Mindless fun to social commentary

Godzilla vs. Kong is big, dumb fun

Gloriously stupid and shamelessly over the top, Adam Wingard's Godzilla vs. Kong is the sort of mindless bit of popcorn entertainment that's been absent for far too long on the big screen. Of course, whether you actually missed this sort of large-scale urban mayhem and short-on-logic kind of movie certainly depends on your preference for gigantic monsters going toe-to-toe or not. Hamlet, this ain't. And that's fine, as spectacle such as this serves as a vehicle for catharsis - just sit back, wallow in the silliness of this nonsensical monster mash and relieve a bit of stress. The plot – a silly concoction of science fiction and fantasy that deals with a source of vast energy at the Earth's core and Kong being used to retrieve it – is muddled, and at times, nonsensical. Of course, it's inconsequential as all we care about is the big throwdown between the titular monsters and director Adam Wingard does not disappoint. Cities are laid to waste with style and imagination while a sea battle that finds Kong leapfrogging from aircraft carrier to aircraft carrier to battle the amphibious lizard is a knockout. In the end, you'll realize you've been smiling all the way through this silliness. It's not great art, but man is it fun...really, really fun. In theaters.

The Unholy is more than meets the eye

Screen Gems is employing a rather inspired and slightly blasphemous approach in releasing Evan Spiliotopoulos' The Unholy, a modest thriller concerning miracles occurring in a small Massachusetts town. Releasing the film on the holiest of days – Good Friday – the television ads touting the movie seem to dare the viewer to risk eternal damnation by seeing it over the course of the most important weekend on the Christian calendar. Personally, I think this is overstating things. While no expert on the holy manners, I would think saying a couple Hail Mary's would cover this minor indiscretion. As exploitive horror flicks go, The Uninvited isn't half bad. Jeffery Dean Morgan is Finn, a reporter with a tattered reputation seeking professional redemption. He thinks he finds it in the person of Alice (Cricket Brown), a young woman able to heal the infirmed who claims to see visions of the Virgin Mary. Whether she's the real deal isn't the question – she is! The problem is, she isn't taking orders from Mary, but a malevolent force. Complications ensue, as do questions of faith and sacrifice. Only shoddy special effects keep this from being a complete success. In theaters.

Falcon, Winter Soldier have a full plate

Unlike Marvel's bloated, overrated Wandavision, the latest television series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier not only gets off to a rousing start but seems eager to tackle a timely social agenda. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their titular roles as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes respectively, reluctant partners who try to uphold the former Captain America's legacy, while trying not to kill each other. They're sent to Europe to investigate an international terrorist group and find that some of their members have been injected with the super serum that made Steve Rogers America's most beloved hero.

And while finding out how this has happened is the main narrative thrust, the smaller moments dealing with race are what really have an impact. Wilson's inability to keep the family business afloat as well as a scene that sees a brigade of police showing up when he and Barnes are arguing in public – the officers asking Bucky if he's alright, while casting veiled accusations towards the African-American Sam – shows that the program has far greater concerns than superheroics on its plate. Two episodes in, and I'm hooked. Streaming on Disney +.

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