On DVD & Blu-Ray: December 2, 2014


2011's re-tooling of the Planet of the Apes franchise was a surprise in many ways, but mostly in the way that it was really good. I went into the film with modest expectations. Having only ever seen the 1968 original and the Tim Burton re-make I wasn't soaked in the lore of the franchise and didn't hold out hope for a resurgence in the narrative. Still, when you go into a movie framed as somewhat of an origin story and understand where it ultimately has to lead there is a level of intrigue you can't exactly put your finger on and that is what Rise of the Planet of the Apes capitalized on and did so in ways that made the picture, as a full body of work, excel in many ways. With those kinds of expectations set for the sequel it was difficult to adjust one's excitement for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in a fashion that might not be cause for disappointment when the movie finished playing. While I tried to avoid the trailers for this one it was almost impossible as Twentieth Century Fox did well to position this as one of if not the major event movie of the summer. There was a lot of general love for Rise as I can recall speaking with friends who don't go to the movies regularly and them telling me they decided to go see it and how much they enjoyed it. That kind of attitude seemed to resonate with the average movie-goer and seemed to do much the same for Dawn, but while I imagine this sequel was more than a satisfactory trip to the movies for those who enjoyed Rise once it is viewed again on home video it will likely become more clear the film suffers from not having as much substance, as much allegory or as much emotional depth as the first did. While it should not be thought I didn't enjoy this film (it is actually thoroughly enjoyable and is indeed worthy of repeat viewings) it's just not a film that aspires towards the greatness of the first and because of this lack of complexity it feels all the more safe, all the more generic and any other adjectives such as these that allow Dawn to distance itself from the attributes that made Rise so interesting and entertaining. Full review here. B-

Time for a a little bit of an embarrassing admission: I've never seen Chocolat. I haven't seen The Cider House Rules either, well at least not all of it though I can recall starting it about a half dozen times. What I can say is I distinctly remember being in the eighth grade and my art teacher trying to convince me that it would be a more rewarding experience to go see Chocolat than Vertical Limit, which I was clearly anxious to see and would choose over an artsy film any day of the week (it had Robin in it!). Needless to say, all this time later I still haven't made time to visit director Lasse Hallström's well-reviewed romantic drama starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp that would seem to make the most pleasant double-feature with his latest film, The Hundred-Foot Journey. If we're being honest though, there wasn't a large amount of interest in this film for me, a 27 year-old who was more excited to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than an adult drama about the vast difference in cultures and their respectable inclinations even when a minuscule distance separates them, say a hundred feet? The Hundred-Foot Journey is a film no better described than being purely pleasant. It is a movie that could easily pass a weekend afternoon and be completely satisfying in doing so. There is nothing inherently wrong with a movie like The Hundred-Foot Journey, but it is to be understood going in that it is nothing but insubstantial froth. It is the dessert to a lazy, stress-free weekend or even the bubbly anecdotal answer to a demanding or trying couple of days. Either way, most will receive the same feeling from this slightly high brow Hallmark movie in that it paints a world where the outside conflicts of our existence never enter into the picture and the small trials and tribulations of our characters, while certainly major in their lives, leave little worry with the audience because we know exactly where things are heading and how *pleasantly* they will all turn out. Full review here. C+

As Above, So Below is a little horror flick that was released in the late summer movie season and one I forgot existed before seeing it was available on home video today. I heard enough nice things about it to at least give it a chance, but that chance probably won't come until next Halloween.