Tag Archives: Martin Freeman

Cargo (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Cargo

Directors: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke
Writer: Yolanda Ramke
Stars: Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter

Why I Watched It: This is a Netflix original so of course I saw the trailer on Netflix and it’s genre so I gave it a go.

Random Thoughts: One thing you have to give film makers credit for they do know how to twist a genre, now you would think the zombie genre is pretty much done that there’s nothing new to say or do but you’d be wrong cause there’s always a new angle now whether or not this is done well is up to the audience but I will give the Cargo credit here they try, a different plot and setting, so they get points for trying at least.

What I like: Cargo takes the zombie movie and they had a ticking clock to it, it’s very clever making it not about you yourself surviving cause you won’t but making it about can I find someone that I can trust to raise my baby before I turn.  That’s a hook and not only a horror hook but a human one and really as much as Cargo is about zombies it’s also about surviving and about being a parent and the first thing you learn when you become a parent is that you’re not the most important person in the world anymore.  The instant you become a parent you sign on to look after and take care of that child even if that means you have to sacrifice yourself.  Cargo is very effective at showing us that bond and really that responsibility.  They also take a premise where the lead character is going to die in 48 hours and not make it sad or morbid but turn it into a race against time.

Martin Freeman carries the film, he’s pretty much in every scene and also a lot of the time it’shim carrying a baby, it really helps that Freeman is a likable actor and you follow and cheer for him and give him all the credit cause he makes us not feel sorry for him but fear for his baby, he’s very good in a quiet role.

The other thing Cargo does that’s a tad different is that this is filmed in Australia and it’s outback so the film looks amazing even though we have zombies running, or slowing walking, around.  It’s not a crowded city it’s sparse and lovely to look at which of course makes it a bit scarier.

If you look at it another way this film is also a road trip movie, a sad horrific one but this man is on the road meets different people and the twist is he doesn’t have an end spot to reach but he’s looking for one of these people he meets on the way to trust with something more about than his own life.

What I Didn’t Like: This is a slow moving film, for a zombie movie it’s filmed like an art house movie, the pace is very slow at the beginning and I really do think it runs long and it does hurt the whole ticking clock plot the slow pace takes tension and energy away from the film and also at times it’s bit boring.  If you cut 10-15 minutes I think you would have a better more effective film.

Cargo does something that I have to say I’m sick of it’s a cliche that way too many films use, the human villain in a story where you also have a supernatural or horror creature villain, in a film where you have zombies why do we have to have a “bad guy” who’s only purpose is to be evil and try to stop the hero,  also my problem with this kind of character is that it’s almost never defined they’re not a person there a plot point and Cargo does this and it did bother me nothing against the Anthony Hayes who does his best but he’splaying a big ball of hate and really I didn’t need it and really take him out and the main plot still works very well.

Cargo also has the problem that we know going in this film is going to have a downbeat ending and yes it really does.  I do find it hard watching a character and trying to invest in them knowing full well they won’t make it, it’s like playing a game you know before you start you won’t win, not that the film can’t be good but it does kind of eat at me while I’m watching.

Final Thoughts: It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it does try something different and even though it doesn’t completely work it’s a solid genre movie and it does have a good Martin Freeman performance.

Rating: 6/10

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The World’s End (2013) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

WORLDS END

Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg,  Edgar Wright
Stars: Simon Pegg,  Nick Frost,  Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan

“The World’s End” is about Five friends Gary King (Pegg), Andy Knightley (Frost, Oliver Chamberlain (Freeman), Steven Prince (Considine) and Peter Page (Marsan) who reunite (or tricked into reuniting by Gary) in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from twenty years earlier unwittingly become humanity’s only hope for survival.

“The World’s End” was the concluding film to the infamous “Corneto Trilogy”. On its release it had been 9 years since “Shaun of the Dead” and 6 years since “Hot Fuzz” and the audiences anticipation was high and I don’t mind admitting it, but at the time of watching this at the time I was a left a little underwhelmed. In fact, this review may have been a lot different if I was basing this on my first experience of watching this movie. I decided to go back and watch the movie this week and I have to say that my experience this time around was surprisingly enjoyable.

Whilst I’m admitting stuff here I confess of making the cardinal sin of “expecting” this part of the trilogy to top both “Shaun” and “Fuzz” and this is where my first time viewing destroyed my expectations. How could any Edgar Wright movie (at the time) top his previous two? What was I thinking? Anyway……..

“The Five Musketeers” head for Newton Haven, a small town where the five friends grew up, moved on and never gave the town a second thought. Well apart from Gary a a 40-year old man trapped in the mindset of his teenage years, who drags his reluctant four other friends to attempt to reach the pub, The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present. Until a shocking truth is uncovered whilst Gary has a fight with a teenager in the toilets of one of the pubs. The five realise that there is more going on in their old stomping ground than they initially realised.

One of the things I enjoy about this movie is the parts both Pegg and Frost play. In “Shaun” both of them portrayed losers. In “Fuzz” Pegg portrays a career driven serious character up against Frost’s bumbling and slobbish PC Danny Butterman. In this movie Frost finally plays the straight man, the business man and to a point the sensible man up against Pegg’s gormless, immature and relentless Gary. When you back these characters up with the excellent supporting roles played by Freeman, Considine and Marsan you know the banter between them is going to be “a fried slice of gold”

The character’s are quite fleshed out early on and the script allows the audience to understand the insight to all five characters without the storyline being bogged down or losing its way. The other thing about Edgar Wright films is watching out for cameos throughout the movie that will always have been related to past projects by the director and it’s always nice to see that he is willing to use them and I assume the actors themselves are equally willing to appear no matter how brief their appearance may be.

With the movie being 4 years old now I will have divulge in some spoilers (so if you haven’t watched this movie yet it may be an idea to stop reading now) to allow my view and opinion on some of the scenes that may have to reveal certain aspects of the film.

I mentioned the toilet scene earlier and briefly. This scene to me is the Mark of a great director and again just like previously from Wright he can take any scenario and make it look like an action packed adrenaline rush sequence……yes even in the Gents loo. The fighting sequences and the reveal to me on first viewing was actually of shock when the teenagers Head was smashed against the urinal by Gary only for the head to explode and all this blue dye spraying everywhere. What had just happened?

What had just happened in fact was the key plot point. Personally I would have just have enjoyed a movie about these five guys on a pub crawl and that would have satisfied me to an extent but here we had a situation and more importantly a gamble by the writers (Wright and Pegg) on whether an invasion by blue dyed robots posing as regular people would go down well. Well did it? Well for me on first time viewing as I explored earlier although the initial reveal was surprising and shocking there was another hour of this movie to go and I was concerned that the storyline peaked too early.

Watching this again I realised that the script for the second half of the movie was as consistent as the first half and it was my expectation back in 2013 that soured my outlook on the movie initially and nothing else. “The World’s End” is a good movie. Not as great as “Shaun of the Dead” or as interesting as “Hot Fuzz” but still strong enough with a great cast having a good script. The Direction for the movie was always going to carry it regardless and with a 1990’s “indie” soundtrack, audiences of a certain age (my age) will enjoy reliving their youth (much as Gary King did in this film) “The World’s End” was always going to be up against it billing it as part of that trilogy and perhaps that affected it slightly with its expectations. If you haven’t watched it yet I recommend you do, just don’t go into it the way I did back in 2013. Instead, do what I did last week and just enjoy a two hour film that will make you laugh.

Hot Fuzz (2007) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

HOT FUZZ

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

With Edgar Wright’s upcoming “Baby Driver” hitting our screens I felt it was time for a “Movie Burner Retro Review” and what a way to kick the season of retro reviews off than 2007’s “Hot Fuzz” yes that right TEN years ago Edgar Wright treated us all to the second instalment of “The Corneto Trilogy” and it didn’t disappoint.

Top London Police Officer Nicholas Angel is the best of the rest in his line of duty, in fact he’s that good he is making the rest of the force look inefficient. As a result he is being reassigned to a quiet village that goes by the name of Sandford without a say. The opening scene in this situation is very well played out as we are first introduced to Angel’s direct superior the MET Sergeant played by Martin Freeman. Unsatisfied with the direct order Angel request to speak to a higher authority in Metropolitan Police Inspector played by Steve Coogan who supports his colleague the MET Sergeant that it would be good for Angel to take a step back. Still not taking the news well Angel demands to speak to the  Met Chief Inspector (Bill Nighy) who again feels it’s time for a change of scenery for Nicholas.

After the success of Shaun of the Dead it was always going to be a difficult task equalling or surpassing on its indirect follow up. Never the less with this success meant Hot Fuzz might just have a few cameos from actors who are fans of Wright, Pegg and Frost who have been a successful formula since the days of Spaced (1999) I didn’t know this at the time but in the very first few moments of the film there are cameos by Peter Jackson and Cate Blanchett which you can work out by yourself where they appear and as previously mentioned it was nice and unique to see four comedy legends in the one scene in Pegg, Coogan, Freeman and Nighy.

Angel is paired up with Danny Butterman (Frost), who endlessly quizzes Angel on the action lifestyle in LON DON. Frost although plays the more comedic character in “Hot Fuzz” he also shines as the story unfolds and becomes the unlikely hero. Just as Danny is in awe of the City Cop, Angel finds adjusting to country life at first a struggle and his by the book approach ruffles some feathers amongst the village folk. It isn’t until two actors from the local theatre workshop who Angel watched perform the night before are found decapitated in their convertible (look out for David Threlfall as Martin Blower) . It is assumed the incident is a traffic accident, but Angel isn’t going to accept that theory, especially when more and more people are turning up dead.

Hot Fuzz is obviously influenced by American action films and in particular Cop action films. Wright and Pegg don’t just simply spoof these films but draw inspiration from them and honour some of the scenes (scene for scene) from movies like Point Break and Bad Boys II. Strangely, although set in an English Country Village “Hot Fuzz” is precisely in line with some of the American mainstream action adventure with the way it’s shot, the music and the action are all very impressive for a low budget movie.

Simon Pegg’s performance as Nicholas Angel is so well developed as a self assured, confident and a workaholic Police Officer it is a work of genius. Pegg’s character is such a far cry from the bumbling Shaun in Shaun of the Dead. In fact it’s Nick Frost’s Danny who picks up the mantle of that role in Hot Fuzz.

One surprise performance and you may say “comeback” at the time is from former Bond star Timothy Dalton who stars as Simon Skinner the manager of the local Supermarket. Dalton surprisingly is credible as a comic actor in the movie and delivers some funny lines and for me is one of the movie’s highlights. Looking back over the last ten years since this movie’s release it is rather disappointing that Dalton’s performance and role didn’t catapult a second wind in his career with more similar roles but nonetheless I think he can look back on his role as Skinner with some pride.

As I previously mentioned the cameos are always nice to spot in the movie and give you a real joy an excitement the first time you watch the movie but you can’t help commend the casting of Hot Fuzz and in particular the supporting cast of Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Kevin Eldon, Billie Whitelaw, Bill Bailey, Rafe Spall and the brilliant Olivia Colman. The filmmakers really pull out all the stops and they all have ample time on screen to make an impact and considerable presence.

The direction by Edgar Wright again effectively captures the feel of the type of film and he leaves his fast paced visuals and comedy stamp on this fine film. The cinematography and editing are what make Hot Fuzz enjoyable to watch visually and with an excellent soundtrack that most Hollywood filmmakers would be jealous of really sets the scene in particularly the legendary Kinks “Village Green Preservation Society” giving us a musical landscape over the village of Sandford.

Hot Fuzz is a unique hybrid film that actually works because of the acting, because of the writing, because of the directing and although many might see it not as good as Shaun of the Dead it has to be said that it shouldn’t be compared to that in the first place. Sadly though people will because of its part of a trilogy of films that naturally people will compare to with the previous. I have already been guilty of that with the final instalment of “The Cornetto Trilogy” in viewing 2013’s “The World’s End” which I will leave for another day.