So, I told you about that whole moving across the country thing, right? How we moved from sunny Southern California to the wintry wonderland that is New England? What I failed to mention is that pretty much each member of my little family has been sick (off & on) since we moved. BEFORE Halloween. Maybe, as they say, our blood is “thin” from our pampered So Cal climate. My hubby believes that there are vastly different viruses here. Me? I just think it’s one of those years. One of those years that you end up in a Michigan urgent care on Boxing Day solely because you can’t think of ruining two little boys’ Christmas. Suffice it to say that movies just haven’t been high on the priority list right now. But we have managed to see a few new ones on DVD, & since I am using Curious George as a babysitter right now, let’s get right at it.
State of Play
A remake of the 2003 British version of the same name, State of Play stars Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe, Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams & Helen Mirren. When a congressman’s assistant/mistress is found dead, his life becomes increasingly complicated as the scandal turns out to be more than it seems. We follow some decent twists & turns to see how all of the pieces fit together. Truly the movie is an examination of our 24-hr news-cycle lives, & how the truth is often far down the list of importance when it comes to reporting. Who breaks the story, whether correct or not, seems to be far more important.
The movie is really engaging & kept all of us, including my movie
snob connoisseur father, on the edge of our seats. No doubt the cast is fabulous, my only problem was with Ben Affleck. He is a decent actor, but surrounded by fantabulous actors like Russell Crowe & Helen Mirren, well he just looks a little silly. He just doesn’t have the weight behind him to shine in a movie full of fantastic performances.
Definitely worth renting, but I’m curious as to whether or not the more worthwhile rent is the original British version. I’ll get back to you on that.
District 9 is the story of an alien race that lands on earth over Johannesburg, South Africa. The thing is they haven’t come to earth for any of the reasons that we see in traditional sci-fi movies. They basically are shipwrecked, & they can’t go home. The South African government gives them a piece of land to live on (District 9), which quickly becomes a slum. Flash forward 28 years to the present day, & District 9 has become a major political & social problem, with most humans viewing the aliens as 2nd class citizens, with the racial slur Prawn becoming commonplace for the aliens. We pick up the story with our “hero” Wikus Van de Merwe, running the forced eviction of District 9 by a hug multi-national conglomerate, the aliens being relocated to “land” in the desert. Wikus’ life changes drastically when he comes in contact with alien technology, & he becomes “the most valuable human on the planet.”
Got that? District 9 is sci-fi, solely because it involves aliens. Which really isn’t the point anyway. It is no coincidence that the movie is set in South Africa. It is really just an allegory for the social & political issues that plagued the country during the 20th century. Filmed primarily in a mock-documentary style, the interviews with “officials” giving a clue to the fate of our hero Wikus.
District 9 is a must rent. The movie had us glued to the edge of our seats. It is shocking, but at the same time genuinely fun ride. And although many people might be turned off by the whole alien aspect, know that it is completely seamless in the movie. The aliens, although CGI, do not distract, nor stand out against the human characters. Which I’m thinking was a big goal of the filmmakers (produced by none other than Peter Jackson), for us to view the aliens not as aliens at all.
X-Files: I Want to Believe
I have to be honest. I love me some Scully & Mulder. I’ve seen every episode of the tv show & I own the first movie. So when this finally made it’s way to the top of our Netflix queue, I was pretty stoked. I remember the reviews (they were solidly poor), but I figured these critics just didn’t get X-Files. That they were being too harsh. Just a bunch of fuddy-duddies. Well, I’m here to say that the critics indeed were all right. The movie is just not that good. I found myself reading my book (on my new Kindle…soooo very cool, but I digress) during major moments of the movie, & not really missing anything.
Don’t get me wrong, seeing Scully & Mulder together again on-screen was fantastic, but the lackluster story demeaned them, & the X-Files as a whole. Basically Mulder & Scully are brought back in to the FBI (she now a practicing Dr., & he still in “hiding” from the FBI) to help solve the mystery of a missing agent. The catch, a convicted-pedophile Catholic priest is having psychic visions of the missing agent & other abductions. Pretty much a paltry X-File if you ask me. A villain we never really get to know, 2 new agents we could care less about, & Skinner holding Mulder when he’s cold from being outside too long (wth?!?), all add up to a movie that is barely worth our time. I really wanted to believe (I couldn’t resist), but besides a lovely moment at the end of the credits that gives you hope that Scully & Mulder could be happy together, I would say don’t even bother.