Gary Oldman inhabits the role of Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright’s new film, Darkest Hour. The first trailer for Darkest Hour has been released online, offering just a hint of Oldman’s performance as Churchill, one that is already generating award buzz. The extensive makeup and Oldman’s lowered, gruff voice makes the versatile actor almost unrecognizable.
This iteration of the famed Churchill will be hitting screens just after John Lithgow’s great turn as the British Prime Minister on Netflix’s The Crown, a performance to which Lithgow has already collected numerous awards for.
Kevin Smith is about to make everyone’s greatest desire a reality. Well, as long as that desire is to see Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers finally take on the World Crime League. Yes, the promise that was made to all of us in 1984 will finally be fulfilled: Buckaroo Banzai is returning!
Even though the supposed “Brain Surgeon” was killed by the Dexter/Deb duo, ‘This Little Piggy’ was one of the more boring episodes of season 8 so far. Certainly not as entertaining as last week’s ‘Scar Tissue’.
Dexter and Deb have a therapy session with Vogel and suddenly, after a brief angsty bitch session by Dexter, everything is okay again between the brother and sister. Deb wants to help Dexter kill Yates after the “Brain Surgeon” kidnaps Vogel because, as she said, “…the family that kills together…”. They are successful in ridding the world of Yates, but something tells me that the world is not rid of the “Brain Surgeon”. Why would it be Yates? If he is this easily manipulated and this precise thus far, how did he let himself get caught and why would he suddenly kidnap Vogel? I guess he could be the Brain Surgeon, but I wouldn’t like how little sense that makes. Also, usually there is much more of a chase than this has been with Yates. I would want it to be someone stronger; someone like Dexter.
Quinn goes to get a DNA sample from a man who is very wealthy and contributes a lot to the community, so when he gets a bad feeling about the man’s son, Matthews shoots him down. Here’s the thing….. the “feeling” Quinn got? Yeah, we all got that as well. What f-ckery is this, where they make the supposed psychopath look like an outright… well… psychopath! He is obviously up to something when you first see him. If that wasn’t telling enough, the kid asks Quinn a bunch of questions about the murder. So even dumb as rocks Joey Quinn can tell that there is something obviously wrong with this Hamilton kid. They should just play ominous cheesy 80s horror film music as he appears on camera.
There were other things that happened in this episode, none of which I particularly care about. Jamie brought over a cute friend for a double date with Dexter, but he had to leave (Vogel/Yates/Deb situation) and she was very cool about it. Blah. It is too far into the season to be adding new characters and expecting me to care about them.
The reason that Dexter is such a great show is because you get attached to these characters (Rita, Miguel, Lila, Maria, etc…) and you get to watch Dexter destroy their lives, leaving the audience feeling some sort of emotion about it. In the season 4 finale when Trinity killed Rita, the second I saw Harrison in the blood pool I began sobbing. When I saw Rita’s face, I cried my eyes out. John Lithgow still haunts my nightmares! But this adding new characters for a few episodes and then expecting me to give a shit? I dislike that. Like that woman detective who is trying for sergeant…. I cannot remember her name off the top of my head. If she wasn’t in the next episode, I probably wouldn’t even notice. I understand that the series is ending, I just thought it would go out with a bang!
Overall I give this episode a 2 out of 5, and mainly only because Deb and Dex are back together again.
Unfortunately, it’s not often anymore that I leave the theater feeling anything but disappointed. From Pirates 4 to Green Lantern to Cowboys & Aliens, I’ve handed MJR theaters more than my share of wasted income this summer. Tonight however, well – I haven’t been so pleasantly surprised by a movie in a long time. I love the original Planet of the Apes, but I thought the Tim Burton crapfest had killed any hopes for a series revival. That was until tonight, when I saw Rupert Wyatt‘s take on the rise of Caesar. Here is a movie that had everything going against it and still found a way to come out looking respectable. In a market severely over saturated with sequels, prequels, and remakes, they took a series that already had 5 movies, a TV show, a cartoon, and most recently – 2001’s universally panned remake – and they produced something not only watchable, but dare I say ‘Good’?
For those who don’t know, this is the story of Caesar. He is the chimp that would eventually lead his kind out of captivity and change the course of the Earth forever. Basically, he’s like the Spartacus of Apes, but smarter…and more important. The reason he is smarter is because his mother was used in a lab to test a new drug, which was meant to repair brain function in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Turns out that the drug not only repaired brain function, but actually improved it. So when ‘Bright Eyes’ gave birth to a baby chimp, she passed the cognitive ability onto her offspring.
Now I don’t want to write a synopsis or anything here, but there are a couple of things I’d like to comment on…
First, Andy Serkis. You might not know his name, but I bet you’re familiar with his work. He played ‘Gollum’ in The Lord of the Rings and will reprise that role in the upcoming The Hobbit movies. He was ‘Kong’ in King Kong, and now he is Caesar. This guy is – simply put – awesome. But for some reason, he seldom gets the credit he deserves. He does all the movements, expressions, and speaking, but because you don’t see his face people don’t appreciate what he does. So I just wanted to say that I do. I bring it up mainly though, because much like in LOTR, he stole the show. The rest of the cast was good enough, but there really wasn’t a scene with Caesar where he wasn’t the focal point, and Serkis couldn’t have done a better job.
Speaking of the rest of the cast, they are all recognizable to film and TV fans, much like the casts in earlier versions which boasted names like Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Kris Kristofferson, Roddy McDowall, Ricardo Montalban, Sal Mineo, M. Emmet Walsh, John Randolph, and of course – Charlton Heston. And while it’s not what would be considered a cast that is guaranteed to put butts in the seats, it is a cast I liked.
In addition to Serkis, our other lead is one of my favorite actors working today – James Franco. He’s the adoptive father to ‘Caesar’. Playing Franco’s ailing father, fresh off a real career resurgence, thanks to Dexter is John Lithgow. Lithgow’s character is actually the catalyst for the drug’s development, as well as the one who inadvertently starts the ball rolling for the eventual ape uprising. Perhaps the next biggest name is also the actor who was probably most underused – Brian Cox. The love interest is Freida Pinto and as the A-Hole, fittingly so, is Harry Potter’s own Draco Malfoy. And last but not least, star of GB favorite Reaper – Tyler Labine.
They paid special attention the honoring the old movie, starting right away with the opening scene basically being a reverse of when Heston got captured back in ’68. There was smaller stuff like the orangutan being named ‘Maurice’, no doubt after Maurice Evans, the actor who played the orangutan ‘Dr. Zaius’, or Franco’s boss ‘Mr. Jacobs’ – named perhaps for producer Arthur P. Jacobs? Then you have Tom Felton’s character – ‘Dodge Landon’, a reference to the characters Dodge (Jeff Burton) and Landon (Robert Gunner), Heston’s fellow astronauts in the original Planet of the Apes. And most obvious of them is Caesar’s mother being named ‘Bright Eyes’ by the doctors, just as Zira calls Heston.
Aside from all the name play, they also pulled in perhaps the most well-known line ever spoken by Charlton Heston:
Now the second thing I wanted to talk about is something that I absolutely loved, and it’s spawned by the nods to the original. This marks perhaps the cheesiest part of the movie, HOWEVER, it set up something more, and you don’t see much today. It’s something you might not notice on DVD – total control of the crowd. In one instance they delivered maybe the cheesiest line in the movie, and then as the whole theater was laughing we are hit right away with an event that silenced half the crowd, and had the other half verbally gasp. It was awesome, it was a moment of mass realization where you’re one of a few hundred people in a room, and for just a second everyone is in awe. It’s like in Fight Club when Norton goes through the plane tickets and the light bulb clicks on in everyone’s head. I don’t want to ruin it, but if you see this in the theater, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It was obviously done on purpose and I loved it. It reminded me why I love the going to the theater despite the cell phones and talking teenagers.
They took one of the most iconic movies ever made and delivered a prequel that actually enhanced the story, rather than giving us a Phantom Menace and ruining it…
This movie delivered for me on every level, and if I had one complaint it’d be that over the course of the 8 years within the movie, no human characters appear to age, but I can look past that. I found this movie entertaining and well worth the price of admission. In fact, outside members of the SFPD, I don’t know who wouldn’t like this. You could argue that some of the cast was underused, but I liked that it focused on the apes instead, and it was an interesting parallel to the original, with Caesar experiencing a lot of what Taylor did.