aiyume: (Default)
( Apr. 11th, 2007 12:10 am)
Hot Fuzz - a new comedy by the team that brought you Shaun of the Dead

I got to see an advance showing of Hot Fuzz tonight with [profile] brigideire. First, I will try to get away with giving less spoilers than some of the previews and TV spots do. They are trying to show the funniest bits of the film, but there is an actual plot thing going on as well, and it's fun to watch it unfold. So my first advice is to try to avoid the trailers. Second, I know a lot of people are going to compare this to Shaun of the Dead because it's made by the same people, so instead of avoiding that, I'm going to address it directly. If you're thinking "Well, I liked Shaun, but will I really like a cop movie, even as a comedy?" the answer is "Hell yeah!"

This movie is a comedy first, at least as good as Shaun. The movie isn't the visual joke-fest of American films such as Airplane!, but visual humor... er... excuse me... humour is used effectively. The timing is sharp and and the only complaint is the usual one of the audience laughing over the line after a joke. The plot isn't deep, but is enough to sustain the movie's 2 hour running time. Also expect some blood. Um... Actually, expect lots of blood at appropriate places. Not Kill Bill amounts, but enough to add to some shocking murders. ...Which frankly, got some laughs as well as groans from the audience.

Timothy Dalton makes a nice sleazy grocery store owner, and other performances were spot on, too. References to other cop films abound, but they aren't necessary to follow the plot or the humour.

If you hated Shaun of the Dead (and I'm not sure why you'd be reading my LJ if you do, though I suppose it's conceivable), then you can miss this one. Otherwise, get your ass into the theater and prepare to laugh it off.
THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED
Rating... none; for adults only

Documentary film-maker Kirby Dick (director of Twist of Faith) sets out to discover who the members of the MPAA ratings board are and how they make the decisions they do. It starts off with censored scenes of some well-known and some controversial movies intermixed with the credits. Interviews with directors, producers, actors, critics, attorneys, and authors give a mix of personal experience and give depth to the effect this secret board has on movies and society at large.

After a quick and humorous overview of what the various ratings mean, the movie explores some of its themes. Why do movies get rated the way they do? Why does one movie get a PG-13 instead of an R? An NC-17 instead of an R? What kind of people make up this “board of ordinary parents” that Jack Valenti created in 1968? Who controls the major studios and what is their connection to the MPAA?

The film investigates some of the claims made by Mr. Valenti and the MPAA, including the statement that they are more likely to give a film a higher rating for violence than for sexual content. Other claims include that the names of MPAA members are kept secret to keep them free from “influence”, and that all members are parents of children from 5 to 17 years old.

Next Kirby hires some private detectives to try to discover the identities of people in the MPAA. The names of ratings board and appeals board members are kept secret, make it one of the only (if not “the only”) supposedly “public” services that has no accountability in its membership.

Toward the end of the movie, they go through the process of getting This Film rated. Given that they are showing examples of sexual content and violence both, it's no real surprise that it comes back NC-17. The head of the ratings board admits there isn't much that can be done to change the movie, and that he's free to resubmit it, but it probably won't help. She never gives any actual guidelines and independent filmmakers in general have to guess based on previous ratings what might be wrong.

From there they go through the appeals process. Even standing in front of them, no one will identify who they are. Unlike any other appeals process, you cannot know the names of the people you are appealing to. After yelling at Kirby, they take a vote and unanimously (and anonymously) uphold the decision of the ratings board.

Bottom line: Great film. It's edited to not only give you information, but also a thrill every time the private detectives find a clue. Crosses the line of documentary into investigative journalism. If you love movies, you should see this film. Given some of the titles of the people at the MPAA, it will be amazing if this film lasts very long at the theater. Even so, as NetFlix and IFC have signed on to this venture, it should be available on TV and as a rental.
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