OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN MUSIC > Art and Literature, Movies and TV

Battle: Los Angeles

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Bill Binkelman:
Reviews for this are all over the map...some are totally panning it and others are calling it "Blackhawk Down-like" in its intensity. I never did see Skyline, because the reviews were so bad (and Darren Rogers helped to talk me out of it - thanks, Darren). BUT I thought the trailers for that movie (Skyline) were awesome, and I feel the same way about Battle: Los Angeles, which gives me pause. More and more often a movie's trailer gives a false indication of what the actual movie will be like (See trailers for Legion and Monsters, to name two films I saw recently on DVD and the movies were NOTHINg like what the trailers inferred).

So, is anyone here excited about this film? Is this just this year's Skyline or will it be an intense ground-level up-close "you are there" combat movie, just about aliens, not humans?

OTOH, many reviews for Tron Legacy, which I just saw 2 nights ago, were negative and I liked it a lot (saw the 2-d version). So, what the frack do reviewers know?  ::)

Individual critics are obviously hit-and-miss when it comes to matching one moviegoer's preferences. I like to check metacritic.com which combines the opinions of many reviews, and usually does a great job of highlighting movies that are worth seeing or worth avoiding.

They give each film a 1-100 score (and to make it even more obvious, very low scores are colored red, moderately low ones are yellow, and higher scores are green).

Metacritic gives Battle: LA a score of 38 which is obviously quite bad. The "Black Hawk Down" reference appears to come from one of the few positive reviews quoted on Metacritic from the Chicago Tribune. The quote from the other Chicago paper (Ebert for the Sun-Times) is pretty amusing: "Here's a science-fiction film that's an insult to the words "science" and "fiction," and the hyphen in between them. You want to cut it up to clean under your fingernails."

Skyline scored a 26 which gives you some idea. I thought it had real problems (and a terrible third act) but didn't think it was as bad as that.

Monsters had only a 63, but I liked it quite a bit.

Legion had a 32 which was probably about right.

Tron: Legacy scored 49 on Metacritic but that seems to be an averaging of pretty positive and strongly negative reviews, rather than a lot of lukewarm ones.

Bill Binkelman:
Interesting that you liked Monsters, Mike. I had no problem with it being very little concerned with the alien "invasion," or that the storyline was more of an allegory (e.g. are WE the real monsters?). But the movie was soooooo deliberately placed (some sequences seemed to drga on forever), the acting was pretty amateurish by the twomain actors, and the actions of the lead characters were so asinine - almost over the top for emphasis. Seriously (plot spoiler ahead...if you are thinking of seeing this movie, stop reading now), the man and woman are 12 hours away from boarding the FINAL ferry away from a "war zone," they have spent $10K to get tickets, and then the guy sleeps with a prostitute and they lose their tickets and their money? Any sensible person would have slept about 10 feet from the dock or even stayed up all night so as to not miss the damn ferry. At that point, I just lost all interest in or sympathy for the two leads. In fact, I would've liked the monsters to get 'em!  ;D

I know on IMDB and Netflix a lot of folks liked the less-action-oriented emphasis of the film and thought it was an "intelligent" version of Cloverfield, but I thought it was so ill-conceived plot-wise, and the performances so bad that I just couldn't stay interested or concerned.

Just my two cents. Taste is so subjective. As I wrote, I thought Tron Legacy was pretty good. So, does your answer mean you and Lena will probably pass on Battle: LA then?

I might go as far as to get something like Battlefield LA from Netflix when it's available. We only go to the theater a couple of times per year lately, though, so I save those trips for "event" films.

I agree taste is subjective but I find I agree with "averaged" group opinions much more often than I agree with individual opinions, which is why Metacritic is useful. Also Netflix recommendations, which are based on some kind of "people who like the kind of things you like, liked this, so you'll probably like it too" algorithm.

Anodize DB:
I pretty much agree with Bill's comments, re: Battle LA. Marketing-wise, as well as from a POV of pure spectacle, the trailers for BLA (BLAh? Possibly... ;) ) are some of the most effective I've seen in some time. Based on some advance word I've read, unfortunately this appears to be another case of the trailer revealing the 'best' (or, say, 'money shots') of the entire film, whether or not the trailer in fact distills whatever plot exists. The premise sure as hell ain't original (Transformers meets Independence Day meets War of the Worlds) but I admit that the trailer looks so damned cool it well piqued my interest. Sadly, as Mike said, I as well will probably end up waiting until it gets to my Fios pay-per-view - like I said, some reviews I read indicated it was essentially vapid crap, wholly derivative, nonsensical, and the effects scenes actually few & far between.


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