The World’s End

131836340__430267cSince Hot Fuzz which was all the way back in 2007 Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost have split off in their own directions with varying degrees of success. While I have found Pegg to become a less likeable film personality than most, with boring comedies like Run Fatboy Run and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, and worse than average performances in big blockbuster like the Mission Impossible series and his portrayal of Scotty in the new Star Trek movies, Edgar Wright having only done the brilliant Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has proven he’s a director who that’s a cut above the rest. Frost has done a number of films in between but none of them have tickled my fancy really, and then of course there’s Paul which saw Pegg and Frost team up on screen but I’m steering well clear of that for now. So here we have the reunion then of a group of blokes who grew up in Somerset, loved zombie movie and Star Wars and somehow became some of the biggest names in film. But would The World’s End capture that magic that made Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz so much fun?

The first thing to make clear is that while bearing some similarities, for the most part, The World’s End is very different from it’s two predecessors, this is a much more polished film, and despite it’s utterly British premise the film feels a lot more Hollywood than Shaun and Fuzz. One of the most disappointing aspects is that the loveable nerdiness that was scattered in those films is not really apparent here, while they referenced countless movies and games, The World’s End really is striving more to get by on it’s own humour and appeal. It’s a shame though not to have this fanboy element but then The World’s End should really be judged on its own merit rather than comparing it to others. And when you do that it’s a film with very few faults. Adding more major British acting talent with Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan all having large roles it is still Pegg and Frost how hold the films most enticing characters and there performances are the best either of them have brought to the table since Fuzz. Pegg provides the majority of the film gags but Frost’s kung fu acrobatics are possibly the films funniest moments. The choreography is very well done here, Wright obviously having picked up some techniques from Scott Pilgrim and it does provide so the some entertaining action which still holds the comic over-the-top violence that there films are known for. Plot-wise The World’s End doesn’t exactly push any new boundaries and really plays out like an episode of Doctor Who with a world threatening alien invasion that is solved in a rather ridiculous way. It’s ending is easily it’s strongest and funniest moment I don’t want to give it away but to me the conclusion is what stops The World’s End from falling into the field of mediocrity.

It may not be as fun or original as the previous movies from the so called Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy but The World’s End does hold some fantastic moments and will have you leaving the cinema with a smile. It proves that these three guys are at their best when there together and let’s hope this isn’t the end of the Pegg, Wright and Frost output,

The Red Riding Trilogy

red-riding_625x352So during my recent Easter TV binge I finally got round to watching 2009 miniseries, The Red Riding Trilogy. It’s a three part series of films all based on murder cases in Yorkshire and the corrupt way in which the police department dealt with things. Each film is based in a different year starting with 1974 and continuing with 1980 and 1984. Each film features a different protagonist, plot and director but there a threads that run through all three of them. The cast is one of the most impressive ever assembled on British TV, with Andrew Garfield, Paddy Considine, David Morrissey and Sean Bean being just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s a very dark miniseries content on showing you a grimy side of history where corruption ruled the roost in the police force leading to these murder cases being kept going way longer than they should have. While it would be appear that this series should have everything going for it I must say overall I was disappointed. While stylistically the films are done incredibly well; they are superbly acted and the dense plotlines should be enough to make an outstanding TV drama I felt that the emotion never really got out there. The feel of the show ultimately just seemed too cold, making it very hard to get properly in to. The idea to have hour and a half long episodes, done so well on the more recent Sherlock, I think, hinders Red Riding making it over-long and somehow, strangely boring. Don’t get me wrong on some levels I enjoyed the show greatly, it had some fantastic moments but the overall sensation I got was not one of entertainment, more just of boredom.

My favourite of the three was the first one starring Andrew Garfield as a journalist who asks too many questions, I found this to be the most personal stroyline as we follow Garfield’s character as he digs deeper into a system that was rotten to the core. The second episode was my least favourite, despite me normally being a huge fan of Considine, while the plot was excellent I never felt much of a connection with any of the characters in the episode. By the third and final feature the coldness of the series is fully realised and for much of the episode I found myself caring very little, but the last twenty minutes or so give us the miniseries most entertaining moments of all making the episode so much better than it could have been. It’s overall a very interesting series but, unfortunately, one that did not fully meet my expectations.