Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington 2
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King, Simon Farnaby
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Sequel to: Paddington
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie WaltersHugh Grant, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Marie-France Alvarez, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ben Miller, Jessica Hynes, Robbie Gee, Richard Ayoade, Brendan Gleeson, Joanna Lumley
Seen on: 9.12.2017
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Plot:
Having settled with the Brown family and in the community, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is happy. And his Aunt Lucy’s (Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday is coming up, so he is looking for the perfect present. He finds it in Samuel Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) shop: a pop-up picture book of London. But he needs a job to earn money to get it – which is not so easy as a small bear. And then it seems that Paddington isn’t the only one interested in the book at all as it gets stolen, and he gets in trouble for it.

As with Coco, I heard a lot of good things about Paddington 2 beforehand, and again I thought that the resulting film was even better than I expected from what I heard before. It’s a wonderful film that had me floating on a pink cotton candy cloud out of the cinema. What more could you ask of a film?

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Viceroy’s House (2017)

Viceroy’s House
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Writer: Paul Mayeda BergesMoira Buffini, Gurinder Chadha
Cast: Hugh BonnevilleGillian AndersonManish DayalHuma QureshiMichael GambonOm PuriDavid HaymanSimon CallowDenzil SmithNeeraj KabiTanveer GhaniLily Travers
Seen on: 30.8.2017
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Plot:
Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) arrive in India as Mountbatten is tasked with overseeing the transition from India to independence from British colonialism. It’s a job where Mountbatten has a very slim chance to come out on top, as religious and political tensions in India are high. A fact that is also very apparent to Jeet (Manish Dayal), a Hindu who just started working at the Viceroy’s palace. There he finds Aalia (Huma Qureshi) again, a young Muslim woman who he used to be in love with. And while Aalia seems to like Jeet as well, things really aren’t easy.

There were a couple of things I struggled with during the film, but it was an engaging film, albeit one that doesn’t quite manage to be the film it could have been.

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Paddington (2014)

Paddington
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas, Steve Oram, Alice Lowe

Plot:
The bear Paddingtion (Ben Whishaw) was happily living with his aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) in the Peruvian jungle. But when their home gets destroyed, Lucy sends Paddington to London, hoping that he will find a safe home there, as promised by an explorer who visited them a long time ago. Thankfully shortly after his arrival in London, Paddington meets the Browns –  Mary (Sally Hawkins), Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and their children Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin). Together they start to look for the explorer to find Paddington his safe place. But not everyone is out to help Paddington.

The trailer for Paddington looked awful, full of unfunny slapstick and grossness. I wanted to see it despite the trailer, but was prepared for the worst. And (apart from the general postcolonial qualms I have about the story) I was pleasantly surprised by the film that is much sweeter and funnier than the trailer made me think it was.

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Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Muppets Most Wanted
Director: James Bobin
Writer: James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller
Based on: Jim Henson‘s characters
Sequel to: The Muppets
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey
Cameos by [put in camouflage so you can still be surprised by the people who show up, if you don’t know already. If you wanna be surprised, don’t read the tags, either]: Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville, Jemaine Clement, Sean Combs, Rob Corddry, Mackenzie Crook, Céline DionLady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom HiddlestonTom Hollander, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloë Grace Moretz, Usher Raymond, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Til Schweiger, Russell Tovey, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, Christoph Waltz

Plot:
After solving their problems in the last film, the Muppets hit a bit of a low. They don’t really know what they should do now. That’s when Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) shows up and proposes a world tour to them. Kermit is hesitant but the others are in love with the idea. But Badguy has ulterior motives – he is teamed up with the most evil frog in the world, Constantine. And for his plan to work, Constantine impersonates Kermit while banishing the real Kermit to a Russian gulag.

I think I liked Muppets Most Wanted a little better than the first Muppets film. Maybe I’m starting to have more of a connection to the Muppets themselves. (There are so many Muppets in this paragraph alone. Muppets. Muppets. Muppets.) Either way, there is not much of a quality difference between this one and the first one.

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The Monuments Men (2014)

The Monuments Men
Director: George Clooney
Writer: George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Based on: Robert M. Edsel‘s non-fiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, Dimitri Leonidas, Justus von Dohnányi

Plot:
As World War II is in full swing, the European art collections (both private and public) are methodically plundered by the Nazis. So Frank Stokes (George Clooney) manages to get a squad together, consisting mostly of old men who know their art. They are tasked with saving what is left – from statues to paintings. But even as the end of the war comes ever closer, this is neither easy nor without its dangers.

The Monuments Men is a film that is utterly mediocre. (puzzledpeaces called it “beige” and that hits the nail on the head pretty much.) The script isn’t good, the directing isn’t good, the camera work isn’t good – but none of it is all that bad either. It’s a film that tries to be as acceptable as possible to as many people as possible and with that desire loses all shape and impact.

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Burke and Hare (2010)

[One of the films of the /slash Filmfestival‘s special European evening.]

Burke and Hare is the newest film by John Landis, starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Tom Wilkinson, Isla Fisher, Jessica Hynes, Bill Bailey, Christopher Lee, Tim Curry, Hugh Bonneville, David Schofield, Pollyanna McIntosh, Stephen Merchant and probably another 500 actors worthy of mention.

Plot:
Edinburgh, beginning of the 19th century: They city is very proud of its two medical faculties, headed by Doctor Monro (Tim Curry) and Doctor Knox (Tom Wilkinson) respectively. The two of them are in strong competition – and not really in a friendly way. They especially fight over the bodies they can use for dissection. When Knox runs out of supply, he has to find new means to get bodies. And that’s where William Burke (Simon Pegg) and William Hare (Andy Serkis) enter the scene: continually strapped for cash, Burke and Hare find new and, let’s say creative means of finding new corpses for Knox to work with.

Despite its topic, Burke and Hare is incredibly funny.  It does get a bit silly from time to time, but in a very endearing way and it never gets too stupid. In short, gallows humor, a great cast and a nice script [though not at all historically accurate] – what more could you ask for?

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