After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, and Steve Zahn
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Written by: Mark Bomback, and Matt Reeves
So many remakes fail to live up to the original, but so far this new Planet of the Apes series has held its own. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” were terrific movies for many of the same reasons. They're so terrific, each movie got 5 pools of blood from me, and that’s not something that happens often. So could “War for the Planet of the Apes” complete the trifecta, and get 5 pools of blood as well?
As reminded in the opening, the events in those movies have all led to this war. The beginning also reminds audiences how brutal war can be. There’s a quick, but intense battle between the humans and apes in which many lives are lost. Soon enough Caesar (Andy Serkis) makes his appearance, and is very much the same old Caesar. However, that quickly changes and his story becomes even more fascinating. Caesar begins changing into his old rival Koba (Toby Kebbell), and fights with this demon inside him the entire time. For the first time, both apes and the audience have doubts in what Caesar is doing.
Koba might be Caesar’s personal demon, but he has some familiar faces by his side in Maurice (Karin Konoval) and Rocket (Terry Notary). The audience knows what to expect from them, but it’s some of the new faces that are a welcome addition to the story. First, there’s Nova (Amiah Miller), who’s a young girl that quickly bonds with the apes. She can’t speak, and that may trigger a connection to the original movie for some. And then there’s the comic relief, Bad Ape (Steve Zahn). He’s unlike any ape to date, and his humor is welcomed in such an emotional movie.
Speaking of emotions, one of the beautiful things about all three of these movies is how they pull at the emotions of the audience. As mentioned, just watching Caesar struggle like he’s never struggled before is tough. It’s even tougher watching him when he knows he’s let his fellow apes down after doing so much for them. Then there are moments like Nova bringing water to Caesar, or placing a flower on a dying ape. Hell, an argument for sympathy towards The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) can be made even after all of the bad things he’s done.
The emotional rollercoaster leads to an amazing final act. It’s do or die time for the apes and humans. As expected, Caesar steps up, and puts his life on the line for the apes. He’s also still motivated by revenge, but the world has a twist of fate for his plan. When the intense battle seems to be over, another avalanche of a surprise drops, and changes the landscape in the war for the planet of the apes.
For those who haven’t seen the original series, you might be missing out on what makes this trilogy truly special. They’ve just done a fabulous job of retelling this story from different angles, while leading to the same end point. It’s great being able to see Caesar become the iconic figure to apes, and this time really facing personal demons. It’s just another of the many continuous comparisons between humans and apes the series makes. While fighting for the planet, they fail to realize how alike they really are. This movie might be more emotional then the others, which is helped with the addition of Nova. Again for those who have seen the original series, the ending should be satisfying, and make you look forward to the what should happen next. So as you might have expected by now, yes the trifecta is complete because I’m giving “War for the Planet of the Apes” 5 pools of blood.
A teenage girl discovers a box that carries magic powers and a deadly price for using them.
Starring: Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, and Ki Hong Lee
Directed by: John R. Leonetti
Written by: Barbara Marshall
Clare (Joey King) is a teenager who is already struggling at life. Her mother passed away when she was little, and her life in high school isn’t going so well. On top of that, she’s continually embarrassed by her father, Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe). If only a girl had something she could “Wish Upon” to make her troubles go away!
Well, she’s in luck because her father just gave her the best early birthday present ever. What appears to be just a cool looking box, is apparently a box that grants wishes. After her first couple of wishes, she slowly realizes that they’re actually coming true, and is benefitting from them. As the audience might expect, she wishes for many of her struggles to go away in one way or the other.
While suddenly living the good life, she fails to make the connection between the people passing away around her, and the wishes. The box has some deadly warnings on it, that unfortunately she doesn’t get translated until it’s too late. As for these deaths, there’s actually a couple of them that would have been nice to see in full effect. Unfortunately, the movie is PG-13 so either the deaths lack blood, are too dark to see, or are cut away as it happens.
Really, the movie couldn’t be any more directed towards the teenage audience. Not only with the deaths, but the story is meant for them. Many of them will be able to relate to what Clare goes through, or maybe with some of the characters around her. On top of that, they probably won’t realize the subpar acting, including a lack luster performance from an experienced actor like Ryan Phillippe.
It won’t take long for older horror fans to realize that the deaths in “Wish Upon” play out a lot like those in the Final Destination franchise. While the suspense is there, the deaths are more like Final Destination lite. While the movie tries to pull surprises, it fails for anyone actually paying attention, and even ends as expected. Basically, if you’re a teenage horror fan, go enjoy the movie. For those that actually want to see a death scene play out in full, forget about it! With that, my wish is to give this movie 1 pool of blood.
Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.
Starring: Mandy Moor, Claire Holt, and Matthew Modine
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Written by: Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera
As a big horror fan, it’s hard to find a horror movie that truly gets me to jump out of my seat. However, with a true fear of sharks, shark movies have always kept me on edge. Envisioning being in the situation these characters find themselves in always keeps a little terrifying tingle in me. So how terrifying is it “47 Meters Down?”
Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are sisters with different personalities. Lisa is the cautious type, and may be even described as boring. Kate, on the other hand, seems to always be up for the next adventure. When two locals ask the girls to join them in an underwater experience with great white sharks, it’s no surprise which one of sisters is all in.
After the slow introduction to the sisters, they make it to the boat, and see a cage that only a crazy person would get in. Yes, they’re crazy, and in they eventually go. It’s all beautiful looking out into the ocean with several giant whites around until the cable breaks, and 47 meters down they go. Finally the movie has my full attention, as I begin my string of “hell no’s” to everything the sisters do to try to save themselves.
Being the more experienced diver, Kate swims out of the cage to get radio communication with the boat. It might not seem like much, but the darkness surrounding her and knowing sharks are out there is crazy. Soon enough, it’s Lisa’s turn to swim out of the cage, which is even crazier because she’s no where near as calm as Kate. It’s almost laughable cause she really has no idea what she’s doing. The sisters hang on just long enough to appear to have been rescued. The cage begins to rise, but then the audience gets an even wilder fall back to 47 meters down.
Running out of air, both sisters find themselves in pure desperation mode. It’s here that the movie really makes its mark with some unexpected chain of events. Without spoiling these events, I’ll move onto the sharks. If the audience is expecting this to be bloody, and filled with deaths…forget about it. Much like “The Shallows,” the sharks do more swim by scares, then killing anyone. It’s definitely more psychological through most of the movie, just knowing they’re out there, but not ever being sure when they’ll appear. Probably the best moment with the sharks occurs with the use of some underwater flares, and what comes shortly after.
Mandy and Claire both do a good job handling their roles. Mandy seems to have the harder job because her character did more of the freaking out. After watching “The Shallows” and seeing most of the action take place just off shore, it’s good to see an underwater shark movie. However, much like “The Shallows,” it’s lacking in deaths by sharks. Seriously, if audiences want to see sharks and no deaths, they can see real ones on Shark Week! Because it still has moments that will freak out someone who fears sharks like me and a nice twist, I give "47 Meters Down" 2.5 pools of blood.
An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe, and Jake Johnson
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Written by: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dylan Kussman
A while back fans found out that there would be another mummy movie. More recently they then found out Universal has bigger plans in store with the introduction of the Dark Universe. Forget about The Avengers, and The Justice League, bring on Dracula, and Frankenstein. But first, can “The Mummy” get the Dark Universe off on the right foot?
Being a mummy movie, someone needs to find its tomb, and unleash its evil on the world. That someone is Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), along with his partner in crime Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), who are looking for treasure in a dangerous area of Iraqi. They’re forced to call in an air strike in order to save themselves from some unfriendly locals. Of course the air strike opens a hole to the tomb, and the adventure is about to really begin.
With the help of archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), they get the U.S. military to pull the coffin out, and onto a plane. It doesn’t take long for strange things to start happening, including Nick seeing visions of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) in ancient Egypt before she became a mummy. These visions plague him throughout the movie, as Ahmanet has formed a bond with him. The visions are important to what’s happening to Nick, but also seem to make his character seem a little stupid at times. His character kind of stumbles along the process, as opposed to being a hero and adventurer the audience might think him to be. It also seems to dumb down Cruise’s performance.
With the help of Jenny, and Dr. Henry Jekyll, they’re actually able to capture Ahmanet. And yes, apparently Dr. Jekyll is now into capturing creatures like the mummy! Really not sure why they introduce Jekyll into the movie unless they have plans for him somewhere else in the Dark Universe. There’s a decent scene of him transforming and fighting Nick, but that’s really it for Jekyll.
As expected, the movie is light on scares, with the mummy sucking the life out of people and creating zombie like creatures probably being the most extreme thing that happens. The mummy herself isn’t even that scary looking. Really audiences should be looking for the action more than horror, and even that seems a little light. There’s the dramatic plane crash, a few chase scenes, and then the final sequence. None of the action feels like what audiences might expect for a summer movie. A good example of this is a nice looking scene of Nick swimming away from these zombie creatures, but while it looks nice, it amounts to very little.
Overall, “The Mummy” can’t be the way Universal wanted to kick off the Dark Universe. There isn’t anything new or exciting here. The mummy is found, unleashes a little evil, and then comes the final show down. Tom Cruise’s character isn’t that fantastic, and his best moments might be playing off Jake Johnson’s character. While it’s not a surprise there’s not many scares, it’s surprising the action isn’t bigger, and more daring. With that, I give it 2 pools of blood.