Attack The Block (2011)


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Attack the Block is the story of 15-year old Moses, from street thug to savior of the planet, or at least savior of South London.  After mugging a neighborhood nurse, Moses and his crew are attacked by an alien that crash lands next to them.  After slaughtering the first alien, more start landing in search of the first one.  At first, it looked like Attack the Block would just end up another cult classic and fall into the realm of watchable B-movies, but the story never sank to the typical low levels.

The characters were meaningful and weren’t just a bunch of foul-mouthed teenagers with witty one-liners.  They were troubled but each boy had his own “thing” that he brought to the crew.  I also really appreciated the use of the katana in Attack the Block.  Kids might not have guns, but they can have swords, which ultimately proves to be much more effective in an alien invasion.  Even the really young kids, Props and Mayhem, come up with a creative way to slay bear-wolf aliens.

The story itself was simple enough, yet it was still fun to watch.  Some scenes would probably be too gory for faint of heart, but there weren’t many of those.  It was mostly just watching kids on bicycles trying to fight aliens with katanas, baseball bats, and a lot of fireworks; and also watching the one trying to hit on the nurse they robbed in the beginning, but later discovered was their neighbor.  The South London accent was a challenge to understand at certain points, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from setting aside 90 minutes to watch this exciting alien war.  I feel like Attack the Block is what would’ve happened if E.T. was evil instead of good.

The FP (2012)

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The human language cannot adequately describe The FP.  If you have seen any previews for this movie, then you have an idea of how ridiculous The FP is; if you haven’t, you should go see an official trailer right now.  I’m glad to know that my Dance Dance Revolution skills are directly transferable to “Beat Beat Revelation” in the future.  And, judging by their skills, I could probably rule some small communities and lead a fair gang.

The FP is kind of like Rocky, Grandma’s Boy, Mad Max, and The Warriors all rolled into one. So how do they write a plot centered around a DDR game?  Let me tell you, they “beat off” against each other for “street cred” and this battle  is also for control of the local liquor store.  As you quickly find out, Frazier Park is going downhill because the 245 from the South has a monopoly on the liquor.  Since there’s no liquor, there’s no bums, and since there’s no bums, there’s no one to feed the ducks.  And what kind of town doesn’t have ducks?

If you think that’s confusing, just wait until you see all the other random things that just happen throughout this movie.  I’m sure it will be a cult classic, and it will undoubtedly make for a classic drinking game in some circles.  I was very conflicted on what to rate this movie because for some aspects I wanted to give it as high as 8 stars, but other parts were so stupid that it made 2 stars seem appropriate.  I ended up taking the average.  It’s not what most people would call a good movie, but I’m looking forward to the soundtrack and Blu-ray/DVD release.  I just wished they had played more difficult songs in the movie.  They had the greatest opportunity ever to show off the elite skills required for some Heavy songs.

In Time (2011)

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In Time is a prime example of a movie concept which had so much potential, but just didn’t quite deliver.  Before I watched it, I believed it had the potential of to make an Inception or Matrix like impact on the world.  However, it seemed as though the director of In Time didn’t know if he really wanted an action-packed movie or not, and so the film just fizzled into the finish line.

It’s not surprising that I like the concept so much since I am a big fan of Andrew Niccol, and Gattaca is one of my all-time favorite movies.  The problem with In Time was its attempt to be an heart-pounding action-centered film, when it really should have been a heart-pounding dramatic tale with action supporting it between scenes.  Instead, it couldn’t compete with other action movies of the year, and didn’t delve deep enough into the social issues which the drama was based around.

Some of the shockingly anti-climactic events of the movie didn’t really help its cause either, such as what happens when the time keeper finally catches Will Salas and the time keeper’s history is revealed.  Also, the duo breaks into banks to “give time away.”  But the banks were so shabby and unguarded, it only brings up the question of why wouldn’t people have broken in if all a person needed to do was drive a truck through the glass windows and through the paper thin walls.

The Robin Hood-esque storyline and the issues of gentrification combined with the futuristic concept of “time” being a currency were great ideas.  But they just didn’t come together in this film.  In Time is something that most people will watch and leave thinking, “That could’ve been a great movie, if only…”

Super 8 (2011)

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This film was thoroughly advertised last summer with captive commercials that gave no inkling as to what the movie was about at all.  I decided it was high time that I finally watch it even though I had heard many mixed things about it.

A word that many critics have already used with it is “nostalgic,” and it’s definitely true.  Not only is it nostalgic because of the setting of the film, but also the entire theme.  My friend was quite correct when she said at the end that it seemed like a grown-up version of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.  I guess it isn’t that surprising since Spielberg was also a producer of Super 8.

For me, many parts of the movie felt like the previously J.J. Abrams produced film, Cloverfield.  It was probably the whole thing with not seeing “the creature” except for brief glimpses.  But at least in this movie, we had some music to listen to; a lot of interesting music…

I still don’t really understand why so many people were so excited about this movie, and why it was considered one of “the best movies this summer.”  It was good, but not a film I would go crazy over, or even rank in the top ten for 2011.  No matter what genre I consider it from–action, science-fiction, drama, nostalgic–there were better competitors on the big screen this year.

Real Steel (2011)

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I expected this movie to be very mediocre, and after watching it, I’m really glad I didn’t spend money to see it on the big screen.  In my mind, there is no parallel between human fighting and robot fighting.  A fight between people tests their spirit, but a fight between two robots, I feel, is just a test of engineering and programming quality.  A test of engineering quality deserves merit too, but it does not inspire people in the same way.

That is the main flaw with this movie.  It wanted to be inspirational, but it centered around a failure of a father/person as a protagonist who engages in robot boxing.  The whole movie felt like a weak, frail, lost little brother to the original Rocky.

Except Rocky was a good person who was a little mentally slow; traits most viewers empathize with.  But Charlie Kenton, on the other hand, was a man who gambles away his chances and abandons his own son; not the most attractive character.  Even at the end, when he was a better father, I did not like Charlie anymore than in the beginning.

And the flaw with the (not at all) epic final match was that it did remind me exactly of Rocky, with the underdog putting the champion against the ropes, but the final bell saving him.  In fact, I only enjoyed the last fight because, in my head, I was really re-living the first fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed; a fight that actually was inspirational.

In the end, this movie is predictable, and the story played out exactly the way I anticipated it to.  It was okay to watch, but I would recommend playing the movie on the side while you’re doing something else.  The film definitely does not require or deserve a viewer’s full attention.

Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)

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Since I just watched Universal Soldier: Regeneration, I wondered if I had missed anything in the second installment of the Universal Soldier series.  I watched this short movie, and it might possibly be one of the worst mistakes in my life.  After I finished, I looked on Wikipedia and discovered that when making Universal Soldier: Regeneration, they completely ignored the existence of this movie, and for very good reason.

This was essentially a B-movie, along with everything which that implies:  bad acting,  excessive out-of-place swearing, horrible dialogue, fragmented story, unknown actors (except Jean Claude Van Damme and Bill Goldberg), and lots of unnecessary boobs.  Bill Goldberg’s acting in the movie is exactly the same as when he wrestles on WCW Monday Nitro except he has a shirt on most of the time.  After all the grunting, I’m surprised Goldberg didn’t jackhammer anyone either.  It definitely wouldn’t have made the movie any worse.

The only reason this movie gets this high a rating is because some of JCVD’s flying kicking attacks reminded me of his other movies such as Bloodsport, Lionheart, Street Fighter and Kickboxer.  Also, the ending reminded me of Demolition Man, which is also one of my favorite action movies.  By the way, who is Michael Jai White?  He was in The Dark Knight?  Since they were making a B-movie anyways, they would’ve been better off employing Jaleel White like Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus; I might have been willing to give this movie another half a star if he was in this movie too, just for added comedic value.

Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009)

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Probably even without a review, you could guess exactly how good this movie will be.  Action-packed and fun to watch when your in the mood for something mindless and ridiculous.  Bringing back both of the original characters this time while adding UFC brawler Andrei Arlovski, this is 90 minutes of army people pounding on each other and trying to prove their are the manliest.

One shouldn’t be surprised to discover that the storyline behind this film is pretty shallow, but anyone who enjoyed the original Universal Soldier movie will definitely have fun watching this one.  It’s like watching the original except with a slightly different story, and both Jean Claude Van Damme and  Dolph Lundgren now look ancient.  They seemed to gasp and run out of breath just throwing a single punch.  Nevertheless, Russian terrorists, Chernobyl, hostages, interesting twist, and three testosterone-filled action stars are still a recipe for enjoyment.

At times, when I saw them fight and put each other through the walls, it reminded me of when Vin Diesel fought Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Fast Five earlier this summer.  However, it is clear that Dolph and JCVD are far past their prime, and its obvious that the scriptwriters  were just sticking to the old proven action formula without introducing anything too new or too emotional.  The movie is exactly what you would expect it to be, nothing more and nothing less.

Do you of contemplate the complexities of life?