(L-R) Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Eiza González and Jon Hamm in "Baby Driver".
It has been four years since Edgar Wright made his last directorial effort via "The World's End" (2013).
He was supposed to then follow up with "Ant-Man", a pet project he's been developing for years, but ultimately quit the movie due to creative differences. That 2015 Marvel movie, of course, was eventually replaced by Peyton Reed while Wright still retained his credit as one of the screenwriters.
Filmmaker Edgar Wright middle with his "Baby Driver" cast.
Fast forward to 2017, fans of Edgar Wright's work can finally rejoice as the cult English filmmaker makes his highly-anticipated directorial comeback with "Baby Driver".
Already a festival hit when "Baby Driver" was screened earlier this year at SXSW, the music-inspired action comedy starring Ansel Elgort and Kevin Spacey will be revving into cinemas this 20th July.
As we are anticipating the movie's release, here are the past five feature-length movies directed by Edgar Wright, all ranked below.
5. "A Fistful Of Fingers" (1995)
Graham Low and Martin Curtis in "A Fistful Of Fingers" (1995).
Long before Edgar Wright earned his spot in geek culture spoofing genre movies from zombies (2004's "Shaun Of The Dead") to alien invasion (2013's "The World's End"), the British director actually made his little-known feature-length debut with "A Fistful Of Fingers" back in 1995. Made on a shoestring budget of USD15,000 and shot on a 16mm camera, "A Fistful Of Fingers" is essentially a send-up of Sergio Leone's "Dollars" spaghetti Western trilogy. The plot here basically follows a nameless drifter (Graham Low, channelling Clint Eastwood's "The Man With No Name" raspy-voice persona), who arrives in Deadwood Town to seek revenge against a wanted man named "The Squint" (Oliver Evans). Although Wright was only 20-years-old at the time of filming his debut, he already showed a knack for delivering silly gags that later became his trademark. Sure, the movie is pretty rough around the edges. But for USD15,000 Wright and his crew still managed to pull off some decent production values and even a worthy Ennio Morricone-like score by François Evans.
4. "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" (2010)
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) in "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" (2010).
Based on the six-part graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" revolves around the titular 22-year-old slacker (Michael Cera), who falls in love with a mysterious girl named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But in order to win her heart for good, he has to defeat her seven evil exes. Best known as Edgar Wright's first American directorial effort, the USD60-million comedy was a huge financial flop upon its theatrical release but received widespread acclaim among many critics and audiences alike. One thing's for sure, Wright did successfully recreate Bryan Lee O'Malley's over-the-top mishmash of comic book and video game tropes with a Hollywood-style high-school romantic comedy. He even goes as far as throwing every visual bag of tricks he can think of, such as the arcade-style fight scenes complete with familiar video-game noises. But beneath all the Day-Glo visuals, this otherwise one-of-its-kind comedy remains a heavily flawed effort. Cera certainly looks the part playing a slacker, but it's hard to root for a guy like him who willing to cheat on his younger girlfriend (Ellen Wong) in favour for Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Ramona Flowers. The characters are mostly written in a sketchy manner, while the story itself tends to overstay its welcome with its repetitive scenes of Scott battling against the seven evil exes.
3. "Hot Fuzz" (2007)
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) and Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) enjoying Cornettos in "Hot Fuzz" (2007).
"Hot Fuzz" sees Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite for another entertaining parody following their successful collaboration in "Shaun Of The Dead". Instead of the zombie genre, this second instalment of the "Three Flavours Cornetto" trilogy spoofs the buddy-cop genre, with Pegg playing a hotshot city cop who got transferred from London to the sleepy town of Sandford. He teams up with a clueless partner (Frost), where they spend their not-so-subtle duties tracking down a missing swan or catching shoplifters. The real police action begins when they start investigating a series of so-called "accidents" that killed several victims in a brutal fashion. More than just a buddy-cop parody, Edgar Wright made a few surprises subverting audiences' general expectation with a nifty mix of the slasher genre. The result tends to be uneven, coupled with an overlong two-hour runtime that could have benefitted with some tighter cuts. But "Hot Fuzz" remains a reasonably funny movie while the last 30 minutes is a well-staged, elaborate action showcase of shootouts and car chase. At one point, Wright even manages to insert a clever parody that mocked one of Keanu Reeves' famous scenes in "Point Break".
2. "The World's End" (2013)
Five childhood friends (L-R: Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan) return to their hometown to complete their epic pub crawl in "The World's End" (2013).
The third and final instalment of "Three Flavours Cornetto" trilogy finally concluded with Edgar Wright spoofing the alien-invasion genre that pays homage to sci-fi horror classics such as "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers", "Village Of The Damned" and "The Stepford Wives". Unlike the needlessly protracted "Hot Fuzz", Wright fares better here with a consistent pace alongside a surprisingly heartfelt story about friendship and reliving the nostalgia. Yes, who could have thought a quirky premise about five childhood friends (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan) embarking on an epic pub crawl in their hometown manages to be both hilarious and poignant at the same time?
1. "Shaun Of The Dead" (2004)
Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) ready to bash some zombies in "Shaun Of The Dead" (2004).
This is the zombie spoof that catapulted Edgar Wright into stardom. It was also the first and still the best movie in the "Three Flavours Cornetto" trilogy. The story, which centres around two best friends (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) trying to fight their way to stay alive during a sudden zombie invasion, may have been nothing new, but what really matters here is the way Wright turns the otherwise typical zombie genre inside out with an irreverent mix of romantic comedy and a wacky sense of humour. The comedy element is flat-out hilarious, with a few noteworthy laughs such as the quick-cut montage told in three different point-of-views and another scene where Shaun and his fellow human survivors pose like zombies to fool the undead. Finally, "Shaun Of The Dead" doesn't disappoint when comes to satisfying horror fans with its graphic display of gore and violence.
Cinema Online, 16 July 2017