3 decent films on BluRay working out at just £4 each
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a finger-blistering time capsule of right now, yet in a hundred years it will still be so crammed with charm, wit, brio, and exuberance it will still be irresistible. Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera, Superbad) is an accidental heartbreaker, a Canadian slacker who obsesses over the girls who’ve dumped him but hardly realizes how he’s dumped other girls. But everything else in his life (including playing bass in a band) fades to insignificance when he lays eyes on Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Live Free or Die Hard), his deadpan pixie dream girl. Unfortunately, Ramona has some serious baggage: seven deadly exes, and Scott must battle them all if he wants to date Ramona. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is saturated in pop culture, particularly video games. Many events make almost no sense, but it doesn’t matter–sheer narrative ferocity and glee of invention sweep the viewer along. Cera pushes his geek/dork dreamboat persona to new heights of sweet twee-ness; if this movie doesn’t shoot him into the stratosphere, we live in a cold, unfeeling universe, bereft of justice. The whole supporting cast (including Kieran Culkin, Jason Schwartzman, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, and a host of less familiar but excellent young actors) plays every moment for all it’s worth. This movie is supremely uncool and passionate, which makes it essential viewing.
A major British hit, a lorryload of laughs and some sparkling action? We’ll have some of that. It’s fair to say that Hot Fuzz proves that Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s brilliant Shaun Of The Dead was no one-off, serving up a superbly crafted British homage to the Hollywood action movie.
Deliberately set in the midst of a sleepy, quaint English village of Sandford, Pegg’s Nicholas Angel is sent there because, bluntly, he’s too good at his job, and he’s making his city colleagues look bad. The proverbial fish out of water, Angel soon discovers that not everything in Sandford is quite as it seems, and joins forces with Nick Frost’s lumbering Danny Butterman to find out what’s what.
Hot Fuzz then proceeds to have a rollicking good time in both tipping its hat to the genre films that are clearly its loving inspiration, and coming up with a few tricks of its own. It does comedy better than action, with plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud moments, but it’s no slouch either when the tempo needs raising. One of the many strong cards it plays is its terrific cast, which includes former 007 Timothy Dalton, Bill Nighy, Bill Bailey, Paddy Considine, Edward Woodward and Jim Broadbent.
Hot Fuzz, ultimately, just falls short of Shaun Of The Dead, but more than does enough to warrant many, many repeat viewings. It’s terrific fun, and in the true hit action movie style, all-but-demands some form of sequel. That said, with Pegg and Wright now with two excellent, and suitably different, genres ticked off, it’ll be interesting to see what they do next. A period drama, perhaps…?
Shaun of the Dead
It’s no disparagement to describe Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s zombie-rom-com Shaun of the Dead as playing like an extended episode of Spaced. Not only does the movie have the rather modest scope of a TV production, it also boasts the snappy editing, smart camera moves, and deliciously post-modern dialogue familiar from the sitcom, as well as using many of the same cast: Pegg’s Shaun and Nick Frost’s Ed are doppelgangers of their Spaced characters, while Jessica Stevenson and Peter Serafinowicz appear in smaller roles. Unlike the TV series, it’s less important for the audience to be in on the movie in-jokes, though it won’t hurt if you know George Romero’s famous Dawn of the Dead trilogy, which is liberally plundered for zombie behaviour and mythology.
Shaun is a loser, stuck in a dead-end job and held back by his slacker pal Ed. Girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is exasperated by his lack of ambition and unceremoniously dumps him. As a result, Shaun misses out on what is apparently the end of the world. In a series of beautifully choreographed and edited scenes, including hilarious tracking shots to and from the local shop, he spectacularly fails to notice the death toll and subsequent zombie plague. Only when one appears in their back garden do Shaun and Ed take notice, hurling sundry kitchen appliances at the undead before breaking out the cricket bat. The catastrophe proves to be the catalyst for Shaun to take charge of his life, sort out his relations with his dotty mum (Penelope Wilton) and distant stepdad (Bill Nighy), and fight to win back his ex-girlfriend. Lucy Davis from The Office and Dylan Moran of Black Books fame head the excellent supporting cast.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World/Hot Fuzz/Shaun of the Dead Box Set [Blu-ray Boxset][Region Free] £11.99 delivered @ Base