Posts Tagged ‘ Chris O’Dowd ’

Film Review: The Double

Double exlusive trailer

We live in an age of anxiety, and good old Dostoyevsky saw it coming: “If there’s no God everything is permitted,” he said in 1880. It is a statement often quoted as a moral warning – a prediction that without the Big G overseeing things man would implode in an orgy of hedonistic chaos. But that wasn’t Fyodor’s main concern – he was much more interested in how a world without meaning, fate, or belief might torture an individual human soul.

Welcome to the 21st Century. “Everything is permitted” is now the gleeful cheer of our consumerist overlords. Enjoy freedom! Enjoy choice! Be anyone you want to be! Unfortunately, for people who don’t particularly like themselves this is a double kick in the guts, because not only have they grown up to be a social clod with all the charisma of a P60, they are now entirely and solely responsible for this state of affairs. Nobody to blame but yourself says the modern world – you chose this miserable destiny. You could easily have been a rock star or spaceman but you ended up sitting in your pants, eating Nutella straight from the jar, writing film reviews nobody reads. What a waste.

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IFTA Reveals Shortlist Of Nominees

ifta

The Irish Film and Television Academy have announced the shortlist of nominees in 40 strongly contested categories for the 11th annual Irish Film and Television Awards, which takes place on Saturday 5th April at the DoubleTree at Hilton Burlington Road and broadcast primetime on RTÉ ONE (reaching 1.24 Million viewers last year).

Nominations are announced in categories across film and television, celebrating the highest standard of Irish talent over the past twelve months. All IFTA’s categories have been shortlisted by Members of the Irish Film & Television Academy alongside a select Jury panel of industry experts from around the world.  IFTA received 311 titles submitted for consideration in the 2013 Awards. Continue reading

O’Dowd To Star In Lance Armstrong Biopic

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StudioCanal is set to team up once again with Working Title, this time to finance and handle international sales on Stephen FrearsLance Armstrong biopic, which it will launch at AFM. The Paris-based studio will also handle distribution in France, U.K., Germany and Australia.

Based on the book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by Irish sports journalist David Walsh, the film is set to star Roscommon native Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) as Walsh and Ben Foster (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) as the disgraced seven-time Tour de France champion. Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons and Cesar-winning actor/director Guillaume Canet are on board for supporting roles. Shooting will start October 18 in France and the U.K. Continue reading

This is 40

This Is 40

Five years after the lukewarm comedy Knocked Up writer/director Judd Apatow latest offering, This is 40, looks at marriage from a different angle. Continue reading

Top Five Comedy Shows You Must See Before You Die

All of the television programs on this list are made in Britain and feature British/Irish actors and actresses. That’s not being elitist, at least intentionally, against American comedy, which is often very good (Ted, Arrested Development and Parks and Recreation spring to mind) but usually has the tendency to be very direct. Humour in this region of the world is more often much more subtle and much funnier as a result and few other television shows over the past decade exemplify that particular brand of humour more so than the following five:

The IT Crowd

Have you tried turning it off and back on again? Written by Graham Linehan (also involved with Black Books and Father Ted), The IT Crowd follows the adventures of geek genius and socially awkward Maurice (Richard Ayoade) and the laidback and rather unlucky Roy (Chris O’Dowd), two IT guys under the supervision of the somewhat clueless Jen (Katherine Parkinson), relationship manger and head of the department who actually knows nothing about IT. Much of the humour comes from internet and computing in-jokes, Jen’s complete lack of knowledge concerning computers (of which Roy often takes advantage) and her attempts to build a bridge between the basement dwelling IT department and the rest of Reynholm Industries which leads to Roy and Maurice’s many awkward and failed interactions with those from the higher levels.

Spaced

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have proved their humour can translate onto the big screen with the hilarious and successful ‘Hot Fuzz’ and zom-rom-com classic, ‘Shaun of the Dead’. But it was on the small screen where they had one of their first successes with Spaced on Channel 4, which Pegg co-wrote and co-starred with Jessica Stevenson. Centred around Tim Beisley (Pegg) and Daisy Steiner (Stevenson) who pretend to be a happy couple in order to meet the prerequisites of the ideal flat on 23 Meteor Street, the show follows the pair as they attempt to navigate love, life and work (or lack thereof) combined with one another’s less than usual friends; would be soldier Mike, tortured artist Brian from downstairs and the lonely landlady, Marsha, rarely seen without a cigarette in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Known for its rapid fire editing, frequent pop culture references, subtle humour and eclectic music, Pegg and Stevenson pitched it as a cross between “The Simpsons, The X-Files and Northern Exposure.” And it works.

The Office

Famous around the world, The Office, stars Ricky Gervais’ most recognisable character, David Brent, as a manager of Slough paper merchants Wernham Hogg, chosen to be the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary. The comedy lies in Gervais’ flawless portrayal of a man desperate to be accepted, who confuses respect with being well liked, mixed in with an awkward and often inappropriate sense of humour. His lieutenant Gareth is clueless and obsessed with his time spent in the Territorial Army and is perpetually locked in a mini-war with Tim, an unpretentious and good-natured sales rep, whose witticisms and actually funny jokes make him almost the complete opposite of Brent. Despite Brent’s obnoxious and often mystifying personality, Gervais manages to inject some poignancy into the character and more often than not we end up sympathising with him. If you like cringe humour (99 per cent of the series), then boy is The Office the show for you.

The Inbetweeners

What can you say about this non-typical coming of age show about four completely different yet normal English teenagers? Subtle probably isn’t one of the most often used words. One word should bring back a host of memories for those who have seen it yet may elicit confusion from those who haven’t – clunge.

Sexual and general awkwardness? Check. Lewd teenage jokes? Check. Rip roaringly funny dialogue and story lines? Double and treble check. Not one for the easily offended or those who have forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager.

Black Books

Like the IT Crowd and Spaced, Black Books comes under the category of ‘good things come in unfortunately small doses’. With only two seasons, and a handful of episodes, by the time you’ve finished watching all of them (not too long after you’ve started, who needs to go to work anyway?) you’ll certainly be left wanting for more.

Dylan Moran stars as the heavy smoking and drinking Irish misanthrope Bernard Black, who runs a second-hand bookstore despite the lack of any apparent desire to actually sell any books. Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey) is Black’s assistant and flatmate who in reality is little more than a slave and whom Black refers to varyingly as ‘Gandalf’, ‘Bigfoot’ and ‘Genghis’ while his best and friend, Fran (Tamsin Greig) runs a shop next door selling odds and ends which is endearingly referred to as “a load of wank.”

Cue lots of dark and sometimes puerile and wine related humour.

Honourable Mentions

Father Ted – Father Ted isn’t mentioned in this list because it has a list of its own – the five best television comedies named Father Ted, all of which are occupied by Father Ted. There’s not much else to say about Ted, Dougal and Jack which hasn’t already been said. Perhaps the classic show can be summed up with a quote from Fr Dougal McGuire, oftentimes the bane of Fr Ted’s existence.

(Dougal has trouble remembering his prayers)

Father Dougal: Our Father, who art in heaven…

Father Ted: (sternly) Hallowed.

Father Dougal: Hallowed be thy…

Father Ted: Name!

Father Dougal: Papa don’t preach…

Father Ted: Dougal, you know you can praise God in other ways.

Father Dougal: Oh yeah, like that time you told me I could praise him just by leaving the room.

Father Ted: Yes, that was a good one all right.

And, of course, who could forget kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse?

 Misfits – Though not necessarily and solely a comedy in the strictest sense of the word – there’s plenty of drama and tear inducing moments to be found in this super-powered series – anybody with a sense of humour could rarely be found dry eyed (in a good way) when Robert Sheehan took to the screen as the loveable Irish rascal, Nathan. Filthy minded, with poor hygiene and worse morals though not without emotion, Nathan took all the laughs and transcended the series from shadow sci-fi to supreme comedy drama. No matter how serious or touching the moment, one could be assured that Nathan would turn up sooner or later with an absurdly obscene comment to ruin it.

Sample quote from Nathan (When asked whether community service has changed him) – “I think I’m taller.”

News in Brief-Fat Ireland, Jailbreaking Romanians and A Bit of Posh Spice

Attack of the fat! It seems Ireland has been ranked seventh worst country in the world in terms of keeping fit. Now the Irish population are behind the Americans in the amount of exercise they take part in every week. Well we are fans of a pint of the black stuff, Tayto crisps and bread, lots of them in fact, and all while we sit on the sofa.

Don’t be offended by my casual stereotyping, everyone is doing it, including Tourism Ireland. For Londoners wanting to ’escape the madness’ of an English summer and London’s 2012 Olympics then they may consider a trip to the Emerald Isle as portrayed by Tourism Ireland in their new advert.
        Tourism Ireland’s new campaign features two likely lads testing how soon one can be sipping a pint of that famous black stuff while the other tries to get a coffee in the commuter-locked city. ’Yer Man’ (fulfilling another stereotype) ends up in a very nice pub after the ’classic sheep shot’ (seriously now?) before ’Office Boy’ makes it to work. All that are missing are some little men in green.
        Chris O’Dowd is the funny voice of the campaign after apparently tweeting that he’d like to be the voice of Irish tourism in Britain. Hey @TourismIreland I’ll be your voice of Ireland in the Mediterranean. No?
If you commit crime but can’t do the time at least remember your manners. That is what two male prisoners have done this week. The escapees, or unaccounted for inmates, as the authorities prefer, left the Castlerea prison in Roscommon where they were serving time for breaking into parking meters. Obviously though, they felt they had served their time leaving the prison and a note; “Sorry, we had no choice”. Well, manners do cost nothing, a thieves favourite price.
What’s the Dail’s favourite price? Over priced. Recession? What recession? You wouldn’t know we were a country in trouble if you walked into the sea of tablet screens that will soon be the Dail. Each member is to receive new tablet computers in steps to “modernise” government. Apparently the cost of the tablets will be recouped through a reduction in printing costs as members will be able to access bills, notes and information on their tablets, on the go. Hey Dail, I’ll have a free iPad! Not you either?
Victoria Beckham, the famously miserable face of brand Beckham has been in Dublin this week to promote her clothing line in Brown Thomas. The always austere Posh Spice was however upstaged by her daughter Harper, as she took tentative steps across the shop floor (reminiscent of her mother in her excessive heels). Predictably and uninterestingly  the media went mad with an image of the teetering tot going viral worldwide but not of them noticed the note left behind; “Sorry, I had no choice”.

Friends with Kids

We’ve all seen it happen: friends get married, have kids and change. Not that they want to, not that they intend to but they do! Writer, actor and first time director Jennifer Westfalt and her long-time partner the mad man himself Jon Hamm, have watched  this happen to their friends and decided to turn experience into the film “Friends with Kids”.

This funny, heart-warming and at times very sarcastic film tells the story of six friends, two couples and two singles. It all starts off very Sex in the City with the friends having dinner in a chic Manhattan restaurant appalled by the children at the neighbouring table. When the hot and heavy couple Ben (Jon Hamm) and Missy (Kristen Wiig) return from a quickie in the toilets, Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O’Dowd) announce to their friends that they are pregnant and swear that nothing will change.

Four years later it is a totally different story. While Leslie and Alex struggle to manage two kids and have moved to Brooklyn, Missy and Ben seem to only communicate through snide comments over their baby’s buggy. Forced to witness these changes  Adam (Jason Frymann) and Julie (Jennifer Westfalt) congratulate themselves on being free and single, the only problem is they both would like kids. So as they watch their friends fall apart the singletons make a pack to have a child together, share all the benefits and responsibilities but NOT be a couple.

At first things seem to work out and both find bliss with gorgeous partners. Adam hooks up with curvaceous dancer Mary Jane (Megan Fox) and Julie finds the perfect male specimen in the delicious Kurt (Edward Burns).  But as nothing can last, not even in a romantic comedy, soon everything changes and trouble follows.

Somehow Westfalt has managed to take a seemingly mundane topic and turn it into a series of traps and twists that define the characters and show how parenthood changes them.  And while it is very funny at times and you can’t help being torn between laughing at and crying for the parents this film is still very honest and even real if you can look past the incredible beauty selected on screen.

Wigg is wonderful with her icy stares and snide comments, Hamm plays a man who regrets and thus drinks very well and Rudolph and O’Dowd make a loveable quirky couple whose warmth always shines through.  And even though Fryman does a great job of portraying a man who thinks he only wants sex to find out what he really wants is love, the show is all about Westfalt.

Not only did she direct this film beautifully and her script is witty and resourceful but her character Julie shows all the raw emotions of a woman looking for love, not wanting to compromise but knowing that time is running out.

And while you may be reminded of “When Harry met Sally” or other rom-com classics “Friends with Kids” is a clever film that is not afraid to take a few risks and show life as messy and colourful as we all know it can be. A must see film of the summer, whether you are parents or not.