Depending on what you want out of a Godzilla movie, you may either love Godzilla: King of the Monsters or hate it. The sequel to 2014’s reboot is sharply dividing critics, some of whom are calling this at least the best of the franchise made this side of the Pacific. Others can’t get over the almost-unanimously panned script among other cited problems with this latest MonsterVerse installment, which also follows up 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. To quote Ken Watanabe s character from the last Godzilla movie, “Let them fight.” Or just balance each other out on the Tomatometer.Here’s what critics are saying about Godzilla: King of the Monsters:How does it compare to the 2014 Godzilla?It delivers far more satisfying thrills and terrific spectacle when it comes to what fans expect from these kinds of films. Courtney Howard, Fresh FictionKing of the Monsters course corrects from the 2014 film by giving audiences an abundance of monster action, proving that Hollywood can do right by Godzilla. Scott Collura, IGN2014’s Godzilla made us wait too long for the monster-movie money shots… [this one has] a constant stream of the kind of rock-em-sock-em action that makes you want to see a film like this in the first place. Alonso Duralde, The WrapIt’s like Warner Bros. heard our collective complaints about Godzilla (2014) and unloaded three sequels worth of monster fights into one follow-up. William Bibbiani, Bloody DisgustingThis movie feels more prosaic and less magical. Owen Gleiberman, Variety(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)So most hardcore kaiju fans should appreciate it?Hollywood finally gets kaiju big battles right in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Alonso Duralde, The WrapEasily the most satisfying of his Hollywood-produced adventures and a respectable cousin to the long string of Japanese ones. John DeFore, Hollywood ReporterThis is a Godzilla movie, and what we’re really here for is to see him kick some serious monster butt. And King of the Monsters pays off in that regard time and again. Scott Collura, IGNIf you go to these things to see cities flambéed and flattened, you won’t leave disappointed. Joshua Rothkopf, Time OutIf not for 1998’s atrocious Matthew Broderick-starring Godzilla, this would be the dumbest English language version to date. Benjamin Lee, GuardianGodzilla: King of the Monsters is now the worst American Godzilla movie. Fred Topel, We Live Entertainment(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)So it s not for everyone?Godzilla: King of the Monsters is not a good movie. In fact, it’s a pretty terrible one. Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment WeeklyThe summer’s first inarguably bad blockbuster. Benjamin Lee, GuardianI’m having a hard time remembering a recent movie I disliked as much as Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Mike Ryan, UproxxThe last movie this big saddled with a story and characters this bad was Independence Day: Resurgence. Matt Singer, ScreenCrushSo the script is the issue?It’s just filled with a lot of stupid characters who all do stupid things to the point that the ‘plot’ is just some crazy afterthought of nonsense. What a mess. Mike Ryan, UproxxWhat complicates matters are the characters themselves…their interpersonal family dynamics are not particularly interesting or engaging. Courtney Howard, Fresh FictionThe script, by Dougherty and Zach Shields, has no idea what to do with any of these people. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmThese characters feel about as detachable as Raymond Burr did in the Americanized Gojira. Joshua Rothkopf, Time OutIt sometimes seems as if, in their attempt to focus on monster action, the filmmakers have cut out material that might have enriched the human side of the tale. John DeFore, Hollywood ReporterThe dialogue ends up being unintentionally funny more often than intentionally so. Katie Rife, AV Club(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)What about the cast?The material is there, and the actors are good enough to handle it, however shallow the characters may seem. Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment[The] family story [is] made all the more heartfelt thanks to committed performances by Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler. Alonso Duralde, The WrapVera Farmiga, per usual, is fantastic and Millie Bobby Brown kills it in her feature film debut…the cast as a whole does a tremendous job. Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish ConjuringsVera Farmiga is too level-headed an actress to deliver this stuff as if she believes it, so it just sounds like nutcake raving. Owen Gleiberman, VarietyThe main cast struggles…at least Millie Bobby Brown emerges unscathed. William Bibbiani, Bloody DisgustingWhitford is the only cast member able to make any of the film’s stale, clunky jokes work, and Watanabe brings a remarkable amount of gravitas to his role. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmWould it be better without the humans?The monsters are the stars of the show, and they don’t disappoint…King Ghidorah, with his regenerating heads and electricity-based powers, is often downright terrifying. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmI was particularly impressed with the work done with Ghidorah. What was once a wacky three-headed puppet is now a real menace. Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment[They’re] all realized with designs that call back to their Toho origins while also looking fresh and, basically, fantastic…each monster feels like they have their own, distinct personality. Scott Collura, IGNGodzilla barely appears onscreen until the final act, and doesn’t appear at all for the first 45 minutes. Matt Singer, ScreenCrush(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)How are the monster battles?The monster action in this movie is top-notch across the board, whether it’s creatures being born, creatures battling humans, or creatures battling other creatures. Scott Collura, IGNUnlike other CG-fests, this Godzilla gives us a good look at these iconic monsters and shows us what they’re capable of in battle. Alonso Duralde, The WrapA cornucopia of eye candy that’ll shake your seat and make you cheer…it features some of the most impressive monster fights you’ve ever seen. William Bibbiani, Bloody DisgustingThe ultimate kaiju smack-down shouldn’t be this boring. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmWhen a movie is just nonstop monster action, guess what happens? It all becomes the new ‘normal’ and it becomes boring. Mike Ryan, UproxxHow does the movie look?The action is pretty legible, all things considered, and the compositions are often beautiful, with a strong element of chiaroscuro. Katie Rife, AV ClubDougherty and cinematographer Lawrence Sher capture all of this destruction with a painter’s eye…the awe and majesty of these massive, god-like beings is rendered perfectly. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmAwe-inspiring widescreen visuals…the fire-and-brimstone aesthetic assigns a gritty gravitas to the gorgeous imagery, as it augments the narrative’s ecological overtones. Courtney Howard, Fresh FictionMost impressive was by far the visuals and the CGI. The special effects used in the creation of Godzilla and the Titans looked positively seamless and beautiful. Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish ConjuringsThe monsters are too darkly shot and edited too frenetically as if he’s trying to hide something. Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment WeeklyPrepare thyself for an entire film built on the concept that, when giant monsters battle each other, they actually create tropical storms, gusting rain, and a baffling amount of cloud cover. Kate Erbland, IndieWireYou may start to long for some daylight clarity — for those moments when you can sit back and gawk at Godzilla and just sort of behold him. Owen Gleiberman, Variety(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)Does it ever feel dated?Like [2018’s] Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, it also feels like it could have been released in the mid-to-late-90s. Benjamin Lee, GuardianThe human cast seems like they’re trapped in a 1990s disaster movie. William Bibbiani, Bloody DisgustingThe film blends bombastic excess and deadpan silliness in a way that recalls late ’90s action films of the Michael Bay/Roland Emmerich school. Katie Rife, AV ClubGodzilla: King of the Monsters never met a sci-fi film it didn’t want to rip off — brace yourself for a dramatic sequence that pulls so liberally from Armageddon that we can only assume Michael Bay is readying a lawsuit. Kate Erbland, IndieWireDoes it leave us looking forward to the next one?We’re now all set up for Godzilla vs. Kong, coming in 2020, but if you told me that the next film in the franchise was Party with Megalon, it would make about as much sense. Owen Gleiberman, VarietyWe shouldn’t wake him up again until there’s a better movie. Mike Ryan, UproxxGodzilla: King of the Monsters opens in theaters May 31, 2019.
Think nothing new can be said about the legend of Arthur, Excalibur, and the Knights of the Round Table? Think again. In Netflix’s new big-budget, sword-and-sorcery fantasy series Cursed, the Lady of the Lake rises from the depths – of the English waters as well as relative literary obscurity, if you’ve only seen big-screen adaptations – to take center stage, portrayed by 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford. Merlin, Arthur, and other familiar names are here too, but in the series – adapted from the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler – it’s Langford’s Nimue who drives the action, giving audiences a fresh and modern perspective on the world and its stories. Ahead of the series’ release on the streaming giant, Rotten Tomatoes correspondent Jacqueline Coley spoke to Langford, Miller, Wheeler, and series co-stars Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgård, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Daniel Sherman, and Lily Newmark about the enduring appeal of the Arthurian legend, the unique spins they’ve given their famous characters, and how they prepared for – and endured – a 10-month shoot that called on them to become experts in swordplay, horse-riding, and, for at least one actor, foraging.Cursed is available on Netflix now.
Now that the cliffhanger is out of the way and you don t have to talk around it — Cody is dead, though Ryan Philippe will continue to appear on the show occasionally — how would you describe Big Sky to viewers?I think it was a very smart and interesting marketing campaign to use him as part of the draw. That triangle that you actually see, it s physically on all the posters with my character, Jenny, and Cassie and Cody Hoyt. Even though he isn t in majority of the rest of the series, his character — because he is the thread for Jenny and Cassie s relationship — he will constantly be in the back of the mind, if not part of the underlying tension between the two of us. So he s very much still a part of the show, a part of who these two women are and what drives them to solve the cases. Even though they re two polar-opposite, strong, independent women, they have a mutual love for Cody Hoyt, and they also have a mutual respect for one another and a mutual goal to help try to find a him and try to help find the girls now.What does the show look like going forward? Obviously Jenny and Cassie will have to team up, but are they going to be looking for Cody? Are they going to focus on looking for the girls? How much do they have to work together?You don t really know until you read the scripts of what exactly is [coming], but these are two very empowering characters, very flawed as well. They each have their own quirks and traumas independently. What s interesting about Jenny s character, she s gone through so much and obviously she definitely feels betrayed by Cody, but also by Cassie, her friend. And that was added in on a last-minute basis — we reshot that opening scene, just really, honestly, two and a half weeks ago. I can t believe it s already airing today. But I think it highlights the fact that it was important to establish that they do have a history. And in terms of where this series is going to go, well, you do know that it s based on C. J. Box s books, David Kelley is adapting and making Jenny a big part of the case-solving moving forward. But for Jenny, it s really one step at a time right now. You will see her find out the news of Cody s death, and she has a lot of healing to do and needs closure. And one way of doing that is to figure out how that happened, and to get the girls and to try to find them.It s interesting on procedural shows because usually there s just an opening close case per week, sometimes it may bleed into several episodes. But what s interesting about David Kelley s writing stakes are higher and there s a personal motivation to do it. You see that it s very evident in the first episode, and it s very important also as the series goes on to see that this is what s really driving Jenny to find her husband and to find the reason why and find these girls.(Photo by ABC/Kharen Hill)You can tell from the first episode that Jenny is passionate, which is exemplified in this physical fight that Jenny and Cassie have over Cassie hooking up with Cody. But do you think that two grown women would really have a fistfight about some guy?Right away, especially when you see the first episode, you want to get as much information as you possibly can and where the series is going to go and who these lead actors are. And I think that says a lot about it — these girls have no problems getting down and dirty and fighting for what they believe in. And in that situation, when you find out you re betrayed by a close friend and your husband, there are heightened emotions. We ve all gone through traumas and sometimes you react a certain way that is not necessarily the right way. But I think for me also, coming from a martial arts background and training martial arts for many years and running martial arts schools and doing my own stunts, it was important for me to keep this raw and real and dirty in a lot of ways, because you don t really see two girls just going at it. I wanted the hair pulling and the punching and stuff like that — it s Montana, [and] these girls are rough and tough. They re outdoors women, and they can hold their own.Well, clearly you re very good at playing a woman who can hold her own.I ve been really lucky in my career to work with incredible showrunners and creators that write women well, and I ve been so blessed. I think that s why I signed on to this series, especially so quickly after Vikings. David Kelley, I had been a huge fan of his for many years, from the Ally McBeal years, and obviously what he s done with Big Little Lies. He knows how to write women, and not just their strengths, but also their flaws and their vulnerability. And I think that s important, too, for everyone to see that you can be strong, but you also can be empathetic and you can be authentic as well as a woman.(Photo by Bernard Walsh/History)After being on Vikings for the better part of a decade, did you intend to sign on for something that could also run for another 10 years or so?I told the TV department of my agency, I m like, I m gonna take a break. I have a movie coming out with Sean Penn that I m very excited about called Flag Day, and I got a chance to direct Vikings, and I was honored enough to get an award for Best Director just recently for the Women s Image Awards. I was kind of ready to settle down and get to L.A. because I was in Ireland for so many years. But this was a straight offer and it s David E. Kelley, and there are some times in your career where you re like, Well, I can t say no to something like this. And I ve been so blessed also with ABC taking a risk, and they re taking a risk in so many different ways: They re taking a risk with not only two strong female leads, but also it s a very dark show, it s a very twisted show, and to be on a network, on ABC, where typically it feels like this should be more of a cable show, but to take that risk and try some new material, I commend them for that. Also, even our casting choices — such a stellar cast: everybody from John [Carroll Lynch] to Natalie [Alyn Lind] and Jade [Pettyjohn] and Brian [Geraghty], but also the first non-binary [series regular] on the show as well [Jesse James Keitel]. I m just really proud of them that they re not afraid to tackle not only great casting choices, but also material; we re dealing with sex trafficking, the pandemic is also written in the script, and topics that are somewhat uncomfortable, and that s what I find really makes compelling, exciting television.(Photo by ABC/Darko Sikman)Vikings has a very devoted fan base. Do you think that Big Sky will appeal to those fans?This is a very different show in a lot of different aspects. This will appeal to people that love thrillers and love suspense. This also will appeal to people that love strong women characters. This will appeal to people that are looking for a serialized procedural that want to come week to week to turn on their TV screens. So the show has a lot of different elements.[With] Vikings, we were so blessed to have the most devoted fans from all around the world in all these different countries. I really found that it was a show that was a lot of water-cooler talk, that people started talking about and telling their friends, and we developed an incredible loyal fan base as the years progressed. Whereas this show, I feel that it can check a lot of boxes really quickly and that if you re in any age range, any ethnic background, you will come for the show for not only just thrills, but you will stay for the characters, and you ll stay for the interesting storylines.And also the marketing campaign is completely different. This show is coming out with a bang — so you can see it in bus stops and billboards and commercials and everywhere. We re here shooting in Vancouver, so we re a little bit in a bubble, so I haven t seen it firsthand, but I ve been hearing about it. We re so lucky to have ABC really believe in us and believe in the show, and we re one of the first shows in COVID land to really be out there and making it work. We re just so lucky to be able to work in this time.The pandemic is written into the show, but it almost feels like it s happened in the past and isn t actively happening at the moment so viewers aren t necessarily in the thick of it.I ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time in Montana recently. I have a house there with my fiance, so it s nice to actually see what Montana girls are really like. And it is a small place. Everybody knows each other. The women are pretty tough there. The sense of equality is really strong — women do take care of themselves and provide for their families. It s a very interesting culture for women there. And in terms of the pandemic, I feel that now it s hit everywhere, but at the time we started shooting it was definitely a zone that wasn t necessarily as active for COVID. And also there s a lot of landscape, there s a lot of free, open air. You will see that in our show as well.(Photo by Jonathan Hession and History)You got to direct an episode in the final season of Vikings, so is that something you re hoping to do more of in the future?Absolutely. I actually will have the chance to direct Big Sky, hopefully in the coming seasons if not next year. I think for any actor it is such a blessing if they ever have the opportunity to get behind the camera. I was so lucky to get a chance to have my directorial debut on Vikings and have a crew who, after six years, really had my back. It s one of the reasons I got a chance to direct. But it s it s something that has been such a learning curve and and for any actor is such a great learning experience because you really see a different view of storytelling through a director s lens. If anything I started directing before I was an actress. I started directing plays in high school, so directing has always been my first love, believe it or not. In front of the camera has always taken precedence for many years, but I will be directing a lot more, and you will see me in the future direct a lot more. Big Sky airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.