Apes created by our own Weta should dominate Kiwi cinema screens this weekend, while a Tour De France tie-in provides light relief.
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (M, 131mins) ★★★1/2
Reviewed by Graeme Tuckett
Dawn picks up the action ten years after the events of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The artificial virus that gave Caesar the chimp his Mensa membership has spread through the apes of the world, who have all trebled their IQ's and built themselves a civilisation. But the same virus has mutated, and wiped out nearly the entire human population. We learn all this via a deft and understated opening credit sequence. From here on in, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is non-stop conflict and histrionics. The visual effects here are stupendously good, while the onscreen and mo-cap cast all turn in admirable work. This is a hugely competent film, with story-telling nous to match it's huge technical achievement. But Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is also ceaselessly, stupefyingly violent.
TOUR DE FORCE (M, 93) ★★★1/2
Reviewed by James Croot.
Francois Nouel (Clovis Cornillac) has had a life-long love affair with the Tour de France. Having once "tickled the pedals himself", he jumps at the last minute chance to be the driver for his sports-shop company's team. There's just one problem, he's booked to go on holiday with his wife and teenage son. At once a giant advertisement for Le Tour and a lament for how sponsorship and drug scandals have tarnished its magic, this charming comedy coasts along thanks largely to the charisma of its leading man Cornillac (A Very Long Engagement).
In French with English subtitles.