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List of "K" Movies

K-PAX (2001) PG-13 comedy

This intelligent and thoughtful film stars Kevin Spacey as an alleged-alien who, as it would have it, finds his way to a mental institution. There, he befriends the mental patients and confuses the psychiatrist (Jeff Bridges). Spacey’s performance is reason alone to watch this movie! The script is very clever. However, the film’s pacing seemed a bit too slow. Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack, Alfre Woodard, David Patrick Kelly, Saul Williams, Peter Gerety, Celia Weston, Ajay Naidu, Tracy Vilar, Melanee Murray. Directed by: Iain Softley. B+

Kangaroo Jack (2003) PG comedy

A bad movie about a kangaroo getting away with a red jacket that contains a lot of money. It’s not worth seeing, not even for the usually fun Christopher Walken. The humor is way too crude even for family viewing. Estella Warren is pretty much the hottest woman on the planet. Starring: Jerry O’Connell, Anthony Anderson, Estella Warren, Christopher Walken, Marton Csokas, Dyan Cannon, Michael Shannon, Bill Hunter. Directed by: David McNally. D

Kicking & Screaming (2005) PG comedy

An manchild and clumsy athlete (Will Ferrell) coaches a little league soccer team full of misfits. It shares its general plot with The Bad News Bears so closely that this is probably plaigarism. The execution of it was amateurish and corny, and some of the film's more unique and potentially funny subplots were not fleshed out whatsoever. However, moments of inspired lunacy from Ferrell make watching this a scream. That is the appeal. If you don't think you'd like watching Will Ferrell go ape-crazy, you won't like this movie. Starring: Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Mike Ditka, Kate Walsh, Musetta Vander, Dylan McLaughlin, Josh Hutcherson, Steven Anthony, Jeremy Bergman, Elliot Cho, Erik Walker. Directed by: Jesse Dylan. C+

The Kid (2000) PG comedy

Bruce Willis stars as a jerk with no friends. He meets a mysterious child who he soon learns is himself at eight. Willis has no idea why he's here. Usually entertaining but not incredibly funny or touching, the film is made worthwhile by its fun premise, good performances, and some nice moments. Starring: Bruce Willis, Spencer Breslin, Emily Mortimer, Lily Tomlin, Jean Smart, Chi McBride, Daniel Von Bargen, Dana Ivey. Directed by: Jon Turtletaub. B-

Kid Colter (1985) PG adventure

Miraculous how consistently entertaining this film is in spite of the so-so acting and the unrelenting hokiness. It's about Bostoner teenager Justin Colter (Jeremy Shamos) who goes to visit his father Bill (Jim Stafford) in his Pacific Northwest cabin. These two absolutely adore each other, which is strikingly refreshing considering how used to cynicism I am in film. It even goes so far as to depict them on nature hikes, walking side-by-side, Bill with his arm draped over his son's shoulder. Bill even takes out his acoustic guitar and sings about how much he loves his son. (Stafford is a fairly well-known figure in country-western music.) Justin's picture-perfect stay is nearing completion when he unwittingly interferes with the affairs of a couple of spies. They kidnap Justin and leave him with a couple of hillbillies who plan on killing him. You can kind of guess how this is going to end. I probably would have preferred that the movie just kept doing that sweet father-son stuff rather than undergoing that sudden high-concept twist, which comes off far too cartoonish. I'm also taken off-guard by its rather surrealist conclusion that strikes a bitter, cynical tone which is at severe contrasts with everything that preceded it. Nevertheless, this movie is indeed a curio that almost nobody has seen, and I can't say there's much else out there like it. Shamos is a likable and intelligent child actor. Not a great actor by any means, but he might even be a source of inspiration to younger viewers who watch him as he deals with bullies, being respectful of adults, not forgetting his values, and using his wits to become an effective mountain man. A misfire, but I respect it. Starring: Jeremy Shamos, Jim Stafford, Hal Terrance, Greg Ward, Tom Hammonds, Thomas Peterson, Denise Frisino, Rebecca Osman. Directed by: David O'Malley. C

Kidco (1984) PG comedy

An anti-government, unabashed celebration of greed. Call this Ayn Rand for kiddos. Quite a curiosity. It stars Scott Schwartz as Dickie, an enterprising 12-year-old looking to make a quick buck at anything. His father, who runs a horse ranch, forbids him to run scams at his school after he gets busted running a Keno game. But then he gets an idea for an honest way to make bank when he sees how much manure his father's ranch throws away. The local fertilizer company has no competition, and they'd been running up prices lately. He thus forms Kidco with his three siblings and convinces a local golf club -- one of the biggest accounts in the area -- to give him his business. Then more business follows. They become minor sensations, even appearing on talk shows. It isn't long before his competition convinces evil IRS agents to come sniffing around to inquire why these kids aren't paying taxes. The conclusion at trial constitutes a goofy Libertarian fantasy about tax law. And then Dickie quips "The United States could have been the greatest country in the world, but they had to go and bust Kidco." Unintentional (or intentional?) laughs like that are what keeps me on my toes, even when its amateurishness otherwise keeps things dull. It's also impossible to detest a movie about cute kids. (The star Schwartz is more well known to audiences as the kid who got his tongue stuck to the pole in A Christmas Story.) Starring: Scott Schwartz, Clifton James, Charles Hallahan, Maggie Blye, Cinnamon Idles, Tristine Skyler, Elizabeth Gorcery, Basil Hoffman, Phil Rubenstein, Vincent Shiavelli. Directed by: Robert F. Maxwell. C

The Kidnapping of the President (1980) R thriller

William Shatner stars in this thriller with a dime novel premise. Terrorists have abducted the president, and it's up to the Secret Service (headed by Shatner) to rescue him. Some of the suspense is effective, but this is mostly throwaway. This is only for Shatner fans to watch out of curiosity. Starring: William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, Van Johnson, Ava Gardner, Miguel Fernandes. Directed by: George Mendeluk. C

Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) R action

Utterly gruesome and bloody (yet in an entirely comic book way) work from hailed director Quentin Tarantino gives us a sickeningly satisfying tale of revenge. Uma Thurman plays a tough chick who nearly dies in a massacre at a wedding chapel. The culprits: a babes in sexy clothes and a guy named Bill. Her mission: to kill each and every one of them! The plot isn’t anything special. The way Tarantino executes it, however, is utterly priceless! (It’s even hilarious most of the time … even though the jokes involve buckets of blood and dismemberment.) The film leaves off in a cliffhanger … I suppose you’ll have to check out Vol. 2 to see what else happens. Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Julie Dreyfus, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sonny Chiba, Chia Hui Liu, Michael Parks, Michael Bowen, Jun Kunimura. Directed by: Quentin Tarantino. A

Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) R action

And the action continues with more blood (though not quite as much as Vol. 1, methinks) and more killins’. Thurman continues where she left off in her rampage … but her ultimate trek for Bill comes to complications! As good and as funny as Vol. 1. I probably like Vol. 2 better, overall, not only because I find the plot a bit more intriguing, but there’s this really funny kung-fu guru in here who likes to stroke his snow-white beard. (Dudes … I’m pretty much convinced that every great modern movie needs a funny kung-fu guru who likes to stroke his snow-white beard!) Overall, this has been a very satisfying and EXTREMELY entertaining epic. And I’m not one who particularly enjoys violent films. Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Chia Hui Liu, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Michael Parks, Bo Svenson, Jeannie Epper, Stephanie L. Moore, Shana Stein. Directed by: Quentin Tarantino. A

The Killing Fields (1984) R war

This effective film stars Sam Waterston as a Vietnam-era war journalist covering the end of the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, his loyal translator companion (Haing S. Ngor) is left behind in Cambodia who suffers as a war prisoner. This is an illustrative film that’ll have your senses fully engaged until the end. Starring: Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, Craig T. Nelson, Athol Fugard, Spalding Gray, Bill Patterson. Directed by: Roland Joffe. A+

Kindergarten Cop (1990) PG-13 comedy

It was a great idea to make a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a hardened, tough-guy cop who suddenly finds himself in charge of a class of Kindergartners. Talk about an inherently funny fish-out-of-water scenario. While this remains a fitfully entertaining comedy, the premise was squandered by a lame-brained script. The main indication of that being a scene where Schwarzenegger sits on a park bench dejected and complains that the kids are walking all over him. What did the kids do him? They had freak-outs when he was out of the room, but then they settled down and sat quietly pretty much right after he told them to. Perhaps he was haunted by that very tiny kid who likes to talk about penises and vaginas. Anyway, Schwarzenegger is undercover in such a role because one of the students is the target of a kidnapping plot by his gangster father (Richard Tyson). Predictable how this story arc will turn out, and so is the budding romance he starts with the child's mother (Penelope Ann Miller). She also happens to be a teacher at the school. While I'd call this one a miss, at least it has an appealingly cutesy glow to it. And once again, it's fun on a visceral level just to see Schwarzenegger in charge of Kindergartners. Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed, Linda Hunt, Cathy Moriarty, Richard Tyson, Carroll Baker, Christian and Joseph Cousins, Park Overall. Directed by: Ivan Reitman. C+

The Kindergarten Teacher (2014) R drama

An Israeli film. Nira is a Kindergarten teacher who becomes fascinated with one of her students, the five- or six-year-old Yoav, who writes uncannily inspired poetry. As one character in the film observes, his poetry rings of unrequited love from the heart of a 40-year-old spinster. Nira, an amateur poet herself, has taken to writing down his poems down and taking them to her poetry class. She passes them off as her own, not necessarily because she craves the superficial approval, but because she wants confirmation that these poems are indeed as great as she thinks they are. Becoming more and more obsessed with the boy, she starts to inquire about his home life. But what she finds, dispiritingly, that his father is is completely unappreciative of his son's unique talent. Thus, she takes it upon herself to personally harness the boy's gift and even publicize it. But when does she overstep her bounds, and how far down the road does she take it? This is not a comfortable movie, and it isn't supposed to be. Her behavior, as it escalates, gets to be quite creepy. The film's dialogue is also smartly laden with plenty of uncomfortable silence. While it didn't feel like I was as deeply engaged in the narrative as I could have been, this nonetheless proved to be an interesting film that explores a side of humanity that isn't explored that often on film. That is, the passion to nature what needs to be nurtured. Starring: Sarit Larry, Avi Schnaidman, Lior Raz, Hamuchtar, Ester Rada, Guy Oren, Yehezkel Lazarov, Dan Toren. Directed by: Nadav Lapid. B+

The King and I (1956) NR musical

The phenomenal performance from Yul Brynner as King Mongut of Siam makes this big-budget musical-comedy worth watching at least once. He has a grand, commanding presence -- proud, statuesque, and larger than life -- but he also has a tender and inquisitive side, like an eager 12-year-old child. He recruited a school teacher, Anna (Deborah Kerr), from England to give his 15 children a world-class education. Her lessons are met with mixed reception at first, however, mainly owing to her students' belief that Siam is the largest country in the world and there's nothing interesting outside of the country. For example, snow. If they've never seen it, it must not exist. Anna and the King have an acrimonious relationship at first, but they grow to develop not only a cool respect for one another but even some affection. This being a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, the songs are expectedly exquisite. The soundtrack includes such numbers as "I Whistle a Happy Tune," "Hello, Young Lovers," "Getting To Know You." I find the soundtrack a little underwhelming but only compared to some of their other musicals. There was clearly no expense spared with the set designs and costumes, and they are wonderful to look at. My favorite part of this film is a play-within-a-play -- Tuptim's (Rita Moreno) unique rendition of Uncle Tom's Cabin, told through a thick lens of South Asian culture. This isn't a musical I love to death. In particular I find the romance weirdly anemic for a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. However, it's one I certainly appreciate, especially as it pertains to its message about respecting other cultures. Starring: Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno, Terry Saunders, Martin Benson, Rex Thompson, Patrick Adiarte, Alan Mowbray. Directed by: Walter Lang. B

The King and the Mockingbird (1980) NR animated

Phenomenally imaginative animated film from France about a cross-eyed king, hated by his people. He has a collection of paintings that come alive at night. The shepherdess in a painting is in love with a chimney sweep from a different painting, and they decide to flee the castle. Their love is despised by a painting of the king (with the crossed eyes corrected) who deposes of the real king to go after this fleeing couple. This couple has the help of a crow who has a personal vendetta against the king. This is a must-see for any historian of animated film, as this is a cited influence of Hayao Miyazaki . . . and it is easy to understand why. It is also a true passion project . . . the filmmakers having taken 30 years to complete this. Voices of: Jean Martin, Pascal Mazzotti, Raymond Bussieres, Agnes Vaila, Renaud Marx, Hubert Deschamps, Roger Blin, Philippe Derrez. Directed by: Paul Grimault. A

King Arthur (2004) PG-13 action

Horrible. Utterly and devastatingly horrible. Even worse, I think I had the misfortune of watching the “director’s cut” on the DVD rather than catching this sorry, big-budget disaster in the movie-house. Oh, where do I begin? The acting sucks, the action is boring, the movie is dull and plodding, and … yeah. They should have used this film’s budget to build me a nice house in Connecticut. Starring: Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Mads Mikkelsen, Joel Edgerton, Hugh Dancy, Ray Winstone, Ray Stevenson, Keira Knightley, Stephen Dillane, Stellan Skarsgard, Til Schweiger. Directed by: Antoine Fuqua. D

King Kong (1976) PG horror

This inadequate remake of the 1933 classic is about a crew of oil diggers who brings a giant gorilla back from an oil dig. Despite the subject matter, this is a fairly tedious film with unimpressive visual effects. The monkey’s boring, too. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O’Halloran, Ed Lauter, Rick Baker, Joe Piscopo, Corbin Bernsen. Directed by: John Guillermin. C-

King Kong (2005) PG-13 action

A King Kong movie at 188 minutes veers into the territory of a Biblical epic. It takes more than an hour for the title character to actually show up on screen. All the time before that is spent with the humans. And they're fun and everything -- the casting is excellent. But their character development is middling at best. Surely, more could have been done with less screen time. Nevertheless, the film is a marvel to look at -- it's more entertaining than your average creature feature with a generous film budget well-invested into big, idealized 1930s sets. There's also CGI and lots of it. The animated creatures and scenery look pretty amazing, with just one exception -- a scene where the human characters are seen running amongst stampeding dinosaurs who were carefully animated so as to not trample the key actors. Everything else looks fine, though, particularly King Kong himself -- a tortured brute, body littered with scars and weary old eyes. A lot of effort went into making him look lifelike, motion capture expert Andy Serkis providing his movements and expressions. The story concerns Hollywood film director Carl Denham who eavesdrops on the financiers of his next project. They discuss shelving it and selling what he's filmed so far as stock footage. So he goes rogue, taking his reels and going out on a ship where he plans to sail to a mysterious, uncharted place known as Skull Island. But before he does, he needs to find his leading lady. He finds her on the street, a vaudeville actor out of work Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts). She happens to be a huge fan of the film's writer, Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), and they spark a little romance during the voyage. This film is told in three acts: The journey to Skull Island, the adventures on the island, and back to New York City where Kong is made part of a live show. The titillating conclusion pays homage to the original film, featuring the absolutely necessary skyscraper scaling scenes. Overkill as the movie might be, it is a deft action-adventure picture. Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Jamie Bell, Evan Parke, Lobo Chan, Kyle Chandler, Andy Serkis. Directed by: Peter Jackson. B

The King of Comedy (1983) PG comedy

Robert De Niro plays a loser who dreams about becoming a famous comedian, but his comedic talent is mediocre at best. He worships funny talk show host, Jerry Langford, played by Jerry Lewis. He fights endlessly for just one chance to be on his talk show; he sends in tapes of his act, he waits ceaselessly out in the lobby, and he even ends up harassing the poor guy at his home. When all seems hopeless, he kidnaps him! A remarkably funny offbeat comedy brilliantly directed by Martin Scorsese. Robert De Niro's performance (as always) is inspired! Starring: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott, Sandra Bernhard, Ed Herlihy, Louis Brown, Whitey Ryan, Doc Lawless. Directed by: Martin Scorsese. A-

King of Comedy (1999) NR (weak R-equivalent)

This film is sick and twisted. Even more oddly, I’m not sure if the filmmaker was completely aware how sick and twisted it was!! (It’s a Hong Kong export from Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle creator Stephen Chow, before he discovered his voice.) Chow stars, writes, and directs this comedy about a man who wants nothing else but to be an actor. (There are some pretty funny scenes where Chow wants to add something “extra” to the bit parts he manages to land.) Certain aspects of the film are kind of brilliant, but others are just too over-the-top. Starring: Stephen Chow, Karen Mok, Cecilia Cheung, Man Tat Ng, Jackie Chan. Directed by: Stephen Chow. C

King Solomon’s Mines (1937) NR adventure

You might think the plot is too cliché, but it has a great sense of adventure! It comes packed with everything from a highly eventful script, to good performances from the cast, and it even contains songs sung by "Old Man River" Paul Robeson. It’s corny but exhilarating. Starring: Paul Robeson, Cedric Hardwicke, Roland Young, Anna Lee, John Loder, Arthur Sinclair, Robert Adams, Arthur Goullet, Ecce Homo Toto. Directed by: Robert Stevenson. B+

King Rat (1965) NR drama

The setting is the brutal conditions of a Japanese prisoner of war camp, but the toils and hardships of these living conditions come only secondary to the fascinating character study of Corpral King (George Segal) who managed to achieve great fear and respect from other prisoners despite their respective military ranks. And, he is the only person in the entire camp who is not looking forward to eventual liberation, because he is only a mere corpral and not a particularly important person. The drama is engaging (if a little pretentious) and the actors are all fantastic. Starring: George Segal, Tom Courtenay, James Fox, Patrick O'Neal, Denholm Elliott, John Mills, James Donald, Todd Armstrong, Leonard Rossiter, John Standing, Alan Webb, John Ronane, Hamilton Dyce, Joe Turkel, Geoffrey Bayldon. Directed by: Bryan Forbes. A-

Kingpin (1996) PG-13 comedy

This generally unfunny tribute to bowling stars Woody Harrelson as a once-superior bowler only to have his hand torn to shreds. Working as a bowling supply dealer, he runs across a natural (Randy Quaid) who also happens to be Amish. Quite starkly, this is without laughs, but its goofy nature makes this fun to watch. Starring: Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel, Bill Murray, Chris Elliot. Directed by: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly. C+

Kinsey (2004) R drama

This is an entertaining biopic about the man who wrote the scientific book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in 1948, which is said to have influenced the sexual revolution of the '60s. The title character (Liam Neeson) thinks human sexuality is kept too secret in society, and he wants to conduct scientific research about it. However, it being the late 1940s, he can't do it without sparking major controversy. Neeson is fantastic in his role as the unflinching and unapologetic scientist, and the film's pace is kept punchy and interesting. This isn't a great film, by any means. I still don't feel like I understand the character of Kinsey. Perhaps no one did. (John Lithgow is a treat as Kinsey's over-the-top-conservative father.) Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O'Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, Oliver Platt, Dylan Baker, Julianne Nicholson, Bill Sadler, John McMartin, Veronica Cartwright. Directed by: Bill Condon. B+

Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998) NR (R-equivalent, probably) animation

This wondrously imaginative French-language animated film gets its inspiration from West African folk tales and has surely some of the most exquisitely beautiful and colorful hand drawings ever committed to celluloid. The setting is a small African village of grass huts. Inside one of the huts is a pregnant woman laying on the floor. Her unborn child, Kirikou, speaks to her from inside the womb, demanding to be born. She says to him if he's capable of speaking from the womb, then he should be also capable of birthing himself. Turns out, she's right. Kirikou just casually walks out. Then he demands that she bathe him. But there's another thing he's already capable of doing himself. He then asks where his father is. But tragically, he's dead, having been eaten by an evil sorceress who lives in the outskirts of the village. Further, his uncle is currently on his way to battle the sorceress, almost certain to meet a similar fate. Thus, this tiny and extremely precocious child, who not only can walk but run incredibly fast, catches up with his uncle to help. Throughout this film, Kirikou's interactions with the sorceress and his fellow villagers are constantly amusing. I lose count pretty quickly at how often this film had given me cause to laugh out loud. This tiny infant comes up with some of the most incredible boasts I've ever heard, and he never listens to his elders. But why should he? He does everything better than they do, and he knows it. Eventually, Kirikou becomes quite the popular figure, and all the townsfolk start to sing celebratory songs about him. Great film, but I can't conclude reviewing this film without addressing the elephant in the room. While strictly non-sexual, this film isn't shy at all about nudity. I tend to get over that pretty fast, though. Voices of: Doudou Gueye Thiaw, Awa Sene Sarr, Maimouna N'Diaye, Robert Liesol, William Nadylam, Sebastien Hebrant, Remi Bichet, Thilombo Lubambu. Directed by: Michel Ocelot. A

Klondike Annie (1936) NR comedy

This movie is intriguing mainly because of how it was censored into oblivion. The filmmakers chose to simply release the film with cuts instead of trying to rework the offending scenes. The result is some key plot developments--such as Mae West's character having killed her husband in self-defense--aren't learned until way later than they were supposed to. Even before the cuts, the censors had already defanged West significantly--she just isn't as funny when she can't get in those salacious one-liners. Sure there's a good dig here or there, but other than that we're just watching a tale of a showgirl escaping her overbearing husband to board a ship to Nome, Alaska where she poses as a missionary to help bring respectability to that roughneck town. Meh. Starring: Mae West, Victor McLaglen, Phillip Reed, Helen Jerome Eddy, Harry Beresford, Harold Huber, Lucile Gleason, Conway Tearle, Esther Howard. Directed by: Raoul Walsh. C-

Klute (1971) R mystery

Not the easiest thing to watch, but this neo-noir mystery features an Academy Award winning turn from Jane Fonda as a prostitute who gets caught up in the investigation of a business executive who went missing. Donald Sutherland is the humorless private detective doing the investigating. The story is gritty, uncompromising, and unpredictable, but the development comes across sluggish--mainly because the film prefers to focus on developing Fonda's character who barely had anything to do with that man's disappearance. Nonetheless she is a fascinating character, and Fonda brings to her an aura of intelligence and confidence. Any other actress would have been tempted to play more vulgar. Starring: Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi, Roy Scheider, Dorothy Tristan, Rita Gam, Nathan George, Vivian Nathan. Directed by: Alan J. Pakula. B+

A Knight’s Tale (2001) PG-13 adventure

A peasant (Heath Ledger) convinces the peculiar novelist Geoffrey Chauncer (Paul Bettany) to forge papers that would allow him to participate in the jousting tournaments. A very good cast and a generally funny script make this film enjoyable; it just runs out of steam toward the end. This film really had some clever ideas, but the corny scenes and bad jokes left me with mixed feelings. Starring: Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Shanynn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Laura Fraser, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk, Berenice Jejo, Scott Handy, James Purefoy, Leagh Conwell. Directed by: Brian Helgeland. B-

Kong: Skull Island (2017) PG-13 adventure

As much as I want to fault entries in film series that seem too much like the next one, this one got a bit carried away. Here is a King Kong movie that doesn't feature the giant ape going on a rampage in a big city. Rather, this takes place in his natural home: A tropical island. It's the height of the Vietnam War, and the U.S. military scouted out this obscure, uninhabited island to discover a race of titans living there. Including one Mr. Kong, the last of his species. While he isn't seen scaling skyscrapers, we do get to see his giant gorilla hand swatting helicopters out of the sky like canaries. In other words, this film features some fine special effects and action sequences -- even for these days when we take that sort of thing for granted. There's also some exciting monster-on-monster action, even though the extent of the damage they cause is limited mainly to putting dents into lakes (meh!) as opposed to smashing one other against skyscrapers (yeh!). The other glaring omission here is Kong's human element. We only get hints of it. Brie Larson's character, for example, reaches out to boop his fingertip at one point. She also looks into his giant monster eyes to notice they seem rather sad. The human characters are developed even more poorly, unfortunately. But there if there's one thing the movie did get right in addition to the stellar CGI animation: It made Kong its front-and-center star. Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly. Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts. C+

Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979) PG drama

After a lucrative promotion at his ad agency, Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) comes home to share the news only to find that his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) has her bags packed. She's leaving both him and their five-year-old son Billy. She offers no explanation other than to say she can't handle it anymore. And just like that, Ted's boxed-up world falls into disarray. Suddenly, he's no longer able to put in extra time at work, and he's also unable to give his son the same kind of love and affection that he's been used to from his mother. The most heart-wrenching moments occur as Billy struggles with insecurity, not being able to process why his mother left, and Ted hardly understanding it either. This film benefits from a studied, brilliantly written script that keeps me emotionally invested as I watch the deep bond develop between Ted and Billy. Ted learns how to be a father, and Billy even grows up a bit. This also features one of Hoffman's most dynamite, tour de force performances, and Streep is utterly convincing as a woman torn between deciding what is best for herself and what is best for her son. I'll close this by saying there are a few things that bug me about the custody hearings -- mainly a non-refuted suggestion that Joanna seeking counseling in of itself makes her an unfit parent. Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Justin Henry, Jane Alexander, Petra King, Melissa Morell. Directed by: Robert Benton. A-

Krippendorf's Tribe (1998) PG-13 comedy

Richard Dreyfuss stars as a world renown anthropologist who forgets about a deadline and ends up presenting a totally fictional tribe in New Guinea to his colleagues. His imaginary tribe ends up getting so much attention from the media that Dreyfuss ends up digging himself deeper down a hole of lies. There are no actual laughs, but parts are rather amusing. Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Jenna Elfman, Natasha Lyonne, Gregory Smith, Carl Michael Lindner, Stephen Root, Elaine Stritch, Tom Poston, David Ogden Stiers, Lily Tomlin, Doris Belack. Directed by: Todd Holland. C

Krull (1983) PG fantasy

Sword and sorcery with a bit of Star Wars thrown in. (Some more primitive characters are prone to wielding swords, riding horses, and doing magic, while other characters have laser-derived weaponry. There's also a mysterious, Force-like religion that's heavily into prophecy.) The reason to watch this film are for the special effects (well done for 1983 and continues to be impressive), and extremely high production values that were put to creative use -- oftentimes dazzling costumes and set designs. I'd also add that this content is child-appropriate. I can imagine some young fantasy aficionado getting a kick out of this. What's disappointing: the storyline is your basic "damsel in distress" formula, and the character development is practically non-existent. The hero of the film is Colwyn (Ken Marshall), a crowned prince with the personality of a plastic action figure who is preparing for his upcoming marriage to Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony). This is not only a marriage for love, but it promises to unite two rival kingdoms on the Planet Krull. However, a malevolent alien whose space vessel looks like Dracula's Castle kidnaps the princess and threatens order on their planet. Of course, it's left up to the gallant Prince and his band of thieves to rescue her. While the film is entertaining enough (especially since I'm agreeable with just gazing at the backgrounds), the film ultimately has so little personality that it's forgettable. The last thing I'll mention: The sweeping soundtrack is remarkable, but it's laden with such frequent hyper-dramatic orchestral swells that it gets almost comical. Starring: Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Trevor Martin, Freddie Jones, David Battley, Bernard Bresslaw, Alun Armstrong, Liam Neeson, Robbie Coltrane, Dicken Ashworth. Directed by: Peter Yates. C

Kung Fu Hustle (2004) R comedy

This shockingly unique kung fu movie with a blatant disregard of physics stars Stephen Chow as a talentless thief who wants to become a member of the dreaded mob, the Axe Gang. He unintentionally starts a war between the Axe Gang and a run-down apartment complex called Pig Sty Alley headed by the chain-smoking and very mean landlady (Yuen Qiu). The special effects are eye-popping (though not flawless) and the film provides and endless string of belly laughs. Just like Chow’s previous film Shaolin Soccer, this is truly innovative cinema. Starring: Stephen Chow, Yuen Wah, Leung Siu Lung, Dong Zhi Hua, Yuen Qiu. Directed by: Stephen Chow. A

Kung Pow! Enter the Fist (2002) PG-13 comedy

What were you thinking, Steve? Director Steve Oedekerk takes a couple kung fu movies that nobody's ever seen, re-dubs it with new dialogue, and edits himself in. What might have been a funny retread of what Woody Allen did with What’s Up Tiger Lily? is merely an unfunny film that’s destined for the bargain rack at K-Mart. The voice dubbing is annoying. Starring: Steve Oedekerk. Directed by: Steve Oedekerk. D

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