When a young boy discovers a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap, he is inspired to be a hero. A friendship develops between the boy and the dolphin, and the child learns significant life lessons about the importance of fighting for something bigger than himself. That is the premise for Dolphin Tale, a heartwarming family film that should prove to be a delightful family outing for the weekend.
The success of the United States’ manned missions to the Moon have been the focus of strange conspiracy theories for decades, and a new movie, Apollo 18, feeds on such theories.
Apollo 18 walks the border between science fiction and horror; its implausible premise — that mankind abandoned the exploration of the Moon because of a fear of beings living there — is pursued with relatively competent writing, acting, and special effects. The film also catches elements of its purported historical context, which bring out a certain depth to the film which younger audience may have difficulty grasping.
Kathryn Stockett could not have written The Help 50 years ago. Which is the point of the story. But the Jackson, Mississippi, native has joined Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, Donna Tartt, and a few others on the list of Southern women writers whose first, and sometimes only, novels have become instant bestsellers. Perhaps because the American South is unique in its culture and history, it continues providing fodder for great stories. Stockett’s 2009 debut novel has spent 116 weeks on the USA Today bestseller list and before the manuscript was even completed, the author’s lifelong friend Tate Taylor snagged it to make into a movie. Taylor served as the film’s director, guiding it to completion almost as true to a book as a movie can get.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes backtracks a bit, telling the origin story of how a planet that is ruled by apes came to be. Set in present-day San Francisco, the movie focuses on how genetic engineering resulted in the increased intelligence in apes, which ultimately leads to a war over domination. Though the film includes elements of revenge that seem to be validated, it proves to be quite entertaining and very well-written. It is by far the best film of the entire Planet of the Apes franchise.
Those behind the movie The Smurfs performed poorly in their efforts to re-introduce the popular 1980s franchise to a new generation of children. They produced a film that at times is dull and relies on the same potty humor that is growing a tad old, particularly for adult audiences. For those who are feeling a bit nostalgic, the film is likely to jog some fond memories of the beloved children’s cartoon, but this aspect alone is not enough to make a trip to the movie theater worth the cost.