Tag Archives: London

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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Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels

I gotta tell ya, if you didn’t already know this about me, I love British films. I’ve watched the casts in British T.V., films, and American movies alike, starring alongside other big name actors. They crush their lines with timing and precision, they hold an air of Shakespearean flair, and

The Lock and Stock gang (not actual name).

they got the whole suave, posh thing goin’ on. I gotta hand it to Jason Statham, he’s a godawful muscle man stunt actor in American films, but he fits right in when the rest of the cast is from the U.K. And Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is this perfect case when it comes to that. A flavorful British cast with a renowned British director in one of his first film debuts, Guy Ritchie. Let the guns fly and the villains die.

Always out for a pint.

That’s basically what this movie is. Although there’s not really any big hero vs. villain gun fights or anything (you can’t tell the heroes from the villains anyway. Why would you want to?) you love the situation and the feel of the movie. It seems like everyone in the film has got a mouth on them, and they all speak the crime lingo. Everyone’s out for themselves with the big payday, and this movie has a big payday indeed.

The movie starts out with Bacon (Jason Statham) a two-bit swindler who speaks easy and cons you out of your money. Selling less than par jewelry, he and Eddy the Card Shark (Nick Moran) run through the streets of London after they’ve been had. Meanwhile, Tom (Jason

Talk about your smoking barrels…

Flemyng) is finishing his last deal with Nick “The Greek” (Stephen Marcus). He’s the brash leader of the group. Then there’s Soap (Dexter Fletcher), the straight walking saucier chef of the bunch. They all bring together 100,000 pounds for Eddy to play with versus Harry “The Hatchet” (P.H. Moriarty). After being forced into a loan and some shady dealings with some cameras and Morse code, Eddy loses and all four of the guys have to pay back 500,000 pounds. Oh no.

Cage match. For keeps.

With no means of being able to pay Harry back, the gang decides to drop in on a fellow gang’s robbery idea, stealing from the thieves. With a domino effect of a plot ensuing, you’ll never see the ending coming (or will you?). I personally was very satisfied with this film. Considered one of those “classic films” you should probably see before you die, I do agree. It is. It has a witty cast and a great vibe to it that just reeks of British gangster (as it should. They’re pretty ballin’.)

I want to spend a bit more time on that ballin’ cast I was talkin’ about. I already said Jason Statham, familiar with his feet set on the other side of the pond (not in America, obviously). There’s Nick Moran, who is someone I’ve seen occasionally in small roles, but after seeing this, I think he is destined for bigger and better things.

You bald buffoon.

Jason Flemyng is one of those actors I love seeing (besides his classic role and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The League of Extraordinary Gentelmen), and I can’t get enough of his versatility. It was nice to see Dexter Fletcher without gray hair (he plays Nathan’s dad in the British T.V. show, Misfits) and his character is worth a few laughs. And I have to admit that I found P.H. Moriarty to be a pretty nefarious gang boss in this one. He played Gurney Halleck in the Dune series movies for cryin’ out loud! And there’s Vinnie Jones, the former club soccer player in England. Ever since he did this movie, he’s been poppin’ up all over the place. More power to him.

I’m the Juggernaut, female dog.

I loved the plot of this film. I don’t know if I can speak highly enough of it. It has at least 6 moving parties in the film (even some bumbling idiots you wouldn’t expect to do much), and everyone gets in a whole lotta shenanigans by the end. It’s not very often you see such complicated plots like this with such a great amount of dialogue that is pulled off so well. Leave it to the British to do that.

Combine all this with a solid soundtrack, colorful references and

Let’s get it poppin’.

language and a dialect all its own, and you have a crime film that defines the late 1990’s (even into the 2000’s). I’m just sorry I hadn’t seen this earlier. It kicked my ass, and left me wanting to see some other crime flicks. Looks like Revolver and RocknRolla are up now on my list of things to watch. 8.8 out of 10.


Queen of the Damned

Now I’m gonna take the leap here and suggest (as it probably has been, being a film out for 10 years now) that Anne Rice didn’t understand where this film was coming from or going. A little later, I’ll explain why. But it is sad for me to see that Rotten Tomatoes (or any other reviewer) thought that this film was so poor. I have reasons for liking it, but there’s truly really only one. But plot first.

In a modern day world with the rise of Nu Metal in the early 2000’s, Lestat the Vampire (Stuart Townsend) rises to a new sound he had never heard before. A sound that rises him from the grave. Upon encountering the goth band making all the racket, Lestat

Townsend as Lestat. Anyone see Dorian Gray?

reveals himself to be a centuries old vampire comes to make all their wishes come true. Now he just broke the unspoken agreement all vampires tailor themselves to. Don’t talk about being a vampire, or that vampires exist. But he is doing this for a reason.

To break the monotony. His silken and brooding voice (sung by none other than Jonathan Davis of Korn) charms all the goths in the entire world, a la Deathklok from Adult Swim. Pronouncing proudly that he is a vampire, Lestat hopes that other vampires will come out of hiding, even if it is only to get him. He has the world on a string, and he’s shaking it to find out where they’re hiding.

The beautifully frightening Aaliyah.

Meanwhile, at the London paranormal research building, Talamasca…

Jesse Reeves (Marguerite Moreau) is a young researcher, looking into whether or not Lestat is actually a vampire. Analyzing his lyrics, she feels she’s stumbled onto something real. With a colleague of hers confirming that it’s true, David Talbot (Paul McGann, you Dr. Who fans out there may know him as the 8th Doctor… personally, I don’t care.) hands her a diary of Lestat’s pasts and beginnings. When the two intertwine, a evil, ancient presence arises, leading to a new world order. Unless it can be stopped. I’m talking about Aaliyah as Akasha, the vampire Queen of Egypt. Word.

So you have your wondefully sexy and fierce R&B singer that I said I loved from Romeo Must Die. She takes on this role with as much grace before her tragic end (this film is dedicated to her). You have Stuart Townsend, the man who was almost destined to play Aragorn before Peter Jackson up and said he didn’t want him. You may ask, where have I seen Townsend before in a similar film? Look no further than the suave Dorian Gray in The League of Extraordinary

Some pimpin’ old vampires.

Gentlemen. Badass. He was a great addition to the film and really had the whole “Metal Sex God in Leather Pants” look going on. And Jonathan Davis backing him up on vocals. He’s Irish too, so you can’t hate. Marguerite Moreau was beautiful as ever in the film, giving Lestat a reason to fight for humans. And can I say again that Jonathan Davis makes a cameo in the film? Look out for him.

The Moreau factor.

And this is where I come to why I liked the film. Nu Metal. The early 2000’s framed my pathway into teenagery. That means I was frustrated and awkward. And what better music to listen to than Deftones, Static-X (my favorite bands), Disturbed, and the almighty Korn? Nothing in the world soothes my soul more than death metal. And you get all new hauntingly original songs from Korn? This movie is a package deal. It could’ve almost worked out as a rock opera. I’d be down.

And this is also the point where Anne Rice doesn’t get it. Goths/metal have forever been linked with vampires. It’s a fact now at this point. And a woman who was 58 at the time of this movie should’ve keeled over dead at the use of music in this film. New age music that’s not from my early years? Noooooooo! Understandable response. The movie is nothing she’s seen because it’s meant for the goth scene. The punk and metal scene. Because that strain of music has adopted the vampire image and feel. And, in that way, this movie works for me as a metal fan.

Jonathan Davis on his throne of Korns.

There are those out there who think that Korn is a hack band. They’re original, true, that can’t be denied. But, for some people, they’re washed up, or not hard enough for a lot of hardcore metal fans. They’re like Limp Biskit (I don’t even care to look up his name…) But that’s all wrong. And they hate old Limpy boy. Korn has been around since 1993. It is now 2012. They are infusing techno methods now, into their music. They were ahead of the curve when it came to electronic music back in the day, before all this started. They’re metal, they’re rap metal, they’re nu metal. They. Are. Korn. They can do whatever the shit they want. They are the original when it comes to everything. They are groovy and they are hard. And they hate the world. What could be better?

Now that you know my secret obsession with Korn, you know why this movie works for me. But it’s just my opinion. The acting was fine (I thought Stuart Townsend really stood out), and I pooped myself the second I heard him sing and I knew it was Jonathan Davis. It just

Can’t get enough of the sexy darkness.

clicked with me. It doesn’t have to with you. That’s why I specially recommend this to fans of Nu Metal and all things dark. For those of the 90’s and 2000’s who want to relive a bit of angst. And maybe suck some blood. 7.1 out of 10.


Hellraiser: It’s Pinhead Time.

As I frequently do with my friends, it’s time to begin the watching and review of another classic horror film series. This time (and soon to follow, others) it’s the Hellraiser series, the brainchild of Clive Barker. In the vein of sadomasochistic pleasure and pain in the extreme, this movie explores the avenues of prosthetics and  stop-motion animation in a way to frighten and disturb. With a new chapter in gore created, Stephen King said it best. “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker.” Ebert might not believe this statement, but what does he know, right?

At the start of this movie, we encounter Frank (Sean Chapman), a two-bit, no good, gangster of a hoodlum. He has found this box on the other side of the world and plans to use it to explore the extremes of pleasure and pain. Upon solving the box in his “zen temple of an attic”, the Cenobites (creatures from Heaven and Hell) come to him to show him the way of the flesh. As Pinhead (Doug Bradley) says, “We have such sights to show you.” Upon ripping his flesh and bones from his body and dragging him to a Hell brought on through a wall, Frank says bye-bye to the world.

Ahhhh, the Cenobites...

Years later, and for no perceivable reason, Frank’s brother Larry Cotton (Andrew Robinson) brings his strangely detached wife Julia (Claire Higgins) and rebellious daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) to live in merry ole London town. Although only his wife is English. And there may or may not be an issue with accents in this movie for people perceived to be residents of the U.K. You make the call.

Have you learned anything, Frank?

While here, Larry Cotton absolutely destroys his hand on a rusty nail (check dat shizz for tetanus!) and accidentally brings back the remains of Frank’s body from the other side. It is then up to Julia and her past affair with Frank to reanimate his body, Imhotep/Mummy style. Bring on the parallels. Oh, and it’s up to Kirsty and her “boyfriend/interested bystander” (Robert Hines) to stop them. Get it goin’.

There were a few things that, after watching this once before at night, that I was in love with. I loved the reanimation scene of Frank’s body. It was absolutely grotesque and ballin’, all at the same time. Stop-motion animation, like in Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, just gets my horror juices flowing. I wish more movies went back to the days of the clay. Accompany this with a Mummy worthy stand in of Oliver Smith as Frank’s decayed, yet regenerating body and you have the creepy crawlies when you see his muscles moving over bone.

The images of Hellraiser.

There were a few things that doesn’t work either. The believability of Frank and Julia’s affair. I liked the tie in to the sadomasochism with their violently physical relationship, but there was no real sizzle at any point in the movie. Yes, you get a bit creeped out when she kisses Frank’s unfinished body, but what can you do? Another thing. The strangely over the top acting from Larry Cotton. I don’t know what this guy was shooting for, but it really was absurd. Thank God for the Cenobites coming in to bring some acting chops (pun intended with Chatterbox) to this film. Kirsty wasn’t too bad, I mean, they invited her back for the second…

So pair these lacking parts with a breakthrough into the genre of gore/horror, and you have my favorite genre. When you can overload someone’s senses with horrifying images and a few jump scenes, what’s better than that? And the simple fact that Clive Barker’s vision for this film sparked 7 other movies? Let me get a piece of that action. With these cult classics comes some of the best horror of its time, and one of my favorite horror series in the collection. Thanks Netflix! A solid 7.3 out of 10 for this groundbreaker.

Pinhead says word. Rollin' with the homies.


Horrible Bosses

So this movie probably is no longer in theaters, but when me and my roomie all the way out there in London (this is a shout out E. Miss you.) caught this movie in theaters, it was in its 6th week showing. I think that itself says a lot about just how good this movie is. Plus the aged ticket vendor woman who told us this adult movie full of swearing, drugs, and new age humor for the 20 year olds was “funny as poop.” So yeah, I had to check out this movie. I mean, come on, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day in the same film? Perfect. This was a movie worthy of its under-hype, so to speak.

In this film of every Average Joe’s fantasy, three friends Nick

Trio of champions.

(Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) all hate and want to kill their bosses. Nick’s boss is a psychopathic withdrawing bastard (Kevin Spacey) who forces Nick to stay late, work often, and never give him that sought after promotion. Dale’s boss is ironically a maneating sex addict (Jennifer Anisten) who just wants Dale, despite knowing full well that he’s engaged to marry. And Kurt’s boss, the toolish son of the former boss who kicks the bucket and takes over by default (Colin Farrell). With this trio of terror, the boys just don’t know what to do to rid themselves of these terrible bosses with a job market where there’s no chance of redemption.

Until one day, Mutherf@#$er Jones (Jamie Foxx) stumbles upon them. And by that, I mean Nick and the gang to rovin’ around in a black neighborhood and stumble upon one mean Jones who’s willing to help them get rid of their bosses for a small fee.  And what does he do? He becomes their “murder consultant,” and helps them to kill each other’s bosses. What transpires is one of the funniest series of events that I’ve ever seen on film in the last 5 years. Other than 30 Minutes or Less, and that review will be coming shortly.

The good and bad. This film was shorter than I wanted it to be. This film needed to be longer. This 98 minute film could’ve been fleshed out to a 2 hour movie and I wouldn’t have complained for a second. There’s always more comedy that can be shoved into a film, and this movie could’ve used it for the full $10 movie theaters are charging now. Other than that, maybe Jason Sudeikis wasn’t the best SNL choice to go with in this film. I didn’t mind him, but at the same time, I didn’t really notice if he was funny at all.

It was mostly on Jason Bateman and Charlie Day, coupled with Colin Farrell’s hilarious scenes of

These 3 brought the house down.

cocaine and Kung Fu, that brought the brunt of the comedy in this film. I love the way in which Farrell can make fun of himself and not always go for the better roles that cast him in a better light (I’m just glad he doesn’t do movie like Alexander anymore…). But yes, Jason Bateman performs in his prime (Arrested Development level) and I’m happy to see he’s really putting work in this year with The Change Up and an Arrested Development movie in the works.

Charlie Day. Thank you for living.

Charlie Day. What is there to say about Charlie, member of one of the greatest trios to ever grace cable television on Always Sunny in Philadelphia. His signature character of the bumbling idiot shines through again in a Hollywood blockbuster meant for his caliber of acting skills. I know it may seem that Charlie Day will be typecast forever, but I could care less. His fantastic attitude and demeanor as a character actor could be the same in 1000 films and I’d watch every one.

Kevin Spacey gives a great dickish performance, in coupling with Jennifer Anisten trying on some level to reclaim some never found sex idol roles in this film. Sure she looks nothing like her normal self in this movie, but

Let the On Star begin.

damnnnn. Wow. With some great On Star humor and some great banter between Jason, Jason, and Charlie, this movie performs on par with The 40 Year Old Virgin, #1 in my favorite comedies of all time. (Since then Judd Apatow has never made another funny movie.) I give credit to Seth Gordon in this breakout directing “debut”. His work on The Office, Modern Family, and Parks and Recreation gave him some experience going into a full length Hollywood film. And definite props to Michael Markowitz and John Francis Daley (among others) for great dialogue between three great characters. 8.8 out of 10.


Bunny and the Bull

This movie came to me as a change of pace from jolly ole London. Straight from the director of The Mighty Boosh and Come Fly With Me (two BBC series I love, can’t go wrong with Noel Fielding or Matt Lucas) Paul King, this little movie, Bunny and the Bull is the story of agoraphobia. Stephen (Edward Hogg) travels through his past and towards his front door to face the past that created his fear of leaving his house. Hurt feelings are uncovered and adventures in the weirdest ways are had, and I loved every minute of it.

So let’s see… Stephen goes on a cross-Europe adventure with his friend and gambler Bunny (Simon

Bunny & Stephen on their outrageous adventure.

Farnaby). For all you Boosh fans, Farnaby played pie face and Howard Moon’s twin in The Mighty Boosh. His outlandish acting is required again as Bunny, an unlikeable character needed to drive Stephen from his rut and his home. There are some great parts to this movie. Like, first of all, Stephen’s England flat doubles as a OCD’er’s paradise. Every item used in his home, every routine, is boxed and categorized for later sentimental value. Its quite a sight to see. And what comes in contrast to this to bring Stephen’s life to a screeching halt?

What's going on here, Julian Barratt?

The most amazing animated backgrounds and interactive panels. Stephen and Bunny slip into couches, ride around in crabs, and cross maps in search of what Stephen has been missing. This quirky comedy comes with a dark side that is finally faced at the end of the film. And, although you may not like the way it ends, it brings a conclusion that Stephen, and hopefully the audience can live with. Liberation.

There are some great cameos in this film! Richard Ayoade (former Boosh shaman and now IT Crowd

The Amazing Noel Fielding!

star) plays a Museum Curator in Germany, specializing in cobbling and shoes. There’s Julian Barratt as Atilla, the Russian madman obsessed with dog’s tit milk, and Noel Fielding, as Javier the failed Spanish matador. With all these Boosh actors, what could be wrong with this quirkily dark film? Yes, you end up hating Bunny. Yes, you feel frustrated with Stephen’s insecurities. But it all comes together in the end. This movie deals with standing up for yourself. With taking a chance. With getting up after love and loss, sadness and fear strike you down. Because, as this movie would suggest, it’s always important to bet again on the long-shot.


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Decent Tides

So I thought I’d give the last of the Pirates movies a go and I found I wasn’t disappointed. Despite a staggered cast without Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly, this movie still finds a way to deliver. (I guess they really weren’t that much of a loss. But really, what have they been doing lately?) Johnny Depp has taken up the sword and three-cornered hat again as Jack Sparrow and he doesn’t disappoint. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides picks up with Sparrow’s last excursion on the high seas in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth. And despite the years, this movie is just as good. (Don’t bother with the 3-D.)

So Jack Sparrow has been caught again by the English and it looks like it will be a short drop with a sudden

Cruz and Depp. Match made in Heaven?

stop. But Jack has a plan. He’s back in London for one reason. To discover who’s impersonating him and why. And he does find that out. It’s Angelica, his former love. (Jack Sparrow has many former loves, but I guess that’s beside the point.) He really did love Angelica (Penelope Cruz) and this fact ropes him into her wild adventure. And her wild adventure comes with baggage. Major baggage. Angelica has acquired the help of Blackbeard (Ian McShane), the new Barbosa and ruthless pirate of the sea. Their goal is the Fountain of Youth, and its Blackbeard/Angelica vs the English (plus Barbosa) vs the Spanish Armada vs the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow.

What a wild ride...

And what a thrill ride it is. The chases, the mermaids, the magical island (Florida, I think) and the start of an actual myth that has kept the world searching. It all adds up to an amazing little roller-coaster of action and adventure. I’m sure it’s fine in 3-D, again, it’s just as good in 2-D, and the special effects really shows it. (I expected something with zombies, but I was disappointed.) The mermaid scene is quite cool and all the stunts look top notch. And the acting is what you expect from a Pirates film.

Johnny Depp is classic Jack Sparrow. Penelope Cruz is kind of annoying (I don’t picture a hispanic female pirate would have anything to do with the Pirates movies) but I guess she fulfills her purpose. Geoffrey Rush was amazing as Barbosa, the whole reason I love Pirates of the Caribbean. His witty,

Geoffrey Rush. You show that Jack Sparrow.

devil-may-care attitude and  amazing personality really brings a whole other level to the rapport of the films. Ian McShane (a respectable actor) really leaves something to be desired. I felt as if he was doing his own imitation of Barbosa, and it just wasn’t as good. Sam Claflin plays a small part as some sort of pastor who falls in love with a mermaid. A comment on religion vs magical realism? You tell me. And Richard Griffiths, good old Uncle Vernon of HP, plays a small part as King George.

Rob Marshall (Director of Nine and Chicago… what?) Delivers a good addition to the Pirates franchise. The story is sound and gives another reason for everyone to go to Disney World and have a go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. And it sure is worth it. If the movies are any attest to the ride and the entity that is Pirates of the Caribbean, you should check this movie out (DVD or in theaters, doesn’t matter.), it’s worth viewing. 7.6 out of 10.