Showing posts with label Comedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Comedy. Show all posts

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Safety Last!

Anyone who knows me or has regularly perused my blog will be well aware that I’m a huge fan of the silent comedy from the 1910s to 1930s. Of course this isn’t entirely true though. My love and knowledge only extends as far as the two behemoths of the era, to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Aside from the occasional foray into the likes of Laurel and Hardy and non-Chaplin Keystone, my understanding is limited. For a long time I’ve wanted to get a hold of some of the films of Harold Lloyd, the man who probably came closest to Chaplin and Keaton both then and now. Unfortunately, unlike my two comedy heroes, his oeuvre is harder to come by and much more expensive. I’ve started then with what is in my opinion his best known work; Safety Last! A film famous for its iconic still of Lloyd hanging from a clock face several stories up a skyscraper, I thought I’d start with the obvious and work my way back.

The movie opens very strongly with a set up that seems to suggest that the lead character, named Harold Lloyd, is behind bars and being visited by his sweetheart and a priest. In the background, a hangman’s noose looms. As the camera zooms out though, we learn that he’s merely behind a fence and is in fact awaiting the arrival of a train that will take him to the big city in search of his fortune. Lloyd promises to make good within the year in order that he and his girl (Mildred Davis) can marry. The establishing scene expertly sets up the next sixty-five minutes by introducing us to the characters and their motivations as well as giving us a great sight gag. From then on, the film goes from strength to strength.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Stand Up Guys

Stand Up Guys is a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Stuck somewhere between a geriatric sub Apatow production and 70s crime drama, it’s lost perilously at sea with a precious cargo of acting royalty desperately trying to steer around an iceberg. Despite pulling in the same direction, they go down with the ship. The S.S. Good Riddance. Directed by Fisher Stevens and penned by Noah Haidle, the film has at its centre an interesting premise but tonally it’s all off beam. Twenty-eight years after a job that went badly wrong, Valentine or “Val” to his friends (Al Pacino) is released from prison and into the welcoming arms of his former partner in crime Doc (Christopher Walken). Having served half a lifetime after a stray bullet accidentally ended the life of their bosses only son, Val is keen to make up for lost time, lost steak and lost sex. He’s acutely aware however that his time is limited and is expecting a hit on behalf of his still grieving boss. The bullet he’s expecting is due to be expelled by the gun hidden in his old friend Doc’s pocket, something Val also suspects.

With Alan Arkin joining an already illustrious cast and a premise that sets up so much, the film still somehow disappoints. The comedy is absolutely dire and produced just one laugh (admittedly a large one) in the entire 95 minute runtime. Time that could have been spent creating dramatic tension or allowing the great actors to spit thick, gloopy dialogue is instead devoted to nob gags and wave after wave of “Oh aren’t we old” jokes. I don’t know who is supposed to be enjoying it. If you’re young and have no love for the actors then it doesn’t work. If you’re young and have a great affinity for the actors then it’s simply sad and embarrassing and if you’re older then you just aren’t going to be interested in the Viagra stealing, Russian prostitute visiting humour. This is a movie aimed at fifteen year old fans of forty year old movies. A lot of movies have been produced recently which try to put a twist on the frat boy comedy by introducing an older cast but it’s just uncomfortable. Seeing Michael Corleone, Sonny Wortzik, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, Frank Serpico, Tony Montana, bloody Al ‘8 Oscar nominations and 1 win’ Pacino pretending to go to hospital because he can’t get rid of an erection? No. Just stop it. Enough.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Double

Richard Ayoade’s second film and follow up to 2010’s critically acclaimed Submarine is The Double, a dark comedy based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s satirical novella of the same name. Set in a subterranean hinterland of unknowable time and location, the film follows the life of lonely, ignored and unseen data imputer Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg). Simon floats through life unnoticed by those around him, stating that he feels as though people could almost reach through him as though he wasn’t there. When a new co-worker is introduced, Simon is shocked to discover that he looks and sounds exactly like himself. His doppelgänger though is everything he is not; cocky, outgoing and highly visible.

The Double could easily have been a film that was known for its story. Based on the work of one of the literary greats of the nineteenth century, the film has the narrative already safely mapped out and it indeed delivers an interesting and complex story. In the hands of Ayoade though, this film will be remembered for more; chiefly its design and sound. Richard Ayoade has constructed a magnificent film that evokes so much but remains unique. It’s beautiful and funny, grim and depressing all in equal measure.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Pain & Gain

I watched Pain & Gain. I don’t know why I watched Pain & Gain but I did. I watched Pain & Gain. My favourite critic, Mark Kermode, ranked it as his least favourite film of 2013 and I dislike the entire back catalogue of director Michael Bay. But still I watched Pain & Gain. And do you know what? It isn’t the worst film ever made. I don’t even think it’s the worst film of 2013. It isn’t however a very good film. It’s Pain & Gain. Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain.

Based on true events, something which the film ‘amusingly’ reminds the audience of after a particularly unbelievable scene, Pain & Gain is the story of body building jackass personal trainer Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) who in 1994-5 along with two accomplices, successfully kidnapped and extorted a Miami based businessman, taking all his money and possessions. After months of living the high life, the trio decided to try their hand at a second kidnapping but by this time the police were on their trail.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The latest picture from auteur director Wes Anderson is in my opinion, his finest to date. A typically lavish and exquisitely designed movie, it stars Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustav H, a respected concierge at The Grand Budapest Hotel. Pitched as a sort of cross between a Palatial residence and the hotel from The Shining, The Grand Budapest is seen in all its splendour during the majority of the film. The movie opens however around thirty years after the events to be depicted in, at a time during which the grand old hotel is but a shadow of its former self. The action is depicted in flashback, from the memories of Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), a once Lobby Boy and apprentice to the aforementioned Gustav H.

In 1932, Gustav H. is seeing off one of his many elder lady friends, a rich widow by the name of Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). Gustav’s charms have lead to an on off affair which has lasted for many years and she is upset to be leaving the hotel over which he holds sway. Days later the woman is dead. Gustav H. rushes to her Estate in the hope that his romantic efforts have written himself in the will and sure enough discovers that they have. The deceased’s son (Adrien Brody) is outraged at the reading of the will and accuses the concierge of murder. Gustav H. is soon on the run and ends up under lock and key inside an intimidating maximum security jail.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Comedy musical, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes arrived in cinemas in the summer of 1953 on the back of a successful Broadway run. Set largely aboard an Ocean Liner and Paris, the movie follows the fortunes of two beautiful showgirls. Although the best of friends, the two women couldn’t be more different from one another. Blonde bombshell Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) is a childlike airhead, desperate to marry rich. Her friend Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) is much smarter and more down to earth, interested in love not money. The two head to Paris with Dorothy sent along as a chaperone by Lorelei’s rich and naïve fiancé (Tommy Noonan). Also aboard the ship is a handsome P.I (Elliot Reid), who’s there at the behest of Lorelei’s potential father-in-law.

The film is famous today for Monroe’s iconic and much copied rendition of Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. Along with this song, there are several others in which the two stars sing seductively, strutting across the stage in glamorous and often revealing attire. Many of the songs weren’t to my liking but I had no complaints about the visuals. Around the pair is some excellent choreography. Russell’s rendition of Ain’t There Anyone Here for Love is set inside the ship’s gymnasium and she’s surrounded by the American Olympic Team of whom she makes interesting and amusing props. The actress looks to be in her element. The number also features a mistake in which the actress is knocked into a pool. Director Howard Hawks liked the take though and kept the accident in the finished film. The opening number I’m Just a Little Girl From Little Rock is well staged and sets the film off to a flying start.

Monday, 17 February 2014

The LEGO Movie

Before I compose my thoughts on hit animation The Lego Movie, you need to know a little about me. I quite like Lego. OK, that’s a slight understatement. You could say I enjoy Lego more than the average person. To be perfectly honest, I’m days away from my twenty-eighth birthday and live in a house in which the spare room is begrudgingly titled ‘the Lego room’ by my long suffering girlfriend. I love collecting the stuff, building it, looking at it and have even dabbled in stop motion animation. Hello everyone, my name’s Tom and I’m a Legoaholic. Attempting to put aside my love of the brightly coloured Danish bricks, I saw The Lego Movie and came to the conclusion that, it. is. awesome.

Bought to life via the minds of the wacky duo behind the insanely fun Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, The Lego Movie combines stop motion and GCI animation. Injected with copious amounts of wit and childish humour, it’s unleashed on an imaginative world, packed full of recognisable characters. One of Lego’s strengths in recent years has been its ever expanding universe, creating tie-ins with popular movie franchises. Added to the company’s long history of inventive subjects and sets, the film is given a blank canvas to fill with all manner of characters and creations. The movie’s central theme is that of creativity and individualism and no toy typifies this more than Lego. The main narrative is as unoriginal as a knock-knock joke but it’s surrounded by a colourful universe into which all manner of surprises and joke are crammed. Like a cardboard box surrounded by an acid trip, it’s expanded, melted, twisted and contorted until something hilarious plops out of the backside of a psychedelic aardvark.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night is a Pre Code romantic comedy/road movie directed by Frank Capra. At the 7th Academy Awards in February 1935, the film won an unprecedented haul of awards, becoming the first film to win ‘the big five’ of Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay. The feat went unmatched for over forty years and has only ever been matched twice. Although slow to catch on with critics and the public alike, word of mouth turned it into an unstoppable box office hit becoming Columbia’s highest grossing movie up to that point. Eighty years on from its release, the film remains an irresistible picture, combining drama and romance with a sizable dollop of Pre Code sentiment and behaviour.

Based on the short story Night Bus, the plot concerns a young heiress called Ellen Andrews (Claudette Colbert) who runs away from her comfortable lifestyle after her father attempts to have her marriage to a newly met aviator annulled. Aboard a bus to New York City she meets a down and out reporter called Peter Warne (Clark Gable). Warne is cocky and carefree and soon discovers there’s a story in the runaway girl. He agrees to help fund her journey to New York in return for cooperation on his story and the two begin a series of adventures on their way to the city.

The Touble with Harry

It’s not often that I finish an Alfred Hitchcock picture unable to take something away from it but I feel like I wasted my time with The Trouble with Harry. A departure from the type of mystery that made his name, this is a black comedy with thriller elements. Set during a crisp autumn in Vermont, a retired sea captain discovers the recently deceased body of a man while out hunting on a hill. Believing to be responsible for his death, the captain attempts to hide the body but various passers by happen upon it and react in unusual ways. It turns out that several people believe themselves responsible and the small community at the bottom of the hill attempt to discover exactly what happened to the man and what to do next.

The use of the body, which turns out to be that of the titular character, is a clever Macguffin which is used to unite two couples in what turns out to be a romantic black comedy. Ordinarily when a Hitchcock movie opens on a corpse, you’d be expecting a whodunit but here that isn’t important to the director. For me, that’s one of the problems. I wanted more excitement and intrigue from the film. Although billed as a comedy, I didn’t laugh once and was barely amused. The film just washed over me with a plot that didn’t grab me in the slightest. More disappointing than the plot is the cast who are as wooden as the corpse they attempt to cover up.

The Seven Year Itch

Having recently realised that I’ve loved almost every Billy Wilder film I’ve seen, I’ve been seeking out more of his work. It suddenly dawned on me earlier today that I owned one of his films which I hadn’t seen for a few years but remembered fondly. That film was The Seven Year Itch. I first saw the romantic comedy about five years ago and it had been on my shelf ever since. Unfortunately for my memory and for my love of the film’s director, I’d remembered it as a better film than I actually think it is.

The Seven Year Itch is based on the Broadway play of the same name and stars Tom Ewell as Richard Sherman, a slightly awkward man on the cusp of middle age. An abject worrier and daydreamer with an overactive imagination, Sherman sends his wife and young son off to Maine for the summer in order to escape the New York heat. When returning from work that night he meets a beautiful young woman (Marilyn Monroe) in the hallway of his building and begins to have thoughts that belie his faithful and honest nature.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Kid Auto Races at Venice

Five days ago I got a little giddy with excitement over the one hundredth anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s debut screen appearance. Today, February 7th 2014 marks another centenary; the anniversary of the first screen appearance of Chaplin’s defining character, the little fellow, his tramp. Released on this day a century ago, Kid Auto Races at Venice was Chaplin’s second film to be released but wasn’t the first film for which he had donned his famous costume. Shot a few days earlier but released two days later, Mabel’s Strange Predicament is technically the tramp’s first film. In that film though, the tramp is very much an also ran, part of a small cast of characters who cause a ruckus in a hotel. Here Chaplin stands alone, as he did through much of his film career.

Just eleven minutes long, though the version I own is seven, filming took place during a soap box derby race in Venice Beach, California. Chaplin plays a bystander, nestled in amongst the sizable crowd who stand respectfully at the side of the track. When the tramp notices a camera filming the event he becomes infatuated with it, making numerous attempts to get in front of it and generally cause a bit of trouble. This isn’t appreciated by the director who bats the tramp away. Here in his debut film, the tramp is very much that. He’s a mischievous vagrant with no better place to be. His cruel streak isn’t really evident but neither is the kindness of his later feature films. He’s a character whose personality is very much still being formed. He’s not bad and not really mean, he’s just annoying. The tramp remained an annoyance for many of his early appearances, taking some time to develop into the more sincere and sympathetic character he would later become.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Making a Living

February 2nd 1914, exactly one hundred years ago today saw the launch of one of the most successful Hollywood careers in history. On this day a century ago, a twenty-four year old Englishman called Charles Spencer Chaplin made his screen debut in a one reel Keystone comedy called Making a Living. Eighteen months later he would arguably become the most famous entertainer on the planet and by his late twenties he was the richest. Being a man for whom Chaplin has a special place in my heart, not to mention a permanent inked place on my arm, today is something special for me and to celebrate I decided to watch his first film exactly a century after its initial release.

Although I’ve reviewed over forty of Chaplin’s films in the past two years on this blog, Making a Living was one that I had never seen. In a way I’m glad that today was the first time I’d seen the short film as there’s something interesting about seeing it for the very first time exactly a hundred years after it was first exhibited. Chaplin plays a charming swindler called Edgar English having not adopted his iconic Tramp costume and persona until his second film, Kid Auto Races at Venice. During the thirteen minute runtime, English has frequent run-ins with Henry Lehrman’s reporter and eventually falls foul of the Keystone Kops, leading to a chaotic and slightly confusing conclusion.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Some Like It Hot

A Hollywood remake of the 1935 French movie Fanfare d'Amour, Some Like It Hot is widely regarded as amongst the funniest and most cherished films in the history of cinema. Written, Produced and Directed by one of cinema’s finest, Billy Wilder, it stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as destitute musicians, eking out a living in prohibition era Chicago. Having accidentally witnessed the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the two men go on the lamb and hop on a train to Florida. In order to go unnoticed by the Mob they disguise themselves as women and join an all female band heading to Miami. Amongst the band members is Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) who both men (obviously) fall for.

I’ve wanted to see Some Like It Hot for a long time and having finally got around to it last night, I can report that I wasn’t disappointed. Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond’s script is rich, saucy and hilarious while full of the sort of bawdy double entendre that would have been impossible to get passed censors in the years before. In fact, along with the likes of Hitchcock’s Psycho and Wilder’s own The Apartment, it was just this sort of movie which saw to the decline and eventually dismemberment of the dreaded Hays/Breen Code that had constricted Hollywood since the early 1930s.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Monsieur Verdoux

Released seven years after Chaplin’s last film The Great Dictator, Monsieur Verdoux arrived after yet another turbulent period in the actor/writer/director’s life. Based on an idea by Orson Welles which Chaplin bought from his friend for $5,000 in 1941, the film is loosely based on the life of a famous French bigamist and murderer called Henri Landru. Here Charlie Chaplin plays Henri Verdoux, who after losing his steady job during the Great Depression, marries several wealthy old women before murdering them and stealing from their estates. Chaplin plays Verdoux as a dapper and cunning gentleman. Charming and flirtatious he is an expert salesman - his product, himself. Cleverly he woos unsuspecting women, keeping several on the go at once and when money becomes tight he strikes. Speaking accurately about his work to a neighbour he declares, “Yes I have a job. If I lose one, I can always get another”. It’s this kind of pitch black humour that runs through Chaplin’s darkest film and the same humour that drew mass criticism from journalists and the public alike.

Stepping back in time for just a moment to understand where Chaplin found himself in 1947 it’s not difficult to see why he was given such a hard time in the press. Following several highly public failed marriages, often with women several decades younger than himself, Chaplin found himself in 1943 at the centre of the biggest celebrity scandal since the Arbuckle trials over twenty years earlier. An inspiring actress who Chaplin had privately tutored called Joan Barry had publicly declared the star to be the father of her new born child and a paternity case was played out in the full glare of the media that same year. Although two blood tests proved Chaplin was not the father, the court still ordered him to pay child support and the media backlash was something that Chaplin never really recovered from. Added to this was Chaplin’s refusal to become an American citizen after over thirty years of working in America and suspicions of Communist sympathies in an ever more paranoid and right wing country. So when in 1947 Chaplin released a film that not only did away with his popular Tramp character but also appeared to glamorise murder and polygamy, the knives were out.

Friday, 17 January 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s latest motion picture comes hurling towards its audience as though thrown from an amusement park ride. Loud, vulgar and covered in vomit, it’s the director’s most controversial movie in years, not to mention his longest and perhaps his most unabashed. The auteur is proving that even into his seventies he still has the power to enthral, entertain and repulse with a wild film about greed and intemperance. The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the memoir of the same name written by Jordan Belfort, a former New York stockbroker who lived a life filled with excess thanks to his shady stock market dealings in the 1980s and 90s.

Joining Scorsese for a fifth time as lead actor is Leonardo DiCaprio who plays Belfort with all the grace, charm and sophistication you expect from a Wall Street swindler. DiCaprio is nasty, vile, cruel and disgusting and yet you can’t help love both him and the character as you watch him snort cocaine from a hooker’s anus or throw hundred dollar bills in the trash. He’s made it, he’s living the American dream and he’s loving every minute of it. Criticism has come from the fact that the central character suffers no real comeuppance, no fall from grace. I disagree slightly with this but would also argue that Scorsese and screenwriter Terrance Winter are showing you how it is. The bad guy doesn’t always lose and in this case, he might not win all the time but it makes no difference. You know he’s a dick and you know he’s in the wrong but you also know that you want what he’s got.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is an average Joe New Yorker, working for Time Magazine. His life is dull, bland and listless. He lacks the adventure and excitement that he secretly craves and frequently day dreams, putting himself in exhilarating and romantically fulfilling positions. As news is announced that Time Magazine is to close, Walter is sent a roll of film from hunky adventure photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) who asks Walter to make sure that a particular photograph of his is considered for the final cover. The problem is that Sean’s photo never arrived and inspired by a secret love for a new co-worker, Walter breaks free of the shackles of everyday tedium and sets out to track down the illusive photographer not letting oceans, mountains or implausibility stop him.

It’s no coincidence that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was released here in the UK on Boxing Day, being as it is the perfect film to uplift its target audience from their overly full, post Christmas slump. Like a bland Christmas turkey, it’s the sort of film that comes around once a year at the festive period and even though it isn’t as exciting as venison or lobster, you eat it because it’s the time of year that you’re meant to. There isn’t lots of nourishment and if you’re honest, it’s quite dry but you let it slide because there’s also cranberry sauce on your plate. But wait a minute, there is no cranberry sauce, there’s Ben Stiller and he’s shoving another fork full of turkey down your throat. Eat the turkey. Eat it.

Sunday, 22 December 2013


It’s been a few weeks now since I saw Nebraska, Alexander Payne’s monochrome comedy-drama and I didn’t originally intend to write about it. But of all the films I’ve seen in the last couple of months, it’s the one that has stayed with me the longest. Nebraska stars Bruce Dern as Woody, a grouchy old man whose moments of lucidity are swamped by his seemingly frail mind. Woody receives a sweepstakes letter which tells him of a million dollar prize win which he is determined to collect in person. Despite warnings from his family that the prize is bogus, Woody is undeterred and eventually his son David (Will Forte) agrees to drive across country to Lincoln, Nebraska with his father to pick up the winnings. Along the way the pair stops in Woody’s small hometown where he reconnects with the past.

At this late stage in 2013, Nebraska stands as one of the best films I’ve seen all year. It’s an absolute delight, merging neo-realism with caricature in a way that I’ve rarely witnessed before. It manages to be both grounded but quirky, serious and flippant and focuses in the everyday side of America rarely featured in Hollywood films. The characters don’t moan about money while living in mansions or complain about their dream jobs, these are Middle Americans, dealing with normal issues and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was one of those rarest of comedies, a film that gets funnier the more you watch it and one that has so many quotable lines that you’d laugh yourself silly before running out while reciting them with friends. Like Airplane! and This is Spinal Tap! it was a film that you could introduce to friends and watch them fall in love with and watch on a loop without getting bored. As a nineteen year old in 2004, that’s how my friends and I saw it anyway. In the years since, the film’s star Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) has made occasional appearances in adverts and the like as well as a, let’s be honest, poor and straight to DVD Wake Up Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie which was compiled using left over footage from the first movie. Now though, nearly a decade later the famous New Team has finally assembled for a much anticipated two hour sequel.

I have an odd love/hate relationship with Will Ferrell. Sometimes he seems like the funniest guy in the world and his comic creations slay me. More than half the time though, he really annoys me. In Anchorman his Ron Burgundy character was always the former of these two Ferrells’ but unfortunately for long periods in Anchorman 2 I found his greatest creation not just annoying but also dull. Annoying and dull are two words that I’d also use to describe the film as a whole. That being said, it is not without its moments and most of these come flying from the gaping mouth of Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), the man who saves the movie.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator saw Charlie Chaplin return to the screen following an absence of four years since 1936’s Modern Times. It also marked his first true talkie, a departure from the silent cinema which had for a time made him the most famous person on the planet. From a script written in 1938-39, The Great Dictator satirised the Fascist regimes of Italy and Germany and in particular the moustache stealing Adolph Hitler. Despite pre-production condemnation from Hollywood and a Hitler appeasing British Government, the film which was financed solely by Chaplin himself became a huge critical and commercial success, no doubt spurred on by its staggered release in 1940-41 by which time Europe and then the whole world was at war.

Chaplin who had by this time become increasingly political in his film making can be considered as somewhat of a visionary in his approach to the film. While writing the script much of the world was seduced by Hitler and saw him and his Nazi Party as the antidote to the spread of Communism. His strong, conservative Germany formed a vital buffer between the Soviet Union and the West and became an important trading partner once again. While many politicians were unable to see beyond Hitler’s immeasurable charisma, Chaplin focussed his film on those in the firing line of Hitler’s new Europe, specifically the Jews.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Belleville Rendez-vous

Belleville Rendez-vous, known as The Triplets of Belleville outside of my native United Kingdom, is a 2003 Oscar nominated animated feature, written and directed by the mastermind behind the similarly styled 2010 Oscar nominated The Illusionist. The film tells the surrealist story of a doting grandma who trains her grandson to compete in the Tour de France before he is kidnapped by the mob. Determined to return him to his native France, she tracks him to Belleville (modelled on New York City) where she and her obese dog befriend the Belleville Triplets, a formerly popular music hall act.

As well as reminding me of director Sylvain Chomet’s quite and masterful feature, The Illusionist, the animation is also reminiscent of classic Disney. The still backdrops and wildly grotesque characters remain faithful to the animation found in the likes of Dumbo or Pinocchio but are darker and drawn with the animator’s tongue firmly in cheek. The animation also displays modern touches but these are counteracted by the wonderfully realised mid twentieth century setting. There are even flairs of psychedelia present and side characters such as an overly foppish waiter and henchmen who seem conjoined at their ridiculously overgrown shoulders wouldn’t look out of place in a dehydrated Yellow Submarine.  The surrealist nature of the animation also extends beyond the character and occasionally creeps into inanimate objects too where it is befitting of the plot.