Win Passes to the Kansas City Premiere of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”

Media Mikes has teamed with Lionsgate Films to give 50 readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” in Kansas City.

The screening will be held on Tuesday, August 15th at the B&B Shawnee 18 Theatre in Shawnee, Kansas and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is go here and download your passes. The first 50 readers to do so will receive a pass for two to attend the screening. This is a first come/first serve contest and once the passes are exhausted the giveaway is over.

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman, opens nationally on August 18, 2017

Film Review: “Kong: Skull Island”

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and John C. Reilly
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Rated: PG-13
Running time: 2 hrs
Warner Bros

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

There are two funny stories attributed to the late producer Dino De Laurentiis, who produced the 1976 remake of “King Kong.” The first is that, every time his film was compared with “Jaws” he would comment on how “nobody cry when the Jaws die”…and that audiences would be weeping at the end of his film. The other is when he first met producer John Peters, who was not only dating Barbra Streisand at the time but had produced her film “A Star Is Born.” Both movies opened on December 17, 1976 and Peters congratulated Dino on “Kong” out grossing “A Star Is Born.” “I’m not surprised,” De Laurentiis is said to have commented. “My monkey can act!”

1973. As the war in Vietnam winds down, a group of soldiers, led by Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) is chosen to accompany a group to a recently discovered island on a trip funded by the United States government. Finding the island surrounded by horrible weather and storms, the group takes a few helicopters out to make the journey from ship to land. On the way they encounter a big problem. A problem named Kong.

Though it seems like the big ape has been around forever, this is only the eighth film to feature him and the first since Peter Jackson’s remake of the original 1931 classic over a decade ago. Some people didn’t like Jackson’s version but I thought it was well made and really made Kong a sympathetic character. The same holds true here. We learn that Kong is really less of a bully and more of a protector of the indigenous people living on Skull Island. There are lots of creatures roaming around, from lizard-like monsters to giant octopi. But nothing is as big of a threat to the big beast than Colonel Packard, who takes Kong’s protective attack on his choppers as a declaration of war.

Though you really don’t go to a movie like this to see the actors, the cast here is quite good, including a rather dashing looking Hiddleston, strong-willed photographer Larson and World War II vet Reilly, who is truly the heart of the film. Reilly’s former soldier has been on the island since the end of World War II and it’s fun to watch him learn about the world ahead of him while he tries to save the one he’s involved in. Ironically the weakest part of the cast is Jackson, who here plays…Samuel L. Jackson. Clever comments, like “bitch, please” roll from his lips as he continues to plan Kong’s demise. And while Kong isn’t all over the film he appears enough to remind you who’s King. The action is intense and the special effects are well done.

What’s next? Stay through the end credits and find out!

Film Review: “The Legend of Tarzan”

Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Christoph Waltz and Margot Robbie
Directed By: David Yates
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 109 minutes
Warner Bros. Pictures

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

As someone pointed out to me at the screening, the only version of Tarzan I grew up on was the Disney version (with that obnoxious Phil Collins song). My research skills did yield a cringe worthy adaptation of Tarzan featuring Casper Van Dien in 1998, but I’m fortunate to have dodged that abomination. So it seems after a nearly two decade cinematic drought, the feral child is back on the silver screen with the help of CGI and a bloated Hollywood budget.

I won’t lie. “The Legend of Tarzan” could have been bad. In fact, I thought it would be. I’m happy to say it’s not. It’s an entertaining movie with typical summer blockbuster faults. I’m sure some segment of the movie going population will be upset because “The Legend of Tarzan” drifts away from the standard Tarzan tale; explorers discovering a wild man who was raised by apes as a young boy. Instead “Legend of Tarzan” starts off in the mid 1880’s with a man named John Clayton (Skarsgard).

Clayton (which feels weird to type when referring to Tarzan), is more well behaved than the monkey speaking savage we’re used to. Clayton is stylishly dressed like a British aristocrat,
instead of a loincloth that manages to always tastefully conceal himself. He also walks upright instead of getting around like a primate in his swanky New World mansion. He lives there with Jane (Robbie) and leads a seemingly simple life.

The couple is called to the troubled country of Congo, although it’s not quite a country yet in this tale. Belgium is swimming in debt and trying to find anything that could possibly recuperate the massive debt they’ve accumulated by purchasing the African country. Their last ditch effort is Leon Rom (Waltz) and his ruthless plan. Rom’s preposterous scheme involves a massive influx of mercenaries that’ll turn the Congo into a slave machine, pumping out human lives, blood stained ivory, and sparkling diamonds.

The actual logic of everything is put in the back seat while CGI and action are the true drivers of “The Legend of Tarzan”. Don’t worry yourself with how studied and sophisticated Tarzan is despite being raised in the wild and only having a few years to acclimate himself to civilization. Don’t even think about questioning why Tarzan is fighting an imperialist who’s saving a debt-riddled country by hiring mercenaries and purchasing rows of 19th century machine guns. Of course a lot of the absurdity is quelled by Samuel L. Jackson’s character, George Washington Williams. With a name like that, and his constant witticisms about the irony of everything, it’s easy to forgive “The Legend of Tarzan” for being more fantasy than action-adventure.

“The Legend of Tarzan” is sometimes too caught up in tired clichés like revenge, the more human than human escapades of its main character and the unlikely buddying of two opposites. But like I’ve stated, this isn’t a serious movie. I’d legitimately be upset if this was a serious movie. Halfway through, it seems like Jackson’s character is one moment away from being lost in the lush jungles of the unexplored Congo and one line away from saying, “Damn nature, you scary.”

“The Legend of Tarzan” is a contrived, silly blockbuster. But on that same note, it’s an entertaining, and funny, summer escape. “The Legend of Tarzan” may have arrived a decade late. Blockbusters these days, at least the successful ones, are remembered for their deep characters and developed storylines. This movie is a simple CGI spectacle with a story that’s reliant on pure visual adrenaline. And well before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that’s all we wanted. But if both those reasons are enough for you to sit back and relax, “The Legend of Tarzan” is your movie