Out of the dozens of reviews we’ve done since we started this blog, we’ve had only 10 A’s. For a movie to deserve a perfect rating here, it doesn’t have to be perfect: it needs to be different. It has to bring something new to the movie table, or do something old so well that it feels new. Here are our 10 ‘A’ reviews, as diverse as an obese teenager’s quest for societal independence or a man avenging his father’s death in 19th century America. (Side-note: though we rarely hand out straight A’s, we’ve also only awarded one F… to a movie ironically called The A-Team.)
In the Loop
Directed by: Armando Iannucci
Written by: Jesse Armstrong & Simon Blackwell (screenplay)
Starring: Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Mimi Kennedy, and James Gandolfini
Britain has always been a step ahead of the United States when it comes to comedy. More recently, Ricky Gervais bestowed The Office upon the U.K., and we made a spinoff show to great success. We borrow their premises and develop them into our own context, sometimes losing the laughs along the way.
With In the Loop, though, we find a distinctly British sense of humor unleashed upon the idiots that run both their government and ours. It’s probably unintentional black irony that this blazing, brilliant political satire is in the vein of the distinctly American Dr. Strangelove. That’s the highest praise that could be awarded to satire, and this movie earns it.
With one of the most brilliant, hilarious screenplays in recent memory, director Armando Iannucci crafts a documentary-like comedy about how we got into the mess in the Persian Gulf. No real names are named. In fact, some smart creative liberties were taken, and the film is all the better for it.