And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Our review of Peter Jackson’s fourth Tolkien-inspired movie, a prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and first part of a new trilogy, based on The Hobbit…a much, much, much shorter book.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Everyone wants free trolly rides, but some apes are more willing to take what they want than others.

Everyone wants free trolly rides, but some apes are more willing to take what they want than others.

…is the seventh film in, and second reboot of, the Planet of the Apes franchise, even though the last one was officially marketed as a “remake.” It wound up being an incredibly stupid mistake that exposed Tim Burton for an idea-starved thug he’d become by then and apparently staked this entire franchise through the heart. But let’s be honest with ourselves and admit these movies hadn’t been “relevant” for years. Most intelligent fans trace the decline of the franchise back to the moment they stopped being about Planets full of Apes and became all about justifying the existence of said planets to fools who won’t take these movies seriously no matter how many prequels you roll out.

Ten years after that debacle, a hit-starved 20th Century Fox unearthed the franchise’s corpse and removed the stake, like many a Hammer horror victim. I didn’t expect much going in, being long-since burnt out on reboots. Director Robert Wyatt didn’t help things by explicitly compared it to Batman Begins. You could go either way with that one. Everybody wants to be the goddamn Batman, but not everyone has the chops. I can remember thinking, “From the writers of The Relic? Are you fucking kidding?” So before we do anything else, I’d like to personally apologize to Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa, one writer to two others.

Guys: I’m sorry I doubted you. Your movie’s awesome. In fact, it’d be prefect…if it didn’t insist on featuring James Franco. Continue reading



King Kong (2005)

"Humph...don't floss much, do ya?"I have issues with King Kong. A lot of issues.

Forget for a moment that the original Kong was a blatantly racist polemic masquerading as a pulp fantasy-adventure yarn. Forget that no one is willing to even countenance this contention, much less discuss it in a calm, rational manner (perhaps during a double feature: Kong and 1916’s Birth of a Nation). Forget that no one, anywhere, appears willing to question this movie’s informed superiority. Why criticize when you can parrot over seventy years of generalized praise? Hell, its a classic, right? Must be: it came out before 1970.

“The classic film will always be the classic film,” said director Peter Jackson in a recent magazine interview (citation lost thanks to sleep deprivation). He might’ve added, “After all, it’s a classic!” just to drive the stake right through the heart of his point. The slavish worship Kong inspires in its fans honestly sickens me sometimes. (I’m sure this is how Star Wars and Trek partisans feel about each other.) Because what is Kong, really? It’s story, constructed of reliable pulp staples, is hardly revolutionary. Hell, it’s the kind of tale chain smoking writers of the age turned out in their sleep…or their alcohol induced comas. The down-on-her-luck damsel gets a one-in-a-life-time chance to go to an uncharted island and become a monkey’s plaything…or a dinosaur’s bite-sized snack. The damsel, once distressed, needs the quick thinking of a square jawed man to save her bloomer-wearing ass. He does, the movie ends. {More}