Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Papakura Library guest post: Top 5 British films to make you laugh out loud

List by Emily

"Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn."
- Irvin S. Cobb

I love films and watch a wide variety of genres, including comedy, romance, thriller, action, drama, indie, musical, documentary, fantasy, the occasional sci-fi and once or twice a horror.

When it comes to comedic movies, again I watch a variety, but I find one type of comedy to be a step above others more often than not.

The films that consistently tickle my funny bone are British comedies, which have a rather different style of humour to their often brash American counterparts – more subtle, dry and eccentric.

The following are five British films that I, and those watching them with me, thoroughly enjoyed and got a laugh (or two or twenty!) out of.

Run fatboy run / starring Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton & Hank Azaria
Dennis is a clueless and slightly overweight guy, who left his pregnant fiancée five years earlier. Every day, Dennis tries to persuade the woman he loves to accept him back into his life, but everyday he fails. When he discovers that Libby has found a partner in the form of American Whit, frustration grows, and Dennis vows, that for once in his life, he will finish something. This something ends up being a Nike River-run in London.

Emily’s note: Simon Pegg is great in this film portraying loveable loser Dennis, and the brilliant Dylan Moran is hilarious as his best friend Gordon. We got lots of laughs from watching this, even if it is slightly far fetched to believe that the gorgeous Libby (played by Thandie Newton, who I reckon is one of the most beautiful actresses around today) would’ve been engaged to Dennis.

Mrs Caldicot's cabbage war / starring Pauline Collins, Peter Capaldi, Anna Wilson-Jones & Gwenllian Davies
At the sudden death of her husband, Thelma is prematurely placed into a nursing home by her selfish money grabbing son. Rebelling against the system she takes on the nursing home establishment and wins recognition, her independence and a chance to love again.

Emily’s note: I watched this film with family, and those viewing it included people in their 20s, 30s and 50s, both male and female. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the film, and were laughing out loud together, at this humourous and heartwarming tale that is predominately set in a nursing home full of amusing characters.

Wallace & Gromit: The curse of the Were-Rabbit / featuring the voices of Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Kay & Nicholas Smith
It's 'veggie-mania' in Wallace and Gromit's neighborhood. The two enterprising friends are cashing in with their humane pest-control outfit, "Anti-Pesto." With only days to go before the annual Giant Vegetable Competition they find that their business is booming. They come to find out that running a "humane" pest control outfit can have its drawbacks. Suddenly, a large and mysterious veg-ravaging "beast" begins attacking the town's sacred vegetable plots at night. The competition hostess, Lady Tottington, commissions Anti-Pesto to catch the beast and save the day. But Victor Quartermaine would rather shoot the beast and secure the position of local hero - not to mention Lady Tottingon's hand in marriage.

Emily’s note: Hubby and I watched this together when we were on holiday, and chuckled away at the wonderful humour of Wallace & Gromit, which is definitely not just for kids. The stop motion clay animation is amazing to watch, and the script is delightful - though it did result in us saying “Cheeese, Gromit!” far too many times that weekend.

Hot fuzz / starring Simon Pegg, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Robert Popper & Joe Cornish
Nicholas Angel is the finest cop London has to offer. He has an arrest record that is higher than any other officer on the force. As a result, Angel's superiors send him to a place where his talents won't be quite so obvious. They send him to the sleepy and seemingly crime-free village of Sandford. He is partnered with the well-meaning but overeager police officer Danny Butterman, who is the son of the police chief. Danny is a huge action movie fan and believes this may be his chance to experience the life of gunfights and car chases. However, as a series of grisly accidents rocks the village, Angel is convinced that Sandford is not what it seems and as the intrigue deepens, Danny's dreams of explosive, high-octane, car-chasing, gunfighting, all-out action seem more and more like a reality.

Emily’s note: Another film with Simon Pegg, but this time in a very different role as a serious and extremely capable cop. The film has action, gore and LOTS of laughs, and pokes fun at both action movies and the stereotype of a quiet little village in the English countryside.

Death at a funeral / starring Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Andy Nyman, Ewen Bremner, Daisy Donovan & Alan Tudyk
Daniel is a decent young man who is married to Jane. They live at his father's home. When his father dies, it his up to him to organize his funeral. On the morning of the funeral, with a suitably grave expression on his face, Daniel is ready to welcome his father's friends and relatives. But preserving the dignity inherent in such a circumstance will be a hard task. Particularly with an undertaker who botches his work; his famous, but selfish brother has returned from the USA; his cousin's fiancé has accidentally ingested drugs; a man takes advantage of the sad event to win back the heart, or rather the body, of a woman who is about to marry another; a handicapped old uncle who is also the most unbearable pain in the neck. To cap it all, Daniel notices the presence among the mourners of a mysterious dwarf nobody else seems to know.

Emily’s note: One of, if not the, funniest films I’ve ever watched. Saw this at the movie theatre with my husband, and never before have I been in a theatre where pretty much all the movie goers were in hysterics. I laughed so much that at times there were tears in my eyes. Maybe not everyone will enjoy it as much as we did, but all the other people who watched it at the same time as us seemed to find it riotously hilarious, as did we.

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