Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Hot Fuzz

Nicholas Angel is the top of the line on the London police force (excuse me, it should now be referred to as service- force implies to much of a physical threat), he’s so good at his job that he’s making the rest of the service look bad and as such he gets a promotion to sergeant but with that promotion comes a transfer to the sleepy, rustic little village of Sandford, where hardly a crime happens…

… that is until Nick Angel shows up and mysterious deaths start to occur.

Hot Fuzz is the latest film from the team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, who brought us the Zombie take-off, Shaun of the Dead. This time, their target is big-ass Hollywood cop/action movies, particularly those as produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Joel Silver and they deliver the goods pretty nicely here, not only giving you a spoof of said films, but also giving you a story that stands well on it’s own terms too (which is just what Shaun did too). It’s longer than what it should be, but really that’s just keeping in tone with the movies it’s taking off on, always seeming to go a little longer than they should.

Simon Pegg plays Nick Angel, and Pegg is really good here and he should be, he’s in damn near every scene of the film- you’ve got to believe in him or else this could really fall on his face, and you do believe in Nick Angel. He’s really earnest in the part, and at times reminds me of a younger Edward Woodward (who’s also in the film) particularly when Woodward made The Wicker Man. Pegg is backed up by his partner from Shaun, Nick Frost as one of Sandford’s police officers who wants to live the life of a Bruckheimer action movie hero. The ret of the cat are solid British actors, the type you expect to see in a movie about a small village like this, with Timothy Dalton leading the way with his devilish smile as the owner of a grocery store in the town who has more going on than just selling groceries. There’s also a nice bit at the beginning with top British talent like Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan and Bill Nighy that’s really fun to watch.

Now I wasn’t laughing uproariously during this (the kind of movies that do that for me are things like Borat, Jackass Number Two and Clerks IInot anything by Will Ferrell though, never funny, never will be), but I still had a real good time watching it. Some of the film is really quite funny, particularly near the end when it full-out turns into a Bruckheimer film and the rest for me was more quiet humor, but your mileage may vary. Just the same, Hot Fuzz gets a big recommendation here, go see it if you get the chance.

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Vacancy

David and Amy Fox are a married couple suffering some problems as the result of the death of their son. They’re on a road trip to one last family event before they make their divorce final and due to a back-up on the interstate, they decide to take some side roads to get to their destination. They end up lost and even worse, they end up with car problems. Their car problems force them to stay at a mysterious motel where they soon discover something really sinister is happening.

And then it just gets freakier and creepier…

Vacancy is a very well-made suspense thriller from director Nimrod Antel that really manages to get under the skin in some very creepy ways, tapping into some fears that I think we’d all have taking those little out of the way road trips that you don’t really want to take. It’s very nicely paced, and it’s well set-up so that you actually give a damn about what happens to David and Amy along the way and you’re rooting or them to get through, which is so unlike other movies of this type when you can’t help yourself but hope for the deaths of some extremely obnoxious characters. David and Amy, while having their problems aren’t like that, and you actually do want them to get out of their situation intact.

It helps that you have actors like Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale cast as David and Amy, both really give good performances, and I’m impressed with Wilson in particular, who almost always end up as the everyman of some sort, but here he’s one that you can relate to. The always good-as-gold Frank Whaley is also in the film as the creepy manager of the hotel. Whaley’s always fun to watch and he delivers the goods in this film quite well.

The funny thing, I was watching Ebert & Roeper this weekend, and this week filling in for Roger Ebert was John Cougar Mellencamp, an odd choice to be sure, but with credentials, with him being a movie director himself. Now I could’ve told you already how Richard Roeper was going to react to this, it would be a particularly smarmy review going on about how he’s seen this again and again and it just didn’t do anything for him. Mellencamp was immediately refreshing compared to Roeper and virtually any other reviewer, because he was more of a man on the street review than what Roeper would give and as such was diametrically opposite of what Roeper’s review was (and he totally countered every argument that Roeper had). The same thing happened with NBC’s movie review show Reel Talk with Jeffrey Lyons and Allison Bailes, although both are professional reviewers, they went opposite ways with Bailes really enjoying the film and Lyons not liking it all, but Lyons mostly didn’t like it for it’s subject matter and at once even stating when a certain something happened in the film, he just didn’t like that at all (although that something is absolutely something that would probably happen in that situation). There was a lot of reference from both Lyons and Roeper about stupid things that the characters do… and I gotta say, I just didn’t see that. There are things that the characters do that might seem stupid, but with the situation as desperate as this was, these options to me were the only things that they could do.

I always like little thrillers like this, and while this one is set-up with situations that you just don’t want the characters to get into, they have to get into them just in order to survive. This is very tight and at times very brutal, but if you’re a fan of a good thriller, well I could think of worse ways to spend your money. Vacancy gets a total recommendation from these parts.