Imagine E.T. recast as a low-rent comedy, conceived by the cheerfully profane Shaun of the Dead co-stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and you should have some idea what to expect from Paul, their first big-screen collaboration as screenwriters.
Absent the subversive touch of Edgar Wright, who directed and co-wrote Shaun (2004) and the pair’s buddy-cop parody Hot Fuzz (2007), Paul is a slighter diversion, as much a loving homage to geek culture as a gentle send-up of the genre’s lesser entries, including 1988’s Mac and Me.
Edgar Wright, the English director of the exuberant romantic comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, cites 2007’s Hot Fuzz, his Point Break-inspired follow-up to the 2004 zombie satire Shaun of the Dead, as the movie that afforded him the chance to film in his hometown of Wells, and to pay tribute to influences ranging from Agatha Christie to Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II.
Once you're finished scouring the city for the season's best Black Friday bargains, settle into a darkened theater to catch this year's Oscar hopefuls, including Fantastic Mr. Fox, which should give Pixar's Up fierce competition for Best Animated Feature. To help you on your way, here's a list of the finest films now playing at your local indie theaters.
If Richard Curtis’ passion for pop wasn’t evident enough in his directorial debut, 2003’s Love Actually, he puts it on full display in Pirate Radio, his affectionate tribute to the spirit of rock, which was put to the severest of tests in the ’60s by censorious British bureaucrats. For Curtis, this is clearly a love letter signed, sealed and delivered to the artists of his youth, and to the DJs who broadcast the music.