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“Super 8”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When writer/director J.J. Abrams teams-up with Steven Spielberg to bring back that old school, early 1980’s feel of a summer movie to a whole new generation, what you get is Super 8. It’s a retro look at the cinema of most of our youths, with a hint of modern day monster thrills thrown in for good measure. It’s like The Goonies and The Monster Squad meet The Thing. There are also some elements of Red Dawn in there, and I think it all works pretty well overall. Super 8 is loosely based on the supposed transfer of the alleged items found at the Roswell UFO crash site in New Mexico, to a military air base in Columbus, Ohio. Fun little side fact, I used to live down the road from that alleged air base in college. Pretty cool, huh?! Okay I’m getting off topic. In the movie the train is derailed during the transport, and a group of kids who’ve snuck-out to make a homemade zombie movie with their Super 8 camera witness the whole thing. The train wreck is amazing, a little over the top, but that happens a lot in this film. A lot of moments are played in this very real, nice and quiet manor, and then there are these other moments where everything is just so over the top you can’t help but notice the two contrasting each other. One of these moments is when the town is just all of a sudden full of tanks, and they all just start firing causing mass hysteria and World War III to breakout in this small suburban town. It looks amazing, and it’s really well shot from a filmmaking standpoint, but I’m afraid it just doesn’t fit with the retro style. But, that’s not to say the mixing of the monster movie and the boy and his alien genre doesn’t work. I think Abrams manages to knock that out the park. The look and feel of Super 8 is fantastic! It drags in a few places, but overall I think it works. I was kind of hoping the kids would stick together a little more. The middle of the movie kind of focuses a little too much on just Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice (Elle Fanning), the other kids are kind of M.I.A. and I wish there was a little more interaction between the group on a whole. With all these minor things aside, I think Super 8 is a great old school summer matinee movie! I sadly don’t see it becoming a timeless classic like its predecessors; but time will tell.

Rating:

 

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“Skyline”
a review by Darby O’Gill

A movie about an all-out alien attack… How can that be bad? Don’t worry, it is. You know how most movies like this usually suck because they over do the storylines, and have a bunch really bad clichéd relationships? Well, Skyline has none of that. No, really. I’m not kidding. There is like no storyline to this movie what so ever. We don’t know what’s happing from beginning to end, and I kind of the think the filmmakers didn’t either. This movie is total chaos. You would almost think that this was a sequel with the lack of information being given, as if we had already been given the back story in a previous installment. For those of you that might have enjoyed this movie. Yes, I do realize there is a story to Skyline. But, I mean… Come on! Really?! I’m not going to give anything away, but come on! Here’s another tip for you. When you want the audience to be surprised, and maybe not see something coming… Don’t show all those things in the tailer! I’m not kidding, every time the tension builds-up, you quickly realize, “Oh, I know what’s going to happen here, because I’ve already seen it in the trailer.” Nice work guys.

Now, this is where I would normally give you a brief description of what happens in the movie, but unfortunately Skyline doesn’t have a story. Here’s the best I’ve got, aliens attack, humans hide, then they run, hide some more, run, die, run… Okay, so I guess I can put it into words. To be honest, that’s probably more then there was written in the actual script. I know it seems like I’m being harsh, but… I’m not. It makes Sharktopus look like Gandhi. Wow, I don’t think I can actually say anything good about this movie. Wait, that’s not true. The score was fantastic! Of course, I’m a little bias. I’m friends with the composer, and it’s probably safe to say it’s the only reason I went to see Skyline. It gets a little drowned out by the special effects at times, but when it gets to shine, it does just that. The cue when the first air strike arrives is really nice. See! I can say something nice. Let’s see, maybe there something else nice to say… How about this? Skyline isn’t the worst movie of the year. It’s got Jonah Hex to thank for that. I don’t think I can recommend seeing Skyline, but I highly recommend picking up my friend Matt’s CD. You can get a copy here, or download it on iTunes.

Rating:


“District 9”
a review by Dary O’Gill

First off, I want you to know that there are no spoilers in this review, so please read on worry free. District 9 is the story of a marooned alien spacecraft hovering over the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. The people of Earth welcome first contact in the beginning, but when nothing happens for the first three months, man steps in to do what he does best. Twenty years later, the Earth becomes an intergalactic melting pot, and the planet’s newest refugees are starting to outstay their welcome. The only thing the planet seems to still be interested in is the alien technology, mainly their weapons. No big surprise there.

New comer Writer/Director, Neill Blomkamp, masterfully tells a tale with social and political undertones, but manages to do so in a truly entertaining way, which never seems preachy. District 9 is based on Blomkamp’s 2005 short film “Alive in Joburg,” which reflects his views of growing up in Johannesburg. The movie is a beautiful mix of documentary filmmaking and that of a sci-fi thriller. And let me also just say, it was one of my favorite marketing campaigns in years. I love when movies use their marketing to make people say, “What is that poster for?” Most studios want you to know right away; but did you know anyone that wasn’t talking about the “Humans Only” campaign? The special effects were top notch, by doing things like using stock footage of riots in South Africa and adding aliens to the footage, District 9 gives itself an amazing sense of realism. Finally, a summer movie worthy of its namesake, and we only had to wait till mid August to get it. Let me tell you, this more than makes up for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. With a production budget of a mere thirty million, District 9 proves that it’s not the size of the budget, but the quality of the film making. In its opening weekend, District 9 quickly turned a profit by making a cool thirty-seven million in only three days. Are you listening Hollywood?! All you need is a concrete story and talented director to back it up. Thank God Peter Jackson got onboard with this project and saved it from the clutches of evil Hollywood executives. A friend of mine was saying this weekend, that when you see this movie, you’ll realize that you find yourself desperately hoping they don’t screw it up at the last minute. You’re actually pulling for the movie to stay true to itself and not go the way of every other movie this summer. District 9 is destined to be an instant classic! Humans may not be allowed in District 9, but lucky for us we are allowed in the theaters to see this monumental film.

Rating:

5 Little People