Tag Archives: John Cleese

Life of Brian: In Christ’s Shadow

A MOTION PICTURE DESTINED TO OFFEND NEARLY TWO THIRDS OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD. AND SEVERELY ANNOY THE OTHER THIRD. Modern audiences are not likely to find Monty Python’s most controversial film terribly daring or blasphemous. But back in 1979 it was a big deal. Several British town councils banned it, and so did a few … Continue reading Life of Brian: In Christ’s Shadow

The Great Muppet Caper

Newspaper reporters Kermit, Gonzo and Fozzie head to London to look into a sensational jewel theft, but Miss Piggy complicates everything. The sequel to The Muppet Movie (1979) has less ambition and star cameos, but amps up the number of meta jokes; the opening credits are devoted to small talk about… opening credits. The jewel … Continue reading The Great Muppet Caper

The Meaning of Life: A Mixed Blessing

IT TOOK GOD SIX DAYS TO CREATE THE EARTH, AND MONTY PYTHON JUST 90 MINUTES TO SCREW IT UP.    Sketch movies are not easy to judge because of their, well, sketchy nature. They throw a bag of very loosely connected skits at us, hoping that some of them work and not too many of … Continue reading The Meaning of Life: A Mixed Blessing

The Big Year

EVERYONE IS SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING. Three birders (Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson) keep bumping into each other in remote places; initially reluctant to come clean, they are all secretly doing a Big Year. While Mark Obmascik’s book follows real-life birders who compete against each other, trying to spot as many species as possible all … Continue reading The Big Year

Around the World in 80 Days

LET YOUR IMAGINATION SOAR. In 1872, inventor Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan) wagers that he can travel around the world in 80 days; he’s accompanied by his recently hired manservant (Jackie Chan) who has an agenda of his own. Another adaptation of the Jules Verne perennial, one that takes a lot of liberties but not in a … Continue reading Around the World in 80 Days

Shrek Forever After

IT AIN’T OGRE… TIL IT’S OGRE. Shrek is going through a midlife crisis and becomes an easy victim for Rumpelstiltskin and his wicked plan. The fourth film in the series is in widescreen and 3D, but nothing else has changed. Much like Shrek the Third (2007), the filmmakers take us down our favorite ogre’s path to maturity and … Continue reading Shrek Forever After

The Pink Panther 2

INSPECT THE UNEXPECTED. Someone is stealing the most precious historical artifacts in the world and Jacques Clouseau (Steve Martin) is hired to lead a team of crack investigators. There are virtually no redeeming qualities in this sequel that has few real jokes and no imagination at all. The impressive cast makes the failure even more galling; … Continue reading The Pink Panther 2

Shrek the Third

THE WAIT IS OGRE! When the King of Far, Far Away dies, Shrek is next in line to the throne; he refuses to shoulder the mantle and goes on a quest with Donkey and Puss in Boots to find the next man in line. There isn’t much left of the first film’s ingenious satire and the … Continue reading Shrek the Third

The Day the Earth Stood Still

An alien sphere lands in Central Park and a human-looking figure (Keanu Reeves) emerges; he tells a scientist (Jennifer Connelly) that the Earth must be rescued from humanity. The classic 1951 sci-fi movie gets its modern disaster flick remake; except for the theme of ecological annihilation, not much has been updated and there is little … Continue reading The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Adventures of Pluto Nash

THE MAN ON THE MOON. Some time in the future, a successful night club on the moon is blown up and the owner (Eddie Murphy) tries to find whoever is responsible. Murphy’s venture into space moves reasonably fast, some of the design looks pretty good and the music is better than most things. But this … Continue reading The Adventures of Pluto Nash

Fawlty Towers: Keeping Up Appearances

The year is 1971. The Monty Python’s Flying Circus team is staying at a hotel in the British vacation resort of Torquay and are absolutely amazed at the incompetence of the hotel manager, an ill-tempered man who tells Terry Gilliam to stop eating like an American, throws Eric Idle’s suitcase over a wall because he thinks there’s … Continue reading Fawlty Towers: Keeping Up Appearances