Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shit Just Got Real

Four years ago, after having just sat through Bad Boys II, I scrawled the following in the back of a notebook:

“Pure, unadulterated, could-have-been-made-ten-years-ago, big-screen madness. Extreme car chases, extreme shoot-outs, gratuitous foreign drug dealer accents, gratuitous swearing, deafening music, extreme gore and carnage, gratuitous nudity…it’s a pure distillation of the late 80s-early 90s action aesthetic, and I loved it like it was my first born child. And NO CGI!! Take that, you Matrix-loving bastards! Blowing shit up is much more pleasing than elaborate pixels jumping around in a soulless cinematic epileptic fit.”

Coming eight years after the original, absolutely no-one was eagerly awaiting this belated sequel to the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence buddy cop-movie. I certainly wasn’t. After a long summer choked by leaden FX-heavy misfires like Hulk (Don’t make it Ang Lee. We wouldn’t like it when it’s Ang Lee) and The Matrix Reloaded, I was just forcing myself to sit through the last of the summer 2003 blockbusters.

Critically reviled in all quarters, I was surprised and exhilarated by the delirious excesses of Bad Boys II. My friends all thought I’d finally lost my shit when I kept talking about how brilliant it was. Big-ass explosions will always defeat dodgy renderings of lumpen green monsters or the turgid pseudo-mysticism of Keanu Reeves.

For the last four years, I was convinced that I was the lone fan of the unfashionable Bad Boys sequel. Finally, Hot Fuzz has come along to prove that I was never alone. Just as Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost moulded Shaun of the Dead from their abiding love of the Romero zombie movies, Hot Fuzz is where they pledge an oath of fealty to the over-stylised, explodo-fests of Michael Bay and Tony Scott. And it is Great!

Cannily blending the milieu familiar from numerous sedate Sunday evening rural copper dramas with the all-star cast of a good Agatha Christie adaptation, Hot Fuzz plays with all the conventions of both the noisy American action movie and the gentle British portrayal of small-town police without once treating the story as mere pastiche. Simon Pegg is as terrifically impassive as the T-1000 as he chases after evildoers, and the oleaginous Timothy Dalton is wonderful. 2007 at the movies is shaping up pretty well so far. Bring the noise!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Buck Up

An apology is in order.

Glancing at the previous blog entry, I am stunned and disappointed to notice that I failed to make a glaringly obvious and reasonably amusing joke. I will rectify this oversight post haste.

I should, of course, have finished that post with the sentence: “Twiki gets a booty call”, or maybe even, “Now that’s a booty call!”

The fact that I was recovering from the ill effects of an evening of heavy drinking when I wrote that post is no excuse. It won’t happen again. I will endeavour to acknowledge every double entendre, no matter how puerile, from this point forwards.

I thank you for your patience and understanding at this difficult and joke-free time.

I will now go back to waiting for the postman to deliver my Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Season 1 DVD boxset, proving once and for all that inconsequential musings can and do lead to unnecessary expenditure. I can’t wait…

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Year is 1987

I know, I know. There have been interviews to attend, colds to endure, a day-job to suffer through and writing projects to wrestle with. But I’m back now.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the dying art of television opening title sequences. There’s nothing quite like devoting valuable brainspace to pop culture ephemera. It helps me relax.

As much as I admire the ominous minimalism of the Lost opening, with the lone word tilting, blurring and drifting away with a single noise crashing over the top of it, I miss the days when, in one rapidfire burst of sound and vision, you’d be handed the entire premise of the show.

There are many fine title sequences from the 70s and 80s, but one of my undisputed favourites has to be this: William Conrad’s gravely baritone gives you the backstory, as concentric circles scroll away delivering the good stuff: spaceships and phasers; alien women and small robots; and Erin Gray in white lycra, whilst a bombastic chunk of epic music tells you that you are About To Be Entertained. In just over a minute, nothing says “Here Come The Fun” quite as efficiently as the opening of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. And I can prove it. Look:

What ever happened to Gil Gerard anyway?

As a parting shot, I give you this – a moment of supreme oddness in a show that was full of them. Dumb, but undeniably Fun. Enjoy: