I’ve returned from the big smoke. Holidays are great, but sometimes they are more exhausting before and after. You spend days preparing to leave on a holiday, and days catching up afterwards. I’m hip-deep in work and email.
Still, London was fun. Loads of good food, the occasional drink (ahem), great company, and a Chinese New Year parade with Lions and Dragons and Fans, oh my!
Martin and I went to Spamalot – the only musical Martin has ever expressed an interest in seeing. The best thing about the show is that it always errs on the side of silly. What’s funny about watching Spamalot is listening to the inhalation of anticipation as the audience guesses the next sketch. The first act is very funny, but much like the film, the second act is less rigorous and somewhat aimless at times. There are a couple of proper show-stopping numbers, and the cast is terrific. It’s well worth seeing, especially if you like Monty Python.
I also saw Hot Fuzz, the new British comedy from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (the boys you brought you Shaun of the Dead). Pegg plays Sergeant Nicholas Angel, an obsessive workaholic, who is so good at busting criminals that he makes his London colleagues look bad. So they ship him off to Sandford, a picturesque village in England’s heartland, which has a zero crime-rate. There he teams up with PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a gentle policeman who adores high-action American movies.
Angel’s finely tuned criminal radar is soon twitching in Sandford, especially after people start dying in strange “accidents”. He has a hard time convincing anyone that there’s anything sinister going on, but eventually he and Danny saddle up to take on the bad guys, Keanu Reeves-style.
What isn’t obvious from the trailers is that Hot Fuzz is an interesting mixture of genres. It’s a cop movie, with a strong dose of horror, and heaps of comedy. The comedy-horror mix works best, which was shown to grand effect in Shaun of the Dead. Mostly, Wright pulls off the over-the-top thriller set-pieces, but the section at the end lingered a little too much in a boyish joy of blowing shit up. It’s a minor quibble really. Pegg and Frost display excellent comedic timing, and never allow the tone to get too serious. The film is chock-full of movie references, which will keep the film geeks deliriously happy.
It’s a funny, entertaining movie, and it’s great to see a British writer-director team dominate the box office in the UK. I hope Pegg and Wright’s shoulders can bear the weight of expectation that is now heaped upon them.