Darren's Movie Reviews & News
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

image

Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Kodit Smit-McPhee, Toby Kebbell, Nick Thurston, Judy Greer, Kirk Acevedo, Doc Shaw

Directed by Matt Reeves

Run Time: 131 min
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Science Fiction, Action
Release Date: July 11, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

My Score: 8.5 out of 10

Synopsis:

Ten years after the outbreak of the ALZ-113 virus, the human race is nearly extinct. Those who survive are alive because they were genetically immune to the virus and live in closed off colonies in fear of becoming effected. The apes led by Caesar (Serkis) have setup a home in the Muir Woods outside of San Francisco and believe that the humans are all dead. But when a group of humans led by Malcolm (Clarke) discover the apes in the forest, both discover that they are not alone in the world.  While Caesar and Malcolm begin to understand each other, forces within both the human and ape colonies grow uneasy at the new formed alliance and results in a conflict between human and ape that forces Caesar and Malcolm to fully trust each other if they hope to survive.

Review:

Wow!! I never thought a Planet of the Apes film could be this good, but Matt Reeves has outdone himself by crafting an incredibly smart summer blockbuster that relies less on the special effect spectacle and emphasizes a strong plot and an amazing performance by Andy Serkis.

First off, the apes special effect are absolutely extraordinary. They seem real, which is exactly what you need for the movie to work. If the apes looked fake and completely computer generated, it would be impossible to take the movie seriously. But its Andy Serkis’s performance as Caesar that steals the entire movie. Typically, an actor that speaks little in a movie doesn’t make a huge impact on you while your watching it. The exact opposite is true with Serkis. His small lines are delivered with such power, and it literally gives you goosebumps when he speaks. Its just brilliant.

The plot to the movie is easy enough to follow, not complex but it poses deep questions about humanity and life. But Reeve’s direction allows the story to be thrilling and even at moments that are natural for an action film to have you pinned to the back of your seat with fear. And the action sequences feel completely natural to the story, there is nothing over the top about them and they tell the story versus having a story centered around the action. It’s easy to say that I’m excited to see where the franchise goes next, as this Apes film proves that these film makers know how to make an incredibly satisfying film.

Final Thoughts:

A smart and gripping summer blockbuster that features amazing special effects and a brilliant performance yet again from Andy Serkis as Caesar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a film that is not to be missed this summer.

Sex Tape

image

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Lowe, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Nat Faxon, Nacy Lenehan, Randall Park, Jack Black

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Run Time: 94 min
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: July 18, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 20%

My Score: 7.5 out of 10

Synopsis:

Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segel) have been happily married for years, but their sex life has been lacking since they had children. One night when they don’t have the children, they decide to film themselves having sex. But when Jay forgets to delete the tape and it syncs to their cloud and every iPad they have given out as a gift to friends, family, and co-workers, Jay and Annie embark on a wild night out to delete their sex tape before anyone sees it.

Review:

Sex Tape is entertaining enough, but it plays out like a typical R rated comedy. But for those looking for a purely fun trip to the movies, this film will definitely have you laughing.

The film mainly succeeds due to a great pairing in Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. The two of them play off each other perfectly and have the talent to be funny no matter the awkward situation they are thrown into. They carry the very plotless movie on their shoulders for the short run time, and they do a great job of making it entertaining. They make the best of the typical R rated comedy jokes, and they have some funny new ones that are brought to the table too! They are helped by the supporting Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper as they married friends, they are very good at stealing the scene when needed to keep the movie feeling fresh.

The plot to the movie is pretty bad. The plot revolves around getting rid of the sex tapes on the iPads they have given out, but they spend a good portion of the movie just trying to get rid of one tape. And they don’t think about what technology could do for them, and a last minute plot twist attempts to make getting rid of the tape even more important, but it never feels like a reason for any of the movie to happen. The movie flows from joke to joke and its probably best if you ignore the plot and just go with the flow.

Final Thoughts:

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are entertaining enough on screen together to save Sex Tape from its weak plot and stereotypical R rated comedy jokes, saving it from being an easily forgotten comedy to an enjoyable hour and a half.

Comic Con Poster for “Jurassic World”In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D June 12, 2015

Comic Con Poster for “Jurassic World”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D June 12, 2015

Comic Con Poster for Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter”Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Premieres on September 23, 2014Agent Carter Premiers in 2015

Comic Con Poster for Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter”
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Premieres on September 23, 2014
Agent Carter Premiers in 2015

New Character Poster for “Guardians of the Galaxy”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D August 1, 2014

Entertainment Weekly Cover and First Photos for “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”
in Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D May 1, 2015

New Character Posters for “Guardians of the Galaxy”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D August 1, 2014

Extended Trailer for “Guardians of the Galaxy”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D August 1, 2014

New Trailer for “Gone Girl”
In Theaters October 3, 2014

New Trailer for “Big Hero 6”
In Theaters and 3D November 7, 2014

First Trailer for “Ouija”
In Theaters October 23, 2014

First Image of Superman from “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”In Theaters May 6, 2016

First Image of Superman from “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
In Theaters May 6, 2016

Teaser Trailer for “Horrible Bosses 2”
In Theaters November 26, 2014

First Photos from “Horrible Bosses 2”
In Theaters November 26, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction

image

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, T.J. Miller, Sophia Myles, Titus Welliver, Peter Cullen, Mark Ryan, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Bingbing Li, Sophia Myles

Directed by Michael Bay

Based on the Hasbro Action Figures

Run Time: 165 min
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Release Date: June 27, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 15%

My Score: 8.5 out of 10

Synopsis:

Cade Yeager (Wahlber) is a stuggling Texan inventor, barely able to make ends meat to support his daughter Tessa (Peltz.) But when Cade brings home an old truck for parts, he discovers that it is actually Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots. But the government soon invade his farm, threatening him and his daughter, making them fugitives along with Tessa’s boyfriend Shane (Reynor) and forcing them to take refuge with the Autobots as they hunt down the government organization and the mysterious Transformer that is hunting them down one by one and exterminating them.

Review:

By now, audiences know what to expect from a Transformers film even if the critics can’t come to terms with the fact. The latest entry into the franchise features everything one would expect  and proves to be one of the most entertaining movies of the year. Explosions, never ending action sequences, and special effects galore are packed into the incredibly long run time to give you what is easily the first action blockbuster of the year where you can easily check your brain in at the door and sit back and relax.

First off, the change in cast is one of the notable features of the new film. Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel and welcome to Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor.  The e=new cast works, but its very clear that Mark Wahlberg is the clear star here. His action packed role has him first hand fighting the alien as he protects his daughter played by Peltz from the Decepticons that are hunting them down through out the movie. Peltz is decent enough as Wahlberg’s daughter, but the role is pretty basic and doesn’t give anything to wow about. Jack Reynor is quiet entertaining as Pelt’z boyfriend who feels the wrath of Wahlberg for a good portion of the movie, providing some great comic relief. The rest of the new cast is nothing memorable, except T.J. Miller who is painful as Wahlberg’s friend but luckily he’s not in much of the movie so he doesn’t ruin it.

Action wise, it’s quite possible that Michael Bay has out done himself. The fight sequences are brilliantly executed, engulfing the entire screen into chaos and madness as the Transformers battle it out. Mark Wahlberg gets right in their with alien technology, and even fights off the human bad guys which is where this Transformers film differs from the rest. The humans are not merely running from the Transformers, but get involved in the fighting which is something new and exciting or the franchise. The special effects are surreal, the 3D is perfect and combined with the IMAX camera footage this could easily be one of the best looking movies of the year. I saw the film in the IMAX 3D format, and I wouldn’t suggest viewing it any other way. The size of the screen and power of the sound system are made for this film to the extent where a building is taken out by a Transformer that the theater shakes, making the fight scenes ten times more engaging!

Plot wise, don’t expect much. This is a Transformers film so there is a basic plot, it gets the movie from the beginning to the end but there are some massive holes and it’s not complex. After a summer full of movie with complex stories that have left audiences clinging to their seats, a basic plot is somewhat welcomed, and it nicely sets up for the next planned trilogy. And the plot is different too, the bad guys are all defeated by the end and the real villain remains undisclosed to which leaves some questions unanswered, which will easily have me back in theaters to see what spectacle Michael Bay will come up with next.

Final Thoughts:

A fun, loud and massive blockbuster in every sense, Transformers: Age of Extinction is different enough from its predecessors to offer a fun new take on the franchise while keeping the fundamentals the same, guaranteeing that it will become one of the biggest films of the summer!