Harry says get off your ass and ATTACK THE BLOCK!!!
In a minority of markets… in a handful of theaters across the county, there’s a little movie opening that isn’t based upon anything. Isn’t a continuation of anything we know. Instead, it’s a wholly original film by Joe Cornish, a director that you should probably snuggle up next to and get used to loving. I’ve got a feeling about this guy.
I came to ATTACK THE BLOCK late. I missed the screenings of the film that took place during SXSW due to my own screening hosting duties during the festival which conspired to keep me as far away from this little injection of awesome. Perhaps they were keeping me safe. Trying to make sure that I didn’t get too excited and end up hurting myself. I don’t want that.
So months have passed and everybody I know. All the film bloggers, the folks at AICN, local Austin film geeks and then there’s those famous folks I know – and everyone was talking about ATTACK THE BLOCK.
I’m lucky, I saw the movie before SONY SCREEN GEMS started cutting trailers that feature many jewels of moments that play great if you’ve seen the film, but out of context… I’m not sure that the trailers have given you a clear picture of what exactly ATTACK THE BLOCK is.
If you think about most invasion films. It usually happens to High School Seniors & College Kids… or Young grotesquely bright science geeks that work with a military and government on a global scale problem.
ATTACK THE BLOCK is more B-movie than that. It dips its hands into the formula, but transports it to a Block that we steer clear of. This is a ghetto. A poor district in London where young teens begin hustling & shaking down folks on the street. They’re just a couple years shy of becoming the scum that we try to scrape off the street by putting them behind bars and forgetting about them. These are kids unchecked. Lying to their parents and families about their actions – all in the attempt to gain some manner of Street Cred. They rename themselves, disguise themselves – and they’re young enough to think of themselves as invulnerable. These are kids that will fight, that can be scary – and there isn’t a pussy amongst them.
I know – they don’t sound likable. At the beginning of ATTACK THE BLOCK, they are not. I found myself hoping they were going to be wiped out quickly. I wanted them in jail, punished for the way they treated our lead female character. And – the aliens that come, that’s exactly what they’re there to do. Metaphorically speaking.
What ensues is a tremendously entertaining film. One of the most purely exhilarating genre efforts seen in a theater in a very long time. What makes it that is how it constantly defies expectations, makes you reassess character dynamics and relationships oh… and has a score that will have you bobbing your head to the film while tapping a toe. This film rocks. No character is necessarily safe. Danger is clearly and brutally shown. But the most amazing thing happens. That character you hate most – we’re going to have a transformation of feelings for over the course of the movie. MOSES – the leader of the pack, played by John Boyega… well, he’s just the entire ball of wax. He is charismatic, charming, threatening, powerful and as a character and as an actor, this film is like his coming out party. He shows us so much as a kid, man, thug & hero. That kind of transformation is tremendous to see work perfectly in a film.
Another thing I love about the movie is the dynamic with the Aliens. These things are blackness and glowy teeth. They look like some crazy matte-black gorilla furred & sized nightmare. As the movie plays – you’ll learn more and more about these critters. You’ll have such scientific expertise as the local druggie and his pot pal to help us learn more, and well… you learn enough.
Now – the one guy in this movie you’ll know is Nick Frost. He’s the local druggie dealer – chill and calm living in a fortified pot growing unit in the Block. Nick is effortlessly fun here.
The real jewel of the film though are the kids. I feel they are kids. When the shit hits, they’re scared shitless – trying to figure out how to handle the situation. They don’t trust the cops or the government. Being raised in the block doesn’t give one a lot of respect for authority. When you call the cops – you get taken away. So they have to handle this themselves. Nobody has ever lent them a hand, and they do like they always do… they help themselves and protect their turf, thus they try their best to protect those in the BLOCK.
But they’re kids… and sometimes fireworks & waterguns just isn’t enough… sometimes it is, if you use them right. I’m being deliberately vague here… its important to go into this movie just knowing, some shit is gonna hit the fan – and these kids will curse, they will be around dangerous substances and situations – and parents are likely to worry for these kids constantly… but in many ways – this is an urban GOONIES… instead of rich stuff, it is ALIEN SHIT.
I’ve seen the film twice now. It was even better upon second viewing and that will just continue. The film has rich characters, a refreshingly fun take on an old genre standard and you get to learn how to fight something new – if it ever happens to come true.
The film opens tomorrow in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Austin…. All in just one theater each. Although in Toronto it opens in 2. If you gripe about wanting films without outrageous quarter Billion dollar budgets, that use imagination and old fashioned badass filmmaking techniques to make a movie far more investing. A film where you feel characters die. Where you root for their success. Where you hold your breath hoping for the best. Where they make you laugh hysterically. Where you suddenly find yourself caring about characters you shouldn’t care about. Because they’re not you up there. They’re the bad guys, except upon closer inspection, they just rule.
ATTACK THE BLOCK is THE Alien movie to see this weekend! Check your local listings and see it, or the movie won’t be seen everywhere else. The success of this movie is in your hands. This is a supremely satisfying audience experience. Help it get to more audiences. This is a movie for film freaks like us to rally behind. To support. To campaign for. There are so many quotable lines & moments. I really am enthused that folks finally get to see this thing! Too much madness for any review to contain.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
+ Expand All
July 28, 2011, 5:55 p.m. CST
Scott pilgrim was geek pandering done kinda entertainingly but still pretty stupid and useless. This is more like District 9, an amazing and badass throwback movie. Where District 9 felt like a modern verhoeven film, this feels like modern Carpenter crossed with Joe Dante.
July 28, 2011, 5:55 p.m. CST
by Rogue Trooper
July 28, 2011, 5:59 p.m. CST
This film is awesome
July 28, 2011, 5:59 p.m. CST
...hope you're right, because pretty much every movie Harry reviews here turns out to be shit...
July 28, 2011, 6:07 p.m. CST
Maybe press 'enter' a couple of times after every word??
July 28, 2011, 6:08 p.m. CST
I usually agree with you, Harry is a useless reviewer because he loves everything, but this is the exception, as pretty much every reviewer on the internet has loved this movie. I had high expectations going because of all the buzz, and I still was surprised how kickass it was.
July 28, 2011, 6:42 p.m. CST
by Lando Griffin
Saw this back during the free screenings in May. Short review - good but not great. Fun during the ride but pretty much forgettable once its over. Its a nice throwback to 80's sci-fi, action-adventure movies but not worthy of the slobbering blow job reviews all the geek friendly review sites are lining up to give it.
July 28, 2011, 6:47 p.m. CST
...Ay, yai, yai... The pimpage for this film here is getting really tiresome...
July 28, 2011, 6:51 p.m. CST
which is why this movie rules. It's like DAS BOOT - fucking Nazis --- then we're rooting for them!
July 28, 2011, 6:59 p.m. CST
July 28, 2011, 7:21 p.m. CST
with Attack the Block. Guess the big man has a lot of love to give out.
July 28, 2011, 7:30 p.m. CST
Oh AICN... you entertain me.
July 28, 2011, 7:53 p.m. CST
Yikes. Fuck it. I'll probably check both of them out.
July 28, 2011, 7:54 p.m. CST
With Harry liking every fucking thing under the sun, there's bound to be a few that are actually good.
July 28, 2011, 7:56 p.m. CST
I would love to do nothing more than to see this movie right now. But it's only playing in a handful of cities right now and mine ain't one of 'em. So it looks like I'll be seeing this one when it's released on dvd/blu-ray. Which is still many fucking months away. So if you want a bone to pick, pick it with the Studios. Because as fans, there's so many of us but the Studios have the final say. Just sayin'.
July 28, 2011, 7:57 p.m. CST
July 28, 2011, 8:02 p.m. CST
LA LALALALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!! It's a damn shame, really. I could have stumbled upon this film one day, or I could have heard some genuine buzz about it not driven by an agenda, and I might have enjoyed it. But, no. Thanks to the fanboy media's incessant hype around it, I may well never watch it. I feel like I've been reading reviews of this for a fucking year already. Just fucking stop.
July 28, 2011, 8:04 p.m. CST
I saw that passive-aggressive quasi-dig at COWBOYS AND ALIENS, too, but you were quicker to the draw. You get a Golden CHOP Award for that one, pardner.
July 28, 2011, 8:21 p.m. CST
Maybe you shouldnt be living heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
July 28, 2011, 8:35 p.m. CST
Does AICN actually think any of their readers fall for their ridiculous, OTT and utterly transparent shilling, or are their pockets so lined with thirty pieces of silver for them to even care...?
July 28, 2011, 8:51 p.m. CST
Can someone, anyone decode the aicn mod/tb'er protocol for bashing/loving/shilling/slamming calling someone a bought and paid for sphincter kisser?
Inquiring Amoebas would like to know Since I first logged on here, I have tried to decode tb'er/troll speak regarding how to view a film based upon what harry has said. I have heard the following: when harry is enthused for a film, it must suck (and he pocketed a free lube job for his wheelchair) when harry hates a film it must be great (and someone only gave him a coupon for half off chai tea latte at the big boy). when harry is fair to middlin about a film he hates it and it either sucks or is great depending upon what day of the week it is and if he was wearing starched shorts or flying commando (oh the humanity!) It makes an amoebas pseudopod spin!
July 28, 2011, 8:52 p.m. CST
July 28, 2011, 10:36 p.m. CST
Just had to post to give it a try. First thread with it?
July 28, 2011, 10:39 p.m. CST
Huh, now it's gone again. Someone doing some testing, or is it an always-there option that's always turned off, and was only left on accidentally?
July 28, 2011, 10:48 p.m. CST
I am genuinely interested in learning exactly how many articles/reviews have been posted on AICN hyping this movie. My serious guess is 38.
July 28, 2011, 11:51 p.m. CST
by ENIK REED
July 29, 2011, 12:52 a.m. CST
I like how you made the comparison to DAS BOOT Harry. I like the whole bad guy but could be good story arc, going to check this out and Cowboys and Aliens this weekend.
July 29, 2011, 1:25 a.m. CST
This sounds good and looks promising...but Harry also liked Green Lantern...so I'm just going to wait and rent it. I also hated, HATED District 9 which Harry orgasmically loved.
July 29, 2011, 3:18 a.m. CST
July 29, 2011, 3:21 a.m. CST
Trailer doesn't look that great tho. Of course Harry is pimping it, it's a straight-up geek movie.
July 29, 2011, 3:51 a.m. CST
Attack The Block is an old-school Carpenter-esque charmfest with superb central perfomances from the kids. Morally your needle will be all over the place - and that's the idea. Go see it.
July 29, 2011, 3:53 a.m. CST
So sod the "geekfest" comments, if you really do like a solid sci-fi action flick that really does hark back to the best of them whilst standing up on its two own feet, then go see it. If only for the massive Carpenter-style synth opening!
July 29, 2011, 3:54 a.m. CST
July 29, 2011, 6:14 a.m. CST
Harry, Joe Cornish has been in the public eye in the UK for nearly 20 years, On TV, Radio, number 1 downloaded podcast etc'.
July 29, 2011, 6:21 a.m. CST
July 29, 2011, 7:29 a.m. CST
.... seem to have filled a niche as a movie website for people who hate movies. Strange, but true. I'll give it a look Harry, thanks.
July 29, 2011, 7:46 a.m. CST
...he thought you guys were friends, Harry. What happened?
July 29, 2011, 7:47 a.m. CST
That movie sucked (terribly), and you compared it to Jaws? Pathetic.
July 29, 2011, 8:15 a.m. CST
July 29, 2011, 8:21 a.m. CST
Just got done watching the trailer. The quickly-spoken thick english accents/slang is at times, incomprehensible.
July 29, 2011, 9:10 a.m. CST
a bunch of repulsive punk ass shit heads no one would or should care about. This was on par with KIDS which in it's day, was also over hyped bullshit just like this is.
July 29, 2011, 10:38 a.m. CST
where he tried to copy the facebook layout style. mark zuckerbergs sisters has now called for the banning of on line anonymity.
July 29, 2011, 10:45 a.m. CST
the garbage chute....it stinks.
July 29, 2011, 11 a.m. CST
with is that one he gave the rollerball movie. other than that the best thing to do is to completely ignore harry's reviews. harry knowles thinks that critical analysis is not necessary. or boring. but if he did do that his reviews would be ten times better.
July 29, 2011, 11:04 a.m. CST
the one he did for mission impossible three. that one was harry the alleged media mogul.
July 29, 2011, 11:15 a.m. CST
AICN has given this film so much attention, that even I am getting suspicious. I come to AICN for movie news, reviews and that special AICN flavor many writers (and TBers) here bring to the mix. If I wanted preaching, I'd gone to church.
July 29, 2011, 11:21 a.m. CST
not just on this site but all over the web.
July 29, 2011, 12:15 p.m. CST
... of a man whose favorite block to attack is a gigantic block of cheddar telling people to get off their asses. Good times...
July 29, 2011, 12:59 p.m. CST
Hidden in the source, visible and then not, but then disappears again. It has never functioned. It was awesome when they first did the crazy update, and you could embed images and YouTube movies and all this other stuff. They turned that off, too. I wrote a mod that fixes that (and other things I don't like about AICN) but it's broooken now, and needs much love and care before it will be useful again, and I don't think I can care enough.
July 29, 2011, 12:59 p.m. CST
Devin Faraci just tweeted this: 'People who don't like the kids in ATTACK THE BLOCK are probably big time beta males.'
devincf Devin Faraci People who don't like the kids in ATTACK THE BLOCK are probably big time beta males. 2 minutes ago
July 29, 2011, 1:29 p.m. CST
lol Or have to live with the little cunts in real life ... Nothing heroic or noble about the real things ... they would be the first fuckers to run and hide if shit ever hit the fan.
July 29, 2011, 1:48 p.m. CST
I can watch chavs abusing people by just going onto the streets, why would I want to see the little fuckers on the big screen?
July 29, 2011, 2:36 p.m. CST
Cowboys, Inner City, Predators, and Monsters all versused Aliens, so why not everything else? THE MAFIA VS ALIENS STRIPPERS VS ALIENS CATS AND DOGS VS ALIENS FACEBOOK VS ALIENS MAGICIANS VS ALIENS ROBOTS VS ALIENS IT NEVER ENDS.....
July 29, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST
And we still haven't gotten "Tree of Life." Fuck Virginia Beach, fuck it in its fucking ass. Thank god I'm moving back to Philly in a few weeks.
July 29, 2011, 2:58 p.m. CST
...cos my kids loved this film. Big time. Very funny and exciting.
July 29, 2011, 3:59 p.m. CST
It's average at best. Certainly not a patch on Tremors. Best film of the year? That's laughable.
July 29, 2011, 4 p.m. CST
Have you seen Attack The Block? It's really good. Black Swan was my favorite film last year, and while I don't entirely understand the comparison between the two movies I did love both of them and I'd recommend either of them to fans of the other one. Why such a passionate hatred for this movie?
July 29, 2011, 4:15 p.m. CST
July 29, 2011, 5:26 p.m. CST
You are my new hero ... Someone who sees through the bullshit.
July 29, 2011, 8:30 p.m. CST
because we're all dying to know what you thought
July 29, 2011, 9:16 p.m. CST
when he starts calling them niggas, what will you say then?, ASSHOLE!!!
July 29, 2011, 9:17 p.m. CST
what the fuck are you doing here?!?!?!!???
July 30, 2011, 12:24 a.m. CST
This is one of those Sci-Fi movies which uses a not-of-this-Earth crisis to break down doors and bring characters together, compressing them to expose their fears and strengths. The aliens are a scare device that, even given an exposition, doesn't really need to add up. What's important in ATTACK THE BLOCK are a group of youths in dire need of a lesson. They get it, but without moralization. What we get in return are tonnes of Brit-phrasic humor, genuine scares and some truly gnarly demises. I guess the most recent American comparison would be SUPER-8, but that was so tepid, forced and predictable in comparison (although both movies do have a pyro-kid). My only criticism is the accepting use of smoking from teens but, hey, the kids here are deliberately not parentally domesticated like in SUPER-8 or THE GOONIES. Let's put it this way: for this type of movie, Joe Cornish's writing and direction are PERFECT. I'm surprised that he's almost my age and I've never heard of him before. So run, don't walk, to see and support this film (I should duly copy this to the other two ATTACK THE BLOCK talkbacks.)
July 30, 2011, 10:01 a.m. CST
My problem is, I didn't like the gross accents in the trailers. Never heard such an annoying accent on BBC America.
Quite frankly, anyone that thinks The Host 'sucked', needs to be set on fire and have the flames put out with baseball bats. Thanks to AICN's rampant shilling, for calling these assholes out.
July 31, 2011, 8:34 p.m. CST
With it's mouth.
Aug. 1, 2011, 3:21 p.m. CST
by Matt Goodman
Aug. 1, 2011, 3:21 p.m. CST
by Matt Goodman
Aug. 1, 2011, 7:26 p.m. CST
in chicago. this and then cowboys and aliens. this was far superior! didnt really care for cowboys and aliens. SEE ATTACK THE BLOCK!
Aug. 2, 2011, 11:15 a.m. CST
In America I believe he'd be called a "hipster". Anyway, it was a great comic turn that was hilariously true to life; plus it was a refreshing change to see the white, middle-class character as the comic relief in a movie that took the viewpoint of "working"-class youths.
Aug. 2, 2011, 11:50 a.m. CST
I haven't seen the film but maybe it died a death over here cos no fucker'd even heard of it. If so.....that's bad marketing.
Aug. 2, 2011, 5:31 p.m. CST
Creates it's own world just like Big Trouble did, just like any classic genre film does. Instant classic!
Aug. 3, 2011, 1:17 a.m. CST
Jesus fuck Harry, do you know what a complete sentence is? Do you just not care? I don't like reading a whole review of vague sentence fragments.
Aug. 3, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST
Aug. 4, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST
About half the cast is black, but they are all 'urban' in the sense that they live in South London. It's not a particularly rural area to be honest. There is a lot of grass about though.
Aug. 4, 2011, 4:57 p.m. CST
I get what you mean about the excessive pimping, but it really is a thoroughly decent genre throwback, and if you like Carpenter and Dante you will more than likely enjoy it. Cornish certainly shows promise but he's not the next coming or anything.
Aug. 9, 2011, 6:39 p.m. CST
Maybe like All Quiet On the Western Front?
Aug. 9, 2011, 8:30 p.m. CST
I'll never watch this movie.
Aug. 9, 2011, 8:45 p.m. CST
...because, if you live anywhere near the kind of chav scum shown in the film, you'll find it impossible to get behind the characters. Easily the most hateable characters in a modern movie,from beginning to end. Word of mouth killed it - who the fuck wants to see chav shitbags glorified like this? Especially in light of the riots happening right now...
Aug. 19, 2011, 7:57 a.m. CST
The film didn't bomb in the UK. It had great reviews and was an amazing piece of work on a relatively small budget. Plus, you sound like an angry Daily Mail reader, which means your opinions are automatically invalidated.
Aug. 27, 2011, 3:03 a.m. CST
by The Dwayne
I saw it last night and thought it was brilliant. It proves, yet again, that you don't need an $100 million budget to make a summer blockbuster. I know people had issues with the "heroes" at the beginning robbing this female. The way I look at it, no one is perfect. I'm not saying what they did was ok but no one is squeaky clean. This isn't the superhero that is telling kids to "eat your vegetables and you can be just like me!" or anything like that. These are 15 (and younger) cussing, trying to be macho kind of kids. Sad to say it's more of a reality of now than before. The Goonies did a good job of the kids being kids in their day. With today, there is more ophaned kids or kids growing up in ghetto's and/or some kind of enviroment where everyone from their mother to the government has let them down in one way or another. It's good to know that deep down, these kids do care about themselves and others. Hit-Hatz, this dude wanted to kill Moses yet they still wanted to protect this guy. It goes to show that the environment you live in doesn't dictate how you grow up. Hi-Hatz only cared for himself. The other kids felt the need to protect one another. This movie is Goonies and Super 8 with balls. Seeing live action kids in trouble (and sometimes in gruesome moments) and just doing what they can to survive.
Sept. 4, 2011, 7:47 p.m. CST
So, it begins--and I'm thinking it's an anti-immigration flick. Then by middle I'm thinking it's a pro-immigration flick. Then by the end I'm thinking it's just a damn good flick. I lived in London and Aberdeen for 2 years so I know all about the sweet and tender hooligans who run the cities at night--so I came in with that prejudice (friends of mine mugged--myself harassed once). I think there is all the social political stuff under the surface here (black kid caught in the white man's rubbish container, etc)--but it's not in your face unless you're looking for it--it has a great energy, a star making performance by a talented young actor, and a director who actually uses slo-mo in a SMART way for once at the end of his film. The monster's aren't scary, but do look original, there are a few really good laughs to be had, and it's over before you know it--which is always a good sign in a summer film. One of my faves of the year.
Sept. 4, 2011, 7:48 p.m. CST
I really enjoyed this film but as a UK film lover there is a social problem here. We have a generation of kids on our hands who believe their behaviour and attitudes will ultimately be nulified by a moment of redemption as potrayed in this film. X-Factor, Attack the block, even Dr Who, they believe they can act like shit because one day they will get the opportunity to show us what they're really like... Problem is, what they're really like until that moment is how they're potrayed in the movie, complete shits. And for most, that moment of redemption they are being promised will never happen.
Sept. 16, 2011, 1:58 p.m. CST
Moses as a lead character was exactly as Harry described him and you start hating the kids then they grow on you primarily because of him. Few problems I had was with some of the actors definitely coming across at times as drama school luvvies trying to do "street". Also, whether chasing somebody who was on foot, on a bike or on a moped those pesky critters were always just a yard behind and in fact were some of the most inept monsters ever created...though they did look purty.
- Cyborg is confirmed to appear in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, and we know who's going to play him! -- 285 total posts 48 posts
- UPDATED (17:15) with image of the cast in character! Meet Jon M. Chu's JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS!! -- 106 total posts 14 posts
- They're going to have to look for another MIDNIGHT RIDER, because after that tragedy, William Hurt ain't stickin' around! -- 84 total posts 6 posts
- THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN Is Now Called... -- 222 total posts 6 posts
- Trailer for [REC]4: APOCALYPSE Has Arrived! -- 4 total posts 4 posts
- AICN HORROR talks with Thommy Hutson about Kickstarting his new book, the definitive A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET companion, NEVER SLEEP AGAIN! -- 95 total posts 3 posts
- 4th Week of April 2014's PICKS & PEEKS: SORCERER, GET CARTER, PAWNBROKER, Slasher horror & more!!! -- 177 total posts 3 posts
- Behold The Greatness Of IMAX's GODZILLA Poster!! -- 134 total posts 3 posts
- Here's A Trailer For AS ABOVE SO BELOW!! Freaky Madness In The Catacombs Of Paris!! -- 30 total posts 2 posts
- 100 Lucky Ones will see AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 here in Austin on April 30th! -- 455 total posts 2 posts