Four new film reviews and videos from Steve Pulaski for Influx Magazine




Kong: Skull Island is so tonally different from its predecessor, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, as the two exist in Legendary’s new cinematic “MonsterVerse,” and that’s a step in the right direction. Godzilla was such a modern, special effects-ridden movie, to the point where there was an artificiality in both the scenery and the effects on the monster. Time has not been kind to that film with me. Despite liking it initially, I can’t remember much about it other than what little it did for me emotionally and in the sense of longevity.


I’ll be the first to admit when I settled down to watch Logan, I was not in the most optimistic state of mind. Do we really need another movie from the X-Menfranchise that focuses on the same character when there are dozens upon dozens of other characters from the universe that haven’t even made cameo appearances in other films? With that, I still had the bitter taste of the dreadful X-Men: Apocalypse in my mouth, which I’ll always remind people when they claim Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the worst superhero film they’ve ever seen.

But after the first half hour of Logan went by, I found myself unexpectedly gripped by the intense events occurring, in addition to worried about the ailing characters and their precarious situations. By the end, dear reader, I was moved, for the first time in a blue moon, by a superhero movie. In particular, a superhero movie that wasn’t oppressively bleak but also wasn’t too preoccupied with carnage to the point where everything that came before the climax was left a faint memory.


Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) is your average high school senior in the best possible way without being a walking archetype. She’s mostly nice to be around, marginally outgoing, but she’s also a bit selfish, an occasional bully, and victim to the kind of mean girl groupthink thanks to her somewhat domineering best friend Lindsay (Halston Sage). It’s “Cupid Day” at her high school, where the most popular girls get roses from their crushes and the outcasts, such as the lesbian student Anna (Liv Hewson) and the social pariah Juliet (Elena Kampouris), get nothing but another day to remind them that they’re unwanted.


There are a few words I don’t like to use as a film critic. They are words I find too often misused or inflammatory; they are used more for effect and due to emotional impulsiveness. However, every now and then, a film comes along and really tries my patience enough to make me pull out a word from my sacred bank and, today, that word is “propaganda,” which accurately describes The Shack.



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