You can probably guess my age from the fact that, despite years of dumping on every fantasy-movie franchise from Star Wars to Harry Potter, I’m a hopeless sucker for the Planet of the Apes movies. Well, most of them, anyway—I had a great time with the 2011 reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but was let down by the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In this week’s long review, I consider some of the screenwriters who dreamed up the sci-fi saga, though I’m guessing the only one you’ve ever heard of is Rod Serling.
Also in this week’s issue, Ben Sachs reviews the new comedy Sex Tape; I didn’t think anyone recorded sex on VHS tape anymore, but perhaps they’re talking about duct tape. And we’ve got new reviews of Boyhood, an 11-year journey through childhood and adolescence by our old pal Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, Waking Life, The School of Rock); Flamenco, Flamenco, the latest throbbing music documentary from Carlos Saura; House of Sweet Magic: The Animated Films of Helen Hill, a collection of 16-millimeter shorts by the New Orleans artist; The Promoter (aka The Card), a comedy from Alec Guinness and director Ronald Neame, who later collaborated again on the classic The Horse’s Mouth; Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, an indie drama about an autistic boy riding around on the New York subway and his mother’s desperate search to find him; and Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff’s long awaited follow-up to his indie favorite Garden State.
Best bets for repertory: Robert Gardner’s Dead Birds (1963), Monday at Nightingale; David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977), Saturday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water (1962), Friday at Doc; Alexander Mackendrick’s The Ladykillers (1955), Friday and Saturday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2012), Friday and Monday at Music Box as part of the Son of 70mm Film Festival; Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront (1954), outdoors on Wednesday at Northwestern University Norris Center; Franklin J. Schaffner’s Patton (1970), also in 70-millimeter, Sunday and Thursday at Music Box; and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), again in 70-millimeter, Saturday and Wednesday at Music Box.
And the correct answer is: 51.