Tuesday, 22 July 2014
131 Minutes. Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke & Gary Oldham. Director: Matt Reeves.
Damn you apes! Damn you're good! Gone are the days when the human race was enslaved by men in monkey suits wearing Carhartt's finest. Now the gorgeous graphics and sensational, super special effects bringing these evolving apes to advances over human life are as detailed and meticulous as an ape going through another apes hair with its hand and mouth, fine tooth and comb cleaning ritual. After all the outstanding originals became cult classics, Tim Burton's 2001 reboot was a rocket lost in space. Then years later in this recycled age another redux came with its solo hit star James Franco in 'Rise Of The Planet Apes'. A fresh new film that captured the apes in creative C.G.I. that was the closest thing to the truest testament, save giving real primates guns and teaching them how to attack humans...now wouldn't that be something...something scary. Saving the casualties and faeces thrown its time to take this monkey business back to the green screen for some vivid visuals that are ape s*** crazy in all their 3D and IMAX glory. Right now beating at the chest of the extinct 'Transformers' with both fists and between all the Godzilla's and Marvel monsters, nothing can top this banana that shows with 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' and 'Sin City-A Dame To Kill For' we still have a bunch of brilliant blockbusters in this scorching hot Summer season.
Franco may be gone ladies but to be frank the real star here is Caesar. Or should we say Andy Serkis? You may be hard pressed to find a film these days and ages with some real face time from the digital darling but the man who is Gollum and every other classic C.G. created character is unanimously unmistakable. As gag reel hilariously inspiring it must be to act alongside this graphic great he is a real, true actor of marvellous method, who in this film future may just create a new category for the Academy...albeit an Oscar with white dots and ping pong balls all over it for Caesar. Critically its only different than a man in a mask by being 100 times and per cent better and perfect. Now Serkis gets the top-billing he and his rich effect has for so long and ignored richly deserved and earned. Still taking the human lead with chimp compassion after James is Jason Clarke. The man who from 'Public Enemies' and 'Lawless' and 'The Great Gatsby' has been making his impressive rounds for years now finally gets the breakout he deserves. Strong, sincere but subtle enough to stay in the background of San Francisco zoo's main feature presentation Clarke brings a mild mannered measure of mastery. More passionate with a war torn necessary punctuation, Gary Oldham brings more of his best work and speech sound bites in a middle age that is anything but middle of the road. If you thought his Commissioner Gordon had a lot of darkness to deal with in Gotham then just you wait until this night of emotional and peaceful promise breaks down and begins in a finale of fire and brutally brilliant bullets and brimstone. Right now its always darkest in the middle of the 'Dawn'.
Still Caesar's Brutus may not lie in wait with the race with the humans. War begins at home like picking the 'Lord Of The Flies' out of this story and the villain of this piece Koba is a classic character of conflict all the way to the scars you cant see, more disfiguring than the ones on his face. Koba and his guerilla warfare tactics are the chaos catalyst that takes the wheel of a mac truck and drives this downfall on an even darker direction behind all his horse and fire power. One scene of him sharing a drink and even more with two humans is a playful descent into a sinister sip of brutal brilliance and grounding gravity which is a lump in the throat of the hard to swallow stakes. As great it is to watch him and Caesar head to palm, the rest of the friends and family ape population is as good and great as the depleted human one. Still between all the words and weapons its the sticks and stones of this Serkis led look of the film that's the biggest howl of pride. Sure in a forest fortress of fiery madness the heart of the cities original is gone but that's the wiped out, end if the world as we know it point. The deeper and darker we delve we have an effect perfect war paint set up to conclude this terrific trilogy. This season we cant wait for the fall. After seeing what they did to a grizzly bear just wait what they have in store for the humans after turning the iconic Golden Gate bridge battleground into a moss covered face of apocalypse. Now I cant wait to see what they do to the Statue of Liberty in the next landmark instalment. In this jungleland these kongs are king. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 6 July 2014
Robots In Distress
170 Minutes. Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammar, Stanley Tucci, Ken Watanabe & John Goodman. Director: Michael Bay.
Crash! Bang! Wallop! Michael!? Ok Michael...MICHAEL! Can you let someone else play with your toys now? PLEASE! You've had your fun, we get it. The first 'Transformers' movie was fresh, new and exciting. Whereas even the last one 'Dark Of The Moon', that tried to rip off Pink Floyd was a hell of a lot better than most people saw. Still this new 'Age Of Extinction' (in more ways than one) is more like the second slump of a sequel 'Revenge Of The Fallen' which threw everything at the wall only to have nothing stick. Its even been reported that director Michael Bay screamed in excitement " throw more stuff at him" when he filmed his new star Mark Wahlberg in one of his trademark energy charging then sapping action scenes. What more does he want? Yep Wahlberg is a beefed up Academy upgrade, but Shia is gone along with Rosie and of course Megan Fox who has now reunited and become friends with the man she called a "Nazi" again to play April O'Neal in the new Bay 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' movie...God help that nostalgic childhood dream of mine. When I was a kid it was a tradition at Christmas to tie orange, red, blue and purple bands around snowmen I made. If Bay came round for Christmas dinner he'd probably attach grenades to them all. What happened to this man inbetween all those explosions and sunsets? I mean this is the 'Armaggedon' director who made a decent hit out of the 'Pearl Harbour' misfire. Facing his own apocalypse, the franchise milker on a 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' shore, tide and scale shouldn't be surprised if no one wants a 'Bad Boys 3' anymore...let alone another one of these.
We've had enough! Even Bay can't tell if this a sequel or a reboot anymore (taking Optimus Prime to Counts Kustoms for a pimp my ride paint job doesn't count) new metal robots that change into everything and anything under the sun of the worst product placement you've ever seen since the 'Man Of Steel' was thrown threw every "convenience" store imaginable. Still can they transform into a better movie while we're sipping on those Bud Lights subtly strewn through the streets of downtown Chicago? The answer I'm afraid is...'of course not...are you mad'!? Have you not seen the others? This guys idea of a reboot is a recycle and he's using nothing but scrap metal. At times this franchise doesn't know if it's aerially trying to be 'The Avengers' or their own last movie. Hasbro cartoon fans will be happy to see things like Galvatron and the legendary Dinobots, but even Steven Speilberg-the man that opened 'Jurassic Park'-sitting in the executive producers chair here can't save those things from literally looking prehistoric. Besides they're only here for the last half hour of what seems like three , in what would of been an awesome plot twist and perhaps film saviour if this films hype and trailer didn't act as its own spoiler. We're going to need some more amber and some tinkering around with these short circuit's. The supposedly iconic, metallic symbol of heroism Optimus Prime is out for even more blood rust then his last two executions, whereas Bumblebee's legendary voice-activating car radio seems to be tuned into a new station that's playing the same old record. I don't mean to sting so much but this is what happens when you continue this ridiculous robot racism...I mean this time what was the seriously talented Ken Watanabe thinking? Whereas it may be great to hear the voice of the fondly funny John Goodman but you have to ask why is there a fat robot with a full beard that smokes metal cigars? What does he transform into? Coronary heart disease? There was a digital time where these nuts and bolts switching car gears to new robotic frames where truly the definition of special effects before your eyes...but now all the action happens too quickly before your bleeding brain as Bay crushes over the last bit of real estate he's just ruined whilst thinking he can rewrite not only the laws of physics and the properties of metal, but ancient history too.
Where's LaBeouf too? Just when Shia was maturing into something more than just another Mickey Mouse (just watch 'Lawless' for proof of where his real talent lies) he's gone. Replaced along with the likes of Tyrese Gibson who soldiered on and practically carried the third act of the last film like that Linkin Park songs extended cut. At least the actor/singer can motor on with his 'Fast and Furious' franchise which isn't running out of road like this is running out of metal. I mean I know these films aren't really about the humans but I never thought I'd say I miss Sam's parents. Still there are big names amongst the newcomers who may never read another script again. Wahlberg is an upgrade who could almost convince us he could muscle up and rock em, sock em, knuckle up with the Transformers himself. The Oscar nominated star and 'Ted' franchisee should stick to the comedy gold and cuddly toys from now on and file this one next to his Tim Burton 'Planet Of The Apes' (you would think he would have learned after 'Pain & Gain') because next to the new one and the new 'Godzilla' this is one movie that really needs a real reboot. Then again after all this who would watch it? The big appeal of this movie and best thing isn't even its marquee robot red carpet stars, but some of its co-ones. As the perfect villain Kelsey Grammer gets his 'Boss' on and plays it straight, although it would have been great to see him as a Transformer or using his trademark 'Frasier' charm or crazy Sideshow Bob shouting...then again there's always 'The Expendables 3'. Still, the best thing about this film may just be the great Stanley Tucci who plays a class A bag of you know what. Actor and character have no idea what they've let themselves in for. Credit to Michael Bay for some stunning shots in the sublime Texas, Chicago and Hong Kong locations and some...SOME comedy moments in this dumb fun that looks something between a music video and video game, but its time to evolve the establishing shots and make a transforming transition from the low angle theory. Let this be a lens flare lesson to director of the moment J.J. Abrams. Bay's bold camera work has turned into a self parody between all his pervy angles. If he's not careful soon he'll be shooting porn as well as this metal one...except he'd probably blew up the kitchen sink that was supposed to be fixed. Now that 'Pacific Rim' has shown where the real steel lies in these robot wars its time for some more mettle, less corn and then maybe once again this will be the big cheese, but please not another slice. Optimus is past his prime and that my robotiers is no disguise. TIM DAVID HARVEY.