CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Monday, January 2, 2012

The New Stuff - Apes, Dogs and Smurfs..oh my!

Watched a lot of newer films thanks to a free trial through my blu-ray player that offers movies in HD. Funny thing is I bought my player 2 years ago and never bothered to check out all the offers that came with it. Well I have made up for that as we had three free movies to watch all in glorious High Definition and terrific Dolby sound. All the films we watched looked impressively clear and sounded dynamic. Here are my thoughts on said films.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) When I first saw the preview for this film early last year, I thought oh my we go again. About to ruin a classic with this update. Lo and behold, this isn't a remake but a prequel in a sense and it's one of the best films of 2011. Taking a page from I Am Legend as scientists (namely James Franco) thinks he has the cure to Alzheimer's, which his dad (John Lithgow) currently has. In Legend, it was the supposed cure to cancer. Well what works in chimps, does not work well on humans without side effects. But one ape dubbed Caesar (wonderfully played through technology by Andy Serkis..who did the same thing in Lord of the Rings as Gollum) actually becomes enhanced with mental faculties far greater than any specimen before him. But after an incident, he is taken to a facility with other apes and then starts to think beyond the box. Thus an ape revolution begins. This is one taut and exciting film with some amazing visual effects. Like I said Andy Serkis is phenomenal in his role as Caesar and I can't praise him enough. His Caesar is a fully developed character that is better than some actual human performances from other films. There are also several references to the original Planet of the Apes film, and a rousing standoff between apes and man on the Golden Gate Bridge. This is great film-making here people. Do not miss this movie.
STRAW DOGS (2011) This remake of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah classic which featured Dustin Hoffman as a meek husband who is pushed too far and decides to fight back against the men who torment him and his wife. The new film takes the same story and transplants the action from England to America. Specifically Mississippi. James Marsden takes over the role of Hoffman's and his wife is now played by Kate Bosworth. Her ex-boyfriend Charlie is played by Alexander Skarsgard, who along with his friends are rebuilding the couple's home. Soon though tensions become volatile as the ex has designs on Bosworth. Throw in the town's former football coach who is regarded as a messiah (James Woods) and things go from bad to real bad very fast. While this remake can't compare to the original, it is still a gripping film with a solid performance by Marsden. And an effective turn by Skarsgard.
THE SMURFS (2011) The live action version of the 80's children's cartoon was a must see by my wife. And it was free. All I can say is that the Smurfs themselves looked amazingly good in all their HD glory. That being said, I think kids will enjoy it along with their parents. Nice seeing Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays as the couple who take the Smurfs in.

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