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Llanelli Star - - FILM REVIEWS -

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MON­STERS (U) ★★★ ★★

SPEC­TAC­U­LAR but corny se­quel.

An­i­mal be­hav­iour spe­cial­ist Dr Mark Rus­sell (Kyle Chan­dler) and pa­le­ob­otanist wife Emma (Vera Farmiga) lost their son An­drew, and their love for each other, in the dev­as­ta­tion of Godzilla’s ram­page through San Fran­cisco. The cou­ple are es­tranged and Emma has cus­tody of their daughter Madi­son (Mil­lie Bobby Brown, above), who sup­ports her mother’s work for “se­cret mon­ster-hunt­ing” con­sor­tium Monarch in a rain­for­est in China.

For­mer Bri­tish army colonel turned eco-ter­ror­ist Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) storms the out­post with gun-tot­ing hench­men and takes Emma and Madi­son hostage. He forces the mother to rouse a gi­ant beast chris­tened Mothra.

Monarch sci­en­tist Dr Ishiro Ser­izawa (Ken Watan­abe), his as­so­ciate Dr Vivienne Gra­ham (Sally Hawkins) and direc­tor of tech­nol­ogy Dr Sam Cole­man (Thomas Mid­dled­itch) in­form Mark that his fam­ily is in jeop­ardy.

A globe-trot­ting res­cue mis­sion be­gins in earnest as Colonel Alan ag­i­tates more slum­ber­ing Titans in­clud­ing three-headed Ghi­do­rah in Antarc­tica and winged preda­tor Ro­dan in­side a Mex­i­can vol­cano.

BOOKSMART (15) ★★★★★

RAU­COUS rites-of-passage com­edy.

Amy (Kait­lyn Dever, right) and best friend Molly (Beanie Feldstein) have for­saken for­ni­ca­tion and par­ty­ing in or­der to achieve their aca­demic dreams.

As grad­u­a­tion looms, Amy is des­tined for Columbia while Molly has been ac­cepted into Yale. The gal pals de­spair at the tom­fool­ery of class­mates so they are gob-smacked to learn that lazy peers have also se­cured places at Ivy League in­sti­tu­tions.

It’s a bit­ter pill to swallow: Amy and Molly have need­lessly missed out on ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar lessons in drunken bond­ing. The over-achiev­ers re­solve to make amends on the night be­fore Molly de­liv­ers her vale­dic­to­rian speech.

They hatch a hare-brained scheme to gate­crash a party thrown by cool kid Nick (Ma­son Good­ing), but this hap­haz­ard odyssey puts Amy and Molly on a col­li­sion course with nar­cotics, crime, an ex­plo­sion of bod­ily flu­ids and a shock­ing dis­cov­ery about their high school prin­ci­pal ( Ja­son Sudeikis).

MA (15) ★★★ ★★

A GROUP of teenagers get an ab­ject les­son in stranger dan­ger when they ask a lonely woman to buy them al­co­hol, and end up tak­ing the con­tra­band back to her base­ment. A cou­ple of jump cuts later and Ma’s base­ment is in­ex­pli­ca­bly filled with ine­bri­ated, un­der-su­per­vised ju­ve­niles.

What en­sues is a hor­ror film for the post-Get Out era – Ma aims for fear by so­cial awk­ward­ness, com­plete with racial un­der­tones, so­cial me­dia scare tac­tics, and a botched anti-bul­ly­ing mes­sage.

It’s grat­i­fy­ingly bonkers. The set pieces are self-aware and schlocky, the third act fea­tures in­ven­tive nas­ti­ness, and Oc­tavia Spencer (above) oozes screen pres­ence as the malev­o­lent Ma.

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