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.
Making Captain America: The First Avenger was a huge film risk, but one that should pay off big for the Marvel superhero franchise. The Captain America reboot is mostly retro, something that has already failed in theaters, and starring a leading man who's never played the role. Based in the Second World War, where weakling Steve Rogers (played impeccably by Chris Evans) is rejected again and again by Army recruiters, Rogers signs up for an experimental program to create super-soldiers. Using science from expatriate German scientists, and the super-steroids (and "vita-rays," ... yeah, whatever that is), Rogers turns into Captain America.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 proves to be an exciting culmination to the ever-popular Harry Potter book and film series. In this final installment, Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying Voldemort’s three remaining Horcruxes, which are responsible for the Dark Lord’s immortality. As Voldemort senses his reign of terror may soon come to an end, however, he grows increasingly dangerous. For Harry and all those at Hogwarts, the stakes are high. For moviegoers, these are all the makings for an exciting, thrilling, action-packed film that espouses important themes and leaves Harry Potter fans filled with a sense of satisfaction by the end.