Attack the Block (2011)

Starring John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, Jumayn Hunter, Nick Frost, Danielle Vitalis, Paige Meade, Michael Ajao, Sammy Williams

Directed by Joe Cornish

Expectations: High, but I really don’t know what to expect. Heard there were aliens.

Who woulda thought that in 2011 there’d be two summer movies about kids battling aliens? Could the 2010s possibly be the return to the reckless abandon of the 1980s? If Attack the Block is anything to go on, I’d fully support that movement. Attack the Block feels like it is to alien invasion films what Shaun of the Dead was to zombie films: an awesome, “low-budget” ($13 mil) shot in the arm to a genre that had been overtaken by bombastic Hollywood bullshit. I fuckin’ loved Attack the Block and it is easily one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen all year.

While a gang of hoodlums mug a girl, a meteor falls from the sky and crashes into a nearby car. The girl runs off and the gang leader investigates the car for valuables. Instead he finds a crazy alien that attacks him on sight. The gang manages to corner and kill the beast, but soon they realize that this is only the beginning to one fucked up night.

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The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Daniel Mays, Gad Elmaleh, Toby Jones, Joe Starr, Enn Reitel, Mackenzie Crook

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Expectations: Somewhat high, but I should know better.

Sometimes I get excited about a film despite my better judgement nagging me incessantly to watch something else. This would be one of those times. I read some of the Tintin books as a child, but I am by no means a scholar or in any way knowledgeable about them. I remember the basics, but not much else. When Spielberg announced that he would finally film a couple of the books, I got excited. I thought, “This will be like a new Indiana Jones film, and preferably one without all the negative trappings of the fourth entry into that series (although, I still find that one remarkably enjoyable for some reason).” Then my excitement waned a bit as it was also announced Tintin would be all motion capture animation. I’m not a fan of Robert Zemeckis’s popular forays into the technology, so I found myself torn, wondering if I should be excited or indifferent. Well, I’ve seen Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin and honestly it’s a bit of both.

The film jumps right into the storyline without a shred of character development or stage-setting or anything. Just right into the intrigue. OK, I can hang. If it means more time for fun, high-stakes shenanigans, I’m in. Tintin buys a model ship from a street vendor and is immediately accosted by one man willing to pay double, and then another asking him to, “Name his price.” Tintin, of course, states that the ship is not for sale and returns home with it only to have a short scuffle between Tintin’s dog Snowy and an alleycat result in the ship’s masts breaking, and the secret within to fall out.

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