Yup, they’re getting later and later at the moment, but here’s the Film Fight for July, with 4 films…
First up, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a fun-enough sequel to what was a pretty good kids movie. It’s not a masterpiece, feeling a little formulaic at times, but it really didn’t have to be a classic. There are sad moments, fun moments, exciting moments. It does its job of being an entertaining, if light-hearted, film. Enjoyable. (See my How To Train Your Dragon 2 Twitter review).
Boyhood is a fascinating experiment: director Richard Linklater assembled his cast every year for a few weeks, ostensibly so we can see the 7-year old boy at the centre of the film turn into a 19-year old man. While the pacing doesn’t always work, it’s great to see the actors improve year-on-year. While Ellar Coltrane, as the lead, sees the most obvious evolution, it’s great to see now-seasoned actors, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, going from serviceable at the start to great towards the end. Very worthwhile. (See my Boyhood Twitter review).
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a surprisingly good reboot of the franchise, so it was going to be interesting to see where its sequel, Dawn of the Planet of The Apes, went next. There’s a significant time jump and the human population is all but wiped out as the film begins. A small group stumble into Caesar (the ape leader) and his new family, causing tensions to rise. While the supporting cast are sketched in overly broad strokes, the leads are well-drawn characters forced into worsening situations. There are a number of missteps (the music is overwrought, the apes using guns is never earned) but it remains entertaining. A solid action/adventure. (See my Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Twitter review).
Finally, The Purge: Anarchy takes the silly premise of The Purge (that for one night a year no crime is illegal) into a new direction. Where the original was a home-invasion horror, Anarchy is more of a suspense-thriller, in the mould of Judgement Night. Viewed through that almost B-movie lens, it’s an entertaining film. There aren’t many surprises, but the action keeps the pace up nicely. Good. (See my The Purge: Anarchy Twitter review).
For July, the winner is Boyhood, for being such an interesting cinematic undertaking.