Tag Archives: James Franco

Review(s): Summer of 08 Short Reviews Round-up Part 2

Pineapple Express

David Gordon Green. A discussion of Pineapple Express does not begin with Seth Rogen. It doesn’t begin with James Franco. It begins with Americana indie darling David Gordon Green, who accepted Pineapple Express as his first major Hollywood film in one of the most curious and perplexing “go big” moves by any independent director this side of ever. The more shocking thing: if you squint, and even if you don’t, it’s not too difficult to see the whole film as Gordon Green having fun with his indie film aesthetic. That’s a stretch, sure, but it’s clear that his rambling, lackadaisical camera and slow-going filmsmanship more interested in waiting around and chilling with his characters is in effect in Pineapple Express as much as in any other film he’s ever made – he’s just traded in “detached, humanist exploration of human distance” with “a Sunday afternoon’s high”, and the way he finds similarities between the two is quite cinematically exciting indeed. Continue reading

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Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

In light of the need for the fledgling days of this new blog to pack in content that isn’t just new releases or me just posting reviews of older films randomly, I’m helping it through its growing pains by using the release of the new summer blockbuster Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as an excuse for posting my recently-dug-out review of its excellent predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Enjoy.

Planet of the Apes is a franchise more notable for historical significance than quality. The first film, though solid entertainment, is not the classic it is often recalled as. Certainly, it’s an important film, and it is decent in most regards, with some standout moments in a few high tension chases and a shocking, bleak, and dramatically effective conclusion. However, much of its allegory is obvious and fairly trite, and the story really doesn’t have much else to offer. As for the other films in the original series (I haven’t seen any), their reputation is less than stellar (although Escape, the second sequel, has its share of defenders). The much-maligned 2001 Tim Burton version of the story is nothing special either, although in my opinion the hate directed toward it is undeserved. It’s a standard B-movie with some of the charm associated with the type. Unfortunately, it went off the rails into nonsensical territory during the climax, and it featured one of the silliest, most illogical concluding plot twists in recent memory. Ten years after that film, and over 40 since the original, can Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a new take on the point that kick-started the decimation of the human population and the titular rise of the apes, restore this franchise to the heights of the original film? Continue reading