Currently browsing the "Armando Iannucci" tag.

Review: The Personal History of David Copperfield

Some stories seem to attract actors and directors over and over, year after year. Charles Dickens’ semi-autobiographical “David Copperfield” is one of those. It’s been adapted for the screen at least 14 times, beginning in the silent era, as features, series, animation, and probably the most famous version by George Cukor (My Fair Lady, The Philadelphia Story) with W.C Fields as Mr Micawber! So you might think it didn’t have anything new to offer. You’d be wrong. In the hands of Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin, In the Loop), the story takes a decidedly humorous and absurdist turn and breaths a fresh life into the classic tale of an orphan’s coming-of-age in Victorian England.

Review: The Death of Stalin

If you saw In the Loop, you know what you’re in for in Armando Iannucci’s latest political satire — dark, hilarious, and sometimes creepy. As the title announces, the film is about the death of the ruthless dictator in 1953, though that only takes up a few minutes at the beginning. What it’s really about is the political wrangling that begins before he’s even left this world. There are three men vying to be the new Soviet leader: Stalin’s second-in-command, the idiot Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), the ambitious Party chief Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), and the truly sick secret police chief Lavrenti Beria (Simon Russell Beale). Malenkov didn’t have a chance, but Khrushchev and Beria would stop at nothing. The film is adapted from a comic book telling of the story, and everything that happens has a darkly absurd quality. And even though it’s based in reality, I’m sure the actual men were never as hilarious as they appear in this telling.