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Attack the Block

Posted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:48 pm
by Remo D
Oh, goodie... it finally showed up in my neighborhood! I learned about ATTACK THE BLOCK in typical fashion... Mick LaSalle hated it and Roger Ebert liked it, which meant that I was going to see this thing for myself no matter what!

You've probably heard the general gist of this low-budget British import... nasty aliens land in the inner city and a youthful street gang, discovering that they're not quite as tough as they thought they were, wind up reluctantly joining forces with the nurse they had just mugged earlier in the evening in an effort to defend the apartment building (or "block of flats" on their side of the pond) they happen to share.

Don't worry if the premise sounds generic... in a world where there's truly nothing new under the sun, this is still a terrific little "siege" thriller (it's one hell of a lot better than SKYLINE, for one thing--and would you rather go see SHARK NIGHT?). In fact, it's yet another doozy in this year's collection of MONSTER movies that very few people see on the big screen--movies like this and TROLLHUNTER hold their own extremely well against plenty of major studio hits AND misses.

We've got an enthusiastic and talented cast of unknowns... John Boyega makes his film debut as gang leader "Moses"--he's excellent, and I understand that Spike Lee has already snapped him up for HIS next film. On the other hand, lead actress Jodie Whittaker has had plenty of experience (especially in television)... she's equally watchable and convincing. And who should show up to add his own unique brand of "class" but Nick Frost? It's no accident--Edgar Wright himself was one of the executive producers--suddenly this would make a great double bill with PAUL, while ATTACK THE BLOCK itself is the feature debut of writer/director Joe Cornish, who can be spotted in both SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ. Actually, the entire cast does just fine with engaging, amusing characters, but we Yanks WILL have to invest a bit of effort when it comes to cutting through the particularly thick accents...

...not that anyone's going to have any trouble following the story! That leaves us with the monsters. Yes, with the exception of the very first one that lands, they're partially creatures of budget (consisting almost entirely of jet-black fur), but that opens the door to a terrific sight gag in the early going ("I'm not sure them things are eyes!") and keeps them sufficiently different from the aliens we see in most films of this type.

And in case you're wondering, the film does NOT skimp on the gore.

So there you go--while it would be going to far to call it a full-on genre sendup, ATTACK THE BLOCK fits in quite nicely with the world that contains SHAUN/FUZZ/PAUL, et al. Truth be told, it's one of the year's nicest surprises and it comes with my hearty recommendation.

Re: Attack the Block

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:17 am
by bruce h
I'm really conflicted with this one -- I just had a hard time connecting with the characters we're supposed to sympathize with after the opening sequence shows them to be nothing more than brat-ass little thugs who deserve to be ripped to shreds. And I could've done without the extra shots of their homelife; was this meant to show up why they are like they are? Save me the preachin'.

That said, I did like the premise itself, all the actors did a great job, I was thrilled it didn't pull its punches, and thought it had a number of great scenes...

So recommended, with reservations.