Friday, July 18, 10:30 a.m.-ish: My3D glasses in place, I prepare to watch the animated sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue with surprisingly vivid memories of its precursor, probably because it was released a mere 11 months ago. I’m really hoping that, this time around, director Roberts Gannaway’s tale of anthropomorphic vehicles with bulging eyes and recognizable celebrity voices won’t remind me of Pixar’s Cars every three minutes, and happily, it doesn’t. Instead, I’m frequently reminded of the astronaut epic The Right Stuff, which is a much cooler movie to pilfer from.
Following a brief, artful prelude introducing us to the film’s post-viral, post-apocalyptic setting, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens with an extreme closeup on the eyes of Caesar, the highly evolved chimpanzee memorably portrayed (with CGI enhancement) by Andy Serkis in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. An extreme closeup on Caesar’s eyes will also be the final image in director Matt Reeves’ sequel, yet the differences between these cinematic bookends are as wide and varied as the differences between Rise, a half-great, half-clumsy hit, and Dawn, which is, hands down, the most exciting, resonant, and humane Hollywood blockbuster of the summer, if not the millennium.
July 2, 10:40 a.m.-ish: My screenings begin with the demonic-possession thriller Deliver Us from Evil, and I notice, during the “found footage” prelude, that the action begins on the Fourth of July. So, clearly, the film is being released at the right time. Ninety minutes later, I notice, during the climactic exorcism, that the action ends on 4/20. So, clearly, the filmmakers were high.
After the conclusion of its dialogue-free, if very noisy, prelude – one in which we discover that it was actually extraterrestrial robots, and not the Ice Age, that killed off the dinosaurs – the first words heard in Transformers: Age of Extinction are “Oh, shit!” I took that line as a metaphor for what we could expect over the next two and a half hours, but then, during my Friday-morning screening, it was immediately followed by another outburst: the sound of the little kid behind me laughing his ass off.
Going to the cineplex this weekend? Every Friday morning at 9 a.m. you can listen to Mike Schulz dish on recent movie releases & talk smack about Hollywood celebs on the Quad City Rocker ROCK 104-9FM, with the fabulous morning team of Rock1049.com. The morning crew previews upcoming releases, too.
Or you can check the Reader Web site and listen to their latest conversation by the warm glow of your computer.
Never miss a pithy comment from these three scintillating pundits again.
Friday, June 27, 2014: Discussion of "Jersey Boys" and "Think Like a Man Too," and a preview of "Transformers: Age of Extinction," the clip for which has Mark Wahlberg's vehicle talking -- talking -- about the Autobots, and Wahlberg then coming to the conclusion that the vehicle might be a Transformer. Can't pull nothin' over on Mark.