Stan & Ollie (2018)

Director: Jon S Baird

Writer: Jeff Pope (Screenplay)

Starring: John C Reilly, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston, Stephanie Hyam, Nina Arianda

 

Plot: Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song – a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.


Tagline – The untold story of the world’s greatest comedy act.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comical Delight

 

Story: Stan & Ollie starts as we learn how Laurel (Coogan) and Hardy (Reilly) were the biggest comedy act in the world, they conquered countries across the world with their routines, only their contracts weren’t on a par with fellow greats of the time Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. In a rash decision Laurel tries to get a bigger deal leading to him needing to find a new studio, the pair break up.

15 years later, the careers for both men haven’t gone well, but reunited for a reunion tour of Britain and the hopes of a movie together, the friendship the men had is shown in a new light with regrets coming to light about decisions they both made through their career.

 

 

Thoughts on Stan & Ollie

 

Characters – Stan Laurel is one half of the comedy duo, he writes the material, plans more and demands more back for his work, he tires to help the duo get better pay, which only sees the partnership end, he is the one trying to work on the movie script and you can see how much being original meant to him. Oliver Hardy is the big man of the duo, he had gambling problems and like Stan they both had women problems rising to the top. He was left in a difficult position by Stan tied to a contract, but will use the tour to make up for lost time between the two friends. Lucille is the wife of Oliver who has been caring for him since the break up of the act, she is always concerned about his health, while getting tired of hearing Ida’s stories. Ida is the Russian wife of Stan who sees herself as a movie star, she seems to enjoy the spotlight more than Lucille and will play along with any act she can.

PerformancesJohn C Reilly and Steve Coogan are perfect in these roles, they show the chemistry the two can have which you feel the real partnership had. They hit the funny lines and the emotional lines showing us just how the two are two of the best comedy acts in acting today. Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda both give us wonderful supporting performances showing the concern and confidence their characters required.

StoryThe story here follows the reunion of Laurel & Hardy as they embark on a tour of Britain in hopes of securing a movie deal. This is a different type of story than you would expect from a biopic because, we start with the pair on top of the world and see nothing of their rise to the top. We see what caused the break up and how over the years it has been held in by the two men who were both helpless in the situation. The one thing the pair never lost though, was their chemistry and they wowed audience across Britain in what turned out to be their farewell tour. We do see many biopic which show all the highlights of the subject’s career, this showed what happened afterwards which felt like a breath of fresh air in the biopic heavy world we have at the moment.

Biopic/ComedyThe shows us how Laurel & Hardy remained big household names even after their stars had faded, they became the duo people looked up to and always were willing to give a joke out. This does only show their farewell tour though which showed they could perform on front of any sized audience.

SettingsThe film takes the duo across the UK, each setting feels authentic to their performances in the post-war Britain and as the performance went on the venues got bigger.


Scene of the Movie –
The routines.

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you did want to see their great work, you will not be seeing any of that here.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful film and one that could easily be enjoyed by all, it has two perfect performances from the leads and will leave you in tears and smiles.

 

Overall: One of the best biopics you will see.

Rating

 

 

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Never Steady, Never Still (2017)

Director: Kathleen Hepburn

Writer: Kathleen Hepburn (Screenplay)

Starring: Shirley Henderson, Theodore Pellerin, Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell, Jared Abrahamson, Hugo Ateo

 

Plot: A mother struggles to take control of her life in the face of advanced Parkinson’s disease, while her son battles his sexual and emotional identity amongst the violence of Alberta’s oil field work camps.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Look at Parkinson’s Suffering

 

Story: Never Steady, Never Still starts as we meet Judy (Henderson) a woman struggling with Parkinson’s, her husband Ed (Campbell) cares for her the best he can, while their son Jamie (Pellerin) heads off into the world to find a job before going off to college, he starts in the oil field work camps which leave him feeling out of place.

When Ed dies suddenly, Judy is left to care for herself with just the locals looking after her the best they can without interfering in her life. Jamie’s life isn’t going any better as he is struggling to learn about himself in the harsh working environment.

 

Thoughts on Never Steady, Never Still

 

Characters – Judy is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she does seem to be in control for the most part, but when her bad moments happen, her husband is there to help, she goes to support groups to help cope with everyday issues, only for her husband to die and leaving her alone to deal with the problems she doesn’t want to ask for help and the snowy conditions only make her life more difficult. Jamie is her son that is being forced to work in the oil fields where he must learn quickly just to make enough money to support himself with any future with college, he is trying to learn about himself which makes his life decisions even more difficult. Kaly is the local shop assistant that helps Judy with delivers while waiting for her boyfriend to return to help her with her pregnancy. Ed is the father and husband that cares for Judy, he always helps her until he suffers a heart attack.

PerformancesShirley Henderson is great in the leading role showing us just how difficult everyday life can be with Parkinson’s she doesn’t overplay the illness, while showing us just how difficult it can be to live with. Theodore Pellerin is good too, though a lot of his scenes are about him not knowing his place in the world which takes away from the difficulties his mother is meant to be going through. Theodore Pellerin is strong in his role though he never gets to the levels of Shirley, which can be said for the rest of the supporting cast.

StoryThe story here follows a woman suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she has support from her husband and has been doing the best she can with the disease, we see how her struggle becomes more difficult when her husband dies and with her son away she must deal with the problems alone in condition that will not make her suffering any easier. This side of the story is the best side because it shows us a real problem that could be faced by people with small families who can’t give up days to support the sufferer. On the other side of the story we follow her son as he wants to figure out his own body while dealing with harsh working condition, this side of the story does drag and because of Judy’s problems we want to see her life rather than his.

SettingsThe film is set in Alberta which does put us in a place with harsh weather condition that the characters must work through, being away from easier support doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Discovering Ed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Jamie’s storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced drama that does show us just how difficult living with Parkinson’s can be, it has a wonderful leading lady performance, but might not be for everyone.

 

Overall: Simple and Effective Drama.

Rating

 

 

Trainspotting 2 (2017)

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, Shirley Henderson, Kelly Macdonald Anjela Nedyalkova

 

Plot: After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie.


Tagline – Face your past. Choose your future.
Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for the Fans

 

Story: Trainspotting 2 starts as we meet the old gang, Renton (McGregor) who returns home, Begbie (Carlyle) who is still in jail after his actions in the first film, Spud (Bremner) who has continued to let heroin control his life even after trying to go straight and Simon (Miller) who has been working a con with Veronika (Nedyalkova) where they blackmail men with fetishes.

Renton isn’t welcomed as he had hoped with him having to save Spud’s life and Simon still holding a grudge after not getting the money and Begbie escapes from prison looking to get back at the three that left him in prison. With all four reaching mid-ages they are all facing crisis and search for purpose which brings them back together once again.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting 2

 

Characters – Renton returns to Scotland after 20-years, his life has started to go wrong with his marriage and career, now he returns to rebuild the friendships he lost with Spud and Simon as they plan something new. Renton shows us what it is like to think things are going well but inside you had wished for a different outcome to life. Simon has continued to hold a grudge against Renton after not getting any money, he is still hooked on cocaine and uses Renton to make things go in his own direction. Spud has reached the end of his reason to continue on, his heroin addiction has become too much for himself to deal with but after Renton tries to save him, he opens up a new life with his friends, even though he is still seemingly in his own film. Begbie escapes from prison looking to get back into his criminal ways but first he wants to get revenge on Renton for leaving him in prison.

PerformancesThe gang is back together, the original four are back and all four have had a good career since the original. Ewan McGregor does look like he has enjoyed returning to this role, while the extremes he goes through are not as difficult than before. Jonny Lee Miller does give us one of his best performances in recent years here, with Ewen Bremner also gives us a great performance as he is involved in the best scenes of the film. Robert Carlyle relishes returning to this role where he is great throughout the film.

StoryThe story reunites the original characters who must face their action 20-years ago, this is a story that had been spoken about for years and now the fans of the original will enjoy seeing where these characters are now and what has happened in their lives too. We have seen how they have grown over the years but also have never reaches the levels they dreamed off, I feel this looks at real life and where people are now and where they wanted to be, even if this film has a previous criminal life.

SettingsFor the setting we head back to Scotland and get to see the changes over the time which gives us a good nostalgia feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
Chose Life

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you haven’t seen the original certain moments will seem confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is great fans service, you will only be enjoying this one if you enjoyed the first one as you will find too many references coming off short.

 

Overall: Great Fans Service

Rating