‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,’ ‘Venus in Fur’ and other new movies, reviewed

In this week’s new releases, Caesar (Andy Serkis) wants peace between humans and apes in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” Roman Polanski’s film “Venus Fur” is inspired by David Ives' play of the same title, which was inspired by the 1870 novel “Venus in Furs.” Both films receive three stars.


Andy Serkis brings powerful emotion to Caesar, the leader who tries to broker a peace with the humans over the howling of his political rivals. (WETA)

★★★ “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (PG-13) “‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ works both as allegory and action-adventure film. The internecine conflict between apes mirrors the troubled history of our own race. It isn’t just that Caesar is a better ape than Koba, but that both of them, tragically, embody a dual nature that is all too recognizably human.” – Michael O’Sullivan

★★★ “Venus in Fur” (Unrated) “One thing that makes the dialogue-heavy movie so compelling (and also something that Polanski does so well) is an undercurrent of dread. What are Vanda’s motives? She can’t be trusted, but it’s hard to know how sinister her intentions might be. The mysteriousness is echoed in the score, which comes and goes, and the lightning that flashes intermittently through the theater’s skylight.” – Stephanie Merry

★★★ “A Coffee in Berlin” (Unrated) “The movie has a German ‘Seinfeld’ kind of feel, where Tom Schilling plays straight man Niko and wacky characters drift in and out of view.” – Stephanie Merry

★★★½ “Code Black” (Unrated) “Though set in the busy emergency room of Los Angeles County General Hospital, where the frenetic drama is at times reminiscent of the television series ‘ER,’ the documentary ‘Code Black’ is less about saving lives than it is about saving the American health-care system.” – Michael O’Sullivan

★★★½ “A Summer’s Tale” (G) “Like most of Rohmer’s movies, ‘A Summer’s Tale’ is comic, humane and much more complicated than it seems at first. The fresh-faced actors, realistic dialogue and naturalistic performances suggest a casual approach, but as the story progresses, the filmmaker’s control is increasingly evident. – Mark Jenkins

★★½ “The Last Sentence” (Unrated) “‘The Last Sentence,’ a biographical drama about Swedish newspaper editor Torgny Segerstedt (1876-1945), exists for two equally valid reasons: its subject’s honorable public actions and his semi-tawdry personal life. Though both facets of the man are interesting to different degrees, the tension between them is less compelling than writer-director Jan Troell seems to think — or at least manages to make them appear in his sturdy, if slightly dutiful, telling.” – Michael O’Sullivan

★½ “The Perfect Wave” (Unrated) “‘The Perfect Wave’ is nice to look at, and evangelical Christian moviegoers will no doubt appreciate a family-friendly movie with a message they can endorse. But it’s going to take more than pretty pictures to convert doubters.” – Stephanie Merry

Macy L. Freeman is an editorial aide for the Weekend/Going Out Guide section at The Washington Post.
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