Monthly Archives May 2011

Film Review: Attack the Block

Directed by Joe Cornish
Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker and John Boyega
Score: 4/5

It’s just another night in South London, when a nurse named Sam (Jodie Whittaker) is mugged by a teen gang, lead by the imposing Moses (John Boyega). As if things weren’t bad enough for Sam already, an alien invasion takes place just moments later, just outside of her apartment. Suddenly, everyone must work together to overcome a vicious attack from creatures whose mission isn’t initially clear.

While fan boys may note that this is from the producer of Shaun of the Dead, it isn’t a comedy. In fact, it’s kind of like An American Werewolf in London, which was also a horror film that just happened to be wildly funny. Writer/director Joe Cornish, who wrote the screenplay to Steven Spielberg’s upcoming The Adventures of Tin Tin, is a talent on the rise; this sleeper mixes genuine scares, pulse pounding excitement, social commentary, laugh out loud moments and really inventive monsters in a way I haven’t seen since Tremors.

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Film Review: Attack the Block

Directed by Joe Cornish
Starring Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker and John Boyega
Score:  4/4

Looking at the poster and trailer for Attack the Block, I don’t blame people for not being more excited about this movie.  When the buzz around it started building (especially the audience award at SXSW), I didn’t understand it.  Obviously I was missing something, so I was more curious than anything when I got the invitation to catch a preview screening last night.  What I couldn’t have possibly expected was a film that is a direct descendant of films from John Carpenter, Wes Craven and even Cliver Barker from mostly the 70’s and 80’s.  If you’re not sure if that’s a good thing or not, believe me, it’s a VERY good thing.  When the opening shot of the movie was a static shot of a starry night and a synth score that John Carpenter could have easily written in the 80’s started up as a meteor fell to earth, I immediately got an idea of what I was in for, and this movie met every single one of my expectations.

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Physics: Does It Really Matter In Movies?

It’s clear after watching Fast Five that director Justin Lin flunked physics in

high school. How else can you explain the film’s delirious action sequences, moments where both actors and cars zoom across the screen as if untethered by gravity?

The film’s signature chase (mild spoiler alert!) involves two cars dragging a massive safe across the highway. You don’t need an abacus to realize they probably wouldn’t get very far doing that in real life, let alone out-race a squadron of cop cars in hot pursuit.

Audiences clearly don’t seem to mind the liberties taken by Vin Diesel and co. The film hauled in $85 million in its first weekend and continues to rake in the cash.

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SGR Episode 150 – Terrence Malick

As much as we wish Barry could talk about Tree of Life, he can’t. With all the buzz about the film, though, it just made sense to do an episode about his other films to help prepare us for what’s coming our when when the film opens wide.

SGR Episode 150

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ScreenGeeks Radio Episode 150

ScreenGeeks Radio Episode 150

The films of Terrence Malick

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SGR Episode 149 – Jerry Bruckheimer Films

This is the first time we’ve ever done a show about a producer, but there’s little doubt that Jerry Bruckheimer was instrumental in changing the landscape of American action movies. Jack from Scree

nGeeks UK joins us for the discussion.

SGR Episode 149

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SGR Episode 148 – Song Of the South Revisited

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ScreenGeeks Radio Episode 149

ScreenGeeks Radio Episode 149

The films Jerry Bruckheimer produced

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ScreenGeeks Radio Episode 149

ScreenGeeks Radio Episode 149

The films Jerry Bruckheimer produced

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Film Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Directed by Rob Marshall
Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush and Ian Mc

Shane
Score: 2/4

I don’t know if any film series has had quite the same journey that of Pirates of the Caribbean. Starting off as a film based on a theme park ride, nobody thought the first film had a snowball’s chance in hell of being a good movie. Little did we know that the combination of a solid script, the imaginative hiring of Gore Verbinski (fresh off the only good J-Horror remake, The Ring), and a solid cast including Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush hamming it up and playing off an unlikely straight man in Orlando Bloom would bring us one of the great adventure movies of at least the past decade. The film brought the swashbuckling fun of an Errol Flynn classic and updated it with a good supernatural story and solid CG that was in service to the story.

The second two films pretty much threw everything that worked out the window and turned into a cash grab. The CG took over the spotlight of the films and Disney inexplicably decided to stretch a story that should’ve been in a single 120-150 minute movie over two movies totaling just over FIVE AND A HALF HOURS. Character development somehow found a way to take a backseat to the effects and mugging for the camera. The story was far more convoluted than it needed to be and turned into a complete waste of my time outside of the scene on the beach of crabs in Davy Jones’ Locker that would have been right at home in a Terry Gilliam movie. After the third film barely made its budget back at the box office, geekdom hoped that would be the end of the Pirates movies. The story finally ended and we all hoped the series was thankfully over.

Disney apparently ran out of ideas for live action movies after The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and decided to blow off the mothballs and bring the franchise back. To their credit, Disney and new director Rob Marshall brought the series back to its roots by telling the complete story in a single film with a reasonable running time and made the CG take a backseat to the overall story. Would that be enough to make me as an audience member love Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and bring me back to the series? Unfortunately not.

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