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Blogger/Writer reported missing; teacher assumes identity

August 16, 2009

Been missing me?  Wait, don’t answer that…I probably don’t want to know.  But I have been absent due to school starting back up.  I’m trying to hit stride but feel a step slow.  It’s been a jerky start to the 2009-10 school year.  I’ll get going soon and my postings will become semi-regular again.

I have much to talk about, so I’ll spread it over a few different posts.  What to say first?  I know…movies.

It has been a while since I watched two movies back to back and could call them both good films.  For one of these films, the “experts” agree with me; the other, I seem to be in the minority.

Yesterday I saw DISTRICT 9.  It was very good.  But more than that, it was unique.  It reminded me of something you might read in Analog or Asimov’s, the way the aliens were characterized as no more or less human than the humans while still very different.  It was, on the surface, a dark action movie full of all the government greed (here the role of government played by a corporation) and bloodlust the cinema has taught us to expect.  But that was the surface.  This was a movie about people (some human, some not) interacting under extreme circumstances.

The leading actor did an excellent job that was not at all diminished by being utterly unknown.  The CGI was superb to the level one would expect with the name Peter Jackson attached to it.  Some of the science may have been a bit hinky, but who cares?  It was a groundbreaking film that bridges a gap between SF film and literature.  Still a lot of action, but a lot of story here, too.  Go see it.  Eat lots of popcorn.  And you have my permission to laugh when people and/or parts of their bodies are turned to wet red mist.  It is funny in a morbid way, so yuck it up.

The critics seem to agree with me on D-9.  They rave about it almost as much as they panned the movie I watched on BluRay a few nights before.  That’s right, I watched PUSH and I loved it.

Don’t get me wrong, PUSH is not the groundbreaking accomplishment that DISTRICT 9 is.  In fact, PUSH is a fantasy film in sci-fi clothing.  Not just because psionics have been so widely frowned upon in science fiction circles, but because a Mover, a Watcher, a Pusher, a Shadow, a Sniffer, and a Shifter teaming up to take down a bunch of Bleeders and a powerful government entity (Division) is not so different from a Human a Dwarf, an Elf, a Wizard. and some Hobbits teaming up to take down a bunch or Orcs and a dark empire.  Fortunately, PUSH had a lot of what Tolkein brought to LotR, namely the sense that the story’s universe was much larger than the film could possibly encompass.  I had the distinct feeling that the film was based in an RPG universe, but agin that did as much to heighten my enjoyment of the movie as to dampen it.

The main character’s story was rich and (mostly) believable.  I’ve liked Chris Evans (lead actor) since I saw him in the first Fantastic Four movie.  The guy has charisma and can become a character (maybe not in a Heath Ledger kind of way, but that may be asking too much).  And Dakota Fanning was excellent in her role.  No other actor managed to damage the performances of these two leads, though few added much either.

I do think the film suffered a bit in the editing room.  Perhaps that was just my desire for a fuller picture of things.  I was engulfed in the world the way I seldom am, more so than even watching DISTRICT 9.  Was it art?  No.  Was it good SF?  definitely.

I must confess to having a quirky appreciation for some odd movies.  Consider the only three films I have owned on both VHS and DVD: Clerks, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Spawn.  (Yes, that Spawn.)  I’ll stand behind Clerks to the end.  From Dusk Till Dawnstarts with damn good storytelling and characterization only to turn their world on its head (as an encounter with vampires probably would).  And Spawn…even poor scrit, overacting, and silly special effects couldn’t stifle the cool images and some badass nostalgia.

Anyway, I suggest you see both DISTRICT 9 and PUSH and make your own judgements.  Neither is flawless but both are entertaining.  One will become a classic, the other a cult hit.  We will surely see a DISTRICT 10 sometime soon.  And PUSH 2?  Its worldwide gross and productions cost seem to be about equal, so I have my doubts.  Oh well.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2009 2:12 am

    I missed you… hope the new school year isn’t beating you down too hard, stay healthy (I’m just getting over the flu…sigh).

    I loved Push too… for much the reasons you list (probably the reasons I love old Kung-fu movies and movies like Dynamite Warrior). I can’t wait to see District 9! (was going to go this weekend, but see aforementioned plague *ahem* flu)…

    how’s the writing going?

  2. August 17, 2009 9:25 pm

    Can I just ditto your post onto my blog? Same freaking thing over here, except I haven’t seen PUSH yet.

    I am so on fire about District 9; I’m speechless. Izanobu, you really gotta see it.

  3. September 24, 2009 1:50 pm

    District 9 was quite good, and I’m with you on Push. I’d went to Push not expecting to like it, just expecting some action, but I really really liked it. The fight scene near the end was phenomenal!

    I also just went to see “9”. I’ve read several bad reviews of it, but I really enjoyed that one too. It’s one of those that is way better in theatres, because the spec fx are so large scale.

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