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Saturday, 19 September 2009

District 9; Funny People Reviews

Neill Blomkamp's directorial debut on screen is an ambitious one. I highly recommend watching this film as it does as a great job blending both entertaining action as well as rich and throught provoking drama. You wouldn't think an alien movie would be deep but this goes far beyond what the trailers tell you. In fact, trailers don't tell you much in the first place. The less you know about D9 the better.

Sharlto Copely does an amazing job as playing Wicus Van De Merwe, the movie's protagonist. His performance is only strengethend by the fact that he was a complete unknown (much like Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds). Copely was fortunate enough to score the role after having worked with Blomkamp on a short film Blomkamp directed called, "Alive in Joburg" (from which D9 was adapted from).

The first two acts of the movie are what make the movie completely unique and stand out from most films of it's genre in that it utilises a documentary approach to tell the story and set up the fictional history of Johannesburg. The main draw of the film for me was the fact that it was grounded in reality, that is, everything in this film made you feel that the events that transpired in the movie actually happened in reality. You accept everything that happens and it makes it more than just a film but more like a news reel or an actual documentary. It's a great way to make the audience connect from frame one.

One minor detraction from the film was that the schizophrenic editing coulda been toned down a bit. Fantastic set pieces were somewhat diminished due to the frantic edits and cuts in the scene. You never really get a chance to take in awe of the situation.

All in all, Blomkamp's story about aliens is quite a fresh stamp on modern film-making and with the backing of Peter Jackson, I can only hope to expect only the best from Blomkamp's future endeavours.

District 9 gets a 4.5/5.

Judd Apatow's third directed film Funny People is the director's most humanised and mature film to date but falls a bit flat. Remember now, this is his third film...all the other related movies have been produced by him (Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad etc). Apatow is known to make and produce successfully memorable comedies however, Funny People doesn't live up to his predecessors The 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up.

The film begins with an old video recording of Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow making prank phone calls when they were room-mates. I dunno if it was just me, but the opening basically told me this is going to be a personal movie for not only Apatow but for Sandler as well. Sandler plays George Simmons a man who, from the beginning of the film, finds out that he has a rare disease that could kill him. Simmons who has basically alienated everyone, hires Ira an aspiring comedian who writes jokes for Simmons and befriends him. I shouldn't even go more into the plot but the trailer for the movie was kinda horrible. I mean the fact that they give away that he beats the thing kinda destroys everything Apatow filmed in the first half of the movie (which I thought was really good by the way). Everything went downhill once Simmons tries to reconnect with "the one that got away", Laura, played by Apatow's wife Leslie Mann.

The two standout performances in Funny People belong to Mann and Sandler. One scene especially where they both share a heart to heart and come to terms with their former relationship is probably some of the most convincing stuff Sandler has ever done.

The film went on for way too long. A good 30 minutes, maybe even 45 minutes could've been cut from the film and made the experience all the more better. It was simply far too long for what it wanted to be and I was kinda just waiting for it to end to be honest.

Not everything in Funny People was funny, some of the jokes do just fly past you but that isn't to say that Funny People isn't funny. You'll still find yourself laughing but the human drama outweighs the comedy.

Funny People was pretty much an ordinary movie, nothing spectacular and nothing oustanding either. It wasn't crap, but it wasn't good either. It pretty much was stuck in the middle. It had a good first half which was not followed up with it's second half. Far too long for what it wanted to be.

Funny People gets a 3/5.

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