Archives for posts with tag: Nick Frost

Grade B +

Manny’s Movie Musings: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star in “Shaun Of The Dead,” a British comedy/horror about two best friends who are caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse in their hometown.  First order of business, find a way to rescue Pegg’s mom and ex-girlfriend, then head to a secure place: The Winchester Pub!  But as everyone knows, there’s what you plan for, and there’s what really happens.  Fans of British comedies and zombie flicks will love this great collaboration of the two genres, giving its core audience lots of funny jokes, zombie action and gore, silliness, and a few well acted scenes of drama.  My most memorable, movie moment of “Shaun Of The Dead” is the scene when Pegg’s group runs into another group of survivors led by Pegg’s friend; and both groups are nearly identical!

— M

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You may want to turn on your subtitles for this movie, because most of the actors have extremely thick accents.  From England comes “Attack The Block,” a hybrid sci-fi/comedy movie that has aliens attacking a poor neighborhood in London.  It all starts when an alien crashes into a car near a group of teenaged hoodlums (led by John Boyega) who are in the process of mugging a nurse who is on her way home (played by Jodie Whittaker).   Boyega investigates the damaged car, looking for something valuable to steal, and instead he gets attacked by the alien.  This doesn’t go too well with Boyega and his crew, so they decide to chase  the alien and make it sorry that it messed with the local toughs.   Having done battle with a tiny alien and coming out victorious, Boyega and his gang go home to the apartment complex where they all live in order to celebrate by getting high.  But their celebration is cut short when more aliens arrive, and the aliens — the size of small gorillas with glowing mouths and teeth — seem to be focusing their attacks on Boyega and his gang.

It was hard for me to root for the teenaged gang at first, because the first time they are shown is when they are wearing hoods/hats/handkerchiefs over their faces as they block the path of Whittaker so they can mug her.  It’s not a comedic scene at all; it was actually a bit terrifying.  I hated these kids, and I wanted them to get their low-life bodies crushed by a falling, giant anvil like in the cartoons.  Then I realized these are the main characters — the heroes, I guess — of the movie!  D’oh.  But halfway through the movie, when the street toughs and their muggee join forces to survive this alien attack, my anger eased up a bit and I found myself somewhat liking them and wanting them to live.  By the way, writing likeable characters is easy.  Writing unlikeable characters that forces the audience to eventually like them is very hard to do, and risky.  Risky because the audience could wind up hating them throughout the movie and emotionally distancing themselves from the movie, which leads to an unhappy movie experience, and bad reviews, and low profits for the movie.  So, I give a lot of props to the director/screenwriter for not taking the easy way out.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “Attack The Block” is the scene when Boyega is making a run for his apartment while the monsters are running after him, just a few feet away from taking big chunks out of his body.  The scene is in slow-motion, elongating the nightmarish scenario of a person running for all his worth in order to not suffer a painful death of being ripped apart by sharp teeth.

A comedic scene gets the award for being my most memorable, movie moment of “Attack The Block.”  And that would be the part when two little kids — wanna-be gangsters who call themselves Probs and Mayhem — are about to attack an alien so they can get street cred.  Mayhem keeps asking Probs questions about what would happen to them if they fail to kill the monster.  Probs finally shuts him up by saying something like, “Nobody is going to call you Mayhem if you keep acting like a pussy.”  Buwahahahahaha!

For those who think this is some laugh out loud, silly alien movie…it’s not.  It’s more serious than it is funny; and there are many parts of grisly violence when people are ripped to pieces by the aliens.  The screenwriter/director did a great job of blending the two genres, as well as keeping the tension high throughout the movie.   I was glad I took a chance on this indie flick, as it provided me with very good entertainment for 88 minutes; and it was free (thanks, Library!).

M

Combine “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” (1978 version) and “Shaun Of The Dead” and you get “The World’s End.”  Only the end product isn’t as good as any of the two first mentioned movies.  I’ll tell you why later.

“The World’s End” is about a 40-something-year-old loser (played by Simon Pegg) whose life is so crappy that all he has left is his goal to relive a night when he was much younger and cooler and he went bar hopping with 4 of his best friends.  The previous goal of the bar hopping: to visit 12 pubs and drink 1 pint per pub, all in one night, with the last pub named The World’s End.  That goal was never accomplished as the five dudes were too wasted.  But decades later, Pegg decides he wants another go at it; and suckers his 4 friends into joining him.  Unfortunately for all of them, the town that the 12 pubs are located in have been taken over by aliens who disguise themselves in human form.  And you either join or die.

Die is what I wanted Pegg to do, because his character is an incredible jackass.   Most people will either run away from him or beat him into a coma.  Bottom line, a hero who is not likeable makes the audience want to see him die instead of prevail against alien invaders.  Luckily we have Nick Frost, best friend of Pegg, who is funny and likeable and provides much of the heart of the movie.  As for the alien invasion storyline, it doesn’t kick in until about 30 minutes into the movie!  I was sitting in my car watching this and wondering if I made a mistake regarding what the movie was about.

“The World’s End” has many jokes all throughout the movie, but many of them misfire.  There are many impressive, fighting sequences that border on what you see in Hong Kong martial arts movies; and once the action starts, it hardly stops.  So, just like a train, it’s off to a slow start; but once it gets going, it really gets going.  Bonus points for the movie’s intense pacing during the 2nd and 3rd acts.

**Slight spoiler alert here**  My most memorable, movie moment of “The World’s End” is the scene when Pegg and his friends confront the leader of the alien invasion.  For those of you “Star Trek” fans (like me!), it’ll remind you of those many scenes when Captain Kirk or Captain Picard has to plea to a much more powerful being that humans deserve to live.  Only Pegg does it in a very crude, funny, and raucous way that finally had me cheering for him.

So, fans of “Shaun Of The Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” go and watch this movie.  It’s not great, but it’s good enough.

M

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