District 9: part-documentary about life in South Africa 20 years after aliens first landed on earth. This is an unbelievably fresh take on the alien/sci-fi movie and when you pair the idea with such outstanding graphics, the film looks and feels a thousand times more real and believable than the clichéd outer-space bloodbath. Despite his radical transformation, the acting – pretty much one guy – is very good, and remains believable. It’s quite messy, but the blood, gore and black comedy makes this feel more like Braindead / Bad Taste – ‘specially the alien guns! The last 30 minutes are crammed with cheesy blockbuster action, which feels wrong here and is a bit of a let down: I also hate how humans can use complex, alien machinery without training! South African’s will no doubt pick up the racism and poverty undertones, although they’re not in your face (unless you’re Nigerian or a Nigerian Scammer). It’s a well-made and very fresh idea, that passes far to quickly but falls short in the last quarter. Leaves you hungry for prawns. Second viewing in a year, still great.
Les Clefs De Bagnole: experimental film about making a film of a guy looking everywhere for his car keys. Even though almost nobody has heard of this feature, nearly every famous French actor you know shows up at some point. The ending’s revealed in the first two minutes, however the fast pace of their epic adventure mean you don’t really care. It brings up strange movie-related observations that viewers often miss: over-use of extras, continuity, presumptions, time lapses – even when the characters eat. It’s not an easy watch as they go from one crazy idea to the next, and the random segments of meta-film, interviews with the public, clay-mation, animation and sound effects don’t help. On the upside, this little gem looks great, has a witty script and is laden with gags – although they don’t all hit the mark. Most critics totally slated this, which is pretty harsh as it’s nowhere near as bad as they make out. The tagline on all promo material was “Don’t watch this, it’s crap” which shows how seriously it’s supposed to be taken. Experimental and undeniably French under-rated comedy that should keep you laughing, or at least smiling.