Paul King pulls on the heartstrings of millions by bringing everyone’s favourite Peruvian bear to the big screen. Paddington, voiced by Ben Whishaw, turns on the cheeky charm in an extremely quirky, heart-warming, and very funny family flick. The marmalade-loving creature wreaks havoc on the Brown family as they try to find Paddington a home in his newly adapted country. Trouble ensues, however, as evil taxidermist, Millicent (Nicole Kidman), wants to stuff ol’ Paddington and put him on display.
Hugh Bonneville is excellent as the stick-in-the-mud Mr. Brown as his family rediscover their fun-loving spirit thanks to the help of their furry new friend. Stylishly shot and surprisingly musical, King’s adaptation is jam-packed full of humour and spirited daftness that is suitable for all the family, young and old, to enjoy.
It takes a little time to get into the swing of things, but first-time director Theodore Melfi’s com-dram is a bittersweet tale which features Billy Murray’s best performance in years. Vincent (Murray), an angry war veteran with a drinking habit and a fondness for hookers, becomes the unlikely babysitter and unofficial mentor for his new neighbour, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). As their relationship grows, this unlikely pair charm the pants off of you in the most unlikely and unconventional ways.
Supported by Melissa McCarthy in a surprisingly withdrawn role as Oliver’s struggling Mum, Maggie, and Naomi Watts as Vincent’s potty mouthed ‘Lady of the Night’, Daka, St. Vincent has attitude and tenacity with a sweet underbelly that lives and dies by the comedic double act of Murray/Lieberher.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Peter Jackson’s foray into Middle Earth ends with a whimper as the anti-climatic The Battle of the Five Armies will leave you gagging for the return of the Fellowship. The dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), have claimed back the mountain from the mighty dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), and now they have to defend it against elves, men, and orcs. Martin Freeman returns as Bilbo – the best thing to come out of Jackson’s protracted Hobbit series – even a tame 45 minute battle scene cannot save the end of the multi-million dollar franchise, leaving it on a bum note.
Not that the prequel to the hugely successful The Lord of The Rings was a complete failure – as a stand alone series it does have its positives – but as the two trilogies will forever be compared (rightly or wrongly), and with The Hobbit’s general overuse of CGI, lack of charisma or humour, and, on occasions, sleep-inducing battling sequences, you cannot help but feel a tad disappointed as the saga comes to a close.