February 2019 Wrap-Up

This is a little late, but if you’ve been following the site since back when I posted “weekly” updates then you’ll be all too familiar with my lack of regular scheduling, and seeing as you’re still here tardiness clearly does something for you. Towards the end of February – and indeed, at the start and in the middle as well – I became incredible busy. I received a promotion at work (or rather, a colleague left, I inherited their workload, and therefore suggested that a title modification and pay rise might potentially be in order), took on an apprentice to train, and at home we really got stuck into the kitchen, ripping it out in preparation for someone more competent than myself to fit it professionally. Also we had a holiday to Iceland booked for the 2nd of March and the Oscars happened. All of these things cut into my regular life, and as such very little happened on this site, and this wrap-up post is over 3 weeks late. Sorry about that. Let’s take a look back at four weeks of my life, which occurred seven and a bit weeks ago:
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My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 2

Like most of my fellow movie bloggers and podcasters, these past few weeks have been spent looking back at the past year and working out those films that I’ll hopefully still be remembering this time next year. Well, thankfully that time is now over, and we can get onto the future, or in my case even further into the past. Due to all the time spent looking back and writing my mammoth annual review of the year (links are below) as well as prepping for and editing the Lambcast’s flagship Best of the Year show, I’ve not actually written any reviews this week, but I have seen a few movies: 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