Weekend Roundup and mini review of ‘The World’s End’

Hello everyone, hope y’all had a nice weekend. It’s scorching HOT here in Minnesota with heat index topping 100 degrees!! I’m not fond of extreme heat and humidity so I stayed mostly indoors, went to the movies Saturday night and cooling off at Mall of America on Sunday. Not much of a home-viewing weekend, as I only watched an episode of Shark Week on Netflix from Discovery Channel, ahah. I did see Austenland earlier in the week which I really enjoyed (review later this week as it opens at Edina Landmark Theaters on 8/30).

At the movies The Butler is still well-served by moviegoers, topping the box office again with $17 mil, whilst all of the new releases made barely $10 mil each (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, The World’s End and You’re Next). I guess this weekend and the next few weeks are the dead zone of sort, as Summer movie season is pretty much over. I’m quite looking forward to Fall/Winter schedule though, so look for my Most Anticipated List around Labor Day. Below is my mini review of …

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Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.

This film is the conclusion of the Cornetto or Blood and Ice Cream trilogy, a series of British comedic films by Edgar Wright, written by him and Simon Pegg. I’m a big fan of the last two in the trilogy, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, so that’s the main draw for me to see this one.

This film also reunited Pegg with his longtime BFF Nick Frost in a slightly different role than what I’m used to seeing him in (more on that in a bit). Pegg plays Gary King, a bon vivant alcoholic who’s pretty much still stuck in the past (literally), obsessing over his teenage days in his hometown of Newton Haven. He can’t get over the fact that him and his posse failed to complete the Golden Mile, an infamous pub crawl encompassing 12 pubs that ends in the last one called The Worl’ds End.

So he sets off to track down his old mates, and soon he realizes each of them has moved on. Peter Page (Eddie Marsan), Oliver “O-Man” Chamberlain (Martin Freeman), Steven Prince (Paddy Considine) and Andy Knightley (Nick Frost) all have a steady job and family of their own, with their own set of responsibilities. But Gary is far too self-absorbed and oblivious to let that stop ’em, but yet somehow, he managed to convince them all to actually join him! So off they go in Gary’s beat up sedan, the very same one he has from his teenage years, bound to Newton Haven!

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I have to admit the film started off a bit too sluggish for my liking. Even as they arrive in their old hometown, the pub crawl itself aren’t as hilarious as I expected. I don’t know if I’ve grown tired of Simon Pegg’s schtick or what, but he’s just not as funny as he was in the other two films. In fact, I find Gary to be pretty irritating most of the time, which doesn’t help. I’d say the scene-stealer here is Nick Frost (I guess you could say the same about the rest of the trilogy), as he plays a responsible, thoughtful and actually wise guy with a good career, it’s an interesting role switcheroo as he’s not the typical dumb slob he’s played in the past. His straight-laced Andy provides the most laughs for me as the antithesis of Pegg’s character.

I guess I have a similar complaint on this one with Elysium in that this film is much bigger in terms of budget and special effects, but overall the quality isn’t on par with Wright’s smaller projects in the past. Some of the jokes made me cringe and it just feels forced, which is too bad as I know the talents are capable of something great. Given that we’ve seen a lot of apocalyptic themes in movies lately, the film also suffers from originality, I could see the plot reveal from a mile away and the finale seems to go on forever. Oh, and there’s a cameo from another Bond actor (Timothy Dalton was the scene-stealer in Hot Fuzz), but I think Pierce Brosnan is utterly wasted and devoid of humor in his role. Interestingly, Rosamund Pike (who was the Bond girl in Brosnan’s worst Bond movie ever), also didn’t have much to do in this male-dominated comedy.

Now, there are some fun moments to be had and I like the all-British cast, but I wish I had just rented this one instead of paying top dollars to see it on the big screen. Truthfully, I’m surprised by its high rating on RottenTomatoes. Ah well, I had expected the trilogy to end on a high note, alas, I feel that the Wright/Pegg/Frost trio is perhaps a bit complacent about their work. That’s never a good sign no matter how good they think they have it.

2.5 out of 5 reels

Well, that’s my weekend roundup, folks. What did you see this weekend, anything good?

FlixChatter Spotlight: Vicar of Dibley Christmas Special

It’s what our local newspaper call a very Messy Christmas today with nonstop icky snow and sleet outside. There’s already at least a foot of snow already on the ground, our grill and plastic chairs on the deck are buried in snow, and so are most cars parked outside.

Some of you are spending time with family/friends or watching classic Christmas movies. I have yet to catch most of them on this list, but one I can watch any day of the year is the Christmas Special finale of BBC’s The Vicar of Dibley. I bought the DVD a few years ago and it’s certainly got a lot of play in my house.

Created by English writer/producer/director Richard Curtis, the man behind British rom-coms, such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill, and Love Actually, as well as the hit sitcom Mr. Bean, The Vicar of Dibley starrs Dawn French as Geraldine ‘Gerry’ Granger, the Vicar of the rural parish of Dibley. It’s filled with typical British zany humor, largely due to the comic skills of the lead actress, but the supporting cast are equally great. You’ve seen some of them in other Curtis’ films, i.e. James Fleet (Tom in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Emma Chambers who played Hugh Grant’s oddball sister in Notting Hill). I LOVE everyone in the cast, they’re all such a hoot!

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In the two-hour long Christmas Special called A Holy Wholly Happy Ending, the vicar who complained that she’s ‘always the vicar, but never the bride’ finally gets her man. Oh, and what a man indeed. The handsome stranger who swept Gerry off her feet is played by hunky Richard Armitage (star of BBC’s Spooks and Robin Hood series’ Guy of Gisbourne). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but one thing for sure you’ll fall in love with the mischievously endearing Vicar. Here’s a clip from the unexpected-proposal episode I can watch over and over again:

You have got to check out the hilarious rehearsal as well with Hugh Boneville‘s hilarious cameo as a fellow vicar who bears a longtime crush on Gerry. What a brilliant ending to such a witty and funny series!


Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are!