turkics, all of whom are determined to preserve the Silk Road’s safety. However, even their combined forces are unable to gain the upper hand. Finally, the envoys from earlier return with a massive host of Parthians, who had signed a special treaty with Publius’s father and who intend to avenge his memory. Tiberius’s soldiers lose their will to fight. Huo An challenges Tiberius to a duel and kills him.
Upon hearing about the bravery of Lucius’s legion, the Chinese emperor grants them the right to establish their own city, which they choose to name Regum. They accept Huo An as their commander, and Huo An, in turn, honors the deceased Chinese general by relocating the shrine to that city. As the centuries go on, the city fades from collective memory. However, in the modern day, a team of Asian American archaeologists stumble upon the site and uncover the dual Chinese and Latin inscriptions.Overall this is a great watch for all Jackie Chan fanatics and for everyone who loves action films and historical epics with great action sequences. The good thing is, I was not bored and the pacing keeps me into it. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with it, and a must watch guilty pleasure.

REVIEW: HOLLYWOODLAND

CAST

Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)
Adrien Brody (Predators)
Diane Lane (Man of Steel)
Bob Hoskins (Hook)
Robin Tunney (The Craft)
Kathleen Robertson (Bates Motel)
Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Brad William Henke (Lost)

south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370In June 1959, Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), a Los Angeles private investigator more interested in generating an income than in devotion to his clients, is spying on the wife of a man named Chester Sinclair to find if she is cheating. On a visit to his own ex-wife Laurie, Simo learns that his son is upset over the recent death of actor George Reeves, who played Superman on television. Reeves was found dead inside his Beverly Hills home with a gunshot wound to the head, which police ruled a suicide.south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370Simo learns from a former police colleague that the Reeves suicide has aspects that the cops don’t want to touch. Sensing the potential for making a name for himself, Simo begins investigating and notes several apparent conflicts with the official version of Reeves’s death. He also bickers with Laurie over his failures as a father, particularly now when his son seems so troubled.ben-affleck-hollywoodland

Years previously, in 1951, Reeves (Ben Affleck) is a charming man whose acting career has stalled since appearing in Gone with the Wind. He catches the eye of a beautiful woman and they end the night in each other’s arms. In the morning, a newspaper photo reveals to Reeves that the woman is Toni Mannix, the wife of Eddie Mannix, the general manager of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Frightened that an affair with a studio boss’s wife will destroy what is left of his career, Reeves is angry that Toni did not tell him. She claims to have an open relationship with Mannix and tells him not to worry. The much wealthier Toni begins to buy Reeves expensive gifts such as a house, a car and jewellery. Reeves lands the starring role in the television series Adventures of Superman, based on the comic book hero. The role makes Reeves famous and gives him a steady income, but he longs for more “serious” work and is uncomfortable with the public’s stereotype of him as Superman, resulting in snickers when he is seen on screen in the war film From Here to Eternity.south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370As the years pass, Reeves becomes bitter at being a kept man and at Toni for not using her clout to help his career. He barbeques his Superman costume to “celebrate” the program’s cancellation in 1958. He also meets a young woman in New York City, actress Leonore Lemmon, and leaves Toni for her. Toni is broken hearted and furious and seethes at her “mistreatment” by Reeves. Simo initially suspects that Leonore might have accidentally shot Reeves during an argument and imagines how the scenario might have played out. Simo is beaten at his home by thugs, apparently working for Mannix, who are trying to scare him off the case. This and other evidence leads Simo to suspect that Mannix was the one who had Reeves murdered. Simo has a vision of how that killing would have occurred.

south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370

Sinclair murders his wife, having grown impatient waiting for Simo’s report. A guilt-plagued Simo gets drunk, then visits his son’s school, where his inebriation scares the boy. Simo visits Reeves’ manager, Arthur Weissman, who has a home movie that Reeves shot to promote some wrestling work. Reeves’ sadness and disappointment with his life is on display in the footage. Simo’s final imagined variation on Reeves’ death concludes with the actor shooting himself. This is the most vivid of the three scenarios, and Simo imagines himself in the upstairs bedroom watching the suicide. Each of the scenes imagined by Simo begins with Reeves playing guitar and singing “Aquellos Ojos Verdes (Green Eyes)” in Spanish for his house guests. After each of the three imagined renditions, Reeves says goodnight to his guests, then retires to his bedroom upstairs, just before the gunshot. Reeves’ quest for success and Simo’s realization of parallels to his own existence cause the detective to re-evaluate his life. Simo watches another home movie, this one of himself and Laurie and their son in happier days. He goes to Laurie’s house wearing a suit and tie, greeting his son hopefully.ben-affleck-hollywoodland

Hollywoodland intercuts a biopic of the last eight years in the life of actor George Reeves. It also  flawlessly evokes the 1950’s visually and tells a compelling neo-noir tale about ambition, greed, sex and the lure of stardom. A Must see.

 

REVIEW: KING KONG (2005)

CAST
Naomi Watts (Birdman)
Jack Black (Gulliver’s Travels)
Adrian Brody (Hollywoodland)
Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted)
Colin Hanks (Roswell)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Evan Parke (Alias)
Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four)
John Sumner (Power Rangers RPM)
Craig Hall (30 Days of Night)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Tom Hobbs (Winners & Losers)
Jed Brophy (Brain Dead)
William Wallace (Step Dave)
Stig Eldred (Power Rangers SPD)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
In 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, New York City vaudeville actress Ann Darrow has lost her job and is hired by financially troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to star in his new film. Ann signs on when she learns her favorite playwright, Jack Driscoll, is the screenwriter. As their tramp steamer, the SS Venture, makes the lengthy journey to the remote and mysterious Skull Island, Ann and Jack fall in love. Captain Englehorn begins having second thoughts about the voyage, prompted by crew speculation of trouble ahead.
Deep in the southern waters, the Venture receives a radio message informing Englehorn that there is a warrant out for Carl’s arrest due to his defiance of the studio’s orders to cease production. The message instructs Englehorn to divert to Rangoon, but despite his attempt to comply, the ship becomes lost in fog and runs aground on the rocky shore of Skull Island. Carl and his crew explore the island to film and are attacked by vicious natives. Mike, the sound technician and one of the sailors are killed. Ann screams as she is captured, and a loud roar is heard beyond the wall. The matriarch of the tribe vows to sacrifice her to “Kong”, a 25 ft (8 m) tall gorilla. Englehorn kills one of the natives and his crew break up the attack and return to the ship. They lighten their load to float off the rocks and carry out repairs, but Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped by natives. On the island, Ann is offered as a sacrifice to Kong by the natives. The crew returns armed, but is too late as Kong takes Ann and flees into the jungle. Ann gradually wins Kong over with juggling and dancing, and eventually begins to grasp Kong’s intelligence and capacity for emotion.
Englehorn organizes a rescue party led by First Mate Hayes and includes Jack Driscoll, Carl Denham, Jimmy, Bruce Baxter, Preston, Lumpy, Herb, Choy, and several sailors. The party barely gets outside of the walls before they run into a Ferructus that Hayes kills with his machine gun. The rescue party is then caught in the middle of a pack of Venatosaurus saevidicus hunting a herd of Brontosaurus baxteri, and Herb is killed along with four sailors. The rest of the rescue party come across a swamp where actor Bruce Baxter and two others leave the group. The rescue party makes their way across a giant fallen log, when Kong attacks the rescue party. Hayes, Choy and several other crewmen are killed after being thrown off the log by Kong to the bottom of the cliff, and the rest of the crew is shaken off the log into a ravine; Carl’s camera is destroyed as well. Kong returns to Ann and rescues her from three Vastatosaurus rex, killing them. Kong then takes her to his lair in the mountains. The remaining crew wakes up to find themselves in a pit full of giant insects where Lumpy and two others are killed. Englehorn, Baxter and the rest of the crew returns, and save the last four members of the rescue party (Jack, Carl, Jimmy, and Preston) from the pit. As Jack continues to search for Ann, Carl decides to capture Kong. Jack goes to Kong’s lair, inadvertently waking him. As Kong fights a swarm of flying Terapusmordax, bat-like rodents, Ann and Jack escape. They arrive at the wall with the angry Kong following them, and Ann becomes distraught by what Carl plans to do. Kong bursts through the gate and attempts to get her back, killing several sailors in the process, but is subdued when Carl knocks him out with chloroform.
Back in New York, Carl presents “Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World” on Broadway, starring Baxter and an imprisoned Kong. Ann is played by an anonymous chorus girl, and Kong becomes enraged after realizing that the girl on stage is not Ann. After breaking free from his chrome-steel chains, he wrecks the theater. Kong wreaks havoc around the city and chases Jack in a taxi across town. He knocks him out by stopping his taxi and flipping it, then encounters Ann again. Kong and Ann share a moment on a frozen pond in Central Park until the army attacks. Kong climbs with Ann onto the top of the Empire State Building, where he fights off six F8C-5 Helldiver Navy planes, downing three. Kong is mortally wounded by the gunfire and gazes at Ann for the last time before falling from the building to his death. As Ann is reunited with Jack, civilians, photographers, police and soldiers gather around Kong’s corpse. Carl takes one last glimpse at him and says, “It wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”
Naomi Watts is fantastic in the Fay Wray role, as is Adrien Brody as her love interest. The beast itself and cinematography are simply astonishing (and any reservations about Black are swiftly pushed aside once the real star of the show emerges). It’s a film that manages to both capture the (romantic) essence of adventure movies from that era and succeed as a modern action adventure.

REVIEW: PREDATORS

CAST
Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3)
Alice Braga (I Am Legend)
Walton Goggins (Django Unchained)
Oleg Taktarov (National Treasure)
Danny Trejo (Eyeborgs)
Mahershala Ali (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay)
Royce (Adrien Brody) awakens to find himself parachuting into an unfamiliar jungle. He meets several others who arrived in the same manner: Mexican drug cartel enforcer Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), Spetsnaz soldier Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), Israel Defense Forces sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga), Revolutionary United Front officer Mombasa (Mahershala Ali), death row inmate Stans (Walton Goggins), Yakuza enforcer Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), and a general practice doctor Edwin (Topher Grace).
Upon landing, they discover that all are armed and lethal killers, with the apparent exception of Edwin, though none know where they are or how they got there. The group follows Royce, who Isabelle suspects is a former black operations soldier turned mercenary. In the jungle they find empty cages, plants with a neurotoxic poison that Edwin collects on a scalpel, and a deceased US Special Forces soldier. Arriving at higher ground, they find themselves staring at an alien sky and realize that they are not on Earth.
The party is attacked by a pack of quadruped alien beasts, and Cuchillo is killed. His body is then used as bait to lure the survivors into a trap, but they avoid it. Royce guesses they are on a planet used as a game preserve, where humans are hunted as game. The group follows the quadrupeds’ tracks to a camp and find a captive Predator. The “hunters”, three larger Predators attack the group. Mombasa is killed and the rest of the group escapes. Isabelle reveals that she has heard of the Predators before, from a report by the only survivor (Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer) a Special Forces team who encountered one in Guatemala in 1987.
The group next meets Noland (Laurence Fishburne), a lone soldier who has survived on the planet for “10 seasons” by hiding and scavenging from the Predators and their victims. At his hideout, he explains that the Predators sharpen their killing skills by collecting warriors and dangerous beasts from other worlds and bringing them to the planet to hunt. Noland also reveals that there is a blood feud between the larger Predators and the smaller ones. Royce hopes that if the group can free the smaller Predator being held prisoner in the encampment, it may take them home using the other Predators’ spaceship. When the group fall asleep, Noland traps them in a room and attempts to use smoke to suffocate them. Having gone mad, he plans to kill them for food. Royce uses an explosive to break out of the room, attracting the Predators to the hideout. Noland tries to escape, but a Predator kills him. In the ensuing chase, Nikolai uses a claymore mine to kill a Predator, sacrificing himself. Stans savagely attacks another Predator with his shiv, buying time for the others to escape, and is killed. Hanzo duels the third Predator with a katana, killing it at the cost of his own life.
As Royce, Isabelle and Edwin head for the Predators’ camp, Edwin is injured by a trap. When Isabelle refuses to abandon him, Royce leaves them both behind and they are caught by the remaining hunter. Royce frees the smaller Predator and heads for the ship as the two Predators confront each other. The larger Predator kills the smaller one and destroys the ship as it takes off. Meanwhile, Edwin paralyzes Isabelle with the neurotoxic poison on his scalpel and reveals that on Earth he was a murderer, and feels that he fits in on this planet among the monsters. Royce appears, never having boarded the ship, and stabs Edwin with his own scalpel, paralyzing him.
Royce booby-traps Edwin with grenades, using him as bait to injure the Predator. While Isabelle covers him with her sniper rifle, he proceeds to fight the Predator with an axe and eventually decapitates it. As Royce and Isabelle rest, they see parachutes opening at a distance. Royce, surmising that more Predators will soon arrive to hunt the new prey, tells Isabelle they must find another way to get off the planet, and they make their way towards the new hunting ground.
This film does exactly what you would want from a predator film. It takes a little while to get going but once it does it goes at a very entertaining pace. It’s a 15 rating so its not as blood thirsty as the first 2 predator films but there is plenty of action and enough blood to keep everyone happy.