A SCIENTIST carries out genetic experiments on apes, hoping to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, in RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (12: Twentieth Century Fox).
This reboot of an enduring sci-fi thriller franchise concentrates on one chimpanzee, Caesar (a combination of Andy Serkis and CGI), taken into the home of the boffin, Will Rodman (James Franco).
It’s the only way Rodman can carry on experimenting with a possible cure for dementia after being shut down.
Caesar’s intelligence multiplies as he continues to receive the drug, but a violent attack on Rodman’s neighbour results in him being impounded with apes of normal brain power.
Outraged at the cruel treatment of his kind, he starts to plot his escape and take revenge, forming his fellow primates into an army to overthrow the human race.
Despite being let down at times by stilted dialogue and hammy human acting (Brian Cox and John Lithgow are the main offenders), it’s an exciting tale.
Niggles like this are just nit-picking when held against director Rupert Wyatt’s breathtaking action sequences, notably a battle on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
The special effects from the team behind Avatar are mind-blowing and take your attention away from the muddled morals of a script that asks only vague questions about man playing God.
> Fans of E4’s cult sixth-form sitcom THE INBETWEENERS (15: Entertainment Films) will be delighted that the gross-out is ramped up for this feature-length excursion.
Although many of the situations were covered in Kevin & Perry Go Large and, if you want to go much further back, in Carry On Abroad, a heart does beat beneath the laddish antics.
Written by series creators Iain Morris and Damon Beesley and directed by Ben Palmer, who was at the helm for TV series two and three, it simply picks up the show’s much-loved urban teens.
Nerdy Will (Simon Bird), lovesick Simon (Joe Thomas), oblivious Neil (Blake Harrison) and mouthy Jay (James Buckley) are plonked in the Greek party town of Malia. Their hormonal insecurities are played out against sun, sea and strobe lights.
> If you like your movie thrills and chills to come in spades, make sure you get your mitts on a copy of KILL LIST (18: Studio Canal).
Director Ben Wheatley has conjured up a uniquely terrifying experience with his down-and-dirty flick that moves confidently from edgy soap opera to intense crime thriller to stark satanic shocker.
A former soldier-turned-contract killer is persuaded to do one last job with his best mate, but their mysterious employer’s hit list brings them into direct contact with the occult.
As the bodies pile up, it soon becomes apparent the pair are caught up in a situation beyond their control.
Wheatley draws on the recurring nightmares he’s had since childhood and his scares are palpable due to the improvised performances of his keen, sit-up-and-take-notice cast. And the move from Mike Leigh territory takes the horror beyond the comfort zone in a darkly comic, but brutally violent, dynamo of fright stuff.
> Here’s a comedy that’s due for release on Boxing Day – just in time for all those people whose number one new year resolution is to give up smoking.
SMOKING LAWS (15: Scanbox) is a voyeuristic look at how tobacco puffers are being forced to stand outside their favourite drinking haunts and have curious conversations and confrontations that last the length of a cigarette.
In a smoky haze they talk dirty secrets and habits and even matters of life and death.
The Bossman is a bar owner stuck with a bunch of smokers who spends most of his time trying to keep his staff under control. Apart from an overzealous bouncer, they’re all slackers. His customers aren’t much better. This random collection of drunks, failed artists and other misfits who brave the cold outside so they can smoke make his life a misery.
> Apollo 17, launched on December 17, 1972, was officially the last manned mission to the moon. But a year later, two American astronauts were sent on a secret journey funded by the US Department of Defence.
What you will see in APOLLO 18 (15: Entertainment In Video) is the actual footage they captured. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.