Up on this Reel of COL: Movies we do a double take of alien Invasions! First up it’s back to the not so distant past to watch 2011’s Low Budget Sci-Fi thriller “Attack The Block” Then we Dubstep our way to present day Glenview Ohio to watch ….The Watch. Finally we look to the not so distant future to discuss our excitement for the upcoming Time Travelling mind bender of Looper. All this plus X-men and Prometheus Sequel news, plus a follow up on some hobbits taking a very unexpected journey.. all that plus more on Reel 116 “Allow It!”
- The First Class Sequel is Officially X-Men: Days of Future Past.
- Prometheus Sequel Targets 2014 or 2015 release
- Followup – It’s Official, The Hobbit to become 3 films.
The Past: Attack The Block (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Fresh; 74% Audience
Director: Joe Cornish
Staring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail , Leeon Jones, Nick Frost
- The movie takes place on Guy Fawkes night, November 5th, which is traditionally celebrated with fireworks and bonfires in England
- Writer/director Joe Cornish was inspired to make this film after actually being mugged in real-life one night (much in the same way Sam was as portrayed in the film). He noticed his five young assailants were as scared as he was, and started researching their lives.
- Writer/director Joe Cornish grew up and lives in South London, where this film is set.
- Members of the gang compare the film’s aliens to various fantastical creatures, all British in origin, namely: Dobby the house-elf from J.K. Rowling’s series of Harry Potter novels; Gollum from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien; and Gremlins, who while they are now best-known for the two American films by Joe Dante, were born out of the imagination of RAF fighter pilots during World War II, and were initially popularized by author Roald Dahl in his first novel.
- In the scene where the meteorite breaks open, a female alien cocoon is revealed. Director, Joe Cornish has expressed his wishes of keeping this prop as a back garden decoration.
- The areas and surrounding roads are named after well-known British science fiction authors: Wyndham Tower (John Wyndham); Moore Court (Alan Moore); Huxley Court (Aldous Huxley); Wells Court (H.G. Wells); Clarke Court (Arthur C. Clarke); Ballard Street (J.G. Ballard); Adams Street (Douglas Adams); Clayton Street and Clayton Estate (Jo Clayton); and Herbert Way (Frank Herbert). James Street may allude to horror writer M.R. James.
- In this movie, Nick Frost still wears the long hair he grew for Paul.
- Writer/director Joe Cornish has stated that watching Signs and imagining what would happen if it took place in south London was an inspiration for Attack the Block.
- Franz Drameh, who plays Dennis, was originally under consideration for the role of Moses.
- Most of the teenage actors were found through their schools and online open audition calls.
- The film-makers only used CG effects when absolutely necessary, and to enhance practical effects for the creatures rather than replace them completely. Even the smaller female alien that appears before the credits was a petite woman in a creature suit. A puppet-type head was used for some of the attack shots wherein Moses is suddenly bitten. The creature’s head was a carefully constructed mask that had no eyes, and even the glowing mouthful of large, carnivorous teeth were achieved by animatronics (including twelve “servos”) rather than added in post. The film-makers admit that it did help save money, but also had an unexpected benefit. The actors, rather than reacting to something that wasn’t there, admitted that they were genuinely and unexpectedly frightened by the look and movements of creatures actually present (especially during chase sequences when a creature/creatures would pursue them at full speed). Nearly every actor said they felt especially intimidated– many surprisingly so– by the physical presence in a way they would not have if the creatures had been added digitally later. The same went for the majority of the settings; the director said it added authenticity and atmosphere to shoot on a set rather in front of a green screen.
- Feature film debut of director Joe Cornish.
- All the interiors were done on sets.
- Only two suits were built for the aliens.
- John Boyega found out about this film from an ad placed on-line.
- This film was pretty much shot in chronological order.
- The marijuana cigarettes several people smoke in this movie were actually made out of herbal tobacco.
- The scene in which Alex Esmail throws fireworks underneath a police van took three takes to get right.
- Writer/director Joe Cornish interviewed various kids in youth groups in order to find out what kind of weapons they would use if an alien invasion occurred.
- The walkway chase set piece took ten days to shoot.
- Simon Howard did his own stunt when his character Biggz jumps on top of a van.
- The scene in which the police van smashes into the BMW was done in a single take.
- The bulk of this film was shot in 67 days.
- Writer/director Joe Cornish did in depth research on language to accurately convey the way South London street kids speak.
- The mugging scene was filmed on the first day of shooting.
- Joe Cornish based the character of Brewis on himself when he was in his 20s.
- Film debut of Alex Esmail.
- Writer/director Joe Cornish had to remove fifteen pages of the script prior to the shooting of the film because of budgetary constraints.
- Did you find them hard to understand?
- The Use of Practical Effects
- The use of regular kids vs actors
- The social satire
- Positives: brings wit, energy, cheeky insolence to the alien invasion genre; full of surprises; imaginative social satire; fans of British Sci-Fi and pop culture shouldn’t miss it; a good example of an indie film that tries to get a point across without taking itself too seriously; a decent younger sibling to “Shaun of the Dead” (same producers)
- Negatives: Thin characters, weak dialogue, confusing ending; the heros are uninspiring; the monsters just aren’t great
What We Learned:
- There is no FBI in England
- Rockets go up before they come down
- The proper pronunciation is Tesssticleeeeeeease
- No one will call you Mayhem if your a pussy.
Jeff: This is a mediocre movie, leaning towards good. The acting wasn’t so great, but still felt very British Sci-Fi TV. Which has it’s own charm. I think it’s definitely worth seeing once but not everyone is going to like this. I had a good time watching it.
Ray: Allow It. enjoy this film immensely although I am not intimidated as much by the strong urban south London accents. I think it’s a fun creature flick. I especially liked the believability of the kids they were not cringe worthy at all. Definitely worth a watch..If your having a hard time with the accent turn on the subtitles.
Steve: I thought it was cute, although I probably didn’t get some things because of cultural references. Films like this are funny to me because I always wonder what would happen if every day people got confronted by crazy situations like this – not cops, military, or survivalists…just every day kids.
The Present: The Watch
Rotten Tomatoes: 16% Rotten; 70% Audience
Director: Akiva Scaffer
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayode
- David Dobkin was originally going to direct with Will Ferrell in the leading role, but the duo fell out in summer 2009.
- Chris Tucker was considered for the role of Jamarcus.
- The movie was originally titled “Neighborhood Watch”, but was changed due to sensitivity over the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.
- Phoning It in?
- Positives: It may not be all funny, but there are some memorable moments and it is a fun comedic “adventure” comedy with the boys; perfect for a boys night out; it’s just amusing, that’s all
- Negatives: Lazy, predictable, and full of “penis” humor; uninspired, it’s just one long Costco joke that gets old; comes off as a long, annoying SNL sketch that doesn’t know when to stop
What We Learned:
- It takes a couple of hours to put up police tape properly
- Laughter is a common expression of grief
- Doo-Wop Groups were all about closing ass
- Death makes you ineligible for a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award
- Costco truly does have everything you need under one roof
- Alien blood feels like cum
Jeff: In general, I hate you Ray. However, the ending 10-15 minutes were okay and somewhat interesting. I still hate you, Ray. Stay away, folks.
Ray: I so wanted this to be good if only so more people could get to know Richard Ayode who was basically the archetype for Sheldon Cooper.. Unfortunately with the script and direction he was given his performance was the only thing even passing for mediocre in this mess. Unless you enjoy watching a train wreck, stay away or wait for it to come to netflix.. Watch Richard Ayode in The IT Crowd instead.
Steve: The mostly improvisational (or at least seemed so) dialogue was trite and most of the characters were very surface and annoying. However, I have to admit that I enjoyed it overall. Maybe I was just having a bad week and needed to laugh, but I didn’t hate it. Just be prepared for something just slightly above toilet and drug humor.
The Future: Looper
Release: September 28, 2012
Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
In the year 2042, a man working for a group of killers called “Loopers” (they work for the mob and kill people who are sent blindfolded back in time from the year 2072 by their bosses) recognizes a victim as himself. He hesitates resulting in the escape of his older self.
- A unique spin on the ol’ time travel plot device
Jeff: It wasn’t until some of the later trailers that I finally got into the mindset that this looks like a freaking awesome movie. Of course, it’s also a Bruce Willis movie, outside of The Expendables, I’ll see him in anything.
Ray: When I realized the somewhat unique premise of this film I got excited. It’s always interesting to see how smart particular writers are at explaining away temporal mechanics. I’m definitely excited to see it.
Steve: Interested in seeing what twists are going to be thrown in, but honestly not something I would personally run out and see on my own.