Fans of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," rejoice. The comedy of the summer - and perhaps even the year - has arrived in "The World's End."
The latest from the team behind "Shaun" and "Fuzz" - director Edgar Wright, who also serves as a co-writer with star Simon Pegg - is very smart with a lot of laughs. It's the most consistently funny comedy since "Ted."
Pegg plays Gary, a 40-year-old man still trying to relive the glory days of his youth. Gary convinces his four friends (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Martin Freeman) to join him on a quest that the group didn't finish 20 years earlier - a one-night binge through 12 hometown pubs.
The drunken binge becomes more than just an awkward reunion when the friends discover that their hometown has been taken over by robot aliens intent on taking over the world.
"World's End" plays better than the previous two films, with a script that's borderline brilliant in the way it pieces together raunchy comedy with the disaster genre.
It takes what "This Is the End" did earlier this summer and raises it to another level, with some laugh-out-loud throwaway lines as well as some very clever visual gags.
The cast is perfect, with actors like Marsan - better known for his dramatic work - showing some keen comedic flair.
Pegg holds it all together, going all-in as the man-child who may be mankind's last hope for survival. It's a take-no-prisoners kind of performance that may turn off some, but I found to be quite entertaining - much like the rest of the film, which should please fans of "Shaun" and "Fuzz," as well as win over those who might not be familiar with the previous films.
Also in theaters
Another quality release that arrived in Bowling Green this weekend is "Blue Jasmine" (B+), the latest from Woody Allen. It's another solid piece of filmmaking from the Academy Award-winning director, drawing strength from Allen's taut script and an Oscar-worthy performance by Cate Blanchett.
Blanchett plays Jasmine, a New York socialite whose seemingly perfect life has come unraveled after her husband (Alec Baldwin) is arrested for fraudulent business tactics and commits suicide in prison.
Broke and with no one else to turn to, Jasmine heads to San Francisco to reunite with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), one of the people from whom Jasmine's ex-husband swindled money.
There are some interesting dynamics in play with this sibling relationship that Allen explores in a fascinating manner. Allen the director wisely opts not to reveal the entire backstory right away, using flashbacks to slowly give the audience pieces of the puzzle before pulling the rug out from under everyone with one final twist.
Like most Allen films, this one has strong performances throughout the talented cast.
Hawkins is very good as the sad sack sister, while Baldwin delivers the perfect blend of charm and sleaze. Comedians Andrew Dice Clay and Louis C.K. also impress in dramatic roles that are far from what fans are accustomed to seeing from the two.
But it's Blanchett who shines the most in "Blue Jasmine," playing a character who's not a very good person, but fascinating nonetheless. You can see that Jasmine is an emotional time bomb, about to go off at any moment, which creates some uncomfortable tension.
This may be Blanchett's best performance of her career in a film that is one of Allen's better works in recent memory.
"Blue Jasmine" is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content and is now playing at the Regal Bowling Green Stadium 12.
-- To get sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton's thoughts on all things movies, visit his blog at mcompton.wordpress.com or his Twitter page at twitter.com/mcompton428. You can email him at email@example.com.
Credit: By MICHEAL COMPTON The Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org 783-3247
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