A Film and TV Review by Tim Riley

“GODZILLA VS. KONG” RATED PG-13 For an epic and long-awaited showdown between two icons of mythic adversaries, “Clash of the Titans” might have been a great title for legends Godzilla and Kong but it has already been used for films about Greek mythology of warring gods. “Godzilla vs. Kong” promises a war between gods of a different sort, if one is inclined to view these rivals as forces of nature from the East and the West, one who has stormed Tokyo and the other a captive brought by man to New York to be a sideshow attraction.   

The story begins with the scientists at the Monarch organization continuing to study and oversee the welfare of Kong in a vast biodome on Skull Island that secures his safety from the increasingly unstable climate affecting the surrounding ecosystem.  In a role that portrays him as a mix of pseudo-action hero and science nerd, Alexander Skarsgard’s Dr. Nathan Lind proposes a bold mission to deliver Kong to the storied Hollow Earth in search of an energy source to put an end to Godzilla’s destruction. Most touching of all is that Kong demonstrates emotions that are completely lacking with Godzilla.  This has to do in large part with the beast’s friendship with young deaf orphaned girl Jia (Kaylee Hottle) who communicates with the big age through sign language.

 Meanwhile, there has to be a villain in this type of film, and we’re not necessarily speaking of the fearsome Godzilla, who after becoming a good guy of sorts is apparently angrily aroused by the actions of a tech mogul (Demian Bichir). As an apex predator, Godzilla goes full terrorist mode by attacking the Apex Cybernetics research center in Pensacola, Florida, and killing a lot of people because something strange is happening inside the secretive facility. A wannabe whistleblower inside Apex, Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) runs a conspiracy theory-oriented podcast, and he teams up with teenager Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), whose father (Kyle Chandler) is with Monarch, and computer whiz Josh (Julian Dennison).

This intrepid trio is going with Team Godzilla, knowing the fire-breathing monster’s good side just might be dormant, but all that really matters is that a showdown is inevitable, though with a surprise twist. In the end, aside from Jia the deaf-mute, the human characters, if not expendable, are certainly not the reason to take interest in the epic monster battle that results in Hong Kong’s skyscraper buildings being leveled to the ground. “Godzilla vs. Kong” may be seen on HBO Max, but the best bet is catching this battle of the titans on the big screen, for the obvious reason of capturing the full splendor of the beasts drubbing each other. Escapist fare is what we are looking for during these dreadfully boring pandemic times, and “Godzilla vs. Kong” has amazing special effects that are greatly entertaining.

 A recent cable preview segment in this column looked at some of the coming attractions on the AMC Networks and omitted perhaps the one looming series with a title that could not be printed in a mainstream outlet (namely, not some X-rated publisher). We are referring to “Kevin Can F**K Himself,” and you can understand why the series is being promoted with a semi-censored appellation as if you might give a moment’s thought to the missing letters. During the winter press tour, the panel discussion began with an overview from AMC executive Dan McDermott who described “Kevin Can F**K Himself” as a unique, “high-concept series which is, ’s really a genre-busting look at the television like nothing we’ve seen before.”

 Further elaborating on the series, McDermott claims that “it deconstructs the trope of the passive, agreeable sitcom wife we’ve come to know and love” and it “takes a darkly comedic look at life through her eyes” and apparently skips “outdated gender models.” Not a lot is known just yet about this series other than the official trailer and what has been gleaned from the press tour.  However, it is easy to figure that the classic sitcom is being turned on its head for dark comedy.  “Schitt’s Creek” star Annie Murphy’s Allison is a traditional wife, catering it seems to her self-absorbed husband Kevin (Eric Peterson), before entertaining thoughts of either killing him or at least escaping the routine of domestic drudgery. The show’s trailer, easily accessed online, sets the tone with Allison saying that it’s about “a woman who keeps playing perfect housewife,” until “she realizes what she wants” while contemplating stabbing Kevin in the neck with a sharp object. It is safe to say that Allison is not going to be anything like Barbara Billingsley’s model housewife June Cleaver who wore heels while doing housework in “Leave It to Beaver” or Harriet Nelson’s fictional self on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”  Show creator Valerie Armstrong told the TV critics that “the only people this show is not for are humorless people,” and we will have the chance to judge for ourselves sometime this summer if this premise is valid.