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Flash Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

THERE were days where it felt he had a target painted on his back. What he originally thought were random acts of violence, where he happened to be the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time, he began to realize he was the main focus of the perpetrators’ aggression. Unfortunately bystanders around him would also fall victim to the violent acts. Being unexpectedly pushed from behind would cause him to fall into anyone standing in front of him, resulting in the chance they could topple and injure themselves. A liquid filled container thrown at him would also have an impact on anyone around him. He could never understand the hatred towards him. It was not like he started a fight or something; he pretty much fell into the average category, avoiding any type of conflicts or confrontations. His attitude was “live and let live” when it came to the behavior of others; however, there were days where it was a challenge to maintain that attitude.     SEVERAL weeks of constant attacks pushed me to a place I had never been before. With my friends being affected from the fallout and me becoming consumed with a deep set hatred towards my aggressors, I lashed out at one of them when he was alone. It was the only time I instigated a fight. What worked in my favor was the fact no one would ever imagine me picking a fight. Adding in the element of surprise, I was set to let all of my anger out onto this one individual while I kept telling myself not to get hit in the face and start crying. My hope was if I could show this one person that I could fight back that he and the rest of his kind would stop picking on me. A similar train of thought was considered in this 3rd installment of the rebooted action adventure franchise.     WHEN his enclave came under attack Caesar’s, played by Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings franchise, The Prestige), hopes of peaceful co-existence seemed an impossible reality. He would be forced to confront the ugliness of man head on. Compared to the two previous films I found this science fiction story incorporated elements of American slavery and the Bible; especially in regards to Moses and the 10 commandments, at least the movie version. With Woody Harrelson (The Edge of Seventeen, Now You See Me franchise) as the Colonel, Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club, A Perfect Getaway) as Bad Ape, Karin Konoval (The Movie Out Here, 2012) as Maurice and Amiah Miller (Lights Out, How We Live-TV movie) as Nova; I realized some people might not appreciate the acting skills of some of the actors who were CGI enhanced; but I have to tell you, I thought Andy and Karin were amazing in their roles. Andy, besides all of the physical acting, was still able to convey emotions with depth to his character. I will be curious to see if he gets any recognition for the amount of work he put into this dramatic picture. The special effects were well done, never over the top and appearing quite real. What really tied all of the good pieces together in this movie was the script; I felt it was well thought out, going beyond the typical sci-fi story. It had heart which quickly grabbed me into the story. As I continued to think about this film afterwards I can see where it could start a discussion about a variety of topics including our current times.

 

3 ½ stars

 

 

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Flash Movie Review: Born in China

THERE were so many people watching April the giraffe’s pregnancy that the computer servers became overloaded and the park had to shut down the live video streaming. I only saw a bit of it on the news; but I was fascinated with the attention April was getting from all around the world. What is it about an animal giving birth or more directly the immediate mother/child bond that gets formed that makes us humans stop and take notice? One thing that comes to mind is the pureness in animals’ behavior. Seeing the way a mother protects her child is amazing, especially when the animal’s instincts are being formed. The reason I use the word pureness is because I do not recall ever seeing an animal putting its offspring in harm’s way. Every action and reaction has a purpose as far as I can tell; unlike some of the things I have seen human parents do with their children.     PLEASE understand I do not mean to disrespect parents and parenting skills, but there have been times where I witnessed something that was puzzling and/or troubling. Sitting at a casual fast food restaurant I once saw a mother give her infant child a cola drink. The child must have been no more than 2 years of age; am I old fashioned or mistaken in my beliefs that giving a sugary soft drink to an infant is not a good idea? Personally I would never reprimand a child by slapping them across the face, yet I cannot tell you how many times I have seen it being done. And as I have said before children are born into this world without having the awareness of hatred, prejudice or discrimination; it is something that is taught to them. So you see why I say there is a pureness in the animal world that I do not easily find in the human one. This documentary will show you what I mean.     SET in the outer remote reaches of China director Chuan Lu (City of Life and Death, The Missing Gun) follows the lives of three different species (snow leopard, golden snub-nosed monkey and panda) and their babies. Narrated by John Krasinksi (13 Hours, Away We Go) I found his telling of the story was okay; he did not have the dramatic appeal compared to other actors I have heard in similar roles. There were two big reasons why I enjoyed watching this film. The first one was the cinematography; it was not only gorgeous, but exciting for me to see places in China that were so far removed from the familiar locations that are associated with the country. The other reason to see this film was the animals, of course. Sure the movie studio did its spin in creating a human emotional story onto the creatures, but ultimately it came down to the bond a mother and child have with each other. Compared to the previous movies done in this category there was really nothing new; the audience here witnessed the usual animal antics, danger and thrills. However it did not matter too much for me, though I was surprised there was a scene of sadness included in the story. I enjoyed this documentary about three species of animals that may not be residents at my local zoo, but I clearly understood what they were doing for their young. There were extra scenes during the credits.

 

3 stars          

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Monkey Kingdom

Maybe it is their antics or the way they make eye contact with us, but there is something about monkeys that gives one a sense of familiarity. From my first stuffed animal I received after my birth, I have always had a fondness for our simian cousins. What I am about to say may sound odd to some of you; but from all the animals I have encountered either at a zoo or nature park, the eyes of monkeys convey more to me than any other animal. There is a soulfulness to their eyes that makes one feel they are looking at an old soul. Fortunately there are 2 major zoos close to where I live, so I have access to visiting them frequently. Now I know what I just said about the eyes can apply to some of our pets; trust me I know, who doesn’t melt when they look into the loving eyes of their pet. It is funny how we tend to humanize the different species within the monkey population; just take a look at the movie franchise, “Planet of the Apes.” Gorillas tend to be cast as the enforcers or the heavy muscle (except the cartoon character Magilla Gorilla). Orangutangs are looked at as either the brainy or unintelligent ones. Then there are the monkeys and chimpanzees who know how to have fun and are quite inquisitive. Maybe it is my own prejudices but I never associate war or fighting when it comes to monkeys.    FROM Disneynature films this documentary was filmed in the jungles of South Asia about a family of monkeys. Directed by Mark Linfield (Earth, Chimpanzee) and narrated by Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted, Date Night), this movie was no less beautiful than the others from the film studio. It was incredibly shot with some scenes that one just had to sit and wonder how the camera people were able to get such close-up action. If you sit through the credits you will find out how they did it. Compared to previous animal based documentaries, I did not mind this film’s story. It provided some chuckles, touching moments, a couple of sad things and a few scenes of disbelief. I had to wonder if some scenes was staged because I could not believe what I was seeing on screen. From the first song of the soundtrack I actually burst out laughing because it was perfect for the scene. You will understand when you see it. Whether the scenes depicted were actually happening among the monkeys it did not matter to me. The story was good enough to the point where I believed it and as far as I was concerned, I was being entertained. I just wished my stuffed monkey was here to have seen it.

 

3 stars

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