British actor Sir Tony Robinson is adamant the Blackadder cast will not be following the stars of Monty Python by staging a reunion because they "don't need the money". The veteran comedy troupe, including John Cleese, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, have got back together for a series of stage shows in London next summer (14), and Python member Eric Idle recently admitted they agreed to the reunion because of cash issues.
The comeback raised hopes about the revival of another beloved British comedy, Blackadder, but castmember Robinson is adamant it won't happen.
He tells the London Evening Standard, "We don’t need the money as much as they do... We don't have to pay for that amount of alimony or rehab so I'm not sure we have the same motivation. Good luck to them. It's high risk, but if it comes off it will be great. To my generation they were the gods."
Previous reports emerged over the summer suggesting Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson was in talks to bring the show back for a fifth season.
The TV comedy, which also starred Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, ended in 1989.
Veteran rocker Eric Clapton sent a poignant message to be read out at the funeral of his friend and former roommate Martin Sharp in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday (10Dec13). The Australian artist, who lived with Clapton in London in the 1960s, passed away on 1 December (13) at the age of 71, and he was remembered at a funeral in his hometown Down Under.
The memorial service at Christ Church St Laurence was filled with sunflowers to represent Sharp's love of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, and it attracted stars including Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes and filmmaker Philippe Mora, who read out a message from his friend Clapton.
It read: "Thank you for your friendship and inspiration and for just being you... I'll miss you my friend."
Much like the somber melodies that float throughout its 105-minute runtime, Inside Llewyn Davis will remain lodged in your head weeks after you and the film first meet. With Oscar Isaac's "Fare thee we-e-ell..." ringing daintily in your ears, you'll shuffle out from the grasp of the Coen Brothers' wonderland of gray, but you won't soon be able to relieve yourself of what is arguable the pair's best film yet. Llewyn's is a story so outstandingly simple — he's a man who's s**t out of luck, and not especially deserving of any. He wakes up, loses his friend's cat, plays some music, and wishes things were better. And yet his is the Coens' most invigorating and deftly human tale yet.
Llewyn Davis makes the bold, but practical, choice of never insisting that we love its hero. He's effectively a jackass, justifying all the waste he has incurred with the rudeness he showers on the majority of those in his acquaintance. But Llewyn Davis isn't the villain here, either. The villain is the industry, and all the uphill battles inherent to its machinations. The villain isn't Llewyn's substantially more successful contacts — an old pal Jim (Justin Timberlake) and new fellow couch-surfer Troy (Stark Sands), but the listening public that prefers their saccharine pop to his dreary drips of misery. The villain isn't Llewyn's resentful old flame Jean (Carey Mulligan), no matter how many volatile admonitions she might shoot his way, but the act of God surrounding their unwitting adherence to one another. And it's not even the cantankerous and foul Roland Turner (a delightfully hammy John Goodman), but the endless, frigid open road of which each man is a prisoner (if the film has one flaw, it's that this segment carries on just a bit too long, but that might very well be the point). The villain is the cold.
Call it all a raw deal. But the real dynamism isn't in the challenges that happen outside Llewyn Davis, but in the determined toxicity brewing inside as he meets each and every one.
But this isn't the Coen Brothers' Murphy's Law comedy A Serious Man — we don't watch a chaotic pileup of every imaginable trick that the devil can manage to pull. Llewyn is steady throughout, not burying Llewyn deeper but keeping him on the ground, with the fruit-bearing branches forever out of his reach. In its narrative, Llewyn Davis is as close to natural life as any of the filmmakers' works to date. Perfectly exhibited in a late scene involving a trip to Akron, Llewyn isn't a cinematic construct, but the sort of person we know, so painfully, that we are very likely to be... on our bad days.
Still, working in such a terrific harmony with the grounded feel of Llewyn himself, we have that Coen whimsy in their delivery of 1960s New York City — rather, a magic kingdom painted in the stellar form of a 1960s New York City. And not the New York City we're given by the likes of Martin Scorsese or Woody Allen. Closer, maybe, to Spike Lee or Sydney Lumet, but still a terrain unique to moviegoers. A New York that's always recovering from a hostile rain, and always promising another 'round the bend. One that flickers like a dying bulb, with its million odd beleaguered moths buzzing around it against the pull of logic. There is something so incredibly alive about the Coens' crying city; this hazy dream world's partnership with half-dead, anchored-to-earth portrait like Llewyn is the product of such sophisticated imagination at play.
And to cap this review of one of the best features 2013 has given us, it's only appropriate to return to the element in which its identity is really cemented: the music. Without the tunes bobbing through the story, we'd still likely find something terrific in Llewyn Davis. But the music, as beautiful as it is, is the reason for the story. As we watch Isaac's hopeless sad sack drag himself through Manhattan's winter, past the helping hands of friends and into the grimaces of strangers, as we struggle with our own handfuls of nihilistic skepticism that any of this yarn is worth the agony (or that our attention to its meandering nature is worth the price of a ticket), we are given the rare treat of an answer. Of course it's all for something. Of course it's all about something. It's about that beautiful, beautiful music.
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British folk veteran Roy Harper is heading to trial next year (14) on a number of child sex offences. The musician is facing nine charges relating to allegations dating back to 1975 and 1977, including one count of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged under 13.
He will be tried on the charges next August (14) and he will remain free on unconditional bail until then.
Harper will next appear in court on 24 March (14) to enter a plea.
The 72 year old was set to perform alongside Robert Plant at a tribute concert in honour of late musician Bert Jansch in London on Tuesday night (03Dec13), but he has withdrawn from the line-up.
Acclaimed Australian artist Martin Sharp has died at the age of 71. He passed away at his home in Sydney on Sunday night (01Dec13) after a long battle with emphysema. No more details were available as WENN went to press.
Sharp rose to fame as a cartoonist in the 1960s, founding the controversial Oz magazine, and he went on to make his name in the psychedelic era of the 1960s, creating portraits of stars including Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan.
He spent much of the 1960s living in London, and he became involved in the music industry through his friend Eric Clapton, co-writing the lyrics to Cream classic Tales of Brave Ulysses. He also designed cover art for the band's albums Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire.
Sharp's achievements also include designing the iconic clown's face entrance at Sydney's Luna Park.
"This pretty much took us by surprise, so we are talking about adding more shows. I apologise if you didn't get seats. We're working on it... Spent all morning working on the show itself (which I'm directing) so I'm a long way from the business. I can only hold out hope." Monty Python star Eric Idle reveals he was surprised to hear the comedy troupe's July (14) reunion show in London sold out in less than a minute on Monday (25Nov13). Four more shows were later added, and also sold out in seconds.
The stars of Monty Python are planning to include their late castmate Graham Chapman in their upcoming reunion show by using modern technology to feature him in their skits. Michael Palin admits previous plans for a tour fell apart 15 years ago as the surviving members of the British comedy troupe did not want to continue without their friend, who died from cancer in 1989.
Palin was initially very reluctant to agree to perform without Chapman, but was won over when he realised technology could be used to bring him back to life for the reunion show next summer (14).
He tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "Part of my reason for not doing a stage show 15 years ago was because we'd miss Graham. He was a vital member of the cast and a brilliant writer. Who else could play the Colonel and do all of those other amazing things Graham did? He was such a distinctive performer that I can't imagine hiring anyone else in his place.
"But this time we haven't had to think about him - and not because we're anti-Graham in any way. The great thing is that we can use technology to bring Graham in and not actually have to replace him. I think in a few of the sketches one of us will play his role, but not too much. He'll be seen and remembered, he's very much part of the show."
John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Palin will perform at London's O2 Arena on 1 July (14).
The stars of legendary comedy troupe Monty Python decided to reunite for a live performance after South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker begged them to make a comeback. The five funnymen - John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin - confirmed on Thursday (21Nov13) that they are getting back together for a huge show at London's O2 Arena in July (14).
It will be their first time working together in 30 years, and Jones has now revealed the unlikely inspiration behind their reunion.
He tells London newspaper Ham & High, "The South Park people brought us together, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. They approached us and suggested we should get together and do something together. That's what triggered the interest in the show."
Funnyman John Cleese is unable to perform his legendary 'silly walks' at the upcoming Monty Python reunion show because hip and knee replacement surgery has left him unable to contort his legs. The comedy troupe - Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin - held a press conference in London on Thursday (21Nov13) to confirm they are getting back together to stage a show at the city's O2 Arena in July (14).
The Meaning of Life stars said the production will contain some new material alongside their classic sketches, but fans' favourite skit, The Ministry of Silly Walks, will not be featured as its star Cleese would struggle with it.
The routine features Cleese performing a series of bizarre methods of walking, and the British star is adamant surgery to his hip and knee have left him unable to repeat the famous sketch.
He told reporters at the conference, "That's impossible now because I have an artificial knee and an artificial hip, so there's no chance of that now."
The five writers last worked together on 1983 film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, which also starred Graham Chapman, who died from cancer in 1989.
Idle joked that they decided it was time for them to revisit Monty Python for one last time, saying, "If we left it too long it would be too late. We don't have that long, do we?... We just thought it would be fun to do one (show) and see if we are still funny, and to do the O2 and see if we can fill it."
The Monty Python reunion show will take place on 1 July (14), with tickets priced between $41.25 (£27.50) and $135 (£90) going on sale on Monday (25Nov13).
It will be filmed for a later DVD release, and Palin says they might even consider a European tour if the show is a success.
Break out your SPAM, perfect your silly walks, and return your dead parrots: Monty Python is set for a reunion stage show, according to Terry Jones. The news is expected to be officially announced on Thursday when the surviving members of the legendary sketch troupe -- Jones, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam -- will hold a press conference to announce some big news. However, Jones revealed the surprise early, when he told the BBC: "We're getting together and putting on a show - it's real," adding that he was "quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!"
The show will mark the first time that Monty Python has performed together since 1998, when they appeared at the Aspen Comedy Festival (although they have made some appearances together, most notably at the 2005 opening of their musical, Monty Python's Spamalot). The troupe's sixth member, Graham Chapman, passed away in 1989.
Rumors about the reunion began swirling when members of the press received invitations to Thursday's press conference, followed by Idle tweeting about the event to his followers. Cleese was also quoted as stating that "Monty Python is set to be a flying circus all over again," which seemed to confirm fans suspicions that the troupe would be getting back together. No details about the stage show have been revealed, including whether or not it will be a one-time event or a tour. It is also not clear whether the group will perform any new material or simply stick to their classic sketches, like they did with their performances at the Hollywood Bowl.
It will be interesting to see if the group incorporates any of the musical numbers from Spamalot, which despite being based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail was only worked on by Idle. Due to its source material and Idle's involvement, it's just as likely to be part of the performance as any of the other Python projects, although it seems to be less popular and holds less significance for fans than the films and sketches do. Regardless, there is sure to be a performance of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," which Idle performed at the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, as well as other classics like "The Lumberjack Song," "The Ministry of Silly Walks," "The Dead Parrot Sketch," and "The Spanish Inquisition." Fans have also speculated that the show could be a lead-up to a potential film or television show (which would probably make Jones enough money to pay off that mortgage), but seems to be an unlikely conclusion.
The press conference formally announcing the Monty Python reunion will take place on Thursday, November 21. According to Idle, it will be televised live from The Playhouse Theater in London, where Spamalot is currently running. Fans outside of the UK will also be able to watch the announcement live as Idle has promised to tweet out a link to a live stream for all of the Python fans in other countries. Until then, you can watch the most recent Monty Python reunion, the 30th anniversary of their final film, Monty Python and the Meaning of Life, below.