Movie Roundup: Pre-Oscar Catch-Up Edition

Food, Inc – Pretty much what you expect it to be. Though, it was nice to see it focus on the real bad guy in this area, corporate capitalism, as opposed to blaming meat-eaters or poor people who can’t afford to eat better than fast food. The only real revelation was the guy who runs an organic farm. He, and his suspenders, were really cool. Otherwise it’s just a better-looking version of those Robert Greenwald lefty documentaries.

The Cove – Same with this doc, it makes an unassailably correct argument, though manages to only include the other side in order to knock it down. The story of Ric Barry’s personal feelings of complicity in the dolphin craze, and his feelings of responsibility for it is quite moving, but the movie never feels like we’re getting the whole story of just what he’s done to get himself so ostracized. I suspect that a big part of the reason why issues like this have trouble getting addressed is because the people doing the arguing allow themselves to be so easily caricatured as hippie loons. This film does little to counter that idea.

District 9 – A fine action film, notably mostly for its effectiveness on such a relatively low budget. Its vaunted social commentary amounts to little more than “hey these aliens in South Africa live in slums! In South Africa!” and the framing device of documentary-style interviews and found footage is undercut by so many scenes which aren’t shot in that style. Compared with last year’s low-budget action film, Cloverfield, District 9 falls short in its unwillingness to stick to the conceit it marks out for itself. Instead of increasing the immediacy of the action, it instead just feels like a (oft-used) gimmick.

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