Tag Archives: trilogy

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.

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Wrath of the Titans

I had never seen the first of what may be a trilogy. I had no expectations for the second one. My friend asked me to go see it and so I did. And I have mixed feelings about Wrath of the Titans. A movie series sparked from the 1981 version, this is just one of those typical action movies. It may have some flair and epic qualities to it with its mythology come to life for Perseus, but I’m not really sure where this series is headed. I’ll just let time and some 3-D/CG effects ride the tide until the next Kraken-like creature bubbles up from the Netherworld.

What guy doesn’t like a bit of mythology with his films? I enjoyed it somewhat, but I wasn’t sure how accurate the film was to the myths. You got your Zeus (Liam Neeson), your Poseidon (Danny Huston), and you got your Hades (Ralph Fiennes). Throw in some Sam Worthington for good measure and you got yourself a film about defeating a Titan. Although it is strange this series is following the titling of Star Wars, I won’t complain too much. What I don’t get is where people get off considering Sam Worthington a quality actor. He’s good in what he does in action films, but I dunno if Avatar gave him a big head or not. Same goes for you too Thor…

Metaphor for acting career? (Hint, it’s a struggle.)

So this movie takes place a decade after Perseus killed the Kraken (thanks Wikipedia). He’s got a son now and that damn kid can’t stop crying and making all these weird faces and noises throughout the film. Even when he’s supposed to be brave at the end, he ends up yelping like a beaten dog. Where did they find this kid? So he is almost killed by the initial attack on Perseus’ shanty town by a pair of Chimeras. This scene was rather basic and didn’t really get me too hyped up yet. It doesn’t really look like Perseus/Worthington is in rare form yet and hell, it doesn’t look like he’s interacting with the beasts at all. Heads up there Warner Bros., you’re behind the ball on that new wave tech shit.

A couple of old bro’s slanging some magical spells.

Meanwhile, in the Netherworld, Kronos, king of the Gods is all tied up by his snotty young hoodlum children. But there’s a twist! Hades and Zeus’s son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) are planning on draining Zeus in order to unleash Kronos and reattain immortality. They’ve become weak because of some comment on religion and how paganism isn’t popular anymore. Things get heated and its up to Perseus, a scraggly, yet funny Agenor the Navigator (Toby Kebbell), and Andromeda (Rosamund Pike). Of the three, I’d place my best bet on Agenor. That Toby Kebbell is a relaxed, naturalistic actor who I now appreciate because of this movie. He definitely deserved his father’s trident for that one.

So there are some cyclops, some lava slanging behemoths, and some molten crusted, two-headed beasts. I would almost say that the trailer built up the movie a bit too much for how much they suggested was action in this film. There’s even a disappointing fight between Perseus and the Minotaur in this film! That beast is just as big as Perseus is, how is that possible? But there’s a lot of old man Zeus grunting and some anticlimactic fighting in what is a strange ending with Perseus and Pegasus. Worthington passes on the torch to his son and one of the only things I can say about this movie is that Gods died in this movie. Who is gonna be left to make this a trilogy with so many mythical beings gone? We’ll see if Titans makes a strategic move and decides to pit Christianity against Paganism. I’d watch that. For this, I’ll give it an entertaining watch with a 4.6 out of 10.

Set him free Sam, set him free…


Rise of the Planet of the Apes

So the second I saw that this movie was coming out, I became instantly pumped to see it. I thought the Planet of the Apes with Mark Wahlberg (and Tim Roth mind you) was fantastic, although it didn’t receive the best of reviews. I thought, “Hey, if they’re willing to take a chance on another one, going back to tell the origins of the rise of the apes, then I gotta see this.” And see this I did. And I loved every minute of it. It wasn’t the fuel-injected adrenaline ride you expect from the trailers, it delivers a more insightful, sensitive side to Caesar and his rise to intelligence.

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes all starts with a cure for Alzheimer’s. With the AZ-112 cure, Will Rodman

Oh hey Andy Serkis, didn't realize you were Caesar.

(James Franco) has found, through ape testing, that it does in fact, reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s. With this amazing breakthrough, all those affected across the world could be cured of this fatal disease. But in a horrible accident, it appears as if the cure is not yet ready for human testing. But, as its discovered, it is sort of ready for human testing (hard to explain). But one of the apes who was tested with the AZ-112 is in fact, hyper-intelligent. Accelerating through intelligence at an incredible rate, Caesar as he is come to be known lives with Will and learns like an overly strong young boy.

Caesar and the cause of destruction, AZ-113.

Over the years, Caesar comes to resent his entrapment indoors and wishes for a more stimulating environment. But when he acts out, he is punished and taken to a wildlife “reserve” for apes. Horribly mistreated, Caesar uses his intelligence to begin the fall of mankind. I shouldn’t divulge anymore, but its well worth the watch. One thing I gotta say is that the 3-D animated apes in this film are phenomenal. The use of intelligent sign language, the movements and natural positions and actions of the apes implies that the makers of this movie really put in the effort to study apes. This build-up and framework of the apes and their rise to dominance really creates a background for an incredible plot.

And no, this movie isn’t completely unbelievable. At first, the apes’ goal are to find their own home and live there peacefully without abuse. Using their new found intelligence, they do so. But there are adverse effects to the AZ-113 (new Alzheimer’s drug) this time. And this creates a problem that causes the destruction of the humans of this world. So no, to all you out there that may say, we’d destroy those damn, dirty apes. We destroyed ourself.

With a few notable actors, this movie really brings together a good cast to tell a good story. With James Franco as the research scientist in search of a cure for

A touching, powerful film.

his father (John Lithgow), I feel the pain that losing a father could cause in this situation. It pains Franco to see his father in such a situation where he is no longer himself. And so does Caesar. Freida Pinto gives a good supporting performance for James Franco as his fellow ape lover and wife, Caroline Arahna. Tom Felton, as I’m sure most H.P. fans would agree, comes out of left field in this movie as a jerky daddy’s boy who just doesn’t like those not like himself (AKA Apes). I did enjoy his character and am happy to see he’s getting work after the H.P.’s are over. And David Oyelwo gives a good performance as the greedy exec, Steven Jacobs (Sounds like Steven Jobs… JK.)

So, all in all, this film delivered. Even Andy Serkis got in on the action as the voice of Caesar. It’s no wonder that Weta Workshops was the creation force behind the apes. With the fluidity of the story and the focus on the apes, this movie itself even became taken over by the apes. I also found it very interesting that I could identify certain apes in this film with their counterparts in the Planet of the Apes (aka, Tim Roth as Caesar, Korba as Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’s ape Krull, and Buck the gorilla as Michael Clarke Duncan in the film as well.) With this connection and the set up for two more films from Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, this could be a promising trilogy. 9.2 out of 10.