Showing posts with label apes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apes. Show all posts

Monday, September 7, 2015

Ape Watch: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

I had decided that for my Labor Day, I was going to watch a Planet of the Apes movie, probably the first one from 1968.  Instead, I wound up watching the recent Apes reboot reboot sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) as it started early on HBO.  A nice coincidence.

It's no secret I'm a big fan of the Planet of the Apes movies, starting with Heston.  I didn't like the Tim Burton attempt at a reboot in the slightest, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes got me back to the theater.  

The first time I saw this movie, it kind of got ruined by a drunk and/ or disorderly woman sitting behind me.  You hate to think something like that will color how you see a movie, but, boy howdy.

In the comfort of my own home, and with only Jamie and the dogs here to act drunk and disorderly, it was a lot less distracting to get through.

The movie begins after the Simian-Flu, the modern answer to the nuclear fears of the Cold War era Apes movies, has devastated humanity over the course of a decade or more.  In the forests North of the Golden Gate Bridge, the apes that escaped in the climax of Rise of the Planet of the Apes have settled and built a society.  They hunt, live in structures, communicate via sign language and seem to carry the intelligence of man.  A handy thing as "struggling with intellect versus the baser instincts of man" is the driving force of the picture.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ape Watch: Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

It's been about 24 hours since I finished watching Every Which Way But Loose (1978), and I'm glad that I didn't have time nor energy to write much about it immediately after turning off the TV.  I don't want to give the movie too much credit, but as the credits rolled, I was left thinking what an odd product of its time the movie really was.  And the more I thought about it, the odder the movie seemed.

It's action star Clint Eastwood, well established in everything from the Spaghetti Westerns he'd conquer to the Dirty Harry movies to Where Eagles Dare and Kelly's Heroes.  And then he goes off and makes a movie where it seems the biggest draw is the inexplicable inclusion of an orangutan that doesn't seem to really drive the plot.

Eastwood plays Philo Beddoe, a tow-truck driver who seems to know his only real skill is with his fists.  So good is he, he both never backs down from a fight and he earns no small amount of side-money in illegal bare-knuckle matches in parking lots and on factory floors.  He's distinctly blue-collar, as is the movie (something that would fade within 10 years), all of the characters scraping by and living outside of polite society.  Philo meets a lovely young country star, Lynn, and for once he seems interested in something beyond the next moment.

Lynn seems to be in some trouble with an ex, and departs somewhat abruptly.  Philo grabs his Orangutan and decides to follow her.

Along the way, Philo and his buddy (his brother?  I wasn't clear) Orville stumble across the same ridiculous biker gang over and over, the biker gang losing bikes and fights along the way.  And Philo accidentally draws the attention of a cop who would just as soon throw his career away to find Philo for the humiliating beating he takes in a bar.

Deep down, I think this movie was trying to be something a bit more than a movie about a guy, an ape and punching out dopey bikers and cops.  And it sort of succeeds.  There's a certain lovely pointlessness to the movie, a sort of open-ended road-trip mentality that wants to embrace absurdity that never quite ever realizes that usually there's a sort of point to the pointlessness.  Yeah, we get that Philo relates better to the silent ape than people and it's through Clyde that he works out that he's even having feelings, but, I dunno.  There's just not a whole lot of payoff that seems so close to occurring.

I'm not sure the kids are aware that as big of a deal as disco may have been in the 70's, country music was a sort of omnipresent force as well. Hee-Haw was a thing which people happily watched. The movie does have some nice cameos, and does have a pretty good theme song:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

King Kong Released March 2, 1933

I don't remember a time in my life where I didn't generally like the concept of King Kong.  One of the books I remember best from about the age of 4 or 5 was a story book of King Kong, based on the 1933 film with nice illustrations, that my folks read to me.  In the way things are when you're a kid, I just knew who King Kong was, already.  I knew he'd climbed buildings and wreaked havoc, but not much else.

if Kong can make it over there, he can make it anywhere...!

I saw the 1970's Jessica Lange/ Jeff Bridges/ Charles Grodin version on TV around 1st grade, right up until Kong was walking through New York and stepped on some people and, I still recall, me freaking out a little.

By the mid-80's, my folks dropped me and Jason and someone else (I think our own Matt A.) off at Showplace 6 to go see King Kong Lives.  If you've not see it, and I haven't since a brief cable run shortly after it was in the theater, it was amazing.  Oddly, it never really took off as a fan favorite.  It does star a young Linda Hamilton.

One evening when I was in high school AMC finally ran the original, and I taped it in glorious VHS and then watched it, like, three times.  If I liked King Kong as an idea before, I adored the original movie.

If you've never seen it, it's an amazing technical masterpiece for the time.  The stop-motion animation and miniatures are terrifically seamless with the practical sets and actors, the puppetry for Kong manages to create a true character, and the entire Empire State Building Sequence is just truly a remarkable feat.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: King Kong (1933)

I was in high school before I got to see King Kong (1933) in its entirety, and I've probably seen it almost a dozen times since.  Before that I had seen both the 1976 version of King Kong with Jessica Lange and the almost forgotten King Kong Lives (1986) in the theater.