From director Kenneth Branagh, Belfast is a personal story about the power of memory. Set in late 1960s Northern Ireland, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence and childhood hijinks. Yet, with his hometown caught up in turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything for a new life.
From lauded director Kenneth Branagh, and starring an acclaimed ensemble cast, Belfast is a personal and joyful story about the power of memory, set in late 1960s Northern Ireland. At the centre of the film is Buddy, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, whose life is filled with familial love, childhood hijinks, and a blossoming romance. Yet, with his beloved hometown caught up in increasing turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything they know behind for a new life.
Taken all together, Branagh’s film is in its own special way like a cinematic equivalent of the Irish brogue that fills it: It’s lovely, it’s lyrical and it’s next to impossible not to be swept up by its charms.
There’s only one trouble with his semi-autobiographical account. It’s so polished—so spirited, funny and skillfully calibrated—that it could be taken for a while as a crowd-pleaser and not a lot more. Sign me up for the crowd, though. This is surely the most pleasing film I’ve seen so far this year, but also the most affecting.
An oil company executive gets more than he bargained for when a seemingly simple business trip to Scotland changes his outlook on life. Sent by his boss he quickly begins to question whether he is on the right side.
Up-and-coming Houston oil executive “Mac” MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) gets more than he bargained for when a seemingly simple business trip to Scotland changes his outlook on life. Sent by his colourful boss (Burt Lancaster) to the small village of Ferness, Mac is looking to quickly buy out the townspeople so his company can build a new refinery. But after a taste of country life Mac begins to question whether he is on the right side of this transaction.
Here is a small film to treasure, a loving, funny, understated portrait of a small Scottish town and its encounter with a giant oil company.
Local Hero, which concerns the frustrations of a Texas oilman’s attempts to buy up an idyllic Scottish village, ranks as a lyrical anti-urban comedy in the great tradition of films like I Know Where I’m Going and Whisky Galore!; and its essential triumph is to prove that comedy can still contain a gentle, almost mystical, aspect without necessarily being old-fashioned.
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.