Double Bill: Godzilla: King of the Monsters & Late Night

A couple of movies I’ve seen recently, in bite-sized chunks. One gargantuan monster, one late night talk show host. I think the question we’re all now asking ourselves is: who would win in a fight between these two leads? My money’s on Emma Thompson.

*Minor spoilers*

The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.

Kyle ChandlerVera FarmigaMillie Bobby Brown

Long live the King.

Mark (Chandler) and Dr. Emma Russell (Farmiga) are still mourning the loss of their son, who was killed by the big guy in the first film. Daughter Madison (Bobby Brown) is with Mum, while Dad is estranged from the pair of them.

Biologist Emma is on a top secret project surrounding the Titans – giant creatures that once ruled the Earth – and works for crypto-zoological organisation Monarch. While on location, Emma and Madison witness the birth of Mothra, a mahoosive larva.

Mothra isn’t best pleased with whatever Monarch has got going on and goes ape (LOL). Emma is able to calm her down with the help of “Orca”, a sound device that can attract or alter Titan’s moods. It’s a bit science-y but it’s something to do with sound frequency. Believe me it doesn’t really matter.

All we really need to know is that Emma has a warped sense of what’s right and takes it upon herself to unleash “Monster Zero”, for the greater good of humanity. Zero is an ancient three-headed dragon who starts as he means to go on, by having a ruck with Godzilla, who’s been kicking around somewhere since 2014. Mothra, meanwhile, hatches and reveals herself to be a heavenly giant moth who forms a quick connection with GZ. There are other monsters and a lot of action and that’s really about it.

The question is: Is Godzilla the bad guy the world has made him out to be or is he actually keeping the world safer from even worse foes?

I don’t really know what else to say about this one. We’re only really here for the monster action – and we get plenty of that. King of the Monsters seems to have learned from the slightly off pacing of Godzilla (2014), which takes a while to warm up. I’m glad but it does also do a lot of talking and the story line is flimsy at best (and yes, I know we’re suspending a lot of disbelief already).

The performances are fine, particularly Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins – and it’s nice to see more of Eleven but we know why we paid for the ticket – and I wasn’t disappointed in that. I can’t wait to watch GZ square up to my main man, Kong now.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Year: 2019
Director: Michael Dougherty
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
My Rating: 3.5/5

A late-night talk-show host suspects that she may soon lose her long-running show.

Emma ThompsonMindy KalingJohn Lithgow

They’re giving comedy a rewrite.

Legendary talk show host Katherine Newbury (Thompson) is about to lose her late night show to a young, male and upcoming stand-up comedian (Ike Barinholtz). Ratings have slipped, the act has gone stale and Katherine is accused of hating women – her all-male, all-white writing team don’t help this argument. This prompts her to examine equality (and diversity) in the workplace.

Step in Molly Patel (Kaling).

Molly is an amateur stand up herself and uses her platform at the chemical plant she works to try out new material. When she gets the writing job on Katherine’s show, she joins a team who aren’t thrilled to have her. Slowly but surely though she shakes things up – in and out of the writer’s room – but will the group, and their formidable front woman, do enough to save the show?

You’re a writer, so write. ~ Burditt

There might not be many surprises here but I really liked it. The writing is solid and I laughed a lot. Both leads are gorgeous and I enjoyed their chemistry together. Molly teaches Katherine to be more honest with her viewers (and herself), while Katherine is forced to face the consequences of her actions when an old secret is revealed. Support from John Lithgow as Katherine’s long-suffering husband Walter is really touching – he might be a rich, white man but he adds some real heart to proceedings.

I like films that tackle sexism and white privilege, and this takes a swipe at it in a light, fun way. Maybe it could have gone deeper but its made me interested in what Kaling writes next. I also have to say how good it is to see her on the big screen – she is so lovely and I’m into plus-size WOC leading all my movies from now on. (See Ma).

Late Night
Year: 2019
Director: Nisha Ganatra
IMDB Rating: 6.1/10
My Rating: 4/5

What are you watching?

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