Muppets Most Wanted Press Conference

MUPPETS MOST WANTED UK PRESS CONFERENCE

Kermit, Miss Piggy and Constantine (as well as Ricky Gervais and director James Bobin) were in London to talk about The Muppets sequel Muppets Most Wanted. Here are some of the highlights…

On Kermit’s role in Muppets Most Wanted

Kermit: I think of myself as getting to do a little bit of an action role in this, it’s something I haven’t done before. In order to prepare for that role I watched all of Bruce Willis’ movies, and when that didn’t work I just went to his hairdresser.

On Ricky Gervais landing a role in the film

Ricky Gervais: It’s not a job, is it? This is like fun. I’m a big kid and I can’t believe my luck. I’ve been a fan of the Muppets for thirty years, I used to watch them on Sundays with my family. So yeah, this was a good call to get. I didn’t know this guy[Constantine] before, but now he’s one of my best pals.

Constantine: Yes. We are buddies. You will give me your email address right? I keep asking for it, but he does not give it. How are we supposed to stay in touch?

Ricky Gervais: I think about him a lot. And I say to my girlfriend: “I wonder where Constantine is today?”. Usually in a bag.

Constantine: This is correct.

MUPPETS MOST WANTED UK PRESS CONFERENCE

On Constantine being the bad guy

Constantine: There is part of me that kind of enjoys being the bad guy, and enjoys being hated. I was written that way, so what can I say?

Kermit: We don’t hate him. It’s just a story of the movie. He’s actually an old pal from the swamp. Ricky’s he’s best friend now, he’s a good guy.

Ricky Gervais: In the movie he’s evil. But I think doing this movie and meeting me has thawed his little heart of stone. SHowing him love has made him quite a cuddly little thing.

On the cameos in Muppets Most Wanted

James Bobin: Largely we write those roles in the script, and often we write the name of the particular person. What we find is because there is a great love for the Muppets, the people we ask tend to say yes. Which is really rare.

On Miss Piggy’s beauty

Miss Piggy: I’m so distracting, I’m distracting here at the press conference. They can’t take their eyes off me.

Ricky Gervais: You had to pretend to love her in the movie, didn’t you?

Constantine: Yes. It was my best acting.

Ricky Gervais: She’s a bigger diva [than the actresses he has worked with], and she won’t mind me saying that because she is sort of proud of it.

Miss Piggy: Mmm, it’s a compliment.

On childhood idols

Kermit: For me it was probably Walter Brennan. A great American actor. Nobody has a clue who I’m talking about, do they? I don’t know, I was inspired by so many people. I had great grandparents, old frogs. Old frogs are great inspirations.

Constantine: There is a great safecracker named Thomas Demato, there is an explosives expert, Tommy ‘The Toenail’ Lewis, Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III

MUPPETS MOST WANTED UK PRESS CONFERENCE

On filming Muppets Most Wanted in the Tower of London

James Bobin: Famously you’re not allowed to film there pretty much ever. And they have turned down everyone who has asked before, but somehow when you have the Muppets with you and you ask for favours, people tend to change their minds.

On deleted scenes

Ricky Gervais: They filmed about four hours of this that they had to cut down.

James Bobin: We had a lot of material in that film.

Kermit: The great thing about James is he tells you that before you shoot the scene.

Muppets Most Wanted is released in UK cinemas on 28th March 2014.

Film Review: Muppets Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wanted

From the opening number, it is clear that Muppets Most Wanted is going to be a lot of fun. And in this respect, the film certainly does not disappoint.

After the Muppets are reunited, they decide to embark on a world tour. Unbeknownst to them, it is part of a scheme by Kermit lookalike Constantine and his sidekick…

Director James Bobin returns for the sequel to the successful comeback move The Muppets. The film’s plot is rather straightforward, but this allows for the comedy, musical numbers and cameos.

Muppets Most Wanted is a crime caper imbued with the quintessential Muppet brand of comedy. Humour in the film is frequent, and almost always hits the target. There is a good balance of silly humour and self-referential jokes that might go over the head of the youngest viewers but will certainly be appreciated by older audience members.

The plot of Muppets Most Wanted functions effectively to allow for comedy and musical numbers. The songs are entertaining overall. There are not too many musical numbers as if to feel that they have been shoehorned in. Pacing in the film is good, with sufficient energy to keep viewers entertained.

Muppets Most Wanted has less of an emotional quality than The Muppets. The film has a nice message, even though this is played on for laughs, in the classic Muppets style. The well meaning lessons of Muppets Most Wanted aren’t quite a match for the nostalgic exuberance of its predecessor.

Tina Fey and Ty Burrell are great in the film, providing good support to the puppet characters. Ricky Gervais is wisely utilised in a limited capacity. There are some wonderful cameos in the film, and others which serve a finite purpose.

Muppets Most Wanted is a thoroughly entertaining family film. Viewers should find it a satisfying watch.

Muppets Most Wanted is released in UK cinemas on 28th March 2014.

Stuff To Look At

With the Oscar nominations being announced this week, here are glimpses of some of the nominees, plus upcoming features…

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s latest film The Grand Budapest Hotel boasts an enviable cast headed by Ralph Fiennes and featuring some frequent Anderson collaborators such as Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Tilda Swinton. As the above clip illustrates, the film concerns the adventures of hotel  concierge Gustave and new lobby boy Zero. The Grand Budapest Hotel is released in UK cinemas on 7th March 2014.

RoboCop

Above is a OmniFoundation public service announcement. It will be interesting to see if this new version is as scathing in its criticism of corporate power and corruption as the original. After all, it would be timely. RoboCop is hits UK screens on 7th February 2014.

Her

Spike Jonze’s Her has received five nominations at this year’s Oscars; perhaps not as many as fans were expecting. I am really looking forward to seeing the film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. Her is released in the UK on 14th February 2014.

Bad Neighbours

Zac Efron plays a college student and nightmare neighbour in upcoming comedy Bad Neighbours. The film has a likeable enough cast; if the jokes are frequent and amusing it should be entertaining fare. Bad Neighbours is out in cinemas on 9th May 2014.

Under The Skin

Under The Skin has been a source of interest at the festivals where it has been screened; the film gets a cinematic release on 14th March 2014. Starring Scarlell Johansson, Under The Skin is science fiction thriller.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Look at this exciting new poster for The Amazing Spider-Man 2! Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker for the second installment of the reboot, facing a plethora of villains. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is out in UK cinemas on 18th April 2014.

The Monuments Men

Matt Damon and George Clooney reunite in the above clip from The Monuments Men. I’m not going to lie, I am most looking forward to seeing Bill Murray in this. The Monuments Men is hits UK cinemas on 14th February 2014.

Lone Survivor

Marky Mark stars as a soldier in Afghanistan in Lone Survivor. The film is directed by Peter Berg of Battleship fame, so expect a lot of military talk. Lone Survivor is out in UK cinemas on 31st January 2014.

Muppets Most Wanted

This above advert for Muppets Most Wanted, which was screened during the Golden Globes last Sunday, is fantastic. Marketing for The Muppets was brilliant, and Disney look to continue the trend for its sequel. Muppets Most Wanted hits the big screen on 28th March 2014.

5 Things That The Muppets… Again! Needs

The Muppets... Again!

The Muppets… Again! is currently filming in London. I haven’t spied Kermit around town, but I live in hope. Emulating the success of The Muppets is going to be difficult. Unless, of course, the filmmakers follow my recipe…

1. More ’80s Robot

’80s Robot was one of the stand out things in The Muppets. He needs to return, bringing with him a host of eighties pop culture artifacts.

2. More Rowlf

Yes, Rowlf did feature in The Muppets, but his role was minimal. Bar Kermit, Rowlf is my favourite Muppet so he needs a bigger role in the sequel.

3. Great Original Songs

The Muppets soundtrack is a fantastic mix of original songs and classic hits. The Muppets… Again! needs to replicate this by giving us more songs like ‘Pictures In My Head’ that may or may not have made me have something in my eye.

4. A Muppet Babies Interlude

Muppet Babies was one of the hot eighties cartoons; which was no mean feat. The Muppets…Again! should pay homage what would have been some viewers’ first introduction to the Muppets.

Muppets Tiny Tim

5. A Cameo from The Muppet Christmas Carol’s Tiny Tim

Have mercy.

The Muppets… Again! is due for release on 21st March 2014.

The Hottest Characters of 2012

As 2012 commenced, I had planned to do another Dogs on Film feature for the end of the year. However 2012 has been low on amazing dogs on the big screen. Instead, I decided to make a list of the top five hottest characters to appear in film this year. Enjoy!

1. ’80s Robot

Is there anything on Earth better than a robot from the 1980s? I think not. Nostalgia-fest The Muppets gave us the finest gift in the form of ’80s Robot. The manservant of Kermit, ’80s Robot offers guests Tab Cola and New Coke, speaks eighties slang and has a dial-up modem. That sound. God bless ’80s Robot for reminding us of the wonderment of the 1980s.

The Muppets is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

2. Mr Bobo

The virtues of Mr Bobo from The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists have been extolled on these pages before. Suffice to say, you can’t really go wrong with a monocle-wearing monkey butler. Especially one who communicates through subtitled cards.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

3. Robot

It has been a good year for robots. Although Robot & Frank does not get a UK release until 2013, I saw the film this year so Robot goes on the list. Robot is a everyone’s dream; a butler who will wake you with breakfast, ensure you have activities for the day, and may just help you break the law. The morning after seeing Robot & Frank, I was so disappointed to be woken by my phone alarm and not my robot butler.

Robot & Frank is released in cinemas on 8th March 2013.

4. Mr Whiskers

Mr Whiskers narrowly beats Sparky from Frankenweenie to earn his place on the list. Mr Whiskers’ facial expression, his delivery of ‘meow’ and the fact that when he dreams about someone he poos their initial all add up to one memorable character. What occurs later in the film only adds to this.

Frankenweenie is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 11th February 2013.

5. Ted

A teddy bear who comes to life. For this premise alone Ted should make the list. However, Ted is rather adorable-looking to boot. Granted, he is far more lewd than my pristine teddies would ever be, but he also is fun. Also, he appears most amusing when sitting on top of a dog.

Ted is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Film Review: The Muppet Christmas Carol

One of the finest Christmas movies of all time gets a re-release in time for the festive season.

Charles Dickens, as played by Gonzo, relates the story of A Christmas Carol. Miserly moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts, who attempt to teach him the error of his ways before it is too late…

The Muppet Christmas Carol is in many ways the perfect Christmas film. It combines comedy, emotion and drama in a way that appeals to viewers of all ages. Moreover, the musical numbers are very catchy.

Charles Dickens’ infamous Christmas fable is one that has been adapted numerous times. In a sense this version adds little to it except Muppets and songs. However, the reason the film works as well as it does is because the characters are endearing and the Muppet style of humour is in abundance.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is surprisingly faithful to its source material, despite most of the characters being played by Muppets. Much of the dialogue is lifted directly from Dickens’ story; the only break from this is the original songs. Furthermore, unlike many adaptations that have given the story a contemporary setting, Brian Henson’s film retains the Victorian London setting and the atmosphere that this provides.

Michael Caine makes a great Scrooge, bringing to the role the required exaggerated meanness. The Muppets are well cast in their respective roles, particularly Kermit as Bob Cratchitt and Rizzo the Rat as Charles Dickens’ sidekick. The Muppet Christmas Carol also features the cutest Tiny Tim.

Given that the film is twenty years old, it may be expected that special effects now appear dated. While this is true of the older DVD edition, on the big screen print special effects look fine.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a festive classic for good reason. The cinematic re-release will allow a new audience to engage with it.

Film Review: The Muppets

The Muppets is a wonderfully enjoyable movie that is unlikely to have many detractors. The film is immensely entertaining for those who remember the Muppets the first time round, as well as for younger viewers.

Walter is the world’s biggest Muppets fan. When his brother Gary takes girlfriend Mary on a trip to Los Angeles, Walter is thrilled at the chance to tag along at visit the Muppet Studios. When he hears that the studio is about to be knocked down by an oil tycoon, it is down to Walter to inform his heroes…

The main reason that The Muppets works so successfully is down to its narrative. It would have been easy for Disney to push out a movie based on these much-loved characters, with little concern regarding the story. Thankfully, The Muppets is well written, with a story that should satisfy all ages. While the premise is quite basic, the story develops with wit and charm.

It is humour, after all, that is key to the appeal of the Muppets. The film contains sufficient slapstick to entertain the youngest viewers, while older audience members are likely to be amused by the references and general wit. There are several jokes throughout about the fact that it is a film, even going as far as to reference the plot points.

Along with the comedy, the more serious moments are well executed. Some of the film’s songs are surprisingly emotional, and balance out the humorous musical numbers. As well as the familiar faces, there are several cameos throughout The Muppets. While some of these are very brief (adding little to the overall film), others are fantastically funny. Jason Segel and Amy Adams make great human companions, bringing as much humour as the Muppets themselves.

Although The Muppet Show was first aired in the 1970s, and the characters at the height of their fame in the late 1970s, the film appears to appeal foremostly to an audience who grew up in the 1980s. There are several references to this period, from the fantastic Eighties Robot and the soundtrack to the allusion to 1984’s The Muppets Take Manhattan. Children of the 1980s should revel in James Bobin’s film.

The Muppets is highly recommended; it is likely to be one of the best feel-good films this year. Viewers should ensure they arrive on time to see the Toy Story short Small Fry beforehand, which is also trememdous fun.