Do “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “As Above So Below” rise to the occasion? Popcorn Bag reviews!

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1. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (PG-13)
20th Century Fox

RUSS
2014 may go down as the "Year of the Superior Sequels," disproving the notion that the originals are always better. The latest example is “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” Not only is it better than the series reboot, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” it’s one of the best films of the year so far. And, no, I’m not kidding. Yes, it’s got spectacular special effects and is jam-packed with the kind of action you expect from a summer blockbuster. But it’s also an intelligent and thoughtful social commentary that gets at the roots of war.

SHAWN
Yes, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is a near masterpiece. Yes, it's superior than it’s predecessor. Intense and emotional. Every bit as fun as it is a sophisticated.

RUSS
Like all great science fiction, it’s less about 'them and the future' and more about 'us and now.' The acting is extremely strong, both from the human cast members, including Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman and Keri Russell, and the apes, portrayed through motion capture technology by Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell.

SHAWN
The human acting is on par with the human acting hidden by the CGI. Andy Serkis is a master but he isn't alone. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" features some of the best acting this year. Kudos to the entire ensemble. Hooray for the special effects team.

RUSS
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is more than just popcorn entertainment. It’s an epic and thrilling sci-fi adventure.

SHAWN
Better than average bonus material including Andy Serkis: Rediscovering Caesar. Great movie. Great DVD release. One of the best of the year.

RUSS: 5 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

2. AS ABOVE SO BELOW (R)
Universal Pictures

SHAWN
Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.

RUSS
The "found footage" horror gimmick hasn't played itself out, yet...unfortunately. This time, explorers find terror in the catacombs below Paris. Watch only if claustrophobic mazes are your preferred form of torture.

SHAWN
I liked the new twist. And is it scary? Somewhat. Is it fun? More than it should be.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

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