In keeping with the punk-rock spirit of Good Vibrations, cinema-goers across the water have begun to revolt and demand the film be shown in more places.
People flocked to see the film which opened at most cinemas across Ireland yesterday with some showings completely booked up, but to the growing frustration of many it only opened in a number of art-house cinemas in the rest of the UK.
The biopic depicts how Belfast music hero Terri Hooley lit up the city in the ’70s during the darkest days of Troubles by facilitating a punk-rock scene.
With revered local film and stage actor Richard Dormer in the starring role, the film charts Hooley setting up the Good Vibrations record store in Great Victoria Street and his emergence as the godfather of punk rock.
The film premiered at Belfast Film Festival last year and has enjoyed runaway success at other festivals around the world.
It has been praised by esteemed figures in the industry from director and actor Ron Howard, Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and respected film critic Mark Kermode who tweeted yesterday: “Right, it is fair to say that it is rather bewildering that larger cinemas in the UK manage to screen offerings such as Identity Thief or GI Joe: Retaliation which “the critics” have sniffed at yet these same picture-house giants – with the exception of Vue in Shepherd’s Bush – stall when it comes to showing Good Vibrations.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday Hooley was brimming with excitement prior to attending a special sold-out screening of the 15-rated film at the Strand Cinema in Belfast.
“I grew up near the Strand cinema on the Holywood Road. I used to spend so many Saturdays there watching the morning matinee. It means so much to me to see this film being screened there.
“I will be joined tonight by the people involved in making the film including Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol who is an executive producer on the film.
“I am delighted with the response to the film so far and there has been so much buzz about it north and south of Ireland.
“The Irish Times gave it a great review. Although I am surprised about the good reviews up here, – there’s an awful lot of begrudgers in Belfast,” he laughed.
He added that the film – in the pipeline for 12 years – is a “feelgood movie” and a great reminder about how much Belfast has changed.
However, he said it’s a “mystery” to him as to why larger cinemas in the UK had not picked up the film.
No-one from the film’s distribution company The Works was available for comment yesterday.
Gary Lightbody was so pleased with the Belfast Telegraph’s review of the movie that he tweeted the paper’s front page on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in Belfast the popcorn machines will be working overtime this weekend as many shows are pre-booked.
Assistant manager of the Movie House on the Dublin Road, Eugene O’Kane, said the film enjoyed well-populated screenings even before lunchtime yesterday.
“There were more than 40 people in for the 11.45am screenings yesterday which is great,” he said.
“More seats have been pre-booked for this than for a lot of films.
“There is a lot of buzz around it and the audiences seem to love it. I can’t wait to see it myself.”
He added that the audience dor the film ranged from people in their mid-20s right through to those who would have lived through the events depicted in the film.
Identity Thief is on general release although it has been panned by critics, while Good Vibrations is confined to art-house cinemas. Here’s what critics say about the films:
James White of Empire magazine: “Witless execution.”
Philip French of the Observer: “It is painfully unfunny.”
Film critic Mark Kermode: “Let’s make the world a slightly better place by making it a hit.”
Read the article at belfasttelegraph.co.uk.