I've seen a couple of movies in the last week. So I thought I'd pile my reviews up for you...
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
I must admit that on going in to this movie, my expectations were fairly low. The last 'apes' movie was in part responsible for this, much as I love the eternal sookiness of Mr. Wahlberg. Even the fact that the wonderful Tim Burton directed it didn't make it as wonderful as they would have hoped.
Anyway, I was a little apprehensive, but interested to see it after hearing a couple of good reviews.
Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was a pretty good movie.
The basic premise is that Will (James Franco) adopts an chimpanzee (Caesar) orphaned during lab testing. The chimp is ultra-intelligent but eventually makes a mistake that leads to interaction with other apes. It's the precursor to the Charlton Heston film, so we all know what's going to happen, but it's still an interesting ride.
The acting was probably one of the only areas of the film that brought my rating down, as well as some of the side-story (the romance wasn't especially sparkly). James Franco was OK, if not a little subdued. Brian Cox was his usual gruff self, with Tom Felton (a little overstretched on the American accent I thought) and Jamie Harris (good in a small role) playing his offsiders. John Lithgow, as his father with Alzheimer's was solid, as always.
The CGI is first-class, with Andy Serkis providing some amazing work as the basis of Caesar's intelligent chimp. You can tell it's CGI, but you don't really care, because it's done so well. The scenes with the animals are well put together, and the climactic action scene is clever and well-shot.
There were a couple of little plot holes, but overall I found it an engaging story that found a way to tell a story (that we all know the ending of) without making it too unbelievable or unsympathetic for anyone involved. I don't want to give any more away than that, but I thought the end moments were quite well handled.
I'd give this one 4 out of 5.
This one is new to DVD, and we'd been keen to see it for a while (we couldn't take Oli to see it at the movies as it's MA, but he totally handled the swearing and mild drug references that were obviously the main reason for rating it this way).
Paul is about two British nerds who are travelling the 'alien trail' in the U.S, when they meet Paul, an alien on the run.
I do love this kind of humour. I loved Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, which were also co-written by Simon Pegg. There's just something about British humour that gets me. It's the uptight-ness I think (if you haven't seen Death at a Funeral - the British version - please do!).
Anyway, the performances are good comedy: from Seth Rogan's gorgeous portrayal of Paul, to the absolute geekiness of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, to the idiotic fanatacism of Kristen Wiig's religious girl and Jason Bateman's always reliable straight man. He's actually even a little evil. The only let down was Sigourney Weaver. Her portrayal is flat and boring and doesn't add much to the comedy.
The effects that created Paul are clever, but that's not what the movie's about. It's a fun story with lots of laugh-out-loud moments. A good one for a relaxing Saturday night.
4 out of 5.