Sounds and Furies
From my latest column at Thompson on Hollywood:
"Following every war movie cliché like the Stations of the Cross, Battle: Los Angeles is a punishing fusillade of jostling hand-held camerawork and the tea-kettle screeches of electric ordnance. It plays like the video dispatch of an embedded journalist. Titles acknowledge every change of scenery, while 24-hour news channels provide punditry and a wide-angle of the action. Even the characters’ names are flashed on screen, as though writer Chris Bertolini was too busy plotting which buildings to set aflame to put them in the script. Not that it much matters: two-thirds in and it is impossible to distinguish them. The aliens have more personality...
Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) is noisy, too. Here, though, the sound is unsettlingly ambient. Distant reports mix with the patter of acid rain, and high towers release bursts of flame and dirt in a sharp hiss. Foreign wails pierce the perpetual night, an ungodly city’s call to prayer. Floating billboards cry out: move to the Off-World colonies, “a golden land of opportunity and adventure.” Sound this lush sneaks up and envelops you, and all of a sudden the bleakly dystopian Los Angeles of 2019 becomes the only Los Angeles you’ve ever known."
Read the whole thing here: http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/2011/07/18/destroying_los_angeles_from_blade_runner_to_battle_los_angeles_and_the_carm/