In case you’ve missed the steamroller cum snowball of perfectly polite hype that’s been building over the past few weeks, this week’s big film is The World’s End and that’s a reason to be cheerful.
Why? Because it reunites the fanboy mashup dream team of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright who are routinely described as ‘the gang behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz’ – which, to be fair, they are.
The set-up starts with a familiar slacker storyline, with Pegg the perennial adolescent who is determined to get his old gang back together to complete an epic pub crawl that they never quite managed as teenage tipplers 20 years before.
Everyone else, of course – Frost, together with Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan – have all grown up, taken on adult responsibilities and are no longer ready to drop everything for a massive booze-up.
But pestering Pegg persuades them to come on board, and it’s just as well – because it turns out that this motley crew is all that stands between humanity and its ultimate destruction.
Quite how that all comes about isn’t really important – it’s just the set-up that allows another turn around the ‘ordinary and slightly hopeless blokes have to confront extraordinary peril’ scenario complete with a goodly supply of jokes, all sorts of movie references and a tight and controlled story that rattles along to its conclusion.
While Shaun Of The Dead became a massive cult hit on the back of the realisation that Pegg and Frost pretty much were a pair of real life slacker manchildren given the chance to play with a movie and paying homage to their favourite flicks, that connection is harder to believe now that both are bona fide movie stars, not to mention movers and shakers on the British comedy scene.
But as a team they know not to fiddle with a winning formula or give in to grandiose ideas once they have a couple of hits under their belts. The World’s End is a solid, if not spectacular, comedy conclusion to what people keep calling the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy without, you would suspect, knowing why.
See what Simon Pegg had to say at the film’s premiere in our video report
Busy bee Nicolas Cage is back in front of the camera in The Frozen Ground, a serial killer thriller based on a true story in which our sleepy-eyed star is an Alaskan state trooper doing his level best to bring a crazed kook to justice, with the help of his only surviving victim
John Cusack, who is increasingly becoming flavour of the month for buttoned-down psychos, is the grade A baddy who abducts women, takes them off into the snowy wilderness and then hunts them down for sport. There’s some well-crafted tension and stunning scenery as well.