August 21, 2009

District 9 - $7

I hesitated at first to review District 9 until I see it again because I was forced to watch it in the 3rd row in one of those theaters where the first 4 rows are below the screen. This made for a hindered experience of the visuals of the movie, but I still liked it.

This movie is unique, not because it's doing anything that's never been done before, but because it's combining things that have never been combined before. This is part drama, part action, part comedy, part mockumentary and it's all wrapped in a metaphor for apartheid. Because of this it would be hard to pull off an effective plot summary for District 9 so I'll give you an ineffective one.

This is a movie set in South Africa where aliens who arrived without warning or purpose are put into an internment camp, called District 9, to be kept away from the general population for more than 2 decades. An attempt to evict and move the aliens to a new camp further away does not go well and District 9 becomes an action movie that needs to be seen rather than explained.

District 9 has a plot that is hard to believe at times but overall it worked for me, and it was certainly never boring. There is sure to be a sequel and I'll be sure to see it.

I give District 9 a value of $7 and put it on my 'Watch It' list. We'll see if that rating changes when I see this again and can view the whole screen without having to move my head side to side.

August 14, 2009

Funny People - $8

After a long hiatus I've been inspired to write a recommendation for Funny People, the latest Judd Apatow movie. Why this movie; it's simple really, it surprised the heck out of me.

I'm not a big Apatow fan, I laughed in 40 year old virgin and not as much in Knocked Up and I've found every movie he has his hands on to rely almost completely on pretty simple and vulgar humour. I'm also not a huge Seth Rogan fan, he's funny at times but he's been playing the same guy in all these movies and it wasn't amazing the first time.

Funny People was a pleasant surprise because it had all the things I didn't expect it to have, it was smart, mature, interesting and even had well developed characters. There was still a good dose of vulgarity but it was a side show at most and it fit the story more naturally since this is a movie about stand up comedians and lets face it, most of them make a living with vulgarity.

Funny People is long, really the first comedy epic I've ever seen, but it doesn't drag at all. It tells a story that needed time to be told.

Seth Rogan is good playing pretty much the guy he always does. Adam Sandler stole the show though. Sandler is hit and miss for me but once again in Funny People he proved he can actually act if given the chance.

It's also worth mentioning that Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill have a surprisingly great chemistry as the roommates of the main character. Also, the biggest surprise of all, Eric Bana is funny. Who knew.

I'm putting Funny People on my 'Watch It' list and giving it a $8 value. I laughed a lot in this movie which is not a normal Apatow reaction for me. I hope we see more of this type of movie making from Apatow in the future.