Thursday, 21 December 2017

December 21 2017
Paddington 2
Florida Project

Well dear readers, thanks for supporting my blog through the year. It's come to that time - the last releases this week before the Boxing Day/New Year onslaught, and time for my top films lists, which I will send in a separate email over the next few days! There will also be an extra blog looking at those of the Boxing Day releases I've managed to catch up with so far, so stay tuned!! This week two exceptional films - one so cheery and uplifting, the other a heartbreak. 

Paddington 2
Director: Paul King
Length: 105 min
© Studio Canal - Paddington is in the pink and in 
the clink! Charming, irrepressible and irresistible.
Some of you may come with preconceptions and wonder why I've given an "unmissable" score to this apparent kids film. Well, think again! This absolutely charming and irresistible film sets out to do what it intends, and more! Our furry friend (voiced by Ben Wishaw) is living happily in London with the Brown family (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins plus kids), when he is unjustly accused of a crime and ends up in the clink. I shan't tell you much more of the fabulous plot, but you need to know that some top Brit actors are here. Brendan Gleeson is perfect as Knuckles the aggro prison cook, Julie Walters, as always, is splendid, along with Joanna Lumley in a fun cameo. Hugh Grant almost steals the show in one of his best camped-up roles in ages, as the villain, The plot is heartwarming yet tense, balancing Paddington's endless positivity with the challenges he now faces, and giving the audience thrills and laughs galore with whacky prison goings on, chases involving trains, a sideshow with a mystery treasure, the Brown family doing a Da Vinci Code style investigation, and a villain who is the master of impersonation and disguise. There are countless references to famous films, fabulous one-liners for both kids and adults, and a level of both humour and true emotion that I haven't experienced for a long while. Add fabulous London sets, and mind-boggling good incorporation of a CGI bear into the real world, this movie is:
5 - unmissable!

The Florida Project
Director: Sean Baker
Length: 115 min
© Icon - Dafoe keeps his cool and compassion
in this searing social realism film 
Six-year-old Moonee lives with her mum in a motel on the rundown strip on the outskirts of Disney World, Florida. During school break she gets up to major mischief with her young friends Scooty and Jancey. But life is not such fun for the adults around them. Moonee's mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) can barely make ends meet, as she scams and turns tricks, while motel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe) does the best he can to keep a sense of order among the long-term residents of his establishment. The film was inspired by observations of the stark contrast between the glitz and expense of Disney World, and the grinding poverty of families who could only afford to live in a motel room. Be warned - this film is hard to watch on many levels. It's slow, as it follows the children's daily adventures, which capture the universal sense of wonder kids have, regardless of their circumstances. But I also find it hard to separate my revulsion at the type of trashy adults depicted from my deep admiration of the film-making. Dafoe, a consummate actor of our age, is perfect as Bobby, a hard-working honest man with compassion for the downtrodden. All the adults, mostly non-professional actors, give stunning performances, but how Baker got such naturalistic performances from young kids (ranging from six to nine years old) is beyond me.  This is important viewing, showing a side of life most of us are lucky enough not to know. Be prepared for a harrowing ending.   
4.5 - wholeheartedly recommended!

1 comment:

  1. Saw it yesterday.Harrowing depressing acting amazing .Slow but definitely worth seeing.Sow