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Posts Tagged ‘Movie Review’

Blu-ray Review: Paddington 2

April 23, 2018 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Paddington 2Grant is the perfect foil for a fictitious bear.

Based on the Michael Bond books, Paddington was a surprisingly charming and funny movie that audiences embraced when it released in late 2014. That level of success dictated a sequel be made, and director Paul King obliged with the release of Paddington 2 earlier this year. Now that it’s making its way to Blu-ray and DVD it’s time to see if the sequel can live up to its predecessor.

THE PLOT

Now a full-fledged member of the Brown family, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw; Q from the recent 007 films) is trying to find the perfect 100th birthday gift for his Aunt Lucy. He finds it in the form of an old pop-up book of London at the local antique shop. Unable to afford it, Paddington begins working as a window cleaner to earn the money necessary to purchase it.

Just as he saves enough to buy the book he stumbles across someone breaking into the store and stealing it. Paddington gives chase, but the thief escapes, and when the police arrive the only evidence they can find points the blame at the bear. He’s arrested, and his trial is presided over by a judge he mistakenly shaved during his time at a barber shop. In the end, Paddington is found guilty and sent to jail.

On the inside, Paddington’s kindness soon turns the prison into something much gentler, and he makes friends with many of the inmates, including Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson). Meanwhile, on the outside, Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins) work to prove Paddington’s innocence with the help of their kids. And their suspicions center on washed-up actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant).

THE GOOD

There’s a lot to like about Paddington 2, which took everything good about the original, polished it up and created a superior film. Probably its most endearing quality is its tone, which stays refreshingly lighthearted from start to finish. Paddington’s unwavering kindness in the face of any and all circumstances somehow never feels forced or hokey. It’s just who he is, who he always is, and even among modern “family fare” that’s pretty different.

Although no one will be brushing up any Academy speeches for their work, every character of note is given something important to do in the film where their interests or hobbies are needed to solve a problem. Grant is the human star, playing the self-important Phoenix to the hilt with a performance that just exudes fun. Yeah, he’s the villain, but at the end of the day he’s not really that bad of a guy.

For a film with basically no edge to it, Paddington 2 made us laugh repeatedly through its mix of slapstick comedy, deadpanning ridiculous situations and the endearing quality of Paddington — the transformation of the prison spawns plenty of funny moments, such as when he accidentally dyes their clothes pink. While you wouldn’t consider the CGI exceptional, the filmmakers did a tremendous job in humanizing Paddington so that it never distracts.

THE BAD

For what it is and the audience it’s targeting Paddington 2 doesn’t have any notable shortcomings.

THE BONUS FEATURES

Several brief videos make up Paddington 2’s bonus materials, some of which focus on individual characters (Knuckles, Phoenix) and others about the production. None of it is required viewing, but the featurette on the pop-up book being brought to life is likely the best of the lot. Phoenix’s short musical performance that shows during the credits is also among the extras.

OVERALL

Although we enjoyed the original, Paddington 2 is significantly better, proving even in our current jaded world that a wholesome, family-friendly movie can excel.

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Blu-ray Review: Father Figures

April 9, 2018 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Father Figures somehow manages to last the better part of two hours without delivering anything of substance. The plot basically transitions from one comedic sketch to the next, and despite some parts that are fun in the moment you’re destined to forget the film as soon as you’re done watching.
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Blu-ray Review: Downsizing

March 22, 2018 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
There are too many half-baked ideas in Downsizing with potentially interesting sub-topics, like the effect of people shrinking cutting away at demand and hurting the economy or whether the small should continue to share the same voting rights, introduced and summarily dropped. Why add the social commentary if you’re going to continually brush it aside?
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Blu-ray Review: Justice League

March 19, 2018 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
It was important that Justice League produced a new star for the franchise, and Miller is the one. He gets to be a “fan boy” in the same way the rebooted Spiderman is for Avengers, cracking jokes and basically saying the type of stuff a normal person pressed into extraordinary circumstances would.
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Blu-ray Review: Daddy’s Home 2

February 14, 2018 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Sometimes adding more characters dilutes a successful formula, but Lithgow and Gibson both bring something to the table. They’re complete opposites of one another — Lithgow as the doting father and Gibson as the gruff man’s man — and do well in their roles. It’s easy to forget after so much happened off screen that Gibson was a funny guy.
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