Paddington (2014) Film Review


So, Paddington (voiced by Ben Wishaw) ends up in London, gets adopted by Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) and his family, but the evil Millicent (Nicole Kidman) wants to get him and so adventures take place.

Many kids in the UK and Australia grew up with Paddington – a bear from deepest Peru who came to London and was adopted by a family. Possibly, you could even say most kids know of him. I’d heard of him, but I didn’t know the story, and had very little interest in watching this film despite being told repeatedly that it was amazing. And it was a really good kids film with a great cast, a fair bit of humour and a lot of niceness. Enjoy with some kids – that’s the best way!

Paddington was nominated for BAFTAs for Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay.


Brooklyn (2015) Film Review


Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is having a tough time in Ireland – there’s not much work, she can’t seem to find a decent gentleman, she just feels like she doesn’t fit in. Then her older sister, Nancy (Eileen O’Higgins) arranges for passage for Eilis to New York, along with accommodation and a job. In Brooklyn, land of the Irish, Eilis defeats severe homesickness and starts to make a new life. But just as she is finding love with a handsome Italian-American, Tony (Emory Cohen), she is forced to return home for a visit, and finds it to be a totally different place. Tough decisions need to be made.

I quite liked the film, but I can’t say I loved it. Saoirse Ronan was very good in the role of Eilis, however, I felt absolutely no chemistry between her and either of the men in the film. I felt that there were parts of the film that were supposed to show that Eilis had grown and changed as a character, but I found that she was repressed and so tightly wound, and that didn’t change. It was interesting, but didn’t blow me away.

Little Voice (1998) Film Review


LV (Jane Horrocks) is a painfully shy girl living with her horrible, shouty mother Mari (Brenda Blethyn). LV escapes into the world of her the records that her now-dead father left her – all the classics, Shirly Bassey, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday – all the greats. When her mum hooks up with local talent scout Ray Say (Michael Caine) and he hears LV singing, a plan is cooked up for her to become a star. Not that she wants it. Meanwhile, she has met equally shy pigeon fancier Billy (Ewan McGregor) and he has lit something in her.

I love this film. It’s one of those great little British films that tell a decent story with strong scriptwriting and fabulous performances. Jane Horrocks is just so fabulous in it, especially once she is in the spotlight! Bam! But it is a tough film to watch. So much awfulness. The one bit that falls down for me is the role of the unattractive neighbour Sadie, played by Annette Badland. Her character is mostly silent and acting like a moron like a poor clown. The thing is, the film didn’t need a clown – it was such a tragic film and Sadie was not an appropriate inclusion. Annette Badland would have done a lot better as a strong supporting character.

Little Voice was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Brenda Blethyn).


Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) Film Review


For me, the film sequel worked a lot better than the book sequel. Especially the whole Thai prison scene – it actually made a lot more sense that she was in that position than in the book. Well, let’s have a quick summary.

Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) has her man; Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). But she suspects him of having an affair, and after appalling counsel from her so-called-friends and a lack of communication between Bridget and Mark, they split. Then her job is changed so that she needs to travel with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) to Thailand to record a travel show. Shazza (Sally Phillips) comes with her, but then she is tricked into carrying an item back for the man Shazza has been shagging, and it turns out it is full of drugs. Bridget ends up in jail, only to be rescued once again by Mark Darcy.

It’s not the most awesome. But it’s not the worst. The one thing that drove me insane was the group of friends that Bridget relies on. Even with my fav Jessica Stevenson, they still drove me nuts. That and I know that Mark Darcy is supposed to me a bit emotionally idiotic, but surely he could have done something more about the whole situation.



Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) Film Review

Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) is a single thirty-something living in London, desperate to lose weight, stop smoking, reduce her drinking and to find the man of her dreams. But between her friends and family, it seems unlikely that she will make good choices or stick by them. Will she stay with the charming but unreliable Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) or go with the sometimes charming but mostly socially awkward but reliable Mark Darcy (Colin Firth)?

Having recently read the book, I felt this was a darned good interpretation. Renee Zellweger was perfect for Bridget Jones; in fact, all of the casting was perfect. It was a shame to lose Bridget’s love for Colin Firth, though as he was playing Mark Darcy, there was really no way to make this work. Any changes from the book worked well, apart, possibly, from some of the stuff with the three best friends. Personally, I’m quite a fan of all three (Shirley Henderson, Sally Phillips and James Callis) as actors, but found the sycophantic nature of the characters in this flick very annoying. Though I am completely aware that the plot would not have worked had they been much different.


Another Year (2010) Film Review


Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) have been married a long time and are happy. They have a son who’s going well, a beautiful house and garden and good friends. Their friends aren’t really as happy. There’s Mary (Lesley Manville) who seems to drink too much too often and make bad choices. Or Ronnie (David Bradley), Tom’s brother, whose son appears at his wife’s funeral with nothing but bitterness and hate. Another Year is true to its name; it’s another year in their lives. And that’s it.

The first scene was particularly interesting, with Imelda Staunton as a po-faced patient being seen by a heavily pregnant doctor. Then they were gone, only seen briefly again later. It was as though Mike Leigh was saying “this could be an interesting film, but instead, watch this”. Boo. I want to know more about that story. The story that was told was fine; the characters were interesting but it really just was stuff that happened in the year with no real plot. And for me, the end was really crap.

Another Year was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Mike Leigh).

Cloud Atlas (2012) Film Review

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Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Ben Wishaw, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant. Directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. For many, this list alone would be enough to make it worth seeing Cloud Atlas. For others, it is having read the novel by David Mitchell (I believe it is not that David Mitchell). Still others would have seen the trailer and been amazed at the sheer scale of the project.

I think it is impossible to summarise the plot in any simple fashion. It covers a multitude of characters over time, place, even on different planets. The characters are linked, although it is not always clear how or why. It’s pretty fascinating to see how the story has been created.

I must admit, I started watching expecting that I would hate this film, and hate it a lot. That’s certainly where I started. There were snippets of plot introducing characters but then flitting away before I had the chance to find out much about them. The amount of prosthetic work and make-up was annoying, and I’m not really a massive fan of fantasy as a genre. Once I had committed to disliking the film, a strange thing happened. I started to really like it. A lot. I let go my previous convictions and just enjoyed it for what it was. And it was good. Not brilliant, but a good, solid fantasy film. Though I did wonder about the Hugo Weaving character that was an awful lot like Old Gregg from The Mighty Boosh… anyone who can explain that to me, I’d be greatly appreciative.

As has often happened for me, this has inspired me to read the book, although I think I need some time between watching the film and reading the book.