Posts Tagged ‘9

21
Sep
09

Movie Review: 9

nine

 

Burlap sack guys vs. The Machine

Starring the voices of Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, and Martin Landau. Story and direction by Shane Acker

In this post-apocalyptic animated movie, “9” (Wood) wakes alone in a house. Without the ability to speak or understand who/what he is, he ventures out into a world that looks like it’s been to hell and back. As his curiosity leads him around he’s discovered by “2,” (Landau) another of his kind. After “2” is taken by a robot dog he makes it to a church which is the sanctuary for others of his kind: “5,” (Reilly) a tinkerer who was best friends with “2;” “1,” (Plummer) the leader of the group; and “8,” (Fred Tatasciore) a big, brawny “protector.”

“9” hatches a plan with “5,” to rescue “2.” In the process they run into “7,” (Connelly) a revolutionary heroine and “3 and 4,” twins who catalog and replay information they collect. When “9,” unknowingly awakes the Machine the situation becomes dire and now the group of creations must fight for the lives.

That’s as much as I’ll say about the movie. It’s difficult to love this type of movie because, let’s face it, the post-apocalyptic world isn’t easy to love. The idea that Man creates Machines that turn against him and inevitably destroy him isn’t exactly cheery. It may happen. Our vision of the future has changed from “Things to Come,” to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” and we’ve all become complacent and are just waiting for it to happen.

But let me get back to the movie. Overall, I liked it. It didn’t feel so much “kid”-oriented as it was an animated movie for adults. That’s not to say that children couldn’t watch the movie but post-apocalyptic allegory is a bit much for anyone under the age of 10. I remember when “The Black Cauldron” was looked down upon because the main character had self-esteem issues.

What the movie does have going for it is a solid story. Sure, there are things that are overlooked (e.g. how a character learns to speak) but that doesn’t get into the way of a story about a scientist’s redemption for creating a Machine that became mis-used by the military and turned against mankind. It unravels as a mystery and when you finally understand what happened to society you see why this rag-tag group has to survive.

The message that comes from the film is this: intellect is no replacement for the human soul. Each of the nine creations is a part of the scientist’s soul. His intellect is the heart, and brain, of The Machine. In the end it’s cold calculation versus the want to survive.

Should you go see this? While I was impressed with some of the technology and it is a well-made story (with a few fantastical elements) I have to say this one may be a rental. Animated movies are generally kid-fare (save “American Pop,” “Heavy Metal” or the like) but I’m not sure I would make a kid under 10 watch this because they may get bored or upset with the beginning visuals of rusted and decayed vehicles and buildings or dead people. Just my thoughts.

My grade: A-

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28
Aug
09

September Movie Release Schedule

“All About Steve” – Sandra Bullock is a crossword constructor who finds true love with a CNN cameraman (Thomas Hayden Church) and crisscrosses the country trying to prove it to him. Originally slated for March 6, 2009, pushed back to September 4, 2009

“Carriers” – Chris Pine is one of a group of four friends fleeing a viral pandemic that soon learn they are more dangerous than the virus itself. Opens September 4, 2009

“Extract” – Mike Judge movie that follows the professional and personal life of a flower-extract plant owner. Stars Justin Bateman, Ben Affleck, and Mila Kunis. Opens September 4, 2009

“Gamer” – It’s the future and humans can control other humans in a mass-scale game. Gerard Butler is a player trying to escape this prison game and take down its mastermind, Michael C. Hall. Opens September 4, 2009

“Pandorum” – Sci-fi movie with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster about two men who crash-land on a planet and have no memory of who they were, how they got there, or why. Opens September 4, 2009

“9” – In a post-apocalyptic world a being with the name “9” wakes up. Upon looking around he finds others like him and that it’s up to him to save what’s left of the world from the Machines. Stars the voices of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer. Opens September 9, 2009

“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” – Michael Douglas in the remake of a 1956 film about a writer’s plan to expose a district attorney that go awry. Opens September 11, 2009

“I Can Do Bad All By Myself” – Another Madea story, this time she stops a 16-year-old girl and her brother from looting her and sends them to live with her hard-drinking nightclub singing aunt. Opens September 11, 2009

“Sorority Row” – Five sorority sisters murder a fellow sister in a prank gone wrong. After graduation, a killer goes after each one. Originally slated for October 22, 2009, now opening September 11, 2009

“Whiteout” – Kate Beckinsale is a U.S. Marshal assigned to Antarctica who must solve a murder case in 3 days or else be stranded with the killer. Based on a series of graphic novels. Opens September 11, 2009

“Armored” – A crew of armored transport guards engage in a heist against their own company. Stars Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, and Fred Ward. Opens September 18, 2009

“The Burning Plain” – Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger are daughter and mother, trying to form a bond after a difficult childhood. Opens September 18, 2009

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – CG animated movie based on the children’s book about a scientist trying to cure world hunger when food starts falling from the sky. Featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Cann, Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T. Opens September 18, 2009

“The Informant” – Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre, a vie president-turned-informant on the dealings of agri-business. Based on the true story. Opens September 18, 2009

“Jennifer’s Body” – Megan Fox stars in a high school horror film (written by Diablo Cody) about a girl who uses sex to kill teenage boys. Opens September 18, 2009

“Love Happens” – Aaron Eckhart is a novelist who makes a best-selling book about coping with loss. Jennifer Aniston is the girl who he falls for. Opens September 18, 2009

“Capitalism: A Love Story” – Greed. Avarice. Michael Moore. Documentary. Opens September 23, 2009

“The Invention of Lying” – Ricky Gervais movie about a world in which everyone tells the truth and his character ‘invents’ lying. Barring any fibbing, the movie opens on September 25, 2009

“The Surrogates” – Bruce Willis in a scifi movie about a murder linked to a high-tech company that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves. Opens September 25, 2009

19
Aug
09

Movie Review: District 9

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Take some apartheid, mix in some aliens…

Starring Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, and Vanessa Haywood. Directed by Neil Blomkamp

It’s the best sci-fi I’ve seen in a while (better than “Moon”) and I’ll see if I can impress upon you what the movie is.

The story: Twenty years ago an alien spaceship came to Earth and hovered over Johannesburg. Not D.C., L.A., NYC, or even Chi-town, but Johannesburg, South Africa. The ship just hovered there and after 3 months the government made contact by sending a team into the ship where they found refugees. The government segregates the aliens into “District 9” and place signs all around telling people to contact authorities if they’re spotted outside their area. Meanwhile the district turns into a black market slum with the aliens (called “prawn”) scavenging for food and supplies through garbage, being serviced by prostitutes, and controlled by a paralyzed warlord named Mumbo. They trade with Mumbo for the one Earth commodity they crave: cat food. Mumbo also provides them with mutilated cow meat.

Fast forward to now. South Africa is fed up with housing the prawn and dealing with them. MNU, the government agency dealing with the prawn, has been given a new assignment: relocate them to District 10, a much smaller encampment. Heading up the group is our protagonist Wilkus Van de Merwe. Wilkus is an affable doofus who got the job because his beautiful wife happens to be the daughter of the guy running MNU. With his head stuck naively somewhere in corporate policy, Wilkus goes to move ‘em aliens.

Doing that isn’t as easy as advertised. The prawn are contrary, lying, refusing to go, causing complications because they’re supposed to be given 24 hours before eviction, etc. Wilkus finds a lot of weapons to collect and a helluva lot of hostility towards humans. Go figure. When he finds a canister with alien writing on it he pushes a button while inspecting it instantly sprays himself in the face with black “fluid.”

Now Wilkus is infected. He coughs and his nose runs black blood. After collapsing during a surprise birthday party he’s hospitalized when it’s found that… his hand has just became like the prawn! He’s quickly sent to underground MNU where they conduct experiments on him; namely, having him fire the prawn weaponry (the weapons only work biologically, so human DNA won’t operate them). He’s strapped against a metal closure and zapped with electricity, forcing him to operate their guns. Wilkus makes his escape and heads to District 9.

Wilkus’s body is changing and he’s beginning to hate it; he scarfs down cat food only to vomit it up moments later. In hiding he teams up with Christopher Johnson, a prawn he previously tried to evict. Johnson tells him that he can be changed back but first he needs to get the “fluid” back and that involves a suicide-mission to MNU’s underground labs. To do this they’re gonna need weapons which they get back from Mumbo, who vows his revenge. What follows is action, adventure, explosions, and the question: what does being ‘human’ really mean?

First off, get rid of the hype. This IS a good movie and you might leave the theater with the feeling that someone or something punched you in the stomach. It’s not this decade’s next “Dark City”: it’s something different. For that, it’s worth the hype.

But it’s NOT the be-all end-all, greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s a first film and there are some flaws. The transitions in Wilkus’s character toward the end might be plausible, but seem a little “sped up.” How can humans understand the aliens’ language? Or vice-versa? Also, some of the beginning CG is a little “iffy” of believability.

These things aside, I do recommend seeing “District 9.” I liked it more than “Moon” (but recommend it as well). With this being Blomkamp’s first feature movie, I’ll be looking out for what he does next.

My grade: B