Four African-American vets return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their friend and fallen Squad Leader and the gold he helped them hide – Back in 2013 after watching the Oldboy remake I honestly thought the great Spike Lee maybe past it, possibly spent as a filmmaker and only to be reveared for past glories…. In 2018 he delivered one of the best movies of that year in BlacKkKlansman and today in his first outing with Netflix Spike Lee has once again rolled back the years…. DA 5 BLOODS is not only an exceptional picture but it’s a timely history lesson that’s high on emotion, tense as a butt cheek in a landmine, a riverting adventure romp and one of Lee’s more violent and ambitious movie Joints to date – Rather than the deaging of actors (like Scorsese did in The Irishman) Spike Lee decided on a different and in my opinion more refreshing approach seeing the old guard play their younger selves in the film’s flashbacks which helped the film’s narrative and was exciting to watch, the music from the grand master Marvin Gaye, the message throughout of Love over Hate and shooting on location in Vietnam gave Da 5 Bloods it’s heartbeat…. and did I mention Delroy “Mother Fucking” Lindo in his fourth collaboration with Lee and in my opinion his best, Lindo’s character Paul is an all kinds of messed up, racist war vet that harbor’s a secret, his performance reminds me of Bogey in Sierra Madre as you watch his character slowly unravel in quite a devistating way – Overall there can be no doubt Spike Lee is back making film’s that connect with it’s audience in an entertaining, shocking yet relevant way ★★★★½
A team of scientists led by John Goodman’s Bill Randa team up with a bunch of soldiers, a tracker and an anti-war photographer to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific. What starts off as a mission of discovery quickly becomes a mission of survival….
Kong: Skull Island is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) and stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, Shea Whigham and John C. Reilly
Jordan Vogt-Roberts ballsy entry into the world of Kong is unlike any previous picture featuring our giant monster ape – for starters Skull Island is set back in the 70’s not modern day mostly taking place on the island, there’s no climbing the Empire State Building, no naval war planes to swat or be shot at and certainly no love story to be emotionally attached to, this is one gutsy move and one that works so well for the film giving Skull Island it’s own originality and place in the genre. Unlike Peter Jackson’s 2005 entry that was over long and dragged at times Kong: Skull Island runs at a much quicker pace getting straight into the nitty grittty within the films opening 20 minutes, in previous movies the big reveal of Kong was left until the film’s latter half but in this version we dive straight in getting introduced to this big, scary and downright impressive beast from the get go….
With obvious nods to movies such as Jurassic Park & Apocalypse Now and similarities to films such as Predator the latest in the so called MonsterVerse Kong: Skull Island was everything I hoped for and more – yeah of course like any film it will have it’s minor criticism and maybe more could have been done with it’s character development & back story but when all is said & done this is a movie that’s about monsters, big nasty rip your arms from your socket type of monsters and at this level Kong: Skull Island succeeds – along with the almighty Kong you get to witness some real nasty mother huggers that include Skull Crushers, Giant Spiders, Stick Insects and Buffalo style dinos all wildly entertaining, visually stunning & barrels of fun….
Overall: Kong: Skull Island ENTERTAINS – it’s jam packed full of thrills spills and lots of kills, dramatic & vibrant photography, thunderous soundtrack and a movie that dazzles with it’s beautiful backdrops and CGI (Jordan Vogt-Roberts & Larry Fong shot loads of this movie in Vietnam and WOW what incredible, beautiful scenery) – Skull Island is now my 2nd favorite King Kong movie behind the 1933 original and one that I can highly recommend & look forward to revisiting very soon ★★★★
ps…. don’t forget to wait till after the credits for a post credit scene
LEE DANIEL’S THE BUTLER (2013) – Movie Review ★★★★
Cast – Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terence Howard, Jane Fonda, Lenny Kravitz and Robin Williams – The true story of Eugene Allen a man who served eight presidents during his time as a butler at the White House, he not only had to bring up a family during the racist trauma that occurred during the 50’s and 60’s but also contended with the civil rights movement, the war of Vietnam and other such events that happened during his lifetime – Eugene Allen’s name was changed in Lee Daniel’s movie to Cecil Gaines – VERDICT Being a big fan of Lee Daniel’s work that have included 2009’s Precious and last years superb The Paperboy I was excited to finally watch his latest movie The Butler – this was a heartbreaking but at times uplifting story of a man’s journey that started as a child working on the cotton fields, witnessing his dad being murdered and his mum raped to his life working in a hotel and then becoming a Butler in the White House – one of the things I love about a Lee Daniel’s picture is that he manages to not only tell a good story, that’s really engaging but his films are often surprisingly funny and are always extremely well acted – The Butler is no exception, there are some gut wrenching moments in the movie with scenes such as the one in the cafe with the black & white segregation areas, the aftermath of the assassination of JFK with his wife Jackie Kennedy sat alone in the White House with her clothes splattered with her husbands blood and the scary scenes of the fire bombing of a bus by the Ku Klux Klan these are all terrifying moments in our history that are captured superbly well by Lee Daniels – I also enjoyed the way Daniel’s showed us through the eye’s of Cecil Gaines each President he had served for, Cusack’s Nixon and Schreiber’s Johnson were my picks but they were all portrayed well, the movie at times reminding me of 94’s Forrest Gump – the performances of Forest Whitaker who played Gaines and his onscreen son played by David Oyelowo contributed greatly to making The Butler such an effective, compelling movie to watch, the relationship between the two often strained with Cecil not understanding his son’s actions until the films finale when he realized that his son was in fact the true hero for fighting for what he believed in and joined him on a protest – overall Lee Daniel’s The Butler is a powerful, moving and at times uplifting picture that deserves your attention – a must watch!!!!