20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Even more impressive than what Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has to say is how it goes about saying it. But what's the most impressive of all is the fact that the movie is having its conversation in the first place. The fact that a science-fiction blockbuster plopped right in the heat of a Marvel Comics- and Michael Bay-stocked summer, composed of computer generated super-apes and post-apocalyptic San Franciscos, is speaking unabashedly about the futility of war, the corrosivity of guns, the corruptibility of man (and ape), and the intense fallibility of any singular ideology.
So astounding is it that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is delivering these principles that you'll watch with the constant apprehension of a thematic undercut — that a movie like this couldn't possibly carry forth with its desolation of the cells that constitute its summer picture brethren's lifeblood. But the film stays true, never for a moment working to glorify its illustration of violence and hate. Dawn has a lot of ugly things to show us about its world and our own, and it pulls no punches in its presentation.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
That's not to say the movie is at all a chore to watch. Though its mission may be grim, Dawn drives us through a story about the impending war between hyper-intelligent simians and what's left of mankind with an effervescent pulse and rich character. On one side, we have Caesar (mo-capped Andy Serkis) struggling to maintain a just and orderly society of his ape brethren in a swanky little set-up in the woods, hoping principally for communal isolation. On the other, Gary Oldman strives for the very same harmony with his slum of Simian Flu-resistant humans, eyeing the power plant on the apes' turf as the source of a basic human necessity. Neither side wants war, and yet neither side is incapable of seeing the other as a threat to what it wants and needs.
We delight in our time in Ape Kingdom, finding a special fascination in watching Caesar play father to his eldest son Blue Eyes (who endures his own coming-of-age crisis of faith), in clever orangutan Maurice pioneering primate academia, and in battered chimp Koba fostering that Macchiavellian drive the old world knew too well. When the story slips into the inevitable nightmare that spawns between two parties, we have as vivid an idea of who's fighting who as any adventure, sci-fi, or war film has given us in recent years.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
So who do we root for? That's just one of the many blockbuster conventions that Dawn not only avoids but abjectly annihilates. This isn't a story about good versus bad, right versus wrong, or even man versus ape. This is a story where the act is the enemy. Where war, guns, and hate are the criminal, where trust and love are the unfortunate victim. Dawn is outstandingly impressive in its delivery of these ideas: in the construction of a race of post-human apes, its coloring of archetypal characters (like top billing human Jason Clarke and a simple but substantial Keri Russell) as fluorescent, and its unique understanding and adherence to its message's gravity. But, to reiterate, what's even more unique, outstanding, and impressive is the fact that a movie like this is saying these things at all.
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Lindsay Lohan has been left battered and bruised on her birthday after she was injured during a bike ride. The Mean Girls star celebrated turning 28 on Wednesday (02Jul14) with a New York City pedal, but she was left with cuts and bruises on her legs when her Citi Bike outing went awry.
Posting a snap of her war wounds on Instagram.com, Lohan wrote, "A citibike gone wrong #notsoquiche (hot)."
The actress returned to the Big Apple earlier this week (begs30Jul14) after spending several weeks in London, where she met with theatre bosses behind her stage debut. She will appear in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow in September (14).
Monty Python star Eric Idle has shrugged off negative reviews of the comedy troupe's reunion shows, insisting they had "15,000 happy customers" on opening night. The veteran funnymen have reunited for their first stage shows in more than 30 years, and they kicked off the first of 10 comeback gigs at the O2 Arena in London on Tuesday (01Jul14).
The comedy troupe was subsequently battered by a raft of bad reviews from critics, who accused the stars of relying too heavily on old jokes, well-worn routines and tried-and-tested sketches, but Idle shrugged off the criticism in a series of posts on his Twitter.com page.
The comedian is adamant the audience loved the show, even if the critics didn't, writing, "Say no more... We surprised 'em. 15,000 happy customers. Get in if you can. It's quite good fun..."
Idle went on to re-post a slew of positive messages from fans who attended the gig.
Supplied by WENN
Sam Smith's London home was targeted by burglars while the pop star was at Britain's Glastonbury Festival, according to a U.K. report.
The Stay With Me hitmaker performed at the iconic music event in Somerset, England over the weekend (28-29Jun14) and shared a series of posts on his Twitter.com account about the fun he was having at the festival.
However, when he returned to his south London home, he reportedly found the property had been broken into and a number of items stolen.
A source tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "Sam and his mates were all down at the festival when it happened. They (the burglars) took a number of items from his property. Sam was gutted when he got back. He's clearly paying the price of fame."
Supplied by WENNThis is said to be the second time the singer's home has been broken into this year (14). The source adds, "Sam loves where he lives but his management are looking to move him somewhere else as his current place is not very secure."
Dancer Michael Flatley is to quit performing after his new show Lord Of The Dance - Dangerous Games hits the stage in Dublin, Ireland next spring (Mar14). The Irish-American star, who has developed some of the world's most spectacular dance shows in the past 20 years, insists that, at 55, he's getting too old to show off his famous footwork.
As a result, he'll only perform the final two acts of the Lord of the Dance - Dangerous Games premiere, and reveals that the show will be his last.
He tells the Irish Independent, "This old body of mine is beaten and battered from all the years dancing in shows.
"I don't think I could attempt to dance an entire show. But the lure of this new show opening in Dublin before an Irish audience was too much and I just had to be involved. I couldn't resist it.
"I wanted to do the final two big numbers myself and it will be my last time performing in Ireland.
"I feel really strong, really well but there is no way I could get through an entire show. My body is writing cheques that my legs can't cash anymore. But I am really buzzed about the new show."
He's hoping to make the premiere at the O2 in Dublin a family affair by flying in his 87-year-old father and bringing his seven-year-old son.
U.S. reality TV star Camille Grammer has been hit with a lawsuit from her ex-boyfriend over assault claims she made against him. Grammer, the ex-wife of actor Kelsey Grammer, accused Dimitri Charalambopoulos of leaving her bruised and battered following an alleged altercation in October (13).
In January (14), she won a three-year restraining order against Charalambopoulos, but last month (May14) members of a grand jury ruled there was not enough evidence to proceed with the felony assault case against him.
Now, Charalambopoulos is claiming Grammer made up the whole story and is suing for defamation, malicious prosecution and fraud, according to TMZ.com.
U.S. reality TV star Camille Grammer's ex-boyfriend has walked away from charges after she accused him of attacking her in a Houston, Texas hotel room last year (Oct13). Grammer, the ex-wife of actor Kelsey Grammer, accused Dimitri Charalambopoulos of leaving her bruised and battered following an alleged altercation and she won a three-year restraining order against him.
But, in court on Wednesday (28May14), the members of a grand jury ruled there was not enough evidence to proceed with the case.
Supermodel Heidi Klum was honoured with the Crystal Cross Award from the American Red Cross for her charity efforts during a ceremony on Saturday (17May14). The model-turned-TV personality has been working with the relief organisation for the past 10 years, but it was her work after Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. East Coast in 2012 that earned her the special recognition.
Thousands were left homeless or without power for days when heavy winds and rain battered the area, and Klum offered up items from her Truly Scrumptious line of baby and toddler clothing and nursery decor to help those in need.
At the ceremony at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., Klum told People magazine, "I try to give back. After Sandy, we got a gigantic truck and we loaded it with blankets, diapers, kids' clothes and toys because it was right around the holiday season and we went to Long Island (New York).
"So many people had lost everything, and everything was wet and it was a big mess. The Red Cross has such an infrastructure to help you, you need all these hands."
She adds, "I try to get a lot of goodies from the people I work with. I realize how fortunate I am. When you go out into these desperate situations, when you sit at a hospital with sick children, of course it changes you. We are used to seeing horrifying catastrophes on television, but when you are about to go and be there and see the sadness on people's faces and the things they just lost, it makes a huge difference."
Downton Abbey star Dame Maggie Smith will swap her finery for rags to play a homeless woman in the movie adaptation of Alan Bennett's play The Lady In The Van. Smith will reprise the role of eccentric Miss Shepherd, which she originated onstage in 1999, for the movie.
Bennett, who turned 80 on Friday (09May14), wrote the play from his memoirs, which chronicled his odd relationship with a homeless lady who lived in a battered car in the driveway outside his London home for 15 years until she died in 1989.
Sir Nicholas Hytner, who directed Smith in The Lady in the Van onstage in London, will also take charge of the film adaptation. This will be his third collaboration with playwright Bennett - he transformed both The History Boys and The Madness of King George III from the theatre stage to the cinema screen.
Mission BriefingS.H.I.E.L.D. is still in pieces after the recent attacks from embedded HYDRA agents, and the U.S. governement is threatening to blow up the organization into even smaller pieces when S.H.I.E.L.D. is labeled a terrorist organization. With a dwindling number of options, Coulson decides to take a risk when he recieves a mysterious set of coordinates by way of his S.H.I.E.L.D. badge. Does salvation lie at the end of the coordinates, or is Coulson leading his team right into a Hydra trap?
Mission FalloutThe ragged remains of S.H.I.E.L.D. are barely holding themselves together after the events of The Winter Soldier. Coulson and his team are lying low at the Hub, one of the few remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. bases still intact and under genuine S.H.I.E.L.D. control. Things get even worse when Coulson gets a call from a Colonel Glenn Talbot, who threatens to send peace keeping troops to the Hub. Coulson bets that there will be less peace keeping and more bunker busting from the hard-edged Colonel and decides to cut and run, even though the Bus is in no kind of shape for a long journey. The team takes off with limited food, fuel, and supplies (but good Internet), and decide to go completely off the grid.
Meanwhile, the double crossing Agent Ward frees Raina from a S.H.I.E.L.D. prison and introduces her to Garett, Whom she is disappointed to learn isn't really clairvoyant, but simply in possession of a high S.H.I.E.L.D. clearance. Ward and Garrett decide to raid the Fridge, the secret location where S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps its most dangerous acquisitions. Ward reveals to Raina that all of his actions since first meeting Coulson and joining his team were calculated moves to gain everyone's trust. He does reveal that he cares for Coulson, but not as much as he cares for Garrett. The duo infiltrates the Fridge and steals a load of S.H.I.E.L.D. weaponry, but can't crack the encryption on Skye's hard drive, which is full of S.H.I.E.L.D. secrets. Garrett tells Ward to get the password from her and kill the rest of the team in the next 24 hours.
While flying away from the Hub, Coulson receives mysterious coordinates on his badge, which he believes to be a message from Agent Fury. The rest of the team doubts the coordinates, believing them to be a HYDRA trap. Coulson decides to head to the coordinates anyway, which leads them to a snowy wilderness. With the validity of the coordinates seeming less likely by the second, The team finally reaches the location of the coordinates, only to find nothing. Everyone except Fitz begins to doubt Coulson even more, especially after learning the he used the Bus' last bit of fuel flying to the coordinates. Coulson gives an impassioned speech about still believing in S.H.I.E.L.D. before inadvertently setting off a defense mechanism. It turns out that the coordinates belonged to a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base set up by Director Fury and manned by Agent Eric Koenig (Patton Oswalt). Koenig reveals to Coulson that Fury is alive, but prevents him from telling the rest of his team the good news. Skye informs Ward about the secret base, and the agent arrives, ready to do whatever it takes to get the password for the hard drive.
Most Valuable Agent AwardThis weeks honor might go to Coulson if he weren't being so irrational the entire episode. Of course he ended up being right, this being his show and all, but shouldn't he be just a little more wary about following mysterious coordinates? Especially after HYDRA has eaten its way through his entire organization? No, this week's award goes to new recruit Agent Koenig for fitting in some primo Call of Duty hours while being locked away in the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base.
Mission Highlights and Other Observations - Looks like Coulson and his team should be expecting a visit from the supervillain Graviton pretty soon, now that Garrett has gotten his hands on the gravitonium from episode 3. - Agent Grant Ward has become infinitely more interesting after revealing his true colors. All of a sudden he's all rugged and roguish. Why couldn't he be this cool before?- It looks like the show is positioning Triplett to be a Ward's replacement on the team. No complaints here.