Movies Review

Movie Review – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I’ll admit, I was skeptical of another ‘Planet of the Apes’ movie.  They’d had a bunch of them, and only the first was really any good.  The recent remake was pretty forgettable, so much so that I had forgotten the end, despite having seen it at least twice on TV.  So why go see this?  The trailers worked.  I remember sitting in the theater, watching the previews, and realizing that it was a Planet of the Apes prequel, and that it actually looked…decent.  More recently, finding out that Andy Serkis was ‘acting’ as Caesar sold me.  I had to see what happened.

Well, I saw it last night, and was impressed.  The filmmakers managed to tell an intelligent, emotional story without getting too heavy-handed.  You really feel for Caesar as he tries to figure out where he fits in with the world, not a chimp, not a human.  James Franco as the scientist Will Rodman, who creates the drug that enhances ape intelligence(while curing, at least temporarily, his father’s (John Lithgow) Alzheimer’s is solid, you’d hardly imagine this is the same guy that appeared stoned or simply nutty at the Oscar’s.  I feel kind of bad for Tom Felton, who was servicable but your mind just keeps saying ‘Draco Malfoy, Draco Malfoy’ when you see him.

The movie is definitely worth the price of admission, and is a good example as to why you shouldn’t dismiss the various remakes and reboots and adaptations out of hand.  Unless it’s Battleship.

Movies Review

Movie Review – Cowboys and Aliens

Saw Cowboys and Aliens today, and it was just okay.  The early parts of the movie seemed to go in fits and starts, though the climactic scenes moved along well enough.  It’s an interesting mix of Sci-Fi and Western themes, and I do have to admit I had to rethink a few characters after seeing them through to the end.  It reminds me of a ’40s Western mixed with a ’90s Sci-Fi movie – a bit more gore than John Ford, but with gruff old-school cowboys taking the place of Will Smith in Independence Day.  Olivia Wilde adds beauty to any movie, and Sam Rockwell was quite good as the wimpy saloon owner who comes through in the end.  Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford give solid performances.

I’m having a hard time coming up with a lot more to say without spoilers, which should probably tell you what you need to know.  If you can see it cheap like I did, it’s entertaining enough, but I wouldn’t spend $10.  Go see Captain America again instead.

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Movie Review – Captain America: The First Avenger

I went to see Captain America: The First Avenger this weekend, and I have to say, it was a TON of fun.  It comes close, to me, to the first Iron Man as far as quality of the movie.  It does lack some small bit of the emotional impact I felt with Iron Man, but Captain America shades more towards adventure and further away from personal intrigue, which is fine.

 The movie centers around Steve Rogers, a scrawny, asthmatic orphan who nevertheless wants to join the Army and fight for his country.  In his last attempt, he catches the ear of Dr. Abraham Erskine, who recruits Rogers for a secret project led by Tommy Lee Jones’s Col. Phillips to make ‘super-soldiers’.

I won’t go too much deeper into the plot so as not to spoil it if you’ve never read the various Captain America origin stories.  Cap ends up leading the charge against the Red Skull and his Nazi off-shoot organization, Hydra.  It’s worthwhile to see Thor before this, as there are a few references that you will ‘get’ that you may not otherwise.  A friend of mine lamented that Red Skull never seemed to threaten Cap, though I’m not sure about that.  They basically are equals in strength and they do have a solid if somewhat short fight in the endgame of the movie.  I could see how that could be underwhelming, but it worked for me, especially with what occurs after.

All in all, I had a lot of fun watching The First Avenger.  Make sure you stay after the movie, AND after the credits for some more scenes, and a trailer for The Avengers.