A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Paddington 2,” one of the most entertaining movies of the year, the train terror movie “The Commuter” and the family drama “Happy End.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at “Paddington 2, a movie Richard is already calling one of the best of the year, Liam Neeson’s long journey home in “The Commuter” and the ironically titled family drama “Happy Ending.”
The last time we saw Paddington, the cuddly, orphaned teddy bear voiced by Ben Whishaw, left Peru armed only with a “worrying marmalade problem” and his distinctive red hat. Arriving at Paddington Station in London he was adopted by the Brown family after an uncomfortably close scrap with a crazed taxidermist.
“Paddington 2” finds the bear settled in to a comfortable life with the Browns—Mary (Sally Hawkins), Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and kids Judy (Madeline Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin)—and trying to save money to buy his Aunt Lucy (voice of Imelda Staunton) an antique pop up book of London for her birthday. When the book is stolen from Samuel Gruber’s antique shop Paddington is accused of the crime, wrongfully convicted and jailed. While the bear languishes in prison the Browns attempt to prove Paddington’s innocence. “Paddington wouldn’t hesitate if any of us needed help,” says Henry. “He looks for the good in all of us.” One jailbreak later Paddington is also on the case, convinced he knows who took the book but can he solve the case before Aunt Lucy’s centenary celebration?
With his red hat and blue duffle coat Paddington is almost un-bear-ably cute. Gentle and good-natured, he’s at the very heart of the movie. Instead, it’s a good old-fashioned romp with larger-than-life characters supplied by Hugh Grant, in a fun pantomime performance and Brendan Gleeson as Knuckles McGinty, a hardened criminal whose bluster disguises his warm heart.
Mostly though, it about the bear. With soulful eyes, good manners and large doses of slapstick—he’s a furry little Charlie Chaplin, excelling in physical humour with lots of heart—he’s a joyful presence. Without an ounce of cynicism “Paddington 2” transmits messages of tolerance, friendship and loyalty but never at the expense of the story. Those characteristics are so central to Paddington’s character that the movie positively drips with not only the sticky sweet smell of delicious marmalade (the bear’s favourite snack) but emotional depth as well.
Add to that a delightful ode to Chaplin’s trip through a factory machine’s cogs in “Modern Times,” some expertly delivered belly laughs and you have one of the most entertaining films likely to be released this year.
“Paddington 2” isn’t just a kid’s flick, it’s a film for the whole family; it’s one of those rare movies for children it doesn’t just feel like an excuse to sell toys. #paddingtonpower
There are eight million stories in the naked city, and the story of Paddington the cuddly, orphaned Peruvian bear is one of them.
Based on the much-loved children’s books by Michael Bond, “Paddington” begins in “darkest Peru” as jaunty English explorer Montgomery Clyde (Tim Downie) discovers Lucy and Pastuzo (voices of Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon), a family of super intelligent, anglophile bears. Before heading back to old Blighty Clyde teaches them the Queen’s English, introduces them to marmalade, gifts them a floppy bright red hat and an invitation to stop by should they ever find themselves in London.
Cut to decades later. In the grand tradition of kid’s stories, an orphaned child (voice of Ben Whishaw)—in this case the marmalade-obsessed grandson of Lucy and Pastuzo—is forced to take a great journey to safety. The cub, armed only with a “worrying marmalade problem” and the distinctive red hat, lands at Paddington Station in London. Instead of the warm welcome he expected, he’s met with indifference.
“Keep your eyes down, there’s some sort of bear over there.”
After a long wait, Mr. and Mrs. Brown (“Downton Abbey’s” Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins) and kids Judy and Jonathan (Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin) take pity on the polite little bear and bring him home, but only for one night. Of course, one night turns into a longer stay as the Browns learn to love the little bear, even though chaos follows his every step. Adding drama to the story is an ursophobic neighbor (“Doctor Who’s” Peter Capaldi) and a crazed taxidermist (Nicole Kidman).
Warm, funny and as eccentric as a movie about a talking bear should be, “Paddington” is great family entertainment. Director Paul King keeps up the pace—this is not a teddy bore!—but never allows the film to become frenetic. The action scenes are fun, yet gentle, amusing and inventive. Paddington’s unintentional takedown of a pickpocket is a wonderful, silly gag that captures and updates the spirit of the old “Paddington” books with an up-to-date look and feel for a new generation.
Laugh out loud funny—for kids and parents—“Paddington” also offers up a message of tolerance. “In London everyone is different,” says Paddington, “so everyone can fit in.” It’s a big idea, washed down with a giant melting-pot of marmalade, but also a timely one.