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Film Clips: July 10

Jul. 9, 2014
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes PG-13

A decade after the simian virus has killed almost all human beings, representatives of the few people remaining in San Francisco (played by Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman and Kodi Smit-McPhee) negotiate an uneasy truce with the ape leader, Caesar (performed beautifully in motion-capture by Andy Serkis). However, Caesar’s leadership is soon challenged and won by Koba (Toby Kebbell), who was a lab subject and believes the only good human is a dead one. Disagreements between the well-armed apes ensue, while the nervous humans quickly assume a defensive posture that shatters the peace. The devastating war between simians and humans is captivating, as are the battles fought for dominance within both human and ape societies. Chalk up another winner for the prequel series to the 1968 film that just keeps on giving. (Lisa Miller)


Life Itself R

Using segments from Roger Ebert’s autobiography as voice-over, director Steve James recounts the critic’s passion for journalism, when as a child Ebert wrote a newsletter about his Urbana, Ill., neighborhood. Hired in 1967 as a film critic at a major Chicago paper, 25-year-old Ebert subsequently frequented Chicago’s O’Rourke’s bar where he drank too much and behaved badly until he joined AA in 1979. At about that time, Ebert and Gene Siskel paired to star in PBS’s “Sneak Previews.” Their journey, from despised rivals to good friends, is detailed. Ebert, who was alive when this project began, wanted his battle with cancer chronicled, including filming his surgeries. The critic’s willingness to lay himself bare, and the director’s ability to know which events shaped Ebert’s life, illuminate his major contributions to the evolving industry of being a critic. (L.M.)


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