Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, August 10, 2013



The Haves and the Have Nots

8.0 out of 10 | MOVIE OR DVD

Rated: R Strong bloody violence and language throughout
Release Date: August 9, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writers: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Auret, Emma Tremblay

SYNOPSIS: Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

REVIEW: District 9 writer/director Neill Blomkamp return for his second film in the dystopian sci-fi near-future genre. Impressing critics and audiences alike with the refugee alien film, Blomkamp sets foot into a similar soil to present how the near-future is not unlike what the world is like today.

In the year 2154, the richest of the world's population has escapes from the overpopulated and blight-ridden planet to live on a lush orbiting satellite habitat named Elysium. Max (Matt Damon, Promised Land) has grown up in poverty and in an orphanage in Los Angeles, dreaming of the day he could buy a ticket for the habitant. He steals and scraps away with an existence with the single purpose to get him and his best friend Frey (Alice Braga, The Rite) in mind. When an assembly line accident leaves Max with only days to live, he contacts a man from his old life, Spider (Wagner Moura, Father's Chair), for a favor and a ticket on a transport to space. Instead, Spider gives Max a suicide mission... taker the bank and account codes out of the head of a Elysium 'citizen' named John Carlyle (William Fichtner, The Lone Ranger). What Max can't anticipate is that John Carlyle has critical data that concerns Elysium, its defense minister Delacourt (Jodie Foster, Panic Room), and a sleeper agent named Kruger (Sharlto Copley, District 9).

Neill Blomkamp is a master of creating near-future societies that mirror and echo the socially relevant of today. In District 9, he dealt with class structures, racism, and the politics of refugees. In Elysium, he writes and directs, essentially, about the 1%. Just like in today's society and economy, the richest of us live outside the confines of a normal life, controlling and directing the mechanisms of power. And, like in today's world, the desolate and downtrodden are a scourge to be hidden out of sight. What better way to live a conscious-free life than to look down on a ruined Earth from a place in the heavens.

Elysium continues Blomkamp's mastery of creating a real-world environment that meshes seamlessly with gritty and polished CGI special effects. The barren landscape of Los Angeles could be any number of modern day impoverished locales around the world. Add in a little decoration of blowing paper and burned out vehicles and you have a world bereft of hope beyond looking to the stars at the orbiting ring in the sky. The robots, the Elysium habitat, the set design, the shuttles and the weaponry are beautifully rendered and woven into the visual spectacle of the story. Unlike the CGI-heavy Star Wars franchise or the fantasy look of the Lord of the Rings films, Blomkamp balances the practical and visual effects perfectly!

Elysium is the perfect followup for District 9 for the director. It has the same style as his first film while delivering a completely different message. I do still like District 9 better. Copely was such an underdog character in that film that it was heartbreaking to watch his struggle and physical changes. Matt Damon's Max, while also an underdog, carries with him a spark and drive that leads the audience to believe that he cannot fail. Copely returns as the sinister and off-center Kruger, shedding his waif self in  favor of the semi-bionic breaded mercenary. I did also enjoy the performances by Alice Braga as Frey, Wagner Moura as Spider, and Diego Luna as Julio. Jodie Foster's Delacourt is abrasive, coarse, and sinister as Elysium's power hungry defense minister, but she could have played the part with a little more fake courtesy.

Elysium is a smartly written, poignant sci-fi drama that most fans of the genre will appreciate. I marveled at the story and the cinematography. Just the tiniest bit disappointed that I was not more emotionally invested in the characters, I still found plenty to enjoy!

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