The Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The original ‘Planet of the Apes’ was made in 1967. It was to become a seminal Sci-Fi movie, and it also spawned various sequels, which were of dubious quality. Now, 44 years after, appears this fantastic ‘prequel’. The movie sets out to explain how ‘The Planet of the Apes’ came into being. Apparently, it’s all to do with genes. A research scientist is endeavoring to discover a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. He inoculates some laboratory chimpanzees with a test vaccine. One of these chimps is to give birth to a son, Cesar, and he spontaneously inherits his mother’s new genetic code. Cesar is blessed with super-intelligence. Later, after mistreatment by some humans, Cesar turns rebel, and he instigates a chimpanzee revolution. Director Rupert Wyatt’s movie is superb. Apart from some extraordinary special effects, he tells his story with much simplicity and clarity, along with an outstanding visual impact. It is hard to tell how many of the chimpanzees are robotic, real, or computer-animated, but, with only a hairy costume, his posture, and his eyes, with which to perform, Andy Serkis is absolutely brilliant as Cesar. This is the very best Sci-Fi Action movie of the year.
Conan, The Barbarian
Okay, the original ‘Conan, The Barbarian’ was made in 1982. Following his weight-lifting sagas, this was the movie to set Arnold Schwarzenegger along his path to cinematic glory. This new version takes itself rather seriously, and it has none of the sense of fun and adventure that Arnold’s rollicking romp possessed. However, if you like sword and sorcery stories, then Marcus Nispel’s interpretation will more than satisfy. After witnessing the murder of his parents at the hands of a tyrannical warlord, a young barbarian lad swears revenge. Marcus Nispel directs with much attention to gory detail, while, the new Conan is played by Jason Momoa, another handsome muscle-bound Hollywood hunk. Jason Momoa performs rather well, using the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger style of guttural acting.
From the beginning of this intriguing ‘western’ it is not clear if this group of pioneers have been deliberately separated from the rest of the wagon train, for political reasons, or, if they have been ‘cutoff’ purely by accident. However, whatever the reason, the pioneers now find themselves lost in the vast expanses of the American prairies. As tension grows within their ranks, they capture a lone Red Indian, and, they hope that this savage can lead them to much needed water. Director Kelly Reichardt makes a film which is very slowly paced, but, this lassitude only underlines the pioneers’ predicament.
After his mother’s death, a reticent 38 year-old graphic artist learns that his father, now well into his seventies, has been a closeted ‘gay’ all of his life. The father plans to ‘come out’, and finally accept his sexuality. Meanwhile, the artist has also decided to once more experience emotional relationships, as he becomes attracted to a French actress. At these pivotal stages of their lives, these men are about to begin again. Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer star in this frank and honest movie, and both perform wonderfully, as intelligent men coming to terms with emotional and very sexual issues.
Starring Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, and Demi Moore, this is a good story about financial intrigues. Though, you have to pay close attention to the dialogue, to fully understand the intricacies of the plot. A financial broker discovers that his company is about to loose trillions of dollars through bad investments, and, after informing the Board of Directors, they decide to sell these bonds before the rest of the stock exchange finds out what they are up to. As the movie progresses, this company can be seen as symbolic for much of the insider-trading, dishonesty, and greed currently plaguing Wall Street.
Those lovable cartoon characters Lightning McQueen, and his best mate Tow Truck Mater, return for another adventure. While Lightning McQueen, a zappy racing car, is competing in a round of Grand Prix heats, Tow Truck Mater finds himself involved in an international espionage caper. Much of the humor was done before in ‘Cars 1’, but, children have short memories, and will probably find this sequel new and exciting. Adults will just find it ho-hum. Personally, I don’t think that the humor really stretches to a repeat.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Episode 7, Part 2
I hope you have a good memory, because this movie just starts off where Part 1 finished. There is no re-cap or brief introduction to bring you up to speed. For the first 20 minutes of the movie I was wracking my brains trying to remember what the whole thing was all about. Frankly, I see no reason why Parts 1 and 2 couldn’t have been shown together, but, of course, we all know the rationale behind that! Anyway, I’m glad that this particular film franchise is now finally over, and we won’t have to endure any more. But, then again, don’t be too sure of that. I’m sure the producers will eventually put together some sort of ‘Directors’ Cut’, which will be presented in a nice glossy box, and will be ideal for weekend Harry Potter movie marathons!
More teenage angst, as an alienated youth starts wearing pajamas to school, and has to attend regular sessions with the disillusioned student counselor.