James Gandolfini


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The Secret World (Radio 4, Tuesdays) provides none of them. Here's a comedy show that, through the employment of mimics, invites us to imagine what happens in the private lives of famous people. Sean Connery has a baking competition with James Gandolfini of The Sopranos, William Hague tries to entertain Angela Merkel in the absence of Prime Minister Cameron, Nick Clegg successively telephones Sandi Toksvig, Miranda Hart and Jo Brand, trying (always in vain) to get them to come to a party. It sounds stale, as if every situation has been chosen to fit the voices available rather than for any intrinsic wit.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 2nd October 2012

This cinematic off-shoot of the BBC's political sitcom The Thick of It features James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) as a blustering US general, as our hapless crew of civil servants and spin doctors - led by Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) - become entangled in the build-up to a war in the Middle East. It's directed by Armando Ianucci - and a little more broad than the original - but it's horribly funny, provided you can stomach the swearing.

The Telegraph, 8th July 2011

Funniest film of 2009? This hilariously biting political satire has already got my vote. Think Yes, Minister with more swearing. A lot more swearing. OK, ballistic levels of swearing. Swearing so sublime and breathtakingly vicious, it makes you wince with pleasure.

As discerning comedy fans will already know, this is the movie adaptation of The Thick Of It, Armando Iannucci's massively acclaimed TV sitcom, which means that by the rules of such transitions, it should be pants.

Yet there are no compromises to be found here, certainly not in the teeth department. With original star Chris Langham unavailable due to his conviction for downloading child porn - a chain of events beyond even the show's scurrilous imagination - it's up to the ever-marvellous Tom Hollander to play hapless secretary of state Simon Foster, who bleats out lines such as: 'To walk the road of peace, sometimes we need to be prepared to climb the mountain of conflict.' Only to be savaged by the PM's rabid Alastair Campbell-alike communications officer, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi). 'Climb the mountain of conflict?' he scoffs. 'You sound like some Nazi Julie Andrews.'

Bounced along at every turn by brilliant aphorisms and comic turns, including The Sopranos's James Gandolfini bulking out the transatlantic audience appeal as a warmongering general, there's admittedly not much in the way of actual narrative. But, frankly, who cares when you're laughing this hard?

Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 25th August 2009

That's me and him from The Sopranos

In the Loop - a political farce set in London and Washington - is the brilliant cinematic debut of Armando Iannucci. Here, in a candid behind-the-scenes diary, the satirist reveals the joys of playing basketball with star James Gandolfini and the pleasure of a hometown screening in front of his eightysomething mum ...

Armando Iannucci, The Observer, 22nd March 2009

Armando's Loop gets Sundance premiere

Armando Iannucci's movie spin-off from The Thick of It is receive its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month. In The Loop - which stars James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Peter Capaldi, and Steve Coogan - will have its first public screening on January 22.

Chortle, 15th December 2008