Rapid Movie Review: ‘Dawn of Apes’ and ‘Coherence’


Preston Barta // Film Critic

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES | 130 min. | Rated PG-13 | Director: Matt Reeves  | Stars: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Judy Greer

Rating: 3.5/4

Very often sequels are a big concern, particularly when they come from big studios. Cheap cash-ins are all too familiar, where rather than stepping further into the established world and exploring the unlimited opportunities of the characters, sequels simply add more bad guys, senseless action and noise (yeah, that was a shot at Michael Bay). It can also be worrisome when the director of the original (Rupert Wyatt) checks out and a replacement is needed. Luckily, director Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD) rises to the occasion and goes further than you could have ever thought with the franchise.

Like THE DARK KNIGHT, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES transcends the Hollywood blockbuster. Besides its poorly written human characters, there is little to complain about. It’s a visually arresting, rich and fun summer popcorn flick.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is out in theaters everywhere.


COHERENCE | 89 min. | Rated R | Director: James Ward Byrkit | Stars: Nicholas Brendon, Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Elizabeth Gracen, Alex ManugianLauren MaherHugo Armstrong and Lorene Scafaria

Rating: 3.5/4

COHERENCE is one of those rare films that proves that you don’t always need a 100 million dollars to build a gripping sci-fi. Look at MOON and ANOTHER EARTH – both are thought-provoking and entertaining pieces that were made on a shoestring budget, and that’s exactly what COHERENCE is.

Taking place over a single night, a group of friends gather for a party when a comet is expected to pass really close to Earth. BOOM. Phones start breaking, power goes off, strange knocks at the door… some crazy occurrences take place.

The result is a trippy, mind-bender that will have you thinking for days. This is one that you need to seek out. I guarantee it will spark some really interesting debates. Plus, it has Xander from BUFFY in it.

(Look for our interview with the director next week!)

COHERENCE is playing on VOD and is also showing at the Angelika Dallas.


Rating: 3/4

BEGIN AGAIN will have you smiling throughout its entirety. Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley are just delightful, as is the movie.

Rating: 3.5/4

SNOWPIERCER is one of the coolest movies in quite some time. Its excellent cast is just as powerful as its narrative.

Rating: 1.5/4

Since BRIDESMAIDS, Melissa McCarthy has been the comedy queen. But even the mighty fall, as TAMMY is painfully unfunny and messy.

Rating: 2/4

THEY CAME TOGETHER has all the ingredients of a great romantic-comedy: a great cast (Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler) and a good director (David Wain, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER). But ultimately, it’s a parody that supplies more stupid than laughs.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.