Tag Archives: Lucy Davis

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.

Wonder Woman (2017) Retrospective Review

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Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] violence
Cast:
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor
Danny Huston as General Erich Ludendorff
David Thewlis as Sir Patrick Morgan/Ares
Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta
Elena Anaya as Doctor Isabel Maru/Doctor Poison
Lucy Davis as Etta Candy
Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer
Ewen Bremner as Charlie
Eugene Brave Rock as Chief
Director: Patty Jenkins

Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) of an all-female Amazonian race rescues US pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Upon learning of a war, she ventures into the world of men to stop Ares, the god of war, from destroying mankind.

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With Wonder Woman 1984 not too far away, I decided to check out the first Wonder Woman movie from the DCEU again. From my first viewing to my third viewing, my opinion on the movie jumped from considering it one of the best comic book movies, to just really liking it. So I needed to know for sure, and from watching it again, I think it’s still good.

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With this review, I get the freedom to talk more about spoilers freely, though there isn’t a huge amount to spoil. The plot isn’t unpredictable, and is pretty typical of that when it comes to origin stories or other fantasy stories that are similar. However, it is the first time we are seeing Wonder Woman in live action, and looking at it like that, it’s very well handled. I will admit that on repeat viewings when you know what’s happening, the pacing does feel a bit slow honestly, that’s what I felt the second and third times I watched it. Maybe it’s because 3 years since I last watched it, but I enjoyed it a little more this time, though it still has that problem. Wonder Woman does the whole fish out of water thing once Diana leaves Themyscira, which has been done many times, but the movie does make it entertaining to watch. The setting with World War 1 was fitting for this story, as well as refreshing as opposed to the commonly used World War 2. I do have some issues with the third act with the movie, and unlike most people, it’s to do with the story than the visuals or action. Much of the movie is Diana hunting down Ares, believing that he alone is the reason for everything bad that mankind is doing, particularly with the war. After killing Ludendorff (who she believes is Ares), she discovers that it doesn’t change anything, and that it seemed to be mankind doing it themselves. It is quite an effective moment and I liked the subversion. However later the real Ares shows himself and there’s a big battle between the two. I do like how he plants ideas for war rather than directly being the ones who starts the war. However, after the death of Ares, there’s a moment where everyone just stops fighting (including the German soldiers) and it just seemed to contradict the message and almost seemed to imply that it was Ares after all who caused it. Over time I have grown warmer on it, and took it as everyone reacting after watching literal gods battle to the death on such a large scale, though I guess they could’ve handled that aspect a little better. The strongest scene and probably most iconic scene is that of the No Man’s Land scene around halfway into the movie, on both a directing level and a story level, as well as a moment for Wonder Woman.

Gal Gadot straight up is Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, she embodies the character perfectly, and I like the arc she goes on throughout the story. Chris Pine is just as good as Steve Trevor, honestly Pine probably made this role even better. Gadot and Pine are among the best on screen pairing I’ve seen in any comic book movie, and they share great chemistry. Those two had by far the strongest characters. The rest of the characters range from average to decent, but were all performed well. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright are really good as Diana’s mother and aunt respectively in the first act. The group of people that Diana and Steve team up with are okay but forgettable. Danny Huston and Elena Anaya made for some over the top yet entertaining villains. They aren’t great but they work alright for the story. David Thewlis is the secret villain Ares, who at first appears to be an ally. He really does play the scene well in which he reveals himself to Diana to be the God of War. With that said, he does get quite silly in the actual battle with over the top lines, though he’s still fun to watch.

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Patty Jenkins directs this movie very well. The action is quite good and feels very smooth, particularly with the stunts. It particularly portrays Wonder Woman’s power and abilities really well. If I could find a flaw in the action scenes, some of the slow-motion isn’t used as greatly as it could’ve, making it feel a little awkward at many points. So many people complain about the third act, especially with the use of the CGI. There are parts where it does get messy but I thought it was pretty enjoyable nonetheless. The score from Rupert Gregson-Williams was also great and elevates many of the scenes, especially with the action scenes.

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Wonder Woman is a solid comic book movie, and a really good Wonder Woman origin movie for audiences. It’s well directed, and the cast were really good, especially Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. There are some issues I have with it, and it doesn’t rank among my favourite comic book movies (or even favourite DC movies), but on the whole I still think it’s really good.

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains violence
Cast
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor
Danny Huston as General Erich Ludendorff
David Thewlis as Sir Patrick Morgan
Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta
Elena Anaya as Doctor Isabel Maru/Doctor Poison
Lucy Davis as Etta Candy
Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer
Ewen Bremner as Charlie
Eugene Brave Rock as Chief
Director: Patty Jenkins

Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

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Wonder Woman was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. Despite the divisive and mixed reaction that its been receiving, I have so far loved most of the DCEU (I loved Man of Steel and Batman v Superman and… enjoyed Suicide Squad despite it’s countless flaws). No matter their thoughts on the previous movies, everyone was at the very least interested in the Wonder Woman movie. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman (who everyone loved in BvS) returns to star in the female led superhero prequel, and its directed by Patty Jenkins, who directed the great and often underappreciated Monster. Not to mention that this is the first live action Wonder Woman movie. So there was a lot to look forward to. I expected a great superhero movie and I got more than that. All the elements you’d expect are here, great action, characters and story. However this movie does more than just that, the way it explores humanity with its (quite frankly perfect) protagonist, results in an incredibly inspiring movie, and also one of the best comic book movies in recent memory.

For those who haven’t seen any of the prior DCEU movies don’t worry, you don’t necessarily need to catch up on any of them beforehand in order to watch Wonder Woman. There is definitely a connection between this film and Batman v Superman but it’s for the most part a standalone movie. This movie is around 2 hours 20 minutes long but all things considering, the pacing was pretty good. Yes, I agree with some other people that the pacing in the first act is a little slow but I wasn’t really bored, and I was completely invested throughout the entire runtime. This movie is entertaining, there is a surprising amount of humour and the best part is that it doesn’t ever take away from what’s going on. You will never see an out of place joke in an emotional action sequence. And also, this movie still does have a very emotional centre to it all (more on that in a bit). The film is still dark, it also tackles the impact of war incredibly well, it doesn’t shy away from taking some dark turns. The third act, is yet another explosive action set piece as per typical of DCEU climaxes (as typical of most comic book movies really), but to say that’s all that this segment had to offer would be under-serving it, there is still an emotional core to be found here, it’s not just a brainless action climax.

Now, onto the parts of the movie that truly makes it one of the best comic book movies. This movie is actually pretty straightforward and simple when it comes to the plot, but it’s what’s beneath the movie that makes it so great. First of all is how this movie explores humanity, with Diana as the protagonist, the film explores that aspect excellently. Diana as a character starts off quite innocent, believing that its all one person behind all of humanity’s wars and destruction and without spoiling anything, and lets just say that not everything is how she thought it would be. It feels incredibly raw and unique compared to most comic book movies and was an important and very compelling part of the movie. The other aspect that makes it so great? Wonder Woman is inspiring, in fact I’d say its really the most inspiring comic book movie I’ve ever seen. A lot of people have already called it inspiring so I just want to clarify something: when I say inspiring I don’t mean it’s a light hearted movie with an likable protagonist with good morals. By inspiring I’m meaning how despite all the darkness and odds that the film shows, Diana rises above all odds to be a hero in the best sense of the word. I know I’m being a little vague and not describing it the best way, but trust me, once you see the movie, you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about. The best example of how inspiring this movie is shown in the No Man’s Land sequence, that scene alone demonstrates how great this movie is. Wonder Woman falls in lines with the rest of the DCEU, which is why they are some of my favourite comic book movies of all time (excluding Suicide Squad of course), the heroes despite all odds end up being compelling and inspiring, and it is so incredible to watch.

Gal Gadot truly impresses here as Wonder Woman. While she was really good in Batman v Superman, she gets a lot more to do here as a character. She does of course sell the action sequences excellently but it’s her acting that is most impressive. She perfectly captures Diana’s innocence and optimism, it’s incredibly easy to love and care about her. She goes through a lot of changes as the events of the film go on, as she sees the horrors of war that mankind had to offer. I won’t give away too much, but if you remember what I said earlier about this film being inspiring, Diana is a major part of that and Gal Gadot delivered on that part perfectly, so believable and powerful. Wonder Woman is an incredibly empowering character, and is beautifully and fully realised by both Gadot and Jenkins. Chris Pine was also great, he was really entertaining and he had a perfect blend of comedy and drama. He is very funny but there’s also an emotional core to him. The chemistry between Gadot and Pine was excellent, this is the best chemistry between two actors in a superhero movie since Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Although Pine is the bigger star in comparison to Gadot, he doesn’t feel forced into the movie, he was used appropriately.

A lot of the supporting characters aren’t that complex but they are effective and served the movie well. The Amazonians played by Connie Nelson and Robin Wright and many others were particularly good, I loved the way that the film presented the Amazonians, very memorable and badass despite only really being in the first act. I can’t wait to see more of them in future DCEU films. Other supporting actors like Lucy Davis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock were really good in their roles as well. The villains were pretty good. With Danny Huston as General Ludendorff and Elena Anaya as Dr Poison, they do act well in their roles (even if Huston does go a little hammy sometimes, especially with his thick German accent). Even though I would say that they are pretty good, they weren’t really great. They really needed a lot more scenes and to develop the characters more, they weren’t that interesting. They were okay overall though, and they served their purpose. Now some will already know of a certain other villainous presence in the movie, I won’t spoil it for anyone who doesn’t know of this character yet. But this villain is by far the best villain in the film. It’s worth mentioning that the handling of the villain on paper looks terrible but in execution surprisingly works well (I’m deliberately keeping this vague). Everything from the performance, to the motivations and writing was so great (bar one unintentionally hammy and hilarious line) and I was overall satisfied with its treatment.

This movie is absolutely beautiful, from the gorgeous island of Themyscira, to the worn torn battlefields on the front line, Wonder Woman looks amazing. The action sequences are fantastic, from the fight choreography to the visuals, absolutely intense and entertaining. A stand out action set piece is of course the aforementioned “No Man’s Land” sequence. I won’t go into much depth about it but I’ll just say that it’s incredible, both visually entertaining and beautiful on a deeper level. It’s probably her stand out moment so far out of all the DCEU, Superman had the World Engine sequence in Man of Steel, Batman had the Warehouse sequence in Batman v Superman, and in Wonder Woman, she has the No Man’s Land sequence. The CGI in the movie was great overall, and was used quite well. While some have complained about the CGI in the third act, it’s not bad by any means, some of it just isn’t fully finished and that’s a little distracting. It wasn’t enough to take me out of the movie though. And plus, even though there is a lot of CGI due to the large scale of the action, the film has established early on the immense scale that the movie is. The soundtrack by Rupert Gregson-Williams was absolutely fantastic. It made the scenes even better, the emotional, and at times beautiful scenes, as well as the large action sequences. Beautiful and epic are the words I’d use to describe the score of Wonder Woman. And for those wondering, yes, Wonder Woman’s electric cello theme from Batman v Superman does make a return, and it is incredibly satisfying whenever it shows up.

Wonder Woman exceeded my expectations. With it’s great lead character, great performances, a compelling and inspiring story and entertaining action, it’s everything that a great comic book movie should be, and more. That’s not to say that there are some issues, but none of it is enough to detract from the greatness of this film. I loved the movie. I wouldn’t say it ‘saved’ the DCEU (as I thought the prior movies except for Suicide Squad were at the very least great), but I will say that is one of the best films in the DCEU, and it’s one of the best comic book movies in recent years. However I do think there is far more to take away from Wonder Woman than how it holds up against other comic book movies. It shows that movies with even simple stories can have so much impact, with Diana’s story being truly compelling and inspiring, despite it being straightforward. This film will also certainly lead to even more excellent female led blockbusters and more female directors getting large projects, which is going to be great to see, a huge step forward for the film industry. Even if you don’t like comic book movies, I do recommend checking Wonder Woman out, I’m pretty sure that you’ll find something to love about it at the very least. Wonder Woman surpassed my expectations and is one of my favourite movies of the year.