Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz

For years, whenever I’ve found myself in conversations about the single funniest moment in moviedom, my answer has always been the “Where the white women at?” scene in Blazing Saddles, and I don’t see it being dethroned in my mind any time soon. There are dozens of elements at work making it funny, from Cleavon Little’s line delivery to the absurd environment surrounding it. Here are two actors playing character who aren’t actors who have to act in order to fool two KKK members with “Have a Nice Day” smiley faces on the back of their cloaks. The result is so stagey that it wouldn’t fool anyone, and part of why it hits the laugh button (it’s an implant) so hard is the way that Bart enters the frame, pulled like a rag doll by The Kid and flinging his line like a wooden dummy. We see the full set up, we even see Bart walk behind the rock, but his re-emergence is a small surprise punctuated by a perfect use of stereotype and hyperbole. For its minor inventiveness, I’d assume that Tony Zhou — the mind behind this fantastic video essay on Edgar Wright‘s visual style — would appreciate the playful way that Bart enters the scene. After all, this video is more than an exploration of one filmmaker’s sensibilities, it’s a much-needed prod toward modern comedies who have forgotten that movies can be more than stages for their hilarious, probably improvised dialogue. Watch and learn:

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cc the worlds end

The Cornetto Trilogy is the comedic equivalent of Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy for at least two reasons. First, all three films are pretty goddamn fantastic, and second, they’re not even really a trilogy. There’s no actual storyline or characters that repeat across the films, but some common themes (along with the presence of Cornetto ice cream) have turned the trio into an unofficial collective. The World’s End is the latest and last (after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), and there’s a very good chance it’s the best of the three. Edgar Wright directs and co-writes (again) with star Simon Pegg to deliver a smart, very funny, and truly engaging piece of entertainment, and as has continually been the case, they’ve filled it with a brilliant cast. Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan join Pegg as five friends attempting to revisit their youth who find an unexpected surprise instead. All of Wright’s films come loaded with gags and references, but this one beats them all in the sheer detailed genius of its structure and execution. Multiple viewings are required to catch them all, but the Wright and Pegg do a good job of highlighting several moments of foreshadowing and hints at what’s to come on their commentary track.

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get into the movies

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. If you’re any kind of fan of Edgar Wright‘s films, including his latest, The World’s End, you’ll have gone back and seen Spaced, the popular British TV series credited as the breakthrough for him and regular collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. But if you’re a diehard Edgar Wright fan, you’ll know all about the earliest origins of the filmmaker. About the short films he made as a teenager and the evolution of cameras and formats he shot on all the way, and how that evolution occurred. Wright made his first short film, Rolf Harris Saves the World, with a Super 8 camera with a bunch of friends when he was only 14. Only five minutes long, it has a Die Hard-type plot in which the titular Australian TV personality (as played by a friend and dubbed by Wright) is the hero. Soon after he made a half-hour sequel, Rolf Harris 2: The Bearded One (not to be confused with Rolf Harris Saves the World Part 2, which I think is something he made in college). His first real break came a few years later with a clever stop-motion animated short titled I Want to Get Into the Movies, which won a competition in support of Comic Relief and was shown on the BBC program Going Live! Inspired by Sesame Street animations, the three-minute silent work is about […]

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worldsend08

It’s pretty clear that Edgar Wright and his sometime co-writer/star Simon Pegg are movie junkies. Their series Spaced was all about allusions to their TV and film favorites, while the first two installments of the “Cornetto trilogy,” Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, were tributes to zombie and action flicks, respectively. With The World’s End, the homage and referencing continues. Even though the message of the movie is to move forward not backward, and even though it’s apparently a veiled criticism of Hollywood’s own nostalgic impulses, it’s okay for a movie this clever to have its influences and predecessors as long as the acknowledgment is through nods to the past works rather than a recycling or cloning of them. One key difference between what Wright does and what the remake/reboot machine does is he provides a gateway to older movies and the machine creates a substitution, a replacement. As a true movie lover, Wright is known for hosting programs of beloved classics and cult classics, usually in hopes of introducing his fans to stuff they’ve never seen. He also likes to name other films that have informed his work and are worth checking out either prior to or after seeing his movies. The following list is not all selections that he has credited nor that he would necessarily endorse. It’s a combination of some of his picks (found mentioned elsewhere) and some of my own, some obvious and some not, some great and some just worth a look for […]

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hotfuzz-commentary1

After making a splash with the zom-com Shaun of the Dead in 2004, Edgar Wright teamed up again with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to make another send-up of a beloved genre. Hot Fuzz deconstructed the buddy cop action film genre with a hilarious and fresh perspective. Only after the production did Wright and Pegg, who co-wrote the film together, stumble on the Cornetto connection, which paved the way for the production of the eventual finale The World’s End. Upon the release of Hot Fuzz, Wright and Pegg sat down to record a commentary track, which is available on both the DVD and Blu-ray. There are other commentaries available on the film, depending on which release you get, but this is the most common one, and the most contained.

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Edgar Wright

For most of us, our perfect Sunday includes a quiet read of the paper, a piping cup of our favorite tea leaf or coffee bean-based beverage and a hundredth screening of one of Edgar Wright‘s movies. With Shaun of the Dead and everything beyond, he’s been able to blend intimate character arcs (right down to the music) with genre tropes in a way that pretty much no one else has managed. He’s lovingly subverted genres while delivering us new fence-hopping heroes and a honed sense of comedy. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man famous for his work on Going Live!.

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We’ve been hearing about Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s next film together as co-writers for a while. A mashup between the concepts of the pub crawl and the apocalypse, The World’s End has been said to be the third film in an informal trilogy that started with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Other than Wright directing and co-writing the film with Pegg, we’ve also known from the start that Pegg was set to re-team with Nick Frost as its stars. But, seeing as the film’s synopsis says that it’s about five friends in their forties trying to recreate an epic pub crawl they completed when they were younger, there’s always been a question of who else was going to be joining the cast. Well, a press release put out by Universal today not only confirms a couple names that have been floating around for a while, it also adds two more to the mix.

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It’s one thing when we’re talking about Alfred Hitchcock having a walk-through in every single one of his films, including one that exclusively takes place on a lifeboat (he appears in a newspaper ad for that one). Sure it’s eccentric but it’s not surprising because, well, they’re his films and he can appear in them as he pleases. What does strike me as weird is when a director shows up totally unexpected in someone else’s film. Usually there is a good reason – either they are producing the film or friends with the cast. However despite the later explanation, it’s still a bit jarring to see, say… the director of Kill Bill in an Adam Sandler comedy…

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There’s no need for a giant dissertation on the nature of the box office and the world of youth culture. There have been enough editorials written recently about Scott Pilgrim‘s apparent failure to defeat the World, some going so far as to question Hollywood’s co-opting of geek culture entirely. However, there is a need for some perspective. To gain that perspective, we’ll need to analyze a past of store clerks fighting zombies and policemen cleaning up small towns to realize that Scott Pilgrim actually did pretty well for himself.

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edwardwoodward

You may not recognize the name, but you should recognize the face. Another great actor lost this year.

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FemaleDirectorList

Remember all of those movies you love to sit around watching and loving and talking about? Some of them were directed by women. You didn’t even know that. Did you, you chauvinist pig?

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bluray-header

In this incredibly light edition of This Week in Blu-ray, we get one of the year’s darkest, most absurd comedies right alongside a few great comedies from yesteryear…

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thisweekindvd-header1

Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves writing bestselling mystery novels and helping hot detectives capture evil-doers. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week’s releases include Barker’s Book of Blood, Observe & Report, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Albino Farm, lots of TV shows, and more!

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wright-fuzz

When he isn’t acting or directing in some of our films like Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright plays the part of film lover. Now his top 29 list of 2008 is out and we’re ready to put it to the test.

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Officially Cool

With the following of films like Star Wars, we have seen some amazing art along the way. So why should it come as any surprise that a fantastic artist like Sam Gilbey would go all out and create an amazing piece of art celebrating a fantastic film like Hot Fuzz.

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Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost

Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, the creative minds behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are gearing up to finish what they’ve called the “Cornetto trilogy.”

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Simon Pegg in Run Fatboy Run

Following Simon Pegg’s super-cool performance in the live-wire Brit-cop parody that was last year’s Hot Fuzz, the pressure was on to follow up in his next project with the same writing prowess that made that film so freakin’ good. The resulting film is Run Fatboy Run, a humorous, compact little flick which possesses a slightly different overall style than that of his previous works.

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Aside from keeping things organized around here, I am also obligated as the Editor to give you my picks for the Ten Best Films of the Year. So let’s do this thing!

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Though British, Hot Fuzz is part cheeky send-up of and part loving homage to the American action film.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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