Weekend Movie Preview (8.5.11)

Summer has entered the home stretch, and like any race, it’s time to keep those movie engines revved rather than tire up. August will surely have a share of disappointments, but the first couple weekends usually have something good in store. This year it’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” the seventh film in the series (I bet you didn’t know that) but a definitive prequel with motion-capture gorillas. Comedy programming also continues with the buddy body-switching comedy “The Change-Up.”

New This Week

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Written by Rick Jaffa, Jamie Moss and Amanda Silver, Pierre Boulle (“La planete des singes”)
Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox

Summary: A scientist in San Francisco (Franco) researching a cure for Alzheimers starts testing his drug on monkeys, who begin to respond with abnormal levels of intelligence and incite a war for global supremacy.

The Word: It’s been 10 years since we got anything from “Apes” after Tim Burton’s strange remake back in 2001. This prequel arrives with hopes that the impressive work being done with motion-capture technology on film these days can make lifelike apes that put the old makeup ones to shame. Who better to do mo-cap than WETA, the team behind “Lord of the Rings” and its best mo-cap actor, Andy Serkis? Franco will also test his leading man draw power, but the apes sell this one.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81% (great)

My Thoughts: I was initially very skeptical of this project, but with every new trailer and image the apes seem to have become more impressive from an effects standpoint. The reviews declare this a true summer popcorn flick which is exactly what you hope for with apes attacking humans.

Recommendation: A worthwhile summer diversion, but something that could also likely be enjoyed in a few months time at home.

The Change-Up

Directed by David Dobkin
Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Starring: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann

Summary: Two best friends, a married man with twin infants and a bachelor find themselves envious of each other’s lives. When they piss in the same magic fountain, they wake up the next day in each other’s bodies.

The Word: Reynolds jumps from rom-com to buddy comedy — familiar territory for Bateman — for this tried body-swap formula comedy from David Dobkin, the director of “Wedding Crashers” and the writers of “The Hangover.” Those credits should perk up the ears of the middle-aged demographic as both those comedies performed extremely well across all demographics.

Rotten Tomatoes: 24% (bad)

My Thoughts: Sure, the plot is stale, but what will this film do differently with it? Presumably this is a much filthier version and as such it better deliver on laughs, because we all know how this one will end.

Recommendation: So many other good comedies playing right now that I’d hesitate to recommend this one.

Box Office Predictions

Oh, these apes will definitely rise … expect the planet and the box office to both be conquered come Sunday. With the bar set low last weekend and some great reviews, Rise of the Planet of the Apes should be your new champion and with just north of $40 million in my estimation.

Without any other family competition moving in and school still out, the deadlock between The Smurfs and “Cowboys and Aliens” will be won by the blue team. Even with only $35 million last weekend, the sci-fi Western should fall hard. Enough so that The Change-Up should beat it. Despite the cheesy premise that will have some eyes rolling at this one, there’s enough of a draw here to make the standard near-$20 million that most summer comedies have scrounged up.

Even if it disappoints, the body-swap comedy has a lot more going for it as a new release than Cowboys & Aliens does in its second week. Even well-reviewed movies have fallen fast this summer with an appealing film out every single week. Expect $15 million or so. Captain America: The First Avenger has been playing that one close, so that should slide in just below it.

1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
2. The Smurfs
3. The Change-Up
4. Cowboys & Aliens
5. Captain America: The First Avenger


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment