Simon Pegg

Reality is a bummer, and so is this movie  

Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) enters the Oasis via his virtual reality gear. 

Let me start this review with a caveat, since I know there are a lot of die hard fans out there of Ernest Cline’s 2011 sci-fi book Ready Player One, on which director Steven Spielberg’s new movie is based: I have not read the book. So if you’re looking for a detailed synopsis of how the movie is different from the book, you may as well click off Spinning Platters right now and search for a different review. That said, however, I did attend the screening with a friend who had read the book, and he let me know that much of the film’s plot differs dramatically from Cline’s story; he also opined that he thought a lot of the book’s charm was lost on screen. But that’s where I come in: to discuss a.) what, exactly, is on screen; and b.) to tell you if it’s worth your time and money. And the short answers are: a.) not much of interest, and b.) no.
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Rogue Nation keeps the pedal to the metal to deliver exhilarating action, while losing some of its franchise identity.

Basically a much better version of Mission:Impossible 2.

Basically a much better version of Mission:Impossible 2.

‘Ready or not, here I come.’ No, I’m not just quoting the classic song by The Fugees remixed for the M:I5 trailer. I’m saying this because its how the near 20 year old franchise is approaching audiences today, July 31st 2015. With so many action films coming out these days (many of which are quite sub-par), it’s hard to get super excited for another one, nevermind a fifth entry in a franchise. But here’s the thing—the folks behind Mission:Impossible-Rogue Nation know they’re delivering something better than the rest (or most of the rest). After the first ten minutes of Rogue Nation, you’ll realize how much the marketing of the movie has duped you, but in the best way possible. Director Christopher McQuarrie has created a smart action flick so loud and ridiculous that it’s hard to catch your breath. But although Rogue Nation delivers the smarts and the thrills, it doesn’t stick to the formula that has separated (and benefited) the Mission:Impossible franchise from the rest of the spy pack. While no one was saying that the Mission:Impossible franchise was dead, especially after a $209 mil domestic box office take with 2011’s Ghost Protocol, each new installment is met with speculation whether this will be the final outing or not. Rogue Nation all but directly acknowledges this speculation when Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt says, “This may very well be our last mission. Let’s make it count…” Ha! We all know you’ll be back! I’ll put all the speculation to rest—it’s not the final outing. Rogue Nation is as energetic and exhilarating as the franchise has ever been while at the top of its game.

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Pegg’s performance is high point of mostly unoriginal travel tale

Hector (Simon Pegg) tries to find happiness in China... will he succeed!?

Hector (Simon Pegg) tries to find happiness in China… will he succeed!?

Hector and the Search for Happiness is a curious movie. Based on the trailer alone, you might think you’re in for a lighthearted, feel-good, seize-the-day picture, wherein the lead character Learns and Grows by ditching his staid life in search of adventure, à la Eat, Pray, Love or last year’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. But the surprising thing about director Peter Chelsom’s film, based on a popular French novel by François Lelord, is that while it certainly contains its fair share of clichés and groan-inducing scenes, it is both darker and more sensitive than you might expect. [read the whole post]

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Maybe we can get a fourth movie in this trilogy if we ask nicely.

Maybe we can get a fourth movie in this trilogy if we ask nicely.

Tomorrow sees the U.S. release of The World’s End, the third film in a so-called trilogy of films from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting around a table with a group of San Francisco film writers to talk with them for a few minutes. Those few minutes became a lot more minutes, as once they started talking, they had a lot to say. Part one of this two-part interview will touch on subjects such as traveling to England, Raising Arizona, and putting peanuts in a log. Come back tomorrow for part two of this interview, and a review of the movie as well.

You mentioned during a post-film Q&A that you wanted to show parts of England that weren’t London, but then these parts of England that aren’t London have zombies, they have murderers, they have what we see in this movie …

Edgar Wright: Which is basically saying “Don’t go to England.” [read the whole post]

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Simon Pegg and John Cho, reprising their roles as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott and Hikaru Sulu respectively in the newest chapter of the Star Trek film franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness, sat down with a few members of online press outlets to answer a few questions.  Dressed in casual clothing and beaming with smiles, the two actors couldn’t be more welcoming and polite.  We sat around a tiny circular table and jumped right into it…

J.J. Abrams is a huge fan of the Star Trek franchise, how does the fact that he’s such a big fan of both the Star Trek films and the original TV series translate into the fact that he’s making the new franchise…with this film especially?

Simon Pegg: I don’t think he was.  I think he was more of a Star Wars fan growing up.

John Cho: Yeah.

Simon Pegg: And I think he came to Star Trek as somewhat of an outsider…

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Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Chris Pine in Star Trek Into Darkness

Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Chris Pine in Star Trek Into Darkness

In 2009, J.J. Abrams jumpstarted a dulling Star Trek franchise by instilling youthful energy and adrenaline into a familiar cast of characters.  The universe was the “same” but the feel was different.  It was shinier and faster paced, and took advantage of modern computer technology to produce visual effects in a way that the original Star Trek series may have dreamed of but never could harness.  But the most powerful weapon 2009’s Star Trek wielded was a solid origin story that balanced the needs of the salivating Trekkies with the cinematic desires of general audiences.  It was fresh and fun, familiar yet new.  With Star Trek Into Darkness, the formula remains unchanged.  At its heart lies a refurbished story that is uniquely enjoyable, complete with a sly tip of the hat to its franchise predecessors.  But there are a few J.J. Abrams specialties and stellar performances that make this generally risk-averse Star Trek film the most entertaining one to date.  (I suspect I may pay for that proclamation.)

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Film Reviews: “War Horse” / “The Adventures of Tintin”

December 23, 2011

War Horse starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston, David Kross, David Thewlis written by: Lee Hall and Richard Curtis directed by: Steven Spielberg MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence. The Adventures of Tintin starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost written by: Steven Moffat, Edgar […]

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Film Review: “Paul”

March 18, 2011

starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Blythe Danner, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Lynch, David Koechler, Jesse Plemons, John Carroll Lynch, and the voice of Seth Rogen directed by: Greg Mottola written by: Nick Frost and Simon Pegg MPAA: Rated R for language including sexual references, and […]

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