MOVIES: War for the Planet of the Apes

War for ApesI saw War for the Planet of the Apes today. I was disappointed.

After the hype the trailers – and some of the reviews – raised, I found the movie lacking in the sense of awe I experienced in its two successors. The first – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – had a moving poignancy. I thought the second – Rise of the Planet of the Apes – was raw and powerful.

I had hopes, in the third one, to see Andy Serkis once again show us why capture motion acting needs to be treated seriously. All I saw was a man — to be sure a talented actor — in an ape suit; this one painted on him by a computer.

I found the writing strained and the story pedestrian. The actors tried; there were strong performances by Serkis and Steve Zahn (who stole the show), but there was nothing there to support them. Through it all, there were pitiful attempts to bring the story full circle, to make connections to the very first Planet of the Apes in 1968.

Like the 1968 movie, most of the apes walked fully upright (and looked like people in ape suits), Caesar, Serkis’ character had a young son name Cornelius (the name of the chimp in the 1968 version) and a young, blonde mute girl was given the name Nova (a name used for a human woman in the 1968 movie) in a very clumsy fashion.

All in all, a sad experience. I cannot recommend it.

MOVIES: The Girl with All the Gifts

The GirlI got around today to watch The Girl with All the Gifts, the zombie movie that came out this past February, and its a pip.

It’s easily as good as 28 Days Later and runs circles around every episode of The Walking Dead I’ve seen.

Fantastic world-building, tight directing, smart performances, and a twist that makes it so much more than just another zombie flick.

Glad I watched it, intend to watch it again, and sorry it took so long for me to get around to it. I’ll give it 3.5 stars just because I’ve never seen a movie I consider a 4.0.


LoganRachael and I saw Logan yesterday.

I enjoyed it – a lot – but thought it to be just another X-Man movie, perhaps the best I’ve seen, but not the studied “film” so many critics have said it to be.

It tries to say violence isn’t a solution, that it only begets more violence. Even so, it gloried in its violence, and there’s a ton of it.

It lacks the visceral intensity of Midnight Special, a recent film involving two men on the run, carrying a child with special talent.

IMO, writer-director James Mangold’s attempt to use dialogue from Shane to provide an end note was sloppy story-telling. I have another end in mind, one that I believe elevates the story, makes it more than a chase and slash movie, but I would have to use spoilers to explain it, so I’ll set that aside for now.