The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 28 February 2010]

Movie roundup, part 14

In this movie roundup: There Will Be Blood, Up, Objectified, Helvetica, District 9, Coraline, The Hangover, The Golden Compass and The Gamer. Lots of definite articles.

There Will Be Blood: Two and a half hours of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things with exquisite cinematography.

So, yeah, that wasn’t fun. It was interesting and powerful, but not fun.

Up: I can’t say enough good things about this animated movie. Funny and touching, with a rare combination of slapstick and emotion.

I and my seven-year-old daughter both loved it, which should give you some idea of the range of Up.

Belongs at the top of your queue.

Objectified: Documentary from the same people who made the wonderful Helvetica about the designed objects with which we surround ourselves, how the objects affect us, and how the people who design the objects think.

It’s a wonderful documentary, a movie that changes your perspective about everyday life.

Highly recommended.

District 9: South African movie about aliens who come to Earth and are relegated to a segregated slum.

The beginning is filmed in a mockumentary style and drags us into the story. Toward the end the movie becomes more conventional and loaded up with top-quality action sequences.

District 9 is well plotted, gritty, and well acted. If you like sci-fi, District 9 is a no-brainer. As a bonus, it’s the kind of movie that lingers with you, and asks difficult questions.

Coraline: I was nervous about sitting down to watch this with my seven-year-old daughter, but she has a high tolerance for scary stuff. I highly recommend only showing Coraline to children who can handle it. I know if I’d seen it when I was seven I’d have had nightmares for a long time.

From a Neil Gaiman short story, Coraline is a gorgeous stop-animation movie about a girl who finds a secret entrance to a different world that at first seems perfect, but then is revealed to be full of danger.

It’s a dark and quirky enough movie that it’s interesting for adults.

When it was over, I asked my daughter if it was scary. “Yes,” she said and paused for a beat: “Let’s watch it again!”

The Hangover: Strange comedy that’s really a movie about nothing.

The plot is simple and not much more than a tapestry to hang slapstick moments. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Has some laugh-out-loud moments and some seriously cringe-inducing scenes.

Kudos to The Hangover for pushing the boundaries and not pulling any punches.

The Golden Compass: Interesting young-adult fantasy about a parallel world where people’s souls live outside their bodies in the shapes of animals and there is a crypto-fascist organization trying very, very hard to crush some Knowledge That Could Change Everything.

My seven-year-old really liked it, even though some sections were a bit scary for her.

A bit too silly for grown-ups. For young adults, I think it’s a solid movie.

Gamer: Mix Universal Soldier, Escape From New York and Johnny Mnemonic, sprinkle on some Halo, add a heaping helping of dumb, and you have Gamer.

You want some action in your life, just play a game. Seriously. This movie will only annoy you.

As is all to common with big-budget Hollywood fare these days, the concept—modern-day gladiator games with convicts—is pretty cool and interesting and could be a good movie. This probably pitched really well. But then it all went to hell when a script needed to be written. Instead of a script, we get a load of headache-inducing clichés cut-and-pasted together by idiots.

I actually feel bad for Gerard Butler for being in a movie this powerfully dumb.

See also: Death Race.

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