Monday, April 30, 2007
Movie Reviews: HOT FUZZ, BOBBY & NOTES ON A SCANDAL
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The team that created the outrageous horror/comedy Shaun of the Dead has teamed up again for this action/comedy about small town cops. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) may be London's best constable, but after getting on his superiors' bad sides, they have him transferred to the sleepy village of Sandford. Partnering there with an oafish lout (Nick Frost), Angel is initially bored solving inane "crimes." But he's able to get his groove back when he figures out that a series of accidents may have a sinister connection to them.
Cast Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Bailey, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Paddy Considine (more)
Director(s) Edgar Wright
Writer(s) Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date April 20, 2007
MPAA Rating R - for violent content including some graphic images, and language
Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are equally talented if less renown than Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez in terms of movie knowledge. Cop movie references fly at a torrid pace through this excellent, if very similar, follow up to the duos big splash Shaun of the Dead. Pegg and Nick Frost are really the glue that holds this movie together. Their on screen chemistry is just a joy to watch which makes of some of the cop movie male bonding moments even more hilarious. The film is littered with a who's who of top British actors. The real standouts for me were Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge) and Timothy Dalton (License to Kill), the later is exceptionally funny as a sleazy business owner. If there is a fault in this film it's the length, clocking in at slightly over 2 hrs, it drags a bit during the middle portion of the movie, not terribly but still fairly noticeably. The good news is that once the film heads into the stretch run towards its climax, we are blessed with a simply inspired final 30 minutes that spoof and pay homage to everything from Godzilla, Bad Boys 2, Point Break and certain classic horror movie involving wicker. Overall this smart film delivers the laughs and is just a joy to watch.
Directed by Emilio Estevez, this historical drama revisits the night Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. The film follows 22 individuals who are all at the hotel for different purposes but share the common thread of anticipating Kennedy's arrival at the primary election night party.
Cast Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood, Harry Belafonte, Nick Cannon (more)
Director(s) Emilio Estevez
Status On DVD
Release Date Nov. 17, 2006 — New York/Los Angeles; Nov. 23, 2006 — limited
DVD Release Date April 10, 2007
Running Time 120 minutes
Emilio Estevez's Bobby is an ambitious project that sadly lacks any kind of real focus. It's failing is not with the cavalcade of top name actors which populate the film, instead it simply lack clear focus. The actors present are all top notch and do well in their parts, Sharon Stone in particular give an excellent performance, as does Freddy Rodriguez. The various story lines vary wildly in terms of how compelling they are. Demi Moore and Estevez story line in particular is just a bore as they play out the fading lounge singer plot line. There in is part of the problem; most of the multiple story lines come off as clichéd 60's archetypes than real living breathing people. That being said the level of actors present do give the movie a larger sense of purpose and weight. I feel that if Estevez had cut down the movie scope, in term of plot lines, giving the film a tighter more defined feel he might have had a more powerful film.
NOTES ON A SCANDAL
When Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) joins St. George's as the new art teacher, Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) senses a kindred spirit. But Barbara is not the only one drawn to her. Sheba begins an illicit affair and Barbara becomes the keeper of her secret.
Cast Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Andrew Simpson, Philip Davis, Michael Maloney (more)
Director(s) Richard Eyre
Writer(s) Patrick Marber
Status On DVD
Release Date Dec. 27, 2006
DVD Release Date April 17, 2007
MPAA Rating Not Rated
Notes on a Scandal could have easily veered into TV movie territory but it avoids that pitfall with wonderfully powerful and intense performances from both female leads. Judi Dench is excellent, dressed down with no movie star pretense. Every time she's on screen she shows every bit of her age and give her character an excellent sense of desolation and loneliness all the while displaying a nasty manipulative nature. Cate Blanchett matches her with a performance that breaths life into what could a very clichéd character. Blanchett gives her character a true sense of naivety and neurosis. Sadly, Bill Nighy has very little to do here as his character is fairly one-dimensional especially when compared to Dench's and Blanchett's roles. Richard Eyre, never letting the film bog down, directs the film at brisk pace in a wonderfully operatic fashion. The film does fumble towards the end, as it gets overly melodramatic as it nears the finish line. Still, top-notch performances elevate what would be a movie of the week in most cases.