Posts Tagged ‘Rowan Atkinson’


mr-beans-holiday-2-1280You either love the monosyllabic Mr. Bean or want to see him banished to the seventh level of Hell where constant pain will be his reward for all the idiocy he has loosed upon the world.

There is no middle ground.

Since 1990 Rowan Atkinson’s annoying man-child spread the kind of absurdity that makes Jerry Lewis look like a master of subtly in fourteen BBC produced television episodes, an animated series and one 1997 movie.

He’s back in a new adventure, and this time he wins a trip to Cannes in the south of France. He brings a video camera along to document his trip, and it is that camera that triggers a series of events that will see him be accused of kidnapping a young boy, meet a beautiful woman (named Sabine. If they got marries she’d be Sabine Bean. Get it?), blow up a film set, and become the toast of the Cannes film festival. It’s a long and strange journey. At one point, I kid you not, a chicken makes off with his bus ticket.

That’s right, a chicken. Even the livestock are out to get him.

There’s something old fashioned about the humor of Mr. Bean. Either he’s paying tribute to the silent movie slapstick comedians of yore, or he’s a comedic recycler of epic proportions. There’s very little dialogue, (which would explain the enormous international success of the franchise) it’s mostly just grunts and mumbled words, so Bean must rely on physical farce to get his point across. The physical stuff can occasionally raise a smile, but I felt I had seen much of it before, and usually done better. The estate of Buster Keaton should perhaps be looking into copyright infringement.

It’s hard to be rough on old Mr. Bean because I guess the movies are aimed at kids, so you shouldn’t really expect edgy, interesting comedy, but I had to wonder at the appropriateness of some of the set pieces wedged in between the sight gags. Do kids really need to see a man commit suicide by jumping off a bridge after Bean has been rude to him on the phone? Is the sight of Mr. Bean dressed as a Nazi goose-stepping and Sieg Heiling meant to crack up an eight year old? At those moments the youngster sitting next to me said, “Why is he doing that?” to his dad. The dad didn’t have an answer and neither do I.

I’m not exactly sure who the audience for Mr. Bean’s Holiday is, but I am quite sure it won’t win many new fans, although I think it should keep the old ones content.

Priests dominate big screen In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: May 11, 2011

Priest-Paul-Bettany-short-28-6-10-kcWhat role do Paul Bettany, Robert de Niro, Rowan Atkinson and Max von Sydow share? Mr. Jennifer Connelly, the Oscar winner, Mr. Bean and the legendary Swedish superstar all have one kind of part in common. They have all played priests on the big screen.

In this weekend’s post-apocalyptic action horror film Priest Bettany plays the title character, a warrior pastor hunting the vampires who kidnapped his niece. Based on Min-Woo Hyung’s graphic novels the movie also features Christopher Plummer as the Monsignor, described by the legendary Canadian actor as “a horrible priest gone wrong—a lovely, stylish villain.”

In the Barry Levinson film Sleepers De Niro was Father Bobby, a Hell’s Kitchen priest who lies in court to prevent four of his parishioners from going to jail for killing a sadistic prison guard. “Most priests like to preach from the pulpit,” says one character. “Father Bobby liked to talk during the bump and shove of a pick-up game.”

Atkinson played Father Gerald, a new vicar performing his first marriage ceremony in Four Weddings and a Funeral. The tongue-tied priest has some of the film’s funniest lines, including, “In the name of the father, the son and the holy goat. Er… ghost.”

Probably the most famous movie celebrant is Father Lankester Merrin, as portrayed by Max von Sydow in The Exorcist. Von Sydow is one of the few actors to have played both God (in The Greatest Story Ever Told) and the Devil (in Needful Things) but it is as Merrin that he is best remembered (unless you are a Great White North hoser who worships his role as Brewmeister Smith in Bob and Doug MacKenzie’s Strange Brew). The statuesque Swedish actor played Merrin twice—he’s seen in flashbacks in Exorcist II: The Heretic—and Stellan Skarsgård played him in two prequels but it is the first movie and the iconic line “The Power of Christ compels you!” that is most memorable.

Many other actors have played clerics. Carl Maldan was Father Barry in the Best Picture winner On the Waterfront, George Carlin was Cardinal Ignatius Glick, the mastermind of Dogma’s ‘Catholicism Wow!’ campaign but the actor most associated with playing priests is Pat O’Brien. He became an actor only after deciding against entering seminary and his devotion to playing priestly characters was so well known it even inspired the name of band, the blues-rockers Pat O’Brien and the Priests of Love.