Godzilla WYSIWYG

I took my wife to go see Godzilla this past weekend and then went again with my daughter on Monday.

Godzilla

 

Godzilla (2014) – Rated PG-13

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

You’re not fooling anybody when you say that what happened was a “natural disaster,”. You’re lying! It was not an earthquake, it wasn’t a typhoon! Because what’s really happening is that you’re hiding something out there! And it is going to send us back to the Stone Age! God help us all…

Clearly an executive saw Gareth Edwards’ 2010 film, Monsters. He wanted that film, only he wanted Godzilla in it. Lo and behold, Godzilla 2014 was born. WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get. This Godzilla film is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a melding of Monsters with the Godzilla franchise.

Unfortunately that is not always a good thing. As with Monsters, the humans are the focus of the picture. While this is good from an audience sympathy perspective, it is terrible from a desire to see monsters smashing scenery point-of-view.

Instead of a normal three act structure, Godzilla consists of two parts. The first half deals with humans and no monsters at all are seen. Yes, opening credits aside, Godzilla neither appears nor is even discussed for almost the first half of the movie.

This is a shame because the trailer basically lies. It not only gives you the impression that there is plenty of monster violence but also that Bryan Cranston is the star. Bryan Cranston is easily the best actor in the film but his screen time is very limited. I think he is just an excuse to tide you over until monsters show up.

Unfortunately our lead actor is Aaron Taylor-Johnson. While I didn’t think he was bad in Kick Ass, he is absolutely terrible here. You know you have a problem when not one but two (not especially good) child actors are better than you. Ken Watanabe looks pained at every ridiculous line he has to utter.

The script is an utter mess, jumping through various logistical hoops to get Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) into every scene, from Japan to Hawaii to California. When his son is not with him to be placed in peril, another child is separated from his parents just so Ford can rescue him.

The second half features plenty of wonderful CGI and rock ’em, sock ’em monsters. This assumes you have managed to stay awake through the first part. Gareth Edwards has a lot of wonderful visuals. He also loves reflections in water, glass, mirrors, and visors. The monster action is seen up close (though not as close as Pacific Rim), in fog and smoke, via telecast, from overhead, etc.and is very inventive.

While the movie is a mess, has terrible acting, and is downright dull for the first half, I still really enjoyed the second half. Just concentrate on enjoying your snacks during the first half.

This ‘n’ That – Netflix, Godzilla, Penny Dreadful

Netflix

 

* Netflix put out a press release announcing the fee change of their streaming service from $7.99 to $8.99. I find this to be quite reasonable. Actually it is still remarkably cheap for what you get.

The remarkable part is that current subscribers are locked into the old rate for another TWO YEARS. Who does that?

* Netflix streaming is really pushing promos of the new season of Orange is the New Black (premieres next month). If you haven’t watched the first season, you should (unless you can’t stand profanity).

Godzilla

 

* I reported on this before but since the new Godzilla opens Thursday night, it bears repeating. Rialto Pictures has brought back the original Godzilla at a slew of big cities. Sadly nothing near Asheville but there are a lot of venues. Participating theaters can be found here.

Penny Dreadful

 

* Penny Dreadful recently premiered on Showtime. The pilot episode is available on Hulu. I love horror movies, particularly Victorian ones, so I couldn’t resist.

I also love Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series, after that it became ridiculously esoteric). The movie version is a travesty but remains a guilty pleasure for me. Fu Manchu and several extraneous characters are dropped and two new ones are added. Dorian Gray is an excellent addition to the movie and fits in perfectly thematically. The addition of an adult Tom Sawyer who is now a sharpshooter is a boneheaded move – especially since it turns out that Quatermain is the sharpshooter, Sawyer is just along to bring the guns.

I only mention this because the three main characters in Penny Dreadful are explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (our Allan Quatermain substitute played by Timothy Dalton), the mysterious Vanessa Ives (our Mina Harker substitute played by Eva Green), and, naturally, our American sharpshooter Ethan Chandler (played by Josh Hartnett). Not only that but Dorian Gray appears in the series.

Time will tell if this series proves worthwhile or just a League ripoff.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for May 2014

For obvious reasons May brings about the release of many older kaiju films. Less known is the return of many of the Bond films.

Gladiator

Action/Adventure: 6 Bullets, Backdraft, The Big Hit, Company of Heroes, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia With Love, Gladiator, Goldfinger, The Jewel of the Nile, Kill Bill vol 1 & 2, The Legend of Drunken Master, Live and Let Die, The Living Daylights, Mind Hunters, Never Say Never Again, Return of the Dragon, Romancing the Stone, A View to a Kill, You Only Live Twice

Classic: Anatomy of a Murder, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Paper Moon

Comedy: Adventures in Babysitting, All I Want, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Diggstown, The Great Divide, Knucklehead, Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip, School Daze, Sneakers, Steve Byrne: Champion, Top Secret!

Documentary: 1976: Hunt vs. Lauda, Best Kept Secret, Beware of Mr. Baker, Broadway Idiot, Splinters, Terms and Conditions May Apply, Unhung Hero, Where I Am, Winged Migration

Drama: Bang the Drum Slowly, Bed of Roses, The Big Chill, Boys Don’t Cry, The Buddy Holly Story, Call Me Crazy: A Five Film, Diana, Eye of the Dolphin, Federal Hill, Forbidden Woman, Forrest Gump, The Good Life, The Human Stain, La Bamba, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Loosies, The Prince of Tides, St. Elmo’s Fire, Tortilla Soup

Faith: The Lost and Found Family

Family: 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue, five more of the Baby Genius series, Beethoven, Call Me Claus, Encounters at the End of the World, Freedom Force, Good Boy!, Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, Hook, Mumfie’s Quest: The Movie, Nuttiest Nutcracker, That’s What I Am

Fantastic Voyage

Fantasy & Science Fiction: The City of Lost Children, Fantastic Voyage (1966), Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Heavy Metal, Maximum Overdrive, Shopping, Starman, Unidentified

Foreign: 1-Ichi, Faith Like Potatoes, Ichi the Killer, Oslo August 31st, The Outlaw, Shinjuku Incident, Sin Reaper, Therese, Torrente: The Dumb Arm of the Law, Torrente 2, Torrente 3, Torrente 4, Vincent Wants to Sea

Godzilla

Horror: 100 Bloody Acres, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Candyman, Cursed, Entity (2012), Fido, Friday the 13th, Part 7: The New Blood, From Dusk Till Dawn, Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla Raids Again, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, The Incredible Melting Man, Ravenous, Rodan, Terror of Mechagodzilla, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary

Television: Autumn’s Concerto, Bernard, Channel X, Destroy Build Destroy, Easy Fortune Happy Life, The Fierce Wife, Guess with Jess, The Invincible Shan Bao Mei, Love Forward, Love Now, My Queen, Princess’ Stand In, Zhong Wu Yan, and new episodes of Digimon Adventure, Psych, and Digimon: Digital Adventures

Thriller: The Juror, Kiss the Girls, The Odessa File, Ordinary Decent Criminal, Revenge, The Secret Village, Single White Female

FREE Summer Movies – Godzilla, Rio 2, Neighbors, Dragon 2

Lots of FREE summer movie ticket offers. As usual, make sure your purchase has a movie ticket sticker on it because the backside of the sticker has the number you need to enter.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

* Wal-Mart has FREE tickets to How to Train Your Dragon 2 on marked packages of How to Train Your Dragon.

A Million Ways to Die in the West

* Wal-Mart also has FREE tickets to either Neighbors or A Million Ways to Die in the West on marked packages of 2 Guns, The 40-Year Old Virgin, American Pie, Animal House, Bridesmaids, The Big Lebowski, Bruce Almighty, The Change Up, Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Get Him to the Greek, Identity Thief, Knocked Up, Paul, Pitch Perfect, and Ted.

Godzilla

* Your choice of FREE tickets to go see Godzilla, Blended, or Edge of Tomorrow on marked packages of Cloverfield, Crazy Stupid Love, Green Lantern, He’s Just Not That Into You, Jack the Giant Slayer, Life as We Know It, and Pacific Rim.

* FREE tickets to Rio 2 on marked packages of the three Alvin and the Chipmunks movies, The Croods, Fantastic Mr. Fox, either Garfield movie, Horton Hears a Who, the Ice Age movies, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Night at the Museum 1 & 2, Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief, Rio, Robots, and Turbo.

* Many of the retailers have FREE tickets to Amazing Spider-Man 2 on blu-rays of the Spider-Man movies.

Netflix & Vudu & Regal & Godzilla Oh My

Netflix

 

* After binging on the wonderful season two of House of Cards, I am looking forward to the second season of Orange is the New Black on June 6th.

Vudu

 

* I love my Vudu account and their disc-to-digital program but they always try to start the movie in HDX. My internet can’t handle that load at night so I often have to poke it down to HD and occasionally SD. I’d really like for them to take a page out of Netflix’ book and adjust settings on the fly.

* On the other hand, I have to give Vudu props because none of the other UV services appear to be able to handle over a hundred personal movies. Vudu also has the best sorting methods and interface.

Godzilla

 

* The new Godzilla will be released on May 16th. In anticipation of this, Rialto will be releasing a restored version of the original Japanese film to tour theaters starting April 12th. So far it is just the big cities but I’ll keep my fingers crossed and my eyes open.

Regal Cinemas

 

* On Thursday, March 6th, at 5:30 p.m., select Regal Cinemas (no list as of post) will be playing a double feature of 300 and 300 Rise of an Empire. The double feature is $18-$22. Regal Crown Club members will receive the usual coupon for a $5 medium soda and popcorn combo. Fingers crossed for my area and not having to babysit that night. Woohoo!