Richard Ayoade

Moss IT Crowd

Today is Richard Ayoade’s birthday. You might know him as the random British inclusion in The Watch, the filmmaker behind the Jesse Eisenberg doppelganger movie, The Double, and of course, he’s Moss from The IT Crowd — a character that Christopher Campbell once dressed up as for Halloween. He’s also a great serving of comedic joy. Ayoade wouldn’t agree. He self-deprecatingly says he’s “just terrible. At talking. With words.” But if Ayoade is not, by his estimation, an actor, he is certainly a man who can banter brilliantly and absurdly in ways that make every manner of words seem natural. Even better: he has his own much-needed spin on nostalgia, one that replicates old styles rather than old toys, and relishes in the remnants of real life rather than computer-crafted graphics, as these 8 examples reveal.

read more...

The Double Jesse Eisenberg

Editor’s note: Our review of The Double originally ran during last year’s TIFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in theaters. Having previously delighted festival audiences with his charming debut, Submarine, filmmaker Richard Ayoade again returns to the oddball indie fold with his deeply bizarre and incredibly entertaining The Double. Based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella of the same name – no, you wait right there, this isn’t your high school English class Dostoevsky, you’re going to have fun here – Ayoades’s second feature centers on timid office worker Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg), a man incapable of getting (or even asking for) anything he wants whose existence is forever changed by a new co-worker – one who looks just like him but acts in a completely opposite manner. James Simon (also played by Eisenberg, because duh) is a smirking go-getter, a ladies’ man, and a carouser who everyone adores. Simon can’t even get his company’s security guard to recognize him (and he’s worked there seven years). Ayoade’s decision to place his film in a demented dystopia, equal parts Brazil, 1984, and 1950’s-inspired set dressing, is a brilliant one. By not grounding his film in reality, he is given immense freedom and is able to raise the “well, this ain’t believable” level quite high. We may never know where James came from (or where Simon came from, if you want to get philosophical here) or exactly how they’re linked, but the world they exist in is already so fantastic […]

read more...

Jesse Eisenberg in

Have you ever wished a fantastic song struck up the moment you walked into a room? It’s something that happens in movies, never in real life. But there are sounds that do accompany us in our every day lives. The ambient sound of the wind, cars driving by, idle chatter, coffee brewing. We rarely notice these noises because they are simply a part of the background, but what if suddenly all these unnoticeable noises were amplified? A subway car rushing by so loudly you’re forced to cover your ears. The chatter in a coffee shop becoming deafening. A copy machine sounding like gun fire. And no one else seems to notice. You would think you were going crazy, right? This is exactly what seems to be happening to Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) in The Double. Simon seems like an ordinary guy with a boring job, a small apartment, and a crush on a girl, but his world also seems off-kilter thanks to the film’s choice to turn up all the ambient noises that usually help give a scene a sense of grounding reality. Then again, Simon may not be living in reality, and The Double‘s ambient assault helps convey this idea without needing to explicitly say it. When Simon is introduced to his new co-worker, James, who happens to look exactly like Simon, it makes sense that Simon would start to feel like he is losing his mind — especially when no one else seems to agree that their similar appearance is striking and more than a little strange. But director Richard Ayoade creates a world that seems to live […]

read more...

Jesse Eisenberg in

Anyone who’s experimented with watching modern British sitcoms at all knows who Richard Ayoade is. As more and more people get hip to things like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and The IT Crowd, more and more people fall in love with his peculiar energy and geeky charm. It turns out acting isn’t the only skill that Ayoade has in his bag of tricks though. He’s also been writing and directing movies recently, with his 2010 film Submarine being both a strong debut for a filmmaker and an underrated coming of age tale that more people probably still need to see. It looks like fans of Ayoade’s acting who have been slacking when it comes to getting hip to his career as a filmmaker are going to have another chance to hop on board soon enough though, because the second film that he served as writer/director on, The Double, is fresh off of a successful debut on the festival circuit, and is getting ready ready for a limited run in theaters. And seeing as this one looks to be a noir-influenced thriller that features already well-regarded actors like Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, and the legendary Wallace Shawn, maybe more people will actually give it a look.

read more...

76046

No, you don’t need to adjust the prescription on your glasses; your vision is just fine. It’s the posters for Richard Ayoade‘s The Double, featuring stars Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, that are a bit off. The Double, based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella of the same name, centers on the meek Simon James, whose world is turned upside down with the arrival of his doppleganger. Everything Simon is not, the doppleganger takes over his life, sliding into his job and wooing his girl without anyone even remembering Simon existed. Watch the trailer here.

read more...

The Double Jesse Eisenberg

If there’s anything that could make Jesse Eisenberg more jittery than the man usually seems, it’s the presence of a menacing dopplegånger that nobody else has seemed to notice. The first teaser trailer for The Double, written and directed by Richard Ayoade (Submarine), doesn’t feature any dialogue, but it’s apparent from the little shown that we’re getting a glimpse at someone’s descent into madness. The Double, loosely based on a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella of the same name, follows Simon as he struggles to comprehend the fact that there’s an identical version of himself out there who’s much more outgoing and confident, who’s starting to take over parts of his life. As he walks hard through scene after scene of dramatic lighting to Son House’s “Grinnin’ in Your Face,” it’s clear that his moodiness will likely develop into something more sinister. Check out the trailer for yourself here:

read more...

It can be difficult making friends once you’re past a certain age because the older people get the more set in their ways they become. Youth offers any number of bonding experiences that bring people together from grade school up through college, but once you enter the real world those opportunities start to dwindle. Husbands and wives, children, jobs, existing friends…these things tend to limit the time you have for meeting new people, becoming familiar with them and building new relationships. Past the age of thirty a catalyst of some kind is required to draw people together on short notice. Something big is good. Something of planetary importance is even better. Evan (Ben Stiller) is constantly on the lookout for friends and has formed more clubs than Tracy Flick ever dared to dream. He keeps busy with running club and Spanish for Senior Citizens, but when one of his Costco employees is viciously murdered Evan decides to form a Neighborhood Watch. Franklin (Jonah Hill) failed every test the police department threw at him, so the opportunity to join a “vigilante squad” appeals to him greatly. Bob (Vince Vaughn) is a recent transplant to town with his wife and teen daughter, and he jumps at the chance to hang out with the guys. And Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) is simply a responsible newcomer to our American shores. Together they form a local neighborhood watch. Together they will decide Earth’s fate as they discover and attempt to stop an alien invasion. Together, if […]

read more...

Criterion Files

The Criterion Collection’s motto makes explicit its devotion to “important classic and contemporary films,” but it’s also clear that the Collection has dedicated itself to the careers of a select group of important classic and contemporary directors. Several prestigious directors have a prominent portion of their careers represented by the collection. Between the Criterion spine numbers and Eclipse box sets, 21 Ingmar Bergman films are represented (and multiple versions of two of these films), ranging from his 1940s work to Fanny and Alexander (and 3 documentaries about him). 26 Akira Kurosawa films have been given the Criterion/Eclipse treatment, and Yashujiro Ozu has 17 films in the collection. Though many factors go into forming the collection, including the ever-shifting issue of rights and ownership over certain titles, it’s hard to argue against the criticism (or, perhaps more accurately, obvious observation) that the films in the Collection represent certain preferences of taste which makes its omissions suspect and its occasionally-puzzling choices fodder for investigation or too predictable to be interesting (two Kurosawa Eclipse sets?). And while the Collection has recently upped its game on the “contemporary” portion of its claim by highlighting modern-day masterpieces like Olivier Assayas’s Carlos and Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, for the most part attempts at forming a complete directorial filmography via within the Collection has typically been reserved for directors whose filmographies have completed. Except, of course, for the case of Wes Anderson.

read more...

After five long years of waiting for Akiva Schaffer to direct a big screen follow-up to his ludicrous 2007 comedy, Hot Rod, the teaser trailer for his new film, Neighborhood Watch, finally hit the Internet back in February, promising more hilarity to come. But before excitement could really build for the film, its marketing efforts hit a pretty huge snag. A Florida teen named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a member of his local neighborhood watch, the story became national news, and suddenly Neighborhood Watch’s teaser – which featured its protagonists suspiciously eying and threatening neighborhood children – looked to be in really poor taste. In response to the incident, the trailer was pulled from theaters. Though the aftermath of the Martin shooting is ongoing and is still fresh in everyone’s minds, Schaffer and company still have a movie to promote, so Neighborhood Watch is back with a new title and a new red band trailer. From this point forward the film seems to be going by the name The Watch, and its new marketing has shifted its focus away from a group of overzealous men terrorizing their neighborhood and turned the spotlight more toward its alien invasion elements.

read more...

Neighborhood Watch

The tragic killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is such a widely reported and consistently commented-upon national news item that it was bound to have impact beyond the family of the victim and the community in which it took place. The details of the shooting have yet to be poured over in a courtroom setting, which will probably entail another long stretch of media attention, and already the effects of the story have started to hit Hollywood. More specifically, they’ve affected the marketing of Akiva Schaffer’s upcoming comedy, Neighborhood Watch, which stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade as a quartet of overzealous members of their local neighborhood watch program. The story and the movie are being connected because Martin’s shooting came at the hands of a man who was both a member of a similar program, and also thought to be by many overzealous in his pulling of the trigger. The real big problem is that the film’s teaser trailer features a moment in which Hill’s character makes a gun with his finger and pulls the trigger while it’s pointed at a group of neighborhood kids. As you can imagine, that plays as being fairly offensive in light of recent events, so Fox has pulled the ad and the film’s first poster from Florida markets.

read more...

Neighborhood Watch

The first glimpse we’re getting of Akiva Schaffer’s star-studded new comedy Neighborhood Watch certainly isn’t giving us much of a look at what the plot is going to be—and I guess that’s why they call it a teaser—but there still seems to be something a little off with the way they’re introducing this one to the world. The slow motion footage of lame suburban guys trying to look hard while driving, the slightly out of date rap song that makes up the soundtrack, somehow it all adds up to make something that feels a little less like a wide-release comedy that’s about to hit theaters and a little more like the funny new show that’s about to debut after Weeds on Showtime.

read more...

The last time we heard about director Richard Ayoade’s follow-up to his quirky and likable teen drama Submarine, we were hit with the news that Jesse Eisenberg had been cast in the lead. The Double is based on a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella called “The Double: A Petersburg Poem,” which is a trippy tale about an average Joe who’s being followed around by his exact double, an evil doppelganger intent on ruining his life. Eisenberg, of course, is playing the lead and the lead’s evil twin, which is exciting in itself; but now that THR is reporting that up-and-coming young actress Mia Wasikowska is also joining the cast, my excitement surrounding this one has, well, doubled. Seeing as this is less a direct adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s novella and more a work written by Ayoade and Avi Korine that’s inspired by the original story, it’s hard to say what role Wasikowska will actually be playing in the film. But seeing as she’s a major actress, I guess we can infer that it’s going to be a large one? What THR does seem to know for sure is that Ayoade promises that his film is “funny, frightening and dream-like” and it will “reflect on loneliness and our need to love and be loved.” Sounds like The Double is going to share some themes with Submarine. Is this the first glimpse we’re going to get at Ayoade the auteur? Couple this onscreen duo with the satiric wit that Ayoade displayed in his first film, […]

read more...

The Double has only just been announced, and already there’s a lot to like about this project. Directed by Richard Ayoade, starring Jesse Eisenberg, and adapted from a novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, this is a project with a pretty strong pedigree. If you’ve never heard of Ayoade, he’s not only one of the stars of the BBC comedy series The IT Crowd, he’s also the director of the feature film Submarine, which got a limited release in the United States earlier this year and probably didn’t get seen by enough people. It was a quirky look at a coming of age young man, kind of in the vein of a Harold and Maude or a Rushmore. Fyodor Dostoyevsky is the challenging but rewarding Russian author whose work you’ve probably been assigned and hopefully didn’t avoid at some point in your academic career. This film will be adapted from his novella “The Double: A Petersburg Poem”, which is either a surreal story where its main character is followed around by an exact double of himself that tries to ruin his life, or a look at the schizophrenic breakdown of a man who is hallucinating that an exact double of himself is following him around and ruining his life. And Jesse Eisenberg, well hell, you know who he is. He will most likely be doing his usual, nervous and neurotic shtick for this film, but this time doubly so. Looks like it might be time to call up his old co-worker Armie […]

read more...

Submarine is the coming-of-age tale of a cold, calculated, and pretentious teen by the name of Oliver Tate. Oliver, like Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate, could easily come off as a downright off-putting and self-absorbed kid. He starts off as an arrogant and creepy kid dealing with what seems to be the weight of the world on his shoulders. Oliver’s romance that comes out of seeking pure lovemaking turns into something genuine. His parents’ love is dying, and he can’t fix it. Through nearly all of this, Oliver stays near-emotionless and blank. His transformation and revelations are shown through writer-director Richard Ayoade‘s unique visual eye, which also never sugarcoats Oliver’s oddness. Ayoade has crafted a young protagonist that while many will love many others will question his sanity… a rare type of lead these days. Here’s what Richard Ayoade had to say about not writing too much style, the moral ambiguity of the film’s characters and, of course, Oliver Tate.

read more...

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly thing about movie stuff. Tonight’s edition features mini-ninjas, talk about naked pictures of Blake Lively, Sly Stallone set to music, an explanation of who Jane Lynch is, a joke about Michael Bay, an even less funny joke about Blake Lively and a profile of Richard Ayoade. That and more, we assure you. Above you will see something I never thought we’d lead with in a Movie News After Dark entry: someone’s grave stone. But there it is, the resting place of actor Leslie Nielsen. Modest, simple and complete with one last fart joke for the road. Nielsen may not have lasted forever, but his penchant for the fart joke will forever stay in our hearts.

read more...

Richard Ayoade’s Submarine is a much-needed corrective to the twee adolescent indie dramedy. The film maintains many of the recognizable bells and whistles of that exceedingly tired subgenre, but like the potential available in any catalog of clichés, Submarine finds a way to make them work. Instead of simply presenting us a socially outcast teen protagonist who speaks and thinks like somebody possessing cleverness and insight far beyond his years, Submarine provides specific reasons why its protagonist is so articulate while still giving us plenty of evidence that he is indeed an inexperienced teenager who has a lot to learn. Instead of assembling random visual quirks into a Jared Hess-style landscape in which decades of fashion are collapsed into one oppressively ironic and ahistorical moment, the setting and style of Submarine is (mostly) consistent in presenting a historical moment informed by nostalgia, even if we don’t quite know when that moment is (but we don’t really need to). In short, Submarine is refreshingly sincere. It’s an all-too-familiar coming of age tale, but the film gives us plenty of reasons to give a damn – its story in particular.

read more...

We would like to take you to a movie. We see plenty of movies in advance so that we can review them for you, so why shouldn’t you get some early watching, as well? Next week we will be co-hosting an advance screening of Richard Ayoade’s Submarine in Austin, TX. It’s one of the most buzzed about films from this year’s Sundance Film Festival and it’s the directorial debut of the guy who played Moss on The IT Crowd. Those two factors led to it ending up on our list of the 15 must see films of summer 2011. So let’s go see it together, okay? All you have to do is email screenings@filmschoolrejects.com with “Submarine” in the subject line and if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to us before we run out of spots, we’ll put you on our list and send you a confirmation. The screening takes place on Wednesday, June 1 at 7:30p at the Regal Arbor Cinema in Austin.

read more...
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3