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The enthralling modern Planet of the Apes trilogy comes to a close with War for the Planet of the Apes, its best chapter yet.

Caesar (played via motion capture by Andy Serkis) is holding his own in the forest with his band of ape soldiers when a crazed colonel (Woody Harrelson) finds him and delivers a painful blow. Caesar finds himself on a revenge quest, with the likes of Rocket (Terry Notary), Maurice (Karin Konoval) and a new character named Bad Ape (a funny Steve Zahn) in tow. It all leads to a man vs. ape showdown for the ages—and the special effects that were great in the first movie are 10 times better in the third.

Fans of the original Apes films will be happy to learn that this movie is a virtual love letter to the series. It even has a mute girl named Nova (Amiah Miller)—the same name as the girl who saw the Statue of Liberty with Charlton Heston in the original.

Matt Reeves, directing his second Ape film, has managed to fill his special-effects-laden adventure with genuine emotion. This is a big-budget blockbuster with heart and soul.

While this concludes the trilogy, it’s a safe bet it won’t be the last for the Apes. If you recall, some astronauts went missing in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and events in this film seem to be leading up to the events of the original movie. We might be getting a new dude in a loin cloth barking at Lady Liberty in our cinematic future.

War for the Planet of the Apes is playing in regular format and 3-D at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

It’s not a good thing when Vanilla Ice is the best thing in your movie.

His Ice-ness shows up in The Ridiculous 6 as a hip-hop Mark Twain in Adam Sandler’s latest blunder—and Vanilla Ice squeezes a few laughs out of the moment. This Western pile of shit manages a few other giggles, most notably Harvey Keitel’s headless body shooting its own decapitated head, and a rattlesnake nibbling on Will Forte’s ear. Other than that, it’s quite the slog.

Make that a two-hour slog.

Director Frank Coraci, responsible for other Sandler abominations such as Blended, should’ve streamlined this sucker. The four-or-five-laugher would’ve felt more potent with a solid 30 minutes lopped off. As is, the jokes go on way too long—and too much crap that would’ve been edited out of even the worst Sandler films makes it into the final cut.

Sandler plays Tommy, aka White Knife, an orphan boy raised by Native Americans. He finally meets his outlaw dad (Nick Nolte … I’m beginning to really hate this guy) when he’s all grown up. Mere moments after meeting him, daddy is kidnapped, and Tommy sets out on a mission to raise the funds to spring him loose.

Along the way, Tommy discovers dad was quite mischievous and sired five other brothers, played by Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson and, most regrettably, Taylor Lautner. They form the Ridiculous 6, the lamest gang to hit movie screens this year.

The film is at its best when dealing with Forte’s Will Patch and his outlaw gang. A sequence during which Steve Zahn has to scoop one of his eyeballs out with a spoon is good for a giggle, as is a moment when the gang is buried up to their necks and attacked by ants, lizards and snakes.

The film is at its worst when it allows Lautner, playing a simple boy, to speak. This film should mark the end of his career. Actually, it would be nice if this marked the end of Sandler’s career as well, but he has three more films on his Netflix deal, so we are in for more cinematic hell.

The Ridiculous 6 is an original film released on Netflix.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing