We love animation, but there are a lot of other movies out there. Now Playing features brief mostly spoiler free critiques of current non-animated films that you can feel safe reading before heading out to the theatre.

The World’s End

tweposterAfter Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the third film in the not-quite-a-trilogy Cornetto trilogy from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost is The World’s End. But other than sharing the same creatives (and a love of a certain brand of ice cream), none of the films are really connected, so newcomers can start with this one with no worries.

Gary King’s life hasn’t exactly gone as expected after the glory days of his teenage years. Now a couple of decades later he’s decided to track down his old friends and try to do something they started as youth but didn’t finish — hitting twelve pubs for a drink in one night. Unlike Gary though, his friends have grown up. But they’re not the only ones who have changed. Something about their old home town is very different now.

Fans of the Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are going to love this one as well. If you haven’t seen any of them though, it will depend on whether you like their style of dark comedy or not. Unlike typical Hollywood fare, there are no promises of happy endings or character arcs where lessons are learned and lives changed for the better.

Simon Pegg has proven himself to be an amazing actor just in these three movies alone. Each role very different from the others, but all played with not only a unique comedic wit, but a real emotional sincerity as well. When the writing is this good, that may be easy. For a funny sci-fi movie about a pub crawl, there’s a lot of depth under the surface. Take out all the the bar fights and robot school girls and this would almost be a chick flick about men!

August 23, 2013
109 mins / rated R
directed by Edgar Wright

Kick-Ass 2

While it’s great to see these characters (and their new friends) again, something that made the original film so great is missing from this one. The first film took the superhero genre and subverted it by turning average Joe’s into average wannabe heroes trying to do the right thing in an ordinary world against real bad guys. But in the followup, they’ve embraced the over-the-top style of comic books and made the characters into preternatural heroes with tragic backstories who do amazing things against exceptionally powerful villains. If that’s what we wanted we’d just go see a superhero movie. It’s not like there aren’t a glut of those already. Fun, but disappointing. The highlight once again is Chloe Grace Moretz, who will have an Oscar for something within the decade.

August 16, 2013 / 103 mins / R / directed by Jeff Wadlow / Fun Factor: 7 / Overall Film: 4


Neill Blomkamp’s followup to the amazing District 9 has an good story in an interesting new world with characters we care about. Matt Damon does an outstanding job in the lead role. But the promises in the first half of the film of a deeper more meaningful plot never develop and instead the last half is a straight-up action flick. Nothing wrong with action, of course! Other than the frenetic camerawork, a bit too much gore, and as long as you don’t expect a moral to the story, you’ll definitely be entertained.

August 9, 2013 / 109 mins / R / directed by Neill Blomkamp / Fun Factor: 8 / Overall Film: 6