Rise of the Planet of the Apes

IntroMadGenius

Crazy science is so embedded in movie-making that it’s been with us since the very conception of film with such classics as Frankenstein and Dr. Caligari. While the best stuff was almost exclusively from the time of black and white – the 1980s and beyond have seen their formidable share of folks with PhDs in crazy. See for yourself…a lot of mad doctorates have been handed out recently.

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Judy Greer

What is Casting Couch? It’s a handy list of the day’s casting news. Today we’ve got a joyous confirmation and some intriguing possibilities, including some huge news about the A-list director Matthew McConaughey may be working with next. So far all of the casting news we’ve learned about Matt Reeves‘ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has regarded actors coming on board to play human characters, but in an exciting twist we now we have a tidbit about who’s going to be putting on a motion capture suit to join Andy Serkis’ Caesar over on the ape side of the equation. Vulture is reporting that Judy Greer (Arrested Development, The Descendants) has joined the film in the role of Cornelia, the hairy dame who’s serving as a love interest for Caesar. If Greer’s long history of being solid in supporting roles isn’t enough to convince you that she’s qualified to pull off such an out there role, Vulture also has a scoop that she had Planet of the Apes-themed toppers on her wedding cake. So, you know, turns out she’s a weirdo. Sounds great.

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Matt Reeves Directing

When it was first announced that 20th Century Fox was making a prequel to Planet of the Apes that would star James Franco and a CG ape, not too many people welcomed the news with a whole lot of optimism. But once Rise of the Planet of the Apes hit theaters, it ended up blowing most everyone who saw it away. Director Rupert Wyatt took a less than appealing idea for a movie and ended up telling the sort of affecting, personal story that tentpole blockbusters rarely end up pulling off. So it was kind of heartbreaking to learn that Wyatt wasn’t going to be returning for the sequel and Fox was looking at a shortlist of directors to replace him. It turns out things might not be as bad as they originally looked though, because ComingSoon is reporting that the studio has found their Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, and at first glance he appears to be a perfect replacement. The guy is Matt Reeves.

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Rupert Wyatt

While 20th Century Fox has yet to make an official announcement regarding the rumors that Rise of the Planet of the Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt will not be returning for the film’s sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, chatter continues to abound when it comes to the state of the project. The next level of such chatter now appears to lead directly to Hollywood’s version of letter to Santa: the “short list.” Deadline Hollywood reports that the studio has cooked up a short list of filmmakers they’d potentially like to see direct the next installment of their critical and commercial darling. That list supposedly contains names like Matt Reeves (interesting, considering that it was only yesterday that news got out that Reeves had to drop out of the Twilight Zone film due to scheduling conflicts), J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed, and the real head-scratcher of the bunch), Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Jeff Nichols (a personal favorite), Guillermo del Toro, Juan Antonio Bayona, and Rian Johnson (though the outlet also reports that Johnson’s reps deny that he’s “in the hunt” for the gig). Talk about a mixed bag.

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Future Alamo Drafthouse

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s about to be your deviant nightly gut punch of pure awesome. Pure. Awesome. Our evening begins with a look at the new Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. Some of you may be wondering, “why lead with something so local in a column that’s read in over 50 countries?” Because it’s relevant to our upcoming barrage of coverage from Fantastic Fest. You see, the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar is where Fantastic Fest lives. This year, it’s been repainted to look like it’s part of the movie Frankenweenie. Next year, it will look like the futuristic CineMecca you see above. The booking of flights for Fantastic Fest 2013 begins now, friends.

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The past couple years have been a rocky road for Universal Studios. Long strings of costly box office flops like The Wolfman, Cowboys and Aliens, and Your Highness have not been completely balanced by their hits. Even this year, the success of The Lorax and Snow White and the Huntsman don’t completely wipe out the red numbers on the books from Wanderlust, The Five-Year Engagement, and most recently Battleship. Oddly enough, their DVD and Blu-ray releases of catalogue titles have been causing the most buzz. The studio’s 100th Anniversary Blu-ray releases of E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial and Jaws are making as much noise as their releases of Back to the Future and Jurassic Park box sets. Plus, Jurassic Park is getting a high profile re-release in 3D next summer. It only makes sense that the studio goes back to these popular franchises for a new hit. Deadline Isla Nublar is reporting that Universal has found writers for the long-awaited Jurassic Park 4. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who are best known for penning last summer’s prequel hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its upcoming sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, will be tackling the script for the high-profile dinosaur adventure.

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First he caused a worldwide viral epidemic, and now he’s aiding and abetting the threatening dominance of a bunch of super smart apes. This has got to be treason right? According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!, The Bourne Ultimatum, not pictured above) will be writing the script for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel for Fox. It’s a solid choice, not just for his abilities, but because the sequel is set to see humanity struggling with the now-sentient beasts and with a virus that threatens the end of the species. It’s just like what happened to the native Americans before the European settlers got here. It looks like the apes will let tiny infections do their mass dirty work for them. Storywise, this is a great solution for a difficult problem. After all, even if they’re incredibly smart, there’s no way that a few dozen apes could take over the planet from 7 billion humans. We’d be hunting them for sport in a matter of months. But if we’re obliterated by illness? It’s a different story. And won’t it be ironic when the apes are immune to the strain because of years of lab testing? Oh, cruel fate. Still, we should figure out whose side Burns is on here.

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We all know the basic staples of the approaching end of days – zombies, aliens, nukes, robots, viruses, asteroids, global warming – all those good things. When a movie uses one of these go-to death-day scenarios we can’t help but to shell out the cash to watch it all go to hell on the big screen. However it takes some real brainpower to pull away from these apocalyptic norms, and when a movie does come along toting some hip new way for us all to die – even if said movie doesn’t pan out – you have to respect their willingness to get creative. Here are some movies that took a chance and gave us an end we’d never see coming.

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Boiling Point

The 84th Academy Awards have come and gone: let the bitching begin! As someone who is more of a genre fan than anything, I’ve never really cared too much about the Oscars, but that sure as hell doesn’t prevent me from complaining about them. Granted, over the years, some great films have won. I’m a big fan of Unforgiven and I dug Shakespeare In Love. I just think far too many good films are ignored in favor of “Oscar movies.” I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with any of the films nominated this year, but there were a few categories were I feel like the little golden man statue when to the wrong film. Luckily, the internet exists and I can complain about it!

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Lynn Collins in John Carter

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that decided to celebrate President’s Day in honor of its favorite United States President, Ulysses S. Grant. The beard on that motherf**ker… We begin tonight with some stuff about John Carter, a film that has been awash with a diverse array of opinions this past week, most of which came from a number of pundits who had not yet actually seen the movie. “I heard that John Carter is a mess,” they’ve said, in more sensational and agenda-driven words. Tonight the record has been set straight. Disney lifted the Twitter embargo on those who attended last weekend’s press junket and some more level-headed opinions have entered the world. According to Devin Faraci, “Hopefully the internet will be able to put aside binary ‘It sucks/It rocks’ stuff and look at John Carter as a movie w/ good and bad aspects … The best parts of John Carter are Woola and Dejah Thoris. A generation will be ushered into puberty by Lynn Collins.” Also, someone named @Rejects said, “I was told that I could now tell you that I liked John Carter. I’m no puppet, but I follow the rules sometimes. So yeah, Carter ain’t bad … Some truly vivid and massive special effects work, some kickass aliens and a needlessly imperfect rhythm. But fun.” Both are highly credible sources. One is me.

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Culture Warrior

For the first time in recent memory, I’m going into Oscar Sunday having no idea who is likely to take home many of the major awards. I’m sure there are entire websites out there devoted to an accurate prediction of who and what will take home the gold on Sunday, but there seems something a bit different about this year. Of the nine films nominated, I don’t have a clear sense of what would be the top five had AMPAS not changed the number of entries in the top category. While The Artist may clearly have more of a chance than, say, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, there’s no grand battle between likely leads like there was between The King’s Speech and The Social Network last year. And I don’t think I’m alone in stating that this year’s uninspiring list of nominees seems to reflect a growing indifference against the ceremony itself. Sure, on Sunday, like I have every year since I was eleven years old, I’ll watch the entire ceremony from beginning to end. And, like every year since I was twenty-one years old, I’ll make fun of the pompous and excessive self-congratulatory nature of the proceedings. But while in most years I have had some skin in the game, besides the two nominations afforded to the excellent Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the presence of the transcendentally excellent Pina in the Best Documentary Feature category, this year I didn’t even get a sense that the Academy was awarding […]

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Culture Warrior

The performance was so compelling, and the digital handiwork so real, that critics believed it would be a huge oversight if the Academy didn’t find a way to recognize this historical milestone. Audiences were compelled and engrossed with a CGI creature whose features and expressions were so detailed that he seemed to integrate seamlessly with his flesh-and-blood cohorts on the silver screen, occasionally even going so far as surpassing them in terms of the quality of his performance. The character was Gollum, the film was The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and the performer was a talented but then little-known British actor named Andy Serkis. Almost a decade since, Serkis has since found his rightful place as the premier motion capture performer working in Hollywood, but he is still yet to be recognized by the Academy for his work. I imagine that the debates over his snub for Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes will surmise yet again with another standout performance, just as this year’s debate closely resembles the one contested over Gollum nine years ago.

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Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie and entertainment news column that, now that it’s a year old and feeling mature, is looking to bring you only the best links of the day. Think of it as your one-stop-shop for the best of the entertainment web. If you didn’t see it here, it probably wasn’t that good. If we missed it, just email it to neil@filmschoolrejects.com and we’ll consider it for tomorrow. We do this every night. We begin tonight with a new shot of Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man as a funeral-going Gwen Stacy. She’s looking quite sad. I wonder who died. Oh right, they are telling the origin story of Spider-Man again. I know who’s going to die.

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The Best Films of 2011

It has come time once again to move from celebrating the worst, most annoying and most discussed films of the year — something we do at the front of our Year in Review for a reason — and start celebrating those films that have earned places in our hearts, celebrating all the best of 2011, a year that, on the whole, wasn’t such a bad year at the movies. And once again I’m honored to present my top picks of the year, as the Publisher of Film School Rejects. It’s not a vanity thing, but more of a tradition. Since the site’s inception, I’ve always presented my best of the year as The Editor’s Picks. And while I’m honored by this opportunity and enjoy it immensely, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably waiting with bated breath for what will come later in the week when we release The Staff Picks. Because they are the ones who are really interesting. But until then, you get me and my odd gathering of best films from the year that was.

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Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

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There were some supposed protagonists I loathed this year — everyone in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, that asshole narcissist Hal Jordan, the annoying Jack Sparrow — but there were plenty who showed honorable and, yes, badass traits. 2011 brought a few real American heroes (and from parts elsewhere), both in personality and actions. One doesn’t need superpowers or a gun to be a hero, but, as shown by a few choices I made, those simple good traits. And, even if one’s not the greatest of people, you can still be a great hero, as shown by the a*hole category that kicks off the list…

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The 10 Best Action Films of 2011

Some other sites or site runners may look down on lists, but those people are what are known as no-fun douche bags, because really, lists are awesome. They are short, easy to digest little morsels that you can wash down with a carbonated beverage, argue about, and take recommendations from. If you don’t like lists, you are worse than Hitler. You know what’s better than Hitler? Lots of stuff, like peanut butter cookies with little peanut butter cups pressed into them. That, and also these ten action movies, which are my favorite for the year. Yeah, you’ll probably disagree, so comment below or get your own damn website.

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The Holiday Gift Guide: DVD and Blu-ray

Merry Christmas movie/TV/goat-cheese lovers! As part of our week-long gift guide extravaganza thingamajig we’ve put together a list of Blu-rays, DVD and a few other ideas for you to use when shopping for others or for putting on your own Christmas list. Or both. Some of the films below are from years past, but they all hit Blu-ray and/or DVD this year so they totally count for this gift guide. Click on the links to be magically transported to Amazon, AmazonUK and other places where lovely things can be found.

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This Week in DVD

This week’s DVD column only features one certified blockbuster, but happily it’s a kick ass movie worth picking up and enjoying as soon as possible. The rest of the week’s offerings are smaller fare of varying quality including the incredibly fun Detective Dee, the too grim to be good Little Deaths, the better than expected Fright Night, the enlightening but sad Circumstance, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Apocalypse, CA It’s the end of the world thanks to an impending impact from a very large asteroid, but where most films with that premise would focus on efforts to avert disaster this smaller budget indie has a bit more on its mind. John is using Earth’s final days trying to make up for lost time, but his attempts to right past wrongs meet with questionable results. As you’d expect those results include body swapping, Armageddon, a 100-foot tall giant and more. Obviously. Imagine Bellflower with more appealing characters, a lighter tone and far less whining, and you’ll have a good idea what to expect from writer/director Chad Peter’s film. Well, not really, but the point is it’s an interesting and creative look at gender and relationships through an apocalyptic lens that makes up for its budgetary restraints and occasionally dodgy acting (I’m looking at you “Hank”) with wit, foul language and impressive visual effects.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Mural

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing that chronicles the day in movie news. Or in many cases, a day’s worth of interesting articles that you should be reading. If you want a bunch of trade news reprinted with a lone, snarky comment, there are plenty of mediocre movie blogs out there who can deliver such things. We choose the higher road. Or the lower road, depending on our mood. We begin this evening with a mural painted by Australian street artist Anthony Lister in Los Angeles. He’s painted a mural in honor of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which just so happens to come out on DVD and Blu-ray this week. Go figure. The completely marketable timing aside, it’s quite cool. I’ve even included a time lapse video of Lister putting this work together just after the jump.

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published: 04.16.2014
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