Friday, April 21, 2017

COLOSSAL: Another fine and original sci-fi film from Spanish master Nacho Vigalondo

What happens and why in the frolicsome, funny, and surprisingly thoughtful new sci-fi/monster movie, COLOSSAL, is so oddly charming and original that to give it away seems very unfair to any viewer who enjoys the necessary surprise that should go along with any movie experience. Too many reviewers have already ruined that surprise, but if you're still unaware of it, TrustMovies will do his best not to spoil it for you. The movie begins with the appearance of a monster in, hmmm... Korea. And then it jumps ahead to the USA some 25 years or so later.

The filmmaker here is one of my favorites, Nacho Vigalondo (shown at left), who has now given us three fine sci-fi films (Time Crimes, Extraterrestrial, and this one), as well as the excellent, modern-day, surveillance thriller, Open Windows. If his latest is not quite up to the wonders of Extraterrestrial, which is among, if not the best sci-fi film I've yet seen, it is, by virtue of being a Vigalondo movie, a "must" to view. It is also his "starriest," boasting a cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, with Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell in smart supporting roles.

Hathaway (at right) plays a very problemed-from-alcohol young woman, whose boyfriend (Mr. Stevens, below) kicks her out of their NYC apartment, and so she returns home to her parents' empty house in the sticks, where she takes up with an old school chum (played by Sudeikis). The movie takes place in both Seoul, Korea, and and the USA, and this very arbitrary choice of locales is one of the reasons why the film demands such a large suspension of disbelief.

Extraterrestrial posited the coming of aliens in space ships that simply hovered over our world without engaging with it. This was actually easier to buy than Colossal's plot gimmick, for the humans in that earlier film grew and changed due to their own responses to this not-quite alien invasion. Here, the monsters are certainly connected to the humans, but that connection demands a leap of faith in a manner that the earlier film did not.  That said, if you're willing to make the leap, Colossal provides some wonderful, original fun, along with terrific performances from the entire cast.

Ms Hathaway has never been better (and that includes her Oscar-winning performance), and Mr. Sudeikis (above) is a revelation. A very easy-to-enjoy actor, he has never been either this surprising nor this good. Nelson and Stowell (below. with Sudeikis) offer lovely turns, as well.

Again, I am not telling more about the plot because it would spoil the surprise. I'll just say that things here revolve around anger and how we use it.

If you enjoy sci-fi and/or movies with more than their normal share of originality, this one is definitely for you.

Colossal -- a charmingly ironic title -- running 110 minutes opens here in South Florida today, Friday, April 21, at the Brickell City Centre Cinema, the AMC Sunset Place and the AMC Aventura and here in Boca Raton at the Regal Shadowood.

It's playing elsewhere across the country, too, so click here to find the theater(s) nearest you.

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