Tag Archives: Julian Dennison

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) Review

GODZILLA vs. KONG

Godzilla vs Kong

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Alexander Skarsgård as Dr. Nathan Lind
Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell
Rebecca Hall as Dr. Ilene Andrews
Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie Hayes
Shun Oguri as Ren Serizawa
Eiza González as Maia Simmons
Julian Dennison as Josh Valentine
Kyle Chandler as Dr. Mark Russell
Demián Bichir as Walter Simmons
Kaylee Hottle as Jia
Director: Adam Wingard

Fearsome monsters Godzilla and King Kong square off in an epic battle for the ages, while humanity looks to wipe out both of the creatures and take back the planet once and for all.

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I was looking forward to Godzilla vs. Kong quite a bit. I liked the previous movies in this recent MonsterVerse with Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Even though this isn’t the first time these two iconic titans fought against each other on screen, it would be quite something to see these more recent incarnations of them fight. Godzilla vs. Kong definitely has a lot of issues on display but is nonetheless pretty entertaining and delivers on its promise.

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I won’t spoil much of the plot, it doesn’t do a lot of surprising things and the plot is pretty predictable, but I think there’s some moments best experienced for yourself. The tone of Godzilla (2014) was pretty dark, Godzilla: King of the Monsters was lighter and had more jokes, but still took itself somewhat seriously. Godzilla vs. Kong borders on self awareness, and doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s a very silly storyline, even more than previous movies. One storyline is even about a conspiracy theorist podcaster teaming with a pair of teenagers to look into a conspiracy. This isn’t the kind of movie that stops to reflect on the collateral damage either. Another thing to note is that there is less focus on the humans compared to past Godzilla movies. There is a connection between an orphan girl and Kong, and I thought that part was genuinely well done. On the whole though, you don’t have any emotional connection to the rest of the characters or plot. Depending on you, that can either find all of this a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand it does feel like there’s not a whole lot of substance and that it’s just only focusing on the fight scenes. On the other hand, it’s very easy to follow, the movie flies by with a quick pace and a small runtime of an hour and 50 minutes, and it gives the audience what they want. Not to mention that the human stuff isn’t generally well received from the past movies, so there’s no half baked family drama here. The first act is pretty rough, it felt pretty disjointed and a bit all over the place, with a lot of brief exposition dumps. After the first fight between Godzilla and Kong though, that’s when the movie really picked up for me. Also without getting to into it, the third act is very satisfying. The trailers have actually done a great job at showing you glimpses big moments, but keeping much of the true highlights away from the audience until they actually watch the movie. Past MonsterVerse movies aimed to empathise with both creatures, so naturally in this movie we would have to have one of them as the hero of the narrative, this movie chose Kong. I guess it’s a bit easier to emphasize with him over Godzilla. Last little note, some of the MonsterVerse movies had end credits scenes, but this one doesn’t, in fact there doesn’t seem to be any hint or indication of a follow up movie.

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The humans are always the weakest parts of these movies, and Godzilla vs Kong is no exception. However I do think that overall the characters are better than some of the past movies (though not by much), and the cast do well enough on their parts. Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall and Kaylee Hottle are the main characters in one storyline involving Kong, and Brian Tyree Henry, Millie Bobby Brown and Julian Dennison are the main characters looking into why Godzilla is suddenly attacking cities.

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Adam Wingard is the director, and overall I think he did a really good job with the movie. It’s solid on a technical level and the visual effects are astounding. The first fight between Godzilla and Kong is really good, but all the fights in the second half of the movie are on a whole other level. It’s all shot and choreographed incredibly well too, with some really solid action and its very creative. You really get the feeling that this movie knows that these moments are what people are really looking for, and they deliver on them. The score from Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg) is also really good and fits with the movie well, especially during the large action scenes.

Godzilla vs Kong

Godzilla vs. Kong is absurd, over the top, has a predictable story, and has some thinly written characters. But it’s also incredibly entertaining, visually stunning, and has some very satisfying action. If you liked any of the MonsterVerse movies, I think you can enjoy this one. If you can, try to watch it on the big screen because it’s quite an experience. As a movie it’s not all that great, I think at least most of the other MonsterVerse movies are better than it, but Godzilla vs. Kong is still very entertaining for what it is.

Deadpool 2 (2018) Review

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains graphic violence, sexual references & offensive language
Cast
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool
Josh Brolin as Cable
Morena Baccarin as Vanessa
Julian Dennison as Russell Collins/Firefist
Zazie Beetz as Domino
T.J. Miller as Weasel
Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Jack Kesy as Black Tom Cassidy
Director: David Leitch

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities (Julian Dennison) from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable (Josh Brolin).

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Deadpool 2 was one of my most anticipated movies of 2018. The original Deadpool released in 2016 was quite a surprise, with it somehow managing to bring Deadpool to the big screen in an effective way and has now become the most financially successful R rated comic book movie to date. I wouldn’t say its like one of the best comic book movies made and it is straightforward and simplistic (the impact also wears off the more you rewatch it) but it is still solid. With John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch taking charge of the sequel and introducing major comic book characters Cable and Domino (and with the addition of Josh Brolin and Zazie Beetz to play them), I was really hyped to see what the end result would be. Deadpool 2 doesn’t disappoint and does well to not just be a copy of the original, it improves and does some different things, and I do think that this movie it is better than the original.

Deadpool 2 benefits from the fact that it’s not stuck having to present an origin story, as a sequel it has more freedom, so it can introduce more characters, go in more insane directions, and thankfully that’s what they do here. Although I liked the movie from the start, it really picked up for me at the halfway point, particularly an action scene which takes place inside of a prison. Prior to that point the movie was pretty decent but I wasn’t really fully into it up to that point. Something that is quite noticeable is that Deadpool 2 is much more action and story oriented than the first movie. There are some surprises here, so I recommend not looking too deep into spoilers because although the plot may be fairly predictable (despite being less conventional and by the numbers than the original), there are some moments that are best experienced not knowing they are going to happen. The movie is overall more story oriented and there is a noticeable amount of emotion put into the story. Although I didn’t really feel the emotion as much as the film was intended to, I do appreciate the effort and it worked well enough. I’m also surprised that most of the emotional scenes weren’t killed with a poor joke or anything like that. Most of the jokes landed and the movie overall is pretty funny, even if some jokes didn’t land fully, it didn’t stand out poorly or land terribly. There is particularly one joke which did work and I get the joke, but at the same time it also felt like a wasted opportunity. As this a Deadpool movie, it constantly breaks the fourth wall and there are a lot of references (to pop culture and other comic book universes, etc) which really worked. There are also some nice cameos here, some of which can be easily missed. All I can say is to keep your eye on ‘The Vanisher’. The mid credit scenes are funny but when you consider that they are apparently canon, it really makes you question if it actually makes sense at all. I won’t spoil what it is but you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

Ryan Reynolds continues to prove that he’s fantastic as Wade Wilson/Deadpool. Something wise that both Deadpool movies have done is to give more to Deadpool’s character than the comics have given him. The first Deadpool movie, while maintaining his well known personality and charm, also gives him more human and relatable aspects so that you actually care about what he’s doing, instead of just seeing him as a walking meme. They continue that in the sequel with Wade Wilson trying to protect a young mutant from a futuristic killer. Reynolds like in the first movie manages to be funny, fourth wall breaking and potentially annoying but also manages to make you care about what’s happening with him, and makes him a well rounded character. Josh Brolin is great as Cable, who really is a force of nature, him and Ryan Reynolds play off well against each other. Unfortunately, he really doesn’t show up much until the second half but he steals the scenes that he’s in. A scene stealer was Zazie Beetz as Domino, who’s mutant ability is luck (the film does a great job of showing off her powers). This is the first thing I’ve seen Beetz in and I have to say that she’s a fantastic actress. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Cable and Domino in future films. Julian Dennison plays a pretty significant role as the mutant that Deadpool is trying to save from Cable. I hope Dennison gets more and more roles because he’s proven himself once again to be a very talented young actor. Other actors/characters from the first Deadpool like Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Stefan Kapicic as Colossus and Karan Soni as Dopinder aren’t in the sequel as much but they are good enough in their scenes.

The first Deadpool movie had a reasonable budget at about $58 million, overall feeling like a smaller superhero movie. The sequel has about double the budget and they seemed to put it to good use, Deadpool 2 is a bigger movie. Director David Leitch is great with action, as shown with John Wick and Atomic Blonde and the action is definitely more superior here than the original had, with more bigger and memorable action sequences. The CGI admittedly isn’t always great, whether it be some of the larger action sequences or CGI characters, however it wasn’t so poor that it distracted or bothered me. Overall Leitch’s direction here is better than Tim Miller’s in the first movie. Tyler Bates’s score is pretty solid, an improvement over the first film’s score.

If you didn’t like the original Deadpool movie, there’s a strong likelihood that you won’t like the sequel. However if you are a fan, I think you’ll be very satisfied with this movie. Deadpool 2 was funny, entertaining, and I liked the emphasise on action and story this time, I had a great time with it. I personally think it’s better than the original and I can’t wait to see more of Deadpool, Cable and Domino in the future Deadpool/X-Men/X-Force films.

The Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) Review

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Time: 101 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence, coarse language, some scenes may disturb young children
Cast:
Sam Neill as Uncle Hec
Julian Dennison as Ricky
Director: Taika Waititi

A boy (Julian Dennison) and his foster father (Sam Neill) become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded in the New Zealand wilderness.

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The Hunt for the Wilderpeople was a movie I wanted to check out for a long time. Being a New Zealander, it’s impossible not to hear about this movie, but I only saw the movie recently. And I ended up loving it, this is one of the most entertaining movies of 2016 and one of the best of the year. The cast, writing, direction, editing, everything added together to make such an entertaining and overall great movie.

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The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is such a different film, it’s impossible to compare this film to anything else. It’s very easy to connect to and love the main characters, all the characters are very memorable. Also, this movie is hilarious. Like, I didn’t expect to find the movie this funny. The humour is a little different from most films (I can’t describe it, you’ll just have to see it for yourself), which does separate it from other comedies. Most of the jokes in the film, I found hilarious. At the same time though, this movie handled the dramatic aspects very well, you actually do care what’s going on, it’s not just a complete comedy from start to finish. One thing I will say is that there were a few times where the transition from comedy to drama or vice versa didn’t really work as well, and felt a little jarring (unless that was intentional). Aside from that, I don’t have really a lot of problems with this movie.

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Julian Dennison was great in this movie, I hope he gets more work after this because he showed here that he’s got a lot of talent. He had excellent comedic timing and was really entertaining. Sam Neil also gives one of his best performances in a while. Both Julian Dennison and Sam Neill play off each other so well, they play completely different characters and the contrast really works. They were both hilarious but at the same time they could connect to each other very well, so it was easy to buy them as their characters. The supporting cast were also so effective and memorable. There are a whole lot of cameos in the film, which I won’t spoil for those who don’t know about them yet, I’ll just say that they really worked. The movie is full of memorable characters, and the actors played them very well.

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Taika Waititi wasn’t just great at writing this movie, he was fantastic at the direction as well. The style of this movie is great, much of that is due to the editing, which was also perfect, and helped the movie to be more effective, especially when it came to the comedy. Also, there is a thrilling car chase scene at the end of the film which was incredible. The cinematography was fantastic, the locations used were also great and beautiful, you could really buy that they were there in the bushes. The soundtrack also, fantastic.

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I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about The Hunt for the Wilderpeople after hearing so much about it for so long, but I ended up loving it. The acting was great (particularly from main leads Julian Dennison and Sam Neill), the direction from Taika Waititi was fantastic, his writing was on point, hilarious and entertaining from start to finish, just everything fell nicely into place. Check the film out when you can, it’s a very different movie from most, and it’s really one of the best films of the year.