Julian Glover

Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out (2012, Guy Vasilovich)

Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out gleefully turns the Star Wars characters into caricatures–it’s a mix of Empire and Episode One, apparently because that combination works out funniest. Darth Vader is upset when Darth Maul gets more of the Emperor’s attention, C–3PO (actually voiced by Anthony Daniels) annoys everyone, Luke is all of a sudden a heartthrob.

What’s impressive about Michael Price’s script is how well he tells the jokes. Lego Star Wars doesn’t revere its source material, but does appreciate it and all the pop culture hubbub it’s caused. The result’s far smarter for that approach. Price tells a lot of jokes I assumed he’d avoid.

The CG’s all fantastic; the shadowing makes some of the static LEGO figures appear to be physical rather than rendered. The John Williams music works well (and is the only thing used sincerely).

As expected, it’s fun, but smart too.



Directed by Guy Vasilovich; screenplay by Michael Price; edited by Michael D. Black; produced by Joshua Wexler; released by Cartoon Network.

Starring Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenneth Colley (Admiral Piett), Brian Blessed (Boss Nass), Julian Glover (General Veers), Lloyd Floyd (Luke Skywalker), Matt Sloan (Darth Vader), Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks), Lisa Fuson (Princess Leia Organa), John Armstrong (Han Solo), Andy Secombe (Watto), Tom Kane (Narrator / Yoda), Sam Witwer (Darth Maul / Emperor Palpatine) and Jason Canning (Admiral Ozzel).

Scoop (2006, Woody Allen)

Scoop starts out on awkward footing. The film follows Ian McShane’s recently deceased reporter on the boat across the Styx, where he gets a great scoop. McShane’s great and Woody makes the scene a lot of fun. Unfortunately, when Scarlett Johansson and Woody the actor show up in the next scenes, they can’t compare to the McShane scenes. For the first act, Scoop doesn’t work right. Woody can’t decide whether Johansson’s a ditz or not. When she is the ditz, it’s good stuff, the most realistic ditz I’ve seen in a while, but the character alternates during the scenes. Even more, during the first act, Woody and Johansson don’t act well together. At first, I thought it was because I couldn’t separate Woody the actor and Woody the director, but then he started masquerading as Johansson’s father in English society and I was too busy laughing to think about it anymore.

Woody plays a complete jackass, embarrassing the mortified Johansson over and over. She’s being romanced by Hugh Jackman during these scenes, which just makes it more horrifying. From this point, the film gets a lot better, getting itself on a firm narrative. Johansson comes off as less of a Woody muse in Scoop than she did in Match Point (he gives himself just as much to do) and, while appealing, her performance is kind of flat–if they’d been going for the character as a ditz, she’d be great, but they don’t. Woody’s hilarious, fully comfortable now in the non-romantic goof-ball lead. As the possible bad guy, Hugh Jackman’s great. I already mentioned McShane’s great performance…

At ninety-six minutes, I suppose Scoop takes too long before it gets started–and that accelerating isn’t the most pleasant–but it’s steady once it gets going, even getting better as it enters the third act. Still, I prefer it when the “light” Woody Allen films have a little more meat.



Written and directed by Woody Allen; director of photography, Remi Adefarasin; edited by Alisa Lepselter; production designer, Maria Djurkovic; produced by Letty Aronson and Gareth Wiley; released by Focus Features.

Starring Woody Allen (Sid Waterman), Hugh Jackman (Peter Lyman), Scarlett Johansson (Sondra Pransky), Ian McShane (Joe Strombel), Charles Dance (Mr. Malcom), Romola Garai (Vivian), Kevin R. McNally (Mike Tinsley), Julian Glover (Lord Lyman), Victoria Hamilton (Jan) and Fenella Woolgar (Jane Cook).

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