Film Review: Paddington 2

Paul King’s Paddington 2 is a brilliant sequel. The film is both thoroughly entertaining and genuinely heartwarming.

Living with the Brown family, Paddington seeks the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday. When he finds it, he sets about getting a job to pay for it. Unfortunately it is stolen before he can purchase it…

A sequel to 2014’s Paddington, director and co-writer Paul King’s latest film does its predecessor justice. The film features the same wonderful style as the 2014 film, and packs an emotional punch. The beauty of Paddington 2, and its predecessor, is the projection of a wholesome character in an idealised world. Yet this is never overly schmaltzy or patronising. Instead, the film is joyously positive and provides a charming and kind protagonist. The demographics of the street which the Browns inhabit might be a little less convincing, however this is barely noticeable in an otherwise finely rendered film.

With the origins story established in the first film, Paddington 2 moves the action forward to the title character’s established life. The narrative is predictable, but this does not matter as the script is great, characters are well written, and the set pieces are amusing. The story moves at a good place, allowing space for humour and emotional moments. Wisely, the Brown family take secondary roles in the film. King focuses the action on Paddington, and new characters he interacts with. This works well, allowing for larger-than-life characters to take centre stage.

Phoenix Buchanan is a great antagonist. Hugh Grant steals most of the scenes he is in, with a delightfully self-deprecating and outlandish performance. Ben Whishaw is most fitting as the voice of Paddington, and Brendan Gleeson appears to be having fun in his role. Special effects in the film are seamless; it is easy to forget that Paddington is a CGI character.

Paddington 2 is a welcome dose of happiness in a troubling world. Both children and adults should lap it up.

Previews: Jurassic World Featurette, Macbeth Trailer and More

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the latest Jurassic World featurette, the trailer for Macbeth, and the latest Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation trailer…

Jurassic World Featurette

Steven Spielberg talks about passing the torch to director Colin Trevorrow in this new Jurassic World featurette. The importance of the cast and crew being fans of Jurassic Park is highlighted in the video, which hopefully means that the new film will pay homage to the original. Jurassic World hits the big screen on 11th June 2015.

Macbeth Trailer

This trailer for the new film adaptation of Macbeth is haunting. Starring Michael Fasbender and Marion Cotillard, this is a period-set version of the Shakespearean classic. Macbeth, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, is set for release on 2nd October 2015.

Song of the Sea Trailer

After it’s Oscar nomination, Song of the Sea gets a UK release. The animated film tells the story of Ben and his sister Saoirse who embark on a journey across a fantastic world. Featuring the voice of Brendan Gleeson, Song of the Sea will be released in cinemas on 10th July 2015.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation Trailer

The big set pieces continue in this latest instalment in the franchise, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. The film sees Tom Cruise reuniting with Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames, plus some new faces. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation will hit UK screens on 30th July 2015.

Terminator Genisys Clip

This clip shows Terminator Genisys paying homage to its predecessors with a famous line. The film sees the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his famous franchise, as well as Jai Courtney, Emilia Clarke and Jason Clarke. A fractured timeline is created when Kyle Reese is  sent back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor. See what happens when Terminator Genisys is released in Uk cinemas on 2nd July 2015.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists Trailer

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is a mind-boggling title. One that is sure to be abbreviated to The Pirates, leaving the poor scientists out in the cold. The film features Hugh Grant in his first animated role, as well as Brendan Gleeson, David Tennant and Salma Hayek. The trailer is a lot of fun, particularly the monkey. The Pirates is due for release in Spring 2012.

Film Review: The Guard

Initially, the premise does not sound overly appealing, given that the ‘fish out of water’ narrative has been done to death. Nevertheless, The Guard quickly disperses any apprehension; it is an extremely well-executed film.

Sergeant Gerry Boyle is an apathetic Irish police officer who tends not to do things by the book. He is annoyed to be joined by a new officer from Dublin, Aidan McBride. The duo discover a murder, which has links to a drug-smuggling operation. Boyle is forced to team up with FBI agent Wendell Everett in order to investigate the crime…

The Guard boasts a fantastic script by John Michael McDonagh, who also directs the film. Characters are well written and the dialogue is peppered with wit. The film shows an admirable level of self-awareness. There are frequent references to the bad guys being aware that they are villains, or how the film fits into the crime film mould, for example.

The film is frequently humorous, some of which is black. In certain places, some may find the jokes a little close to the bone, but most will relish the comedic aspects of The Guard. These work well against the rather melancholy tone of both the incidents and the backdrop.

While the story may seem like another tale of an unlikely duo, in reality it offers much more than this. The beauty of the writing is in its deception. The film initially appears quite straightforward, but as it develops it is clear that there is more to it. The same can be said of protagonist Boyle. His character is succinctly introduced by the opening sequence. However, Boyle develops throughout the film, and appears truly three-dimensional. Given his authenticity, it is difficult to judge what action he will take later in the film.

Performances in the film are great. Nonetheless, it is Brendan Gleeson who steals the show as Boyle. Gleeson embodies the character, giving a tremendously strong performance. Elsewhere, Mark Strong is decent as the knowingly caricatured Clive, while Don Cheadle brings presence as Wendell. Fionnula Fanagan is also great as Boyle’s ailing mother Eileen.

There is a grainy, naturalistic look to the film, which is highlighted by the Galloway setting. The cinematography really emphasises the ordinariness of the locale, contrasting it with frequent mentions of big cities such as London and Dublin.

The Guard is a great watch, with exemplary writing and performances. It is an excellent showcase of McDonagh’s talents.