Friday, July 29, 2011

Shiny and Glossy vs Heart and Soul

A clip from Jeffrey Wells on 'Cowboys & Aliens' vs 'Attack the Block':

...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?

As usual, Wells cuts to the core. Can't say I'd go that far re: 'Cowboys & Aliens' but, have to agree on 'Attack the Block'. From what I've seen 'Attack the Block' delivers a better experience and is something you'll remember, something you'd be glad you watched, whereas 'Cowboys & Aliens', while an effective popcorn flick, is probably pretty ephemeral.

There's just something, that rare quality that's hard to capture when making a movie but easy to spot when watching one, in every second of trailers and clips from Block that tells me the script is tight, the story delivers, and the movie is a lot of fun. Cowboys goes for it, stretches. It's sort of there, in a professional, mechanical way. They just don't quite deliver. I don't quite feel it. And, this hard-to-capture quality -- you don't see it you feel it.

I can see re-watching snippets of 'Attack the Block' over the years just because I want to relive it -- feel it again. I do that with some films -- watch for a certain camera technique, an edit, a line of dialogue, or even just a shot. I'll spin the DVD and review maybe as little as a minute or two, get that feeling, that uplift some movies provide, then move on to the next flick. 'Attack the Block' will be one of those. On the other hand, I'll probably watch 'Cowboys & Aliens' once to get it under my belt and review it maybe every ten years.


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