Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Skarsgard’

The Apex Solution

Godzilla vs Kong

Director: Adam Wingard

Cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, Millie Bobby Brown, Brian Tyree Henry, Lance Reddick, Shun Oguri, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir, Kaylee Hottle

There is something magical about watching a film on the big screen. It’s the brief, tense moment, when a deaf little girl manages to communicate in sign language to the biggest gorilla on the planet: King Kong. It’s that moment when a passive bay adjacent to a coastal city like Pensacola or Hong Kong is disrupted by the appearance of Godzilla’s menacing lizard like body, foreshadowing the impending destruction which will occur.

Director Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs Kong is the reason that cinemas should not be closed down in favour of fashionable streaming services. It’s that amazing cinematic film which has to be seen on the Big Screen.

Wrapping up the Godzilla trilogy and tying in as the sequel to Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla vs Kong has a fantastic cast include Golden Globe winner Alexander Skarsgard (Big Little Lies) as Nathan Lind, Rebecca Hall (Frost/Nixon) as Dr Irene Andrews and British star Millie Bobby Brown who reprises her role as Madison Russell along with Kyle Chandler who plays her father Mark Russell. Also in the cast are Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk, Widows, Hotel Artemis) as conspiracy theorist podcaster Bernie Hayes and Oscar nominee Demian Bichir (A Better Life) as the evil corporate villain and head of Apex industries Walter Simmons who develops a mechanical Godzilla to take out the real Godzilla.

The star of Godzilla vs Kong is the deaf actress Kaylee Hottle who plays the little girl Jia who manages to communicate with Kong much to the surprise of Dr Andrews.

In monster films, the script and characterisation takes a back seat to the action sequences and Godzilla vs Kong is no exception. The story is action packed ably assisted with dazzling special effects leading up to a spectacular fight sequence in between the neon lit skyscrapers of Hong Kong, in which much of these mega-skyscrapers topple like a house of cards as Kong and Godzilla battle it out, two primordially massive beasts tearing the planet apart only to be confronted by an even greater mechanical monster.

If audiences enjoyed 2017’s Kong: Skull Island and 2019’s Godzilla, King of Monsters, then they will love 2021’s Godzilla vs Kong which is a fitting finale for a monster film trilogy. With excellent special effects and monsters that create empathy for the audiences, viewers will either be on team Kong or team Godzilla.

Godzilla vs Kong is big budget action film best to be seen in a cinema and doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a kick-ass Monster film. This action packed film gets a rating of 7 out of 10 and is highly recommended for escapist fantasy and is suitable for the whole family.

Support your local cinema and buy a ticket to watch Godzilla vs Kong.

The Exotic and the Brave

The Legend of Tarzan

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Director: David Yates

Cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, Ben Chaplin, Jim Broadbent, Osy Ikhile, Antony Acheampong

British director David Yates who was responsible for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows returns to the director’s chair headlining a re-imagining of the mythical Tarzan, in the new visually astounding film, The Legend of Tarzan, featuring Swedish hunk Alexander Skarsgard in the titular role.

Tarzan, also known as Lord Greystoke, John Clayton is accompanied by his beautiful and vivacious wife Jane, wonderfully played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot) and an American emissary George Washington Williams played against type by Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Kingsman: Secret Service). The villain in Legend of Tarzan is played by none other than Austrian Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Spectre, Django Unchained) who portrays the evil and repugnant Leon Rom. The year is 1884 and the colonization of Africa by European powers is gaining rapid and unparalleled momentum.

Set in the beautiful and vast Belgian Congo, when King Leopold was rapaciously raping the Congo of its mineral wealth, particularly diamonds using slave labour and devious means including turning warring local tribes against each other. One such tribe headed by Chief Mbonga muscularly played by Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) wants Tarzan’s head on a plate and makes an unlikely pact with the unscrupulous Rom, who will stop at nothing to complete his reigning monarch’s ambitious colonial plans.

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John and Jane Clayton are persuaded to leave the comforts of late Victorian England behind and head for the exotic and wild plains of the Belgian Congo, where they soon confront the evil Leon Rom and his multitude of force publique officers who are out to enslave and enforce the will of the Belgian monarch upon the unsuspecting locals.

What really makes The Legend of Tarzan worth seeing is the brilliant incorporation of superb visual effects using performance capture technology for a vivid portrayal of the wildlife featured in the film, mainly the gorillas, lions and hordes of wildebeest. The brilliantly featured gorillas are a highlight. These creatures of the wild, raised baby Tarzan as one of their own, teaching him the laws of the jungle and how important it is to respect the hierarchy of the Animal Kingdom.

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Whilst Skarsgard’s performance of the iconic Tarzan is not perfect, he certainly has the muscular and gorgeous body to pull off this particularly physical role. After all the success of casting a male actor as Tarzan depends entirely on his physique. The well chiselled Skarsgard is naturally born for this role.

Margot Robbie breathes new life into Jane, as a feisty independent American woman who has attitude and her best scenes ironically shine through when played opposite the scheming villain Rom. In terms of dialogue, the best scene is between Robbie and Waltz as they dine precariously together on a steamer travelling down the Congo River, in a visual reference to The Heart of Darkness.

The Legend of Tarzan is better than anticipated, with magnificent visual effects elevating the film out of cinematic parody. It’s a well plotted, action filled and entertaining film, a worthwhile trip to the cinema where audiences can delve into a real adventure story which features the exotic and the brave.

In this version, the shirtless Tarzan swinging in the proverbial jungle should keep many swooning for years to come.

Utopia Unraveled

The Giver

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Director: Phillip Noyce

Stars: Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan

Australian director Phillip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence, Salt) takes on the big screen adaptation of the 1993 Lois Lewry allegorical Sci-Fi novel The Giver.

Shot mostly in Cape Town, with the iconic Greenpoint stadium as its main focal point, The Giver follows a Utopian society on a mesa, a sort of elevated plateau where a seemingly perfect yet ominously drugged society exists. Imagine a society with no colour, no differences, no desires and no envy, a society in which all the deeper human emotions have been eradicated.

Brenton Thwaites last seen in Maleficent, has a more prominent role as Jonas a young man who definitely realizes that this version of Utopia in which he graduates into is not quite as it seems. The Utopian Society is presided over by the Elder, in a strange casting choice for Meryl Streep to appear in a sci-fi thriller. Naturally Streep inhabits the role with just the right amount of malice and omniscience to scare the citizens of this perfect world.

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Upon his graduation, Jonas is assigned to be the receiver of knowledge and must leave his constructed parents played in a deadpan fashion by Katie Holmes and Alexander Skarsgard and visit The Giver, a bearded and wise Jeff Bridges, who transports all of the society’s so called memories, painful and exhilarating to Jonas via human touch.

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The Giver being the keeper of knowledge naturally lives in a library called The Edge, beyond which is Elsewhere. This film is purely allegorical and philosophical and whilst Jonas’s courageous attempt to escape the Utopian society are fraught with potential danger and deception, his rebellion is not based on a motivated counterpoint, nor for that matter is the real reason for creating such a bland uniform society. In essence Jonas is escaping a bizarre pristine gated community.

The Giver could have been a real significant sci-fi thriller yet despite some flamboyant directorial embellishments which include a whole series of memory flashbacks of human emotions, wars and iconic leaders, the film does not live up to its hype as something truly astounding unlike the Tom Cruise sci fi Oblivion. There are no twists or turns, more an allegorical tale about the importance of celebrating difference and appreciating individuality, two aspects which this Utopia suppresses ultimately leading to Jonas’s rebellion.

Despite the casting of Oscar heavy weights Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, The Giver comes off as a mediocre version of The Hunger Games without the intensity or the violence. Thwaites as an actor holds his own as Jonas while the rest of the cast seem to pale literally in comparison except for the baby Gabriel, whom Jonas is desperate to save.

Then again babies don’t need to act, they are spontaneous. Its only constructed organized society which restricts adult individuality and creates a utopian order which given time will always unravel naturally. The Giver is bland viewing shot alternatively in black and white with dashes of colour, a narrative without much cathartic release, leaving lots of implausibility and questions. The film also stars Country Music Singer Taylor Swift as the mysterious Rosemary, Odeya Rush as Jonas’s love interest Fiona and Cameron Monaghan as his dubious friend Asher.

Aliens in the Pacific Rim!

BATTLESHIP

Battleship  like the Transformers Trilogy inspired by another Hasbro game is a spectacularly entertaining male-oriented action film, but don’t expect anything deeper than the odd ship being sunk. A bizarre mixture of Hawaii 5-0 meets Aliens and features all the usual plot twists.  Rising star Taylor Kitsch last seen in the commercially unsuccessful John Carter and also in the little noticed South African inspired film The Bang Bang Club, plays Alex Hopper, a brash, untamed and irresponsible unemployed young man in Hawaii who is taken under the wing of his stricter older brother Commander Stone Hopper, played by Alexander Skarsgaard.

When Hopper decides to impassively smash a convenience store all for the sake of a Chicken Burrito to please the nubile blonde beauty Samantha played by Brooklyn Decker, he is swiftly sent to the Navy. Unbeknownst to Hopper and his older brother or the Admiral Shane, father of the voluptuous Samantha played by once again by Liam Neeson, there is a signal sent out to distant space devised by NASA and some quirky technocrats.

Soon enough whilst on an international Naval exercise involving both American and Japanese sailors off the coast of Pearl Harbour, the once sworn enemies are band together to fight off aliens that have not only landed in the Pacific, but also made their presence felt in Hong Kong and by all intentions, plan on beaming contingency plans to the mothership, awaiting in distant space, having come from a planet similar to earth in an almost identical solar system. These aliens aren’t no human look a likes either, but are stronger and more technologically advanced and are planning complete annihilation of the human race starting off with America and China of course! Battleship is low on motivation, emotional plot points but big on CGI special effects and a great cinematic vehicle for popstar Rihanna to make her onscreen debut. The characters are just more than cardboard cut outs against the Pacific theatre of naval war against an unknown species.

Viewers can read any similarities into Battleship that they desire especially since the essential irony of the film involves the Battleship USS Missouri. Taylor Kitsch is making his spring or autumn blockbuster debuts depending on which hemisphere viewers are in, but perhaps he should be aware of being typecast in too many sci-fi films especially when Battleship is more like Baywatch meets close encounters.

At least with the earlier John Carter there was some Victorian allusions, being based upon the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs…

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