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A good movie

Posted : 6 years, 4 months ago on 2 June 2012 07:46

Since I kept hearing some really good things about this flick, I was quite eager to check it out. Furthermore, since it was dealing with an alien invasion,  Nick, my step-son, was even more enthusiast than I was so we basically had to watch it as soon as possible. Eventually, it was really similar to  'Shaun of the Dead' except that ‘Shaun…’ was  an action horror comedy and this movie was combining a hood flick with an alien invasion. Anyway, the only thing they maybe were missing here was some star power. I mean, 'Shaun of the dead' was pretty awesome above all thanks to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (who actually had a small part here as well but he was barely used). I have to admit it, the young boys involved were all pretty good and they did deliver some decent performances but, to be honest, they didn't have such a charisma. Still, I really enjoyed the damned thing. Indeed, it was very well made, clever with some funny dialogues with some awesome British humor. Of course, the whole Alien invasion had been done to death by now and they didn't actually add much to the formula and they instead followed the rules of the genre but it worked pretty well. To conclude, even if it was nothing really mind-blowing after all, I really had a good time watching this movie and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre. 

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Flawed but playful British alien invasion movie

Posted : 7 years ago on 15 October 2011 10:08

"You'd be better off calling the Ghostbusters, love."

A curious mixture of The Goonies and War of the Worlds filtered through Assault on Precinct 13, Attack the Block is not exactly a typical alien invasion movie. Rather, this directorial debut for Joe Cornish is a more playful motion picture concerned with a bunch of British youths and stoners armed with whatever makeshift weapons they can find. An English production through-and-through (the British slang is thick as fog), the picture shares the same producers as the acclaimed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (and the director of both, Edgar Wright, executive produced). But while this connection is the focal point of the advertising, Attack the Block was predominately made by talented unknowns. On top of this being Cornish's first feature as director, the film was photographed and scored by first-timers, and it stars a handful of first-time actors. Despite this, the entire production feels amazingly veteran, and it seems unbelievable to consider that most of the creative team were motion picture virgins.

It's Guy Fawkes Night in South London, and nearby residents are shooting off fireworks as part of the celebrations. During her lonesome walk home, twenty-something nurse Sam (Whittaker) is terrorised and mugged by a juvenile street gang led by young Moses (Boyega). Afterwards, Moses and the boys are startled when an alien pod crash-lands in the street and begets a strange beast. Feeling defensive about their neighbourhood, the teens promptly slaughter the alien life-form. But further trouble emerges when more alien visitors begin bombarding the local streets, forcing the troublemakers into action. After seeking shelter in Sam's flat momentarily, the kids team up with their former victim as the invaders from outer space advance on the apartment complex.

Attack the Block is vehemently an antihero story - save for Sam and an educated stoner (Treadaway), the characters are mostly repellent. Successfully pulling off such a story requires a deft hand, but Cornish unfortunately falls short. While it's laudable to try and put teenage British hooligans in a sympathetic light, the characters lack depth - they're scarcely developed past surface-level caricatures. If there was something else to these characters apart from them having the occasional heroic instincts, it'd be okay. As it is, the script lacks something enticing to turn the unredeemable ruffians into agreeable antiheroes. It feels wrong for Cornish to ask us to like and root for these characters, which in turn compromises the fun to an extent. It's not a good sign if you want the aliens to kill the main characters because you want to see these bastards get their comeuppance. Heck, one could easily be fooled into thinking that these streetwise punks will all be killed in the first scene to introduce the aliens and demonstrate the aliens' abilities.

The protagonists may be unlikeable, but Attack the Block is a technically proficient motion picture; handsomely photographed and competently directed. The alien design is ultra cool (they're pure black with glowing teeth), and they were brought to life through an almost seamless mix of CGI and practical effects. There are plenty of terrific action beats as well, which pit the violent youths against the otherworldly beasts. Indeed, this is a polished little movie despite its modest budget. For the most part, Cornish also managed to navigate the tonal changes remarkably well, as Attack the Block veers between comedic and genuinely sinister. At times the graphic violence threatens to overwhelm the humour, but it's no real biggie since the film still scores huge laughs.

Despite their inexperience, the ensemble cast is uniformly strong. Though his role is one of the most unlikeable characters in the film, John Boyega is excellent as the conflicted young Moses. Young actors oftentimes sound too contrived (Taylor Lautner, anyone?), but Boyega truly shines with a performance that never seems false or forced. As Moses' friends, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, Frank Drameh and Simon Howard share a good camaraderie, and their bickering and bantering is at times quite amusing. Then there's Jodie Whittaker, who threatens the steal the picture with an earthly, beguiling performance as Sam. The funniest performance in the movie, of course, is courtesy of Nick Frost, though his screen time is disappointingly low. (It's a shame that Simon Pegg didn't make a cameo...) And finally, there's an amiable Luke Treadaway as a stoner who provides comic relief alongside Frost. Apparently the performers' thick British accents and the abundance of peculiar slang caused Screen Gems (the film's American distributor) to panic, and reportedly considered subtitling the film for its stateside release. Though the dialogue can be tough to comprehend, it's not much of a distraction because the film is not difficult to follow and it possesses such a lively energy that you won't worry about the occasional incomprehensible throwaway line.

After several preview screenings, Attack the Block was heavily hyped in some corners, so it's a bit of a shame that the film fails to live up to its full potential. Still, in spite of its flaws, Attack the Block is for the most part entertaining and unique, especially in the shadow of the painfully generic alien invasion film Battle: Los Angeles. It doesn't redefine the alien invasion subgenre, but it's a solid enough entry in a highly saturated market.


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Basically, Shaun Of The Dead but with chavs.

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 1 June 2011 12:17

To start off with, this really looked like your vintage alien-invasion film that is just a bit of fun nothing else. However, at first despite that the story is still a rather weak one, I did think that there is something special that Attack The Block will deliver or maybe even surprise the viewers. It really is the perfect film that one would describe as a film that is ridiculously stupid; but at the same time, it is such a fun film to watch! Another way of putting it is that Attack The Block is a film that's impossible to rave about, but is also a film that you just cannot put down and heavily criticise.

There were moments within Attack The Block that were surprising good, such as the plot was quite basic to start off with but as the film progressed, it went more heartfelt and thought-provoking and that is where a film succeeds. It had its humorous moments but I personally wouldn't call it a laugh-out-loud comedy; due to the fact that the film perhaps goes too serious and stops being funny.

A group of London teens find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion, and fight to defend their tower block from some evil extraterrestrials. The film begins with a young woman named Sam, who whilst on her way home, comes across a gang of young thugs as she passes through a South London housing estate. However, while she is in the midst of being robbed, a rampaging alien falls down from the stars and attacks. Later, as the police assist Sam in pursuing her assailants, strange lights start to rain down on the streets, heralding the arrival of a second, more ferocious wave of creatures. With the city under siege, there's no place left to run. Quickly realizing she's going to have to fight if she wants to survive, Sam tracks down the street tough teens that were in the midst of mugging her when the invasion began, and vows to battle alongside them to the bitter end.

Apart from Nick Frost, I don't think one single actor in Attack The Block came to mind that had been seen in a film before. So, I wasn't really sure what to expect. John Boyega, the leading actor in Attack The Block gave a surprisingly decent performance as Moses. Naming the leading character Moses when he's a teenage thug with a hoodie is unique but extraordinarily funny. There are two things that the characters in this film show us that are very important! One: it expresses that only the slightest thing can change somebody's life forever. Two: the film as a whole perfectly demonstrates how badly Britain has become, especially teenagers and what their day-to-day activities involve. Understandably, the gang of boys are easily dislikeable characters, but they do show what a lot of youths in the UK have become. Jodie Whittaker was rather annoying in my opinion as Sam, the unfortunate young nurse who gets stuck in this sticky situation with the gang and the aliens. You know those actors who play their characters really dry with no style and almost doesn't really feel anything? That is what she was like in Attack The Block. Nick Frost makes a great supporting appearance in this film as well as he portrays the tower block's drug dealer, Ron. You just cannot walk out of a film that stars Nick Frost without him making you laugh once or twice. His role in this is a tad more serious than anything he's done in quite a while, but he still does make you chuckle at one time or another during the film.

Joe Cornish, someone who was at the brink of his directorial debut, but perhaps someone who hasn't really been recognised despite being a co-writer of The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn and making a mild appearance in Hot Fuzz. Although I wouldn't call Attack The Block that was ''brilliantly filmed'', it certainly is a good start in Cornish's career where we could be seeing some more fun projects from him in the upcoming future. As for the screenplay of the film, it was a mixed combination of typical British slang and a traditional professional script, but after watching it, it worked really well and is satisfying enough for entertainment.

Overall, Attack The Block is your typical alien invasion science-fiction film that provides entertainment, and entertainment only. There are two ways of comparing Attack The Block with other films is that it's basically like both War Of The Worlds and Shaun Of The Dead but with chavs. It is far from one of the best films of 2011 but it is also far from one of the worst, and it perhaps is underrated, yes, but it isn't really anything special.

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