The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard to believe that this sequel actually tops it. Writer-director Paul King and his cast are back with their whimsical approach, combining silly comedy with surreally deranged touches that bring these people to life in ways that are both hilarious and deeply endearing. And this time, the plot feels more developed and the humour even funnier.
We catch up with Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) as he's now a fixture in his Notting Hill neighbourhood. With his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday approaching, he wants to give her the hand-made pop-up book of London landmarks he discovers in Gruber's (Jim Broadbent) second-hand shop and starts working odd jobs to save up to buy it. What he doesn't know is that a neighbour, washed-up actor Phoenix (Hugh Grant), knows that the book is a map to a hidden treasure. When Phoenix steals it and frames him, Paddington's adoptive family (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin and Julie Walters) launch a plan to clear his name.
Continue reading: Paddington 2 Review
It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still feels too soon for another remake. Thankfully, this is actually a sequel (perhaps it should have been titled Tarzan Returns), and along with a first-rate cast, this movie has a surprisingly beefy script that hints at a much more high-brow adventure epic. But clearly the studio preferred to make a mindless bit of blockbuster action.
After leaving the jungle, Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) has settled into life in damp 1880s England as the Earl of Greystoke with his American wife Jane (Margot Robbie). Meanwhile, deep in the Congo, Belgian diplomat Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) has made a deal with Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou), who has a personal grudge against Tarzan. Planning to hand over Tarzan in exchange for diamonds, Leon lures Tarzan back to Africa, accompanied by Jane and the American explorer George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), who suspects that the slave trade hasn't ended. On arrival, Leon pounces, and Tarzan must revert to the instincts he learned from the gorillas who raised him, while calling on help from old friends.
The plot is actually quite compelling, sparking lots of whooshing action (including plenty of vine-swinging) while grappling with some bigger themes involving colonialism and racism, plus more personal issues of identity and responsibility. The actors pack their scenes with textures that touch on these ideas, while also providing a spark of wit. With his impossibly sculpted physique, Skarsgard looks rather too gym-fit for the role, but he gives Tarzan a soulfulness that makes him likeable. He also develops some steamy chemistry with Robbie, who shines in her role as a feisty woman happy to return to the village where she was raised. The best scene in the film is when she has dinner with Waltz' sneering villain, gleefully swapping innuendo. And even with the action and gunplay, this is Jackson's deepest role in years.
Continue reading: The Legend Of Tarzan Review
When Lord John and Lady Greystoke found themselves stranded in strange jungle, their only instinct was to survive. Lord Greystoke built a shelter in the trees and made a home for him, his wife and his new born son, John Greystoke Jr.. As time passed, the jungle grew wilder and both the lord and lady lose their lives. John is found in his crib by a nursing Gorilla who decides to take the baby and nurse him as her own. So begins the legendary tale of Tarzan.
As Tarzan grows stronger, he knows he's different from the rest of his tribe and when he discovers the house his father built it teaches Tarzan about a whole new world full of people just like him. The boy grows into a man and eventually climbs the ranks in his pack to become head of the group. Tarazan - King Of The Jungle.
When a boat is shipwrecked, Tarzan meets his Jane and the two fall in love. Wishing to seek out his homeland and learn more about where he comes from Tarzan and Jane return to London where Lord John Greystoke Jr is soon found to be just of much of a gentleman that of his father.
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Eilis Lacey's life in Ireland has drawn to a standstill, there's no work and her life is quickly stagnating. It's the 1950's and the lure of the US is too strong to ignore. Landing in an entirely different country, New York is a vast site to behold but her future looks brighter now she's stateside. One of Eilis' biggest problems will be adjusting to life away from her family but there are a few people living in her new home who might be there to help.
After finally feeling like Brooklyn might be a place Eilis could find a new home, her past life catches up with her and she must pick a path to follow.
These new clips from Brooklyn give you a feeling of what to expect from the movie which is out now.
Continue: Brooklyn - Clips
Director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby never even try to temper the flood of emotions that this story elicits, instead wading straight in. Thankfully, they manage to resist sentimentality at every step, although perhaps some more offhanded, edgy humour would have helped balance it better. Because as is, this film can be rather overwhelming at times, thanks to the sensitive, honest performances from the cast and a subject most people can identify with: how it feels to leave home.
It opens in 1950, as Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is reluctantly preparing to leave her home and family in rural Ireland for a new life in New York City, arranged with the help of an Irish priest, Father Flood (Jim Broadbent). As she settles into the boarding house run by Mrs Kehoe (Julie Walters), she gets a department store job and starts studying bookkeeping, all of which helps take her mind off her homesickness. She also meets the persistent, charming Italian-American Tony (Emory Cohen), and they fall lustily in love. Just as life doesn't seem so bad after all, Eilis gets bad news and has to travel home to see her family. There, she meets the eligible bachelor Jim (Domhnall Gleeson). And now she will have to make a decision about where her home is.
The film's tone is open and emotive from the very start, with warmly glowing cinematography, a surging musical score and lots of over-serious conversations. The hills of Ireland have never looked so green, the bustling streets of Brooklyn never seemed quite so exciting. There are some comedic touches here and there, but the main tone here can be summed up in the word "yearning". This is a film that's easy to identify with for anyone who has ever moved away from home, especially as it explores conflicting loyalties and unexpected opportunities. These themes are much stronger than the romantic triangle that drives the film forward.
Continue reading: Brooklyn Review
Miss Shepherd is a highly educated elderly woman living off barely anything in a small dilapidated van. She asks for nothing from her community, other than to be allowed her peace and to have a place to park her van. Constantly being moved by authorities, she finds herself taking up residence on Alan Bennett's road, much to the displeasure of his house proud neighbours. Despite her prickly disposition and shameless boldness, Bennett - a man of more timid and awkward nature - takes an immediate shine to Miss Shepherd, offering her his driveway to park her vehicle on a temporary basis. Soon, though, just a few weeks turns into fifteen long years as this impoverished musical scholar and this lowly gentleman of humble background become unlikely yet inseparable friends - a friendship rocked by Miss Shepherd's eventual ill health which soon strikes a sadness in the heart of the whole town.
Continue: Lady In The Van - Alternative Trailer
Taking your first steps into adulthood is never easy, but for a young Irish woman named Eilis Lacey it's about to get more complicated than she ever could have imagined. She is encouraged to travel across the Atlantic to Brooklyn, New York by her local priest Father Flood, seeking opportunities and a promising career. Once there she settles into a job and a place of residence, but becomes overcome by homesickness when she starts to receive letters from home. Confused about whether or not she wants to continue her life in Brooklyn, the question is answered for her when she meets a handsome bachelor named Tony at a dance who is everything she could want in a partner. However, after tragedy strikes at home, she is forced to return, and she really can't be sure if she'll make it back to Brooklyn - especially when a former flame catches her eye once again.
Continue: Brooklyn Trailer
A missed opportunity, this European action romp begins with a terrific premise but never quite makes anything of it. Finnish writer-director Jalmari Helander certainly knows how to make a sharp, snappy action-comedy (see Rare Exports), but this script is badly compromised by simplistic plotting and gags that go for the easiest target every time. Which leaves the actors looking like they're standing around waiting for something interesting to happen. And it leaves the audience feeling badly let-down.
It opens as 13-year-old Oskari (Onni Tommila) is sent into the mountainous Finnish wilderness to prove his manhood by hunting down a stag all by himself. His father (Jorma Tommila) isn't hugely confident, but wishes him well. Meanwhile, preening terrorist Hazar (Mehmet Kirtulus) has just shot down Air Force One as it flew overhead. As the plane goes down, the US President (Samuel L. Jackson) boards his escape pod, and the first person he meets on the ground is a gob-smacked Oskari. Together, they set out to get to safety while escaping the tenacious thugs who are after the President. And officials at the Pentagon (including Jim Broadbent, Victor Garber and Felicity Huffman) are watching everything unfold by satellite, while the President's security chief (Ray Stevenson) leads the ground party.
The set-up is great, and offers plenty of scope for both over-the-top action sequences and Home Alone-style mayhem, but Helander never quite settles on a tone, perhaps because the 13-year-old hero demands a PG-13 sensibility that undermines any chance of proper black comedy. Yes, there's plenty of violent destruction, but it's cartoonish rather than clever, so the film feels silly rather than exhilarating. Jackson is clearly having a lot of fun as the annoyed President, adding some gravitas to his usual action-hero persona while delivering his requisite snarky one-liners. But Helander never quite finds anything new for him to do. And young Tommila looks far too serious all the way along.
Continue reading: Big Game Review
Once upon a time, a normal man lived in a normal house on a normal street. Then, something extraordinary happened. An educated woman - a scholar of both music and art - who lives in a van, takes up residence on the road. Miss Shepard (Maggie Smith) is insistent on staying in her van on the street, and the man (Alan Bennett), invites her to park her mobile home in his driveway in order to relieve his neighbours of the site. They agree she will stay for three weeks; she ends up staying for fifteen years.
Continue: Lady In The Van Trailer
12 points down in the polls, the President of the United States of America (Samuel L. Jackson) is flying over Finland in Air Force One - aware of the fact that his own party is out to get him. However, when a sudden missile threat is discovered, the President is forced to evacuate by the suspicious Morris (Ray Stevenson). As the President evacuates, Morris also jumps from the plane, watching as it explodes in the air. The President finds himself on the ground with Oskari (Onni Tommila), a young boy out to prove himself as a hunter. Yet there is now far greater game to be hunted in the Finnish forests, as Morris is hunting the President himself.
Continue: Big Game Trailer
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