Edgar Wright Won't Watch Ant-Man

Even though Ant-Man turned out to be pretty good when it arrived in theaters back in 2015, there was a time when the project was a point of concern at Marvel Studios. After developing and writing the project for eight years, writer/director Edgar Wright departed the film over creative differences. Recently, the filmmaker said diplomatically to Variety, “I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie.”

In a new interview, Edgar Wright was asked if he took the time to see how Ant-Man turned out after he left and it was handed it off to director Peyton Reed. The answer is no, and Wright can’t even bring himself to watch the trailer. Read More »

the world's end 1

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: The World’s End is Edgar Wright’s best movie. By far.)

This week at the movies represents an oasis in the summer-movie desert, with the arrival of Edgar Wright’s latest film, Baby Driver. This new action film represents a slight change for Wright, who’s a) never made a film set and shot in America before and b) hasn’t been the sole writer of any of his past projects. He’s best known as the co-writer and director of the Cornetto Trilogy, comprising Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, all genre hybrids co-starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Now that Baby Driver is headed to theaters, there will no doubt be various (justifiable) appreciations written of Edgar Wright’s films to date; as a still-young filmmaker, he’s only now made six films (including A Fistful of Fingers, which, until recently, hadn’t been released in the United States in any form, so I’m excluding it from this essay). At the top, I want to emphasize something before I delve into the Unpopular Opinion at the core of this piece: I’m a big fan of Wright’s filmography, including the delightful, exuberant, and intense Baby Driver. Each of his films is remarkably assured and confident, hybrids that all feel singular instead of like carbon copies of their forebears.

But I feel now as I felt the moment I walked out of the theater in 2013: The World’s End isn’t just the best of the Cornetto Trilogy. It’s Edgar Wright’s best film, period.

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Edgar Wright Wes Craven tribute

Over a twenty-three year career spanning TV and film, Edgar Wright has honed his craft to become one of the most inventive, exciting filmmakers working today. With his genre-bending screwball comedies, Wright has developed an instantly recognizable style, culled from filmmakers before him, like Sam Raimi, Martin Scorsese, the Coen Brothers and more, and given his own unique twist. With rapid-fire montages and close-up cutaways, Wright fully embraces the visual aspect of the visual medium of film (something a shocking number of modern filmmakers seem to overlook). With Wright’s latest film Baby Driver speeding into theaters this week, it’s time to look a selection of the best scenes from his film career.

Spoilers for Wright’s films follow. 

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Movies That Inspired Baby Driver

Leading up to the release of Baby Driver, director Edgar Wright was a guest programmer at the British Film Institute for a series of films under the banner Car Car Land. The filmmaker rounded up 10 of the movies that influenced Baby Driver in some way for cinephiles in London to enjoy. Since not everyone can attend those screenings and hear all the wonderful things he has to say about these movies, some of which he introduced himself, we wanted to hear from the man himself why he loves these movies and how they inspired his new film, which is being called a “dazzling car chase musical.”

A little over a week ago, we had an extensive phone call with Edgar Wright where he laid down his passion for these 10 movies and provided some fun facts. Since this is such an extensive conversation, we’ve split it up into two parts. Below is the first part going through the first five movies, and we’ll be posting the second part tomorrow with the remaining five. Read More »

Guillermo del Toro Baby Driver

If you ever hear Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim, Hellboy) speak, you instantly know that the guy knows a lot about movies. He’s one of the most outspoken cinephile filmmakers working in Hollywood today, and his Twitter feed is a mixture of articles about film, behind-the-scenes photos, and stories from his own sets. Yesterday afternoon, the director took to Twitter to share his thoughts about Edgar Wright’s new car chase film Baby Driver, and if you somehow still needed to be convinced to see the new movie, this should do the trick. Read the 13-part Guillermo del Toro Baby Driver comments below.
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Baby Driver BTS - Jamie Foxx, Lanny Joon, Ansel Elgort, Edgar Wright

The junket scene was not built for Edgar Wright. How do you have a proper conversation with the director of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The World’s End in just a few minutes? You can’t. He’s too much of a raconteur, has too much to say, and you only get a few questions before the publicist pops his head in and tells you that time is up.

I sat down to talk to Wright about Baby Driver, but I ended up mostly listening to Wright talk about Baby Driver. But that’s okay! It may even be the best case scenario. Our almost entirely one-sided conversation was full of great information about how he made his spectacular, music-driven car chase movie, the film’s earliest origins, and his favorite cinematic “needle drops.”

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Baby Driver Review

(This review originally ran following Baby Driver‘s world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. The film opens in theaters today.)

Edgar Wright makes movies for movie fans, first and foremost. Is there a wide audience for a zombie comedy that upends the genre while also delivering one of the most affecting horror tales of the 21st century? Maybe not at first, but Shaun of the Dead exists and it is spectacular. It took too many people too long to fall in love with a stylized rom-com martial arts adventure that appropriates video game language to provide commentary on how relationships evolve, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has rightfully become recognized as a one-of-a-kind pop masterpiece.

And speaking of pop masterpieces, Wright’s latest film, Baby Driver held its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival over the weekend and it’s remarkable for two reasons. First, Wright’s unique voice remains intact, even as he plunges into a genre that is new to him and a story that takes away some of his more familiar crutches. Second, he’s made a movie that feels like it has the capacity to win over the average moviegoer as quickly as it wins the hearts of his fellow cinephiles.

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Baby Driver Music Featurette

In 2005, I watched a new horror comedy titled Shaun of the Dead. I had not heard of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, or anyone involved with this quirky little piece of entertainment. And something struck me big time about this movie: the incredible editing and music choices. And since Shaun‘s release, Wright has proven that he is a master at mixing cinema with the energy of a music video, all the while not losing his grip on the story.

In Wright’s latest movie, Baby Driver, music plays a key role within both the story and structure of the movie. And if you know Wright’s filmography, you know that he has been honing his music video talents for years to create a film like this. So in celebration of Baby Driver‘s release, let’s take a look at the greatest music-driven sequences in Wright’s movies.

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The 13-ish Best Edgar Wright Movie Characters

The 13-ish Best Edgar Wright Characters

Edgar Wright‘s latest feature film hits theaters this week, and by all accounts Baby Driver is another winner blending action, laughs, and Wright’s own unique sensibilities. (Don’t take my assumption for it though, check out Jacob Hall’s review out of SXSW.) Wright has yet to deliver anything less than a very good time at the movies, and while a lot of factors go into an acclaimed film, one of his many strengths as a filmmaker is in the variety of fun and fun-loving characters he packs into his work.

The scripts are obviously key to the films’ highly quotable nature, but pairing the words on the page with particular performers is what ultimately results in such memorable characters. That combination has resulted in a bounty of fun, funny, and fascinating characters in Wright’s films, and while some are leads, others only manage a few minutes of screen time. It’s an issue of quality trumping quantity, and it’s why someone with two scenes in a movie can be far more memorable than someone who’s in nearly the entire thing. What I’m saying is Shaun of the Dead‘s Ed is an obnoxious twat whose “funny” behavior upsets the film’s delicate tonal balance and ultimately keeps it removed from absolute greatness. Look, I don’t like saying it anymore than you like hearing it, but there it is.

It’s also why the list below is heavy on the male members and light on the ladies. Wright’s films feature plenty of women, but you have to look all the way back to his UK television series, Spaced, to find an example of one with meat on her character’s bones. But that’s a think-piece for a different time. For now let’s keep things moving with a look at the best characters in Edgar Wright’s feature films.

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A Fistful of Fingers

This week brings Baby Driver to the big screen, the latest film from director Edgar Wright. Leading up to the release of the mesmerizing, meticulously crafted foot-tapping masterpiece of musical action, we wanted to take a look back at the director’s very first film. No, we’re not talking about Shaun of the Dead, because before that, a 20-year old Edgar Wright got behind the camera for a $15,000 movie that was actually a remake of a movie he originally shot on VHS.

A Fistful of Fingers is a spaghetti western spoof that takes all the signature western style of director Sergio Leone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and mixes it with the silliness of Monty Python and Mel Brooks. Edgar Wright shot the film on 16mm and it debuted back in 1995. It was first screened in the United States in 2015 at Cinefamily in Los Angeles, but just earlier this month, the wonderful Music Box Theatre in Chicago was treated to the second ever domestic screening. I was personally on-hand to finally check this film off my list, and I could not have been more pleased with the silliness on display in this parody that has the hints of greatness we would get from Edgar Wright in the years to come. Read More »