Thursday, 29 August 2013

60 Second Film Reviews (Cornetto Edition)

Quick movie reviews, without the waffle. 60 Second Film Reviews is a regular feature where I compile together brief reviews of recent films I've watched at home or at the movies - and generally couldn't be arsed didn't find time to write a proper review for. 

This month, we have a special Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy Edition with my take on Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the brand new release, The World's End.

The World's End (2013)

Five friends reunite in their sleepy English hometown of Newton Haven to recreate an epic pub crawl - all the way from The First Post to the World's End.

However, beneath the leafy exterior of the village, something more sinister lurks and as the five friends wind their way across the town they start to discover not is all as it seems.

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright's conclusion to the epic Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy is a fantastic blend of light, good-natured fun and some more serious drama and acting.

Simon Pegg's man-child protagonist Gary King is a departure from the flawed, yet ultimately likeable, character for Pegg. Gary is still living in the past and all-consumed by his desire to recreate 'the Golden Mile' making him something of the primary antagonist here. The real villain isn't the mysterious robots and happenings around the town but instead Gary with his inability to grow up and become an adult.

His story-arc is handled well however and it is a satisfying transformation. The rest of the gang include Nick Frost as Andy, Martin Freeman as Oliver, Eddie Marsan as Peter and Paddy Considine as Steven. Frost's more grown-up  character is also different to the typical comic-relief he has played before, which is something of a welcome change. It was nice to see the duo shake things up and not just stick to the same 'Shaun of the Dead' formula.

On the whole, The World's End isn't the best entry into the trilogy but it is by no means bad. It isn't as original as Shaun of the Dead and isn't as downright crazy as Hot Fuzz but the action is suitably zany and over-the-top and has plenty of heartfelt moments too.

I give The World's End: 8/10

Hot Fuzz (2007)

Pegg and Frost take on the action buddy-cop genre and deliver one of the most madcap and quotable comedies ever, Hot Fuzz

After the success of Shaun of the Dead, Pegg, Frost and Wright aimed their sights on the action genre; taking all of the recognisable traits and conventions and dropping them into a sleepy middle-class English village.

Pegg is hilarious as the tightly-strung top-cop from London, Nicholas Angel whilst his side-kick Danny (Nick Frost) is fantastically written. There is also a whole host of brilliant supporting actors from Olivia Coleman's saucy police 'officer' to Jim Broadbent's Wild West obsessed Inspector.

For me, Hot Fuzz's biggest plus point is the script; there is a whole host of wonderfully quotable lines and laugh-out-loud one-liners. Pegg and Frost also do a wonderful job of including so many brilliant genre troupes from action and adventure films, parodying everything from Point Break to Bad Boys 2.

And of course there's the action; who'd have thought that a full-on assault on a supermarket could have been so much fun? Hot Fuzz is one of those films that gets better and better with repeat viewings and never gets old.

I give Hot Fuzz: 9/10

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Proclaimed as a genre-changing film, Shaun of the Dead still holds up as a classic nearly ten years on from its release.

Pegg plays uncultured slacker Shaun who is determined to win back his girlfriend, Liz and get his life back on track. Oh, and there are zombies too. Lots and lots of zombies.

Made on a fairly small budget by modern-day standards, Shaun of the Dead is great purely because it doesn't get bogged down in the fairly dark zombie premise; the jokes are still light and whimsical and clever.

The movie also features a whole host of fantastic British talent; Bill Nighy, Dylan Moran, Jessica Stevenson, Peter Serafinowicz and Rafe Spall all feature in a great ensemble cast.

However, the real winner here is Pegg and Frost's dynamic duo; the banter back and forth between the two is wickedly funny and original. The scene where the two fling records at a zombie in their back garden is hilarious. Edgar Wright's direction is as frenetic and energetic as ever.

Whilst a lot of bigger-budget productions feel like they are trying really hard to force jokes upon the audience, Shaun of the Dead effortlessly gets the audience on-board with two likeable leads, a winning script and premise, a great supporting cast and even some fantastic action. The film has a great score, editing, pacing and production. All in all, a fantastic zombie film and an even better comedy.

I give Shaun of the Dead: 9/10

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