I must admit I was excited to see Steve Coogan’s face on the cover of this movie on my Netflix. 2001 is a bit iffy for comedies for me (I’m a 200 and late… -r), but this one did the job for the most part. Steve Coogan wasn’t at top form (a bit of a problem) but I got through it all the same. The first scene was promising, but you can only be so outrageous before nobody watches your movies…
The story of The Parole Officer is a pretty straightforward one. Steve Coogan plays Simon Garden, and awkward and sad probation worker (confusing movie title, I
All too true…
know…). He is being transferred to another city (Manchester, I believe) and he’s going to be attempting to correct those sorry crooks that litter the streets of England. What he stumbles upon is something a bit more intense. A fellow officer in crime prevention, Inspector Burton (Stephen Dillane), commits a murder that is caught on security camera. Holding the evidence in his possession, Burton the crooked cop is planning on framing Garden if he tattles. Not wanting this being held over his head, Garden employs the help of the only four former criminals he corrected in robbing a bank with the tape inside. Oh, the comedic irony.
The most awkward place for Coogan? Strip club.
It’s pretty cut and dry from there. The movie has some of Coogan’s own brand of awkward comedy, but not enough to make it a signature film of his. (I’d say Hamlet 2 is more his style.) You get an awkward sense of Alan Partridge, but it comes up short of expectations. The acting is fine and the movie is dated, which always makes it a bit hard for me to watch. But overall, think Johnny English with dry comedy instead of slapstick. You got this film right there.
There are a couple of great little parts other than the versus mode of Coogan/Dillane. There’s Ben Miller as Colin, one of Garden’s former clients. Being Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick in Johnny English, it was a nice change to see him delivering comedy more than being the straight actor taking it all in. There’s Lena Headey as a watered down version of the strong British actress she will one day become in things like 300 and Game of Thrones. Not the most adequate of cops, it
Team of crack cons, assemble!
always gets weird whenever Coogan lays his puffy lips on a love interest in a movie. And then there’s a non-speaking cameo from Simon Pegg in the art gallery scene. I had no idea what to expect there. But worth a laugh.
The bank heist is a little above my understanding with some strange technology lingo and complicated means of infiltration, leaving part of the movie as bland. The back and forth between the cons was fine, although overall it lacked a certain star quality for me that would’ve
Aha! I’m Simon Garden.
sent the jokes home better. It really was an all eyes on Coogan film for me. Throw in some slapstick/situational comedy towards the end (and a break-in scene reminiscent of The Dark Knight) and you have yourself a throwback to the 1950’s heist movies. Not a bad roll into one.
Not one of my favorites, but not the worst Coogan attached film I’ve seen. I still feel like one of my only friends who actually recognized/knew Coogan in Tropic Thunder, something that saddens me to this very day. But it’s not about notoriety or popularity. There are those of us out there who salute Steve Coogan for his amazing contribution to the world of comedy. He deserves a ranking up there with Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas/David Walliams, and even Monty Python. Can’t get enough of those Brits. For this, I give The Parole Officer a 6.8 out of 10.
A Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant collaboration featuring Matthew Goode and Ralph Fiennes? And it’s not exactly a comedy? Count me in? I was sold after you said Ricky Gervais. And he even makes a cameo or two. Cemetery Junction is one of those stock idea genres that deals with a young man’s coming-of-age story. But what interested me is that I had no idea who any of the men who were coming of age. With a bunch of fresh new faces, I was slightly touched and given a few laughs with another creation from Gervais and Merchant.
In Cemetery Junction, we meet Freddie Taylor (Christian Cooke), a young man looking
Some new British faces.
to make something of himself in a part of England that doesn’t seem to let anyone escape or actually succeed. His friends Bruce (Tom Hughes) and Snork (Jack Doolan) are stuck in the same boat, but they seem to be okay with their situation. Dead end jobs and nothing of interest, Cemetery Junction is a town full of ghosts. But when Freddie is inspired by his former girlfriend Julie (Felicity Jones) to be something more, he shoots a bit higher, not trying to be sucked back into his small town.
So I mentioned I didn’t know any of the young men actors in this film. After looking them up on IMDB, I thought I knew them, but I don’t. Christian Cooke was a standout leading actor, holding down the fort for the rest of the younger actors in the film. I thought of him as a younger version of Matthew Goode, they played off each other so well. Bruce Pearson reminded me of a rebellious and dashingly good looking Cillian Murphy. His character and his troubles gripped me quite well in this one. And Jack Doolan reminded me of a chubbier Iwan Rheon, with all the same dorkiness and charm. These three young men made a winning team.
Throw in a great secondary cast and you have yourself a swinging 70’s period piece. Ricky Gervais was going to include himself no matter what, and he had to inject some of his snarky comedy into this one. It worked well, but I can’t really picture Ricky Gervais as a dad. Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington
Lookin’ good, as per usual.
made great little cameos as well, providing a chuckle for those who know them. Matthew Goode played a great playboy d-bag boyfriend, and Ralph Fiennes is as fierce and dominating as usual. And Emily Watson was simply pleasant and stunningly caring as the captured bird of a wife in this film. I was quite happy with the results of all the acting when it all came together.
I must admit, I also enjoyed the soundtrack to this movie as well. I dunno what it is, but this and Velvet Goldmine have just gotten to me
Thanks again, boys.
with their tributes to the 70’s. I had no idea I could enjoy that type of music with my death metal background. The humor is fresh and feels like it comes from a very true place, much different from the extremely awkward style of Ricky Gervais (but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some of his in there as well). It’s refreshing to see a film like this coming from well known comedic creators and you are surprised because it has substance along with comedy. And even some heart in there. This was an interesting little film that doesn’t break the mold too much, but it is British. So watch it. 7.4 out of 10.
After having watched and loved bother series of Karl Pilkington’s An Idiot Abroad, I went off in search of more material featuring Karl. I stumbled upon this show on HBO in a hotel room one night, and I had to check out the rest of it. Watching the progress of Karl from his pre-Idiot days to his post was quite the experience. He’ll always be a bit of a buffoon, but he’s a lovable guy with his own ideas. Leave it to Gervais and Merchant to make him look like one of the biggest raving lunatics on the face of the planet.
So there’s a basic progress to this show. Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais, and Karl Pilkington all sit around a table,
His head is rather round…
having “pointless conversations” about whatever seems to come to mind. The filtered through hours of audio and found these sections to be the best. This was thus turned into an animated series, after having been the world’s most downloaded podcast. I’d call that a pretty damn successful feat.
The first series was rather good, seeing Karl as this idiotic manc (I don’t know exactly what that means…) trying to get his ideas across to Stephen and Ricky. Through the use of literal cartoons, Karl’s ravings are turned into stylized representations with the voices supplied by the three of them. Most of the time Karl is interrupted by the other two for being just too stupid, but when Stephen lets Karl roll with an idea, you have animated magic. I can’t even handle it sometimes.
There’s Monkey News (always supplied with a jingle from Ricky), Karl’s Diary (the written down ravings of a lunatic), and a bunch of other topics that take us throughout the mind of Karl and just what Merchant and Gervais think of him. Gervais considers Karl to be his gift (or curse, either way…) to the
Animated comedic timing. Gotta appreciate that.
world and just what a twat he is. His words, not mine.
I think it is only after An Idiot Abroad that Karl actually came into himself. You can tell that he has more of an opinion and more to say more often in the third series. You feel bad for him (if you have any background on him) but you wonder why there is someone in the world that is as boring as Karl. It really is unbelievable. This show proves it, and it’s just great to listen and laugh to. (Nice to look at sometimes as well.)
Every episode ends with Ricky and the last laugh.
So, if you have the opportunity to catch this show (HBO, HBO Go, etc.) then you should. If not, catch clips of it on Youtube for a true taste of the idiocy. Karl Pilkington will truly make you think in a whole different way. I guarantee it. He’s not far off from having actual revelations and epiphanies, but he damn well says what he wants to say. He is a man of the people. And I still wanna meet him. 8.2 out of 10.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have done it again, this time exploiting the little people. Or as they like to be called, dwarfs. The dwarven kind in this mockumentary are represented by Warwick Davis, dwarf star extraordinaire. In a fake and awkward version of his true life, Warwick Davis explores what it’s like to have no work, a divorce, and unending amount so debt. And I laughed through every second of it.
Thanks to HBO, this show and Ricky Gervais’ Animated Podcast were brought to my
Let the awkwardness ensue.
attention at the same time. I love both of them and this show was just quicker to finish (other review coming shortly). Life’s Too Short follows Warwick Davis, the person and the character, around for 7 episodes seeing just what kind of mischief he gets into in his typical life. But this isn’t your average Warwick Davis, the lovable Wicket Ewok we see when he was 11 in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. This is something more horrendous.
Now that’s a great pic.
Warwick in this show is a selfish, deceitful, and overall poor sport actor down on his luck. He feels his fame should be giving him more than it is right now and he won’t let anyone get in his way. He has small man syndrome (and appropriately so) and is always offended by midget. I have a fear of midgets usually (saw Chucky too early and connected the two) but when it’s Warwick Davis, you have to love him.
I mean, look at his career. There’s Star Wars, The BBC specials of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, and the amazing Leprechaun series (I love it and always will. Too funny and classic.) The 10th Kingdom, my favorite, and the Harry Potter series as Flitwick, the Charms Professor. He has a better and more lucrative career than a lot of little people, and people love him for that. I haven’t seen Willow yet (a running joke in the
The creators shunning the little guy. Classic.
show) but I damn well plan on watching it now.
This show highlights everything that Gervais and Merchant wanted to do in The Office. After meeting Warwick in Gervais’ Extras, they started talking about this project. With my hopes up for more than a Christmas Special (come on Season 2…) I really enjoyed this awkward social situational comedy from the masters.
Every episode hits you harder than the last, with some great star appearances thrown in. I must say, I don’t like Johnny Depp, but in this show he really knows how to make fun of himself. Liam Neeson was hilarious (although unintentionally), and Sting was just a dick. I loved Warwick’s dimwitted assistant, Cheryl (Rosamund Hanson) and everything she said and how she said it was pure comic gold. I know it’s wrong to think that when Warwick falls over during the show is the funniest part, but it’s one of those old gags you never get tired of seeing. Warwick himself was funny, but he knows how funny it is for a little person to struggle in normal everyday things.
Critics said this show was too awkward and similar to The Office that Gervais and Merchant were just getting lazy. Sure they were lazy. But they were lazy with a formula that was going to work from the
The toilet troll emerges!
beginning no matter what. I sincerely relish awkward moments in TV and movies (especially real life) and seeing a show that focuses on it to the point of painful, that’s spot on comedy. The drier and darker the better. Although I did at some points want Warwick to win some of the moments in life, it just wasn’t in the cards. Oh well, you win some, you lose most.
So with an awkward show like this and a dwarf who can poke fun at themselves, it’s fun to watch a car wreck comedy. Don’t wanna look, but can’t stop. Oh, and here’s the real Warwick for ya, just so you know where he’s coming from. Enjoy just like I enjoyed Series 1. 8.6 out of 10.
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.
Let me start off my saying this series did do me head in. I’ve learned after a second trip with Karl Pilkington around the world, that you can do a load of amazing things in less than a year (proper funding needed, of course). But if a major programming station is footing the bill and your friends find you some wild experiences, go with it. Karl may think he hasn’t changed, but you can tell right from the get go, he’s a lovable guy who’s just like me. (Back to that later.)
In Series 2, we follow Karl’s choices off a huge generated list of “kick the bucket” like wishful experiences before you die. And even though he may choose things like Whale Watching and Desert Island, we know that isn’t all
Karl and some good ole Americana.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have in store for him. He may eventually get to “swim with the dolphins,” but he has to travel Thailand and be dressed up as a ladyboy before he even steps foot in the water in Australia. I laughed right along with Ricky Gervais in part two of the most expensive prank ever.
Go skimp Karl, or go home.
But I was a bit more proud of Karl this time for sticking up for what he wanted to do. He refused the bungee jump, as I would have. But, along with the bucket list things he did, he got expenses paid trips to Japan and Thailand. Ever since I discovered the wonder that is Thai cinema, I have been dying to go over there. Please Sky 1, pick me up as a travel host and transport me over there! But Karl pulled it all of in stride. If someone that stubborn can make it in Japan or Thailand and still do amazing things, sign me up.
I loved the little breaks Karl took during his work over in other countries. That is to say that the English speaking countries weren’t as fun because he wasn’t dictating the conversation or speaking for the locals in a hilarious way. He went to a cheap Ugandan flea market before seeing the gorillas. And he took his time there as well. Whenever there was an opportunity to jump in and dance someplace, Karl took it
The face of a scared man.
immediately. He may seem daft and apelike, but that man can light up a room with his goofy dancing.
And what’s to make it better than that Karl ends the show on a touching note. He has his revelation on Mt. Fuji, but Gervais and Merchant just knock it down. I, over the course of this show, have come to love and respect Karl Pilkington. I find his insights to be funny and all of his scenario situations are exemplary and logic (to a point). When I travel over to the UK someday, I’m not gonna wanna go running and looking for Clive Owen or Emma Watson. I’m going to find the nearest info booth and look at the worker and say, “Right, where do I find Karl Pilkington?” No joke, I want to sit down with this man and become his friend.
Only one of those is true… Karl.
Why would I say that about a dull, homely man like Karl? Because I am a dull, homely man like Karl. I don’t enjoy traveling or big crowds. I don’t like trying new foods or doing anything I know I will fail at no matter what. And I want to meet a man who can inspire me to do it by saying, “Look, we’re about the same right? If I can do it, so can you.” And I believe meeting Karl Pilkington, of all people, can make that happen. You hear me, UK? When this whole college thing is done, I’m comin’.
So I think it says loads about what I thought of the show and the content of what Karl Pilkington is as a person to say I want to meet him first and foremost. The show is entertaining and eye opening, funny, and extremely witty coming from a person
Don’t all British mind like a bit of drag?
everyone calls a div. To say I wouldn’t mind being Karl Pilkington is no stretch of the goal I could reach for. I even hear his voice in me head now. What a mental thing that is. Well, add that to me bucket list, meeting Karl Pilkington. Cause this show and the series as a whole (including Karl) deserve a 10 out of 10.
… Or as Karl Pilkington would’ve liked to call it, “Karl Pilkington and the Seven Wonders”. Either way, executive producers Ricky Gervais (star and creator of UK’s The Office) and Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office), along with Sky1 programming, made this an experience that Karl would never forget. In 7 episodes (and a hindsight 8th episode), Karl Pilkington visits the seven wonders of the ancient world. What happens in the meanwhile makes all the comedy.
I love Ricky Gervais’s idea for this show. He calls it “the most expensive prank on national television”. He wants to throw Karl out of his comfort zone and make him do
This… is Karl Pilkington.
terribly uncomfortable and wacky things he would never do. If Karl brings something up (like rather living in a cave than in a nice house so he can see the nice house) they do that. His sometimes backwards and small minded opinions on the world come out constantly and he must deal with those consequences.
That’s what I loved about this travel documentary. Karl is constantly talking. (He says he hates noise, but a lot of it is coming from him.) He complains, in a very comedic way, although he may not know it, and has this constant set of stand up comedian like scenarios and jokes when he talks about native cultures. He won’t try any foods (sensitive gag reflex, he says) and his three favorite phrases are:
1. I’m completely knackered.
2. This is doing me head in.
3. Insert ethnically racial stereotype here.
A little bit jealous of the Shaolin Wushu…
He is unabashedly forward with people and, for some, that may come off as insensitive and stupid. For me, it was comedic timing and forward humor at its best. He has this insane amount of diction in his head that he can apply to any situation in order to describe it to another layperson such as himself. He is thoroughly unimpressed by every wonder (“It’s alright…”) and finds any way to use Sky1’s money in order to relax when he can.
But that’s where that stops. Gervais and Merchant are constantly calling Karl up in order to get him to do funny things for the camera. He awkwardly rides a camel, wrestles with pro wrestlers in Mexico, is unwittingly asked to stay with a gay crossdresser in Brazil, and is
Like a needle in a haystack…. (Preview of Series 2…)
always being pushed to live in terrible hotels and hostels. Seeing Karl as “the kid crying in the corner getting poked with the stick,” really is enjoyable television. I do feel bad for him sometimes though…
Is he truly an idiot? That face kinda says so…
Either way, Karl Pilkington gets to do some incredible things and see some incredible sights. He showed me, and all the other thousands of viewers who have watched him, how to rough it in other countries and where/what to steer clear of. Karl goes well beyond my own comfort zone and travels and does things I would never enjoy doing. If I had the opportunities he had, there would still be no show. So I salute you, Mr. Pilkington, for doing what Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant made fun of you for. Now, on to Series 2: The Bucket List of Karl Pilkington! 8 out of 10.