District 9: The Summer's Coolest Fantasy Film

District 9 is a bracing mix of scare-fi and politics. It's also this summer's coolest fantasy

Sharlto Copley in District 9.

If you're looking for the late-summer special-effects action fantasy with big franchise potential, forget about G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. (You already forgot? Fine.) Instead, proceed directly to District 9, a grimy little scare-fi thriller from South Africa, hitherto unknown as a production center for really cool movies. The picture bears the imprimatur of another gifted outsider, Peter Jackson, who with The Lord of the Rings made New Zealand his own little Hollywood. But the real star is director and co-writer Neill Blomkamp, 29, who proves with his first feature that no genre is so tarnished by overuse...

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