Weekend Movie Guide 08/05: Rise of the Planet of the Apes & Bellflower

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RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES courtesy 20th Century Fox

My initial reaction to Rise of the Planet of the Apes was "take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty reboot!" In fact, the blockbuster origin story may be the missing link between the classic Apes series & modern moviegoers.

Weta, the New Zealand visual effects house who made their name on Lord of the Rings, brings all the apes to life. Andy Serkis (Gollum), Weta's motion-capture maven, even has a simian skill-set, having worked previously on Peter Jackson's King Kong. The human casting agents didn't monkey around either. James Franco leads some spectacular sapiens including Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), John Lithgow, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter) & killer character actor Brian Cox.

On the surface, Sundance darling Bellflower shares characteristics of many mumblecore films. The low budget, local production features crew crossing over into cast, and a story aimed at awkward 20-somethings about how awkward it is to be an awkward 20-something. But take a look under the twee hood and you'll find everything these films lack: a car that goes boom! Medusa, Bellflower's car star, sports some serious firepower, in the form of surveillance cameras, smoke-screens & rear-exhaust flamethrowers.

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BELLFLOWER courtesy Oscilloscope

It's no picture car either. Filmmaker Evan Glodell (cinematographer for this year's LA Shorts Fest contender Before Breakfast), who plays a guy that builds a post-apocalyptic muscle car, actually built the fully-functional Medusa over the course of filming. Bellflower's bold style & bizarre bleeding of art-into-life-into-art are sure to ignite the screen at the Nuart, blowing away plenty of minds in the process.

Glodell & Medusa will appear for Q&A's after the 7:30 show tonight, tomorrow & Sunday. Should you see anyone flipping any switches, run.

Are you an adventurous film-goer? Check out our weekly guide to the best of LA's repertory theaters, exclusive screenings & midnight movies!

Wide Release
The Change-Up (Showtimes)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Showtimes)

Limited Release
Bellflower (Nuart Theatre)
Death By Medicine(Laemmle's Sunset 5)
The Future (ArcLight Cinemas) (The Landmark)
The Harvest (Laemmle's Music Hall 3)
If A Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Downtown Independent)
Knocking on the Devil's Door (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Poverty, Inc. (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Sholem Aleichem: Laughing In The Darkness (Laemmle's Royal Theatre) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
The Whistleblower (The Landmark) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)

That's all for this week. See you at the movies!