Galavant: Season Two Premiere Kylie Minogue and Vinnie Jones? [Update]

Having missed the first season of ABC’s Galavant, it came a surprise to see not only Kylie Minogue, but Vinnie Jones in the season two premiere, which will air on January 3, 2016.

Kylie Minogue

[Update] After having disliked Galavant pretty much on sight, it was then decided to watch the entirety of all seven screeners on offer at ABC. After viewing said episodes,  the below vitriol has been redacted, somewhat, and for a “fairer” assessment  of this musical series read the other review  by MikesFilmTalk by clicking on this link. Thank you.

Having missed the first season of ABC’s Galavant, it came a surprise to see not only Kylie Minogue, but Vinnie Jones in the season two premiere, which will air on January 3, 2016. Created by Dan Fogelman  (Cars, Tangled) this odd “Disney-esque” type of musical offering, with a mixture of US, Australian and English performers, feels like a Mel Brooks (think The Producers, a’la the Bialystock song) song and dance without Brooks’ genius.

It is amusing in a sort of Monty Python-ish way, although the humor feels forced. There are funny moments, like Vinnie Jones…singing, for instance and the elfin Minogue as the landlady of a gay pub called the Enchanted Forest.  While all these gags are funny…ish, it is hard to believe that this show was given a second season.

Not having seen the first iteration of Galavant, which presumably had former bad boy footballer Jones but not Kylie, there are obviously a lot of jokes and routines that have been carried forward from season one.

The show comes over like an Abrahams and Zucker Bros production:

“I’ve got to stay its my destiny.”

“Meet Destiny…

Ha, bloody ha…

The clue may be in the title of the premiere episode of Galavant.  “A New Season Aka Suck It Cancellation Bear” may be meant as an “in-joke” but without seeing the first season, which may actually be much funnier than the season two opening episode, it is hard to tell.

Somewhat amazingly, on IMDb, the show pulls in huge 7.7 in rankings. This after offering up cardboard cutout character’s who all sing like the people in that furniture commercial on telly. Granted all the songs are a bit naughty and cater to  that inner child who still finds jokes about sex hysterically funny.

Galavant actually feels like a one trick pony that has worn out its welcome before the first act finishes airing. A Disney “wanna-be” for the more puerile in the audience.  Show creator, Dan Fogelman did after all write Cars…As Stan Lee would say, “Nuff said.”

Attempting to binge watch the whole eight episodes of Galavant, which are about eight episodes too many, one can only wonder how desperate Rutger Hauer must have been to take on three episodes as a “major” character. Of course the actor may be trying make up for the abysmal 2014 film 2047: Sights of Death.

None of the songs really deliver, in terms of being  genuinely funny  or delivering real laughs.  Each tune has the same tempo and beat,  despite  the different lyrics, each song still sounds amazingly like “Gal-a-vant…”  Even the furniture advert’s songs sound more impressive and individualistic.

Both season one, and now two, sound like a musical version of Leslie Neilson’s 1982 small screen Abraham and Zucker Bros Police Squad!.  Although the focus on English,  real and faux, or just annoying like, say, Ricky Gervais, does make the show feel like a tepid homage to funnier Brit comedy shows like Fawlty Towers or Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

(It is hard to outdo the original chaps, with or without musical accompaniment, who can come near the off-beat humor of the “Dead Parrot Sketch” or “No expects the Spanish Inquisition!”  Just to point out the obvious.)

Repetitious songs, jokes that feel like retreads from other, funnier, comedic situations and a cast trying too hard to please and be funny all sum up the parts of Galavant which do not really gel.  Still, there must be some who find the show irresistible, as proven by its returning for a second season.

Perhaps American audiences are drawn to “mockney” accents stridently calling out “Fat A**.” It has to be said that the appearance of Kylie Minogue, who unfortunately was forced to sing songs that sounded similar to “real” songs sung by the tiny star with the huge voice,  was enough to make one giddy for a split second.

The fact that this show has been developed for a US demographic who most likely recognize Vinnie Jones from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or more recently as the gritty, two dimensional baddie from Awaken,  says volumes about this unfunny and stale musical comedy. (Or even those who recognize Minogue as “The Green Fairy” from the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!)

Vinnie Jones
Vinnie is funnier when he plays it straight…

Galavant tries hard to be wildly funny and it is this that lets the show down, along with all the songs that sound pretty much the same.  This show is not big and it’s not clever, just annoying and rather flat, like the humor and jokes in each episode. Give this one a pass and watch reruns of Monty Python instead.

 

RocknRolla (2008) Guy Ritchie’s Ode to New and Old London

Poster for RocknRolla
I will admit, I adore Guy Ritchie’s films, even the ones that have been bashed by the media (that’s spelt critics by the way) and have done ever since hearing a “behind the scenes” tale from my old agent. It goes something like this:

“One of my other clients got cast to be in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and we were both very pleased. Later, after he’d finished his bit he explained what was really shot versus what had been in the script.” Lennie paused and shaking his head continued.

“The pages he had originally had a bit in the pub which was around three pages long, about three minutes on screen roughly, and it was all quite convoluted, a lot like rest of the film. Clever interaction between my client and the chaps in the pub. It was to end with him getting a facefull of brandy and being set on fire. According to him, the budget was so tight that the scene kept getting smaller and smaller until it was just him being set on fire and running out of the pub!”

All this long apocryphal anecdote says is that Guy did not let the lack of money stop his using an actor he’d hired for the scene. His vision, and the implied loyalty to his cast dictated that he keep at least part of the brandy scene in and he did. You have to admire that, just as one has to admire his lifelong love affair with London.

Anyone who has been in London over the last 30 or so years can see just how much it has changed. Canary Wharf, the docklands, and South London to name a few locations which stand out the most as being very different from what they were in the early 80s. The fact that the film is, according to Ritchie, partly about the property prices skyrocketing out of control, (To the point where honest Brits have found themselves forced out of the market.) again, rings true to those who lived in Britain over the last 30 years.

Maggie Thatcher’s “right to own” opened the floodgates in the housing market and her selling off of council houses left the door wide open for big money to own property and for the little folks to slowly get pushed out of the equation. Ritchie’s film is not about Britain, however, it is about London.

Relying upon the same formula used in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as well as Snatch, RocknRolla has that same feel minus Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones. Although the film is enjoyable, I admit that I loved it despite his use of Tom Wilkinson as Lennie who should clearly have been played by Mike Reid (Snatch, Eastenders).

Having said that, the cast, including Wilkinson, were superb. Tom Hardy, Gerard Butler, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Thandie Newton all delivered. I was surprised to find that the comedic points in the film made me laugh as much as those in ‘Two Barrels’ did. The bit with Hardy, Butler, and later, Elba and the whole “he was going inside for 5 years” schtick had me in hysterics.

The one actor who really went above and beyond was, of course, the brilliant Toby Kebbell. Only he could have pulled off the role of Johnny Quid with his various ups and downs. The actor had me in stitches in the lift scene with Archie (Strong) and his, “Don’t hurt me Archie! I’m only little!”

Kebbell is a dynamo and his timing and delivery in all his films is beyond impeccable. I would say that my only complaint, apart from the lack of Mike Reid, is that there should have been a lot more of Toby. While this should have been a #tbt review, I could not wait to write my thoughts down after watching the bargain basement blu-ray copy last night.

A 5 out of 5 stars and a good reminder that Guy Ritchie still has the chops despite a few misfires.

11 May 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

Awaken: Natalie Burn Rocks in Action Film

Poster for Awaken

Awaken stars Natalie Burn in her first action film after Expendables 3 where she played Mel Gibson’s other half. She rocks in the movie as a young Russian girl looking for her ne’er-do-well sister who has gone missing from a prison. Burn’s character is called Bille Kope and the name indicates her nature. Taught to fight by her father, the young lady takes on every obstacle placed in her path.

Read the rest of my review on Viral Global News by clicking [here].