I’m guessing that Crazy, Stupid, Love and Cowboys & Aliens will sell the most tickets this weekend, but the two best openers — easily, hands down — are from County Galway, Ireland and the Morden neighborhood in southern London. I’m speaking of John Michael McDonagh‘s The Guard, which I’ve praised two or three times in recent weeks, and Joe Cornish‘s Attack The Block (Screen Gems), which I finally saw this evening.
Attack The Block obviously cost a small fraction of the $100 million that Cowboys & Aliens spent on itself, and yes, the furry ape-aliens with green phosphorescent teeth are flagrantly unbelievable if not borderline comical. But they’re still scarier and snarlier and a lot more fun to to shoot and stab and run away from than the dipshit hard-drive aliens in Cowboys & Aliens, which are direct descendants of the Alien and Super 8 monsters, and boring for that.
The point is that Attack The Block is a smarter, more character-flavored, more tightly constructed entertainment than Cowboys, and I don’t mean solely in terms of tension and thrills. Block is also about something — i.e., community values and urban-jungle teens learning to take responsibility and fly straight and become men — while Cowboys is…what? About kissing the behinds of ComicCon fanboys and their low, sloppy taste in comic-book movies? About wanting to make money?
Cornish seems to be emphasizing the metaphor with his use of cartoony growling furries. He’s almost saying “forget the realism factor…these monsters are obviously bullshit and you and I know it, so let’s forget about our technical efforts and concentrate on what the threat of these monsters mean to the characters.” None of us believe in movie monsters. Not really. But there’s something curiously liberating about beasts that are excessively unbelievable. After watching Attack The Block this evening I was telling myself I don’t want to see another super-expensive CG monster ever again.
I’ll lengthen this review when I wake up tomorrow. I’m whipped.