Hot Fuzz (2007) Film Review

Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a police officer in the London Met police and he’s just too good for the job – he gets transferred to the small town of Sanford, partnered with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). But before he can get too bored, ‘accidents’ start to happen, and it is soon apparent that there is more to this small town than meets the eye.

I love Edgar Wright’s work. Spaced was one of my favourite ever TV series, and I’ve liked everything he’s done since. I’m on a bit of a retro binge at the moment, revisiting films I used to love, and it’s always a risk, but phew! This one stands up for me. I loved it. Utterly ridiculous, a little too clever, but not to the point of annoyance. And one hell of a cast! Fabulous!

Attack the Block (2011) Film Review


There’s a gang of teenagers terrorizing one of the roughest council estates in London, mugging people and generally being a pain. Then aliens attack and they must find a way to survive.

Fabulous. Just fabulous. Here’s a film with an excellent sense of humour, low-budget but with excellent special effects, great story, everything you need in a good film. I cannot recommend this film enough. I will watch it again and again, I hope. Actually, I hope they play this at a moonlight cinema sometime, that would be an awesome night!


The Adventures of Tintin (2011) Film Review


As a little kid, I loved reading Asterix comics. I know, I know, that’s not Tintin, but they always looked kinda similar – same size and shape, kind of. Yes, I do judge a book by its cover. That’s just me, I’m afraid. When I attempted the Tintin comics, I didn’t really get them. There wasn’t much humour and I wasn’t really interested in the whole mystery aspect. I tried again a few years later and I enjoyed them a lot more – still not as much, but I liked them.

I was pretty concerned when I heard that there was going to be a live action motion capture animation film. Was it going to look as crap as that Tom Hanks Christmas film many years ago? I still haven’t seen that one – Polar Express, I believe. I just couldn’t get over that scary face from the trailer. I still have nightmares.

As it happens, Tintin is the absolutely perfect film for this technology.

Herge creates beautiful characters in his books, often with slightly enlarged features, and live capture animation allows these characters to come alive. If you are familiar with the comics, you will share my delight in seeing these characters brought to life – whether it is the sailors or the absolutely wonderful Captain Haddock.

I find it quite hard to critique the acting in the film as the animation dominates the appearance of the actors, and so I found myself relying on the voice to convey the character. Certainly, Andy Serkis portrayed a marvelous Haddock, and Nick Frost and Simon Pegg gave Thompson and Thomson voices exactly as I’d always wanted to hear them, but how much of the credit of their performances should be attributed to the animators? It’s an interesting thought.

Recently, Tintin won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film, and it was deserving of this accolade. The animation is wonderful, and the story is well created, taking elements from several of the books. It is filled with action and humour and after a first watching, I was more than happy to go again with my nephew. The second watching was even better – oh, and I’d recommend a big screen, go for 3D and sit right at the back. It’s worth it.

The Adventures of Tintin was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (John Williams)


The World’s End (2013) Film Review

The World's End

This is the third in a kind of loose trilogy of end-of-days films made by director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It’s a trilogy without recurring characters, but Pegg and Frost end up pitted against some kind of mega threat; Sean of the Dead had zombies, Hot Fuzz had a sinister Neighbourhood Watch Alliance and this has robots. Sort of. Feauxbots. Nobots. Something like that.

Gary King (Simon Pegg) is pretty much the most annoying person in the world – a guy in his late thirties who has never been able to beat his best night ever, an incompleted pub crawl with his mates when he was eighteen. So, he gets the gang back together; Peter Page (Eddie Marsan), Steven Prince (Paddy Considine), Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman) and Andy Knightley (Nick Frost). It would end up being just a pretty bad night with the lads until they discover the town’s dark secret.

There was a lot in this film to love. Simon Pegg playing the most awful character ever; a group of nearing middle-aged men attempting to beat a power they don’t understand all the time getting ever more drunk; Martin Freeman and his creepy, creepy forced smile. It didn’t quite have the awesome hilarity and impact of Sean of the Dead, but it was a lot of fun. And I kind of like all the not-too-obvious –but-at-the-same-time-not-too-hard-to-miss things for the fans – like the names and the way they relate to the characters. Or the reappearance of many favourite actors in bit parts.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) Film Review


I love the style of Edgar Wright. It’s fast and cool, and I just love watching it. It probably comes from an obsession with his television show Spaced, and Shaun of the Dead was the first feature he made after Spaced. There are quite a few nods to Spaced in it which I also love.

But to the film. Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a man in his late twenties who is stuck in a dead-end job in an electrical retailer, has a girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), who wants him to want more from his life, and a best mate, Ed (Nick Frost), who drinks and swears a lot. Then a zombie plague appears in London and they are running for their lives.

My favourite part of the film is the morning when Shaun and Ed realise what is going on. It’s just so clever; from Shaun’s hungover stagger to the shop for a soft drink (managing to ignore bodies on the ground, or zombies shuffling their way toward him) and Shaun and Ed discovering a girl staggering in their backyard (thinking she’s just extremely drunk) to the moment that they realise that something far more sinister is going on. And thank goodness that these are old-school shuffling zombies. I doubt it would have worked with running zombies. Plus, I would have been far too scared.