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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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Director: James MacDonald
Writer: Edward Albee
Cast: Imelda Staunton, Imogen Poots, Conleth Hill, Luke Treadaway
Seen on: 18.5.2017

Plot:
Martha (Imelda Staunton) and George (Conleth Hill) return from a university faculty party in the middle of the night and are swiftly followed by the young couple Nick (Luke Treadaway) and Honey (Imogen Poots) who they invited for a night cap. Nick just started teaching at the university where George has been working for many years. What appears at first as a nice gesture quickly devolves as Martha and George rope the younger couple into their own marital conflicts.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a sometimes exhausting play, but one I couldn’t look away from for quite a few reasons. It really blew me away.

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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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Pride (2014)

Pride
Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Stephen Beresford
Cast: Ben Schnetzer, George MacKayFaye Marsay, Joseph GilgunPaddy Considine, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, Russell Tovey

Plot:
Mark (Ben Schnetzer) is not only gay, but a big supporter of the miner strike and wants to do his part, especially because he feels that there is a certain kinship – the miners struggle under Thatcher just as much as the homosexuals struggle. So he decides that he will start to raise funds for them, with the help of new to the scene Joe (George MacKay), big-mouthed Steph (Faye Marsay) and flamboyant Jonathan (Dominic West). But it turns out, it’s surprisingly hard to get miners to accept “gay donations”, until finally a Welsh village accepts, not really knowing what they’re in for.

Pride was funny, cute and most charming. It probably isn’t the most complex analysis of the situation, but it gave you an impression while being very entertaining.

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Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent
Director: Robert Stromberg
Writer: Linda Woolverton
Based on: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty / the fairy tale
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Riley

Plot:
When Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) was a young fairy, she met a human boy and they became friends – until Stefan (Sharlto Copley) betrayed her in the worst possible way. Bent on revenge, Maleficent curses Stefan’s baby girl Aurora (Elle Fanning). For Aurora’s protection, three fairies (Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple) remove her from her parents’ castle and raise her. But Maleficent herself is never far from Aurora.

I was really looking forward to Maleficent and my expectations were rather high going in. And they were actually surpassed. I absolutely loved Maleficent.

maleficent[SPOILERS, also for Frozen]

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Three and Out (2008)

Three and Out
Director: Jonathan Gershfield
Writer: Steve Lewis, Tony Owen
Cast: Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Gemma Arterton, Gary Lewis, Imelda Staunton

Plot:
Paul (Mackenzie Crook) is a subway driver who just ran over two people in a couple of weeks. His colleagues tell him that he can get 10 years pay and retirement if he hits a third person in the same month. Since that would be exactly what Paul needs to finally write the book he’s been dreaming of, he tries to find a suicidal person to jump in front of his train on purpose. And he finds that person in Tommy (Colm Meaney) who just wants to set a few things straight before jumping. And for that he needs Paul’s help.

Three and Out is sweet and it has its fun moments, but it’s also pretty predictable and doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

threeandout

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The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Director: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt
Writer: Gideon Defoe
Based on: Gideon Defoe‘s The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists
Cast: Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Piven, Brian Blessed, Lenny Henry, Salma Hayek

Plot:
Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) dreams of the Pirate of the Year Award but doesn’t really stand a chance. In a desperate last attempt, he starts to board every ship he and his faithful band come past, hoping for one big loot that would make all the difference. And so it happens that he also boards the ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin discovers that Pirate Captain’s parrot is actually a dodo and promises him great riches if he came to the London science fair. And so Pirate Captain and his crew make their way to London, despite Queen Victoria’s (Imelda Staunton) hatred of pirates.

The Pirates! was brilliant in very many details and not brilliant at all in others. Overall it didn’t really come together to form one coherent whole, though it was enjoyable.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is – as you all probably now – Number 7 in a series of seven books by Joanne K. Rowling. It was made into two movies, this here is Part 1, which was directed by David Yates and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, (continuing in no particular order) Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham-Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Jamie Campbell Bower, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, John Hurt, Miranda Richardson, Warwick Davis and Michael Gambon.

Plot:
[Hell, if you don’t know what Harry Potter is about, you might not want to start here. Anyway.]
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) leave school to find and destroy the horcruxes that keep Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) alive. But the search is more difficult and dangerous than they anticipated.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I think both the books as well as the movies have reached their peak with number four (though The Prisoner of Azkaban is a close second). HPatDH1 did nothing to change my point of view on that. The pacing’s bad, the direction is worse and there’s no reason to drag this out in two films, since nothing really happens in this one anyway.

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Another Year (2010)

[Viennale.]

Another Year is the newest film by Mike Leigh*, starring Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Oliver Maltman and Imelda Staunton.

Plot:
Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) are a happily married couple in their mid-sixties. Their lives revolve around their work, their allotment garden, their son Joe (Oliver Maltman) and their friends who come to visit. Most notably there’s Mary (Lesley Manville), who never really found her place in life, instead hops from man to man and now that she’s older can’t really handle the fact that men’s interest is waning.

Another Year is an excellent film. Extremely warm and compassionate and at the same time, it doesn’t flinch from the casual cruelty of everyday life. The cast is glorious and it really is a wonderful piece of cinema.

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Taking Woodstock (2009)

Taking Woodstock is Ang Lee‘s newest movie, starring Demetri Martin, Imelda Staunton, Emile Hirsch, Jeffrey Dean MorganLiev Schreiber and Paul Dano.

Plot:
Taking Woodstock is based on the real life story of Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin), an out of luck interior designer who has to move back to his parents’ motel and of how he gets the Woodstock festival to be in his small town after Woodstock (and a neughbouring village) both pull the permits for it to be held there.

Taking Woodstock is a funny and heartfelt movie but most of all, a movie that manages to capture the spirit of the time (or at least it seems that way to someone who wasn’t alive then). It’s a captivating coming of age story set in slightly crazy but definitely special times that is told with a lot of humour and respect. Loved it.

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