Apr 19, 2024

Godzilla, King Kong, and the Vampire Girl

Universal Pictures (2024)
Last night was the premier of Abigail, which stars Melissa Barrera (Sam Carpenter from the last two Scream movies) as one of a six person group who were hired Reservoir Dogs-style to kidnap a young girl to earn a $50 million dollar ransom.  Unfortunately for them, the girl in question happens to be a vampire.  It's part horror, part comedy, part mystery, and a hell of a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it whether or not you're a fan of horror movies.

Kathryn Newton (star of Lisa Frankenstein) was perfect as the group's tech expert, and she seems well on her way to a career as a horror icon.  Alisha Weir delivered a fantastic performance as the title character.  The cast also included funny performances from Kevin Durand and Angus Cloud.  This was Mr. Cloud's last film role before he passed away on July 31st of last year, and the film was dedicated to his memory before the final credits.  The film also starred Dan Stevens as the member of the gang of kidnappers who seemingly had the most to hide.  He was also in the other movie that we saw at the Regal earlier this week.

One atmospheric touch that I especially enjoyed was the film's use of an old Woody Woodpecker cartoon called Pantry Panic that Kathryn Newton's character is watching on an old beat up television.  It's a fairly creepy short that premiered in theaters on November 24th, 1941 in which the red-headed bird faces starvation after he decides that he isn't going to fly south for the winter.  It's on YouTube if you're interested in checking it out, and if you haven't heard of it and enjoy classic animation, I recommend it.

The whole movie is extremely well done.  The only mild bit of constructive criticism that I have is that I think it would have had a stronger ending if they cut off the last minute or so, right after the words "show up" in the dialogue.  It's tricky to explain without spoiling the end, but I think that will clarify what I mean to anyone who sees it without giving anything away.  The way that it ends wasn't bad or anything... it just seemed to me that it had a perfect fade-to-black/roll credits moment, and then it kept going about a minute afterward.
We went to the Mystery Movie this past Monday, which ended up being an anime flick called Spy × Family Code: White.  I wouldn't call myself a superfan, but I have watched a good amount of anime movies and series over the years and I've enjoyed what I've seen more often than not.  I might have enjoyed this too if I was more familiar with the backstory (it is apparently based on a manga series).  We gave it 15 minutes, but it just seemed kind of hokey and neither one of us were really getting into it at all, so we skipped out and decided to go see something else instead.

The movie that we ended up seeing on Monday night was Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.  If I'm being completely honest, I had no intention of going to see this in theaters.  I still haven't seen the Godzilla vs Kong movie from 2021 that this film is a direct sequel to, and the trailer made the story seem convoluted even by kaiju movie standards.  If anything, the preview was underplaying it because the story was even more ridiculous than the trailer led me to believe, but it ended up being so over-the-top that it ended up being a highly enjoyable flick.  Dan Stevens, who was one of the kidnappers in Abigail, plays a kaiju veterinarian named Trapper who starts the film off by performing some dental work on an ailing King Kong... and that's probably the least outlandish thing that took place.

If you're looking for a serious movie that makes you think deep thoughts, pass this one by.  However, if you're the kind of person who can grab a big bucket of popcorn and a large soda and have a good time watching giant monsters battling each other and destroying everything around them in the process, this is all that you're hoping it will be and more.