Friday, Dec 06, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 40 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 11 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 28
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Somber Dawn a rousing continuation of the Apes saga
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

Caesar (Andy Serkis) believes peace has finally come to the forest. It's been a decade since he led the ape revolt, the genetically evolved primate helping his brothers and sisters secure their freedom from a San Francisco research tower, making a home in wild, overgrown environs just outside the city limits.

But at what cost? Their flight to freedom inadvertently started the spread of what commonly became known as the Simian Flu, a devastating plague that wiped out the majority of humanity all across the globe. It's been two years since Caesar or any of his clan has seen a human, the wise leader, husband and father to two sons, one a newly born infant, starting to wonder if the entire human species has been rendered extinct leaving apes to rule what's left of the planet.

No such luck. Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and his small group, including his son Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and girlfriend Ellie (Keri Russell), herself a former CDC medic, have ventured into the forests just outside of San Francisco hoping to see if the dam that used to supply the city with power can be made operational once again. Initially, the meeting between ape and human does not go well, leading Caesar to lay down a stern warning that to return to their land could have dire consequences for every person residing in the now-ruined coastal metropolis.

If this was all Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had on its mind, chances are it could potentially be a fine, if utterly disposable, big budget major Hollywood studio special effects-laded action spectacular. More than that, it would be a movie that arguably would fit in with any of the four sequels made to the original 1968 version of Planet of the Apes, not so much bad as just a noticeable, if somewhat creative, step down from the film that spawned it.

But this particular sequel, directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), isn't content to just pick up where Rise of the Planet of the Apes left off and be nothing more than a nicely paced and energetically staged retread. No, not this movie! It actually wants to change the game, wants to be something more than just another 'talking ape' movie. Reeves and company are interested in, not just expanding and deepening the mythology, using both Pierre Boulle's celebrated novel as well as the original film for inspiration on that front, but also adding a primal, almost primordial quality to the proceedings bordering on spectacular.

The opening act is stunning. Virtually silent, Caesar and his apes communicating in a series of shrieks, grunts and sign language, engaging in an expertly choreographed hunt for food that unexpectedly devolves into a frenetic fight for survival. It's as if Reeves has combined elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Quest for Fire and an episode of PBS' long-running 'Nature' in order to set his stage with profound, almost timeless elegance.

But then he and returning writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, with a healthy assist from The Wolverine and Unstoppable scribe Mark Bomback, change the game even more, eschewing simple black and white tropes in order to stroll confidently in shades of grey that are deep, complicated and devoid of anything approaching remorse. The opening hour is a delicate give and take between Caesar and Malcolm, the repercussions of their growing friendship not anything either of them ever could have predicted. Seeds of trust are sown while leaves of discord slowly begin to fall to the ground with cacophonous subtly. The underlying social commentary here is undeniable, Reeves orchestrating it all with a masterful eloquence making the world and its tragically, virtually preordained devolution into unmerciful violence all the more heartbreaking.

By the time things do hit the fan, while the outcome isn't surprising, the weight and the significance Reeves gives to it in some ways is. There is a remarkable daring to how he allows things to come to a conclusion, sending things out on a magnificent one shot on a pair of pained yet steely, uncompromising eyes making for an almost perfect bookend to a similar image that opens the picture. Considering the magnitude of the crisis (not to mention the body count) this is a dour, undeniably heady way to orchestrate the denouement, an ambiance of uncomforting melancholy producing shudders that would not dissipate long after the closing credits had finished their run.

For those that felt Serkis was due recognition for his work as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for everyone who thought he was robbed a Supporting Actor nod for his take on Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, get ready to have those frustrations fueled to their absolute boiling over point for a third time. The unquestioned lead, the focal point around which the entire film revolves, his performance is stratospheric, so emotionally dense and internally nuanced, calling him masterful is a massive understatement. This isn't animation, this is inspiration, and to say Serkis isn't doing revelatory work is, to me at least, something way beyond the proverbial pale.

But he's not the only one. With him as their guide, Toby Kebbell, as Caesar's violent, human-hating second-in-command Koba, and Nick Thurston, as his pubescent upstart eldest boy Blue Eyes, turn in astonishing performances, mining unexpected terrain in ways that consistently surprise. They do not sit back, do not take it easy, investing fully in their roles, giving themselves completely to the material. The journeys they take are remarkable in their honesty and authenticity, and while where each of them ends up is hardly shocking, how they get there is a continual marvel all the same.

As far as the non-ape characters are concerned, the actors all do their best, but it almost goes without saying, the movie isn't anywhere near as interested in them as it is in their far more hairy costars. Still, Clarke is excellent, sharing a handful of poignant scenes with both Serkis and Gary Oldman (playing the withered, beaten down, yet refusing to give up, leader of the human survivors, Dreyfus) - all of which are worthy of note. But the script gives their side of the tale far less of its focus, allowing them to be a bit more nondescript than their simian counterparts, many of the humans devolving into tropes and stereotypes often enough to the point it's moderately annoying.

Not that it matters. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a better film than its predecessor in almost every way, and, somewhat shockingly, comes amazingly close to equaling the brilliance of the original 1968 Charlton Heston favorite that started it all. The director takes his game to an entirely different level, and as terrific as his previous two efforts were - and they're both excellent - this stands so far above them even mentioning the films in the same breath as this feels like a minor disservice to both him and to the feature he has gloriously constructed. There's nothing dirty about his accomplishment, and if this new take on the Planet of the Apes saga is going to continue, I damn sure hope Reeves continues to play a part in bringing it all to life.


Unsettlingly elegant Evil offers no deliverance from cliché
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Now playing


Sergeant Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) is a veteran NYPD investigator working the chaotic streets of the South Bronx with his adrenaline junkie partner Detective Butler (Joel McHale). A lapsed Catholic, he nonetheless showers his wife Jen (Olivia Munn) and daughter Christina (Lulu Wilson) with love, never forgetting they're the light in his life keeping him from being consumed by the darkness he's battling each and every day.

His latest case will test that, a series of seemingly unconnected, horrifically tragic events placing Sarchie directly in some shockingly horrific crosshairs. The only one that seems to know anything about what's going on? A mysterious priest named Joe Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez), an undercover paranormal professional who claims the events assaulting the city are nothing short of demonic. The brutality that's already taken place is nothing compared to what he believes is to come, and if Mendoza is right Sarchie is going to have to re-find his lost faith because Hell is coming for both him and his family with designs on eviscerating them all down to the blood-drenched marrow.

Inspired by Sarchie's own best-selling memoir co-written with Lisa Collier Cool, Deliver Us from Evil is director Scott Derrickson's follow up to his surprise hit Sinister. Working from a screenplay scribbled together with his The Exorcism of Emily Rose compatriot Paul Harris Boardman, the film is a compendium of a number of exorcist-themed features melded with a police procedural, everything moving along as anticipated, building to a conclusion that's hardly surprising.

At the same time, it's obvious Derrickson has come a heck of a long way as a filmmaker since helming the instantly D.O.A. Hellraiser: Inferno back in 2000. There is a confidence here that's undeniable, the visual milieu and starkly unsettling atmosphere not so much groundbreaking as it is self-assured and entirely fitting to the narrative being explored. Even at 118 minutes the film doesn't feel long or padded, each part of the spiraling, interconnecting tale coming in contact with the next with suitably unnerving synchronicity.

The filmmaker's technical prowess has also come of age, Derrickson utilizing Scott Kevan's (The Darkest Hour) camerawork and Christopher Young's (Copycat) delicately insidious score to something near perfection. Unlike past efforts, he also allows some of the supporting players to shine and doesn't leave the heavy lifting only to his stars - McHale in particular standing out with an idiosyncratic, scene-stealing performance that's light years beyond the sarcasm-drenched comedic persona he's developed over the last decade or so.

Yet, truth be told, there is an underlying silliness to central events that was impossible for me to entirely get past. The level of interconnectivity between evil event one and the even more evil events to come borders on absurd, Ramírez's priest popping up to explain what's going on just in case the audience isn't bright enough to figure it out for themselves. Heck, during one pivotal exorcism, Mendoza doesn't just say what's about to take place, he proceeds to do something akin to a play-by-play, almost as if he's doing radio work for ESPN announcing a World Cup match. More often than not, it's too much to take, especially near the end - the clichés and absurdities piling up one against the other, making all the terrific stuff feel frustratingly minor.

Admittedly, the ghost of The Exorcist hovers over all of this like it does every film that's even remotely similar thematically, and those comparisons are going to hurt every imitator that comes down the pike just as they have since that classic's release 41 long years ago. There's nothing new, even the police procedural elements feeling a little freeze-dried, thanks to umpteen seasons of 'Law & Order' and its countless spinoffs. While Bana is solid as Sarchie, while Ramirez does yeoman's work in what is otherwise an untenable situation (his Mendoza inherently difficult to take seriously), even with Sean Harris making for one heck of a terrifying villain, Deliver Us from Evil just doesn't work, no amount of prayer otherwise going to make the opposite miraculously come to pass.








Interview with Cody Jamison Strand from The Book of Mormon - Lessons from Elder Cunningham
------------------------------
We Will Rock You - delivers what is promised!
------------------------------
New Order good, but also lacked oomph at Paramount
------------------------------
Superb line-up planned for KEXP & Seattle Center Concerts at the Mural
------------------------------
Mary Lambert releases new single
------------------------------
Cox, Parsons, Bomer, The Normal Heart in Emmy contention
------------------------------
Introducing Taste Seattle Food Tour's Alki Beach, Bikes & Bites Tour
------------------------------
Seattle Gay and Lesbian Book Club is discussing Young Torless this month with movie excerpt accompaniments; community members are invited to attend this and/or future discussions
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
LETTERS
------------------------------
Jason Mraz's new album is a beauty, Seattle concert this fall
------------------------------
Somber Dawn a rousing continuation of the Apes saga
------------------------------
Unsettlingly elegant Evil offers no deliverance from cliché
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News 2014 - DigitalTeamWorks 2014

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News