I'm not a big fan of blockbuster films but I have to admit that RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is solid entertainment.

The film uses the latest advances in performance capture technology to create apes that are more realistic than any you've ever seen before in Hollywood movies.

The new film is a prequel the 1968 original movie which showed a world in which apes ruled and humans were locked up in cages.
Its the purpose is to show how apes got smart enough to turn the table on humans.

The real star of the movie is Caesar, the chimpanzee played by Andy Serkis, the actor who also played  Gollum in THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
Dozens of video cameras capture a real time moving skeleton of the actor's performance that is then fleshed out by graphic artists to look like a real ape with all the subtleties of expression that the actor created.
The plot is pretty standard  but it's well executed.  James Franco is a scientist who develops a drug that dramatically increases the intelligence of Caesar, a chimp he raises at his home.

After Caesar attacks a neighbor who was being cruel to Franco's dad, the chimp is confined to a primate facility. But he's smart enough to escape his prison  and then distribute the miracle drug to the rest of the locked up apes.  

The climax of the film is their great escape through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Some of the rest of the apes are played by Cirques Du Soleil performers skilled enough to duplicate the acrobatic skills of these revolutionary animals.

The result is truly impressive.
If escapist entertainment is not what you're looking for this weekend, then you should head to Kahala to see BUCK, a documentary that won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival.

BUCK is about a real horse whisperer, Buck Brannaman, a charismatic man who truly understands horses and people.   

"A lot of times rather than helping people with horse problems, I'm helping horses with people problems, Buck explains. "All your horses are a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you might not like what you see in the mirror."

Buck's insights about the connection between people and animals are more than worth the price of admission.