The World’s End… and an Announcement!

Hello all, apologies for the lack of content recently, the house move isn’t going terribly well and my time is somewhat limited at present, but I’m working on putting some new stuff up in the near future. In the mean time, the start of my review of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto-wrapper The World’s End is below. I wrote the review for French Toast Sunday, one of my favourite sites on the web, and the rest of the review can be read there, link at the bottom of the page.movies-the-worlds-end Continue reading

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Flushed Away

flushed-away-3_1162513793Pampered pet rat Roddy St. James (Hugh Jackman) may appear to live the life of luxury with his lavish Kensington home, gargantuan television and high class lifestyle, but his existence is lonely, and he craves companionship. When his owners leave him for a few days, his world is rocked by the arrival of loutish hooligan sewer rat Sid (Shane Richie), who takes over the house and ridicules Roddy’s way of life. Roddy’s plan to evict Sid – via the toilet bubble bath – goes awry, and results in Roddy being flushed instead, leaving him lost in the vast underworld of London’s sewage system, where he becomes intricated with Kate Winslet’s tomboyish Rita and a plot involving a royal ruby, a computer cable belt and a mysterious plot concocted by sewer mafia boss The Toad (Ian McKellen).

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Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz

How does one create two of the best loved British comedies of recent years? Initially it seemed purely to involve director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, but recently Wright’s foray across the pond, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, was well reviewed but barely seen, whereas the Pegg/Frost scripted Paul drew huge crowds but lacklustre reviews. No, the secret it would seem is to keep this trio together, with Wright and Pegg on scripting duties, Pegg in the lead role and Frost as his incompetent sidekick. Pepper the rest of the cast with the cream of British acting and comedy, including Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Peter Serafinowicz and Dylan Moran, with Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman appearing in both films. Also, there must be cameos you can miss even without blinking – in Hot Fuzz, Cate Blanchett plays Pegg’s ex-girlfriend behind a decontamination mask and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is the Santa who stabs him through the hand- but crucially, the film must remain thoroughly British.
For this is the true secret of these films. Whereas other great British filmmakers seem to shy away from their country of origin (Danny Boyle, Ridley Scott, Alfred Hitchcock) opting instead to embrace the more commercial stylings of Hollywood, Wright and co. make sure that if you cut the film in half, it reads Made in England all the way through. From the settings – the zombie-infested streets of London or the sleepy rural village of Sandford, to the cast, sense of humour and the solution to any problem (“I dunno… pub?”) there have never been comedies this British since Kind Hearts and Coronets.
 It is also difficult to pin down what kind of a comedy the films are, as they feature equal quantities of character driven sitcom (Shaun’s vying affections for girlfriend Liz and best mate Ed), genre pastiche (there are more references in both films than could ever be listed), social commentary (upon discovering a zombie, Ed and Shaun first assume she is drunk), outlandish set pieces (battering a zombie with pool cues to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now) and subtle farce (The foam housing of twin pistols either side of a thermos in a pensioners bag). This cornucopia of comedic styles means that, if you didn’t like the last joke, it’s OK as another will be along shortly.
The most important aspect though seems to be to make sure there are repeated, quotable lines, whose meanings change throughout the course of the film (“He’s not my Dad,” “You’ve got red on you.”) or off-hand or unintentional predictions that inevitably come true. Of the two films, Fuzz rates a little lower due to a bout of Return of the King syndrome, with more explosive endings than are strictly necessary. Shaun also offers more rewarding repeat viewings, with many lines not landing their full impact without prior knowledge of the rest of the film.
Shaun of the Dead Choose film 9/10
Hot Fuzz Choose film 8/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The second pirates film is not as good as the first, but is still thoroughly entertaining, and features several enjoyable set pieces, not least of which is the three-way swordfight between Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Jack Davenport (who really should be in more films). This is probably my highlight of the trilogy, especially once the giant wheel comes into play.
The special effects are stepped up from the first film, with Davy Jones and his crew looking exceptional, with the many hours of work involved being well worth the effort. Still, the cliffhanger endings do make this seem more of a set-up for the trilogy closer.Choose life 6/10