Director: Paul King
Starring: Ben Wishaw; Hugh Grant; Hugh Bonneville; Sally Hawkins; Madeleine Harris; Samuel Joslin; Julie Walters; Jim Broadbent; Brendan Gleeson; Peter Capaldi; Marie-France Alvarez; Sanjeev Bhaskar; Ben Miller; Jessica Hynes; Robbie Gee; Imelda Staunton
Films can make you feel a lot of things, but it is rare that one can make you feel pure, unbridled joy. With its sincerity and sweetness, Paul King’s Paddington 2, sequel to 2014’s successful adaptation of the beloved Michael Bond character, is just such a film.
Paddington Brown (Ben Wishaw) wants to buy an extra special birthday present for his beloved Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) who is about to turn one hundred, to say thank you for all that she has done for him. In Mr Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) old curiosity shop he finds just the thing, a pop-up book of the sights of London. The only problem is that it is a one of a kind antique, and much more expensive than a humble bear can afford. Knowing it is the perfect gift, Paddington sets out to find himself a job. However, when the shop is broken into and the book stolen, Paddington finds himself falsely blamed and thrown into prison. Continue reading
Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Groth, Luca Calvani, Christian Berkel, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant
Remakes and reboots are common place in Hollywood. Studios love them because they are largely safe. While an original idea is risky, a remake gives you instant name recognition and a pre-existing audience. At least that is the thinking. But Guy Ritchie’s latest film, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., is a remake of a television series that ran from 1964-1968, half a century ago, that carries zero cultural cache with the target demographic for this spy actioner, which begs the question: why?
As is to be expected, we go back to the beginning. This is an origin story, describing how U.N.C.L.E., the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, came about. We begin in East Berlin in 1963, where American CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) has been sent on an extraction mission to transport beautiful, young auto-mechanic Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) across the Iron Curtain. Between Solo and safety is Ukranian KGB operative Illya Kuriyakin (Armie Hammer) who is also after Teller. An exhilarating car chase ensues, one only slightly undermined by the stodgy communist bloc Trabants they are driving. Continue reading