What, it's Wednesday morning already and no one has posted an Ultimate Geek Fu?
All right then, here's a quickie. The weekend before last, on a hunch, we rented and watched Attack the Block, and loved all 88 minutes of it. Here's why.
Attack the Block is a low-budget British sci-fi/action/horror/comedy thing that came out a few months ago and pretty much sank without a ripple, which is a shame. It's exciting. It's fun. It's a movie with all the brio of a 1950s sci-fi drive-in scarer brought up to 21st century standards, without all the self-referential winks and smirks that contemporary screenwriters can't seem to resist throwing in, and without an insane amount of money being spent on redoing in CGI effects that worked better with models and puppets. It's proof that sometimes the most effective special effect is just to have a character step out of view of the camera, scream once, and then fling a handful of strawberry jam at the window.
Or to put it another way: if you were disappointed by the latest remake of The Thing, you'll love Attack the Block.
In terms of science fiction plotting, there's nothing terribly new and original about this one. Murderous alien invaders land in South London on Guy Fawkes night, the incessant fireworks neatly providing cover for their landing and initial depredations. A bunch of teenagers are the only ones who see the landing and recognize the threat, but no one will believe them, so they decide it's up to them to defend their block—their housing project, in American terms—from the invasion. From there the action unfolds in a variety of clever but not wildly original ways, until it reaches a very satisfying conclusion.
This film is definitely not for everyone. These teens aren't your standard American rebels-with-hearts-of-gold, and they definitely aren't the Cosby Kids; they're housing project thugs, who we first meet as they're mugging the woman who turns out to be the female lead. The language, when you can understand it, is relentlessly foul. (Most of the characters speak a sort of South London ghetto patois that is only technically English. We watched about half the film with the subtitles switched on.) There are a lot of drug references and drug humor, the drug users and dealers quite naturally being the only ones who are equipped, emotionally and materially, to deal with hostile aliens. There is a lot of violence, although by American standards, there was only one one-second flashed image that was actually graphic.
But if you can get past all that, and accept the idea that sometimes it might take a bunch of (mostly) black housing-project kids to save the world, it's a fast-paced and fun film with a good heart, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
How about you? Are there any overlooked films from the past few months that you would recommend going out of your way to find?
Let the arguments begin.
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