2007_04_arts_hotfuzz.jpgHot Fuzz (directed by Edgar Wright): The love of a good car chase, a bloody gun fight and the affection between two straight men is not celebrated nearly enough. The team behind the hilarious rom-com-zom Shaun of the Dead, director/writer Edgar Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg are attempting to rectify this in their new homage to the cop movie genre, Hot Fuzz. Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, the best officer on the London beat, whose squad ships him off to the tiny village of Sandford because, frankly, he's just too damn good at his job. An incredibly picturesque hamlet, Sandford prides itself on being the nicest village in England but when residents start dying in grisly, mysterious deaths, Angel and his new partner (played by Nick Frost, Pegg's co-star from Shaun) must put their policing skills to the test. Most movies that spoof film cliches (like the Scary Movie franchise) seem to be poking fun at genre out of spite but not Wright and Pegg's film. Hot Fuzz joyously celebrates cop movies, and in the process delivers some hilarious jokes and displays a real finesse with action sequences. The whole cast of British character actors including Bill Nighy, Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine and Jim Broadbent is really strong, but the best exchanges are between Pegg and Frost, two longtime friends and former roommates in real life. They seem to really be having fun together on screen, and their enthusiasm is totally contagious. Even if you're not usually a fan of the Jerry Bruckheimer or Richard Donner oeuvres, there's still a lot to love in Hot Fuzz.

Other new movies hitting theaters this weekend include Amber Tamblin and Tilda Swinton in the drama Stephanie Daley, Ryan Gosling going head to head with Sir Anthony Hopkins in Fracture, Adam Brody looking for love in In the Land of Women and Kate Beckinsale checking into a creepy hotel in Vacancy.