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Opening in Orlando: Wish Upon, War for the Planet of the Apes and more 

OPENING THIS WEEK

War for the Planet of the Apes Like many red-blooded Americans, I celebrated the recent Fourth of July holiday by watching my favorite patriotic movie: the original Planet of the Apes. I swear, when it comes to defining our national character, this picture has everything – like rugged individualism, the Statue of Liberty, and a deep-seated contempt of all humankind. War, the third installment in the latter-day Apes saga, is instead hitting theaters just in time for Bastille Day. And that makes sense, since its narrative framework is one Marine Le Pen would sympathize with deeply, depicting as it does a pitched battle between the remnants of polite civilization and a newly ascendant horde of clever animals. (Talk about putting the "vet" in "extreme vetting.") Geopolitical analogies aside, these Apes flicks are fixing to go three-for-three when it comes to critical and commercial success, which is a trifecta the original series never managed. Just don't worry that the monkeys are forgetting their roots, because War furthers the tradition of character names that are affectionate nods to the Heston era. Joining "Caesar," "Bright Eyes" and the extremely droll "Dodge Landon" is a new character who just happens to be named Nova. ("NO-va. NO-va.") Boy, when Linda Harrison started banging Dick Zanuck, little did she know what kind of immortality she was really in for. (PG-13)

Wish Upon This week's other wide release also has a primate connection, being the latest Hollywood product based on the classic cautionary story "The Monkey's Paw." In this iteration, a young woman (Joey King) receives a magic box that appears to grant its owner's deepest wishes – but may also cause tragedy to befall one of her loved ones for every yearning fulfilled. See, I don't understand where there's a serious quandary here, because if I thought some artifact from the Hellraiser estate sale could net me a million dollars, it'd be so long, Uncle Joe! In what may be the most off-key promotion ever, studio Broad Green Pictures mounted a contest in which they promised to fulfill the wishes of seven lucky winners. Golden Ticket holders, have you heard from your mom lately? (PG-13)

Also playing:

The Big Sick Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon, relied on their own relationship history in crafting this romcom about a Pakistani Muslim who locks horns with his in-laws when his spouse is put into a coma. But Gordon is not a performer herself, so playing her character in the film is Zoe Kazan – whose 2012 film Ruby Sparks was a vehicle for herself and her own partner, Paul Dano. Geez, it's like some kind of indie key party up in this bitch. (R)

Cartels It's always a red-letter day when a 21st-century Steven Seagal movie gets a theatrical release. The sense of triumph, however, is muted a bit when the picture in question is Cartels, one of seven – honest to God! – pictures Seagal made in 2016. Will his fanbase be outraged when they settle in to watch the film and realize it's just a retitled, rereleased Killing Salazar, which came out over a year ago? More to the point: Will they even notice? (R)

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