Plot: Tomas (Alex Secareanu) used to be a soldier, but he fled the war and his country and ended up in London where he barely scrapes by, working illegally and living on the streets. After a particular bout of bad luck, Sister Claire (Imelda Staunton) finds him and she is determined to find a new life for him. She suggests that he should move in with Magda (Carla Juri) and her ailing mother (Anah Ruddin). Their house is falling apart around them and Magda is overwhelmed with the care of her mother, so Sister Claire finds the situation to the advantage of everyone involved. And Tomas does settle into the new life, especially since he takes to Magda. A lot. But he also starts to suspect that there is more to the story and her mother.
Amulet starts promising, but the more it revealed, the less it made sense to me. And even more than that: the less I liked it.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.