Hollywood Elsewhere will have to cease operations for the next four or five hours due to an 11 am Manhattan screening of Jon Baird‘s Stan & Ollie (Sony Classics, 12.28). Update: Didn’t make it — late departure, traffic. The next screening is on 11.6.
An excerpt from Guy Lodge‘s 10.21 Variety review: “Baird opens proceedings with a virtuoso prologue that proves deliberately misleading: a sustained six-minute tracking shot that follows Laurel and Hardy, at the zenith of their fame in 1937, through a whirling, chattering carnival of backlot business as they walk and talk their way to the set of their latest throwaway comedy.
“Executed with aplomb by Ben Wheatley’s regular d.p. Laurie Rose, it’s a high-impact magic-of-the-movies setpiece swiftly undercut by the tetchy, contract-related squabbling that ensues between Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and oily producer Hal Roach (Danny Huston), with the former pursuing a new partnership with 20th-Century Fox. Yet once the cameras roll and the pair launches into a daintily choreographed comic dance number, the magic’s back on — even amid conflict, Laurel and Hardy turn on their sweet silliness as if flicking a light switch.”