Thursday, September 12, 2013

Theater Interruption (The World's End / Elysium)

The World's End (2013)

Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman

Wright, Pegg and Frost somehow find a way to bring their loose "trilogy" to a satisfying conclusion. The World's End, while sporting some obvious inspirations, isn't nearly as focused on referential comedy and parodies as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were. This film is much more focused on its characters and the process of "moving on," while still being extremely funny in its own right. Some might get mood whiplash from the transitions between drama and comedy, but I feel it works for the most part. I've always liked Simon Pegg, but I feel that this is by far his best character and overall performance. One pleasant surprise was how awesome the fights were - it's partially a condemnation of current films and partially a compliment to this movie's crew, but Nick Frost's brawl scenes are some of the most fun fight sequences in recent memory. Seriously great.

Score: 8 / 10

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer: Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley

The trailers promised a sci-fi film that would explore (in a one-sided sense) the timely topics of social classes, immigration, and healthcare. What was delivered was an action film with flimsy cardboard cutouts of these issues as backdrops. The story is generic, the characters are (generally) very archetypal, and the dialogue is occasionally cringe-worthy with several very awkward exposition sequences. But that fairly rickety framework is just barely enough to carry an otherwise very cool production. Blomkamp goes a touch overboard with shaky-cam in a couple of sequences, but otherwise shows a really sharp eye for this kind of film. The production design is absolutely fantastic and of particular note is the sound design, which gives a lot of weight and authenticity to the action. Most of the acting is just passable, with two exceptions to either extreme: Copley to the awesome-scenery-chewing end and Foster to the what-the-hell-was-that-hot-garbage end.

Score: 5 / 10

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