When King Kong opened in 1933, darkness was creeping over Europe. Italy was under Mussolini’s control, Spain was fighting a civil war, and Hitler was preparing to force the other European powers to kneel. It’s morbidly funny the king of monsters finds himself kicking off the summer blockbuster season in the age of Trump, Brexit, and Marianne Le Penn.
Yes, Kong: Skull Island is another King Kong movie. The huge ape is back, with explosions replacing the social commentary. Rumours have it this film is fun, with Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, and John Goodman fighting giant spiders, stick insects (yes, really) and Kong during the Vietnam War.
Here’s an interesting story (read: name drop) for you. I once met the director Paul Verhoeven. He mistook me for a hotel bellboy during a press junket for his latest film, Elle. He asked for a Coca-Cola. His films are never as vanilla as coke. He was the Dutch provocateur of the late 1980s and early 1990s with films like Robocop, Starship Troopers, and Basic Instinct. Elle is his return to form. Starring Isabelle Huppert, it focuses on a rape victim and how she refuses to let that stigma define her. It is a tour de force film with a stunning performance from Huppert.
Cinema should be spellbinding but it rarely is. The Love Witch, Anna Biller’s film about, well, a witch, is pure magic. Biller ensnares you with a mixture of period specific anachronisms like the garish technicolour, 1960-French-Riviera style, and mobile phones. This is timeless magic, whose campy effects only deepen its political power.
You can also now screen Tom Ford’s bonkers, stylish and delicious slice of southern noir, Nocturnal Animals, in your living room. Let the depravity in, and enjoy some great performances from Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon.