TOP FIVE (2014)


What are your top five?

Chris Rock directs, writes and stars in this very smart film about relationships, celebrity, love in the spotlight, friendships and the issues surrounding fame.
It’s about time.
It’s about time that a very funny stand up comedian and talented writer makes a great film. This evokes the feel of Annie Hall, yet is totally contemporary; conversation, questions, challenges, comedy all are here beautifully composed

Usually when a comedian headlines a film we’ll get some diluted, studio nonsense that seems to muzzle the talent and force them into pre-designed moulds that they just don’t fit in. The closest thing to this, and even that is very different is, Louie, the brilliant tv series, written, starring and directed by the incredibly funny talented, good friend of Rock’s, Louis C.K.
Rock is not afraid to show a long two-handed scene where two characters challenge each other, the dialogue is fresh, clever and a welcome change to the usual films helmed by comedians.

Rock (Andre Allen) stars with Rosario Dawson (Chelsea Brown) who plays a journalist from the New York Times assigned to interview him and she, as usual, imbues the part with charm and realism. He plays a comedian who has made the transition to films and like Michael Keaton’s character in Birdman, has come off the back of a massive franchise in which he plays Hammy The Bear in a ridiculous cop/buddy 3 film run. He is about to get married to a Kim Kardashian reality star type and Brown confronts him with real questions forcing him to look closely at the trajectory of his life/career.

Peppered with guest spots from a whole heap of very talented comedians, they are used here with intelligence and wit. Cedric The Entertainer has more than a blast playing Jazzy D (“Who the man in Houston?”), Kevin Hart plays Andre Allen’s (Rock) agent, J.B. Smoove plays Allen’s best friend/minder and is real and funny, Anders Holm (Workaholics) has a nice part playing Chelsea’s boyfriend. The very funny Romany Malco has a few fun scenes with Gabrielle Union (Erica Long, Allen’s fiance). More Malco, please. Tracy Morgan, Jay Pharoah, Leslie Jones and Hassan Johnson plays Allen’s relatives and each bring the pain, comedically. There are a bunch of other surprises that I shall let you discover yourselves.

?uestlove is the music producer so you know there will be tunes and Jay Z and Kanye were co-producers of the film. The pedigree is insane.

This is how you do it, make a film that is both personal and well composed and you should have a hit on your hands. Ultimately, my thinking is that the people will gravitate towards quality, as opposed to ingesting the rubbish that is normally on offer.

Do yourself a favour and check out this clever, funny, romantic comedy. Funny is funny is funny.






Where does comedy come from? What does it take to be successful?

Following on from the recent viewing of I Am Comic (hear me roar), the next stand up doc on the list is a different beast but dealing with some of the same issues that stand up-comics have.

Jerry Seinfeld decides to get back on the boards and develop an act that is wholly new. This challenge he gives himself sets the scene for a very cool documentary going behind the scenes of a stand-ups’ world. He shares the screen time with a comedian, Orny Adams, who wants to take his career to the next level. This works as an interesting counter-point to Jerry’s journey.

Here, Jerry meets up with many working comics to get to the root of what stand-up is. For an incredibly successful comic who hadn’t done the live rounds for many years this proves to be a challenge that Jerry takes to with aplomb. He decides to throw out all his previous sets and start again. This proves to be a challenge but we are talking about Jerry Seinfeld who is a little bit successful.

The Orny Adams section is very interesting, with a smattering of self-sabotage and an over inflated ego, this is a perfect example of how NOT to do it.

Featuring Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Ray Romano, Garry Shandling, and Bill Cosby as well as a plethora of other lesser known but funny and successful comics, this shows how difficult and, with talent and tenacity, rewarding the world can be whether you are at the top or the bottom of the game.

Very infotaining.