Tag Archives: Bill Nighy

Hot Fuzz: Guns a Blazin’

This movie may hold its place solidly in British Comedy, but this movie has one of the best final action sequences of all time. As a kid I fantasized after watching The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, etc. about busting in on some thugs and being strapped to the teeth. You know that scene I’m talking about:

I’m one of those guys who can make the auto gun noise with my mouth and dived onto my bed while shooting two finger guns through the air. I love all action movies and guns, swords, and martial arts really get my blood flowing. When you have an homage/spoof/comedy movie like this that lets out the little kid in you who fantasized about riding into town on a horse and lighting up the bad guys, you have come to the right spot.

You may not have come to the right spot if you don’t like a bit of British humor… or at least 2 hours of it. If you’re anticipating the final showdown and you have to wade

The Sandford Police Service.

through two hours of well crafted action jokes and situational comedy, that might kill it for you. Not for me.

So this is another in the Cornetto Trilogy from Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, and they just keep getting better. Their next one on the list to end the trilogy is “The World’s End”. Maybe more zombies? Who knows… All I know is that they are fantastic. For the childhood that I had where Star Wars, action films, cartoons, and sci-fi knowledge was a everyday thing, this hits home. Very close to home. And I loved it.

Heaven’s fallen Angel.

Simon Pegg plays Police Officer Nicholas Angel (No. 777, if you didn’t get it already). He is the best on the force in London (he’d rather I say “police service” because it comes off as less aggressive) and is making all the other officers look bad. With the recommendation of all three superiors (Cameos by Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, and Bill Nighy), Nicholas says goodbye to his former GF (played by Cate Blanchett in a white CSI outfit) and heads to Sandford Gloucestershire. (A fictitious name for a police situation town when running drills/scenarios.)

When Nicholas comes to Sanford, he is blown away by the life of the small town chum. The police station sees no action and Sanford is considered the safest town in England. Headed by Constable Frank Butterman (Jim

Friends forever.

Broadbent) and his son Danny (Nick Frost), Nicholas stumbles upon a bunch of “accidents” that could be nothing short of murders. Who is he to suspect? And who is he to trust? And finally, who is he gonna shoot up first?

I saw this movie in theaters after falling in love with Shaun of the Dead, I had to see it the first weekend out. I about died laughing every 15 minutes of the movie (usually more often). This movie has a lot more punchlines per minute than Shaun had, but every bit just as good. They watched over 150 action films to get the script to be just right (insert their own British flavor and Bam!). This movie went to great lengths to be successful, and rightly so. It delivered on all movie going levels. Entertainment. To the extreme.

There are a lot of great British actors in this movie as well. Obviously the buddy buddy duo of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. You’ll never see two other actors onscreen who seem like they’re two best friends doing exactly what they wanna do.

Lunch. Dat. Shit.

They are living their dream making these movies. As I mentioned before, my idol Steve Coogan had a small part beside Martin Freeman (Tim from the Office) and Bill Nighy, the funniest old British man. The Andes as they were referred to, Paddy Considine (you might recognize him as Ross from The Bourne Ultimatum) and that great famous son, Rafe Spall. He lost a lot of weight and did some growing up to play the other Andy in this film, and I loved him.

This movie has the wit and fast cuts you’d expect from an action film. All the guns, action, and cheesy action comedy (combined with some really clever comedic work) make this one of the best comedies of the 2000’s (right beside Shaun). You won’t see comedies this entertaining and perfect come along that often, and also featuring a former James Bond, Timothy Dalton. It looks like a lot of fun was had with this film (with plenty of homages to other films) and it really is a laughable thrill ride with slangin’ guns. Perfection in a barrel. 9.7 out of 10.

 

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Shaun of the Dead

Okay, so here we go with the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright film that started off the whole shebang. Shaun of the Dead, that classic film that everyone and their mother owns (well my mom likes it in any case) truly is a spectacular romantic spoof about zombies. Let’s see if I can remember back to the first time I watched it…

Back when I first laid eyes on this film, I’m pretty sure I had no idea who Simon Pegg was. I hadn’t seen Spaced (not until much later) and I was woefully unaware of what hilarious

A wonderful cast doing it on the night.

antics lay before me in this film. Leave it to the British to be so damn clever that they turn a zombie movie into one of the funniest films of the last 10 years (soon to be followed by Hot Fuzz). The first in what hopes to be a trilogy entitled “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (every film so far has featured a Cornetto), I laughed hysterically (or at least I think I did back in 2004) to Shaun of the Dead.

A lot of the zombies in the film are shown in other scenes, and are fans of Spaced or just happened to be around the time of shooting.

Fantastic plot ensuing. Shaun (Simon Pegg) has an average life with a girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) who expects a bit more from their relationship. Ed (Nick Frost) lives in a shared flat with Shaun and their dickish roommate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), and every night ends at the Winchester pub. After Shaun was supposed to finally arrange a nice night out, he messes up after a scrambled day at work, and Liz breaks it off with him. Planning on doing anything to get her back, Shaun and Ed wake up the next day to a zombie apocalypse. Guess things’ll be a bit more complicated than planned.

Let’s start with the filming. This movie, which, in my adolescence I thought was directed by Simon Pegg, was creatively done by Edgar Wright. With the combined writing and direction powers of

See, it’s gotta be good, she’s smiling.

Wright/Pegg, there’s nothing they couldn’t do. This movie uses interesting and dramatic quick cuts, ominously toned music at ironic parts, and comedic timing within the camera angles and cuts. It does mean a lot for a camera’s direction and cinematography to dictate the pacing and comedy of a film. This one has that. You’ll see the same thing in Hot Fuzz (a more action-y edge) and Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World (a review I did a while ago).

That’s some classic Nighy right there.

The cast is also full of a bunch of wonderful British actors. Of course there’s the Simon Pegg/ Nick Frost bromance/friendship duo. It’s the only couple in Hollywood that I would consciously ship together despite just being two men who are friends. You have Dylan Moran, star of Black Books and the recently reviewed A Film With Me in It. This Irish actor plays the dick and four eyes, David. But he’s a lot more than that and shows up in other Simon Pegg vehicles. I give this guy his props, he’s damn funny. There’s Lucy Davis who plays the slightly slow failed actress, Dianne. Most British comedy fans will know of her from the UK’s Office as Dawn, one of my favorites (I currently worship Ricky Gervais).  There’s Bill Nighy, POTC’s Davy Jones and Underworld’s head vamp and one of my mom’s favorite British actors. A cameo is made by Rafe Spall, son of Timothy Spall as Noel, one of Shaun’s co-workers at the tech shop. He’s slimmed down a bit for other roles and most recently

The Wright stuff.

appeared in Prometheus (you gotta check him out, he’s going places).

This movie’s just a great watch and gets better every time you watch it with inside jokes and new groups of friends tuning in. (At least in my experience.) There’s nothing wrong with it, and it delivers on the horror fan and comedy fan that both dwell within me. If you’re any sort of a geek and love sci-fi/video games/movies/fantasy, this movie is for you. It’s a cricket bat to the head and worth all the injuries. 9.3 out of 10.


Underworld: Awakening

Where’s Michael? Where is Michael Corvin?

You may be wondering that yourself after you see Underworld: Awakening in theaters (if it still is…) The second I saw this movie was in development WITH KATE BECKINSALE, I got really excited. This beautiful English goddess needs no introduction. The face and star of the Underworld series ( I won’t include Rise of the Lycans) comes back with a more violent and sexy force in this movie. And, at 39 years of age, Beckinsale is looking wonderfully sexy and vibrant, despite the whole vampire/death dealer thing.

I would say this tagline of this movie is “Where’s Michael?” because it is the most classic line from the trailer. Yelling in the face of some unfortunate human, Selene just wants to know where her lover is. Is that too much to ask?

Where is Michael?

Apparently it was too much to ask to get Scott Speedman to return in this film. From the first moment you see him, you know something’s up. He seems CGI, and, in fact he is. Shown for an entire 30 seconds of screen time, Michael goes from badass hybrid to invisible hider. The original purpose of the film is to find him, but it becomes complicated.

This scene was sexy.

Here’s some context. The war raging on for centuries between the Vampires and Lycans has a new contender. The humans have entered the battle and have learned the weaknesses to decimate both sides. In a terrible twist of fate, Selene and Michael are captured and are being held in a laboratory under cryogenic (?) freezing for over 10 years. (Was it 10? The number was a bit fuzzy…) Upon being released by some unknown third party, Selene awakens to a world she is unfamiliar with. All that remains with her is her ability to kill, and kill well.

After some romp stomp destroying of some lab guards, Selene begins to get her wits about her. Realizing she is not in a position of advantage, she begins her quest in finding Michael. This is complicated by what she perceives to be visions from Michael’s own eyes being projected to her. She follows them and what she finds is a young girl. A hybrid young girl. With things thrown out of whack and nothing as it appears, Selene and the last of the vampires must fight in a world where there enemy is no longer the Lycans, but what would appear to be a lesser subspecies. Us.

Time to lace up.

I gotta hand it to the creators of Underworld. You take a 6 year break from Evolution with Kate and come back just as hard as the original 9 years before this one? You have to know some die hard fans are gonna watch it regardless. Me being one of those die hard fans of Beckinsale and everything Underworld really helped out. The first one becoming a cult classic solidifies any future work on Underworld and makes it all the more interesting when, yes, they suggest a 5th one. Bring it on.

There's some violence for ya.

I really gotta say though, this one hit hard with the violence. There’s really not a big break between action scenes, but some of the action scenes really drive the plot in an unusual way that I haven’t seen in many action movies. Removing the fight scenes from the plot is a way to entertain without bogging down the stylized violence, but this movie said, “Eh, why can’t we have both?” And I agree. There are plenty of successful action movies out there that can balance what the genre promises with a bit of good storyline. And the Underworld series is one of those.

But yes, there are throat slashing scenes, lots of bullet holes through Lycan carcasses, and, really, not a lot of sympathy for the Lycans in general. In a

The last hopes for the Vampires.

series that kind of set up this idea between supernatural being unity, Lycans vs Vampires probably won’t die anytime soon. With hybrids and the humans as the common enemy, I expected some teamwork, but this movie takes it in a direction that makes sense as well without the Vamycans combine. Although, as anyone knows who has seen this series, humans shouldn’t be a threat to these races, but it happens. I guess if Van Helsing can do it… Others can.

I love that suit. And those guns. Everything.

The acting in this movie was fine, but not the main focus/intent of the creators. Kate Beckinsale, instant loveable classic. At her age, looking that good, the mist rolling over her naked body. Chills. Stephen Rea kind of came out of left field for me. One of the most experienced actors in the movie, his villainous nature came as strange. One, because he’s one of those self-absorbed, nerdy villains without the ridiculously gothic quality of say Bill Nighy or Michael Sheen. Two, his son Quint (Kris Holden-Ried) had an English accent in this movie and Stephen Rea as his father, Dr. Jacob Lane, didn’t. Those little nuances can bother a person.

I mean, at some points in the film, there were accents when there didn’t have to be, and others were there should have been (I guess). Beckinsale sounds wonderfully elegant as Selene with her British accent, but with Eve (India Eisley) it came off as awkward. An 18 year old girl portraying a 12 year old girl (it was close) with an English accent, in a city that I feel was in America,

I just have to include this shot. Chills.

seemed out of place. But the girl did her job, despite some of her only experience coming from The Secret Life of the American Teenager (utterly horrid).

That was also something that struck me as odd with Theo James in this film. As with some other British newcomers to the silver screen, David (Theo James) showed a slight potential as a relatively important character in this film. Bringing back the classic whips from the last scene in the original Underworld, he delivered his lines with a British accent, in an altogether unconvincing way. Charles Dance as his father, Thomas, one of the last remaining bastions of the Vampire dynasty, did a fair job, but he wasn’t a Bill Nighy type of character. He made his mark though.

You did okay, Theo.

Before I wrap this up, just wanted to throw a little shout out Wes Bentley’s way. This guys was a simple character who released Selene from her cryogenic sleep and got none of the credit. I’ve admired Wes Bentley ever since American Beauty (…and Ghost Rider) and I feel he is an underrated actor. So I would like to give him a nod in this uncredited role in Underworld, even though he was dropped out a window.

It's about to get heavy.

So, all-in-all, Underworld: Awakening did justice to the Underworld series. There was a great deal of action, although no Michael, and a plot that satisfyingly gave a chance for an Underworld 5. A fabulous twist that I didn’t see coming progressed the overall plot and left me falling in love with Selene all over again. I would agree with IMDB’s rating of this movie of a 7 out of 10, but, as a huge fan, I’d bump it up to a 7.7 out of 10. Nice job.