Hey guys. Just wanted to let you know that I’m taking a short break from movie reviewing. I’ll be back to regular blogging in October, but for now, I’ll be unwinding with some low-grade B-movie cheese delivered to us via the cast of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” And I’ll be reviewing every episode ever produced for the show, new and post-KTMA old. (Bonus points for you if you know what that means.) Here’s the link to said blog. I’ll be posting new reviews of the episodes every Tuesday from now until the end of October.
Just so you guys know, I’ll be watching movies at a relaxed pace this month. I won’t make any new posts until this month’s done, at which point I’ll likely post way more reviews in a day than I’ve posted in this entire blog’s existence.
I was planning on seeing “Annabelle: Creation” today, but I'm seeing “Detroit” instead. Just thought I'd let you know. In other news, I've started a blog where I review tokusatsu aimed specifically at children. If you like my reviews, and want to see them tackling things that hold up under their own standards as opposed to the academic standards of film scholars, well, here's the link. (My first review will be tomorrow, and I'll be seeing the movie after I get home.)
Update: It doesn't appear that I was much in the mood for “Detroit.” Go figure.
Hey, guys, just thought I'd tell you that I'm not publishing a review of “Dracula” until Monday. However, look for a review of a surprise movie on Saturday. I'll give you a hint as to what it is: It's coming out on Friday, and is connected to a franchise.
I was thinking that I'd review “Detroit” today, but due to me unexpectedly feeling ill before going into the theater, that was not what happened. (Before anybody says anything, I've elected to have the Sunday of each week be without a post, as that's the Holy Day.)
Anyway, starting Monday (for you guys, at least), I'm going to, for the first time, start seeing the Universal Monster films and reviewing them, starting with 1931's “Dracula.” Not all of them, but the ones I are highly recommended by every film lover's definition, or movies that are merely important to the property's history. One thing I've heard from quite a few people is that you have to be a certain state of mind to appreciate those movies, especially the ones from the ’30s. If someone here could provide a feel for what that state of mind entails, I'd like to know.
Perhaps more than ever, I must warn you away from this post if you don’t want the movie spoiled, as I can’t talk about movies in-depth without spoiling them. Especially not movies like this. Got that? Well, let’s press on.
This movie is even darker than its predecessor, and perfects that tone to a T, on top of that. I’ll admit that I was a little put off by how built-up the second meeting with the Colonel was in the first hour, but the fact that that hour flew by at a very quick pace (for me, at least) should tell you something. Once that second meeting with the Colonel happened, though, the movie started getting really, really good. By the end, I was utterly and completely enthralled. The story is so well-crafted that it’s hard to even know how to say why. I’m gonna give it…
Story Grade: 98% (A+)
The apes are as interesting as ever, and the introduction of “Bad Ape” could’ve very well turned out horribly, and too distracting from the movie’s tone, but they knew exactly when to use him. And here’s the best part: While downplayed in comparison to the previous two movies, the human aspect of the story is actually great and not bland in comparison. The Colonel is one of the best villains I’ve ever seen on film, not just because of how evil he is, but because of how understandable his evil is, which almost makes the line between what’s right and wrong in this movie so gray that there’s no “black” to compliment it. What else can I offer except the tip of my hat?
Characterization Grade: 100% (A+)
About on par with the script of “Dawn,” so I’ll repeat the grade I gave there.
Script Grade: 95% (A)
The best direction I’ve ever seen of any movie in the trilogy so far. I mean, the motion capture technology was pushed so far, and the action scene at the end is pure eye candy. And the expressions of both the apes is incomparable, and the body language expressed by the speaking and mute humans is incredibly expressive.
Directing Grade: 100% (A+)
For Caesar’s first fluently speaking role, Andy Serkis once again cemented his status as the Master of Motion Capture. Woody Harrelson is wonderful, and the actress playing Nova is brilliant.
Acting Grade: 100% (A+)
Like I said, pure eye candy, and caring about what happens is more important to its effect in this movie than ever.
Action Grade: 100% (A+)
This movie does indeed have “it,” and I love it. What more can be said?
Execution Grade: 100% (A+)
What more can I say? I’d have to see it again to find anything else to say.
Final Grade: 92% (A-)
Personal Final Grade: 100% (A+)
So, would I like to see more in this series? If they’re gonna be as good as “Dawn” or even “Rise,” I’d say yes. That’s all for now. See you soon!
Okay, so after a week-and-a-half of delays, I’m back, for the love all things good and great. (And no, I’m not telling you what caused the holdup. That’s between me and my housemates.) I’ve wasted enough time, so let’s get to it.
The story here is very well-realized and executed, with a huge scope, despite being “confined” to a single area of the country, and real weight to what’s going on. This is also one of the darkest movies to achieve “blockbuster film” status since “The Dark Knight.” (Didn’t forget about “Rises,” but whatever you think of that film, it’s not what you’d call “as dark as can be,” like its predecessor.) The amount of philosophical discussions to possibly be gained from this movie is about as high as it can go, as well. The story also has the benefit of small things that don’t add up in the moment making sense in the grand picture, and what few things that truly don’t add up being small things that you’d only notice on repeat viewings. (Plus, the fact that three years later, I’m still shocked that Koba turned on Caesar should tell you something.)
Story Grade: 100% (A+)
This is an area that doesn’t have as much success as the other parts. The human characters aren’t uninteresting, but there’s not as much to their characterizations as there ideally should be. (I mean, Carver not trusting apes even in the face of the full picture of what actually happened in the lab might be possible in any other context than the one presented in the story, but that’s just my perspective.) Where the movie shines the best, though, is developing the apes as characters, with Caesar’s hesitance to pass judgement being a major problem, and Koba having an understandable reason for doing what he does. (Not justifiable, just understandable.) Maurice is also shown to be as docile as an ape in these movies can be, finally establishing a clear character for him, specifically. In the end, not quite as a success as the story, but still enough to earn a cool…
Characterization Grade: 92% (A-)
The dialogue between the apes is well-written (both sign and spoken), and the sense of dread to the whole movie is complimented by the dialogue between the human characters, as well. What else is there to say?
Script Grade: 95% (A)
Matt Reeves sure knows how to direct a great action movie, and his penchant for cinematic art (which I hear played a big part in the making of “War”) shines through. This area is part of why the movie is such a tangible improvement over “Rise,” which had one weak area, that being direction.
Direction Grade: 100% (A+)
The motion capture actors are great, as per expected, and how can I dislike the humans when they’re Gary Oldman (even if he’s kind of a… insert swear word here) and Keri Russell? (I’m not familiar with Jason Clarke, but he’s good.)
Acting Grade: 95% (A)
The assault on the city is quite a sight to behold, and the final fight between Caesar and Koba is legitimately exciting, with the fact that you care about what’s happening, again, being a huge bonus.
Action Grade: 100% (A+)
This might be one of the best-executed movies I’ve ever seen. The motion capture is great, the overall imagery is great, and everything seems to be running like a well-oiled machine. (In fact, I’d be very surprised to find out that there were any major problems with production at all.)
Execution Grade: 100% (A+)
This movie has all of this, but it also has the “it” I mentioned in my “King Kong” review, the “it” that makes me know that this movie is one of my favorites. I can’t tell you the exact spot, but it’s easily among all of them. Anyway, what’s my grade?
Final Grade: 90% (A-)
Personal Final Grade (For What That Means, Go Back to My “Rise” Review): 96% (A)
Well, that’s two out of three films in the reboot series reviewed. Look for my review of “War for the Planet of the Apes” tomorrow. See you then!
Just a quick update; the “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” review will hopefully, hopefully, be published tomorrow. No promises, but that seems to be the direction things are going. Once again, I'm sorry for not keeping you guys satisfied, but things are definitely changing, as my landscape is not anything like it used to be.