Paddington 2 – Movie Review

Paddington 2 – Movie Review

I saw the first Paddington movie and I really enjoyed it. With Paddington 2 I actually enjoyed it even more than the first movie. Normally sequels can be a bit of a letdown, often the 2nd film is just to capitalise on the first movie. This time round, I think Paddington 2 bucks the trend and is a wonderfully written and presented movie.

From deepest darkest Peru, Paddington was left in Paddington station with a tag. “Look after this bear”. The Brown family, took Paddington into their lives in a quiet sleepy street at Windsor Gardens.

Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins return in Paddington 2 and they are joined by a struggling actor who is on hard times, namely Hugh Grant. (I’m not slagging him, you need to see the movie to understand the Hugh Grant statement).

The story of Paddington 2 revolves around a pop-up book which Paddington wants to buy for Aunt Lucy. However the pop-up book is over £1,000 and Paddington needs to get a job to buy the book. So, Paddingtons first job is a disaster at a barbershop, shaving a line of hair from Tom Conti who plays an angry judge

Hugh Grant now arrives on the scene as the villain. He plays a self-absorbed West End acting “legend” called Phoenix Buchanan. Basically Hugh Grant was asked to overact and then overact again to become an egotistical method actor.

Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) finds out about the antique pop-up book after Paddington tells him about it. Apparently the book is key to a long-lost treasure stash. Paddington is then framed for the robbery of the book and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Paddington makes a few unlikely friends in prison. His sweet ways means that he doesn’t understand why a mean chef can’t be his friend. Paddington confronts the terrifying chef Knuckles (played by Brendan Gleeson) and eventually they become befriended through the means of a errant marmalade sandwich. There is a lot of fun to be had with he convict Paddington and eventually he wants to get the book and prove his innocence.

From here on, I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of the plot as there is a lot of laughs and also some sad scenes for Paddington …. you may have a period of severe worry during this film, so mind the young ones at it.

I found that most of the laughs were to be had with Paddington, Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson and Grant. The script is expertly written and there are a lot of jokes aimed at the adults or older kids too. The graphics are surreal and at times you question if Paddington is real, especially the scene at the barbers where his fur moves in sync with the razor.

I really Paddington 2. BBC Film critic Mark Kermode says, if you laugh 6 times it is a comedy. I can tell you that at Paddington 2, I laughed 6 times in the opening 10 minutes and about 6 times every 10 minutes after that! Paddington 2 is a worthwhile film to see. It is entertaining, charming and worth the admission fee!

Official Trailer – Paddington 2

My Score – Paddington 2

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Review Score

Thor Ragnarok – Movie Review of Thor Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok – Movie Review of Thor Ragnarok

Having seen the last Thor movie I wasn’t sure what to expect from Thor Ragnarok. The reviews were all positive and I went in hoping that Thor Ragnarok would be as good as the hype.

Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, this instance is much more humourous and has a very tongue in cheek attitude. It’s almost like the quirky, cheeky comic books we grew up reading.

Thor Ragnarok is directed by Taika Waititi who also directed Hunt for the Wilderpeople (which is a great movie in itself)

The movie has a very funny sequence near the start with Thor and a devil type character called Surtur. After an encounter with Surtur, Thor has a shock to the system…His hammer is destroyed by his banished sister Hela who returns to rise and destroy those who oppose her. Hela played by Cate Blanchett’s looks down her nose of her weak father who once ruled the universe but then became a peaceful ruler.

Thor also has other major losses (no spoilers) and this almost becomes a crisis of confidence for Thor.

Thor Ragnarok gives lots of cameos and subtle nods to other films. After landing on another planet he and his semi-evil brother Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) plus the Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and a hilarious but effective hero with a drink problem Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) try to save Thor’s home Asgard from destruction.

Before they can do that, Thor and Hulk must escape from a Hunger Games style contest. It is within this ‘gameshow style’ event that they are pitched against each other. This is all under the watchful eye of game keeper “Grandmaster” played by the amazing Jeff Goldblum.

After leading a revolt now the race is on to save Asgard. Can Thor win the battle without his trusty hammer?

Overall this was a highly entertaining film with lots of humour and a decent enough story. Chris Hemsworth was brilliant and had some great lines as was Jeff Goldblum. (Someone did say that Jeff Goldblum was just asked to do his Best Jeff Goldblum impression.). Another standout, was Tessa Thompson who played Valkerie. I had not seen her in anything before but she has starred in over 45 other productions. Maybe we have not yet seen the last of Valkerie.

Conclusion, if you want a film where you will leave smiling and with a sense of money well spent them Thor Ragnarok is the one to see. The soundtrack is also excellent – some of the music in the movie is very 1980 synth, one was very reminiscent of the Street Hawk theme by Le Park. Thor Ragnarok is not a classic or an Oscar nominee but certainly a highly entertaining movie. Enjoy!

Thor Ragnarok is the last Marvel film of 2017 and next on the list is Avengers: Infinity War.

American Made – Movie Review

American Made – Movie Review

American Made starts way back in 1978. Barry Seal, played by Tom Cruise, a is a young and very bored TWA pilot. Barry plays fast and loose with his job as a pilot – something we have seen Tom Cruise do before in other movies. Barry has a little sideline in smuggling contraband cigars. This does not go unnoticed and the a member of the CIA, played by Domhnall Gleeson, approaches him with a proposal.

At one point Barry asks Domhnall Gleeson’s CIA character, “All this is legal?” … “If you’re doing it for the good guys,” was the response. This sets the tone for the film and it’s hard to know whos the good guys sometimes. The CIA job is more of an ultimatum than a proposal and he is asked by the CIA to take reconnaissance photos of Soviet-backed insurgents, the contras, in South and Central America. Before he knows it, after only a few years Barry Seal starts drug smuggling for some of the most famous drug lords in Central America.

The thing which makes all this a bit more appealing – American Made is all based on true events.

As the film progresses Barry Seal takes on more and more risks. If caught he could be killed by the contras, a drug lord or imprisoned by any one of the many law enforcement groups he annoys. At one point I though his wife was going to kill him, as Barry has a growing family to raise. The family gets a lot bigger as Barry becomes more successful. His wifes brother comes and works for Barry which causes its own issues. The scenario and Barry’s life becomes more and more complex. I’m not going to spoil the final act but all in all this is a great movie with a great 70/80s soundtrack.

American Made is very Tom Cruise. Since Top Gun, we all know Tom loves fast cars, bikes and planes. Some of the aircraft sequences are very well done. At one point Tom or Barry (hard to know sometimes) adjusts the aircraft pitch trim in order to keep the aircraft flying level. At this point he goes back into the small plane to release the drugs he was carrying. This is not a stuntman, the was most probably Tom Cruise. In reality though Barry Seal was built like a wrestler was not as trim as Tom Cruise. The one thing I did notice was that the aircraft scenes and procedures seemed to be well researched, Tom was probably all over this detail.

The filming is very retro in parts, especially the opening and ending credits which I loved. I thought the credits, graphics, filming and music added a great air of vintage authenticness to the film.

American Made is not a deep or gritty drama. It has the wide cheeky grin of Tom Cruise at the start but you know it will be full of action and will be entertaining. There are a few reviews of the American Made movie who focus on it being cheesy but it is more than that. I think it was highly enjoyable, entertaining and would actually love to see it again.

Official Trailer – American Made

American Made – Overall Movie Rating

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American Made Movie Rating

Beauty and the Beast – Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast – Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast, the 2017 live action remake of the 1991 animated classic of the same name. Directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as the egotistical and quite funny Gaston, and Josh Gad as LeFou this is a very entertaining movie for all the family.

Set in 18th century France, the movie starts with Belle in the local village as we are introduced to the key characters in the village. The setting and production would remind you somewhat of other classic Disney movies from the 50s/60s while being modern and stunning to watch. This production of a live Beauty and the Beast rendering really wraps the film and music we know from the 90s and brings the whole thing to life.

Emma Watson is perfectly cast as Belle, the beauty of the village and the one girl who has the intellect to go far in life, much to the annoyance of the local learned and scholars (a bit like the know-it-all Hermoine from Happy Potter). Emma Watson also sings 3 songs in the movie, but I thought in the first number there was a slight amount of auto-tune going on (either that or the production on the audio was a bit off)

Beauty and the Beast would be nothing without the beast. We are indeed introduced to the Prince who is turned into the beast after dismissing and insulting an enchantress. He has until the last petal from a rose falls to find true love. We also see Belles father, played by Kevin Kline, and we find out how he ended up at the beasts castle. There are some changes to the original storyline in the film, one being that Belles father was a bit slow but in the live action version the father, Maurice, is quite skilled at making clocks and automated devices.

Gaston is forever after Belle, thinking of her as his future wife. He is accompanied by Le Fou who some people say is Disneys first openly gay character. Gaston hears that Belle is in trouble and goes to find her, thus encountering the Beast which is vows to kill.

I’m not going to spoil anything, there is a lot of story to go from here, but the films CGI is very entertaining and combined with the musical numbers its something to behold. Beauty and the Beast may not be everyones cup of tea (excuse the pun chip) but overall it is worth the admission fee – if you have kids, it’s a no brainer, they will love it.

If you enjoyed the original Beauty and the Beast, you will love this one too. If you have not seen it, then you will be enthralled by the story, the characters and a few twists in the story.

Recent Recommended Movies – Moonlight, Fences, All is Lost

Recent Recommended Movies – Moonlight, Fences, All is Lost

Recommended Movies – Moonlight, Fences & All is Lost

I have seen a few great movies in the past few weeks, 2 oscar winning movies and also one which is available for download.

Moonlight

This movie is one which I was in two minds about, both before seeing it and also afterwards. It is done almost in 3 acts as it looks at 3 defining chapters in a boy and ultimately a man’s life. Chiron is a young black man growing up in central Miami and the movie starts with him as a child. He watches his mother played by Naomie Harris become addicted to drugs, and he battles to understand his sexuality. Mahershala Ali is amazing in the first section of this film and very much deserved the oscar win.The film is shot in an unusual style and afterwards it took me a while to digest the movie, but this only help you appreciate what you have seen. Worth a watch!

Fences

Fences was actually a play which was transitioned to the big screen. The movie is the story of a black family who’s son played by Jovan Adepo gets a chance at a scholarship but his father Troy Maxson played by Denzel Washington had that chance but doesn’t want his son to go down that route.  Maxson once had that opportunity and dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but he was just too old  when all of the baseball major leagues began admitting black athletes. Although the father never admitted it was age, claiming it was racism, he still remained bitter over this missed opportunity. The father removes the son’s chance to meet a college football recruiter and the splits in the family begin to show. This movie has a few plot twists and is very well played by all involved. I would actually rate this higher than Moonlight and it is a very engaging movie.

All is Lost

This movie (available on Netflix or iTunes) is quite unusual in that it has very little dialogue. Infact it can be a few minutes before you hear any utterance from Robert Redford. It is set on a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean as a man (unnamed and played by Robert Redford) awakes to find his yacht taking on water. The yacht hit a stray shipping container and water is pouring into the vessel damaging his radio and navigation equipment. He sails into a violent storm and almost dies. He hopes drift into a shipping lane at some point but eventually sees no hope and is faced with his death, to which he has no option but to face head on. A tense and dramatic film, some lulls in action but the end I thought was good.

Moonlight Trailer

Fences Trailer

All is Lost Trailer

 

What do you think … if you have seen any of these movies, leave a comment with your thoughts…

Loving – Movie Review

Loving – Movie Review

Loving is based on a true story of an interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving. They married in 1958 and although interracial marriage was illegal in the state of Virginia they married in Washington DC.  As they tried to make their family home in the law was against them. They were jailed and tried, only avoiding prison by the state banishing them. The Loving family relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington D.C. This film is the story of their struggle against the legal system, and trying to get back to Virginia.

Loving – Review

Obviously this movie is getting a lot of attention with the recent Oscar nominations. As a result I wanted to see it, and I was not disappointed. The film sets up the two characters very well. Richard Loving is played by Joel Edgerton and I don’t know why he was not Oscar nominated. It is a tough role to play and I thought he did a convincing job. Ruth Negga plays Mildred Loving and was nominated.

The movie captures the unfairness of something they felt was hurting no-one. They went and got married and only for they moved back to Virginia they would not have been arrested. Their struggle is long but with the assistance of a civil rights group they are able to get the case heard in court.

There is a real sense in the film that you get to see their life progress, their children grow and their hope sometimes fade. But, they never give up. There are some great performances and my initial view before seeing the film was that it might be rough going – it is not at all. It is simply a good story well told.

There was one section of the movie when the sheriff advises Richard Loving of his opinions on interracial marriage and what he would do to him if he came back. During this sequence I could not understand one word of the sherries dialogue due to a very heavy, mumbled and ow southern accent, but I don’t think I missed much.

This story if it was shown last year would have been a look back at the way things were in America. Racial conflict, division between races etc. However this year, with a so called president in power, all this seems far too real. Sad to see these things raising their heads again.

If you are thinking of going to see this, do, its a really great movie.

Official Trailer – Loving