Rowan Atkinson

Dead On Time

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. He’s only directed three films, including the new sci-fi rom-com About Time, but Richard Curtis has been a well-known screenwriter for a few decades. When we think of a Curtis movie, we don’t just consider his popular directorial debut, Love Actually (and nobody here thinks of Pirate Radio, aka The Boat That Rocked). We think of Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. He also wrote The Girl in the Cafe and one of the best episodes of Doctor Who (“Vincent and the Doctor”), and he co-scripted Bridget Jones’s Diary and its sequel, as well as War Horse. Plus he co-created Blackadder and Mr. Bean, both with regular collaborator Rowan Atkinson. Curtis and Atkinson met at Oxford through the famed Experimental Theatre Club before breaking out as members of the legendary Oxford Revue. Quickly they got into radio and TV comedy, and while they were beginning work on the first series of Blackadder (then The Black Adder) they also made their first film together, Dead On Time. Directed by Lyndall Hobbs (who went on to direct Back to the Beach and no films since), it’s a very smart and very funny take on an easy, familiar premise with an easy, familiar endpoint. Atkinson plays a man who is told he has only half an hour to […]

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Drinking Games

It’s been almost a decade since the first Johnny English movie tore up the box office internationally and fizzled on American soil. But with that international success, it was inevitable there would be a sequel. Though, the spy film genre has changed with the Bourne films and James Bond reboot redefining its style, as well as the spy spoof movies (including the first Johnny English and the entire Austin Powers franchise) a thing of the past. That didn’t stop Rowan Atkinson from reprising his role as bumbling MI-7 agent Johnny English in the sequel Johnny English Reborn, which had similar success overseas and similar failure here in the U.S. Still, fans of Atkinson’s comedy should enjoy this new installment in the series. And for those who aren’t sure if they’ll enjoy it, try watching it with a martini, shaken, not stirred.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a frilly lace cravat and some leather boots, grabs his sword and takes a trip to France to become a Musketeer. Unfortunately, he seems to be almost 400 years too late for those kinds of shenanigans. So he hops the English Channel to become a spy with MI-7. Of course, no one told him that MI-7 was actually nothing more than propaganda. So he heads back home for a good night’s sleep, and to make sure that happens, he videotapes himself throughout the house. While he doesn’t witness any paranormal activity, there are many unspeakable things that can be seen on them.

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It should come as absolutely no surprise that understanding (and potentially even enjoying) Johnny English Reborn does not necessitate any sort of familiarity with the first film, though moviegoers who are acquainted with Rowan Atkinson’s particular brand of idiot-in-the-wild humor will likely find a few more chuckles in the film than those who are not. Atkinson reprises his role as dumb bunny “MI-7” spy Johnny English for the film, picking up after the action of 2003’s eponymously named Johnny English, which saw him prevail against all odds (most notably, his complete lack of skill and overinflated confidence). But English is now in disgrace, self-exiled to a monastery in Tibet after a job gone awry inMozambique (English’s failure there made international headlines – my favorite of which being a rag’s pronouncement that the entire operation should be called “Doh’zambique”). English is attempting to re-center himself through rest, mediation, and literally dragging a stone around by his balls, so it’s probably welcome news when a former associate comes forth with intel about a shady assassination trio. “Vortex” is bent on offing the Chinese premier, but American agent Fisher (Richard Schiff) will only talk to English. Suddenly, the world’s dumbest spy is back in action and essential to planetary peace.

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Back when The X-Files was on the air it was a cultural phenomenon, and Gillian Anderson was one of the biggest stars on the planet due to her portrayal of Dana Scully, the skeptical one. Ever since it went off the air though, Anderson has been doing things like… well, international press tours for the new Rowan Atkinson slapstick Johnny English Reborn. No disrespect to Mr. Atkinson, but schlepping somebody else’s physical comedy vehicle has to be seen as slumming it for somebody who once enjoyed as high a profile as Anderson. It should come as no surprise then, that she’s using her current media platform to start beating the drum for a third X-Files film. While appearing on the Australian morning show Sunrise, Anderson said of a third X-Files film, “I hope it will happen, there’s talk of it. I don’t know who’s writing it but I hear there’s something going on.” If a third X-Files movie was made, it would be the first time the property got attention since 2008’s The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which isn’t that long ago, but that movie was the first time the franchise had been revisited since the television show whimpered out in 2002 after a couple of readjustments in the cast and declining ratings. I Want to Believe was supposed to go into production right after the show ended, but spent six years in developmental hell when all was said and done. That’s not to say that getting a third […]

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As a somewhat strange child, I loved Rowan Atkinson‘s Mr. Bean television series. That one bit where he tries to eat lunch in the park? Killed me as a tot. Which is to say, that series was pretty much the pinnacle of Rowan Atkinson’s humor, at least for me. And, no, we don’t speak of the Mr. Bean movie (just Bean!) in this house. What, Mr. Bean’s Vacation? You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me. But Bean isn’t Atkinson’s only inscrutable character crafted from limited intelligence, raised eyebrows, and the driest of British humor. There’s also Johnny English, Rowan’s idiot special agent character. And now he’s back for another adventure! Which, I’m pretty sure that no one asked for, but the first film did make a staggering $160m at the box office (worldwide, naturally). Thus, we get Johnny English Reborn, another outing for the world’s dumbest spy. It’s not quite shaking, and I’m definitely not stirred. Check out the trailer after the break, and remember the Bean glory days, like that time he got his wee car stuck in the car park.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It comes and goes as it pleases, dispensing movie news and interesting links for your reading, viewing and listening pleasure. Be honored that it has chosen you to be in its presence. Word. We begin tonight with a bit of a caption contest — because it’s been a boring end to a boring week and this is my column so I’ll do what I want. The above photo is one of a new batch from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, a behind the scenes pic of Bella (Kristen Stewart, who seems very scantily clad in all photos, if you’re into that sort of thing), Edward (Robert Pattinson, sans sparkle) and director Bill Condon. Dear reader, what do you suppose Mr. Condon is saying to the happy couple?

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When it comes to Rowan Atkinson’s classic character Mr. Bean, you either love him or you hate him.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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