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In Theaters: ‘Apes’ Rise Against ‘The Change Up’ & ‘Bellflower’

In Theaters: 'Apes' Rise Against 'The Change Up' & 'Bellflower'

What up, party peoples?! It’s August y’all, the best time of year to seek solace from the heat in the cool climes of an air conditioned movie theater! I feel for those of you forced to choose “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in order to bring your body temps down. I know, I’m being uncharitable but that’s what I do. Pass judgment on works of art and commerce created by hundreds of people. I just don’t care for those ape cartoons, okay? And raise your hand if a small part of you thinks this is a performance art piece by James Franco like the Oscars clearly were. If you’re still jonesin’ for Jason Bateman talking dirty after “Horrible Bosses,” you can get a double dose with “The Change Up.” Clearly though, the choice of the weekend belongs to “Bellflower,” if you live in New York or LA, this festival hit has received a ton of buzz, in no small part due to the appearances made by the awesomely souped up vehicle, Medusa, at festivals, and the various drunken cricket eating contests that went along with it. It’s also received rave notices, so do yourself a favor and check this one out this weekend, or soon when it hits a theater near you.

Why do we need another “Planet of the Apes” movie? I thought Tim Burton did us all the favor of putting that one down with his installment. What is this, a prequel? I’m just saying I don’t care for animated ape faces, nor do I care for movies that feature crazy rage apes being tested on in cages. That never ends well. Haven’t we learned anything from “Outbreak“? Or “Project Nim” for that matter? Our review says it’s “a bizarre, action-packed final act that seems to have no narrative purpose except to establish that these apes have morphed into super-ninjas.” Starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox and Andy Serkis as the mo-cap ape. Rotten Tomatoes: 81% Metacritic: 71

Who loved “Freaky Friday” but wished it was with two, totally similar-looking white dudes instead? I mean, right?! “The Change Up” stars Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman as two dudes who pee in a fountain, wish for each others lives, get struck by lightning and switch bodies. You know, Science! Ape Science! The lovely Leslie Mann endures some crass scatological humor. Our point-counterpoint review says, on the one hand, “you’ll wish you could body swap with someone who is watching a funnier movie,” but on the other hand, “in a summer of very uneven R-Rated comedies, the absurd and tonally blotchy ‘Change-Up,’ is still the funniest and most amusing of them all. RT: 22% MC: 41

Bellflower” opens this weekend in New York and LA, so us plebes who didn’t hit the fest circuit finally get a taste of this low-budget gonzo indie post-apocalyptic love story. That string of words sold me. So did the car. If you need convincing, our review says it’s “a turbo charged indictment of male adolescent fantasy and a biting critique of misplaced machismo.” RT: 91% MC: 74

Rachel Weisz and her pretty face (along with Monica Bellucci‘s) stars in “The Whistleblower,” about a UN Peacekeeper in Bosnia discovering the sex trafficking underworld. Our review says, “the major flaws in the film’s structure detract from the admittedly great performance Weisz turns out.” RT: 59% MC: 52

Tell your former hippie parents about “Magic Trip,” Alex Gibney‘s new doc about hippies doing LSD and driving around in a hippie bus (serious question: did hippies do anything other than drive around in hippie buses doing LSD?) and I’m sure they’ll Netflix it in a few months. Tell them our review says, “it may not be successful in completely roping one in but it’s still affable and pleasant to partake and it’s not so bad to just be along for the ride.” RT: 63% MC: 58

The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” is a rock ‘n’ road drama (see what I did there?) starring Kevin Zegers, Jason Ritter, Taryn Manning and others trying to regain some of that rock star mojo. Our review says the film “rises above the plainclothes road trip/rock ‘n’ roll drama and cements itself as a memorable, if not great, film.” RT: 0% MC: 30

Sundance hit “Gun Hill Road” stars transsexual actress Harmony Santana portraying a young man transitioning from one gender to another and her recently-released-from-jail father (Esai Morales) attempting to come to grips with it. RT: 53% MC: 51

Also in theaters: Portuguese period piece concerning Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, “Mysteries of Lisbon” RT: 72% MC: 81; horrific Japanese drama and festival hit, “Cold Fish” RT: 73% MC: 70; “Protektor,” a drama about a Czech radio reporter and his Jewish wife during the Third Reich RT: 50% MC: 48; annnnd “Habermann,” yet another Czech drama about Jewish wives during WWII! MC: 49

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