Gill and I popped over for our hopefully-now-regular two-film shift in Glasgow on Friday night. The timings of the performances gave us the following as out best choices for the evening:
Plot-in-a-nutshell: Boy meets girl and must travel through alien-infested jungle to get her safely home to dad. Only without many aliens.
Just to clarify something – Monsters is not actually a monster film as such. It’s a film that sets itself around an environment where monsters are present, but is very much a road movie – a film about the two main characters making a journey from A-B. So for those you you disappointed with the lack ofÂ disembowellingsÂ and big jumpy shocks, don’t say you weren’t warned.
This is cheap film-making at its best. Written and directed by Gareth Edwards, he made the entire thing for around Â£500,000. This is tiny compared to most Hollywood efforts, despite having a solid (if small) cast and excellent special effects. Every set used is a real building. Every outdoor scene is really outdoors. No special builds were used. The majority of people in the film are just locals who were kicking about. The film crew consisted of two people, as does the central cast.
Best of all, it a) works and b) doesn’t look like it cost so little.
Scoot McNairy and Whitley Able play Andrew and Samantha, thrown together when Andrew’s boss demand that he get his daughter back to the U.S. They’re both in Mexico, and the land between the two countries is classed as an “Infected Zone”, harbouring aliens brought back to earth by a crashed space probe.
On the way they encounter corrupt officials, thieves, friendly locals, guns for hire and – yes – some monsters/aliens. Rather than going for the “big jumpy out” type of creatures, Edwards has instead opted for a sense of “what’s happening next?” which is far better. Most people haven’t seen these aliens except on television, so the characters are torn between fear and curiosity in places.
I would not say this is the best road movie or alien movie ever made. However, I would recommend watching it as it’s fantastic proof that an entertaining and gripping film doesn’t need a budget well into the millions.
Plot-in-a-nutshell: A case of mistaken identity leads an innocent tourist into being mistaken for an international fraudster. But he does get to snog Angelina Jolie, so that’s OK.
I wanted to see this for the humour in the trailer. Gill wanted to see it so she could drool over Johnny Depp. And Angelina Jolie. Strange girl. Anyway.
I saw enough of the trailer to think I wanted to see this, but I have a feeling a lot of the jokes and action are in there. However, it’s still a great ninety minutes or so of pure cinematic candy floss. Don’t take it too seriously and you’ll enjoy it.
Elise (Jolie) is the girlfriend of the accountant of a gangster who’s done a runner with a couple of billion dollars. She receives a note – jump on a train, find someone who kind of looks like me and make the police believe that is me. Said accountant has had $20m worth of plastic surgery so nobody knows what he looks like. The idea is to throw police (including Paul Bettany‘s tenacious Inspector) and gangsters (led by Reginald Shaw, played by Steven Berkoff) off the scent so that the two can meet properly and make their escape into obscurity.
But that would be too easy. Instead, Elise falls for Frank (the tourist) and worries about what could happen to him if the police or gangsters get hold of him. So we have Elise caught between trying to catch up with her man while trying to rescue the other chap she dragged into the situation.
It’s all very silly, but fun. Jolie is quite sexy (I’ll be honest – I’m not normally a huge fan), Depp is airheaded and panicky, Battany is tenacious and Berkoff is a bastard. With the lovely setting of Venice, it makes for an interesting little movie that’s a worthwhile way to spend part of your evening.
Don’t expect a classic, but do expect to enjoy it. The crowd in the cinema (a near sell-out) were laughing out loud at some of the dialogue. It’s not too often that happens these days.