Whistler Film Festival: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’

It’s all grotesque fun in Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut, which features a long overdue collaboration with Emma Thompson.

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The Case of the Sympathetic Barber

About thirty minutes before his Red Carpet appearance, Robert Carlyle gave his frank opinion about the titular character from The Legend of Barney Thomson. “He’s not a very nice person, this Barney,” the Once Upon a Time star admitted at the Whistler Film Festival, where his directorial debut was welcomed for its North American premiere. “It’s one of the most difficult things about the script: How do I play this guy and make him somehow sympathetic? Because he’s a tit, he really is!”

Robert Carlyle
Robert Carlyle in his directorial debut, ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson.’ Photo courtesy of the Whistler Film Festival.

It helps immensely that Carlyle dwarfs Barney’s unpleasant “outbursts” towards customers by bringing on the full force of an outrageous personality like Cemolina. Emma Thompson, a two-time Academy-Award-winning actress, is both delightful and horrifying as Barney’s mother. Only two years older than Carlyle, Thompson benefited from the expertise of Mark Coulier (Spectre, Iron Lady) for the prosthetic make-up design needed to transform her into the feisty Scottish woman. It’s Emma Thompson as you’ve never seen her.

Despite being in her seventies, Cemolina stays active with her betting at the dog races, her lively Bingo nights, and old lady dance parties. But by no means would we ever expect her to garner the accolade of “Mother of the Year” for the scathing verbal abuse she unleashes on Barney, the hapless and lonely barber. “I never saw the f***ing point of you,” she tells her long-suffering son. Ouch.

A View from the Barber’s Chair Continue reading “Whistler Film Festival: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’”

Interview with Robert Carlyle: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’

Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, and Richard Cowan
Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, and Richard Cowan at the North American premiere of ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson.’ Photo: Pat Cuadros

In early December, I caught up with Robert Carlyle twice at the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) as a writer for Blogcritics. The Once Upon a Time actor was at the snowy ski resorts in Whistler, Canada, for the North American premiere of his directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson. He mingled with screenwriter Richard Cowan as well as producers Emily Alden and John Lenic at the Red Carpet. Continue reading “Interview with Robert Carlyle: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’”

‘Once Upon a Time’ Review: “The Bear and the Bow”

Rumple is put to the test in what’s arguably the best episode this season. Also, that bear is scary!

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

OUAT Promotional PhotoLast week, there were strong hints that Merida (Amy Manson), still under Emma’s control (Jennifer Morrison), would set a bulls-eye on Belle (Emilie de Ravin). Emma thinks that Rumple (Robert Carlyle) can become “a hero” and pull Excalibur out of the stone, but he’ll need some prompting. It’s the return of one of my favorite “versions” of Rumple; he’s regressed and gone full-on “coward” here. Training with Merida is not fruitful until she starts toying with him, bringing the teacup into the mix. Continue reading “‘Once Upon a Time’ Review: “The Bear and the Bow””

‘Once Upon a Time’ Recap – Arthur is No Friend in ‘The Broken Kingdom’

Interesting build-up with a Camelot love triangle, but multiple Rumples win again.

Arthur and Guinevere on "Once Upon a Time"
Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and Guinevere (Joana Metrass). Credit: ABC

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

Intrigue builds on Once Upon a Time with an episode centered on the Camelot love triangle consisting of Arthur (Liam Garrigan), Guinevere (Joana Metrass), and Lancelot (Sinqua Walls). Arthur is obsessed with restoring the Excalibur sword, a mission that requires locating the dagger of the Dark One. His frenzied research leads him to miss his queen’s birthday party, practically throwing Guinevere into Lancelot’s arms. The queen and Lancelot go on their own search for the Dagger.

They gain entry to the vault of the Dark One and encounter Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), who gives Guinevere a vial of the Sands of Avalon as part of a deal. “Love is a weapon, Dearie, the most dangerous weapon of all,” he warns her. The dust can make anything broken appear whole again: a quality that backfires on the queen when she admits the truth to Arthur instead of fixing Excalibur.

Switch over to future Camelot, where Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) was recently initiated into the Knights of the Round Table. He and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) disagree whether to entrust the Dagger to Arthur. Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) brief presence at the marital spat is amusing, as she watches and then poofs out of the room on Snow’s insistence.  Continue reading “‘Once Upon a Time’ Recap – Arthur is No Friend in ‘The Broken Kingdom’”

TV Review: Open-Ended Deals, Revenge, and an ‘Apprentice’ for Rumple on ‘Once Upon a Time’

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

In an earlier post, I was intrigued when Rumple (Robert Carlyle) conjured up the Sorcerer’s Hat from the round box. Last night, we found out a little more about his intentions with the prized item, something that previous Dark Ones have been seeking for year. Continue reading “TV Review: Open-Ended Deals, Revenge, and an ‘Apprentice’ for Rumple on ‘Once Upon a Time’”

TV Review: Snow Queen Brings ‘Rocky Road’ for All on ‘Once Upon a Time’

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

“There’s no problem that can’t be solved with a bit of ice cream.” The Snow Queen’s words would normally hold true, it doesn’t work that way if the tasty treat happens to be from Any Given Sundae and is enchanted. Continue reading “TV Review: Snow Queen Brings ‘Rocky Road’ for All on ‘Once Upon a Time’”

TV Review: Storybrooke and Arendelle Royals Meet During ‘White Out’ in ‘Once Upon a Time’

Caution: This review contains spoilers on the episode “White Out.”

Who would have guessed that Little Bo Peep (Robin Weigert) would turn out to be a warlord in Fairy Tale Land (FTL)? Continue reading “TV Review: Storybrooke and Arendelle Royals Meet During ‘White Out’ in ‘Once Upon a Time’”