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Review: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke & Gary Oldman

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • July 9, 2014 10:25 AM
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  • 19 Comments
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
In the new cynical, cash-grabbing sweepstakes to manufacture polished, all-appealing four quadrant blockbusters— specifically engineered to reap hundreds of millions of dollars, of course— 20th Century Fox’s “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” sequel is of a rare, rare breed. It’s the genuine article, an engrossing tentpole with serious themes, complex moral conflicts and emotional stakes, and one that doesn’t feel as if it was written by committee or structured around big and familiar action set pieces. And it’s one that executes on all its lofty ambitions from minute one with nary a false note. In truth, the deeply absorbing and thematically rich ‘Apes’ sequel is more akin to a drama than an action film, but it's one that still satisfies the desires and demands of big, blockbuster filmmaking.

Karlovy Vary Review: ‘Little Accidents’ Starring Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Chloe Sevigny And Jacob Lofland

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 8, 2014 4:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Little Accidents Lofland
It’s no surprise that “Little Accidents,” which played at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival tonight for press, was a Sundance premiere: as a directorial debut from a promising new U.S.-based director, with a roster of reliable indie actors plus the added gloss of the higher-profile Banks in the mix, set against the backdrop of a hardscrabble mining town, led by a child protagonist and promising a minutely observed morality play, it ticks a whole warehouse full of “Sundance movie” boxes. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but in the case of Sara Colangelo’s first film, it is certainly a very familiar one.

Book Review: 'Firestorm' Bridges Gap Between Between 'Rise' & 'Dawn Of The Planet Of Apes' With Thrills & Dread

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 8, 2014 1:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Prequel Book Firestorm
In 2001, Fox first tried to reboot "Planet Of The Apes," but the Tim Burton-directed film was a misfire, for all the reasons outlined here. Over a decade later the studio tried again, this time on a much more modest scale. They handed the wheel to rising director Rupert Wyatt, the biggest name in the cast was James Franco, and as the title "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" suggested, the story would take its time developing real stakes, rich characters and actions that had real consequences. And not only did treating the material with care lead to a box office hit, 'Rise' was also more intelligent than it had any right to be.

Karlovy Vary Review: Atmospheric Argentinian Paranoia Drama ‘History of Fear’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 7, 2014 11:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
History Of Fear
A debut film that picked up a little heat when it played early in the Competition lineup in Berlin, Argentinian filmmaker Benjamin Naishtat’s “History of Fear” went strangely quiet thereafter, subsumed, it seemed, by the subsequent welter of flashier offerings. But now having caught up with it at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, we can suggest another reason for both its buzzy first-look reviews and its subsequent tumble off the radar: “History of Fear” is a tense, unsettling, evocative film that showcases terrific filmmaking talent and mastery of tone from neophyte Naishtat and cinematographer Soledad Rodriguez, but it has almost zero sustain: it fades as quickly from the mind as a night terror does in the sudden light of day.

Karlovy Vary Review: Shira Geffen’s Cannes Favorite ‘Self Made’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 7, 2014 10:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Self Made
One of the great things about the broad-based programming of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is that it gives us an opportunity to pick up a lot of films that slipped through our Cannes net, and one such title was “Self-Made.” The sophomore feature from Israeli director Shira Geffen, who won the Camera d’Or in Cannes 2007 for her debut, “Jellyfish” which she co-directed with her husband Etgar Keret, “Self-Made” is a small but distinctive and beguiling film, which takes a central unexplained mystical event and spins the outcome in surprising real-world directions, while always maintaining an eye for the gently absurd. It’s a clever approach that allows Geffen, here also the sole credited writer, to comment directly on the intractable problems of Israeli/Palestinian and Jewish/Arab conflict, while maintaining enough allegorical distance to help the film also feel universal in its humanist character portraits.

Recap: ‘The Leftovers,’ Season 1, Episode 2, ‘Penguin One, Us Zero’

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 6, 2014 11:00 PM
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  • 4 Comments
The Leftovers
If the pilot for Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta’s “The Leftovers” established the landscape of the show — one where semi-supernatural phenomenon bump up against personal drama — the second episode, “Penguins One, Us Zero,” makes a smart play and narrows the focus. Unlike “Lost” which forever expanded the question marks around the central mystery, Lindelof pivots much more wisely here to the repercussions on his characters. For now, “The Leftovers” is less concerned with what happened and why, and instead on how it has altered the people still dealing with the loss and grief three years later.

Karlovy Vary Review: Jake Hoffman’s Directorial Debut 'Asthma' With Krysten Ritter, Iggy Pop And More

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 6, 2014 12:24 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Asthma Ritter Samuel
It's really a win/win situation. If the logline “examines the consequences of the ‘live fast, die young’ mentality in New York’s indie rock scene” doesn’t chill you to your core, perhaps you might actually get something out of “Asthma,” the directorial debut from Jake (son of Dustin) Hoffman, which premiered last night at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. And if it fills you with trepidation, you’ll be gratified by having most of your fears borne out, especially seeing as it actually takes place largely in Connecticut and it's not even remotely about music.

Review: Disney's 'Planes: Fire And Rescue' Starring Dane Cook, Ed Harris, And Julie Bowen

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 4, 2014 12:00 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Planes: Fire And Rescue
Last summer's "Planes," while largely marginalized for being a quick cash-in on the lucrative "Cars" franchise, was remarkable in at least one respect: it was the rare animated feature originally intended as a direct-to-video premiere that positively soared on the big screen. The sequel, "Planes: Fire and Rescue," serves as a dramatic improvement over the original, introducing thrilling action sequences and an unexpected emotional dimension.

Review: Roger Ebert Documentary 'Life Itself' Is The Kind Of Movie He Would Have Loved

  • By Chase Whale
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  • July 3, 2014 4:38 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Life Itself
Without question, Roger Ebert is the most recognizable figure in American film criticism, possibly even international criticism, and deservingly so. Ebert helped curious minds alive today better understand movies and what they were trying to say, moving past the obvious and always finding something deeper. "Life Itself" is based on Ebert's memoir of the same name, but the film goes far beyond the book's last page. This documentary actually started shooting months before Ebert knew he was going to die, and the bulk of the focus is on his many relentless and rigorous battles to stay alive, as well as highs and lows in his life—there’s no soft-pedaling here. One very admirable trait about Ebert—when he learned he was going to die, and very soon, he wanted the show to go on.

Review: Bernardo Bertolucci's 'Me And You'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 2, 2014 7:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Me And You
It's been over nine years since the last feature film from Bernardo Bertolucci, and for a moment there, it looked like "The Dreamers" would be the final effort from the currently wheelchair-bound filmmaker. And while we're glad he's re-energized and back to making movies, unfortunately, "Me And You" will be remembered as nothing more than a middling effort at best. A limp and lukewarm film about addiction and the relationships between parents and children, brothers and sisters, Bertolucci's first entirely Italian-language film in a couple of decades doesn't build to anything of consequence, offering an insubstantial drama that mostly feels incomplete.

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