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This film provides the perfect mix of music and relationships, blending both with equal parts of raw emotion thrown in for good measure. Viewers looking for a splendid date night movie or an up-close view of the music industry’s research and development side of the house will find “Begin Again” a very satisfying summer soundtrack and film experience.

Director John Carney, who brought us the surprise 2006 hit “Once” using unknown film stars singing an Oscar-winning tune, attempts to capture much of that same success and winning formula in this adventure. Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley (for 2005’s “Pride & Prejudice”) is a familiar screen presence playing the role of a British songwriter for her boyfriend (portrayed by real-life singer Adam Levine). Admirably, Carney gets both Knightley and Levine to venture outside their normal day-to-day comfort zones—actress Knightley showing off her singing chops for the first time on the big-screen while Maroon 5 lead vocalist Levine uses “Begin Again” to launch a potential film career.

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“Begin Again” is a compelling and rich movie that takes viewers along the artistic music path from talent discovery to chart-topping success. It examines the behind-the-scenes struggles of a record-label exec (Mark Ruffalo) that has hit rock bottom personally and professionally. And what a challenge life is for him—with his employment, marriage and fatherhood all hanging in the balance. Ruffalo’s stellar midlife crisis performance as the character Dan will easily make viewers forget he ever wore green paint as The Hulk in “Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012).

It’s the believability and realism in “Begin Again” that separates this film from so many other romantic dramas and comedies. Director Carney’s movie modus operandi is to let his storylines take a natural and acceptable course in a film—even if that means final scenes don’t tie up loose ends or conclude with happy endings for all involved. Carney sides with reality and any tiebreakers towards the end of the film usually sway in the direction of life’s real uncertainties—leaving the audience to find their own movie wrap.

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Although Oscar history tells us that films debuting before September have an uphill battle to gain Academy Award nominations, “Begin Again” has several things going for it. Ruffalo, an Oscar nominee for 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right” and a real-life brain tumor survivor, achieves his finest performance ever in film. “Begin Again” gives a chorus of music throughout, but after the last note is sung, this movie is about Ruffalo and his character, Dan. Ruffalo’s inspiring and brilliant effort deserves an Oscar nod in the Best Actor category. Likewise, a strong supporting cast that includes previous Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) as Dan’s teenage daughter and Catherine Keener (“Being John Malkovich”) playing his wife flawlessly cover any acting shortcomings from film novice Levine. The entire ensemble successfully sells the realism behind the microphone while Carney avoids any awkward gimmicks or faux pas in the relationship between Ruffalo and Knightley.

“Begin Again” easily makes my Top 10 List for 2014 films. Exceptional performances, particularly Ruffalo’s as the ear of the music industry, reward filmgoers with a realistic storyline of relationships and turning one’s life around after setbacks. Knightley’s first-ever singing gig may not have been pitch perfect during every ballad, but she kept the storyline interesting and plausible. Carney, much like his successful Irish music drama “Once”, provides an encore that’s very watchable to viewers due to its realistic depiction of life. The film and its conclusion—which continue as credits roll—allow us to eavesdrop and listen in to how music is discovered but also made, promoted and sold. “Begin Again” is great movie to add to your summer playlist!

Grade: A

"Begin Again" is rated R with a running time of 1 hour and 41 minutes.

Please excuse this momentary look back to 2008, but this French infantryman's views of our American troops in Afghanistan is still true today and remains a classic read:

“We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while – they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army – one that the movies brought to the public as series showing “ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events”. Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day ? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.

They have a terribly strong American accent – from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.

Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine – they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them – we are wimps, even the strongest of us – and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

Here we discover America as it is often depicted : their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity lack of privacy and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland – everything here reminds of that : the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location : books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions : the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.

And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark – only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered – everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

And combat ? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all – always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks : they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the ennemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting : they just charge ! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later – which cuts any pussyfooting short.

We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is – from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America’s army’s deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers”.

***

My French isn't that good, so I'll have to leave it to others to interpret the goods and authenticate.

The pilot's log book. Perhaps no other endeavor or job requires an individual to track such oddities.

Not only do pilots have to log every flight from departure location to destination, but also account for the time it took us to get there...right down to the navigator's arse in accuracy--or .1 hours (six minutes for you non-math types).

We must also explain in our log books what exactly we were doing to contribute to that Orville and Wilbur Wright moment. Were we acting, and I do use that word loosely, as First Pilot--actively controlling the aircraft (to include auto pilot operation)--or really acting, as the Copilot who just occupies a front row seat with a set of controls, but isn't controlling the aircraft (usually the non-flying pilot works the radios/checklists and handles communication to Air Traffic Controllers). With multiple destinations the pilots will normally swap duties after each leg of the trip to allow the other pilot the chance to miss radio calls or blame mysterious crosswinds for bumpy landings.

Instructor pilots must log the time they provide instruction to a student pilot. Evaluator pilots who give pilots their annual check rides must also log that evaluator time in their log book. Both of these qualifications provide pilots with valuable log entries that represent their expertise and experience in flying.

Our log books entries must also reflect the conditions experienced during every flight. Any part of the flight that took place during night conditions is recorded. Ever wonder why newspapers and newscasts show the official sunset and sunrise times? For us pilots. The same occurs for flying in clouds or other external conditions requiring pilots to primarily reference flight instruments in order to maintain aircraft attitude. Gotta log that time too.

I always fill out my log book immediately after engine shutdown. Since I have to fill out a similar form in the aircraft maintenance log, I use this time to make sure my log book reflects the same information.

My first entry in my log book describes my maiden voyage as "pre-flight, taxi, run-up, 4-basics, shutdown". The date is July 6, 1984 and I was in high school at the time. This introductory flight in Eugene, Oregon, lasted a whole .9 hours (54 minutes) and I'm sure my flight instructor moved the stick (or "yoke" as we call it) the entire time as I just hung on for dear life.

Most of the time I put the name of the other pilot I flew with in the "remarks" section of my log book. This gives me the opportunity to go back and double-check the fight records that the Air Force keeps on all it's pilots. It's also good to look back and remember all the guys and gals I've flown with over the years. The only time I didn't list the other pilots in my log book was when I was an instructor pilot at the C-130 schoolhouse. During those sorties, I could have 3 student pilots flying with me on one flight, all rotating into the other seat between takeoffs and landings. Without their grade books in my hand, they were called "hey, you're next in the seat. Get ready."

May 2, 1998. A flight from Aviano Air Base in Italy to Lajes Field, in the Azores, a small island in the middle of the Atlantic. Remarks say "tail swap", indicating we were swapping this Hercules with another C-130. The flight lasted 7.1 hours and additional remarks describe that night's dinner; "swordfish at the Pescador Restaurant". That was great swordfish. Highly recommend it.

The "Remarks" section also provides a glimpse into my flights that didn't go quite as planned and were cut short due to emergencies. A C-130 flight in 1996 that lasted only 18 minutes because of a "prop over speed on take-off". Just long enough to fly a radar approach and run the After Take-off, Prop Malfunction, Engine Shutdown Procedure (ESP), Descent, and Before Landing checklists. Other short flights that were the result of in-flight problems include "ESP #4 for RPM" (translation: Engine Shutdown Procedure for #4 propeller outside of allowable RPM limits), "fuel leak", "wheel well overheat", "ESP #2 for high oil temp", "decoupled prop", along with a dozen other aircraft problems.

A March 29, 1998 log entry only says "NASTY WX!" in the Remarks section. This C-130 flight originated at Minneapolis-St Paul Int'l Airport (MSP) and we were doing a local test flight in the northern section of Minnesota. I decided to cut the mission short and return early to MSP due to approaching thunderstorms. However, the thunderstorms were building up in several directions and air traffic controllers were stacking aircraft into holding patterns. I had a great navigator on-board and with his eyes on the radar scope we were able to skirt around these storms with his vectors. We were the first aircraft to get by the storms and actually land at MSP that afternoon.

Log entries that are bare on specifics and listed as "local" flights to keep the real destinations unknown are either special forces missions or rapid-response flights for higher headquarters. Both of which don't need reminders written about in my log book in order for this pilot to remember them and where we were operating at.

Most pilots look to their log books for only the total hours they've accumulated over the years. When I approached 3,000 hours I thought is was a good milestone. However, as the flying hours have continued since then, I now look at my log book as a source of many great stories with many great people. We've travelled all over the world and seen great places, mostly on Uncle Sam's dime. Yes, there's been some interesting and perhaps stressful moments along the way, but the success of the missions and being able to take part in so many operations makes up for all the days sweat flowed from my David Clark covered head.

Take a look at your log book and see where life's journey has taken you. It may be a photo or scrap book, archives from a blog, or even letters from long ago...but all a memory book to you, logging your journey through life.

Logbook

My log book.

***

King was commissioned in 1990 at Oregon State University and retired from active-duty in June of this year. During his career, Colonel King flew a number of U.S. aircraft, to include the C-130 and EC-130 aircraft. He is an expert in electronic attack and cyberspace warfare.

Note to readers: This was an excerpt from 'My Wild View Yonder - Memoirs of an Air Force Officer & Pilot' by retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Patrick King. 'The Pilot's Logbook' was originally written by Colonel King in 2007 following his deployment to the Middle East and was republished in national magazines.

Michael Keaton (2014's 'RoboCop' remake) stars as an iconic superhero struggling in his later years to reclaim his long, lost mojo, only now in a Broadway play.  Movie includes Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis.  Before this year's 'RoboCop', Keaton is probably most noted for his role in Tim Burton's 1988 'Beetlejuice'.  Keaton again worked with Burton on the 'Batman' and 'Batman Returns' movies.

'Birdman' is set to be released October 17th and is Rated R.

 

Beatles

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard has his sights set on a new documentary on the Fab Four--the Beatles--which will focus on the wonder-group's touring years between 1960-1966.     The untitled Beatles movie is slated to be released late next year.  Why did Ron Howard agree to producing and directing this film?

"What's so compelling to me is the perspective that we have now, the chance to really understand the impact that they had on the world," Howard says. "That six-year period is such a dramatic transformation in terms of global culture and these remarkable four individuals, who were both geniuses and also entirely relatable. That duality is something that is going to be very interesting to explore."

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Something in Howard's corner--that other Beatles' tell-all films hasn't had in the past--is the use of technology-driven forensics:

"We are going to be able to take the Super 8 footage that we found, that was all shot silent. We'll not only be able to digitally repair a lot of that, but we've also been finding the original recordings," explains Howard. "We can now sync it up and create a concert experience so immersive and so engaging, I believe you're going to actually feel like you're somewhere in the Sixties, seeing what it was like to be there, feeling it and hearing it. And as a film director, that's a fantastic challenge."

You can read the entire Rolling Stone article here.

Note to readers:  The following is an excerpt from 'My Wild View Yonder - Memoirs of an Air Force Officer & Pilot' by retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Patrick King.  Some names have been changed to protect the identity of certain people.

***

The instructions were as terse as they were vague; fly to the Base X and wait for further instructions. Whisky Tango Foxtrot, I thought. There has got to be more information, I insisted to my director of operations in his office. He shook his head. Fly a C-130 aircraft 5,000 miles and wait? Affirmative. I could tell from his voice that he wasn’t holding back information.

These sorts of shadowy missions are seen in military movies but rarely (read: never) happen in the real-world. There’s a difference between keeping people in the dark who have no “need to know” about a mission, and those crew members who are going to fly the mission. There’s an old adage that says the U.S. military can’t take a dump without a plan. It’s true. The Air Force has a plan for everything. We have plans and more plans. For the most part, these plans are done by very smart people. At other times, however, plans are done by people with no dog in the fight and that can make for a dangerous, ill-advised mission. Someone—somewhere--always knows the plan; but at this point, this “someone” remained elusive.

Despite no further information, we flew 5,000 miles, landed in the dark of night and parked the aircraft on the tarmac. After securing the C-130, the five of us crew members headed into the operations facility. Once inside, and still missing follow-on details, we called our home unit to make some inquiries. All we could do was give them our motel room’s callback number.

Finally, an hour later we received a cryptic phone call from someone with enough information on our crew for us to confirm the caller’s authenticity. We were told to load our C-130 with 30,000 pounds of fuel in the morning and to file a flight plan; a route that had a starting and ending point, but with enough loiter time in between those locations to get over halfway through a Ken Follett novel. It was explained that a white van would drop off our “customers” at 0900 hours sharp. End of conversation.

The next morning we loaded the aircraft with fuel and waited. At 0845 hours, we completed our aircraft preflight duties but stopped at the Before Starting Engines checklist. While the loadmaster was outside the C-130 at the ten o’clock position and looked for the white van, I did the same, from the cockpit. “Sir, should we start engines?” Not yet, I responded. Time seemed to slow down. I strained to look outside the left window and towards the back of the aircraft, almost smacking heads with the flight engineer standing behind me and doing the same thing. The copilot and navigator traded glances out the right-side windows.

Still, no one was in sight as 0900 hours arrived. The crew was getting agitated and so was I. Mother****ers, I thought. This is bull****, I whispered into my boom microphone to no one in particular. “Sir, do you think we should start engines?” the loadmaster asked again. Yes. Just because my customers were late, didn’t mean my crew was going to be caught flatfooted or blamed for a missed time on target (TOT).

Subsequently, we started all four engines in an attempt to save a minimum of ten minutes once, and if, the customers arrived--but meanwhile burning valuable gas and taxpayer money. After staring at my notes from the previous night’s phone conversation I began to wonder if we got something wrong. Did I err? Was the mission cancelled? Had we somehow not been notified (it happens). I continued to scrutinize all my notes and trip paperwork.

“Sir, a white van is approaching” the loadmaster called out on his headset. Sweet Jesus. A plain, white 9-passenger van with no side windows pulled up just off the C-130’s left wingtip. The van doors opened slowly and 6 people jumped out like it was the drop-off lane at an elementary school. I instructed my loadmaster to make sure the van did not depart without a copy of our flight orders and passenger list. As the six passengers made their way into the C-130 and the loadmaster got their names recorded on the passenger manifest.

After boarding, one of the six customers came up to the cockpit and shook my hand. Following a quick introduction to the crew, he gave us our instructions and answers to our questions. We had finally found the man with the “plan”.

****

(Lieutenant Colonel King was commissioned in 1990 at Oregon State University and retired from active-duty in June of this year.  During his career, Colonel King flew a number of U.S. aircraft, to include the C-130 and EC-130 aircraft.  He is an expert in electronic attack and cyberspace warfare.)

This movie, based upon the autobiography by Cheryl Strayed called "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail", is due to hit theaters this December.

One determined woman, carrying on her shoulders grief and a backpack, sets out on a 1,000 trek to find forgiveness.  Filmed mostly in Oregon, the movie is directed by Jean-Marc Vallee ('Dallas Buyers Club').  'Wild' has serious Oscar potential--particularly with Academy Award winner Witherspoon leading the way.

What do you think?

 

'Kill the Messenger' stars former make-up artist and Academy Award nominee ('The Hurt Locker') Jeremy Renner.  I enjoyed Renner in 'American Hustle' but still like his 2010 flick 'The Town' the best.

Renner's newest film is ripped straight from today's headlines and based upon a true story...government cover-ups.  Check.  Exposing Federal corruption.  Check.  National security concerns and crack cocaine.  Check. And check.

Oh, and it depicts the nation's only news hound still willing to do that little thing called "investigative reporting".  Or what we used to call "journalism".  Yeah, this movie pursues facts, the truth, and government threats.  Looks interesting.

Coming to theaters in October...

Top Gun 2

********UPDATE*********

It appears this is the guy that's been given the responsibility of getting Maverick back into the air:

Peter Craig

Yes, it's Peter Craig--the son of 2-time Academy Award winner Sally Field (1970's 'Norma Rae' and 'Places in the Heart' in '84).  Craig wrote the screenplay for 'The Town' (2010).

We've been told that the busy film schedule of this guy has kicked production of 'Top Gun 2' down the road.  But in reality, it might be Craig's writing timetable that has kept TG2 from moving forward until now--afterall, he's pretty freaking busy with these two hot projects:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (hitting theaters this November*)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (coming out in 2015)

*Fandango's #1 Most Anticipated Movie of 2014

PHOTO:  Credit to John Sciulli/Getty Images

********END OF UPDATE**********

Top Gun

We all know what the right answer should be..."Negative, the pattern is full".

However, better judgement aside, it appears that Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Cruise are prepared to join forces again to give audiences volleyball in jeans, negative 4g dives, and unapproved tower fly-bys:

"...The concept is, basically, are the pilots obsolete because of drones. Cruise is going to show them that they're not obsolete. They're here to stay," Bruckheimer said. "It's just getting to the starting place. Fortunately for Tom, he's very busy, so you have to find a slot he can fit into and get a budget that Paramount feels they can make the picture."

So much for that earlier, 1986 threat to Maverick from his skipper about "you'll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!".  In Top Gun 2, Maverick is the older, experienced naval aviator fighting drones.

***

The background...

U.S. Navy take: On March 3, 1969, the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Its purpose was to teach the lost art of aerial combat and to insure that the handful of men who graduated were the best fighter pilots in the world. They succeeded. Today, the Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it: TOP GUN.

My take: In 1986, 'Top Gun' the movie came out and the ladies all fell in love with pilots.  And not just Lt Pete "Maverick" Mitchell...all pilots!  Or "aviators", as the Navy likes to call them.  With the release of this film the "wingman concept" was first created, mostly due to poor singing from said aviators (read: sex-starved) at an Officer's Club in Miramar.  Women were cautioned about young men following them into the ladies room and the boys were taught not to leave one of them alone to fight the Russians at 30,000 feet.  'Goose' died, but left us Meg Ryan.  Lieutenant Tom "Iceman" Kazanski continued his flying career, and was last seen in Flagstaff, AZ.

No official date yet on when filming will start for 'Top Gun 2'.  Is that the song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" I hear playing on the jukebox?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Following on the heels of the entertaining and successful 2011 ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, this motion picture was supposed to take the humanity vs. ape conflict to a whole new level of fervor. The bitterness and meanness of the apes was expected to escalate, while the few humans who survived the Simian Flu outbreak gathered and plotted a strategy to dominate once again. Instead, the ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ storyline gets stretched out to the point of appearing artificial and lackadaisical.

Director Matt Reeves (who will also direct ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes 3’ in 2016) focused this film on the internal dynamics and power struggles within the ape colony in the woods, located just outside San Francisco. Caesar, the charismatic ape leader who we last saw saying good-bye to James Franco’s character in 2011’s ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is the movie’s best feature—by far. Reeves, acknowledging Caesar’s exceptional screen influence throughout the film, begins and ends the movie with close-up shots of his main star. However, the noteworthy and powerful performances in ‘Dawn’ start and stop with Caesar.

The cast in the film is stale and minimized by an ape-driven plot, leaving viewers hard-pressed to name any human characters besides architect/negotiator Malcolm (played by Jason Clarke). While little investment takes place in Malcolm’s background story, we’re told even less about Gary Oldman and Keri Russell in the movie. Without more information on the human faces in the drama, Reeves makes this a single-dimension story on only the apes—significantly diminishing the main catalyst to all ‘Planet of the Apes’ stories.

It’s apparent early in the film ‘Dawn’ will avoid relying on the bread & butter success of the ‘Apes’ chain—wholesale conflict between humans and apes for which audiences have come to expect. Alternatively, a mutually agreed coexistence ceasefire strategy unfolds following the first skirmish between the two foes. Rather than continue the uneasiness and distaste for one another--probing each camp’s strongholds--Reeves decides to save that all-out meltdown for the next film in this ‘Apes’ series. The result of Reeves running out the clock on this movie is a storyline and mission that seem stretched and unfulfilling.

The human’s desire to gain access to a power-generating dam in the ape-controlled woodlands is a diluted, misplaced theme. That’s the best Reeves could muster to bring both species to the brink of war? After the early discovery of one another at the start, the humans (and Reeves) embark down the path of respectful neighbors living in cohabitation. It’s not until the real distrust between the two groups percolates once again that the movie begins to entertain and show signs of life. Likewise, a nice connection by Reeves to Franco’s researcher character in the previous film ‘Rise’ gives audiences a small dose of continuity.

The greatness of the ‘Apes’ original handful of movies in the 1960s and early 70s was the lethal relationship and epic survival scenes they generated over which race would conquer the other first. This film started off with such promise--as a small group of humans accidently stumbles across the ape masses. Unfortunately, the film’s only real rebels were Caesar’s best friend and his son. As for the rest, well, that will have to come in 2016 with ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes 3’.

Great cinematography and computer-generated imagery can’t carry a thinly stretched storyline with weak human characters. Caesar, for the second ‘Apes’ film in a row, carried this feature with his sign language and striking glares. ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ kicks the coexistence problem between humans and apes down the street until ‘Rise 3' in 2 years. In the meantime, this film settles for setting the table on the next motion picture and leaving viewers unsatisfied and no resolution. Unfortunately, this waters down each parcel of the ‘Apes’ masterpiece just a bit more. And at this rate, I’ll be hoping to see “Sunset of the Planet of the Apes’ coming to theaters soon.

Grade: C+

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is Rated PG-13.  Running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes.