DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Ten years after the events of the first film, we’ve arrived at a tipping point between the apes and a plague-ravaged human race. The subtext is human hubris and racism, but there’s no shortage of action and violence. A little family drama is folded in to “humanize” the apes, but that could have been achieved much better with just a dollop of humor. These apes are the grimmest damn creatures. Make one of them a lovable clown to lighten things up. (Of course, you’d have to kill him…)

FF=1

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Another excellent X-Men film. I was never into the X-Men comics – more into the indies while Chris Claremont was doing his groundbreaking runs in the series. An excellent cast and a satisfying storyline but, as usual, you have to provide your own exposition for the inevitable head-scratchers (like how did Magneto control the Sentinels and why did he have to uproot RFK Stadium, etc.?) and just go with it.

FF=0

EDGE OF TOMORROW

I didn’t think I’d like this because it looked like “Ground Hog Day” rebooted as SF and, well, it starred Tom Cruise. My bad. I cut my writing teeth in the SF field, so I gave it a shot and am very glad I did. This is top-notch military sci-fi. Cruise and Emily Blunt deliver. Don’t try to think too much about the time shifting — it will break your brain. Don’t try to understand why alien HQ is beneath the Louvre either. Just go with it. Lots of action and scary aliens that are truly alien. FF=1

HOSTAGE

I missed this Bruce Willis vehicle when it was fresh back in 2005. It’s darker than I expected, and Ben Foster’s turn as the psycho goth named Mars is deeply creepy. A complex plot with two sets of bad guys and some nice twists and turns kept me into this film and my finger off the FF button. (Well, almost.)  FF=1

CHEF

A delight.  A warm, funny, amiable, totally enjoyable film.  I liked the premise going in but thought that, at almost 2 hours long, it would be a snoozefest. Wrong. It was over before I knew it.  (I should add that I’m a Food Channel addict and how people whip disparate ingredients into something that tastes and looks good fascinates me.) A great cast that’s completely in sync.

FF=0

47 RONIN

Despite its logging 14% on the Tomatometer, I found this immensely enjoyable.  But then, I’m not a Keanu hater.  It’s a gorgeous film with amazing effects.  I wish I’d seen it on the Big Screen.  I don’t remember any witches and dragons in the original legend, but I welcomed the added dimension the fantasy elements brought to the visual table.  (As usual I FF’d through the battles and such.)
FF=1