Will Preston

Tag: Simon Pegg

If Seth Rogan was an alien

by on Mar.30, 2011, under Films, Review

I’m not sure if I like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost rubbing elbows and knees with all those Hollywood big shot types that much. Well done to the pair though, but they’re leaving a big hole in British television comedy that’s bound to get filled up with more shite starring James Corden. And no one needs that. What people do need are more programs like Spaced and a third big screen outing with Edgar Wright. But since Mr Wright also seems to be busy in America with the upcoming Tin Tin film and the (questionable) Nintendo wank that was Scott Pilgrim, we will have to keep an eye on Pegg and Frost for more comedy in the meantime.

I can almost picture him with a ginger afro

Paul, written by both Pegg and Frost, is their newest venture in America and features them mucking in with the Judd Apatow crowd. Ginger Candian meta-slacker Seth Rogan plays the voice of the films titular character, who ironically is best described as an alien playing Seth Rogan. Pegg and Frost are two nerds visiting Comic Con in America and doing a tour of the various UFO hotspots in a typical RV. The three meet up after a car accident on a long road in the middle of nowhere and thus an E.T.–esque escapade ensues with stock bad guys being provided by Jason Bateman and (bizarrely enough) Sigourney Weaver. Along the way to get Paul back to his mothership, Pegg has a close encounter with Kristen Wigg playing the role of a half blind bible basher, complete with gun toting redneck father to boot. Her theories on evolution and life outside the earth are rudely debunked with the appearance of a wise cracking alien emerging from the RV’s toilet. This leads to them kidnapping her, of course, in case she spills the beans about Paul.

Crappest Dalek impressions I've ever seen!

Bateman’s cold Agent Zoil is a bit of a far cry role from his usual repertoire of laid back characters that he’s better known for, but he pulls it off well, providing you will your disbelief to suspend that little bit harder. Zoil’s second in command agents include Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio, who are inept to the extent of acting like a couple of well dressed man children. The odd thing here is that in a previous film, Superbad, Hader and Rogen played a couple of childish police officers and now we have Hader reprising his role whilst Rogen swaps his role for their target. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes! The humour of the film feels closer to that of a Judd Apatow film than anything Pegg and Frost have ever done, but there are still some great lines that could have been deleted dialogue from Spaced. At times, it seems like some of it was ad libbed just right. However, the jokes don’t tend to go far past various sci fi references and typical laddish fart jokes, but it still provides as long as you’re comfortable with this. Some of the sci fi refrences in the film did surprise me quite a bit, showing that Pegg and Frost are extremely comfortable playing a pair of nerds whilst writing a film for nerds.

Paul is probably the most mainstream that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have been in since their work with Edgar Wright, but they haven’t run out of steam yet. Now could you guys please make the final film of the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy?!

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More cameos then you can shake a stiff at!

by on Nov.16, 2010, under Films, Review

Was it because Simon Pegg is in this film that made me rush out and see it. Well not quite rush, but it was either that or Red and me and my girlfriend were in a very indecisive mood. And Red was twenty minutes longer. One of the first things that got my attention to this film was the abundance of Scottish accents. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something pleasing to the ear about it. Don’t look at me like I’m weird.

In a time when Brown was fashionable

The second thing that got my attention was the amount of unexpected cameos popping up like welcome acne. But we’ll go through the cameos as we go along. It’s a black comedy based on the real life Nineteenth century grave robbers/murderers from Edinburgh, a bit of an odd topic for a comedy, but I do like my comedy’s to have some edge to them. The first person to pop up is comedian Bill Bailey setting the scene shortly before hanging someone. He’s the executioner by the way, not some random murderer.

Then we’re introduced to the titular characters (played by Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis), two Northern Irish con artists who are struggling to get by. It’s a typical underdog set up. Playing Hare’s alcoholic wife is Jessica Hynes (Daisy from Spaced) who was a very welcome face to see. They run a rented house where there are a couple of elderly men staying upstairs, one of which passes on minutes into the film. With no where to dump the body, Hare hears about the financial benefits of handing over stiffs to medical science. Dr. Robert Knox (Tom Wilkinson playing the films other real life character) is only too keen to take the recently departed man from them, leading Hare to talk him into a corpse for cash deal. Tim Curry pops up as Knox’s rival Dr Monroe who didn’t keep a consistent Scottish accent in places. But we’ll forgive him.

Ronnie Corbett holds off mob shocker!

The film goes through the montage of Burke and Hare trying to find the nearly dead before giving up and going into serial killing. It’s almost like a funny metaphor for drug addiction. A side story involves Isla Fisher as a feisty actress of whom Burke takes a fancy, but this goes along rather predictably and doesn’t really need much more said about it. Apart from the fact that Burke is revealed to be a virgin. I’ll try not to give you any more spoilers.

Along the way the following people pop up without warning: Sir Christopher Lee playing a war veteran, Ronnie Corbett as a military captain, as well as quick cameos from Reece Shearsmith, Paul Whitehouse and Michael Winner. On hindsight, I think I spent more time being entertained by the the cameos than the jokes. Not that the jokes were bad of course. There were plenty of laughs to be had. Some of them were a little obvious, though.

And since it’s on the subject of murder and body snatching, there are some pretty gruesome scenes. An amputation scene with Tim Curry brandishing a bone saw had a certain Mel Brooks quality to it, and some of the corpse scenes put me off my cinema nachos. The film’s end was a bit of a shock, but in a feel good way, leaving a feeling of harmony. But as I said, I won’t spoil it for you. One to rent, even if it’s just to see Michael Winner fall off a cliff.

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It’s a tale of two games, well more 80/20 than 50/50

by on Nov.09, 2010, under Review, Video Games

Me and Mr Molyneux have had a very weird relationship so far. Every time a new game is in the works at Lionhead Studios, he promises me the world and more as he playfully kisses my finger. Wanting all his promises to be true, I give a girlish giggle, blush and say that of course I’ll get excited about the new release. But by the time the game comes out, he never fulfilled all his promises. He’s already buggered off to work on the next project before I’ve had a chance to nag his ear off. But that’s the world of mainstream gaming for you. A lot of highly decorated disappointment. Not to say that he produces bad games. He produces fantastic games, but games not nearing their full potential.

Which brings us to Fable 3.

Clean cut prince

As you would remember, I was bloody excited about the new features you can do in the new Fable. Well, mainly the fact you can be a king, but we’ll get on to that later. A lot has changed in the gameplay since the last one. There is now no list style start menu (well there is one when pausing during a cut scene), instead you are transported to a sanctuary where all pause menu decisions are made by you moving your man around a few rooms. It’s brilliant. Mid battle, I pause, go into my sanctuary, move to the weapons rooms and browse my spell rack and other tid bits in a nicely decorated armoury. It’s a lot more fun than menu scrolling, but a bit off putting for first time users.

Also, there’s a lot of streamlining going on. The various different weapons have been mostly replaced with one type of sword/hammer/pistol//rifle. The idea behind this is that the weapon changes as you go through the game. It does, but the money and time spent buying and upgrading weapons has now gone. Something I rather enjoyed doing. Ah well. But the biggest change was one that really intrigued me; the main character and story. Previously, you were always a little gutter snipe enjoying life until something broke your equilibrium. Then you had to train to fight and vanquish a great evil blah blah blah. OK, the great evil is still there, but you’re now a prince. A prince who you can play as and can talk (a first in the series!). Your brother is an evil tyrant (Played by the Englishman from Inglorious Basterds) who is ruling Albion with dickish fist during the industrial age.

A steam punk subway station

That was another thing that appealed to me; the age of industry. Instead of always sticking the medieval set up, the series has moved nicely through different ages of England’s past. From running around peasant villages, I’m now running through built up smoggy factory towns. Brilliant. But back to the dickhead king. After a few alterations, you run away from the castle with your Butler (John Cleese) and your trainer, Sir Walter Beck (that king from Lord Of The Rings). It’s time for a revolution. It’s supposed to be a game of two halves, but the first half takes so much time, the second looks slightly tacked on at the last minute. It’s the usual Fable affair. Go through quests doing good or bad, do things on the side, buy property, build your skills, make pies. It’s up to you. The experience is now on one meter instead of four and you can only equip one spell at a time, but once you get a second spell gauntlet, you can cast combination spells. Another first for the series.

There’s nothing much else to say except that it’s business as usual from here on. There are some great side quests and the fighting has taken a few tips from Batman: Arkham Asylum. After discovering the new country of Aurora (a desert dwelling country), you are then shown your mission for the second halve of the game, but first, you need to vanquish your brother. You get to stage a revolution that has you fighting through the city streets until you claim the throne. Now this was the part that got me excited. Mr Molyneux made a few promises about city management, keeping the public happy, the consequences of leaving your place on the throne too much and family members being greedy. All lies.

But it’s still a good concept, just deflated. You have to prepare your country for war and are given 365 days to raise enough funds to keep Albion safe. But you’ve made promises to be a nice king at this point, so you constantly have to make money making decisions or decision that please your people and keep your promises. I decided to be a bloody nice king, but try to raise the funds; by property owning and pie making. Yes, I was such a skilled pie maker at this point that I was preparing crusts to fund the treasury . I couldn’t depend on the property income system of giving me money when the Xbox is turned off, so I had to work this time around.

Outrageous 'tash's aplenty in this game!

It kind of got me thinking that this would be funny in a real life situation; David Cameron doing manual labour or cooking in order to get the economy back on it’s knees. Maybe that’s where democracy is going wrong? But in the end, I decided to get as much property in and all the income went to the city treasury. By this point the year was nearly up and I had made mostly nice decision: not turning an orphanage in a brothel. Not cutting down trees for industry. Making sure people were safe. But I broke a few for money. It then made me realise that this is Mr Molynuex’s slightly disguised attempt to make the player understand all the difficult decisions he had to choose when making the game. In the end, the war came and I lost about 90% of my population; the remaining were very angry at me. That was the ending. What a cop out. It’s like spending 3 years in education then having a graduation ceremony behind the bike sheds.

Saying that though, I’m now going through the game again being as evil as I can. I can’t win can I? It’s a good game, but you will enjoy the experience more of you put your fingers in your ears every time Mr Molyneux starts talking about the plans he had for it. Because the man is a liar. A charming, intelligent, good game-making liar.

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