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.
Let me start this off with a short video that I watch at least one time a day to calm the nerves:
If you watch Deadfall, a couple of scenes from one of his best performances from that Youtube compilation will start to look familiar. And that’s all you’ll really remember about this film.
And that is exactly what makes this film remarkable. Nicholas Cage’s performance, with his strange wig hair and dark sunglasses and matching mustache, is so over the top you can’t believe it actually made it into the film. What did the director ask him to do? There are times when he stumblingly mumbles over half the lines. Others, he’s had to dub over the original audio because it was so incoherent. Did they allow the great Nic Cage to do what he wanted during this film, most likely drunk and living it up? I hope so.
Everything else about this movie is so basic. Joe Donan (Michael Biehn, the man I will always remember from The Abyss as Lt. Coffey) is a con artist who accidentally shot his dad, Mike Donan (James Coburn) in a con. With his father’s last dying wish, Joe
The legendary Nic Cage.
travels to his father’s brother’s place and finds himself in a whole new world of cons and deceit. Nicholas Cage is actually only in the middle third of the film, but his performance as Eddie is unforgettable.
And would you believe it that there are two other good actors in this film? Leave it to Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew and Nicholas Cage’s brother, Chris Coppola to utilize his connections. There’s Peter Fonda as, get this, Pete. He’s only in it for about two scenes, but he makes more of an impression than a lot of the other actors in this film. And, in my favorite performance of the entire film, is Charlie Sheen. Playing the smooth pool player, Sheen dazzles onscreen with intelligent lines, a cool attitude, and a suave look. He actually plays a realistic looking conman, unlike EVERYONE ELSE. For shame…
That woman was in it, but I didn’t care.
With unremarkable acting from a very minimal script, I’m sure it was hard to ever make this into a B-rated movie. It clings onto a solid C if anything, and wishes it could rise. You know what brings it out of the dregs of all those other movies you were never meant to see? NICHOLAS CAGE. This man is a legend. He can take any average college film and turn it into something you should see before you die. That man is King Midas. This movie became gold when he graced it for 45 minutes. After he leaves the silver screen (if it ever made it to that), it all goes downhill. There’s some creepy German doctor from The Human Centipede with a scissor hand for God sakes! That was less entertaining than one scene of Nic Cage ripping it up. Damn it, all movies need to have Nic Cage in it at all times. He should’ve been the star (no offense, Biehn. Wasn’t your best.)!
So watch this for the Cage. Ignore all else. By all means, stop watching after his unfortunate end. It’ll be worth it. Trust me. Deadfall as a whole, 3.1 out of 10. Nic Cage’s performance? 10 out of 10.
What would it have been like growing up living in the shadow of Bono and U2? Well Neil McCormick, author of Killing Bono: I was Bono’s Doppelganger knows exactly what that feels like. And his book turned out to be quite a good movie based on his experiences. With a huge interest in seeing Robert Sheehan in a role other than Misfits, I sat down to check out Killing Bono. In an odd turn of events, this is one of those films of one-upsmanship. I find McCormick’s character to be intriguing and tragic, especially with his circumstances and the adversity he faces. So let’s blast out to some U2… and Shook Up.
In the late 70’s, Paul Hewson, soon to be known as Bono (Martin McCann) and his friend David Evans (The Edge) would form a band that would sweep the world, in a similar fashion to The Beatles. Neil McCormick’s brother Ivan (Robert Sheehan) was recruited at first by Bono, but it was Neil’s (Ben Barnes) decision to keep him from the band. Holding this secret inside, Neil will do anything in his power to beat Bono and his fast rising star. With travels to England, a few
A little bit of Martin McCann as Bono.
relationships, and some fiddling around with record producers, It is up to Neil to prove to his brother and everyone that his mistakes were made for a reason.
And it’s a long journey from the bottom to the top (or as close as it gets). This movie has some twists and turns (on a downward spiral), and leaves you realizing that it doesn’t matter if Neil succeeds, it is up to him to do what he thinks is best for himself, and realize he cannot choose for others. He can only be as good as he himself can be. Now there’s a bit of some moral wisdom to dish out at the end of a film.
A little taste of the McCormick brothers!
I had only seen Ben Barnes in a few things before he burst onto the scene in this film. Stardust and Prince Caspian in the Narnia series to name the few. But this is one of those out there roles for Barnes. He’s all over the place, he’s ecstatic, he’s cocky and ready to roll at any moment. This is a hard role to pull off if you don’t have the personality for it, but Barnes does a good job of it. I wouldn’t have minded to see Robert Sheehan in the pivotal role, but this was all good all the same.
But my what a young actor Robert Sheehan is turning into in the world of movies. First there’s his strange appearance in Nic Cage’s Season of the Witch, and then followed by this movie? Soon he’ll make a name for himself as a period piece actor in the American film world. And I hope his unforgiving comedy will be able to come across the “big pond” in order to become a mainstay in America. I see big things for this young star, and I wish him the best.
Pete the ridiculous record exec.
It is rather unfortunate that this is Pete Postlethwaite’s last performance before his death. This actor who I will always remember as the whimsical man who gave James the seeds that would send him on his journey in James and the Giant Peach. In this film, he’s a bit of a different character. Pete plays a garishly homosexual landlord with a penchant for large parties. Helping Neil and Ivan along the way in London, it is Pete who brings together Gloria (Krysten Ritter) and Neil as Karl, Gay Landlord Extraordinaire.
That’s some great hair there, Robert.
And you can’t forget Peter Serafinowicz as Hammond, the ridiculous record producer. First he was Pete, the dick roommate in Shaun of the Dead, but he has gone on to do some great T.V. work Look Around You and various other writing and starring in British television. He was the voice of Darth Maul for god sakes! What an accomplishment! This strangely wonderful man is just the kind of quirky actor this film needed.
Oh, and we have to talk about the soundtrack! This movie didn’t directly feature any U2 tracks, this features all original (or did Neil make it?) music for the film, or something or other. And I really enjoyed the music. Ben Barnes had a great musical performance and really captivated what it meant to be a popular band in the 1980’s. Couple this with a combo of darkish humor and drama, and you have a film about triumph and revenge. I’d give this film a watch for any U2 fans. 6.9 out of 10.
Let’s get some dark eyeliner on and hit up this club.