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Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story
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Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (DVD)
Michael Winterbottom's TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY is a rollicking, inventive adaptation of the notoriously unfilmable British comic novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, written by Laurence Sterne. Crammed with literary jokes and dark humor, and aided by stellar performances by Jeremy Northam, Rob Brydon and Naomie Harris, Shandy's warped tales reveal far more about himself than any conventional autobiography.]]>
Michael Winterbottom is no stranger to literary adaptation. Both Jude and The Claim were drawn from works by Thomas Hardy. Nor is the versatile filmmaker a stranger to the post-modern romp, like 24 Hour Party People. In that paean to Manchesters music scene, Steve Coogan was Factory honcho Tony Wilson. In Winterbottom's take on Laurence Sterne's digressive The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, the prolific helmer combines literature with lunacy and brings Coogan back as the titular character--and then some. Coogan doesnt just portray the 18th century squire, but his father Walter and insecure actor "Steve Coogan." It's a film about the making of a film, effortlessly shifting between Tristrams tumultuous birth and his frustrated adulthood--bogged down in the writing of his life story--and between fiction and (what appears to be) fact. There are no end to the worries on and off the set: Coogan worries his heels aren't high enough, Rob Brydon worries his teeth are too yellow, and Coogan's girlfriend (Kelly Macdonald) worries she isn't seeing enough of him. It may sound like Spike Jonzes Adaptation, but in spirit, it more closely resembles Tony Richardsons Tom Jones. Coogan and his co-stars, particularly Naomie Harris as the ultimate film nut, Gillian Anderson as the American brought in to boost the project's profile, and Brydon as Tristrams Uncle Toby are as game for the challenge as their fearless leader. Consequently, Tristram Shandy isnt just one of Winterbottoms best films--it's one of the years best. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- Extended interview with Steve Coogan conducted by Tony Wilson (24 Hour Party People)
- Deleted scenes
- Scene extensions
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Theatrical trailer
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Imagine a Merchant-Ivory costume drama in which the principal actor suddenly stops, turns to the camera, and tells a Groucho Marx story, And imagine that part way through an increasingly confusing narrative, that keeps movinng forward and back, in fits and starts, the camera abruptly pulls back, and we see a film being made.
From that point on, "Tristram" becomes the story of the attempt to make a film from a very difficult to film novel, with a very difficult cast. The lead hasn't read the book, and is consumed with petty jealosies concerning the main supporting actor. The producers don't want to put any more money into it. And it just gets sillier, and sillier- while never quite falling into slapstick.
In point of fact, as conditions around the film get sillier, the lives of the main characters become more complicated, and consumed by some very serious issues. And yet everything slowly comes togethers, a few people learn a few lessons, and a film is made... although no one seems to ber very pleased with the results. And then, as the credits are rolling, the two main actors are debating acting techniques, in what may be the funniest scene of the entire film.
So what we have here is a very complex film that requires close attention, and perhaps even a little knowledge of literature and history to get all the jokes. This is not simple minded slapstick, and those who prefer that sort of humor simply aren't going to get it. But for veiwers who bring with them the intelligence to apppreciate all the jokes and references, it delivers a very satisfying and laughter filled two hours.
This comedy is about human frailty, weaknesses, vanities, ambitions, priorities, and foolishness. It succeeds magnificently.
This is the movie of Tristram Shandy.
The theme to Tristram's show.
Coogan called me up and asked
Would I write his Tristram screenplay?
I'm almost half-way finished,
How do you like it so far?
How do you like the plot to Tristrams' show?
If you want to know what happens, watch the trailer. That's pretty much it... Well, and it's the best of it.
There are parts of it that are really funny. If you want it to make sense, it won't. If it feels like I am all over the place, it's because this movie is too. Despite scratching my head at the end, there is something strangely weird about it that makes me want to watch it again. There is a very voyeuristic feel about it. I think it might grow on me over time.
I wanted to give it "two stars", but there are far more than that. The cast includes EVERY British actor you've ever heard of. Well, that's overstating it, but only slightly. Nobody is nobody. You're like "Hey, that's so-and-so" and then they're gone. That was neat seeing names do nothing.
Most recent customer reviews
Answer: "Because it's funny.Read more