In 1953, several years after their last film and with their immense celebrity on the wane, Stan ‘Laurel’ and Ollie ‘Hardy’ embark on a gig tour of British seaside towns and music halls. Surprised by the modesty of the bookings and cramped little guesthouses, the tour starts off subdued. They struggle for audiences and their booking agent seems disinterested. But a series of TV guest spots and celebrity appearances soon rekindle the country’s interest in their genius and the buzz grows as they head towards a big London finale. As the attention builds, so too do old resentments, coming to a head as they’re joined by ‘the wives’, Lucille and Ida (Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda, a hilarious double act in their own right).
Coogan and Reilly fans know their brilliance as physical comedians, but to watch them here is a revelation; they nail body language, mannerisms and also routines the duo would have known in their sleep after decades performing together. Craft is sublime throughout, crystallised in an audacious opening with each department dazzling in a six-minute tracking sequence captured by Laurie Rose’s camera team. Director Jon S Baird (Filth), screenwriter Jeff Pope (Philomena) and producer Faye Ward (Wild Rose) offer a poignant study of lifelong male friendship and a fitting tribute to two of cinema’s comedy giants.
Crime 2019 152 mins Director: Marco Bellocchio
Italian maestro Marco Bellocchio’s bravura gangster odyssey dramatises the extraordinary real life story of the first major Mafia boss to turn state’s informant.
Historical drama 2019 126 mins Director: Todd Haynes
Mark Ruffalo plays an attorney trying to uncover the corporate scandal of a chemical company poisoning a local community, in this searching ecological drama from Todd Haynes (Safe, Carol).
Documentary 2019 101 mins Director: Lauren Greenfield
The matriarch of the Marcos dynasty hopes to see her maternal delusions validated and political power restored, while Philippine activists fight for transparency and democracy, in this captivating study by Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles).
Drama 2019 119 mins Director: Agnieszka Holland
James Norton stars as Welsh journalist Gareth Jones whose 1930s visit to Soviet Ukraine uncovered the truth of Stalin’s state-sponsored famine and reputedly inspired George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Biopic 2018 92 mins Director: Adrian Noble
Timothy Spall brings to life beloved British artist L. S. Lowry, as he struggles with his relationship to his bed-ridden, bitter and overbearing mother (Vanessa Redgrave).
Biopic 2017 107 mins Director: Marc Meyers
Marc Meyers' adaptation of Derf Backderf’s revered graphic novel is an unnerving teen horror-drama about the makings of a murderer.
Documentary 2016 88 mins Director: Rick Barnes
An exquisitely textured and reflective documentary about Lynch as a visual artist.
Documentary 2011 60 mins Director: Mark Cousins
American movies grow up, courtesy of Schrader, Scorsese and Nicholson, Buck Henry, Coppola and Charles Burnett.
The Story of Film part 4: The Great American Movie Genres and the Brilliance The Story of Film part 4: The Great American Movie Genres and the Brilliance
Documentary 2011 61 mins Director: Mark Cousins
The Talkies begin, bringing new genres and new masters like Hawks and Hitchcock. Written and presented by Mark Cousins.
Documentary 2019 93 mins Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
The untold origin story behind Ridley Scott’s Alien, one of Hollywood’s most beloved and iconic shockers.
Documentary 2019 95 mins Director: Midge Costin
Faders on stun: Hollywood sound editor Midge Costin’s immersive, educational and hugely enjoyable documentary exploring the power of sound in cinema.
Documentary 2019 93 mins Director: Ben Timlett
Charting the rise of one of Britain's most distinctive film companies, HandMade Films, producer of classics such as Life of Brian, The Long Good Friday and Withnail and I.
Featuring Steve Coogan
Comedy 2016 88 mins Director: Sean Foley
Julian Barratt is hilarious as the washed-up actor forced to reprise his 80s TV role as a sleuth with a robotic truth-telling eye, to help catch a deranged killer.
Drama 2013 98 mins Director: Stephen Frears
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in the deeply moving yet warm-hearted drama about a woman’s search for her forcibly adopted son.
Comedy 2013 90 mins Director: Declan Lowney
It’s Alan’s finest hour, as the veteran DJ for North Norfolk Digital (Steve Coogan) is called into action to mediate a hostage situation following a siege.
Featuring John C. Reilly
Fantasy 2015 134 mins Director: Matteo Garrone
Mythical monsters, shape-shifting sisters and a giant flea are all on the menu in Matteo Garrone’s fulsome feast of gothic fantasy.
Science Fiction 2015 118 mins Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw and Rachel Weisz star in this bleakly hilarious dystopian drama from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth).
Drama 2010 112 mins Director: Lynne Ramsay
Tilda Swinton gives a BAFTA-nominated performance as the mother of a teenager who commits a high school massacre. With Ezra Miller and John C. Reilly.
Directed by Jon S. Baird
Drama 2013 97 mins Director: Jon S. Baird
The biting Irvine Welsh adaptation stars a sensational James McAvoy, boldly cast against type as the cop struggling to suppress his inner demons.
Documentary 2019 81 mins Director: Rubika Shah
Revolution rock! Rubika Shah’s vital documentary profiles punky reggae protest movement Rock Against Racism, from grassroots beginnings through to a major multicultural event.
Drama 2019 84 mins Director: Nathalie Biancheri
A teenage girl forms a mysterious relationship with an older man in this atmospheric debut from director Nathalie Biancheri.
War 2019 169 mins Director: Vaclav Marhoul
Based on Jerzy Kosiński’s 1965 novel and a long time in the making, Václav Marhoul’s extraordinary The Painted Bird finds a lone Jewish boy on a dark odyssey towards home during wartime.
Romance 2019 78 mins Director: Aki Omoshaybi
Aki Omoshaybi’s earnest debut explores the love between two people who work hard to keep their romance on track while struggling to manage personal hardship.
Documentary 2015 75 mins Director: Angela Spielsinger
Ground-breaking documentary that uses archive film to tell the story of the British Deaf community’s fight for civil rights.
Drama 2018 71 mins Director: Alex Moratto
A teenage orphan is forced to grow up quickly in this captivating story of resilience in the face of hardship.