Directed by Neill Blomkamp.
Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell.
Starring Sharlto Copley, and...some other people.
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 8/14/09
Solid. That's all I could mutter to
myself time and again after leaving the theater today; "District 9"
is simply solid. At times, it is spectacular. At times,
its alternative vision of the present is amusing mainly because it
is so plausible. And, even as it rips off movies like "The
Fly" or even recent films like
it defines its own space and gives us a solid capper to what I think
overall was a great summer of movies. (And, it's not even over
"District 9" covers a three-day stretch in
modern-day Johannesburg--aliens have been living in South Africa for
more than 25 years, and most of that time has been spent living in
slum-like prison camps outside of town. A global conglomerate
known as MNU has decided to move them 200 kilometers farther from
Johannesburg into what can only be considered concentration
camps...so, even as they have remained mostly peaceful, MNU has to
evict the aliens from their slums and with the assistance of their
private military, they ask MNU employee Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto
Copley) to lead the alien eviction efforts. Things mostly go
okay, for everyone except Wikus...
The film's faux-documentary style works well
early on to set up the "new now" that the movie's alien background
requires...and, once the eviction process begins, the film becomes
an excellent mix of sci-fi, action and a very, very small touch of
drama. Nigerian gangs, shady corporations, alien technology,
run-and-gun firefights...the mix of things in "District 9" is sassy,
but it's done in a way that was more engaging than I thought even
given the film's great trailers. The film's no-name cast is
perfect for a film like this; the alien look is great; some of the
alien technology is sweet; some of the action effects are flat-out
nasty. Films like this do even better when there are no
subplots, or no time for them...save for a couple of so-so
cell-phone calls made by Wikus later in the film, there isn't a
single wasted sequence. Why can't more movies do this?
I am already excited to see this one again
on DVD. Catch this puppy ASAP!
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard