At the Movies with Val Cameron: Disney Plus Day and Belfast

Ciao Alberto

If you have not seen the Disney Animated Movie “Luca”, you need to. It came out in June and was a fun and heartwarming film. In the film Luca meets a new friend names Alberto. Together they figure out what life is really about and Alberto goes from being all alone to now having a friend and maybe a new family with fisherman Massimo.

In Ciao Alberto, Alberto is now living his new life more on land than ever with Massimo. He knows people in town and writes to Luca about what is going on in his life. He wants so hard to do well in his new life that he ends up making more mistakes than helping. This is a great Disney short and will put a smile on your face. Find it only on Disney plus starting today (11.12.21)

Grade B+

Olaf Presents

It is about time to have Olaf step back into the spotlight. In these fun new shorts, he goes from snowman to ultimate story teller as he takes on the roles of producer, actor, costumer and set builder for his unique “retelling” of five favorite Disney animated tales in “Olaf Presents,” a series of new animated shorts from Walt Disney. Only on Disney+, you will enjoy this Olaf silliness. My favorite is him doing the entire movie “The Little Mermaid”. Each short is a little over a minute long and totally worth your time and giggles. 

Grade B+

Home Sweet Home Alone

Rated PG

A Little over 30 years ago a young, overly excited kid named Kevin McCallister rocked the box office and our hearts with the movie Home Alone. Fastforward to today, we now have a reboot of this fun Christmas staple. In the new version, made for DIsney+, we have another young man who causes a lot of trouble. This time is it’s young Max Mercer. He, just like McCallister, is stuck in a home with too many relatives all headed to a family vacation. On their way home one day they stopped at an open house to use the restroom and meets Pam and Jeff. They are selling their house and while going through stuff, they find a very rear doll collation belonging to Jeff’s mother. On the of the dolls is very ugly and they find out with the help of Max’s mom, that the doll is worth a lot of money. 

Pam and Jeff have a problem, they have not told their family they are selling their house because of bad finances. Once they find out how much the doll is worth, they decide to sell it. The only problem is, they can’t find it and Jeff thinks Max took it. Back at Max’s house becomes Home Alone! After a lot of bad choices, nonsense and misunderstandings, the house is demolished and the doll is found in a place no one would have expected. 

This does not have the charm of the original movie but for a made for TV, Disney family film, it was pretty fun for what it is. It is a movie that you and your kids 12 and under will watch on family movie night with some snacks and get some giggles on the side. Archie Yates from JoJo Rabbit was great as the new Home Alone kid. I can’t wait to see more from him. 

Grade B-

Belfast

Rated PG 13

Actor turned Director Kenneth Branagh creates a semi-autobiographical film the relives the life of a working-class family and their young son’s childhood during the late 1960s in the Northern Ireland capital. Most of us only vaguely remember what turmoil was happening in Northern Ireland back in the 60’s. We probably hear about “The Troubles” on the news, but don’t know how it personally affected the people living through it.  This movie makes a time in history that was spread over 30 years, personal and real for the viewer. 

Jamie Dornan, from the Fifty Shades franchise, plays Pa. A young husband and father that lives in a very tight knit community with his wife and son in Northern Ireland. He has to work in London, so he is not always at home to be with his family. Caitríona Balfe, from Outlander, Plays Ma and does most of the work around the house and raising of their son.  Buddy is their young son and he is full of curiosity and life. He has known this one town his entire life and everyone knows him.

Branagh shows us the humanity and connection of a small community. They all look after one another, know everyone’s each other’s names and are an extension of your life. When riots break out on their street the neighborhood really shows its true colors and they stick together. While “The Troubles” ultimately was a political fight, there was a big religious aspect of it between Protestants and Catholics. This is what was highlighted in the film. There are moments in the film that people in the neighborhood need to decide what side to take. Pa, who is Protestant, is pressured to join the riot group to help get the Catholics out. Neither he or his wife want any part of it. It is hard enough to raise a kid, but to do it during this kind of social uprising is even harder. 

This film is in black and white for the most part and fueled by a fantastic and nostalgic score of predominantly Van Morrison songs. Even though it is in black and white, this film is colorful and beautiful. It takes something that was so loud and untouchable in its time and turns it into a small intimate look at how something like this changes the world around us. Great performances by all, including Dame Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds. This movie is a favorite to be nominated for Best Picture, so keep your eye on it.

Grade: A-

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