Tag Archives: Bill Nighy

Shaun of the Dead (2004) Review

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Shaun of the Dead

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1]
Cast:
Simon Pegg as Shaun
Nick Frost as Ed
Kate Ashfield as Liz
Lucy Davis as Dianne
Dylan Moran as David
Penelope Wilton as Barbara
Bill Nighy as Philip
Director: Edgar Wright

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a salesman whose life has no direction. However, his uneventful life takes a sudden turn when he has to singlehandedly deal with an entire community of zombies.

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The zombie genre isn’t one of my favourite sub-genres, even among the horror genre. However within that subgenre, Shaun of the Dead remains one of my favourite movies from it. I rewatched it recently and I think it’s quite good. It’s funny, it’s entertaining, and it’s very well written and directed by Edgar Wright.

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The script by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg was really good and smart, blending horror and comedy effectively. They clearly have a lot of love for the genre, with a lot of the subversions and references that they have added. The comedy is pretty strong, with a lot of recurring jokes and certain details that you pick up on with repeat viewings. I wouldn’t say that movie is constantly hilarious or anything, maybe it’s just that it hasn’t held up that well for me the more I watched it. However, there are definitely moments that still work and remain to this day really great. The dialogue is great too, with some really memorable and quotable lines. One of the biggest surprises was the drama that was in place in the movie, especially in the third act. Shaun of the Dead is still mostly a comedy, but those dramatic and character moments actually work quite well. The movie really not scary at all, so if you’re not a big fan of horror you can still like the movie (as long as you can deal with the gore). Like I said with the jokes, you really notice more things upon further rewatches, and on my third viewing, I still noticed things that I hadn’t discovered before. The movie is an hour and 40 minutes long and overall I’d say that this was the right length for the movie.

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Simon Pegg is in one of his best roles as the titular character. Nick Frost plays Shaun’s best friend, he was also great. Pegg and Frost share some great on-screen chemistry together and they really feel like friends. The rest of the cast are good too.

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Edgar Wright directs Shaun of the Dead and his direction was one of the key aspects of making the movie work as well as it did. It is his first film and it really does feel like a debut film, but I don’t mean that in necessarily a bad way. You can really feel a lot of energy from this movie and that carries a lot of it. The editing and style are very fast paced so that helps too, though it hasn’t reached its fullest potential just yet (at least compared much as Wright’s later movies). There is a lot of attention to detail too, with visual gags that can be missed and reoccurring jokes. For a comedy horror movie, the makeup effects on the zombies and the gore are genuinely great. The movie really isn’t scary at all (unless you have a massive fear of zombies), it’s more gory than anything. The actual action is not all that great, not that I was expecting much of that from this movie. However let’s just say that you definitely notice a big difference in the quality of action from this movie compared to say The World’s End released 9 years later. The soundtrack was also great and was utilised in the movie well, perfect song choices for scenes is something that Wright does very well. It has quite possibly the best use of Queen in a movie.

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Shaun of the Dead is a fun zombie comedy, Edgar Wright’s script and direction carried it, and the cast also did well, especially Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I will say that I didn’t like the movies as much as the other movies in the Cornetto trilogy (Hot Fuzz and The World’s End), but it’s still really good and worth watching for sure if you haven’t seen it already.

Emma. (2020) Review

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Emma (2020)

Time: 124 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Nudity
Cast:
Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse
Johnny Flynn as George Knightley
Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse
Mia Goth as Harriet Smith
Miranda Hart as Miss Bates
Josh O’Connor as Mr. Elton
Callum Turner as Frank Churchill
Rupert Graves as Mr. Weston
Gemma Whelan as Mrs. Weston
Director: Autumn de Wilde

Following the antics of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lives in Georgian- and Regency-era England and occupies herself with matchmaking – in sometimes misguided, often meddlesome fashion- in the lives of her friends and family.

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Emma was one of the movies from 2020 that I was rather looking forward to. I’m not familiar with the novel it’s based on (or really any Jane Austen novel), however I liked the cast involved (with the likes of Anya Taylor-Joy, Mia Goth and Bill Nighy involved), and from the looks of the trailer, it looked quite good. While I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in beyond what it’s based on, I thought Emma was quite good, and I had some fun with it.

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While I’m not familiar with Jane Austen’s original novel, it seemed to have been adapted very well for today’s audiences here. The script is well written, very witty and snappy, and the dialogue is particularly great. The tone is handled well also, it’s very humorous (and most of the movie is generally comedic) but also quite heartfelt. One problem with the movie is that although the runtime is just over 2 hours long, it feels just a little longer than that, and that’s due to the pacing. You are still into the movie throughout, but occasionally there was the feeling that it dragged a little bit at certain points. That didn’t prove to be too much of a problem though, I was generally entertained by the movie.

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The cast all work really well in their roles, and are among the highlights of the film. Anya Taylor-Joy is in the lead role of Emma Woodhouse, and she gives an absolutely wonderful performance. She’s incredibly charming, yet doesn’t shy away from the more selfish aspects of the character, and really grabs your attention every time she’s on screen (which is pretty much almost the entirety of the movie). The supporting cast with the likes of Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner and others work as well, also giving some solid performances. Among them however, Goth was the standout for me, she’s perfect in her role, and is definitely a ‘different’ character that we’re used to seeing her playing (considering the number of gothic and horror movies she’s starred in recently). She and Taylor-Joy particularly shine in their scenes together, sharing some excellent chemistry.

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Emma is the debut film from director Autumn de Wilde, and her work here is impressive for a first movie. On the whole, it’s outstanding on a technical level. Visually it’s stunning, and the use of colour was really effective, it was absolutely gorgeous to look at. On top of that, the costume designs and the production design are amazing, which you’d expect from a period piece movie, but nonetheless is great impressive to see. Much of the movie is very stylish (more so than you’d expect it to be really), but it’s done in a way that suits the material.

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Emma is quite good for what it is, and I generally had a good time with it. It’s entertaining, written and directed well, visually colourful and stunning, and the cast all round is great, especially Anya Taylor-Joy and Mia Goth. I’m not sure what people who have read the books will think about this adaptation, nor can I say how well it has adapted the original book to the big screen (or how it compares to previous adaptations), but I enjoyed what I watched. Definitely give it a watch whenever you get a chance to see it.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Review

Time: 104 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence and scary scenes
Cast:
Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu
Justice Smith as Tim Goodman
Kathryn Newton as Lucy Stevens
Bill Nighy as Howard Clifford
Ken Watanabe as Detective Hideo Yoshida
Chris Geere as Roger Clifford
Suki Waterhouse as Ms. Norman
Omar Chaparro as Sebastian
Director: Rob Letterman

Ace detective Harry Goodman (Justice Smith) goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son, Tim, to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds). Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Pikachu, they join forces to unravel the tangled mystery.

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was a movie I was surprisingly interested in. I’ve heard about Pokémon growing up but never got into it, so I was really out of the loop when it comes to the series. I heard about the movie for a while but the only thing I really remembered hearing about it as it was being made was that Ryan Reynolds would be voicing Pikachu for some reason. However, trailers were released for it and for some reason it actually looked pretty good and I was curious about it, it looked cheesy but fun. And having seen it recently I can confirm that for what it is, Detective Pikachu works really well, and I had fun with it.

The movie starts off a little shaky, as it focusses on the main character Tim, and it doesn’t exactly set him up for the audience to really like him all that much. Not that these scenes should’ve been cut down or anything, just should’ve been handled a little better. Once we meet Pikachu however, that’s when it picks up. Before you think it’s like the Transformers movies where the title characters are regulated to the background and the boring human characters are put in the forefront, it’s not. Sure most of the other Pokémon aren’t really focussed on but both Justice Smith and Pikachu are consistently the main characters throughout, and you do get to see a lot of Pokémon throughout. It’s a kids movie for sure, but I liked it quite a bit for it is. One of its greatest strength is that it is genuinely funny, even as a kids movie the humour really works. Some of the twists are a little easy to see coming, all in all it’s a pretty simple story. The movie goes for an hour and 45 minutes long and honestly I couldn’t imagine it being longer, it was the perfect length for the movie.

Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu is the true star of the movie. Yes, it’s a very weird casting and most of the time it just sounds like PG-13 Deadpool trapped in the body of Pikachu, but he works really well. He may only be a voice in the movie, but he just does so much, this doesn’t feel like a paycheck role for him. The human cast generally was weaker but the actors try the best they can. The main character played by Justice Smith was a bit of a mixed bag, he started off quite weak and then gradually got a little better over time. However, Smith does improve the role a little and is putting everything into his performance. He and Reynolds played off each other really well.

The direction isn’t anything special or great but deserves some credit for managing to make a live action Pokémon movie actually work. All the Pokémon have surprisingly been implemented well in the movie, you really feel like you’re in a different place. The Pokémon generally look good but Pikachu particularly looks fantastic. Occasionally some effects don’t look great, but I wasn’t expecting a lot from the movie, and it looks a lot better than I thought it would. Visually on the whole it looks really good. The little bits of action are a little simple and bland but it’s not what I went into the movie looking for.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was way better than it had any right to be. For people who aren’t familiar with Pokémon, don’t expect it to be great, but it is fun, with Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu really making this movie. I can’t speak for people who are fans of Pokémon but I feel like they might at least enjoy what has been done here. There’s been a sequel already announced, and honestly I’m open to seeing more of these movies, I don’t know much about Pokémon but I can tell there might be a lot of things that can be done with the game lore.

Norm of the North (2016) Review

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Time: 90 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Rob Schneider as Norm
Heather Graham as Vera Brightly
Maya Kay as Olympia Brightly
Ken Jeong as Mr. Greene
Colm Meaney as Grandfather
Loretta Devine as Tamecia
Gabriel Iglesias as Pablo and Stan
Michael McElhatton as Laurence
Bill Nighy as Socrates
Director: Trevor Wall

A polar bear of many words, Norm’s greatest gripe is simple: there is no room for tourists in the Arctic. But when a maniacal developer threatens to build luxury condos in his own backyard, Norm does what all normal polar bears would do he heads to New York City to stop it. With a cast of ragtag lemmings at his side, Norm takes on the big apple, big business and a big identity crisis to save the day.

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I heard plenty of horrible things about Norm of the North, I however had some morbid curiosity and wanted to check it out. After viewing it I can say that Norm of the North is not only one of the worst movies of the year, it is also one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It was painful within the first 5 minutes, and this movie is 90 minutes long. It’s honestly hard to imagine how this film ended up being shown in theaters, with the poor writing and atrocious animation.

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I know that this film is a kids movie but I don’t even think kids would be able to enjoy this. This movie is not interesting at all. It tries to express a forced message about protecting the environment but the film is so distracted by attempting to be funny and it’s very hard to care about what’s going on. Plenty of things don’t make sense in the movie. For example, the corporation wants to build houses in the arctic, which no one in their right mind would actually do. Also, when Norm is in the city, most people think that he’s just a human in a Polar Bear costume, it’s actually astounding. There are countless moments with unbelievably horrendous decisions. Also the humour in this movie is so terrible. Childish humour, including piss jokes and even in one instance a gay joke. And the film thinks it’s funny, for example there’s a moment where the Lemming characters take a leak in a fishtank and it lasts at least 30 seconds, it’s like the filmmakers assumed that what they did was hilarious. None of the jokes were funny at all, it was just loud noise. There’s so many things wrong with this movie. A combination of script faults and the cringe comedy made this film absolutely painful to sit through.

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There’s not much to like about Norm as a character. He’s got little to no characterisation and is so basic. Oh, and he’s also voiced by Rob Schneider, just to make matters worse. A lot of the characters were entirely pointless, not adding to the film that much. The villain was an over the top business guy that have been seen in countless other films. Also, this film has little Lemmings as the comic relief, they were like the minions in Despicable Me except they were somehow worse, they got annoying really quick.

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Even though the writing is horrendous, the thing that gets me the most is that the animation was horrible, it makes me wonder how a movie this badly animated made it into the cinemas. The character designs were so lazy and simple, they are just so uninspired and uninteresting, both for animals and humans. Also, the movements are so unnatural and weird, especially from the villain, who often looks like he’s going to turn into Mr Fantastic.

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Norm of the North is hands down the worst animated film I’ve ever seen. Everything from the animation, to the story, the characters, the writing, everything was done so incredibly poorly. There is nothing to enjoy with this movie, not even in a ‘so bad it’s good’ kind of way. It was somehow worse than I thought it would be.