Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…
I Declare War
This indie genre movie from Canada is like Son of Rambow meets Platoon. I Declare War centres on two groups of young kids playing an elaborate game of capture the flag in some woods near their neighbourhood. The twist, however, is that we get to see the war game through their eyes, as all their crude toy weapons transform into real guns in their hands and their imaginations run wild. What I loved most about I Declare War is how it played everything straight, following all the best tropes and cliches of the war movie genre, but turning everything on its head by featuring a cast of children. This move also gives the film some really interesting meta-text by implying, but never stating, that real war is just an extension of these war games that people play as children. The cast of kids is awesome, in particular Gage Munroe as the legendary tactician General PK. If you like any kind of war movie as well as subversive and risky cinema, or if you were ever a young boy, I highly recommend I Declare War.
4 out of 5
This Is The End
The most meta of the end-of-the-world comedy trend of 2012-2013, This Is The End sees most of the Judd Apatow gang, including Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, and James Franco, playing highly exaggerated parody versions of themselves as the biblical apocalypse hits earth. The film was clearly made on a low budget, as it’s set primarily in James Franco’s fortress-like mansion, and most of the scenes are just the guys improvising with each other. This works to the movie’s benefit, though, as the jokes are fast and frequent, and there aren’t any moments where things start to drag. The real standout in this movie is Danny McBride, playing a truly despicable version of himself, and he steals just about every scene that he’s in. The verbal showdown between him and James Franco arguing about acceptable post-apocalyptic masturbation etiquette is side-splittingly funny. All in all, I had a great time with This Is The End, even if the film is a bit disjointed in terms of its plot arc. Perhaps the only thing keeping me from truly loving this movie is that fact that it’s obvious that no one will find it nearly as funny as the cast and the filmmakers.
4 out of 5
The World’s End
The final chapter in the tenuously-connected “Three Flavours Cornetto” trilogy from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, delivers everything I wanted and even more. Choosing a favourite film in a trilogy containing the likes of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz would be like choosing a favourite child, and I’m still trying to process how I would rank these three movies, but The World’s End is absolutely terrific, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. In fact, even though I’ve made the comparison myself, I feel like comparing The World’s End to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz only does it a disservice, because while those films were genre parodies (as well as brilliant homages to their respective genres), The World’s End isn’t lampooning anything. It does its own thing, and gives us a story that starts with a hook that I absolutely adore: what if a pub crawl with your chums turned into a fight to stop an alien invasion? As with all Edgar Wright films, The World’s End is full of cool little easter eggs that reward repeat viewings, and with each subsequent watch I found myself loving the movie more and more. It’s great to see Simon Pegg and Nick Frost swapping roles from their usual dynamic, with Pegg playing the screw-up slacker this time around and Frost playing the straight man. Add to all of this a kickass cast (including several Spaced cameos for the fans), a killer soundtrack, and by far the best ending of any of Edgar Wright’s films, and you’ve got a brilliant concluding instalment to one of the best film trilogies ever. I loved The World’s End. Now let’s all go for a pint.
4.5 out of 5
See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!