'Godzilla vs. Kong'

The two battle it out.


(in theaters and on HBO Max)

These monsters aka the alpha Titans somehow remain immortal, even after being attacked by every weapon mankind has to bear during many decades in moviedom. Nonetheless, they are back.

In filmmaker Adam Wingard’s sequel to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019), Kong resides in an artificially created jungle, “the Kong Containment Dome” on Skull Island where he is watched over by Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and her deaf adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), who can communicate with Kong.

While Kong gets affection, ol’ spikey Godzilla lacks a winning personality and just shows up to create mayhem.

Somehow, billionaire head of Apex Cybernetics Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir) convinces Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) to transport Kong to Hollow Earth. The ever greedy Simmons also sends his daughter Maya (Eisa Gonzalez) and his minions to capture Hollow Earth’s power source.

While the special effects and the various monster battle setpieces remain eye-popping and entertaining at the beginning, the plot (and subplot where teen adventurers Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) along with conspiracy theorist Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) get transported from Apex to Hong Kong in a container carrying Skullcrawler eggs), gets so incredibly farfetched with its Mechagodzilla and other mechanized creatures that even those expert state-of-the-art effects begin to seem tiresome and repetitious.

Rated PG 13

2 & 1/2 Stars


(in theaters)

Michelle Pfeiffer was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in “French Exit,” a dark comedy with a surreal element.

Pfeiffer is perfect as beautiful, haughty and storied New York City socialite Frances Price, who has to face the fact that her fabulous wealth is gone.

With her son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), she leaves behind the Manhattan gossips and travels by boat to Europe to stay in the Paris apartment of her friend Joan (Susan Coyne). Frances stows away her mysterious black cat, Small Frank.

Patrick DeWitt wrote the novel and the screenplay, and Azazel Jacobs directed the film, a throwback to screwball comedies with a slew of quirky characters — Madame Reynard (Valerie Mahaffey), Malcolm’s fiancée (Imogen Poots) and her new boyfriend (Daniel Di Tomasso), a medium (Danielle Macdonald), Joan herself and a private investigator (Isaach De Bankole)—who jam into the Paris apartment.

Rated R

3 Stars


(Amazon Prime for rent)

A film focusing on star-crossed lovers, writer/director Kerem Sanga’s “The Violent Heart” maintains its strong dramatic arc until the final wildly over-the-top twists.

White high school senior Cassie (Grace Van Patten) falls for Daniel (Jovan Adepo), a 24-year-old Black man with a troubled past. But the racial differences don’t seem to be the big issue with Cassie’s parents, Joseph (Lukas Haas) and Helen (Kimberly Williams Paisley).

In addition to the cast’s strong performances, Mary J. Blige (in her latest movie role following her fine work in “Mudbound” in 2019), who plays Daniel’s mother Nina, shines along with young Jahi DiAllo Winston, who portrays her teen son, Aaron.

Not rated

3 Stars

Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.

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