Kong: Skull Island Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts Screenwriter: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly Distributor: Warner Bros. Rated PG | 118 Minutes Release Date: March 10, 2017
“Hold onto your butts,” United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) proclaims as he and his squad act as a military escort for an expedition team that charts a newly discovered island. You may have heard that line before in Jurassic Park, but the anxiousness that swells over before the outcome is the same nonetheless. In fact, that’s the kind of feeling you get when watching Kong: Skull Island. The unconventional story of the King of the Monsters doesn’t rehash the story that has been retold countless times; instead, it focuses solely on the island itself and the monsters that inhabit it. Check out the full review below.
The Great Wall Director: Zhang Yimou Screenwriter: Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy Cast: Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau Distributor: Universal Pictures Rated PG-13 | 104 Minutes Release Date: February 17, 2017
One would expect something like The Great Wall to live up to its title. History tells us that The Great Wall of China was constructed with the purpose of defense, border control, and trade regulation. In Zhang Yimou‘s film, we learn that it had another purpose: to protect the nation of China from the Tao Tei, giant green scaly beasts that have ravaged the country for ages. This would not be the first time that a film has depicted history and mix it with myth and monsters.
Of course, one of the biggest concerns surrounding The Great Wall is the blatant whitewashing that has been a part of the marketing campaign since the very beginning. Matt Damon has been the face of this film. Despite the film’s majority Chinese cast, Chinese director, and Chinese financiers, the film still believed it needed to have a big name in order to be a big seller.
But putting all of that aside, there is some entertainment value in the film. Just don’t expect much of it. Check out my full review below.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega has shared the first image of his character in Pacific Rim 2, which is officially titledPacific Rim: Uprising. Boyega plays a character named Jake Pentecost, the son of the original movie’s Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba.
The movie is the follow-up to Guillermo del Toro‘s 2013 giant robots vs. giant monsters movie. This time around it’s Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil, Spartacus: Blood and Sand) directing, with del Toro remaining involved as a producer.
After the New York Comic-Con panel for The Great Wall energized the crowd at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, I had the chance to attend a private press event featuring stars Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Jing Tian, Wang Yunkai, and director Zhang Yimou.
Damon and Pascal had trouble hiding their total fanboy feelings towards their director, a man whom they both greatly admired for years for his filmography, including Raise the Red Lantern, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers. They routinely cited “pinch-me moments” on set. The first question went to the director about the process of making the film. He replied that it was developed over seven years and that he tried to add something unique to each shot, whether color or a specific action sequence.
It was a packed house on Saturday afternoon at The Theater at Madison Square Garden for New York Comic-Con, for Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ The Great Wall panel and Q&A. From the director of some of the most beautiful kung fu epics eves, Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers/Hero), comes the largest production in the history of China, which makes sense since it’s called, The Great Wall. The film is a historical fantasy based on Chinese folklore about the monsters the Great Wall of China was built to keep out and the army dedicated to killing them. It features an all-star international cast including Oscar winner Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), Jing Tian, Wang Junkai, Willem Dafoe, and Andy Lau.
Director Zhang Yimou, and cast members Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, and Junkai Wang were on hand for the NYCC panel, moderated by Dave Karger.