August 23, 2007

Hot Fuzz - $8

I watched Hot Fuzz alone, sadly enough, but when you watch a comedy alone it is the true test of the humour. Hot Fuzz had me laughing out loud throughout and to me that automatically makes it a winner.

Hot Fuzz is the story of Nicholas Angel, an overachieving London police officer who is transferred by his superiors so that he will stop making the rest of the London cops look bad. Angel is transferred to the small town of Sandford and he quickly realizes that Sandford is not the sleepy village it appears to be. This suspicion is confirmed when townspeople begin turning up dead, each death chalked up to being an unfortunate accident to everyone but Angel.

This movie works on quite a few levels; it is first and foremost a buddy cop parody, though it is as much a homage to buddy cop movies as it is a mockery of them. Hot Fuzz even manages to parody the idea of parody itself when Angel's partner tells him all about classic cop movies such as Point Break and Bad Boys, Hot Fuzz then proceeds to imitate specific scenes from both of those movies.

Despite this movie being a comic parody don't make the mistake of putting it in the category of something like the Scary Movie franchise, the thing that sets Hot Fuzz apart is that each element of it is done well. The action sequences, while imitating everything from Desperado to the aforementioned Bad Boys, are actually done in a high quality and entertaining way. As a viewer I am able to watch these scenes and enjoy them while not having to turn my mind off because unlike a regular action movie which tries to pawn these elaborate scenes off as realistic, Hot Fuzz admits the silliness of them in its very premise.

Hot Fuzz is a funny movie with intelligent writing and very good comedic performances by the main actors. If you see it be warned however, though the murders and swearing in this movie are part of the comedy they are still not family viewing.

I put Hot Fuzz on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $8.

August 14, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum - $9

The Bourne Ultimatum is a great finish to a trilogy of great movies where once again the audience is treated to everything an action movie should be, fun, fast and entertaining.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is a trained special ops hit man who has only been able to remember bits and pieces of his past since a near death incident detailed in the first of the three movies, The Bourne Identity.

Once again in The Bourne Ultimatum we are treated to a story where the skills of escape and combat are thoroughly explored in the character of Jason Bourne. The action sequences in this movie include everything from a slow speed chase on scooters to the killing of a man using a hand towel. I realize those things don't sound interesting but considering the fact that both were good scenes you can imagine how spectacular the standard car and foot chases were as well.

For those who've followed the Bourne story from the beginning, Ultimatum provides some much anticipated explanation for how Jason Bourne came to be the killing machine that he is. I appreciate however that this movie, like the other two, does not really explain everything. You are given enough as an audience to figure out the basics and make some guesses at the details. I prefer this kind of storytelling to the kind which spells out things for me in an intellectually insulting way.

The Bourne Ultimatum is well directed in a tone and style which reflects the pace of each scene. There are some great acting performances as well, Damon as usual is pitch perfect as Bourne and is supported well by the likes of Joan Allen, Albert Finney and David Strathairn to name a few.

This is quite simply an entertaining, high quality action movie.

I put The Bourne Ultimatum on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $9.

August 11, 2007

Hot Rod - $5

Hot Rod is a funny movie, as a comedy its main goal must be to make people laugh and it certainly accomplished that goal with me. It would be hard to call it a good movie though.

Hot Rod is a story about Rod, a young wannabe stuntman whose stepfather needs a heart transplant and Rod wants to raise the money for it because he doesn't want his stepfather to die before he has succeeded in beating him up. Rod decides to raise this money by performing a motorbike jump over 15 buses.

This movie makes no attempt to be anything more than a goofy comedy, the plot line and the acting is purposely outrageous, the characters are really caricatures and the whole thing feels like a really long SNL sketch. A good sketch, but a sketch none the less.

I left the theatre feeling like I did the first time I saw Billy Madison and after repeated viewings of Billy Madison I came to love it. This is a comedy that is either ahead of its time and will become a cult classic, or it is a comedy that is just dumb. Only time and multiple viewings will tell.

The cast in Hot Rod is truly funny and some great comedy careers are sure to come from the likes of Andy Samberg (Rod) and Bill Hader who plays Dave, one of Rod's crew.

I keep going back and forth on whether to recommend Hot Rod. As I said it was strange and not a particularly sophisticated style of comedy but it did make me laugh and I was never bored.

I put Hot Rod on my 'Don't Watch It' list, but just barely, and I give it a value of $5. If I see it again that rating will change, I just don't know if it will improve or become worse.