Godzilla: King of the Monsters

GodzillaKOTM

Directed By: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B

When his ex-wife and daughter are kidnapped while researching a way to control the Titans studied by the group Monarch, Dr. Mark Russell agrees to rejoin the group in order to spearhead the search for them. Soon learning that his ex-wife and daughter, Emma and Maddie, went willingly, and are plotting to wake all of the Titans from their hibernation, he begins to search for a way to help Monarch stop Emma and the mercenary she’s joined forces with from activation all of the Titans around the globe. However, when Ghidorah, one of the Titans awakened, accelerates the plan to release the others, Monarch must call upon Godzilla to defeat him and rein in the other Titans that have been unleashed.

The third movie in Warner Bros. renewed MonsterVerse, King of the Monsters brings one of Godzilla’s more well-known foes, Ghidorah, to the screen. While the plot itself is somewhat uninspired, it does get some points for attempting originality. If they had really wanted something original, they could have had the monsters mysteriously waking on their own, instead of the somewhat tired “mankind is the real monster” plot that was present in Kong: Skull Island, and nearly every other monster movie in existence. That said, it’s still a fun movie to watch, and the actors all work well together. Charles Dance does surprisingly well as a slightly menacing, apathetic bad guy.

The special effects are excellent in quality, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

Anyone who enjoyed 2014’s Godzilla or Kong: Skull Island should enjoy this installment as well. Those looking for action-packed monster movie so they can turn their brain off for a couple hours should like it, too. The plot is simple enough to follow that it doesn’t require express attention, and it’s interesting enough that it shouldn’t become too boring on rewatch.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is currently only available free to stream if you have HBO, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line/digital retailer.

 

I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Timeless: Complete Series

Timeless

Starring: Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey, Claudia Doumit, Goran Višnjić, Annie Wersching, Susanna Thompson, et.al.
Rating: TV-14
Network: NBC
Grade: A

Late one night, a private think tank is infiltrated, and one of the scientists working there is kidnapped, along with the project they were working on. College history professor Lucy Preston is brought to the site of the think tank, where she meets soldier Wyatt Logan, and scientist Rufus Carlin. After being told that a time machine was stolen by a man named Garcia Flynn, Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus are tasked with following Flynn throughout history and attempt to stop him from altering history. When they learn of a secret organization known as Rittenhouse, they eventually team up with Flynn in an attempt to preserve history, and keep the world from being taken over by those at the head of the organization.

A short-lived, yet utterly enjoyable series, Timeless is likely to down as one of those shows that was ahead of its time, and canceled far too soon. With an interesting premise, and an almost unlimited number of historical events and dates to travel to, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened with the show if it hadn’t been cut short, although I do know that two seasons isn’t something to sneeze at when it comes to television series in this day and age. The actors all have good chemistry, and I enjoyed the way they humanized their first season villain and kept him on the show after his main purpose was fulfilled. It was also nice that the network allowed for two more episodes, presented as a TV-movie, to wrap the series up and give a small bit of closure.

The special effects seem to be fairly well done for a network series, and the background filler isn’t noticeable for the most part.

Despite the premise, this show is more of an action/drama that just happens to involve time travel. Anyone who doesn’t mind their action/dramas with a sprinkling of science fiction will likely enjoy this series. It’s easy to watch, and doesn’t require tons of attention for the most part, and the subject matter is light enough to make bingeing easy without the need to take time off every so many episodes. Though I will say again that two seasons doesn’t seem like enough.

Timeless is currently available to stream on Hulu and the NBC app, and can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Kin

Kin

Directed By: Jonathan Baker, Josh Baker
Starring: Miles Truitt, Jack Reynor, Dennis Quaid, Zoë Kravitz, James Franco, Carrie Coon, Ian Matthews, Gavin Fox, Lily Gao, Michael B. Jordan, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B

Desperate to help his dad make some extra money, 14-year-old Eli Solinski sneaks onto the site of an abandoned building hoping to find something he can salvage. When he gets there, he finds dead bodies and strange weapon. Startled when someone dressed like one of the bodies approaches him, Eli steals the gun and heads home to find his adoptive brother, Jimmy, has been released from prison early. After Jimmy discovers that he owes a gangster $60,000 for protection while he was in jail, he attempts to ask his father, Hal, for the money. When Hal refuses and kicks him out, Jimmy decides to take the money from the safe at his father’s construction business, but they are soon discovered, and gunfight ensues, killing Hal and the gangster’s brother. Scared, Jimmy takes Eli on the run across the country, where they’re pursued by gangster, as well as the mysterious figures from the warehouse, who are looking for the gun Eli stole.

Despite the muddled, slightly confused storytelling, this movie isn’t actually half bad. At times, it almost feels like an origin story for a dystopian YA novel, while at others, it’s simply a cross-country caper with a sprinkling of science fiction spread throughout. While it’s unlikely to ever garner a sequel, this movie feels incomplete, like it cut off right as the real story was emerging. I’m actually insanely curious as to what the rest of the story is; however, that could just be my inner nerd rearing its ugly head. The acting isn’t fantastic, but it’s not terrible either. James Franco chews on scenery most of the time he’s on screen, and Zoë Kravitz’s character seems to have been shoehorned in to appeal to teen boys, since she serves no real purpose until the very end.

The special effects look pretty good, and the background filler isn’t really noticeable.

Anyone who doesn’t mind a little sci-fi mixed into their action/thrillers (or vice-versa) should enjoy this movie. As stated before, it’s not actually that bad, when viewed as part of the larger picture it seems the writer/directors were trying to paint. Though, at times, the sci-fi angle seems like a bit of an afterthought. Perhaps it would have been better-received if they’d simply chosen a genre and ran with it, instead of throwing the two into a blender and making the most of what came out.

Kin is currently only available free to stream if you have HBO, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Prospect

Prospect

Directed By: Christopher Caldwell, Zeek Earl
Starring: Sophie Thatcher, Jay Duplass, Pedro Pascal, Luke Pitzrik, Arthur Deranleau, Andre Royo, Alex McCauley, Doug Dawson, Krista Johnson, et.al.
Rating: R
Grade: A-

Teenage Cee and her father, Damon, have a contract to harvest a large deposit of a rare gem from a toxic alien planet. When their landing craft is thrown off-course, they must hike to the location of the deposit. As they make their way through the forest, they encounter a pair of bandits looking for the same gem on the planet. After her father is killed in the confrontation with the bandits, Cee makes a tenuous pact with the remaining bandit, a man named Ezra, who offers Cee a potential way off the planet in exchange for a portion of the haul. Together, Cee and Ezra make their way across the forest, fighting the various dangers and obstacles they come across as they trek to the location of the gem deposit.

This movie is among the rare, slow-burning sci-fi movies that manage not to be a complete bore. The storyline itself is rather simple, and is one seen in plenty of Westerns made over the years, it just so happens that the movie takes place on an alien planet instead of the western United States. The atmosphere itself is slightly eerie, and definitely feels like an alien planet. Sophie Thatcher does an excellent job as Cee, and makes the character seem like she’s desperate to hold onto as much of her youth as she can while being forced to grow up. She and Pedro Pascal work well together, and have a decent chemistry that doesn’t come off as skeevy.

There don’t seem to be too many special effects, but the ones present are well done, and any background filler isn’t noticeable.

Fans of sci-fi should enjoy this movie, as should fans of dramatic thrillers who don’t mind a small dose of science fiction mixed in. While you might want to pay a little closer attention the first time you watch, this movie is good enough to warrant repeated viewings, and shouldn’t annoy anyone watching it more than once.

Prospect is currently available free to stream through Hulu, and it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Beyond Skyline

BeyondSkyline

Directed By: Liam O’Donnell
Starring: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Jonny Weston, Callan Mulvaney, Antonio Fargas, Pamelyn Chee, Yayan Ruhian, Jacob Vargas, Iko Uwais, et.al.
Rating: R
Grade: B-

After bailing his son out of jail, police officer Mark Corley must lead a group of people to safety after an alien invasion begins. After Mark, his son Trent, subway conductor Audrey, and blind, homeless veteran Sarge are captured by the aliens, Mark looks for a way to free his new friends and finds a young pregnant woman named Elaine, who tells him that one of the soldiers has the mind of her boyfriend, Jarrod, and that he is different than the other soldiers. When she dies after Mark helps her give birth to her daughter, he takes the child and he and Jarrod find a way to bring down the alien ship. After the crash, Mark and his friends take the child off the ship and find out that they crashed in Indonesia, where they attempt to find a way to fight back against the alien invaders who have come looking for Elaine’s child.

A sequel to the 2010 movie Skyline, this movie is as surprisingly enjoyable as that one was. In fact, knowing this movie exists might make the original slightly more enjoyable, as that one had a strange ending that, at the time, I felt was odd and slightly out of tune with the rest of an otherwise decent movie. This sequel doesn’t suffer from the same off-step ending its predecessor did. The storyline as whole was slightly more interesting, and is a decent sci-fi/alien invasion movie. The actors all work well together and the locations in Indonesia are beautiful.

The special effects are fairly well done, especially given the smaller budget, and any background filler isn’t noticeable.

Anyone who enjoyed the original, or is just looking for a decent alien invasion movie should enjoy this. The movie is good enough that it shouldn’t start to grate after only one or two views, and it’s easy enough to follow that you don’t need to devote all of your attention to it while it’s on.

Beyond Skyline is currently available free to stream through Netflix, and it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Roswell, NM

RoswellNM

Starring: Jeanie Mason, Nathan Parsons, Michael Vlamis, Lily Cowles, Tyler Blackburn, Heather Hemmens, Michael Trevino, Trevor St. John, Karan Oberoi, et.al.
Rating: TV-14
Network: CW
Grade: B

After the research lab she works at is shut down, Liz Ortecha moves back home to Roswell, New Mexico and takes up her old job as a waitress at her father’s restaurant. There she learns that her high school crush, Max Evans, is still in town and working for the local sheriff’s department. When Liz is shot one night after work, Max appears and mysteriously heals her, and he later confides in her that he, his sister Isobel, and his best friend Michael Guerin are all aliens that crash landed in Roswell in the 40s. As strange things start happening in town with several people, including Isobel losing time, Liz helps her alien friends investigate the possibility of a fourth alien residing in town, and what this person might want from Max, Isobel, and Michael.

A reboot of the 90s series, which itself was an adaptation of a popular book series, this show is another of the CW’s surprisingly not awful new takes on a classic (of sorts) series. This version of the series seems to add in characters and bits of storyline from the book series (from what I could glean off of the free sample of the first book I was able to find). This version drops the overly saccharine, dewy-eyed school girl heroine for one that seems to be able to hold her own, and the high school drama is replaced with actual issues and real stakes. The actors all seem to have decent chemistry and all work well together.

The special effects all seem to be well done from what I can tell, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

This show should appeal to older teens and young adults (like most CW shows nowadays). Fans of the original series (like myself) may be hesitant to watch, though they shouldn’t be. It’s very well done and actually a bit more interesting than the original (or perhaps that just me looking back with a slightly matured perspective). Anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of sci-fi added to their romance should like it as well.

Roswell, NM is currently available to stream through Netflix or one of the CW apps (CW or CW Seed), with no word as to whether or not they plan to make it available on DVD.

Hellboy (2019)

Hellboy2019

Directed By: Neil Marshall
Starring: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Stephen Graham, Sophie Okonedo, Thomas Haden Church, et.al.
Rating: R
Grade: B

Brought to Earth during a Nazi occult ritual during World War II, Hellboy was taken in and raised by Trevor “Broom” Bruttenhold, who, along with several of the others who were present at his summoning, formed the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, or DPRD. Decades later, a creature named Grugach makes a deal with Baba Yaga to raise sorceress named Nimue who had been defeated by Arthur and Merlin so that they can seek revenge on Hellboy for the slights they believe he has dealt them over the course of his time on Earth. Teaming up with Major Ben Daimio, a member of M11 and shapeshifter, and Alice Monaghan, a civilian and powerful medium, Hellboy hunts down Nimue to prevent her from destroying the Earth, as she had attempted in the past.

This reboot of the 2004 movie is a serviceable attempt at cashing in on making R-rated comic book movies. Aside from Hellboy, Broom, and a brief appearance by Rasputin, no other characters from the first two movies appear, though one is introduced in the last few minutes. The story itself is interesting, though it seems ill-suited to the time constraints of a two hour movie. Many of the characters and fictional organizations have their backstory glossed over, despite the actually decent running time, and the story itself lags in parts and is rushed in others. Harbour does a good job of taking over the Hellboy mantle from Ron Perlman, who played the character in the two previous theatrical releases, as well as a handful of animated movies. The actors all work well together, and McShane does a good job of acting like a paternal figure.

The special effects are for the most part decent, but some of the animation, particularly of blood and other liquids, are a little off. The background filler isn’t noticeable.

Hardcore fans of the Hellboy comics will likely enjoy this movie, as well as people looking for an atypical supernatural action movie. The movie itself manages to keep from being too comic book-y. It would probably be worth the money to rent, though depending on how you feel about violence and language, parents may want to view it before letting small children watch.

Hellboy (2019) is currently not available free to stream anywhere at the moment, but can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.

The Martian

Martian

Directed By: Ridley Scott
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B+

After a storm forces an evacuation of a Mars-based research station, Mark Watney, who was believed to have been killed in the storm, wakes up to realized that he has been stranded on the barren planet. Realizing he needs to survive, he relies on his skills as a botanist to grow food, and also attempts to signal Earth that he is still alive. After several months of believing him to be dead, a low-level engineer manages to discover that base-camp for the research crew has been disturbed in a way that storms wouldn’t be able to, and soon finds proof that Watney survived the storm. After alerting Watney that they know he is alive, he and NASA scientists, come up with a crude means of communication. As time passes, Watney and NASA try to figure out a way to get him off the planet using a shuttle meant to supply an upcoming mission.

A different take on a sci-fi/survival story, The Martian is an interesting what-if story that has the potential to actually happen at some point in the future. From what I can tell, the science is fairly accurate, though I can’t say for certain. Matt Damon does well with his scenes, especially considering he spends most of the movie talking to himself while doing video journal entries. The other actors all work well together, and it was interesting to see some comedy-based actors take on more dramatic roles.

The special effects are all well done, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

This is an interesting movie that should appeal to most people. The drama isn’t too heavy-handed, and there’s enough comedy and action sequences interspersed throughout to hold the attention of people who don’t generally enjoy science fiction, even if it is on the lighter side of the sci-fi spectrum. It may be a little too dense to watch repeatedly, but I think an occasional viewing wouldn’t drive anyone too nuts.

The Martian is not currently available free to stream anywhere, but can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.

Assassin’s Creed

AssassinsCreed

Directed By: Justin Kurzel
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendon Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Kenneth Williams, Dennis Ménochet, Ariane Labed, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B-

As a child, Cal Lynch watched his father murder his mother only moments before their home is invaded by unknown assailants. In the years that followed, Cal himself turned to a life of crime, eventually being executed for killing several people. When he wakes up after his execution, Cal is told by Dr. Sophia Rikkin that he is legally dead, she and her fellow scientists have brought him to their facility for an experiment. Cal eventually learns that he the last in a line of ‘Assassins’, and ancient order that has vowed to protect the Apple of Eden, and that Sophia and the other Abstergo people are descended from the Knights Templar, who have been searching for the Apple for centuries.

I’m going to start by saying I never played the video games this movie is adapted from, though I was vaguely aware of them. From my outsider’s perspective, the movie isn’t that bad. I’m sure there were some nods to the game that went over my head, but since I didn’t know to be looking for them, I can’t say whether they added to of detracted from the experience. The actors all do well with the material, though I probably could have gone the rest of my life without hearing Fassbender’s attempt at a southern accent (it’s not terrible, it’s just generally off-putting when someone considers his natural Irish one). Marion Cotillard seems a bit out of place in the movie, considering the kinds of movies she usually appears in, though she does well with the material, and her chemistry with Fassbender is spot-on. The story itself is easy to follow (a little research tells me it’s very close to the story of the original video game), and doesn’t seem too far-fetched.

The special effects are all well done, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

While die-hard fans of the video game series may not enjoy this movie, anyone else who likes action and/or fantasy probably will. As stated before, the storyline is easy to follow, and while it may take a minute to get used to the way the flashbacks are handled, the movie itself is easily rewatchable and probably worth the couple of bucks it would cost to rent.

Assassin’s Creed is not currently available free to stream anywhere, but can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.

Good Omens

GoodOmens

Starring: Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Frances McDormand, Sam Taylor Buck, Adria Arjona, Jon Hamm, Jack Whitehall, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, et.al.
Rating: TV-MA
Network: Amazon
Grade: A

At the beginning of time, both God and Lucifer sent representatives to Earth to monitor humanity and report back on how things were progressing. Over the course of history, these representatives kept running across each other, and eventually developed a friendship. When Crowley, Hell’s representative, is told that the apocalypse is coming in the near future, he informs Aziraphale, Heaven’s representative, and together the two of them attempt to stop the end of days from occurring.

Adapted from the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens is a hilarious, and oftentimes absurd telling of just what might happen if an angel and a demon developed a friendship and became overly-fond of the place and people they were sent here to keep an eye on. The cast is top-notch, and they all seem to be having fun, especially Sheen and Tennant, who shine as Aziraphale and Crowley, respectively, and having Frances McDormand as the voice of God is absolutely delightful. The story itself, while not overly complex, is fun to watch, and, while it does have its basis in religion and the bible, that theme isn’t something that hammer in to the point of taking away from the ultimately humorous story.

The special effects are all very well done, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

The cast alone is enough to garner the interest of nearly anyone who might be curious about it, though the premise might be a bit much for the hard-core religious and people who typically don’t enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, but I will note that my mother, who usually doesn’t enjoy the ‘weird’ stuff I tend towards loved this series, so I would definitely recommend at least giving it a try. The story is handled well enough that it shouldn’t get boring or tiresome on repeat viewings.

Good Omens is currently only available to stream on Amazon Prime, with no word as to whether or not they plan to make it available on video.