Movie Review Catch Up ~ July 2013

The Heat

Mini Review

Having not seen a Sandra Bullock film since The Proposal, I was looking forward to her return to the big screen in this buddy cop comedy.

The film also stars Melissa McCarthy, who by now most of you will know from Bridesmaids, if not one of the several other comedies she’s done since that. There is no doubt that the woman has comedy chops, but I was a little concerned with the casting of Bullock as the straight cop to McCarthy’s funny cop. As Sandra Bullock is a funny lady too and I was hoping she’d have chance to shine.

The story is a relatively simple one. Uptight FBI agent Ashburn (Bullock), gets paired with foul mouthed Boston cop Mullins (McCarthy). The reasons for this being that Ashburn‘s boss thinks she needs people skills, and Mullins‘ boss thinks Ashburn will be a good influence on her. So they work together, hating each other at first but then finding middle ground and forming a friendship strong enough to bring down a drug lord.

If that sounds like a million other buddy cop movies you’ve seen, that’s probably because it is. That’s not to say it doesn’t have merits or isn’t enjoyable, because it does and it is. Just don’t expect anything fresh. Even the idea of this being a female buddy cop movie isn’t new. Well not if you remember Cagney and Lacey anyway.

A good effort on both leads part makes this a fun night out at the cinema (or night in if you’re going to wait for the DVD) but it won’t blow you away. 7 out of 10.

Viewing Date – 31st July 2013
UK Release Date – 31st July 2013
Cast Overview:
Sandra Bullock ~ Ashburn
Melissa McCarthy ~ Mullins
Marlon Wayans ~ Levy
Michael Rapaport ~ Jason Mullins
Jane Curtin ~ Mrs Mullins
Spoken Reasons ~ Rojas
Dan Bakkedahl ~ Craig
Taran Killam ~ Adam
Michael McDonald ~ Julian
Thomas F Wilson ~ Captain Woods
Director ~ Paul Feig
Writer ~ Katie Dippold

The Cornetto Trilogy – Shaun Of The Dead – Hot Fuzz – The World’s End

As a long time fan of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz, I was incredibly excited about the prospect of another collaboration between Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and writer/director Edgar Wright. So when my best friend informed me that Worthing Theatre would be showing The Cornetto Trilogy, in full, on my birthday weekend, with a free Cornetto to accompany each film, well I just had to go along. Especially as I’d not seen Shaun Of The Dead on the big screen, and had yet to see The World’s End. So we started the day with Shaun and a Strawberry Cornetto (it’s red for the blood see)
Brief synopsis of SOTD: The first ever RomZomCom (as my brother pointed out) and an inspiration that lead the way for films like Zombieland and Warm Bodies to name but a few. Shaun of the Dead tells the story of a man in his late 20s who needs to get his act together. Stuck in a dead end job (geddit?), still living with housemates, and a best friend who thinks farts are funny (we all know someone like Ed don’t we?). Everything starts to really fall apart for Shaun though when his girlfriend dumps him. Oh yeah, and then a zombie apocalypse happens. Shaun must think fast and finally get his arse in gear if he’s going to save his girl. 
As I was a fan of Spaced when it first aired I honestly couldn’t tell you how I missed Shaun at the cinema when it was first released, but what I can tell you is that it was an absolute joy to watch on the big screen. I love that SOTD is just so daft in places, and so endlessly quotable. I think my favourite is “Ooh he’s got an arm off.” 
It’s ground breaking, funny, touching and, in my opinion, one of the best british films ever made. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?! 9 out of 10. 

Viewing Date – 28th July 2013
UK Release Date – 9th April 2004
Cast Overview:
Simon Pegg ~ Shaun
Nick Frost ~ Ed
Kate Ashfield ~ Liz
Lucy Davis ~ Dianne
Dylan Moran ~ David
Peter Serafinowicz ~ Pete
Rafe Spall ~ Noel
Bill Nighy ~ Philip
Penelope Wilton ~ Barbara
Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) ~ Yvonne
Martin Freeman ~ Declan
Reece Shearsmith ~ Mark
Tamsin Greig ~ Maggie
Julia Deakin ~ Yvonne’s Mum
Matt Lucas ~ Cousin Tom
Director ~ Edgar Wright
Writer(s) ~ Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright

Next up was Hot Fuzz, a film I had seen on the big screen before, but if you’re going to commit to a trilogy you can’t leave out the filling in the sandwich! And this was of course accompanied by a Vanilla Cornetto – the packaging is blue see, like the boys in blue…
Brief synopsis of HF: London PC Nicholas Angel is good at his job. A little too good. He’s making the rest of his colleagues look bad. So they ship him off to sleepy Sandford, a village in Gloucestershire with the lowest murder rate in the country. The most action he’ll see there is chasing down a missing swan. That is until a series of ‘accidents’ starts to plague the village, and Nicholas uncovers a plot to keep the Village of the Year award in Sandford at all costs!
Hot Fuzz upped the ante from Shaun of the Dead considerably. There was a much bigger cast, more locations, and action sequences that will blow your socks off (not literally). But in some respects I do feel like the film suffers for this. It’s over long and feels like there are one too many endings. Just when you think it’s finished, someone else makes a last ditch attempt to be the bad guy. Having said that, it’s still immensely enjoyable and whenever it’s on the TV I will always watch it. HF is also filled with the quotable lines and homages to other movies, much like Shaun and Spaced were. The added bonus for me with Hot Fuzz is that Nick Frost finally got to play a lovable character. Danny is such a sweetie and his scenes with Pegg’s Nicholas Angel are a delight. 
Not as good as Shaun for me, but only because they tried to outdo themselves and reached a little too far. 8.5 out of 10.

Viewing Date – 28th July 2013
UK Release Date – 14th February 2007

Cast Overview:
Simon Pegg ~ Sergeant Nicholas Angel
Nick Frost ~ PC Danny Butterman
Timothy Dalton ~ Simon Skinner
Jim Broadbent ~ Inspector Frank Butterman
Paddy Considine ~ DS Andy Wainwright
Rafe Spall ~ DC Andy Cartwright
Kevin Eldon ~ Sergeant Tony Fisher
Karl Johnson ~ PC Bob Walker
Olivia Colman ~ PC Doris Thatcher
Martin Freeman ~ Met sergeant
Bill Nighy ~ Met Chief Inspector
Billie Whitelaw ~ Joyce Cooper
Peter Wight ~ Roy Porter
Julia Deakin ~ Mary Porter
Bill Bailey ~ Sergeant Turner
Paul Freeman ~ Rev Philip Shooter
Edward Woodward ~ Tom Weaver
Anne Reid ~ Leslie Tiller
Adam Buxton ~ Tim Messenger
David Threlfall ~ Martin Blower
Lucy Punch ~ Eve Draper
David Bradley ~ Arthur Webley

Director ~ Edgar Wright
Writer(s) ~ Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
The last film of the day, and one I hadn’t yet seen, was The World’s End. The final film in the Pegg, Frost, Wright trilogy, known as The Cornetto Trilogy because in each film there is mention of a Cornetto, and each film has a theme that matches the colour of one of our best known Ice Cream treats. This time we had a mint one. I wonder what that could pertain to?
Brief synopsis of TWE: Gary, Andy, Oliver, Steven and Peter are childhood friends who have all gone their separate ways. Andy, Oliver, Steven and Peter all now have steady jobs and have made something of themselves, either professionally or personally. But alcoholic Gary is still living in the past. He decides that before he faces up to reality he wants to recapture his youth by having one last pub crawl with his school mates, using a route they once planned to conquer but never quite got to the end of. It takes in 12 pubs, one pint in each, and the final watering hole is called The World’s End. The question is, will they make it that far?
Let me start by saying that The World’s End was not what I was expecting. I had seen the trailer, and I had just watched the previous two films in the Cornetto trilogy. So you’d think I would be pretty well prepared for what was to come. But while the film had many of the same attributes as Shaun and Fuzz, most of the cast having appeared in Fuzz, and a lot having appeared in both films. The foreshadowing that appears in the previous films is also present (in Shaun they talked about having a Bloody Mary in the morning and ending up with shots at the bar – everything mentioned happens, just not in the way they thought. And then in Fuzz Danny asks Nicholas if he’s ever fired a gun whilst jumping through the air etc and then they end up doing those things later on in the movie. Here the foreshadowing is in the name of each pub. Look out for it.) but it’s a very different beast to the previous two films. Whilst Shaun was all about the lack of responsibility you feel in your twenties, and Fuzz was all about finding that responsibility thrust upon you in your thirties, End is all about the mid-life crisis of your forties. As such, it’s quite the sombre wake up call for those of us who haven’t yet made it that far in our lives. And as the previous two films were so lighthearted, it was not what I was expecting from this movie. 
The performances are top notch, especially from Pegg and Frost, who really put everything into showing how a friendship between two people can be the best thing that happens to one, and the worst thing that happens to the other. But how, despite their differences, they still mean the world to each other. The supporting cast is not only a shining example of British talent but also of the loyalty and love between the team who have brought these three movies to the screen. So many of the same people worked on all three films and it’s nice to see that kind of dedication in an industry that is normally so fickle. 
Not the best of the three but certainly worth a watch if you’re a fan of the other two. Just don’t expect as many laughs. 7 out of 10. 

Viewing Date – 28th July 2013
UK Release Dates – 19th July 2013

Cast Overview:
Simon Pegg ~ Gary King
Nick Frost ~ Andy Knightley
Martin Freeman ~ Oliver Chamberlain
Paddy Considine ~ Steven Prince
Eddie Marsan ~ Peter Page
Rosamund Pike ~ Sam Chamberlain
Pierce Brosnan ~ Guy Shephard
David Bradley ~ Basil
Michael Smiley ~ Reverend Green
Julia Deakin ~ B&B Landlady
Rafe Spall ~ Young Man
Bill Nighy ~ The Network

Director ~ Edgar Wright
Writer(s) ~ Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright

Monsters University

I might’ve mentioned my love of Disney movies, and that in recent years, this love has only grown with the addition of Pixar to the Disney family.

As I confessed in my recent Monsters Inc. review, that movie is my favourite Pixar movie. Without doubt. Only challenged by Wall•e, which I love, but which only manages second place to the tale of Sully, Mike and Boo. So of course, when Monsters University was announced 10 years after Monsters Inc. I was thrilled. But could it live up to it’s predecessor?

Monsters University starts by showing us a snippet of the young life of Michael Wazowski, a small monster with big dreams. He’s never found his place in the world until he visits Monsters Incorporated on a school trip. He is immediately drawn into the world of the amazing scarers and decides there and then that he must become one. He works hard at school and makes it all the way to Monsters University, which is where he meets James P Sullivan, or Sully as he’s known to his friends. Despite the knowledge we have of what great friends they become later in life, they do not see eye to eye at first. But in entering the Scare Games with a group of misfit monsters, they must work together to make their team good enough to make the grade.

I picked Monsters University as my birthday movie this year. I’m not sure if that put more pressure on it or whether I still would have had high expectations due to my love of the first movie. Either way, sadly, Monsters University did not surpass the high bar set by Monsters Inc.

It was still a brilliant sequel/prequel to the first film, and it was fascinating to see how our well loved monsters started out in life, but without Boo the film did feel like it was lacking something. As far as kids are concerned I have no doubt that Monsters University will go down a storm. There just aren’t many jokes for the adults to enjoy. 

As ever with Pixar, the animation is superb. They’ve really shown off their talents with some of the new monsters, there’s a lot of detail so let your eyes just feast on it all. And at the end of the movie, if you don’t come away with just a little bit more respect for these cute, err I mean terrifying little guys, I’d say you’ve missed the point. 7 out of 10.

Viewing Date – 26th July 2013
UK Release Date – 12th July 2013
Cast Overview:
(If you don’t like knowing who the voices are DONT SCROLL DOWN! ;0)
Billy Crystal ~ Mike
John Goodman ~ Sully
Steve Buscemi ~ Randy
Helen Mirren ~ Dean Hardscrabble
Peter Sohn ~ Squishy
Joel Murray ~ Don
Sean Hayes ~ Terri
Dave Foley ~ Terry
Charlie Day ~ Art
Alfred Molina ~ Professor Knight
Nathan Fillion ~ Johnny Worthington
Director ~ Dan Scanlon
Writer(s) ~ Dan Scanlon (Screenplay and Story), Daniel Gerson (Screenplay and Story) and Robert L Baird (Screenplay and Story)


Say Anything

I don’t remember the first time I saw Say Anything. But I do remember that it was entirely down to my brother, as most of my well informed movie choices were around that time. 

I wonder if he showed it to me because it’s leading man, John Cusack, had a small supporting role in one of my favourite movies, Stand By Me? Or maybe it was because it was a little off the beaten track when it comes to Rom-Coms, and he thought I’d like that? Who knows. But the point is that he did show it to me and I did love it. But more of that later.

For those uninitiated with the 80s movie that put declaring your love with a boombox on the map, allow me to tell you a little about Say Anything. Here we have a movie about your average high school student Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack). He’s nothing special, except that he is nothing like any other guy in the world. He’s had a thing about the high school brain, Diane Court (Ione Skye), for years, and he decides to ask her to the graduation party to end all parties. She’s been awarded a scholarship in England so it’s now or never. No-one expects Diane to say yes, least of all Lloyd, heck, least of all Diane. But she does, and what follows is the account of the early days of their relationship, the ups, the downs and all of the family dramas in between.

This is what makes Say Anything one of the best 80s movies ever made. Not just the family drama, which happens to be an amazingly acted, moving and realistic account of lives being ripped apart. No, not just that. The whole shebang is what makes this movie great. I love the fact that Lloyd’s two best friends are women. That he’s responsible for being the key master at the party, rather than being the typical drunk guy, in fact, I love that he’s not a “guy” as his friends Corey and DC tell him, “don’t be a guy, be a man.” I love that he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, but he knows that he doesn’t know! Say Anything isn’t an underdog story, someone always believes in the underdog, no-one believes in Lloyd, not even Diane, and he proves them all wrong!

It’s funny, it’s heartbreakingly sad, it’s quotable, it’s 80s, it has Joan and John Cusack playing brother and sister, it has a great soundtrack, there are 2 out of 3 Heathers in it! FYI if you don’t know what that means see Heathers immediately, then see Say Anything. You absolutely will not regret it. 10 out of 10.

Viewing Date – 23rd July 2013
Original US Release Date (as I couldn’t find the UK Release Date anywhere) – 14th April 1989
Cast Overview:
John Cusack ~ Lloyd Dobler
Ione ~ Diane Court
John Mahoney ~ James Court
Lili Taylor ~ Corey Flood
Amy Brooks ~ D.C
Loren Dean ~ Joe
Joan Cusack ~ Constance Dobler
Glenn Walker Harris Jr ~ Jason Dobler
Jeremy Piven ~ Mark
Bebe Neuwirth ~ Mrs Evans
Eric Stoltz ~ Vahlere
Kim Walker ~ Sheila
Chynna Phillips ~ Mimi
Lisanne Falk ~ Sandra
Philip Baker Hall ~ IRS Boss
Director/Writer ~ Cameron Crowe

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