HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: SHAUN OF THE DEAD

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CAST
Simon Pegg (Star Trek)
Nick Frost (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Kate Ashfield (Spivs)
Lucy Davis (Ugly Betty)
Dylan Moran (Notting Hill)
Peter Serafinowicz (Spy)
Rafe Spall (Prometheus)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Matt Lucas (Alice In Wonderland)
Paul Kaye (Anna and The Apocalypse)
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 29-year-old electronics shop salesman with no direction in life. His younger colleagues show him no respect, he has a strained relationship with his stepfather, Phillip (Bill Nighy), and a tense one with his housemate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz) because of Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun’s other housemate and vulgar, unemployed best friend. Furthermore, Shaun’s girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) dislikes their social life as they spend every date at the Winchester, Shaun and Ed’s favourite pub. Because Shaun always brings Ed, Liz is always forced to bring her flatmates, David (Dylan Moran) and Dianne (Lucy Davis). After a bad day at work, Shaun forgets to book a table at a nice restaurant, and after suggesting the Winchester again Liz breaks up with him. Shaun drowns his sorrows with Ed at the Winchester. While celebrating at home, an enraged Pete — suffering from a bite wound caused by “some crackheads” — confronts Shaun on his flaws, telling him to sort his life out.
The next morning, a zombie apocalypse has overwhelmed the city, but Shaun is too busy dealing with his hangover to notice. He and Ed discover a female zombie in their backyard, but assume she is just drunk until she survives being impaled on a pipe. Another zombie makes its way into the garden, and Shaun and Ed run back inside. They learn more about the outbreak by watching the news and kill the two zombies (and another zombie that slips in through the front door) with blows to the head. The two decide to rescue Shaun’s mother, Barbara (Penelope Wilton), and Liz so they can wait out the crisis in the Winchester.
Shaun and Ed escape in Pete’s car and pick up Barbara and Phillip — who has been bitten — and then switch vehicles after Ed deliberately crashes Pete’s car for Phillip’s Jaguar. They then head over to Liz, Dianne, and David’s flat and collect them. On their way to the Winchester, Phillip makes peace with Shaun, dies from his bites, and then reanimates — forcing them to abandon the vehicle and set off on foot. The streets surrounding the pub are overrun, so the group pretends to be zombies to sneak past them, but Shaun gets into an argument with Ed and breaks their cover. Shaun leads the horde away while the rest take refuge in the pub. Shaun rejoins them after losing the zombies.
shaun-of-the-dead
Several hours later, the zombies return; Shaun discovers the Winchester rifle above the bar is functional and the group uses it to defend themselves. Barbara reveals she was bitten along the way and dies, and a distraught Shaun is forced to shoot her after she reanimates. David is then pulled through a window and torn apart by the zombies, and Dianne frantically unbolts the front door to rescue him, disappearing into the advancing horde. Pete arrives as one of the zombies and bites Ed; Shaun kills Pete and sets fire to the bar, but also sets off the remaining rifle ammunition by accident. The survivors flee into the cellar and contemplate suicide, but discover a barrel hatch elevator that opens to the outside. Shaun and Liz escape on the elevator as Ed is left behind with the rifle. Back on the street, the British Army arrives and guns down the remaining zombies, rescuing the two. The couple approach the safety of the trucks, reconciled. Six months after the outbreak, civilization has returned to normal, but the living now use the zombies as cheap labour and entertainment. Liz has moved in with Shaun, and Shaun keeps Ed — now a zombie — tethered in the backyard shed so they can play video games together.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are both brilliant in this spoof of the zombie genre. If you are into zombie films, or comedy, then you will enjoy this film. It is a well made film that dosen’t fail to bring a smile to anybody who watches it.

REVIEW: POKÈMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU

Starring

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Justice Smith (Paper Towns)
Kathryn Newton (The Society)
Suki Waterhouse (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
Omar Chaparro (Overboard)
Chris Geere (After Earth)
Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Rita Ora (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Karan Soni (Deadpool)
Josette Simon (Wonder Woman)
Ryoma Takeuchi (Kamen Rider Drive)

Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newton, and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)In the Pokémon universe, Tim Goodman is a 21-year-old insurance appraiser who has given up Pokémon training due to the death of his mother and the absence of his father, Harry. He travels to Ryme City – a metropolis where humans and Pokémon live together as equals – to collect Harry’s assets following his apparent death in a car crash. In Harry’s apartments, Tim encounters a deerstalker-clad Pikachu that can speak and only he can somehow understand; the pair then escape from an attack by a throng of Aipom[c] under the influence of an “R”-labeled purple gas that Tim accidentally released upon inspection. Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newton, and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)They take shelter at a café where Pikachu reveals that he is an amnesiac detective who was Harry’s police partner, and that they were investigating a case together when Harry disappeared. They look for Lucy Stevens, a fluff columnist and aspiring reporter suspicious of Harry’s death, who Tim had previously encountered. She leads Pikachu and Tim to Ryme Wharf and, after interrogating a Mr. Mime there, are directed to an illegal Pokemon fighting arena owned by Sebastian. He demands a rematch with Pikachu, who previously defeated Sebastian’s Charizard. However, after Sebastian gives Charizard a dose of the R gas, Tim attempts to save Pikachu during the rematch after it becomes obvious that Pikachu cannot remember how to use his electric powers. Sebastian then mishandles the R gas and accidentally releases it into the stadium, causing havoc. Sebastian tells Tim that he got the R gas from “the doctor”.Ryan Reynolds in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)After confronting police lieutenant Hideo Yoshida about Harry’s apparent death and the possibility of his survival, Tim and Pikachu are brought before Ryme City’s benefactor Howard Clifford by his bodyguard Ms. Norman, who reveals to them that Harry indeed survived his car crash, which was caused by an attack from a recently escaped Mewtwo, which took him away and left Pikachu with amnesia. Howard warns them of his son, Roger, who he claims is in de facto control of his company and the city.Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)Pikachu and Tim recruit Lucy and her Psyduck on an expedition to the lab facility Harry was investigating, where they learn Sebastian’s “doctor”, Ann Laurent, was a researcher aided by Harry, who had been experimenting on Mewtwo, recaptured after escaping 20 years earlier. They are soon attacked by several Greninja who chase them out of the building, but are fended off by Psyduck. They then escape a field of colossal Torterra, but Pikachu is gravely injured. Tim manages to communicate with a Bulbasaur and takes Pikachu to a clearing in the forest where they are greeted by Mewtwo, who heals Pikachu and restores some of his memories, which show that he was the one who released Mewtwo from the lab. Mewtwo attempts to reveal its intent, but is captured by Roger. Thinking that he betrayed Harry to a vengeful Mewtwo, Pikachu leaves Tim while the others return to Ryme City to warn Howard. Pikachu comes across the area where Harry’s car crash occurred, and finds evidence that the Greninja attacked Harry, not Mewtwo.Ryan Reynolds in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)Tim reaches Howard, but learns too late that he intends to transfer his consciousnesses into Mewtwo and use its powers to fuse Pokémon with their owners, with the assistance of the R gas, believing that he will help both species to reach the next stage of their evolution. Howard also explains that he hired Harry to help capture and experiment on Mewtwo in order to perfect the mind transfer device under the guise of finding a cure for Howard’s deteriorating health, but Harry and Pikachu began to figure out what was really going on and helped Mewtwo escape, so Howard had him killed. Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)Tim also learns that “Roger” and Ms. Norman have both actually been the same shape-shifting Ditto, with the real Roger having been tied up, gagged, and hidden. As Howard in Mewtwo’s body starts fusing humans with Pokémon, Pikachu arrives and finally summons his electricity powers to battle Mewtwo, Tim defeat Ditto by spreading R gas cylinder to Ditto and fending off Mewtwo long enough for Tim to free Mewtwo from Howard’s control. Mewtwo restores everyone to normal while Howard is arrested by the police. Ryan Reynolds in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)After Lucy and Tim make plans to celebrate, it is revealed that Mewtwo had kept Harry’s body and fused his consciousnesses with Pikachu’s because he was injured from the crash after Pikachu begged Mewtwo to help him, losing both their own memories by result. Mewtwo states that while it still thinks humanity is evil, this ordeal has taught it that not all humans are bad. After Mewtwo unfuses and restores them and leaves, a fully revived Harry offers Tim the chance to return home, but Tim decides to stay in order to learn how to become a detective and spend time with him and Pikachu.Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)Detective Pikachu stays true to its source material, and it tells a heart-warming story, accompanied with great visuals and some great comedy. If something, this movie might have broken the bad quality videogame-based movies

REVIEW: JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

CAST

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class)
Eleanor Tomlinson (The White Queen)
Stanley Tucci (The LVoely Bones)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Tandi Wright (Power Rangers SPD)

In the Kingdom of Cloister, Jack, a young farm boy, is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle’s farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and becomes enamored with her after defending her honor from a group of hooligans. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack’s horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father King Brahmwell as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house.Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground. Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant Wicke volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont and his second in-command, Crawe, and climb the beanstalk in search of Isabelle. As they climb, Roderick and Wicke cut the safety rope, intentionally killing some of the knights. At the top, they discover the giants’ realm and decide to split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick and Wicke, but not before Roderick forcibly takes the remaining beans from Jack (although Jack manages to save one for himself).Jack’s group is trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner except Jack. Meanwhile, Roderick’s group encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but before the other can do the same to Roderick, Roderick dons the magic crown. Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, where the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, has killed Crawe. Jack finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned there. As the giants prepare to kill their remaining prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves the giants with the crown. He tells the giants they will attack Cloister at dawn and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont. Jack rescues Isabelle and Elmont as one of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket. The trio makes for the beanstalk, where Jack causes the giant guarding the beanstalk to fall off the realm’s edge. Seeing the giant’s body, Brahmwell orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants.Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick. Elmont kills Roderick, but Fallon takes the crown before Elmont can claim it, and Elmont is forced to escape down the beanstalk. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns that the giants are using Roderick’s beans to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister. The giants chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell into the castle, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and sets it on fire. Fallon falls in the moat and breaks into the castle from below. As the siege continues, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, but Jack throws the final bean down Fallon’s throat, causing a beanstalk to rip apart his body. Jack takes the crown and sends the giants back to their realm. Jack and Isabelle marry and tell the story of the giants to their children. As time passes, the magic crown is crafted into St Edward’s Crown and is secured in the Tower of London.This was a lot better than I was expecting, so that was quite a pleasant surprise.  I was prepared to make an early exit from watching the retelling of another favourite fairy tale. But it was actually done very well, with a wonderfully impressive CGI beanstalk and superb giants. All in all, it was a very enjoyable film to watch.

 

REVIEW: ABOUT TIME

Starring

Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Rachel McAdams (Doctor Strange)
Bill Nighy (Dad’s Army)
Tom Hollander (Byzantium)
Lindsay Duncan (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Lydia Wilson (Never Let Me Go)
Richard Cordery (Les Miserables)
Joshua McGuire (Get Santa)
Tom Hughes (Victoria)
Vanessa Kirby (Kill Command)
Will Merrick (Skins)
Lisa Eichhorn (The Confessions)
Richard Griffiths (Hugo)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)

Rachel McAdams in About Time (2013)Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young man from Cornwall. He grows up in a house by the sea with his father (Bill Nighy), his mother (Lindsay Duncan), his absent-minded maternal uncle (Richard Cordery), and his free-spirited sister, Katherine (Lydia Wilson), who is known to family and friends as Kit Kat. At the age of 21, Tim is told by his father that the men of his family have a special gift: the ability to travel in time. This supernatural ability is subject to one constraint: they can only travel to places and times they have been before. After his father discourages Tim from using his gift to acquire money or fame, he decides that he will use it to improve his love life.Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson in About Time (2013)The following summer, Kit Kat’s friend Charlotte (Margot Robbie) comes to the house in order to spend her holiday with Tim’s family. Tim is instantly attracted to her and at the end of her stay decides to tell her how he feels. She tells him that he should not have waited until the last day, that perhaps if he had told her earlier, something could have happened between them. Tim travels back in time and, the second time around, tells Charlotte in the middle of the holiday how he feels. In this instance, Charlotte uses the exact opposite excuse, saying that it would be better if they waited until the last day of the holiday, and then something could potentially happen between them. Heartbroken, Tim realizes that Charlotte is not interested in him and that time travel will not make it possible for him to change her mind.Rachel McAdams in About Time (2013)After the summer, Tim moves to London to pursue a career as a lawyer. He is put up by his father’s old acquaintance, Harry (Tom Hollander), a misanthropic playwright. After some months, Tim visits a Dans le Noir restaurant, where he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), a young American woman who works for a publishing house. The two flirt in the darkness of the restaurant, and afterward, Mary gives Tim her phone number. Tim returns home to find a distraught Harry. It turns out that the same night as he met Mary, the opening night of Harry’s new play had been ruined by one of the actors forgetting his lines at a crucial point. Tim goes back in time to put things right and the play is a triumph.Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson in About Time (2013)Having saved Harry’s opening night, Tim tries to call Mary, but discovers that her number is no longer in his mobile phone. By going back in time to help Harry, Tim chose a path in which the evening with Mary never happened. However, he recalls that Mary was obsessed with Kate Moss. By attending a Kate Moss exhibition in town, he is able to run into Mary again. He strikes up an acquaintance with her but discovers she now has a boyfriend. Tim finds out when and where they met, turns up early and persuades her to leave the party before she can meet her future boyfriend. Their relationship develops and Tim moves in with Mary. He encounters Charlotte again by accident, and this time she tells him that she would be interested in pursuing a romantic liaison with him. Tim turns her down, realising that he is truly in love with Mary. He proposes marriage; she accepts and is welcomed into his family. Their first child, Posy, is born. Kit Kat has not been so lucky and her unhappy relationship, failure to find a career, and drinking lead her to crash her car on the same day as Posy’s first birthday.ay_117640103Kit Kat is seriously hurt but begins to make a good recovery. Tim decides to intervene in her life and does so by preventing her from meeting her boyfriend, Jimmy (Tom Hughes). When he returns to the present, he finds Posy has never been born and that he has a son instead. His father explains that travelling back to change things before his children were born would mean those children would not be born. Thus, any events that occurred before Posy’s birth cannot be changed, and Tim must accept the consequences as a normal person would. Tim accepts he cannot change Kit Kat’s life by changing her past but he and Mary help her to change her life in the present. She settles down with an old friend of Tim’s and has a child of her own. Tim and Mary have another child, a baby boy.Film_2013_AboutTime_MovieClip_05Tim learns that his father has terminal cancer and that time travel cannot change it. His father has known for quite some time, but kept travelling back in time to effectively extend his life and spend more time with his family. He tells Tim to live each day twice in order to be truly happy: the first time, live it as normal, and the second time, live every day again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that keep us from noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing. Tim follows this advice and also travels back into the past to visit his father whenever he misses him.About-Time-2013-Movie-WallpapersMary tells Tim she wants a third child. He is reluctant at first because he will not be able to visit his father after the baby is born but agrees. After visiting his father for the following nine months, Tim tells his father that he cannot visit any more. They travel back to when Tim was a small boy, reliving a fond memory of them playing on the beach, and afterwards have a heartfelt, tearful goodbye. Mary gives birth to another baby girl, and Tim knows he can never see his father again. After reliving each day, Tim comes to realise that it is better to live each day once, and appreciate everything as if he is living it for the second time. The film ends with Tim leaving Mary in bed and getting his three children ready for school.2211575The acting is solid, and Rachel McAdams is lovely and inspiring. The rest of the actors are amazing as well, and you want to believe that it is all real. But the story itself can be so unbelievable. Just go with it.  I enjoyed About Time immensely, and I could watch it again

REVIEW: LOVE ACTUALLY

CAST
Hugh Grant (About a Boy)
Martine McCutcheon (Eastenders)
Liam Neeson (Batman begins)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Sienna Guillory (Resiendet Evil 2)
Emma Thompson (junior)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead)
Keira Knightley (King Arthur)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones)
Alan Rickman (Dogma)
Rodrigo Santoro (Lost)
Billy Bob Thornton (Eagle Eye)
Rowan Atkinson (Johnny English)
January Jones (X-Men: First Class)
Elisha Cuthbert (24)
Ivana Milicevic (Paycheck)
Adam Godley (Powers)
Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie)
Denise Richards (Starship Troopers)
The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy with the state of the world he thinks about the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport, and the pure uncomplicated love felt as friends and families welcome their arriving loved ones. David’s voiceover also relates that all the messages left by the people who died on the 9/11 planes were messages of love and not hate. The film then tells the ‘love stories’ of many people:
Billy Mack and Joe
With the help of his longtime manager Joe (Gregor Fisher), rock and roll legend Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) records a Christmas variation of The Troggs’ classic hit “Love Is All Around”. Although he thinks the record is terrible, Mack promotes the release in the hope it will become the Christmas number one single. The song does go to number one; after briefly celebrating his victory at a party hosted by Sir Elton John, Billy discerns that Joe is in need of affection and suggests that he and Joe celebrate Christmas by getting drunk and watching porn.
Juliet, Peter, and Mark
Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) get married in a lovely ceremony orchestrated and videotaped by Mark (Andrew Lincoln), the best man. He promises no funny business on their wedding day, but as they walk down the aisle as husband and wife, a singer, choir and band appear performing “All You Need Is Love”. Both Juliet and Peter believe that Mark dislikes her to the point that, when she has a favour to ask, Peter warns his best friend to be nice. Mark avoids seeing her so he will not have to show her his taped version of her wedding, but she stops by one day with a snack hoping to get him to warm to her. She confesses that she knows they are not close, but asks him to give her a chance. When asked to show her the tape, he feigns ignorance of where it is, but Juliet quickly finds it after only a brief search. She pops it in and at first is happy to see a decent shot of her in her wedding dress as the professionals messed theirs up. As the video continues, she sees it’s focused only on her and it causes her to stop talking. Left in an uncomfortable silence, Mark can only blurt out that he acts that way for ‘self-preservation’ before running out and leaving her alone. On Christmas Eve, the doorbell rings at Juliet and Peter’s house. She runs down and opens the door, only to find Mark, carrying a boom box playing Christmas songs and large cue cards. The first one tells her to tell her husband that it’s carol singers. One by one, the cards confess his love for her. Then he walks away. Juliet runs after him to give him a quick, innocent kiss and runs back inside.
Jamie and Aurélia
Writer Jamie (Colin Firth) is pushed to Juliet and Peter’s wedding by his girlfriend (Sienna Guillory) as she feigns illness. He returns between the ceremony and the reception to check on her. Finding his brother there, at first he believes his explanation, but the reality is revealed when she yells down to his brother that she wants to have sex a few more times before Jamie comes back. Crushed by this, Jamie withdraws to his French cottage where he meets Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz) who speaks only her native tongue. Despite their inability to communicate, they have similar personalities and become attached to each other. When Jamie returns to England, he realises he is in love with Aurélia and begins learning Portuguese. He returns to France to find her and ends up walking through town, gathering people as they walk to her job at a restaurant. In his broken Portuguese he declares his love for her and proposes. She responds, “Thank you. That will be nice. Yes is being my answer” in broken English as the crowd erupts in applause.
Harry, Karen, and Mia
Harry (Alan Rickman) is the managing director of a design agency; Mia (Heike Makatsch) is his new secretary. Harry is comfortably married to his wife, Karen (Emma Thompson), who stays home to raise their children. Harry becomes increasingly aroused by Mia’s overtly sexual comments and actions at the office and does nothing to dissuade her. At the company Christmas party held at Mark’s gallery, he not only inquires if Mark is her boyfriend, but dances closely with her. While at the shops, he calls Mia to find out what she wants for Christmas and ends up almost caught by his wife purchasing an expensive necklace from the jewellery department thanks to the salesman Rufus (Rowan Atkinson). Later on, Karen discovers the necklace in Harry’s coat pocket and happily assumes it is a gift for her. When he hands her a similarly shaped box to open on Christmas Eve, she is heartbroken to find it is a Joni Mitchell CD instead and struggles to hide her pain from her husband and children. She realises that the necklace was for someone else and asks him what he would do if he was her and if the supposed affair is just sex or more than sex (love). When he sees the harm he’s done to his wife, he is truly sorry and calls himself a fool. She responds that not only has he made a mockery of their marriage but of her and the way she chose to live her life.
David and Natalie
Karen’s brother, David (Hugh Grant), is the recently elected Prime Minister. Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) is a new junior member of the household staff at 10 Downing Street and from the moment they meet, there is a spark that David continuously admonishes himself for. One day, while meeting with the U.S. President (Billy Bob Thornton), they run into Natalie and the president makes some inappropriate comments to David about Natalie’s body. Later, David walks in on Natalie serving tea and biscuits to the president, and it appears that something untoward is happening. Natalie seems ashamed, but the President has a sly grin on his face. Due to this, when he gives his political speech, David is uncharacteristically assertive while taking a stand against the President’s intimidating policies. Finding that his relationship with Natalie has become strained and a distraction, David has her moved to another job. However, he is spurred to action on Christmas Eve when he finds a Christmas card from Natalie declaring that she is his and no one else’s. After a hilarious door to door search of her street, he comes across Mia, who informs him that Natalie lives next door. The entire family is on their way out the door to a multi-school Christmas play and he offers to drive them so he can talk to her. After Natalie sneaks him in to the school, he runs into his heartbroken sister who believes he is there for his niece and nephew. As the two try to keep from being seen and watch the show from backstage, they finally kiss. All their hiding was for nothing because as the curtain rises, they are seen kissing by everyone.
Daniel, Sam, Joanna, and Carol
Daniel (Liam Neeson), Karen’s friend, mourns the recent death of his wife Joanna, as he tries to raise his stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster) alone. Sam has fallen for an American classmate, also named Joanna (Olivia Olson), and, after discussion with his stepfather, decides to learn the drums so that he can accompany her in the big finale for their school’s Christmas pageant (the same one that Natalie’s nephew and Karen and Harry’s children are in). After Sam feels that he missed his chance to make an impression on her, Daniel convinces Sam that he must go catch Joanna, who is returning to the US, at the airport that night and show her how he feels, lest he regret it for his whole life. Sam runs away from the airport security and says hi to Joanna, who then kisses him on the cheek. Meanwhile, Daniel, who previously mentioned admiring supermodel Claudia Schiffer, meets Carol, played by Schiffer, the parent of another of Sam’s school mates.
Sarah, Karl, and Michael
Sarah (Laura Linney) first appears at Juliet and Peter’s wedding, sitting next to her friend Jamie. She is an American who works at Harry’s graphic design company and has been in love for years with the company’s creative director, Karl (Rodrigo Santoro). For unknown reasons they admire one another from afar, but neither is willing to make the first move. They finally connect at the Christmas party and he drives her home. They kiss but before more could occur, they are interrupted by her mentally ill brother, Michael, phoning from his residence in a mental care facility. Sarah and Karl’s evening tryst is aborted and Karl leaves. On Christmas Eve both are working late and, when Karl wishes her good night, he tries to say more but cannot and only wishes her Merry Christmas. As he leaves, Michael phones and she spends the night with him, sharing her Christmas scarf.
Colin, Tony, and the American girls
After several blunders attempting to woo various English women, including Mia and Nancy (Julia Davis), the caterer at Juliet and Peter’s wedding, Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall) informs his friend Tony (Abdul Salis) he plans to go to America and find love there, convinced that his Britishness will be an asset to him in a foreign country. Landing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Colin meets Stacey (Ivana Miličević), Jeannie (January Jones), and Carol-Anne (Elisha Cuthbert), three stunningly attractive women who fall for his Basildon accent and invite him to stay at their home, where they are joined by roommate Harriet (Shannon Elizabeth).
John and Judy
John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) are professional body doubles for films. They meet for the sex scenes in a film for which Tony is a production assistant. John tells Judy that “It is nice to have someone [he] can just chat to.” While the two are perfectly comfortable being naked and simulating sex on-set, they are shy and tentative off-set. Carefully pursuing a relationship, they attend the Christmas pageant (involving David and Natalie, Harry and Karen’s children, Daniel and Sam, et al.) at the local school with John’s brother
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Rufus
Rufus, played by Rowan Atkinson, is the jewellery salesman, whose obsessive attention to gift-wrapping nearly results in Harry being caught buying a necklace for Mia by Karen. Also, it is his distraction of staff at the airport which allows Sam to sneak through to see Joanna. In the director and cast commentary, it is revealed that Rufus was originally supposed to be a Christmas angel; however, this was dropped from the final script.
Epilogue
The epilogue is set one month later; the relationships of the characters have continued to evolve. Billy arrives with a gorgeous groupie in tow, and confirms to Joe that his hit song has launched his successful comeback. Juliet, Peter, and Mark arrive together to meet Jamie and his new bride, Aurélia. Karen and the kids greet Harry, but Karen’s reaction suggests that they are struggling to move past his indiscretion. Sam greets Joanna, who has returned with her mother from America, and Daniel is joined by his new girlfriend Carol and her son. Newlyweds John and Judy, heading off to their honeymoon, run into Tony who is awaiting Colin as he returns from America. Colin returns with the gorgeous Harriet and her sister Carla (Denise Richards) who greets Tony with a hug and a kiss. Natalie aggressively welcomes David back from his flight in view of the press, indicating that their relationship is now public. These scenes dissolve into footage of actual arrivals at Heathrow Airport, as the screen is divided into an increasing number of smaller segments which form the shape of a heart, as The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” plays on.
the film is a bit over the top, a bit exaggerated, but it still works perfectly, has the perfect balance of humour and seriousness, and is one that I would see again

REVIEW: THE WORLD’S END

CAST
Simon Pegg (Run Fat Boy Run)
Nick Frost (Paul)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Pierce Brosnan (After The Sunset)
David Bradley (Game of Thrones)
Michael Smiley (Perfume)
Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Rafe Spall (Prometheus)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Peter Serafinowicz (Spy)
Alice Lowe (Prevenge)
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Gary King (Simon Pegg), a middle-aged alcoholic, tracks down his estranged schoolfriends and persuades them to complete “the Golden Mile”, a pub crawl encompassing the 12 pubs of their hometown of Newton Haven. The group had previously attempted the crawl as teenagers in 1990 but failed to reach the final pub, The World’s End. Gary arrives in Newton Haven with friends Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andy (Nick Frost), and they begin the crawl. In the second pub, the group is briefly joined for a drink by Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), whose affections Gary and Steven fought over in school. At the third pub, Gary is turned away due to being barred as a teenager, but drinks some beer left behind on a table outside. In the toilets of the fourth pub, Gary picks a fight with a teenager and knocks his head off, exposing a blue blood-like liquid and subsequently exposing him as an alien android. Gary’s friends join him and fight more androids, whom they refer to as “blanks” to disguise what they are talking about.
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They decide to continue the pub crawl so as not to make the androids suspicious of their actions, as Gary had told various people that they were doing the Golden Mile. At the seventh pub, the group runs into Sam again. In the garden, Gary, Sam and Steven get into a fight with androids impersonating Sam’s twin friends, making Sam convinced of the androids’ invasion after previously not believing Gary. At the eighth pub, androids impersonating attractive girls from their youth attempt to seduce Gary, Andy and Peter, while Basil, a man whom they had spoken to in their previous pub crawl in 1990 and who had been known for making wild theories, explains to Steven the details of the android invasion. At the ninth pub, Guy Shepherd (Pierce Brosnan), their old schoolteacher, encourages them to accept their fate and be replaced by androids. Andy realises that Oliver has been replaced with an android after seeing the return of his birthmark, which he had earlier told he had removed with cosmetic laser treatment, and crushes his head with a barstool. Another fight breaks out and the group scatters. Gary and Sam escape the pub together and Gary tells her to leave for her own safety.
Once reunited, the four remaining friends accuse each other of having been replaced by androids, but prove that they are human. At this point, it is revealed that earlier in their adult life, Gary had betrayed Andy and allowed him to be arrested and almost killed, explaining Andy’s hostility towards Gary. The androids close in on the group and capture Peter after he picks a fight with the android representing his former childhood enemy, but Gary is determined to finish the pub crawl. However, Andy refuses and demands that they return to London, knocking Gary out in the process to make him go with them. Andy and Steven find that to get to the car, they must go through the tenth pub, where Gary wakes up. After having his tenth pint, he decides to carry on alone, which leads to Andy chasing after him. After quickly having a drink at the eleventh pub, he runs towards the final pub, the World’s End. Steven is overwhelmed by the androids while attempting to drive the car away, and Andy continues to chase Gary towards the final pub.
At the World’s End, Andy confronts Gary. In the quarrel, Andy reveals that his wife has left him, and realises that Gary attempted suicide in the years since school. As he tries to stop Gary from drawing his final pint, they discover a hidden chamber and are reunited with Steven. A disembodied alien entity, the Network (Bill Nighy), reveals that the limited android invasion has been responsible for all of humanity’s advances in telecommunications in recent decades, bringing humanity closer together as a first step to joining the galaxy’s community of planets. The Network offers the men the chance to contribute to Earth joining the galactic community, even offering them eternal youth by becoming androids, but they refuse as they point out the numerous flaws in The Network’s plan. Exasperated, the Network abandons the invasion after Gary manages to prove that the Network had to replace nearly all of the citizens in the town to make it acceptable enough for its standards. Sam arrives just in time to drive the group out of Newton Haven as it self-destructs.
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Some time later, Andy recounts this story around a campfire in the ruins of London. The destruction of Newton Haven triggered a worldwide chain reaction that wiped out modern technology and set humanity back to the Dark Ages. The remaining androids have reactivated and are mistrusted by surviving humans. Andy’s marriage has recovered, Steven is in a relationship with Sam, android Peter returned to his family, and android Oliver returned to his estate agent’s job (with a new head made out of a football). In the ruins of Newton Haven, the now-sober Gary enters a pub with the younger android versions of his friends and orders five glasses of water. When the bartender refuses to serve androids, Gary draws a sword and leads his android friends into a brawl.
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From the opening minutes, you’re just completely hooked by Pegg’s hugely endearing wackiness and charisma.  I really like the way this film blends laugh-out-loud comedy with intense fantasy action violence, as this makes it very original. And the fight scenes aren’t overly tacky or cheesy. They’re all very well choreographed and polished. A great comedy that can be watched again and again.

REVIEW: BLOW DRY

CAST

Rachael Leigh Cook (Antitrust)
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Alan Rickman (Dogma)
Natasha Richardson (Main in Manhattan)
Rachel Griffiths (Blow)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Rosemary Harris (Spider-Man)
Hugh Bonneville (Downtown Abbey)
Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones)
David Bradley (Harry Potter)
Ben Crompton (Kill List)

Shelley Allen (Natasha Richardson) operates a hairdressing shop in Keighley with her domestic partner Sandra (Rachel Griffiths). Shelley has been battling cancer, a secret known only to Sandra and a few confidants. She receives a terminal prognosis from her oncologist and decides to hide the truth from Sandra. When Keighley is chosen to host the British hairdressing championship, Shelley wants to participate one last time. She asks her ex-husband Phil (Alan Rickman) and her son Brian (Josh Hartnett), who operate a barber shop, to join her and Sandra as a team to enter the competition. Phil rejects the proposition: ten years previously Shelley had been his partner in the competition, and she ran off with Sandra (their model) the night before the third event; Phil has never forgiven them. Meanwhile, defending champion Raymond Robertson (Bill Nighy) visits Phil to ensure that Phil is not competing. Brian is offput when Raymond belittles Phil’s confidence and ability. When he is attracted to Raymond’s beautiful daughter Christina (Rachael Leigh Cook), Brian offers to join Shelley’s team.

Christina aspires to be a hair colorist, but lacks experience. Brian brings her to a funeral parlor where he works, where she can practice on one of the corpses after hours while Brian cuts its hair. Christina is startled when the corpse “groans” (expels trapped gas in the lungs) and flees into the street. Brian follows to console her and inadvertently allows the doors to lock behind them. The next morning the family of the deceased is displeased to find shocking pink spiky hair on their 95-year-old uncle. During the first round of the competition, Brian is cornered by the relatives of the deceased and is physically beaten.  Shelley reveals to Phil and Brian that she has terminal cancer. Phil reconsiders and agrees to coach but not to cut. After Raymond’s team successfully cheats in the first round, Phil sabotages a second attempt in the second round, allowing the other top teams to narrow the gap to Raymond. Christina gains coloring experience using the sheep of the family that assaulted Brian. Brian however disowns her when he realizes she is helping Raymond cheat. The night before the third round, Sandra learns that Shelley’s cancer is terminal. Angry that Shelley lied to her, she quits the team. Shelley recruits one of her clients as the model for the third round and wins, moving the team into second place overall. Phil is congratulatory, but Shelley reveals that her motivation was not to win – she wanted the team effort to bond the four of them into a family before she dies. Phil agrees to participate in the final round; he also talks Sandra into rejoining the team. Christina cuts off most of her hair so that she cannot participate in her father’s scheme for the final round, and she and Brian reconcile.

In the last round, Phil’s novel design includes shaving Sandra’s head to reveal an old scalp tattoo and applying body paint to her naked, winged body. The result snatches them the overall victory by one point. Shelley, Sandra, Phil, Brian and Christina leave the competition arm-in-arm as Keighley celebrates a hometown winner.

This film boasts an ensemble cast of talented stars and a very witty script. There is an interesting back-story for each character; some are silly, others poignant. Bill Nighy is an absolute riot as the flamboyant and unscrupulous hair diva, Rickman plays it serious as a poker-faced used-to-be, while Richardson is plucky as a lesbian with health issues. All of the smaller roles are gems, too, especially the uptight Keighley lord mayor (Warren Clarke) who sings Elvis, and Rosemary Harris as an elderly nursing home resident. This collection of eccentric characters competing in an over-the-top contest had me laughing from start to finish. Highly recommended.