A re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ classic through the comedic lens of its award-winning filmmakers – giving the Dickensian tale new life for a cosmopolitan age with a diverse ensemble cast of stage and screen actors.
Showing: 1 December 2021
Date of release: 2019
Running time: 1h 59m
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writers: Simon Blackwell, Charles Dickens, Armando Iannucci
The Personal History of David Copperfield Plot Synopsis
A re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ classic ode to grit and perseverance through the comedic lens of its award-winning filmmakers – giving the Dickensian tale new life for a cosmopolitan age with a diverse ensemble cast of stage and screen actors from across the world. Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell lend their wry, yet heart-filled storytelling style to revisiting Dickens’ iconic hero on his quirky journey from impoverished orphan to burgeoning writer in Victorian England.
Restructuring some story arcs and jettisoning others, Iannucci and his collaborator, Simon Blackwell, have created a souped-up, trimmed-down adaptation so fleet and entertaining that its cleverness doesn’t immediately register.
In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London, hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast of the competition. Not only that, when the show resumed, the result caused uproar: the winner was not the Swedish favourite but Miss Grenada, the first black woman to be crowned Miss World. In a matter of hours, a global audience had witnessed the patriarchy driven from the stage and the Western ideal of beauty turned on its head.
If there is a tonal uncertainty in this comedy, then that’s because there was a tonal uncertainty in the real-life events, and the movie nicely conveys how they were at one and the same time deadly serious and Pythonically silly.
Well written, -acted, -cast and -produced, this wholly entertaining yet stingingly relevant story of the 1970 Miss World finals should have been a smash hit when it opened in UK theatres on March 13, but events overtook its release.
Inspired by global phenomenon of military wives choirs, the story celebrates a band of misfit women who form a choir on a military base. As unexpected bonds of friendship flourish, music and laughter transform their lives.
Inspired by global phenomenon of military wives choirs, the story celebrates a band of misfit women who form a choir on a military base. As unexpected bonds of friendship flourish, music and laughter transform their lives, helping each other to overcome their fears for loved ones in combat.
In a classic Brit-com flanking manoeuvre, the film tries to simultaneously reduce the viewer to tears while inviting us to bask in the fuzzy glow of our friends and neighbour’s innate decency. Luckily it succeeds, thanks in no small part to the commitment shown by Horgan and Scott Thomas.
You are well aware of the shameless manipulation and can second-guess exactly where it is going and yet resistance is futile. It tugs at the heartstrings with such determination and sincerity that there may not be a dry eye in the cinema.
Having seen on the programme that the film “Military Wives” was to be shown on 4th December, despite social distancing, I decided not to miss a film I had been waiting to see, (I missed it when on general release some while ago).
I certainly wasn’t disappointed. From the opening scenes, I was “hooked”. The cast, headed by Kristin Scott Thomas, were so realistic in the way they portrayed “living on the base” where the hierarchy of military life flows down to the families as well as to the “enlisted men and women”. The leaving of the recruits to do a tour of duty on the front line would strike a chord with all of those people who are connected to the service way of life. Musically, the choir was very well portrayed in the story, and with the added bonus of the heightened emotions of performing in front of “the boss”, it showed so many dimensions to being a forces wife and what the family has to embrace in those circumstances.
The emotion of the film left “not a dry eye in the house!”
Pam Healey. (formerly the daughter of a WW2 gunnery officer and wife of a Trials/Design Officer in the RN and RNZN!)
The Peanut Butter Falcon was Exminster Film Club’s October 2020 film. It is an adventure story that begins when Zak, a young man with Downs syndrome, runs away from the nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.
The Peanut Butter Falcon is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak, a young man with Downs syndrome, runs away from the nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler by attending wrestling school. Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler, a small-time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor to join them on their journey.
By keeping the humour rooted in the performances and only letting sentimentality creep in when necessary, Nelson and Schwartz have crafted a film that feels refreshing, unique, and emotional.
Stan & Ollie was Exminster Film Club’s showing for January 2020. It pays tribute to the beloved entertainers Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and brings you an affectionate look behind the scenes and a moving insight into the burdens and blessings of a creative bond.
Laurel & Hardy, one of the world’s great comedy teams, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As the charm and beauty of their performances shines through, they re-connect with their adoring fans.
The tour becomes a hit, but Stan & Ollie can’t quite shake the spectre of Laurel and Hardy’s past; the long-buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages, they are aware that they may be approaching their swan song, trying to rediscover just how much they mean to each other.
It is eccentric, sad and stirring to the core. Oh yes – and incredibly funny, too.
Stan & Ollie muddles up the history a bit, as all biopics do, but it’s a film without any meaningful flaws. Every character is wonderfully realised, every performance is spectacular. You’ll laugh all the way through, you’ll cry by the end, and you’ll see the brilliance of Laurel & Hardy come back to life via the very same cinematic magic that made them legends in the first place.
Green Book will be Exminster Film Club’s showing for December 2019. This Oscar-winning movie tells the story of a working-class Italian-American bouncer driving an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South
Shown: 4 December 2019
Date of release: 2018
Running time: 2h 10m
Director: Peter Farrelly
Writers: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie & Peter Farrelly
When Tony Lip , a bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley, a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger as well as unexpected humanity and humour – they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.
Witty and warm as cashmere, Green Book is a two-hander in which both stars soar with humour and heart.
Green Book certainly paints a rosy picture of race relations, but ultimately I don’t think its little white lies are a bad thing. Like my father did with me, it’s telling us a story that makes our grandfathers seem better than they probably were. But it does so as an example of how we should be, as an aspirational ideal that maybe we’ll live up to one day even if we didn’t yesterday.
Yesterday was Exminster Film Club’s third screening. Struggling musician Jack, realises he’s become the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.
Yesterday, everyone knew The Beatles. Today, only Jack remembers their songs. He’s about to become a very big deal. From Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis, comes a rock-n-roll comedy about music, dreams, friendship, and the long and winding road that leads to the love of your life. Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie. Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed … and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed. Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them.
After the sombre “Peterloo” shown last month it was time for the sheer joy and escapism of “Yesterday”.
Our audience, ranging from 12 upwards, were treated to the uplifting and heartwarming story of a struggling singer-songwriter, Jack Malik (Himish Patel), who by sheer chance is the only person on earth who remembers the Beatles – or so he thinks.
In his debut film role Patel was endearing and convincing as Jack, doing all his own singing and giving his own twist to some of the most well-known and loved songs in the world. Lily James, as best friend and manager Ellie was as watchable as ever and with real-life husband and wife, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal, playing Jack’s parents and a supporting appearance by Ed Sheeran, the film couldn’t fail.
Everyone left smiling!
A glowing tribute to The Beatles and their music, this is both a toe-tapping pleasure to watch and a smart, occasionally scathing look at how we get things wrong.
Fisherman’s friends was Exminster Film Club’s first screening and proved to be a great success. This film follows a ramshackle group of friendly Cornish fisherman as they are persuaded to sell their popular sea shanties to a record label.
Shown: 4 September 2019
Date of release: 2019
Running time: 1h 52m
Director: Chris Foggin
Writers: Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft
A fast-living, cynical London music executive (Danny Mays) heads to a remote Cornish village on a stag weekend where he’s pranked by his boss (Noel Clarke) into trying to sign a group of shanty singing fishermen (led by James Purefoy). He becomes the ultimate ‘fish out of water’ as he struggles to gain the respect or enthusiasm of the unlikely boy band and their families (including Tuppence Middleton) who value friendship and community over fame and fortune. As he’s drawn deeper into the traditional way of life he’s forced to re-evaluate his own integrity and ultimately question what success really means.
Our first screening of Fisherman’s Friends proved very successful. In total 69 people attended the film based on a group of local fisherman from Port Isaac, Cornwall who specialise in singing Sea Shanties. The story line provided plenty of material including comedy, romance, the splendour of the Cornish landscape and, of course, plenty of music. It really was ‘feel good’ entertainment and an excellent start to the season.
Their singing is robustly and winningly performed, and the whole thing is heartfelt. Nice also to see Maggie Steed as the local pub’s landlady. It’s pretty goofy but fun.
Fisherman’s Friends is a somewhat tone-deaf comedy drama. With its by-the-numbers story line of a jaded London music industry exec (Daniel Mays) who finds romance and true meaning in his life in addition to an acapella group, plus a subplot about a village pub under threat from an out of town property developer, the film is wearisomely predictable and parochial in its outlook.