Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard joins Ryan Doyle and Jay Michaels of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show to talk about Winston Churchill’s connection to the classic cocktail The Manhattan and the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
“There can’t be two alpha Titans,” says Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and yet, here we are with “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” a mighty monster showdown now in theatres and Premium Video on Demand.
The sequel to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and “Kong: Skull Island,” dispenses with a whole lotta plot rather quickly to make room for the main event, a cage match between the two Titans.
That’s not a spoiler; it’s an inevitability. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Before the crash-bang-boom of the movie’s climax, the story begins with Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) pitching an idea to Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), the big thinking, but possibly evil Elon Musk-esque CEO of Apex Cybernetix. Lind is convinced that solutions for the planet’s energy problems lie in the unexplored Hollow Earth, a subterranean world deep within Earth’s core. Long believed to be the natural home of King Kong, Lind proposes transporting the giant ape from Skull Island to act as a tour guide.
Meanwhile, there’s trouble in Pensacola, Florida. Godzilla has re-emerged with a grudge against Apex. As he lays waste to the company’s research facility a CNN headline screams, “Godzilla is no longer a saviour.”
Inside the plant nosy podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) works feverishly to expose Apex and their plans for world-domination. He’s aided by Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison), teen do-gooders who are convinced there is something twitchy causing Godzilla’s recent erratic behaviour. “There’s something provking him that we’re not seeing,” she says.
That’s a lotta plot and I haven’t even mentioned Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the youngster who teaches Kong sign language or the new creatures from Hollow Earth.
“Godzilla Vs. Kong” may be jam packed with up-to-the-minute references about podcasts and genetic memory, and hot button notions about big bad corporations and conspiracy theories, but make no mistake, at its giant heart, this is an old-fashioned creature feature.
Hall and Skarsgård et al. acquit themselves well enough to keep the action moving along, but this movie belongs to the big guys, Kong and Godzilla. The quaint days of actors in rubber suits playing movie Kaijū are gone, replaced by CGI beasts who battle on land, underwater and under the Earth’s crust. There’s nothing particularly organic about them, unlike Willis O’Brien’s original stop-motion Kong or Haruo Nakajima’s lumbering Godzilla, but “Godzilla Vs. Kong” manages to inject some personality into its leading men.
They are a classic big screen match-up. A furry Redford and Newman. A monstrous Bonnie & Clyde. Kong is the Woody to Godzilla’s Buzz Lightyear. The giant ape is introspective, soulful while Godzilla is decisive, quick to action. Together they are a fearsome yet kitschy kaiju duo who deliver the battle scenes that provide the payoff after the first reel’s exposition and plot dump.
It’s fun and franchise fans will get a kick out of the action but “Godzilla Vs. Kong” doesn’t have the social subtext of other films in the series. There is talk of the end of the world but metaphors on the devastating effects of nuclear weapons or the exploitation of nature for personal gain are buried underneath the rubble left behind by the final showdown between the titans.
For a movie about two heavyweight creatures “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” with its big battles and “Guardians of the Galaxy” style soundtrack—”The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies and the like decorate the score—feels surprisingly lightweight.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the great ape flick “Kong: Skull Island,” the Shirley MacLaine dramedy “The Last Word” and the animated “Window Horses.”
Only two things are sure about Skull Island. First, it is home to Megaprimatus kong a.k.a. King Kong and a menagerie of prehistoric creatures. Second, as Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) says in this weekend’s Kong: Skull Island, “We don’t belong here.”
The latest adventures of King Kong take place almost entirely on the island but what, exactly, do we know about the place?
Not much, because Skull Island is uncharted and changes from film to film.
In the new movie, a digital map image suggests the island derived its intimidating name from its gorilla skull profile shape but originally the isle wasn’t called Skull Island. The best-known versions of the Kong story, the original 1933 Merian C. Cooper film and the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis production, never mention Skull Island.
The first movie and its subsequent novelisation describe a “high wooded island with a skull-like knob” called Skull Mountain while the ‘76 film refers to Beach of the Skull. It wasn’t until 2004’s Kong: King of Skull Island illustrated novel that the name was first used. Since then the moniker has stuck.
The same can’t be said for its location.
Over the years it’s been pegged everywhere from the coast of Indonesia and southwest of Central America to the Bermuda Triangle and the Coral Sea off the east coast of Australia.
In reality many places have subbed in for the island. In 1933 several locations were pieced together to create Kong’s home.
Outdoor scenes were shot at Long Beach, California and the caves at Bronson Canyon near Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Everything else was filmed on a soundstage in Culver City using odds and ends from other sets. The giant Skull Mountain gate was later reused in Gone with the Wind’s burning of Atlanta sequence.
De Laurentiis spared no expense bringing the island to life in 1976, moving the entire crew to the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
The shoot began at the remote Honopu Beach, a place the crew were told was deserted. Arriving in four helicopters laden with equipment they were greeted by a honeymooning couple who, thinking they had the place to themselves, had slept nude on the beach.
The impressive stone arch seen in the film — “Beyond the arch, there is danger, there is Kong!” — was natural and so huge years later when an episode of Acapulco Heat was filmed there a helicopter flew underneath it.
Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong reboot used a combination of New Zealand’s picturesque Shelly Bay and Lyall Bay as Skull Island’s “jungle from hell.” In the film’s closing credits the director paid tongue-in-cheek tribute to all the stars of the 1933 movie, calling them, “The original explorers of Skull Island.”
This weekend’s installment was shot in Vietnam, Queensland, Australia and Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, where giant sets were built near where Jurassic World was filmed.
The scenery, as John Goodman’s character says, is “magnificent,” but there was also a practical reason to shoot in these exotic locations. The Hollywood Reporter stated the production shot in Australia to take advantage of a whopping 16.5% location offset incentive — i.e. tax break — offered by the Australian government.
Kong: Skull Island describes the isle as “a place where myth and science meet.”
On film though, it’s a spot where the imaginations of Kong fans run wild.