WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

2017; directed by Matt Reeves; adapted by Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves; 140 mins

[MAJOR spoilers!]

Whoever would’ve thought you could say the phrase; “a beautiful performance from Steve Zahn“? The man who used to be the most annoying element of any movie in the late 90s/early naughties, here, gives one of the performances of the year so far! As a mad old, Ben Gunn-esque chimp called Bad Ape (which, it seems, is what his Zookeepers used to call him all the time), he is essentially the comic relief role, which he carries off enormously well, never tipping it too far or upsetting any scenes. What he also does, however, is countenance the comedy with just the right sprinkling of tragedy and frailty. So, Steve Zahn’s good – what else is good about this third installment? Well… Continue reading

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

2014; directed by Matt Reeves; adapted by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver; 124 mins

An ape on horseback brandishing a machine gun has got to be one of the most striking images ever projected onto a cinema screen. In 1968, Franklin J. Schaffner presented us with a crash-zoom of said image and 46 years later, the effect remains undiminished. This, in part, is as much down to Matt Reeves‘ fastidiously intelligent approach to making us understand the anger of the apes as it is the seamless motion-capture performances by Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, [et al] exuding a real sense of physical threat. Is this the best of all the apes films? I think it has a very strong case to put forward because, whilst not without it’s flaws, it is the film that puts the most in and gives the most back. Continue reading

ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story

2016; directed by Gareth Edwards; written by Tony Gilroy and Chris Weitz; 134 mins

[If you haven’t seen it, maybe don’t read this]

Never before have I engaged with a Star Wars film on an intellectual level, like this one! Inherent to the film’s story are themes of comradeship, revolution and sacrifice that make you think that if Disney is going to milk the cash cow that is Star Wars then rather they do it this way than to make multi-million dollar installments of an ongoing cuddly toy advert. Continue reading

NZIFF ’16/02 – HIGH-RISE

2015; directed by Ben Wheatley; written by Amy Jump; 119 mins

How great to see two big, subversive British films on the same day and for them both to be so great and so diametrically opposed, stylistically! It’s good also that I was able to have a few hours’ gap between the two because I think had I gone straight into this after my emotional experience with Sunset Song, it would’ve tarnished my enjoyment. Continue reading

PLANET OF THE APES: RETROSPECTIVE

PLANET OF THE APES

1968; directed by Franklin J. Schaffner; adapted by Rod Serling and Michael Wilson; 112 mins

Chuck Heston, though a tad saggy, gives us a good old-fashioned American hero to root for in no-nonsense astronaut, George Taylor, as he finds himself stranded on the titular planet. We know most the story beats – the reveal of the apes, the Statue of Liberty, etc – but amazingly, it all still holds up! But despite knowing most of┬áthe movie’s big twists, we settle into the story and really get to grips with the drama. Continue reading