Posts Tagged ‘Paddington’

METRO CANADA: From Fozzie to Ted, Hollywood brings ursine roles to bear

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 9.37.21 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

When John Bennett (Mark Walhberg) was a small, lonely child he wished for just one thing—a best friend. His wish came true and Ted (voice of Seth MacFarlane), his trusty teddy bear, came to life. The pair became “Thunder Buddies” for life and the subject of two movies, Ted and this weekend’s Ted 2.

Ted isn’t your usual teddy bear. He smokes pot, swears—imagine rooming with Tommy Chong and Charles Bukowski—and has trouble holding down a job.

In the new film Ted is married to a human woman but under the eyes of the law he is seen as property and not a person. When the couple decide to adopt a child he faces a court battle helmed by a young lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) and a renowned, civil-rights attorney (Morgan Freeman).

Ted may be the rudest and crudest teddy bear to ever star in a movie, but there are loads of other talking teddies that are cool bears and not Teddy Bores. Remember Lancelot from Labyrinth, or the bear in AI: Artificial Intelligence who tells the young robot that 50 years is not such a long time and Winnie the Pooh? Here are three more cinematic bear necessities:

“I’ll never be like other people, but that’s alright,” says the star of the delightful Paddington, based on the much-loved children’s books by Michael Bond, “because I’m a bear. A bear called Paddington.”

The story of Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) the cuddly, orphaned Peruvian bear picks up when he, armed only with a “worrying marmalade problem” and his distinctive red hat, lands at Paddington Station in London. There, a family adopts him and learns to love the little bear, even though chaos follows his every step. The film’s co-star Hugh Bonneville says the Paddington character is so popular he is, “part of the DNA of the UK.”

The movie presents Paddington in his iconic blue duffel coat and red hat but not the usual Wellington Boots because they were not part of the bear’s original design. Manufacturers added his red Welly’s so the toy teddies were able to stand upright.

As voiced by Ned Beatty, Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear is a Southern accented, strawberry scented teddy who looks cuddly, but is anything but. When a misunderstanding threatens to separate the toys, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jesse (Joan Cusack) and the gang take matters into their own tiny hands but when they meet the huggable but evil Lotso the garbage dump or the attic begin to look good.

“The guy may seem plush and huggable on the outside,” says Buttercup the Unicorn, “but inside he’s a monster.” His habit of throwing toys that don’t please him into “the box” is so evil he’s even been compared to the wicked Governor on The Walking Dead.

Unlike Ted Fozzie the Bear doesn’t work blue. The fuzzy brown jokester has been a big screen star since 1979’s The Muppet Movie where he was discovered by Kermit the Frog doing stand-up comedy in a dive bar. In the film Fozzie drives a Studebaker, but how, exactly, does a puppet manoeuvre a car? The film answers the question—“Where did you learn to drive?” Kermit asks. “I took a correspondence course!”—but the real answer is that the real driver hid in the trunk and drove the car by remote control, using a television monitor to guide his steering.


Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 2.04.04 PM“Canada AM” film critic Richard Crouse has a look at “American Sniper,” Paddington,” “Blackhat” and “The Wedding Ringer.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

PADDINGTON: 4 STARS. “Funny & as eccentric as a talking bear movie should be.”

big-screenThere 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.