Back to Archives

\"Hot Fuzz,\" \"Vacancy\" and more

What\'s opening this Friday

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon


David and Amy (Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale), a couple awaiting their final divorce papers, check into a deserted roadside motel against their better judgment.  Creepy manager Mason (Frank Whaley) sets them up in the “honeymoon suite,” complete with a TV set that plays snuff films featuring masked men torturing motel guests staying in the very room they’ve checked into.  The couple quickly figures out Mason is the mastermind, and a deadly game of cat-and-mouse begins.  Director Nimrod Antal is skilled in his ability to keep the action moving at a reasonable pace, and the Hitchcockian opening title sequence makes us think we’re going to see a first-rate psychological thriller.  Instead we get third-rate shlock with some legitimate scary moments but no insight into the motivation behind Mason’s psychosis. Rated R for brutal violence and terror, brief nudity and language. Two Stars – Teresa Budasi

In The Land of Women

“In the Land of Women” is to Michigan what “Garden State” was to New Jersey — a smart and bittersweet romantic comedy about a twentysomething who reaches an early-life crisis, returns home from Los Angeles, and deals with depression, death and an unexpected romance.  All of it set to a whimsical, killer hipster soundtrack.  Starring Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, Meg Ryan and Olympia Dukakis. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, thematic elements and language. Three Stars – Richard Roeper

Hot Fuzz

 Trim, efficient and humorless Nicholas Angel, the most accomplished cop in London, thought he was doing everything right.  He graduated at the top of his class with a double first, has a trunkful of commendations, and his arrest rate is the best the department has ever seen. 

Angel’s so good, he’s making everyone else look bad.  So it’s time for a promotion to sergeant.  But there’s a catch.  Against his wishes, the promotion includes a transfer to Sandford, a sleepy village in Gloucestershire, where a frustrated Angel discovers marauding swans and a mumbling old coot trimming an angry neighbor’s hedges are the only “criminal” challenges this town has to offer.  But are things really as copasetic as they seem at first sight? 

This is the basic premise that drives “Hot Fuzz,” the latest film from director Edgar Wright, who had a hit in 2004 with the zombie-infested spoof “Shaun of the Dead.”  This time around, Wright takes on those very British mysteries loved by the BBC and the shoot-‘em-up buddy cop movies loved by American moviegoers.  The straight-faced spoof is really quite funny, if you can get beyond the graphic gore and mind-numbing final 30 minutes. 

The middle of the film coalesces into a pretty solid, if wacky, buddy movie, when Angel (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the script with Wright) meets his cheerfully chubby partner, Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a cop-movie buff who lives in thrall of movies such as “Point Blank” and “Bad Boys.”  They are a mismatched pair made in comedic heaven. 

Sandford is full of British country types, as Angel discovers after being greeted by the town’s neighborhood watch committee.  Nothing changes in this sleepy community (the running gags are hysterical), and the residents like it just the way it is.  When one of those “living statue” performers sets up shop in the town square, they plot to scare him away. 

When a series of grizzly murders rocks the quiet village, Angel’s cop instincts go into overdrive.  If only he could get his short-sighted fellow officers, including two dim-wit detectives (“accidents happen”), to join him in his sleuthing.  There’s a dark secret harbored in this idyllic setting, and he’s determined to unearth it. 

“Hot Fuzz” has many problems; it’s predictable, overdramatic, and Wright pulverizes a good idea to death in the last quarter of the film, with a bloody showdown that goes on forever. 

Unlike “Shaun,” which hit its targets with a gleeful perfection, “Hot Fuzz” doesn’t know when to quit.  Without eliminating the laugh-out-loud moments and necessary action, 20 minutes could easily be shaved off the two-hour running time. 

Rated R for violent content, HH1/2 – Mary Houlihan

comments powered by Disqus