Baby Driver

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is the driver for an ever-changing roster of heist teams, led by Doc (Kevin Spacey). Baby is in debt to Doc, but is just one job away from being square, which makes it a fairly inopportune point in his life to meet and fall in love with Debora (Lily James), a waitress at his local diner. When Doc makes it clear he has no intention of letting Baby, his lucky charm, out of the gang, Baby finds himself in a tricky situation, stuck in a world of criminals including Buddy (Jon Hamm), his wife Darling (Eiza González) and the self-proclaimed crazy guy Bats (Jamie Foxx). Oh, and as a child Baby survived a car accident which killed his parents and left him with permanent tinnitus, something he can only drown out by constantly playing music.
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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

Top 10… Active Directors

I recently appeared on episode #164 of the Lambcast, along with Nick from the Cinematic Katzenjammer, Pat from 100 Years of Movies and Kristen from Journeys in Classic Film. Our chosen topic of discussion was our top five active directors, and provoked some interesting thoughts including why none of us like Terrence Malick. I recommend listening to the episode, if only to hear us ruthlessly mock Nick for his first-time presenting skills, but the show also inspired me to expand upon my list for this week’s Top 10.

So today, here is my list of Top 10 Active Directors. My choices are generally based on two things: the director’s recent body of work, and their upcoming work or last film(s). This prevented me from putting, say, Steven Spielberg as no. 1 purely on the basis of Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan, because technically he is still working today, but in my opinion he peaked a good few years ago

Honourable mentions:

Fincher

This is a list for which there could potentially be dozens of honourable mentions, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to just a few. First up is David Fincher, who has yet to make a film I haven’t at least liked, if not really loved. The reason he hasn’t placed higher is that although I’m always eager to see his films, I’ve never actually made it into the cinemas to see them, and I’ve had the DVD of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo sat on my bookshelf for almost 6 months and still haven’t watched it. There’s no real reason for this other than finding the time to watch it with my girlfriend not around – there could be more rape scenes than she’d enjoy – but I feel my lack of excitement excludes him from the list. Next is Joss Whedon, whose Avengers Assemble was every bit as awesomely exhilarating as I’d hoped, and the trailer for Much Ado About Nothing looks decent too. Plus, the dude made Serenity, and has Avengers 2 on his slate. Other names I’d considered include Zack Snyder (who alas has had two unappealing flops for his most recent films, but Man of Steel looks promising), Martin Scorsese (I don’t deny he makes incredible films, but I don’t actually out-and-out love any of them as much as others seem to) and Sam Mendes (I loved Skyfall, Away We Go, American Beauty and Road to Perdition, but I don’t think he has any films in the works). The likes of Andrew Stanton, Danny Boyle, Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron, Adam McKay, James Gunn and Gore Verbinski can be considered as honourable mentions for the honourable mentions list. Continue reading

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