READY PLAYER ONE: a skeptic’s approach

Deconstructing the myth
Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Such is Spielberg’s draw that even film lovers with little interest in dystopia or sci-fi hesitate only a couple of days before dutifully making their way to the nearest movie theater. So, does it deserve the praise? Not really. Special CGI-enhanced effects, spectacular as they are, pall after a while and become repetitive although to the end there are lovely surprising images such as the disco ... more >

MAN UP, a tragicomedy of hazardous romantic connections

[Big Talk Productions / Studiocanal]
Stars Lake Bell and Simon Pegg
Directed by Ben Palmer

When you have a film that boasts the comedic talents of Lake Bell and Simon Pegg nothing can go wrong. In MAN UP, Lake Bell is Nancy, a woman who is a master of words but less skillful in love. When Nancy is accidentally mistaken by Jack (played by Simon Pegg) to be his blind date, she decides to be impulsive for once and just go along with it. What follows is a hilarious, rollicking romp of ... more >

The World’s End

[Big Talk Productions]
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Paddy Considine
Directed by Edgar Wright

I dressed like that. In college more so than high-school. Black trench coat (but mine was brown). Black slacks. Doc Martens. I never owned that Sisters of Mercy T-shirt, but I did own the album with that cover. That was Gary King’s wardrobe on the last day of high-school in 1990, the day he and four friends started (but didn’t finish) a legendary twelve-pub crawl in their English hometown. ... more >

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

The franchise is safe: Ghost Protocol delivers the goods
Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton
Directed by Brad Bird

I am a sucker for spy movies. Whether it is the Bourne series, the revitalized Bond series or the Mission: Impossible series, and even though I have a love/hate relationship with the latter. The first one was really good with a lot of double-crossing and excellent action, but the second one was a train-wreck, from the script to John Woo’s over-the-top directing. And J.J. Abrams’s third film got ... more >


E.T. phone Comedy Central
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen
Directed by Greg Mottola

“Paul” is another alien movie that feels like ET just phoned it in from home. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz) play Graeme and Clive, two British comic book geeks who decide to go on a tour of America’s famous alien tourist spots (think area 51). They come face to face with the real thing when they meet Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), a little green alien who escaped from a government lab and ... more >

How to lose friends and alienate people

Faux-pas elevated to art-form level
Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst and Megan Fox
Directed by Robert B. Weide

How does such a proven genre-deflater as Simon Pegg fall into such conventional quicksand? Pegg undid the undead in the zombie film parody Shaun of the Dead. He uncuffed the cop action blowout in Hot Fuzz. So what happens when he tries to de-celebrate the celebrity culture in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People? Nothing quite so deflating. Which is deflating for the audience. While it has ... more >