Skip to main content

Review: Hot Fuzz and five more ...

By March 14, 2007December 31st, 2013No Comments

Hot Fuzz posterIt is, of course, com­pletely bril­liant. And loud. And while it’s not quite as per­fect as pre­de­cessor (and cinema re-definer) Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz is as enter­tain­ing a night out as you’ll find anywhere.

Co-creator Simon Pegg plays PC Nicholas Angel, top cop, so good he’s mak­ing the rest of the Met look bad. He’s reas­signed to the sleepy west coun­try vil­lage of Sandford where, apart from a one-swan crime-spree, the peace is nev­er breached. Of course, in a pic­tur­esque English vil­lage noth­ing is what it seems and Angel and part­ner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) are going to bust this thing wide open, whatever “it” might actu­ally be.

Edgar Wright’s dir­ec­tion is all about energy and tim­ing, and the per­cuss­ive edit­ing means even a simple scene change actu­ally amps up the excite­ment. Look out for uncred­ited cameos from Cate Blanchett and our own Peter Jackson.

The Marine posterThe oth­er day, wan­der­ing around dur­ing the Newtown Fair, I saw a kid wear­ing a John Cena t‑shirt so the dude is obvi­ously not the com­plete non-entity I took him for while watch­ing him in The Marine. A WWF wrest­ler, he looks like an inflat­able Matt Damon doll that’s had a few too many kids jump on the foot-pump and he’s about to blow. What he does­n’t look like is any kind of a real human being and his dead-behind-the-eyes act­ing leaves a big gap in the middle of this film that does­n’t get filled by any­one else.

Easily the worst film of the year, so far, The Marine starts off as simply geo-politically offens­ive and ends up a total crime against cinema.

The Science of Sleep posterThe Science of Sleep, Michel Gondry’s follow-up to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is a whim­sic­al self-indulgence that soon out­stays its wel­come. Gael García Bernal is Stéphane, an insec­ure young man vis­it­ing his moth­er in Paris fol­low­ing the death of his fath­er in Mexico. On arrival, he falls for his next door neigh­bour, Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) but his inab­il­ity to bal­ance his dreams with real­ity make it dif­fi­cult to sus­tain a rela­tion­ship and even harder to do a plot sum­mary. One has to respect Gondry’s ded­ic­ated com­mit­ment to ana­logue film-making but it does get very tire­some and repetitive.

Brasileirinho posterThe unher­al­ded (and unpro­nounce­able and un-spellable) doc­u­ment­ary Brasileirinho is about “choro” – the folk-foundation of all mod­ern Brazilian music and it con­tains plenty of beau­ti­fully played examples of the form. The dis­cus­sion gets a little tech­nic­al for a non-musician such as myself and the sub-titles can­’t pos­sibly be serving the lyr­ics prop­erly, but there’s a lot of pleas­ure to be had watch­ing these vir­tu­oso play­ers in action.

Wild Hogs posterRelentless homo­pho­bia is an unne­ces­sary drag on the oth­er­wise light-hearted mid-life crisis com­edy, Wild Hogs. The (lit­er­ally) heavy­weight com­bin­a­tion of John Travolta and Tim Allen plus token-black
Martin Lawrence and a totally slum­ming William H. Macy decide to take their week­end Harleys for a real-ride and learn how to be men again. If you’ve ever tried to watch a play at Downstage or a film at The Embassy while the Harley riders are parad­ing up and down Courtenay Place you’ll appre­ci­ate it when I say that I really could­n’t care less wheth­er these guys lived or died.

Smokin' Aces posterRay Liotta plays the vil­lain in Wild Hogs (lead­er of the real-thing biker gang, the Del Fuegos) and he turns up again in Smokin’ Aces, Joe Carnahan’s enjoy­able but incom­pre­hens­ible mob com­edy. As best as I can make out Jeremy Piven’s Vegas enter­tain­er is about to rat on his made friends so they put out a call to the most grue­some hit­men in the world offer­ing one mil­lion dol­lars to the one who offs him. Or some­thing like that. Liotta and Ryan Reynolds play the G‑men try­ing to pro­tect him and a rag-tag assort­ment of famil­i­ar tv faces and music stars are giv­en free reign to chew whatever scenery Carnahan does­n’t blow the crap out of.

Printed in Wellington’s Capital Times, Wednesday 14 March, 2007