Tag Archives: British comedy

Come Fly With Me: Walliams and Lucas, At It Again

I am a huge fan of Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ hit British comedy, Little Britain. Their sketches and the characters/situations they create are groundbreaking and traditional all at once. They take the old British gag of dressing up as women and take it to the next level. They know no boundaries of race, religion, or moral. They will make you feel uncomfortable, all the while laughing at their zany antics.

And now, they bring you a new show. New characters, a new setting, but the same old tricks. It’s not necessarily overdone because we’ve seen

Taaj, keeping it fresh with the biatches.

the same style before, but they keep it fresh, just by being themselves. This time around, Matt Lucas and David Walliams are a variety of characters, all centered around an airport. In this mockumentary, entitled Come Fly With Me, Lucas and Walliams keep their fans happy with a brand new hilarious show.

Praise to the Lord they will not sue!

And what a show it is. With talking-head interviews supplementing situational comedy throughout the airport, Lucas and Walliams play over 30 characters in a feat I haven’t seen on Television comedies before. Every character feels unique and everyone can choose their own personal favorite. With the makeup being so well done, you may not even recognize Matt Lucas some of the times if you are just a casual watcher of the show.

But there is a problem people have with the program. They say it’s racist. And yes, I can admit to laughing hysterically every time Matt Lucas plays Precious, the coffee store worker. (It’s an inside joke about the name and personality, but it comes across as funny all the same.) Or, even the

All in a day’s work for Matt Lucas.

Japanese fangirls… But that’s not the point. I think this show proves that airports, despite racist characters like Ian Foot (Walliams), the airport head of security and customs, an airport is a place of a widening array of people. Unlike America, the “true” melting pot of all nationalities, an airport such as this one does have people from all over the world flying from all other places. It is a unifying experience, known simply as “flying”. Even Lucas and Walliams recognized that themselves when Moses (Walliams) approaches a Chinese man as the airport liason, and, saying, “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”, he surprises himself with the Chinese man responding in German. And, despite all that, they show embraces and pokes fun at the homosexual community, Matt Lucas being a proud member of that group. So how could a show that pushes all the limits not go on doing so? Come on…

How much do you love Disney World?

Despite racist allegations and shots at the show’s ego in spite of being after Little Britain’s success, I’m damn proud of Lucas and Walliams getting back out there and doing more comedy. I missed them immensely and was just looking for another show to fill the hole in my comedic heart. This show did it (with the help of Snuff Box).

So set aside your politically correct mind for 6 episodes and sit back and relax and allow yourself to giggle at the occasional profanity or stereotype. I promise, when all’s said and done, you won’t be a

Get a load of that…

redneck. Or whatever you fear you may become. This show lightly grazes over a topic I didn’t know you could go over for 6 episodes for. Flying and airports. Hating the experience of flying itself, I felt this show handled a bunch of jokes that comedians have been pondering for years. “Why is airline food so bad…” And why is this show so good? 9.5 out of 10.

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Hot Fuzz: Guns a Blazin’

This movie may hold its place solidly in British Comedy, but this movie has one of the best final action sequences of all time. As a kid I fantasized after watching The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, etc. about busting in on some thugs and being strapped to the teeth. You know that scene I’m talking about:

I’m one of those guys who can make the auto gun noise with my mouth and dived onto my bed while shooting two finger guns through the air. I love all action movies and guns, swords, and martial arts really get my blood flowing. When you have an homage/spoof/comedy movie like this that lets out the little kid in you who fantasized about riding into town on a horse and lighting up the bad guys, you have come to the right spot.

You may not have come to the right spot if you don’t like a bit of British humor… or at least 2 hours of it. If you’re anticipating the final showdown and you have to wade

The Sandford Police Service.

through two hours of well crafted action jokes and situational comedy, that might kill it for you. Not for me.

So this is another in the Cornetto Trilogy from Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, and they just keep getting better. Their next one on the list to end the trilogy is “The World’s End”. Maybe more zombies? Who knows… All I know is that they are fantastic. For the childhood that I had where Star Wars, action films, cartoons, and sci-fi knowledge was a everyday thing, this hits home. Very close to home. And I loved it.

Heaven’s fallen Angel.

Simon Pegg plays Police Officer Nicholas Angel (No. 777, if you didn’t get it already). He is the best on the force in London (he’d rather I say “police service” because it comes off as less aggressive) and is making all the other officers look bad. With the recommendation of all three superiors (Cameos by Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, and Bill Nighy), Nicholas says goodbye to his former GF (played by Cate Blanchett in a white CSI outfit) and heads to Sandford Gloucestershire. (A fictitious name for a police situation town when running drills/scenarios.)

When Nicholas comes to Sanford, he is blown away by the life of the small town chum. The police station sees no action and Sanford is considered the safest town in England. Headed by Constable Frank Butterman (Jim

Friends forever.

Broadbent) and his son Danny (Nick Frost), Nicholas stumbles upon a bunch of “accidents” that could be nothing short of murders. Who is he to suspect? And who is he to trust? And finally, who is he gonna shoot up first?

I saw this movie in theaters after falling in love with Shaun of the Dead, I had to see it the first weekend out. I about died laughing every 15 minutes of the movie (usually more often). This movie has a lot more punchlines per minute than Shaun had, but every bit just as good. They watched over 150 action films to get the script to be just right (insert their own British flavor and Bam!). This movie went to great lengths to be successful, and rightly so. It delivered on all movie going levels. Entertainment. To the extreme.

There are a lot of great British actors in this movie as well. Obviously the buddy buddy duo of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. You’ll never see two other actors onscreen who seem like they’re two best friends doing exactly what they wanna do.

Lunch. Dat. Shit.

They are living their dream making these movies. As I mentioned before, my idol Steve Coogan had a small part beside Martin Freeman (Tim from the Office) and Bill Nighy, the funniest old British man. The Andes as they were referred to, Paddy Considine (you might recognize him as Ross from The Bourne Ultimatum) and that great famous son, Rafe Spall. He lost a lot of weight and did some growing up to play the other Andy in this film, and I loved him.

This movie has the wit and fast cuts you’d expect from an action film. All the guns, action, and cheesy action comedy (combined with some really clever comedic work) make this one of the best comedies of the 2000’s (right beside Shaun). You won’t see comedies this entertaining and perfect come along that often, and also featuring a former James Bond, Timothy Dalton. It looks like a lot of fun was had with this film (with plenty of homages to other films) and it really is a laughable thrill ride with slangin’ guns. Perfection in a barrel. 9.7 out of 10.

 


Shaun of the Dead

Okay, so here we go with the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright film that started off the whole shebang. Shaun of the Dead, that classic film that everyone and their mother owns (well my mom likes it in any case) truly is a spectacular romantic spoof about zombies. Let’s see if I can remember back to the first time I watched it…

Back when I first laid eyes on this film, I’m pretty sure I had no idea who Simon Pegg was. I hadn’t seen Spaced (not until much later) and I was woefully unaware of what hilarious

A wonderful cast doing it on the night.

antics lay before me in this film. Leave it to the British to be so damn clever that they turn a zombie movie into one of the funniest films of the last 10 years (soon to be followed by Hot Fuzz). The first in what hopes to be a trilogy entitled “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (every film so far has featured a Cornetto), I laughed hysterically (or at least I think I did back in 2004) to Shaun of the Dead.

A lot of the zombies in the film are shown in other scenes, and are fans of Spaced or just happened to be around the time of shooting.

Fantastic plot ensuing. Shaun (Simon Pegg) has an average life with a girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) who expects a bit more from their relationship. Ed (Nick Frost) lives in a shared flat with Shaun and their dickish roommate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), and every night ends at the Winchester pub. After Shaun was supposed to finally arrange a nice night out, he messes up after a scrambled day at work, and Liz breaks it off with him. Planning on doing anything to get her back, Shaun and Ed wake up the next day to a zombie apocalypse. Guess things’ll be a bit more complicated than planned.

Let’s start with the filming. This movie, which, in my adolescence I thought was directed by Simon Pegg, was creatively done by Edgar Wright. With the combined writing and direction powers of

See, it’s gotta be good, she’s smiling.

Wright/Pegg, there’s nothing they couldn’t do. This movie uses interesting and dramatic quick cuts, ominously toned music at ironic parts, and comedic timing within the camera angles and cuts. It does mean a lot for a camera’s direction and cinematography to dictate the pacing and comedy of a film. This one has that. You’ll see the same thing in Hot Fuzz (a more action-y edge) and Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World (a review I did a while ago).

That’s some classic Nighy right there.

The cast is also full of a bunch of wonderful British actors. Of course there’s the Simon Pegg/ Nick Frost bromance/friendship duo. It’s the only couple in Hollywood that I would consciously ship together despite just being two men who are friends. You have Dylan Moran, star of Black Books and the recently reviewed A Film With Me in It. This Irish actor plays the dick and four eyes, David. But he’s a lot more than that and shows up in other Simon Pegg vehicles. I give this guy his props, he’s damn funny. There’s Lucy Davis who plays the slightly slow failed actress, Dianne. Most British comedy fans will know of her from the UK’s Office as Dawn, one of my favorites (I currently worship Ricky Gervais).  There’s Bill Nighy, POTC’s Davy Jones and Underworld’s head vamp and one of my mom’s favorite British actors. A cameo is made by Rafe Spall, son of Timothy Spall as Noel, one of Shaun’s co-workers at the tech shop. He’s slimmed down a bit for other roles and most recently

The Wright stuff.

appeared in Prometheus (you gotta check him out, he’s going places).

This movie’s just a great watch and gets better every time you watch it with inside jokes and new groups of friends tuning in. (At least in my experience.) There’s nothing wrong with it, and it delivers on the horror fan and comedy fan that both dwell within me. If you’re any sort of a geek and love sci-fi/video games/movies/fantasy, this movie is for you. It’s a cricket bat to the head and worth all the injuries. 9.3 out of 10.


Repo! The Genetic Opera

In a crossover genre that reminded me a bit of the only other big exposure I’ve had to operetta style plays/shows (i.e. Cats), Repo! The Genetic Opera was a twist and melding of something I’m not used to seeing at all. And, big plus, in the form of a movie. And what more could seal this musical deal? Darren Lynn Bousman, director of Saws 2-4, was the director. That’s a pretty sweet marmalade right there. And I was surprisingly not bored during this horror/rock opera/film extravaganza.

In a strange dystopian intro scene that may remind those of us who have seen Mystery Men of a similar grimy town flyby, there is a new way of living in the city. And that is prologued by the GraveRobber (Terrance Zdunich). In this new dark and sinister world, people are living longer. How, you may ask? Through the use of artificial organs. You

GraveRobber, the teller of our tale. (Is that a cat from Cats right next to him?)

can pay for these organs with a monthly fee, but it must be paid on time to GeneCo. If not, “Rotti” Largo (Paul Sorvino) will send his RepoMen after you and remove it from you.

The story focuses around a doctor Nathan Wallace (Anthony Head) and his sick daughter, Shilo (Alexa Vega). In a story of sick and twisted nip/tuck pleasure, betrayal and love, and discovered identities, Repo! The Genetic Opera combines the operatic style of singing with the gruesomeness of shock rock. What I found surprising, coming from a director who has done such a violent and intestine filled series, gave a bit of humor and poise to the blood and guts. I was never grossed out (as if this film or any other could do that) by the events unfolding before me, it was more with the type of music and subject matter. It was a winning combo, to be sure.

Paris Hilton, can you tell?

I liked the subject matter (dystopian world of the morbid) and found it to be a simple enough plot to get across with how many underlying motives were at play. What I was semi-impressed with was the singing. Anthony Head, star of Buffy and featured on my favorite British comedy, Little Britain, was a phenomenal singer. Alexa Vega, a bit weak, which surprised me. Terrence Zdunich was a phenomenally good stage presence in front of the camera. I enjoyed his pop out of a trash can every once in a while. He had the Cats vibe down. His morbid look was appealing and flashy, almost like a Rum Tum Tugger (although this guy didn’t do any theater before this, so far as I can tell…).

Some surprising cast though in this film. Paul Sorvino, star of musicals and dramas and a couple of Italian Mafioso films, was a good presence, but weak as a counter character/villain to Nathan (Anthony Head) the age difference was a bit of a problem for the plot device they had to deal with, and so it just came off as odd. His singing was a bit weak too, but I think that’s something that happens when you have to speak/sing lines in a rock opera. Sarah Brightman, English singing extraordinaire was delightfully pleasant for as small of a role as she was given. Her

A little bit of blood never hurt Buffy…

singing sent a few chills down the old spine.

And there’s even more! Throw in Bill Moseley, actor from a shit-ton of horror films, including a few Rob Zombie vehicles. And Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy (industrial metal band for those of you who don’t know)? Who knew? I could barely put the names and the faces together with this nip/tuck of a performance. Oh, and Paris Hilton for sex appeal. No big surprise there.

Enjoy that open wound, guy.

In an hour and a half of rockin’ and a rollin’, you’re exposed to the world of blood and guts, drums and guitar. I’ve never seen a movie like this before, and this sets the bar sort of high on expectations (and no, I won’t be watching Rent anytime soon). So move aside The Wiz, because there’s a new favorite musical film in town. And it’s got more of an edge to it. So strap in and hide your organs for Repo! A 6.4 out of 10.

 


Johnny English: Reborn

I have been a huge fan of Rowan Atkinson ever since I was a young lad, watching the video versions of him as Mr. Bean. In 2003, when the first Johnny English movie came out, I had to see it. His slapstick antics mixed with that English accent you rarely hear in Mr. Bean makes him a wonderfully entertaining character. And, of course, what could be better than parodying the James Bond genre? Reprising his role last year, Atkinson blazed on screen with his good looks and salt and pepper hair. Although he may be getting older, he’s not slowing down one bit.

We are whisked away in the first scene of Johnny English 2: Reborn, to the mountains of Tibet. English is training among the monks in order to repent for an earlier mission that sends English into a state of Vietnam flashback nostalgia. With some great slapstick to kick off the movie, Johnny English discovers that his skills are needed yet again back in MI7. Once he arrives back in the U.K, English must become reacquainted with the newly refurbished MI7. Now owned by Toshiba, English’s penchant for the past and the old way of doing things comes clashing into the wave of the future. Let the insanity ensue.

Atkinson rigorously training with some monks.

Assigned a new partner, Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya), and some new gadgets invented by Patch Quartermain (Tim McInnerny) it is up to English to protect the Chinese ambassador from being assassinated during his discussions with the Prime Minister. What Johnny English discovers is a secret plot that has been brewing ever since his mishap in Mozambique. With intrigue and sleeper agents galore, who can English trust?

There are some great characters and actors introduced into this second movie that make up for losing John Malkovich and company in the last one. We’ve got Gillian Anderson, better known as Agent Scully from the X-Files, as the leader of MI7. This is the second time I’ve seen her in a film with a mostly British cast (i.e. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People) and she pulls off that air of superiority well. There’s also one of my favorite British actors, Dominic West. Having first ever saw him in 300 as the traitorous senator, West has made a career as wonderfully suave British men. Portraying Agent 1 in this film, he’s someone I could’ve seen as Bond, more than Daniel Craig.

This was pretty dope. Despite him being able bodied.

What else is there to point out in this film? There’s the evil killer cleaning lady. In a fight of the old farts, its a struggle for Atkinson to come out on top. There’s all of Johnny English’s old gags and jokes, done just to show that he knows what the people want, and he can still deliver. There’s new jokes, as expected, but at this point in Rowan Atkinson’s career, I think he’s just doing movies for the hell of it. He’s an established, wonderful actor who is just doing movies for fun now. Or, at least, that’s the vibe I’m getting from his acting in these films. And, by all means, make Mr Bean/Johnny English movies until the day you die, Mr. Atkinson. They are all wonderfully entertaining and funny.

Let the hilarious carnage ensue.

If you haven’t seen the first one, by all means, check it out. And watch this one immediately after. They’re sure to make you laugh, even if you aren’t into British comedy. They’re wholesome, spot on Bond spoofs (the first more than the second) and they establish a character you come to love and adore. What more could you want from a film? His name is English, Johnny English. And he deserves a 007 out of 10 for this film.