James Franco

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Year: 2011
Directed By: Rupert Wyatt
Written By: Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver

RYAN’S REVIEW

I specifically remember getting mad about this movie before ever seeing it. I remember following the production, as I do with so many films, and I remembered when it changed from simply being an original film and into a Planet of the Apes film. That disappointed me as the trend was beginning to emerge wherein nothing seemed willing to try unless it could tie itself to an older successful franchise. We are fully into the era of remakes and reboots now and I hate it. I considered the switch in direction of this film and the assimilation it sought into a successful franchise as a cop out. It does not sit next to the original film in my collection simply because it does not belong there. Planet of the Apes was an awesome franchise that needed to be left alone and shouldn’t be touched again after the terrible effort by Tim Burton almost 15 years ago. I see this movie and franchise as an altogether different thing and see its intentional effort to include itself as simply a marketing ploy to make more money.

After seeing the film for the first time I found that I enjoyed it so much I was only more frustrated by the efforts to make it a psuedo reboot. Simply because it didn’t need to do that. It’s a good movie and good enough to stand on its own. There are certain similarities it bears to the original story but that does not make it the same. I have and will always say it is ridiculous to remake or reboot Cold War themed films. The conflict is gone and over and the movies that were about it don’t have any context to be remade today. Whether it’s a movie about high school youths who suddenly have to defend themselves from invasion (Red Dawnor a film about the consequences of self imposed destruction by fighting one another with doomsday weapons. The reality of that situation does not exist today and remakes about the situations do not translate. This movie however is neither a remake or a reboot despite what the title suggests.

This movie has its own social problem the story revolves around. An important one at that being the search for a cure or treatment for Alzheimers. Such a wicked disease is the one that robs us of the very thing that makes us who we are. It is even worse for those who love the afflicted. The husbands and wives who have to watch their spouses deteriorate and disappear after decades of union. It’s an illness that has been around forever but even today there is not enough effort being made to combat or cure the disease. If nothing else this movie is great for bringing more awareness to a problem that needs more money and more research.

This movie has a really good story and excellent special effects. Andy Serkis is an incredibly talented one of a kind actor. I love this franchise because it gives him the opportunity to display his exceptional skills performing in a motion capture suit. The next generation of actors that utilizes technology more and more will turn to the efforts of Andy Serkis when they study their art. Serkis in this movie works his magic in the suit as Caesar. These movements came easy to him this time around because he performed as an ape before in Peter Jackson’s King Kong. The rest of the cast is good enough. The only other one I’d deign to mention would be John Lithgow. Watching a second of his films in a row is a rare opportunity and it’s interesting because the roles are so different. Of course he is great in both of them because he is such an exceptional actor.

There are scenes in this movie that echo the original Planet of the Apes franchise but I remember reading somewhere along the way that they did that in re-shoots after production had wrapped. I could be wrong about that but it is the impression I have been under for 5 years and I stubbornly hold onto the idea. I think this movie is great, so long as it is separate and its own thing away from the original franchise. I think this story of one genetically mutated ape building and leading an uprising is really cool. I read somewhere that in the original ending James Franco was supposed to die but they changed it at the last minute. I actually think that might have made for a better ending to the movie but the movie is just fine the way it is.

This movie is a really cool start to an ongoing franchise that has plenty of potential to end well with a third film. The film builds a powerful story while setting up the sequel along the way. If you haven’t seen it you are missing out on a fun franchise. This movie is easily worth your time to see.

NEXT MOVIE: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

 

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Pineapple Express

Year: 2008
Directed By: David Gordon Green
Written By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Judd Apatow

RYAN’S REVIEW

I gotta be honest. This movie gets lost on me more and more the older I get. It’s occurred to us far too many times throughout this journey through the blog that we own too many movies of this kind. In fact we own so many pothead movies I have half a mind to start a new category and call it “college years” or something along those lines. This many in the collection gives the wrong impression of who we are. I’m a firm believer that a person’s movie collection says something about the person in general. Movies like this certainly say the wrong thing about us, but they are what they are and they are all here for a reason. If serving no other purpose than reminding us of the good ol days these movies all have their place in our collection.

I think this movie is really funny although a bit too much like an accidental sequel to Superbad. This group of guys has an ever growing reputation in the movie industry and it’s fun to see them doing their thing. I do feel like it should have stopped with this movie though. Enough is enough guys, you are better than reliving this pipe dream over and over again. I think this is a funny movie and I love it, but when it has come to the collaborations of James Franco and Seth Rogen since I am more and more not into it. I thought This is the End was cool, but it was a bit too much at the same time.  Things got so crazy with The Interview but I remember long before there was a controversy thinking: “again? come on guys.” I have yet to see The Interview, but I will because I think every American should see it just to spite the North Korean leader. I’m sure when I see it I will laugh but I think both of these guys are too good to waste their talent being silly in the same dynamic as before.

I love all the guys that are in this movie. In fact when This is the End was coming out I remember being so excited and thinking that it was a genius idea. It seemed like there was no way it wouldn’t be the funniest thing I had ever seen until I saw practically the same thing done by Simon Pegg and company in The World’s End and it was hands down funnier. What Simon Pegg did was not just funnier but a lot better than the movie these guys made about getting hammered as the world came to a close around them. That was a disappointment to me personally because I think these guys are better than that, as great as Pegg and his posse are, I expected more than simple pot head circle ideas from these guys.

I referred to this as an accidental sequel to Superbad but that’s not really true. It only feels that way to me because these movies came out so close to one another and were made by Judd Apatow, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen. Like Superbad this movie too is a story of two friends with a third odd ball tie in friend. They both feature the same type of comedy and Seth Rogen in a significant roll. There are also several other correlating actors in both films.  They are very different stories but I’ll never shake the feeling of continuity between these two movies.

I think Danny McBride is a really funny guy. He has a weird sense of humor and it’s not always for me but I like it more often than not. I specifically like his part in this movie and I think he is hilarious as the best/worst friend a guy could possibly have. His fight with Rogen and Franco is epic and awesome. He has the strangest demeanor about him and he can be so funny when he gets into character. Everybody brings something funny to this movie but Danny McBride stands out among the rest.

Craig Robinson and Kevin Corrigan have great chemistry as the two hit men just going about their jobs. Their parts seem similar to the parts played by Bill Hader and Seth Rogen in Superbad. Hader incidentally has a great cameo at the beginning of this film. Also playing a small role is a pre-Hangover Ken Jeong. I’m a big fan of Jeong, he plays a really small part in this movie and he doesn’t partake in any of the comedy, but I like seeing him in this all the same. He has done much better for himself in the years that followed this movie.

This is a silly movie and if you are still in the age range to enjoy it then this is certainly the movie for you. There are plenty of movies like this that really take me back but this one doesn’t really get me like that as the others do. This movie came out as that window in life was closing and the eye of responsibility had already squarely fixed its gaze on me. I was still young enough to really appreciate this one then but today I find myself identifying with Ed Begley Jr. more than anybody else. That is a scary realization in itself. I think this movie is worth your time but watch at your own discretion. Depending on your age and stance in life this movie can be perceived in a variety of ways ranging from really funny to really stupid.

NEXT MOVIE: Pitch Black (2000)