OPENING THIS WEEK:
Kong: Skull Island Orlando-area audiences could be excused for feeling slightly nonplussed by the arrival of Skull Island (the movie), since Skull Island (the ride) has already been open here for more than half a year. Adding to the sense of disorientation, Skull Island (the movie) isn't even a Universal product, the House of Fallon having voluntarily allowed the project to go to Warner Brothers to facilitate an upcoming crossover with Warners' own Godzilla. (People in the back, let me hear ya: "Shared universe!") Anyway, Skull Island (the movie) is a period piece set in 1973, with a band of Apocalypse Now-esque adventurers arriving at Skull Island (the geographical location) and discovering the freaks of nature that reside there. What that means in practical terms is that Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and the rest of this crew encountered King Kong and his pals three years before the Dino De Laurentiis-dispatched team from 1976 landed on Skull Island (the narrative construct) in search of oil. Ergo, Jessica Lange's entire career now never existed. And ergo ergo, all future episodes of FX's Feud will consist of an hour of Susan Sarandon punching herself in the head. Listen, it makes sense to me. (PG-13)
The Ottoman Lieutenant It's being called the first movie set on the Eastern front of World War I. So I guess the moral here is that if you wait long enough, you can get a trophy for anything. Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar plays an American nurse who follows her conscience to Istanbul in 1914, just in time for the outbreak of the Great Conflict. Also consuming her attention is her position as the hypotenuse of a romantic triangle with an American doctor (Josh Hartnett) and her Turkish military guard (Michiel Huisman). Variety says that, despite the potential for transgression in a taboo Christian-Muslim coupling, "almost nothing is made of the enormous hurdles that would be present in this time and place." Take that, extreme vetting! (R)
A United Kingdom A true-life romance from seven decades ago, with the prince of what is now Botswana inspiring international scandal by falling in love with a white Londoner. Destined to take its place alongside Edward and Mrs. Simpson – or at least that fan-made "True Blue" clip that almost won Madonna's "Make My Video" contest. (PG-13)
Year by the Sea The novels of midlife inspirational guru Joan Anderson yielded this autobiographical drama, in which a woman who has been married for 30 years seeks to find herself on Cape Cod rather than following her husband to Kansas. Karen Allen plays Joan – which means that in some alternate universe, Joan Allen is currently playing a character named Karen. And King Kong has given up everything to be with Susan Sarandon. (NR)
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