Kong: Skull Island is a massively budgeted resurrection of familiar property designed as part of a universe-building series, and it boasts pricey visuals, earth-shaking sound, remedial plotting, cornball humor, talented leads giving paycheck performances ... . Oh, God. Is it summer already? What the hell happened to spring?!

Friday, March 3, 10 a.m.-ish: I've managed to avoid them for more than seven months, but it's time for yet another quadruple-feature, and this one begins with the comic-book movie Logan. I take that back. It actually begins with a comic-book mini-movie whose title I wouldn't reveal even if it had one, and whose star just might make genre fans wet themselves with happiness. (A crude image, yes, but one not nearly crude enough for this particular anti-hero.) From the employment of John Williams' Superman theme to the unexpected nudity to the climactic image of a blood-soaked alley and a carton of ice cream not going to waste, it's a true beauty of a short-film-slash-coming-attraction, to say nothing of the thus-far-funniest four minutes of the movie year. Enjoy the laughs while you can, Logan viewers – you'll be wincing and jumping and weeping soon enough.

On Friday, March 10, at Davenport’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Genesius Guild will open its traveling production of author T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral – the first of five area-church presentations directed by Guild founder Don Wooten.

There are so many things that are unusual about that sentence that it’s probably best to break it down bit by bit.

Many, many people were made happy – and more than a little surprised – by the final minutes of last night’s Academy Awards ceremony. But you know who had to be the happiest of all? Marisa Tomei.

It would be easy, and fairly accurate, to describe Jordan Peele’s Get Out as the horror-comedy flip side to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – kind of like what you’d get if the 1967 Sidney Poitier were less noble than monumentally panicked, and the Tracy-and-Hepburn clan were enacted by the Manson family. But that wouldn’t begin to suggest the singularity and incredible inventiveness of Peele’s achievement, which is so thrillingly scary-funny, and so deeply satisfying, that it might take you hours or days to also recognize it as one of the angriest genre entertainments ever made. Given the results, I couldn’t possibly mean that as a higher compliment.

For a brief period during the mid-aughts, Chinese director Yimou Zhang was the first international helmer in decades to find his foreign-language titles – 2004’s Hero, 2005’s House of Flying Daggers, and 2006’s Curse of the Golden Flower – receiving wide U.S. distribution. Predictably, the novelty soon wore off for mass audiences, and Zhang’s subsequent films, when we got them at all, were confined solely to specialty houses. But China has recently become such a yu-u-uge bottom-line consideration that Zhang is apparently again in-vogue – especially with action adventure The Great Wall having already earned some $200 million abroad. Since money talks, it isn’t surprising that Hollywood has re-embraced Zhang. In return, it seems that Zhang, for better and for worse, has fully embraced Hollywood. How else to explain a movie in which thousands of fierce Chinese warriors would be annihilated if not for the ass-kicking abilities of Matt Damon?

La La Land has 14 Oscar nominations. It won seven Golden Globe Awards – a new record – out of seven nominations. It won the Producers Guild and Directors Guild awards, both of which have led to Best Picture wins eight times out of the past 10 years. The movie is still in the box-office top 10 more than a month after its wide release, has grossed more than $125 million domestically, and is such a pop-culture touchstone that Saturday Night Live recently aired a skit in which two cops attacked a perp for the cardinal sin of insufficient admiration for the movie. The guy liked it; he just didn’t love it.

This year’s Academy Awards air on the evening of February 26, a night likely be dominated by a certain musical that’s set in Hollywood. Earlier in the day, though, you can enjoy a completely different batch of tunes from California talents with the Quad City Arts Visiting Artists of Quinteto Latino, who perform at Davenport’s First Presbyterian Church that Sunday at 4 p.m. Based in the San Francisco area, this five-person ensemble is dedicated to showcasing the energetic rhythms of Latin American music through works both traditional and modern, and will no doubt deliver an electrifying performance in the hours before the inevitable love thrown toward La La Land. Which, if memory serves, translates into English as The The Land. (That faraway sound you hear is my collegiate Spanish professor cursing my name.)

Brand-happy though Hollywood is, it’s still rare when three high-profile franchise extenders all debut on the same weekend. Personally speaking, it’s even rarer when all three are follow-ups to movies I liked. (One of which, to be accurate, I only kinda liked.)

In its blatant attempt to revive a scare-flick “franchise” that couldn’t even produce a second sequel, director F. Javier Gutiérrez’s Rings probably won’t make 2002’s The Ring and its 2005 follow-up relevant again, but the results are better than I expected – by which I mean the first 10 minutes are actually pretty good.

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