“Kong: Skull Island” bumps the 1933 King Kong classic into the Vietnam era and supersizes its main attraction. And three music moguls search Atlanta for the next major talent.
KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) on iTunes and Amazon. Our monster gets a makeover, with a growth spurt — he’s as big as a mountain here. This time, it’s 1973, and the adventurers are Bill Randa (John Goodman), a government-backed scientist lusting after a cloud-shrouded island; Lt. Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), leader of a military unit; James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a pretty mercenary; and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), the feisty war photographer with serious weapons skills who captures Kong’s attention. “‘Skull Island’ has momentum, polish and behemoths that slither and thunder,” Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times. It also has allusions to Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” “Here, though, Kong is no longer the beast we love,” she added. Because the relationship between Kong and Mason “is more empathetic than romantic, these encounters don’t have the resonance they should. Alas, beauty no longer has her beast, the beast no longer has his beauty, and this darkness has no heart even if it will have a sequel.”
CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA (2015) on iTunes and Netflix. Kristen Stewart became the first American actress to win a César Award, the French equivalent of an Oscar, for her portrayal of a personal assistant who unwittingly mimics the role for which her boss — an aging movie star played by Juliette Binoche — achieved fame: an ingénue catastrophically involved with a lovesick older woman. Manohla Dargis of The Times called Olivier Assayas’s drama “superb,” adding that “playing the second lead to Ms. Binoche liberates Ms. Stewart.”
Make it a double with “PERSONAL SHOPPER” (2017), on iTunes, starring Ms. Stewart — in a role Mr. Assayas wrote for her — as a sullen, motorcycle-riding celebrity stylist who, by night, works as a medium in search of a sign that her dead twin brother is still by her side.
What’s on TV
SIGNED 9 p.m. on VH1. The rapper Rick Ross, the songwriter The-Dream and Lenny S. of Roc Nation scour Atlanta for unsigned hip-hop and R&B artists in this new competition series. The chosen few will receive coaching and counseling from the bigwigs and visits from DJ Khaled, Meek Mill and Bangladesh while navigating elimination challenges for the chance at a recording contract.
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