Friday's Film Reviews

This week, we look at family adventure Paddington and comedy sequel Horrible Bosses 2.

Friday's Film Reviews

This week, we look at family adventure Paddington and comedy sequel Horrible Bosses 2.

Paddington

More than 50 years after he first appeared in print, author Michael Bond’s beloved bear Paddington has finally arrived on the big screen in his first star-packed family adventure.

Upcoming director Paul King’s film lovingly weaves the traditional tenets of the duffel-coat wearing bear’s story into a modern narrative.

Like the books, the film starts in deepest, darkest Peru, where a well-mannered three-foot bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) lives with his elderly Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon).

In their youth, Lucy and Pastuzo were visited by a kindly English explorer who left his red hat with his furry friends.

When their home is threatened, Aunt Lucy packs her nephew off to the safety of London to track down the explorer, who has promised that there will always be a home for them in London.

Of course, after sailing the oceans in a boat filled with supplies of his treasured marmalade, the bear finds London isn’t actually that friendly.

In fact it’s pretty miserable what with the drizzly weather and glum commuters pushing and shoving their way out of Paddington station and ignoring his pleas for a home.

“Sorry, we haven’t got time for this,” cries worrywart Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville), while his moody daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris) exclaims she’s “embarrassed” to be near the small grisly, who has a ’Please look after this bear’ sign around his neck.

Luckily, warm-hearted Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) and son Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) vow to take the furry chap home for the night, naming him Paddington after the station where they found him, the Browns introduce their guest to kindly housekeeper Mrs Bird (Julie Walters).

As comforting and sweet as Paddington’s beloved marmalade, King’s delightful adaptation has heaps of heart and enough humour and carefully plotted cameos to ensure everyone more than grins and bears his adaptation.

Star Rating:

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: 93%

Horrible Bosses 2

Released in 2011, Horrible Bosses centred on three friends, who plotted to kill their sadistic employers and found self-respect in the process.

Sean Anders’ raunchy sequel flings that self-respect out of the window and subjects the same unfortunate characters to a barrage of potty-mouthed humiliations that might be tolerable if we could muster an iota of sympathy for anyone in this redundant and joyless mess.

Alas, the lumbering script, scrawled by Anders and John Morris, has its mind in the gutter.

The luminous Jennifer Aniston spends the entire film spouting sexually explicit obscenities as an aggressive alpha female with an addiction to sins of the flesh.

During the end credit out-takes, she refuses to deliver one line and smirks: “I can’t say that!”

Considering the filth that tumbles from her perfectly glossed lips, it’s hard to imagine anything that could provoke this polite resistance.

Our resistance to the sequel is resolute.

Horrible Bosses 2 doesn’t work on any level.

Jason Bateman’s solid low-key performance contrasts starkly with the irritating double-act of Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis.

Like a pair of wasps trapped in a jam jar, they buzz endlessly as dim-witted dullards, who barely seem capable of drawing breath, let alone carrying out a kidnapping.

Waltz and Pine chew scenery as the pantomime villains, who believe that “the only thing that creates wealth is wealth”.

Ironically, filmmakers threw millions at this film and have created a poor excuse for a comedy.

Star Rating:

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: 35%

In Selected Cinemas…

I am Ali

Widely regarded as one of the greatest sportsmen of the 20th century, boxer Muhammad Ali gained fame and notoriety for his antics inside and outside the ring.

His vociferous objection to American involvement in the Vietnam War even resulted in the loss of his heavyweight boxing title.

Documentary filmmaker Clare Lewins delivers an intimate and revealing portrait of Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, from his formative years to his rise as a counter-cultural figure and international celebrity.

The film includes rare access to Ali’s personal audio journals and interviews with his friends and family members, including his eldest daughter Maryum, who has fully endorsed Lewins’ work as “the best film I’ve seen about my father”.

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: 42%

Stations of the Cross

Structured as 14 chapters, Dietrich Brueggemann’s award-winning drama, which he co-wrote with his sister Anna, explores the perils of ultra-conservative Catholicism as preached by a fictional clergy called the Society Of St Paul.

Father Weber (Florian Stetter) prepares the children in his care for their first Communion and one girl, 14-year-old Maria (Lea van Acken), stays behind after class to ask important questions about the existence of God in a world where children are sick.

Buoyed by the Father’s words, Maria returns home, where she suffers endless verbal abuse from her harridan mother (Franziska Weisz), who has reduced her hen-pecked husband (Klaus Michael Kamp) to a powerless and silent witness to her tirades.

Thankfully, French au pair Bernadette (Lucie Aron) showers Maria with affection and encourages the teenager to find her place in the world, including a sweet adolescent romance with a fellow classmate called Christian (Moritz Knapp).

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: N/A

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