THE DEATH OF STALIN – REVIEW

THE DEATH OF STALIN – REVIEW – Veep Goes to the USSR.

The Death of Stalin is as black as Beluga caviar and as strong as vodka, as absurd as totalitarianism and yet much much funnier. Armando Iannucci brings together a hugely talented cast including Mr. Pink, Larry Sanders’ pal, the new Star Trek captain, one of the Fast Show fellas, a Monty Python and Simon Russell Beale as Beria. The latter is a famous Brit Shakespearean who has dedicated himself to the theater, at the cinema’s expense, it has to be said.

Following Stalin’s collapse the members of the Politburo, sharpen their knives and run about trying to make their own futures secure even as they dodge their comrades conspiracies and the purge to come. The backbiting and fighting is hilarious and some of the most ludicrous details are the bits which are actually the most historically accurate.

Iannucci made his name in British radio and then TV comedy before going stateside with In the Loop and Veep. But here he has hit it out of the park. In a world of Dirty Grandpas and crappy product placement disguised as comedy vehicles, this is one of the most original comedies of the last decade. There’s a wealth of comic detail and wonderfully realized performances from everyone including Andrea Riseborough and Rupert Friend as Stalin’s hilariously mad children. It’s pertinence to the current resident of the Kremlin can be seen in the fact that it has been banned in Russia. Iannucci’s talent should now be employed closer to home.

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MANIMAL SURPRISES AT THE EMMYS

HOLLYWOOD – The 67th Emmy awards took place at the Microsoft Theatre with Andy Samberg presenting the awards, but the major upset of the evening was Manimal the 1983 adventure series that swept all the major categories.

Manimal, a short-lived adventure series started and ended in 1983, but last night it swept the Emmys due to a glitch in the voting mechanism. Beating out the likes of Mad Men, Orange is the New Black, Veep and Game of Thrones, Manimal won best drama series, best comedy series, best non-prosthetic make up and Simon MacCorkindale won best actor, beating out the likes of John Hamm and Bob Odenkirk.

Peter Dinklage – who plays Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones – spoke bitterly of his disappointment to the Studio Exec:

I’m bitterly disappointed. We were expecting stiff competition this year from Mad Men sure, but Manimal? That came from nowhere and swooped in like an eagle and took the award from my grasp. I mean was it even a good show? I didn’t even see it.

Although Manimal only ran for nine episodes in the early eighties, it received a massive cult following among internet groups and it is these groups which are thought to have interfered, or swung, the voting process. Starring MacCorkindale as Dr. Jonathan Chase, Manimal follows the shape shifting manimal as he solves crimes as a bull, or a dolphin, or a snake, or a monkey, or a giraffe. The Emmys host Andy Samberg was philosophical about the outcome and the outpouring of anger and hatred that soon followed:

It’s just like 2007 when Airwolf won everything. Or 2013 when it was Modern Family AGAIN. Nah, people bitch and complain but the fact is it is also cyclical. These things come around.

A new Manimal film starring Will Ferrell has been greenlit for 2017.