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22 Jan 20151 star

Johnny Depp is reunited with director David Koepp in this crude, charmless caper

Ay, caramba! Johnny Depp has given us quite a catalogue of eccentric and goofy characterisations in his time. But none of them has been as thoroughly unamusing and charmless as his Charlie Mortdecai, eponymous anti-hero of a badly misjudged action comedy.

Preview: LOCO London Comedy Film Festival 2015

20 Jan 2015

Love to laugh? We've picked out the must see films at the 2015 London Comedy Film Festival

LOCO has been cheering up London in the most miserable week of the year with films, parties, networking sessions and courses for three years now. The fourth edition not only tackles the theme of social class with UK premieres featuring the best comedies…

Duck Soup

12 Jan 20155 stars

The Marx Brothers' masterpiece returns to cinemas in all its madcap glory

Featuring the kind of disruption to the cinematic status quo which couldn't be outdone by a feathered friend in a flap, 1933's Duck Soup was the fifth film fronted by the Marx Brothers and the last to feature straight-man Zeppo. Directed by Leo McCarey…

Paper Souls

12 Jan 20152 stars

Disappointing supernatural dramedy from Vincent Lannoo about love and loss

It’s not unreasonable to say that, in recent times, the French have set the standard for eccentric existential comedies; from Jeunet to Gondry, there is clearly something about the Gallic sense of humour that compliments wildly absurd situations. It’s…

Preview: Omid Djalili, Iranalamadingdong

12 Jan 2015

Making big points not on the Iranian-British star’s agenda these days

He’s been in the comedy-making business now for two decades, but that doesn’t mean that Omid Djalili can’t be immune to the charms of some celebrity cockney geezers. And who could not be wooed by the likes of Ray Winstone especially when he’s talking…

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Preview: Robin Ince, Blooming Buzzing Confusion

8 Jan 2015

Edinburgh regular Robin Ince returns with his latest brain-squeezing show

Some comedians will go to great lengths as they gather up material for their next show. But not many people can match Robin Ince for his research into Blooming Buzzing Confusion. ‘I had a brain scan done for fun: I met a guy on a train who offered me an…

Into the Woods musical stars serenade

5 Jan 2015

Director Rob Marshall and actors who sing Anna Kendrick and James Corden talk Disney's latest

Disney's Into the Woods is a big screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's witty, satirical musical that sees a collection of familiar fairy-tale characters venturing into the titular woods to achieve their hearts' desires. Understandably, when it…

Into the Woods

5 Jan 20153 stars

Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt enliven Rob Marshall's latest musical

There's a sequence in Disney's adaptation of stage musical Into the Woods which will rank as one of the greatest movie moments of 2015. As Cinderella's Prince and Rapunzel's Prince respectively, Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen engage in an emotionally…


29 Dec 20144 stars

Michael Keaton soars in an imaginative, enjoyably bitchy, highly meta comedy

What happens to actors who play superheroes? Birdman, the arthouse comedy from Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful, Amores Perros), answers that so fully it may never be asked again. Michael Keaton’s performance as ex-leading man…

TV review: Crims

26 Dec 20143 stars

Welsh stand-up Elis James makes his TV debut in BBC Three's new prison-based sitcom

With confinement such a routine characteristic of sitcoms, trapping disparate characters in desperate situations from which they can't escape, it's little wonder that prison appeals to comedy writers. Porridge focused on Fletcher's tiny victories…

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22 Dec 20143 stars

Middling revival of the musical comedy featuring Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx

When the complaining tune 'It’s the Hard Knock Life' is applied to minor housecleaning, you know somebody’s been messing with the musical Annie. Director Will Gluck is at the helm of this realignment of John Huston’s 1982 film, itself based on the 1977…

Briefs: The Second Coming (2014)

22 Dec 20145 stars

Brassy yet classy, boylesque troupe Briefs returns to Edinburgh

Their outfits could out-sparkle the Jenners Christmas tree, their banter is filthier than a lump of coal. The Briefs boys are back in Edinburgh bringing, in their words, 'a little bit of butch and a fuckload of camp' to the winter market. Originally…

2015 Highlights: Stage

17 Dec 2014

Featuring: Manipulate, Slab Boys, Coppelia, Cirkopolis, Kevin Bridges and Glasgow Comedy Festival

Weaving together puppetry, visual theatre and dance, Manipulate's vision is international, experimental and accessible. Kicking off with Edinburgh Festival hit Maria Addolorata, which examines the limits of physical pain and ecstatic joy, through dance…

Live Comedy DVDs Roundup

16 Dec 2014

Featuring Lee Mack, Richard Herring, Al Murray, Jon Richardson, Jim Davidson and Harry Hill

If ever there was evidence to suggest that some people should just leave their past glories well alone, it’s right there, deep inside Harry Hill: Sausage Time. While you can’t help but admire the nerve of a 50-year-old man jumping up and down on a…

War on Christmas: interview with Gary McNair

16 Dec 2014

Comedian joyrides the festive season through the Arches by declaring War on Christmas

Enjoy your season, but rather more than that. Enjoy your life, find a way to get happiness every single day, instead of being forced into someone else’s preconceived notion of happiness for a rather stressful period in December. Let Christmas go, relax…

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Top 5 Comedy Gigs of 2014

16 Dec 2014

You laughed, you cried, you heckled: Brian Donaldson breaks down the best acts of the year

After a successful 2013 Fringe debut as a twosome, Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen returned with that difficult second show and very nearly re-drew the rules of the sketch game. Their hour featured routines which played with the form while managing to keep…

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

15 Dec 20142 stars

Ben Stiller and co return for the third film in Shawn Levy's family friendly franchise

Even in a dual role, Ben Stiller can’t keep the bored look off his face as he fronts the third instalment of the Night at the Museum franchise. What started eight years ago as a charming kids’ romp has evolved into a series of overlong ‘comic’ sequences…

Dumb and Dumber To

15 Dec 20143 stars

Hit-and-miss sequel from the Farrelly brothers featuring returning star Jim Carrey

Twenty years have passed since Dumb and Dumber provided Bobby and Peter Farrelly with a box-office smash. Since then, their brand of comedy has become something of an endangered species, with both the writer-directors and star Jim Carrey no longer…

Hogmanay 2014 in Edinburgh and Glasgow

12 Dec 2014

Not sure what New Year celebrations to enjoy? Plan your itinerary from live music to loony dooks

The Spiegeltent in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square is covering pretty much every performance genre this year. Comedian Al Murray has promised surprise guests each night at The Pub Landlord’s Festive Saloon (Mon 29–Wed 31 Dec), or there are terrifyingly…

Opinion: it's not sexist, it's innuendo

5 Dec 2014

In defense of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, and Samantha's right to sexual appetite

Earlier this year, Australian researchers announced that we had hit 'peak beard'. From this, ran a storm of peaks, from 'peak Beyonce', to 'peak oil' and even, thanks Guardian, 'peak peak'. Trivialities aside however, not all peaks are created equal and…

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Get Santa

2 Dec 20144 stars

Christopher Smith's festive film shows both a dark side and refreshing compassion

From the director of Severance and Triangle comes a heartwarming and very funny Christmas tale about a father who, after his release from a two-year prison sentence, has to learn the virtue of reliability...

St Vincent

1 Dec 20143 stars

Bill Murray's latest is a likeable mix of crabby and cute, co-starring Naomi Watts

Bill Murray is certainly no stranger to misanthropic sad-sacks and his titular Vincent is one such crabby feller, albeit with a slightly coarser edge. Vincent is given a crack at redemption when a young boy in need of a father figure moves in next door…


1 Dec 20143 stars

Commune-set dramedy starring Tessa Peake-Jones and Josie Lawrence

While the father/son dynamic is a mainstay of narrative features, it’s less common to see a filmmaker explore the relationship between a mother and daughter. For that reason alone the premise of Bonobo is certainly promising, as it examines the strength…

Penguins of Madagascar

1 Dec 20143 stars

Knockabout spin-off featuring the voices of John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch

Over their three Madagascar features to date, DreamWorks Animation have successfully established a menagerie of comic characters. The franchise's penguins have already struck out with their own short film and TV show, and they now get their own movie...

Me, Myself and Mum

1 Dec 20143 stars

Award-winning French comedy from Guillaume Gallienne that'll amuse and bemuse

Me, Myself and Mum has been one of French cinema's surprise crowd-pleasers over the past 18-months. Feted at Cannes 2013, it was also showered with César awards, including Best Film. You suspect British audiences might regard it as more of an acquired…