Tag Archive: planet of the apes


Ask the general public who they think the best actor in the world is and you will probably be met with replies varying from Bradley Cooper to Ryan Gosling and, with the release of Man of Steel, you may even hear people citing Henry Cavill as ‘the best actor ever’: the general public are fickle when it comes to actors/actresses and they tend to follow the trends, whoever is ‘hot’ right now will be in the public eye more and the public will be tricked into liking them. I don’t wish to take anything away from the three particular actors I mentioned as I do like all three of them: they all have potential, but are they brilliant actors? I would hesitate to say so just yet.

Now if you’re reading this you probably have an interest in films and will no doubt know who Paul Giamatti is, but as the everyday cinema goer if they like him and the likely response will be “who?”; telling them that he is an Oscar nominated actor will probably not help either. While the likes of Cooper, Gosling and Cavill make headlines and get on the covers of magazines Paul Giamatti goes about his versatile projects with the utmost respect for the people he is working with and for the target audience. Giamatti is an actor that can consistently be relied upon to give great performances and make anything all the more enjoyable for his appearance. The reason why I have decided to write about him now is because of his insistence to ever expand his repertoire and has recently joined the cast of British ITV drama, Downton Abbey.

After slumming it for a few years, Giamatti got his first big break in 1997 when he starred in Private Parts, a role which catapulted him to face after he received a lot of praise for his performance. This led to Giamatti getting more and more supporting roles in big Hollywood films such as The Truman Show and Saving Private Ryan. His rise to fame in Hollywood continued after the turn of the 20th century appearing in Big Momma’s House, Planet of the Apes and Big Fat Liar. Okay, so not all of his films are good, but how often does and actor have a slate with no spills upon it? And anyway, it’s what he did after this that starts to get impressive.

In 2004, Giamatti reminded everybody just how good he is: Sideways. In this independent romantic comedy, Giamatti portrays a depressed writer with a very healthy liking of wine. Now I will admit that when I first watched Sideways I failed to see what the hype was about, nevertheless I recognised that Giamatti was putting in a terrific performance. Alongside Thomas Haden Church (another actor I’ve come to like a lot recently) Giamatti is absolutely wonderful, capturing an incredibly realistic portrayal and offering up moments of drama and comedy in equal share and to equal success. Sideways on the whole became a surprise hit and was nominated for five Oscars which helped the whole cast’s career greatly.

But Giamatti was made to wait for his personal Oscar nomination. That came when Giamatti starred alongside Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man, playing Joe Gould, boxing manager and friend to Russell Crowe’s character. Although he lost out at the Oscars to that little known actor George Clooney (Syriana) Giamatti proved once again that he was one of Hollywood’s finest.

Since then, Paul Giamatti has gone on to vary his career as much as possible in terms of the roles he takes. Whether it be in the great action film Shoot ‘Em Up, the animated The Ant Bully, comedy in The Hangover Part II, drama in The Ides of March or even a musical such as Rock of Ages, Giamatti will give it all and continue to dominate films with his performance. I fail to think of a film appearance by Giamatti in which he has ever failed to live up to my high expectations I have of him: he is just ultimately captivating and always exciting to watch on screen.

There are a huge number of projects in the pipeline (not least Turbo and the latest adaptation of Romeo and Juliet) but arguably most exciting is the fact that he will be appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as villain Rhino. This could possibly be the best bit of superhero movie casting since Robert Downey Jr. completely stole the hearts of the world as Tony Stark. Early set photos (pre-CGI) look exciting and as if this is going to be another memorable performance from Giamatti. With critical acclaim being fired at him from every angle, it is about time he became a staple in the minds of mainstream cinema-goers. Here’s hoping…

In my opinion, Paul Giamatti is one of the greatest character actors of all time, allowing himself to completely indulge himself in every aspect of his role and this comes across perfectly on screen. Certainly someone to watch in everything he does.

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Troubled sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes finally has it’s leading man. It’s taking some time getting done but Jason Clarke has been cast in the lead role; lets face it, we all knew James Franco really didn’t want to come back so this isn’t really a surprise. What may come as a shock, however, is the news that ‘Dawn‘ is due to take place FIFTEEN years after Rise of the Planet of the Apes so it will be interesting to see how far the apes have come since ‘Rise‘ and how the planet is shaping up. Clarke has previously appeared in Public Enemies, Lawless and most recently Zero Dark Thirty so he has a surprisingly good track record.

 

They haven’t won any Oscars yet but it looks as though David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence clearly enjoyed working together on Silver Linings Playbook because they have agreed to do another two projects together. First it was announced the Lawrence had joined the cast in a lead role in a currently untitled film (previously known as American Bullshit) which also stars former O. Russell collaborators Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) and Christian Bale (The Fighter). The second is The Ends of the Earth; this time it was Lawrence who was already signed on and clearly David O. Russell thoroughly enjoys her company as he has agreed to direct this film too.

 

Marvel have a lot of film projects dotted about studios as well as their own ‘two films per year’ scheme they seem to be operating so you can pretty much guarantee that there will be something in the news regarding them every week, even more so with Bryan Singer back directing X-Men as he LOVES to talk about the project. Firstly, Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) has been cast as Drax the Destroyer in Marvel’s own cosmic team-up film Guardians of the Galaxy, which is moving well on the casting front. As well as this, Momoa’s co-star on Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage, has been added to the ever expanding cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past. After early speculation of Dinklage playing Alpha Flight team member Puck was dismissed it now seems as though he will be playing a villain, probably Bolivar Trask, creator of the Sentinels.

 

And now, to end on a very good note! The previous James Bond film, Skyfall, was a smash hit around the globe winning both critically and commercially. Now it seems that it is almost dead certain that director Sam Mendes WILL return to direct the 24th Bond film in the series. Bond 24 is already being written by the same writer as Skyfall so to have Mendes back on board would increase expectations even more but I am certain that he can deliver.

Sometimes when you see a trailer for a film it can either make you really want to go and see that film or it can make you decide that there is no way you are going to see that film if not even the trailer looks good! I felt the latter about Rise of the Planet of the Apes when it was released last year. However, a friend of mine asked me to go and see this film with him and, never being one to turn down a trip to the cinema no matter how bad a film looks, I went along. I went into the screen expecting to be twiddling my thumbs for an hour and a half; I did not expect to be sat there having my heartstrings played with by a CGI invention but this is what actually occurred!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the story of Will (James Franco) and Caesar (Andy Serkis).  Will is a bright young scientist working on ALZ-112, otherwise known as a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and is desperate for his cure to be put into a phase of human trials after successful trials on apes. This is because Will’s father is suffering from Alzheimer’s and Will cannot cope with his father’s illness and the suffering it is putting the family through. After ‘Bright Eyes’ goes rogue at the lab, all chimpanzees have to be put down. This is where Will and chimp handler Franklin (Tyler Labine) find a new born baby chimp, soon to be known as Caesar. Caesar instantly shows signs that he inherited the ALZ-112 drug from his mother and his intelligence charts off the scale for a chimpanzee. Although this is fantastic new for Will at first, events take their toll as Caesar grows older and more ambitious.

In truth this is not one of James Franco’s best performances but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad performance, just not neccassarily as good as one might expect from a man who put in a terrific performance in 127 Hours and managed to grab an audience’s attention and hold it all by himself for ninety minutes. However, his friendship with Caesar is truly believable. Tyler Labine, Brian Cox and David Oyelowo put in an adequate shift, John Lithgow as Will’s father is one of the best performances whilst Tom Felton and Freida Pinto seemed to be competing in a competition of who could act worse. But the real star, of course, is Andy Serkis as Caesar. Serkis has made a name for himself in motion capture performance with roles as Gollum in Lord of the Rings and King Kong in Peter Jackson’s remake of the classic film. Here, Serkis is once again brilliant; his emotion he brings to the character make Caesar one of my favourite characters (and one of the best characters) of this century.

Caesar’s relationships with the human characters are wonderful to watch. Will and Caesar soon have a mutual respect for each other as Caesar soon becomes one of Will’s closest and only friends where he one was just a test subject. Caesar develops a heart-warming relationship with Will’s dad and some of the most touching scenes take place between these two. So for a film that bases so much of it’s development and early story on relationships it seems almost implausible that there is this ridiculous love story happening at the same time between Franco and Pinto’s characters which really adds little to the overall story.

You’d be surprised how emotionally captivating and driven Caesar can be to say he is just computer generated. His creation is a wonderful credit to the visual team on Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Andy Serkis himself. But it is not just Caesar, in the final act there are hundreds of primates running about the town and the special effects are wonderful – the special effects in this film are among the best that I have ever seen. You would honestly think that they were real chimpanzees at times.

The final act is fantastic. There is the climatic battle on the bridge between humans and apes that audiences have waited for since the beginning of the movie with seeds planted leading to this moment for a while. And it does not disappoint; the action is directed superbly and everything happens so smoothly – it really is great to watch and exciting as the apes bring down the police force and war wages throughout the streets.

There were obviously a few things that annoyed me (besides Freida Pinto’s involvement in the film). Most notably, the fact that in the first twenty five minutes eight years pass by and the only character that ages is Caesar. I know it was important to speed through this so that we could get to Caesar’s story as a grown ape but at least make James Franco and the rest of the cast look eight years older. How hard is it to do that when you’re creating hundreds of apes? Come on.

Anyway, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a very emotional and touching film, not just a nonsense popcorn flick which many people seem to mistakenly believe it to be. I went in with a negative approach and I really enjoyed it, there are some shocks, some great action, fantastic character development in Caesar and a great ending setting up the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, very nicely indeed.

My Rating: 7/10.

So, this is the movie news that should have been posted yesterday, however I got slightly side tracked by the fact that there was a new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey being released and I was so excited and highly anticipating that trailer that I forgot to post this. So let’s all just pretend it’s on time and bathe in the news of the past week.

First up, director news, both joining projects and possibly leaving projects too. James Gunn, after plenty of speculation, has officially been announced as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, probably Marvel’s most ambitious movie to date. Gunn recently directed Super which received mixed reviews from critics and failed to make any impact at all on the box office. More worryingly is that Gunn will also be re-writing the script: Gunn’s previous writing credits include Scooby Doo and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. However, Joss Whedon has said that he has complete faith in Gunn’s vision for Guardians of the Galaxy and that can only be good news!

The internet is rife with rumours of the directorial departure over at FOX of Rupert Wyatt from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the rather surprisingly very good Rise of the Planet of the Apes. There have been a few shake ups over at FOX recently and the rumours are now that Wyatt will be leaving the sequel because he is not confident that he can both produce a top quality film and meet the release date which FOX announced as May 23rd 2014. This is a real shame if the rumours are true because Wyatt did a great job of directing the first instalment; he had a very difficult job to do and he managed to pull the story together and get real emotion from most of the characters. The choice of his replacement could be make of break for the new Apes franchise.

Over at the Toronto International Film Festival the awards were given out as the festival drew to a close and there was a surprise winner for the People’s Choice Award. This is a pretty important award because in the past The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire both won this award and went on to be huge successes and obviously clean up at the Oscars. The winner this year was Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. While I thought the trailer looked very good I wasn’t sure what to expect from the whole film but early signs suggest this is going to be a fantastic film, even though I doubt it will do as well at the box office as those previous winners.

The other little tid bits of news this week include the announcement that Universal has planned fir sequels to both Ted and The Bourne Legacy. The fact that The Bourne Legacy is getting a sequel should come as no surprise although it received mixed reviews from critics and mainstream audiences. With Ted getting a sequel this is clearly just a money making scheme by Universal as one film was definitely enough. And finally there has been an announcement made on who will be singing the theme tune to this years James Bond film Skyfall. After months of speculation Adele has finally been confirmed to have been given the honour. A perfect choice.