Immortals Directed by: Tarsem Singh Written by: Charley Parlapanides & Vince Parlapanides (screenplay) Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto and John Hurt
Unlike most bad movies, Immortals is quite beautiful to look at. From the plethora of computer-generated vistas to the shimmering metal of every blood-tainted sword, director Tarsem Singh takes the lifeless screenplay and plows his way through it with a visual grandeur that dwarfs most other modern action movies.
The initial image is of the mighty Titans, who in Greek lore are the greatest threat to the Gods. Here they are dwarfed down to human size as opposed to the mighty renditions in the Disney version of Hercules or the God of War video games. There is a lightning-quick battle between them and Zeus’ crowd, though that King of the Gods is missing his thunderous super powers as well.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Directed by: Rupert Wyatt Written by: Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (screenplay), Pierre Boulle (book) Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, and John Lithgow
Rarely does anything even hinting at the label “philosophical” come close to being produced by a Hollywood studio, especially in the summer. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is such a movie, though. More than half of it is spent meditating on the birth of free will and the nature of violence.
This reboot is actually smart, and it’s propelled by a volcanic lead performance. I’m not talking about James Franco. He plays a fairly typical scientist motivated to cure a disease for personal reasons (his dad has Alzheimer’s). I’m referring to Andy Serkis, who breathes so much life into the role of the ape Caesar that it comes close to touching what he did in the Lord of the Rings films. He shows the true artistry of motion-capture acting.