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.
Leave a comment | tags: 2004, A Film With Me In It, average life, Bill Nighy, Black Books, British comedy, bromance, cameo, camera angles, classic film, collaboration, comedy fan, cricket bat, cuts, damn clever, damn funny, David, Davy Jones, Dawn, delivers on all levels, Dianne, dick roommate, dictate the pacing, Dylan Moran, Ed, Edgar Wright, fantastic plot, fantasy, four eyes, friendship duo, funniest films of the decade, geek, gets better every time you watch it, girlfriend, great comedic writing, great filming technique, great watch, head vampire, hilarious antics, Hollywood, horror fan, Hot Fuzz, inside jokes, Irish actor, ironic, Kate Ashfield, Liz, Lucy Davis, movies, Nick Frost, Noel, ominously toned, Pete, Peter Serafinowicz, Pirates of the Caribbean, Prometheus, quick cuts, Rafe Spall, Ricky Gervais, romantic comedy spoof with zombies, sci-fi, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Shaun, Shaun of the Dead, ship together, Simon Pegg, slimmed down, Spaced, superb comedic timing, tech shop, tension, The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, Timothy Spall's son, trilogy, UK The Office, Underworld, video games, Winchester pub, wonderful British cast, zombie apocalypse, zombie movie | posted in Movies
The second I saw this movie was coming out, I got really excited. I’ve seen Simon Pegg’s show Spaced, I’ve seen both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this was just gonna be another winner to add to the list. Not quite. It was quite good, but this had a different feel to it than the other Pegg/Frost collaborations did. Paul is not quite the movie you’d expect from these two, but it had all the things that Simon Pegg loves: Star Wars and aliens.
Paul is the story of an alien (Seth Rogen) who comes crashing (or exploding rather) into Graeme Willy’s (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings’ (Nick Frost) lives. On a road trip around America after Comic Con, Graeme and Willy find that the alien trip they planned through the midwest would be more real than they could ever imagine. Getting into trouble one after another, Graeme and Clive meet an all-star cast along the way in what I could only describe as England vs. America with E.T.
First things first. ACTING. Yes, this movie has quite an extensive cast with cameos and guest stars all over the place. First we got Jeffrey Tambor (Yes, Arrested Development. Best.) as Shadowchild, a sci-fi writer with an ego and O.C.D. problem. Jane Lynch as the alien truck-stop waitress who pops in and out from time to time. David Koechner as the redneck anti-queer (really breaking away from his role as Hannah Montana’s uncle). Jason Bateman as the surly F.B.I. agent out to get Paul (quite funny), along with Bill Hader (one of my favorite SNL guys) and Joe Lo Truglio as the bumbling idiot agents who kind of mess everything up but are quite funny. Also Kristen Wiig (annoying) but actually not that bad in this film. I’ve always found she’s more bearable in films than SNL.Yes, that’s quite a laundry list of actors that have the potential to make a movie funny. Bravo.
Simon and Nick. Just some Comic Con goers.
This movie is also a break directing wise from the usual. Instead of the great Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. How amazing.) we have Greg Mottola (Superbad and Adventureland. Two terrible one word movies.) This really disappointed me. A lot. It gave a different feel to the movie that, frankly, wasn’t all that good at all. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost work well together with other English actors. A lot of the humor in this movie comes from the supporting cast. This saddens me. That’s what made Shaun and Hot Fuzz so great. Edgard Wright (He failed at Scott Pilgrim. Check my blog.), English supporting cast, with Pegg and Frost as the driving forces behind the comedy. Bad form.
But that’s not to say this movie isn’t that good. It has its own genuine feel to it that is still quite funny. All of the supporting cast is quite funny American actors. It’s written by Simon and Nick. It’s their brainchild. The thing that ruins it for me is it doesn’t have the choppy, sporadic, English humor you come to expect from them. You could say that’s probably because it’s not Edgar Wright driving the project from behind the camera. Sad, I know, but still.
I was also surprised how sub par the special effects were in this movie. Maybe it was to give it an E.T. feeling, but maybe it’s just the production value that lacked in the making of the film. Paul wasn’t as real looking as I expected for a 2011 film, the spaceship and such felt unrealistic. The stunts were fine, it was just everything else that threw off the movie for me. Maybe another thing that affected me was my movie watching experience. It wasn’t the audience, it was the theater (Thanks, Regal Cinemas 14). The projection was out of wack, all of the lettering in the film was hard to look at. The lights came on in the theater 30 minutes before the movie was over. It kind of ruined it for me. But besides that, the movie was good (Wow, I just complained a lot…)
I still think this movie is worth watching. If you’re ever in the mood for a pretty good alien comedy, please see this movie. Simon and Nick need all the support they can to become really big in America, and I know they already kinda are, but they need everybody behind them to help Americans realize that they’re just as good as actors are here. (Certainly better than Matthew McConaughey or Brad Pitt. Come on… Although Lincoln Lawyer might be good…) So please go see Paul. It’s definitely worth a watch. 7.8 out of 10.
2 Comments | tags: 2011 film, acitng, Adventureland, alien comedy, alien road trip, aliens, American actors, anti-queer, Arrested Development, bad special effects, Bill Hader, Brad Pitt, brainchild, cameos, Clive Gollings, Comic Con, David Koechner, E.T., Edgar Wright, England vs America, English actors, F.B.I., felt unrealistic, good alien comedy, Graeme Willy, Greg Mottola, Hannah Montana, Hot Fuzz, Jane Lynch, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Joe Lo Truglio, Kristen Wiig, Lincoln Lawyer, Matthew McConaughey, midwest, Nick Frost, O.C.D., Paul, Pegg Frost colllaboration, quite funny, redneck, Regal Cinemas, road trip, sci-fi writer, Scott Pilgrim, Seath Rogen, Shadowchild, Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg, SNL, Spaced, Star Wars, Superbad | posted in Movies