Weekend Movies: This S**t Is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S

March releases used to be no big deal, but studios are now pumping out huge pictures into nearly every month. (January is still a bit of wasteland, but even that’s also picking up.) Last weekend, ‘Logan’ slashed the competition. Now, a wildly expensive ‘King Kong’ reboot is hoping to crush it.

Three years ago, Warner Bros. found critical and commercial success in a new, fresh beginning for ‘Godzilla‘. The only significant complaint about that movie was its too-serious tone, which the studio has corrected with ‘Kong: Skull Island‘.

Set during the final days of the Vietnam War, ‘Skull Island’ gives new meaning to “Viet Kong.” When Monarch, the cover-up company behind the events in ‘Godzilla’, finds the long-lost Skull Island in the Pacific Ocean, a military chopper platoon is assigned to take a bunch of scientists (including John Goodman) on a top-secret “geological study.” When the bigger-than-ever Kong rips them out of the sky one-by-one, the survivors must fight to stay alive and, hopefully, get off the island. The fun and funny picture’s two-dimensional characters are brought to life by Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, Toby Kebbell and the great lead actor from ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl‘, Thomas Mann.

Since Kong is king, no one dares go against him… that is, until the great ape and Godzilla go toe-to-toe in a few years. Only a couple notable limited releases are opening alongside ‘Skull Island’.

One of my favorite films from Sundance this year is hitting two screens thanks to Focus World. The French/Belgian thriller ‘Raw‘ tells the story of a young woman leaving the safe confines of her vegetarian household for college life. Once there, as part of an initiation challenge, she’s forced to eat meat for the first time, the result of which unleashes a beast within her. In no time, her hunger for meat becomes insatiable. Fresh meat, raw meat, even human meat – any and all of that is what she craves. Equal parts psychological thriller and sickening horror movie, ‘Raw’ delivers the goods.

IFC has a small thriller of its own opening in four theaters. ‘Personal Shopper‘ reteams Kristen Stewart with her ‘Clouds of Sils Maria‘ writer/director, Olivier Assayas. Sounding somewhat like ‘The Neon Demon‘, the ghost story takes place within the underbelly of Paris’ fashion industry. Although it’s not getting the buzz that ‘Sils Maria’ earned, ‘Personal Shopper’ has received mostly positive reviews and just might be worth checking out.

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