Carnage (2011 France/Germany/Poland/Spain)

Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award winning play “God of Carnage” was adapted by the playwright herself for Roman Polanski’s 2011 film version, renamed “Carnage.” Reza’s word feast is a juicy smörgåsbord for actors and a showcase for the film’s four stars. Despite the glow of bagging 6 Oscars and 17 nominations, the four actors were evidently chosen for talent and range, not luster; all are better known for their on-screen and on-stage work, than their tabloid antics. Carnage is a short 80 minutes. Its fast paced, often funny, well written, superbly acted – and that rarity in cinema – it leaves the bastards hungry for more. [Read more…]

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Fly-Tipping

Carry On Henry (1971 Britain)

A curiously neglected entry, perhaps as it was made in a period when the series had generally started to go into decline, but in my view it’s one of the best of all, certainly in the top three. The historical outings were usually among the team’s funniest, and Talbot Rothwell provides perhaps his most audacious script with a real plot, told in his trademark puns and double entendres, but with a real abundance of panache and wit, attaining an almost poetic quality. Here the great tyrant, Henry VIII, is kinky haired Sid James – a pint-sized, dirty old man with a mug only a mother could love – chasing tavern wenches and princesses alike. [Read more…]

Dr Terrible’ s House of Horrible (2001 Britain)

“And you Mr Brocken, are you infirm on you’re wedding night?” “Its just a battle wound, a very large Turk surprised me from behind.” No, its not Shakespeare but one of those very short-lived TV fiascos that fill die-hard fans with expectation then disappears through lack of reaction, viewing audience etc. Shot between a foot and mouth outbreak and 9/11, Dr Terrible was doomed from the start. Some BBC bastard gave it the finger after a mere 6 episodes. As an homage to 1960s/70s British horror movies the series is chock full of in-jokes and references. But each episode comes down to one particular style. Where the series’ genuine pleasures lie are in its far richer gags, the ones which make the more acute references. [Read more…]

School For Scoundrels (1960 UK)

Before satire was written by Oxbridge public school boys for Oxbridge public school boys, British comedy writers believed their audience intelligent enough to appreciate gentle irony without stamping on their heads. The English humourist Stephen Potter enjoyed great success in the 1950s with his books “Gamesmanship”, which ironically advised sportsmen on “how to win without actually cheating”, chiefly by using psychological ploys to unsettle their opponents, and “Lifemanship” and “One-upmanship” which advocated a similar attitude to life in general. The central idea is that Potter, not content with merely writing books, has actually opened a College of Lifemanship in Somerset in order to teach his philosophy. [Read more…]

Stripes (1981 USA)

Psycho: “The name’s Francis Sawyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I’ll kill you.” Leon: “Ooooooh.” Psycho: “You just made the list, buddy. Also, I don’t like no one touching my stuff. So just keep your meathooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I’ll kill you. And I don’t like nobody touching me. Any of you homos touch me, and I’ll kill you.” Sergeant Hulka: “Lighten up, Francis.” The movie is basically trying to make the Army the way Police Academy made the Police look. Dumb and unbelievable. The plot is shabby, the characters are thin and of course guys love this flick. A nude woman within the first few minutes of the film. Two scenes involving multiple nude women. Bikini mud wrestling. The DVD even throws in even more gratuitous nudity than the original contained. [Read more…]

Do We Have A Live Audience Tonight?

I like a good impersonator of famous people from way back. And this guy is a real trouper, whoever he is, as its so unfashionable to take off oldies like Ed Sullivan (who?!) or President Nixon these days. Love those cool arm gestures in particular. So, it you wanna hire him just call the number on the screen. Two and a half minutes of awkward magic – all the way from Branson, Missouri. Where senior citizens bring their parents to have a little fun….

A Bit Of Fry & Laurie ( UK 1987–1994 )

neddy-and-jackCambridge graduates Fry and Laurie would, by their appearance and elocution, fit the bill of upper class twits perfectly. And certainly a lot of the humour on offer in this series does test your sense of subtlety to the limit. But these two pithy academics also seem to have an interest in lampooning the lower classes they seem to have less in common with, so the humour covers a wider section of society than those this might be slightly more aimed at. You can see where David Mitchell and Robert Webb got their idea of a sketch show from. These two chaps. The usual gripe, that is common to most sketch shows of the time, is the unnecessary inclusion of musical numbers, but that aside its a thoroughly enjoyable show. [Read more…]

Blackadder I (1983)

blackadder-iThis is the first series of “Black Adder” and the only truly great one. The scripts are masterpieces of TV comedy writing – one belly laugh after another, and all perfectly structured plotwise, while at the same time being bizarre, original and very intelligent, without resorting to the pointless unfunny absurdity of lower quality Python. There are too many highlights to single out any particular episode or scene. They are the finest thing Richard Curtis or Rowan Atkinson would ever write. [Read more…]

The League Of Gentlemen (1999 – United Kingdom)

amazonHello, hello! What’s all this shouting going on? We’ll have no trouble here. I’m only flesh and blood. Can’t keep writing reviews totalling hundreds of words. Not enough time in the day and all that. So, it goes without saying I give the LOG an absolute thumbs up. Its brilliant. It’s what satire should be. Out of ten I give it twelvety. If you love sick, twisted, cross-dressing comedy with nods to Britain’s proud Gothic tradition, this should be right up your alley. And yes, there is a Swansea (I should know as I was born there)…and there are other places too. [Read more…]

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