4 items from 2016
★★☆☆☆ Sacha Baron Cohen has found fame and notoriety playing out our collective prejudices in living, breathing form, in order to make us realise how untenable they are. Borat's social satire worked because of its mockumentary form; even as Baron Cohen played a ridiculous Kazakh journalist, he gained some all-too-true reactions from his interview subjects, showing an America too comfortable with its own bigotry. After Bruno and The Dictator, his next outrageous character is Nobby Grimsby, his new target James Bond and its suggestive/squeamish, middle-class treatment of sexuality. Except he's been cut and pasted into a sub-90 minute Johnny English sequel, starring Mark Strong and directed by the journeyman who brought us 2008's Incredible Hulk and the Clash of the Titans remake.
- CineVue UK
Filmmakers seem to have a fixation with hitmen. No doubt this is because the addition of a contract killer creates the opportunity for just the right degree of tension, some violence, and a dash of psychological intrigue. Nevertheless, the formula can still produce idiosyncratic results, as Two Down, from Fizz and Ginger Films, proves. With backing from executive producers Stephen Fry and Derek Jacobi, the husband and wife team have created an absorbing drama with a very British flavour.
Matthew Butler Hart, the film’s director and co-writer, says they wanted to do something which involved three people together in a room, with both light and dark elements. Out of that grew this understated thriller, combining the influence of 1970s spy movies with a dry sense of humour.
The story begins when John, »
“The Brothers Grimsby” is funny. Get over it. I say this because I was certain it’d be yet another middling spoof of Bond films along the lines of Rowan Atkinson’s “Johnny English” movies, or worse, the ill-conceived and poorly executed Melissa McCarthy espionage comedy “Spy.” “The Brothers Grimsby” isn’t any of those; as noted, it’s funny. Directed by Louis Leterrier, (“Now You See Me”) and written by co-star Sacha Baron Cohen, with Peter Baynham (“Alan Partridge”) and Phil Johnston (“Zootopia”), the film spends all of about 40 seconds setting up the premise, which proves to be 20 seconds more than. »
- Tim Cogshell
London — BBC Worldwide has inked the first international sales on TV films “Maigret Sets a Trap” and “Maigret’s Dead Man,” in which Rowan Atkinson, the star of the “Mr Bean,” “Blackadder” and “Johnny English” franchises, plays the French detective Jules Maigret.
Atkinson is best known for comedy, but the Maigret films present him with an opportunity to demonstrate his acting abilities in a straight dramatic role, in the same way that his former “Blackadder” co-star Hugh Laurie did in “House.” The first to take the bait are French public television channel France 3, German public broadcaster Ard, Swedish broadcaster TV4 and Denmark’s Dr. BBC Worldwide, the U.K. broadcaster’s sales arm, launches the films at its global sales event BBC Worldwide Showcase next month.
- Leo Barraclough
4 items from 2016
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