Wednesday 23 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
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Science Fiction

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Chimps ahoy!

Rod Lott August 10th, 2011

Say what you will about Tim Burton’s widely despised 2001 remake of “Planet of the Apes,” but if it hadn't made serious bank, this prequel would not exist.


And that would be a bad thing, because “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” hoses off any stink Burton left behind. It’s one of the year’s nicest surprises.

An origin story to the sci-fi franchise that began on the big screen in 1968, “Rise” draws upon story elements of 1972’s “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (entry No. 4 for those as geeky as I), depicting how the baby monkey dubbed Caesar came to unite all gorillas, chimps and orangutans to overthrow the humans who have oppressed them.

It’s the fault, if unintended, of a scientist (James Franco, “127 Hours”) just trying to cure the Alzheimer’s eating away at the memories of his father (John Lithgow, TV’s “Dexter”). Science has to test on animals first for safety, and Caesar is the guinea pig — er, monkey — who experiences remarkable intelligence.
Too much brilliance, eventually leading to “Rise”’s bravura climax, an extended sequence in which Caesar’s assembled armies invade San Francisco by way of the Golden Gate Bridge. Director Rupert Wyatt (“The Escapist”) stages this with pulse-raising tension, made possible by incredible special effects. The apes you see raising Cain are CGI, with the most remarkable being Caesar, in a startling motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis (“King Kong”). 

Consider how far the series has come: The original film earned an Oscar for its breakthrough makeup that turned men into monkeys. Now, no simian suits are needed, letting computers do the work. It’s the appeal of the “Apes” concept that stays unchanged.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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