Paddington – film review

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When I read there were plans for a big screen outing for Paddington Bear I was worried. I grew up watching the BBC’s version of Paddington and I took the little bear to my heart. What if the modern-day CGI version ruined Michael Bond’s creation?

I needn’t have worried. The 21st century version of Paddington is a joy to behold. Director Paul King and producer David Heyman (of Harry Potter fame) have brought the fun and spirit of both the books and the TV series to their film.

The story begins in Darkest Peru where Paddington’s Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo are discovered by ‘the explorer’. From him they develop a love of the English language (spoken perfectly properly), London and (of course) Marmalade. Cut to 40 years later and Lucy and Pastuzo have adopted their orphaned nephew. Theirs is an idyllic life of marmalade making and dreaming of a trip to London. But when disaster strikes, Lucy decides to move into a home for retired bears and Paddington stows away on a ship to London because, as Aunt Lucy tells him, Londoners “will not have forgotten how to treat a stranger”.

Paddington’s ship finally docks in London (the passage of time is illustrated by how many jars of marmalade he’s eaten) and through a series of events the young bear finds himself at Paddington station where he hopes to make friends and find a new home. Of course this is London and Londoners don’t talk to anyone, except for Mrs Brown who takes pity on Paddington (watch out for the lovely Lost And Found moment) much to the annoyance of her risk assessor husband and daughter Judy, who finds everything so embarrassing.

After supplying her new friend with a name, Mrs Brown offers him a bed for the night and Paddington hopes he’s found his new home. But that may not be the case after he manages to destroy the family’s bathroom almost immediately. After Paddington tells the Browns the story of ‘the explorer’, Mrs Brown sets out to help the young bear to track him down and maybe find his new home. The plot also involves Natural History taxidermist Millicent – Nicole Kidman at her wicked best – who has her own reasons for getting to know Paddington.

The film features a great cast with Hugh Bonneville the human stand out as Mr Brown. I also loved Peter Capaldi’s turn as the Brown’s neighbour Mr Curry who develops something of a crush on Millicent. In fact, one of my few criticisms is that I would have liked to have seen him a bit more! Julie Walters as the Browns’ housekeeper Mrs Bird gets one big scene and there are also cameos from the likes of Matt Lucas, Matt King (Peep Show’s Super Hans) and Jim Broadbent as the kindly Mr Gruber who tells Paddington “a home is more than just a roof over your head”.

But the real star of the show here are the film’s effects. It’s not just the work done on the bear, there are so many scenes that will take your breath away: the jungle in Peru, Paddington’s visit to the Geographers’ Guild archives, even the painted tree on the wall in the Browns’ hallway, the beauty of the effects work is just astonishing, Paddington himself is realised with such care and love – every strand of his fur is visible, the animators have him flying through the air, skateboarding behind a bus and even having a Mission: Impossible moment (complete with theme tune). I truly forgot I was watching a computer generated creature. Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington is pitch perfect and I do think he suits the role much better than original choice Colin Firth. The little bear makes you laugh like a drain but also pulls at your heartstrings.

To sum it up, Paddington is a film that the whole family can enjoy. There’s plenty of slapstick for the little ones, laughs for the adults and a message for everyone. As Paddington says “I will never be like other people but that’s ok”. Well the 21st century Paddington is just like the bear we all grew up with. Thank you Paul King and David Heyman for staying true to the bear we all love. Now, when is Paddington 2 out?

Hollywood set for Peter Jackson Day

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December 8 will be Peter Jackson Day in Hollywood as the director is honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The event will take place at 11.30am outside the Dolby Theatre with Andy Serkis on hand as one of the guest speakers.

Also attending the event will be The Hobbit stars Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, Luke Evans, Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood.

Jackson receives the honour the day before the LA premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Fallon’s Lip Sync show

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Jimmy Fallon’s giving his epic Lip Sync battles their own show.

Fallon’s joining forces with John Krasinski and Stephen Merchant to executive produce the show which will air on US network Spike TV – all three are expected to appear on the show at some point.

If you’ve never seen one of the battles they’re pretty awesome, the best are the one Fallon did with Emma Stone or with The Voice mentors Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton.

Emma Thompson gets major honour

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The brilliant Emma Thompson will receive the Richard Harris Award at this year’s British Independent Film Awards.

The award recognises outstanding contribution to British film by an actor. Previous winners include John Hurt,

Bob Hoskins, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ralph Fiennes and Julie Walters. Thompson will receive the accolade at the BIFA ceremony in London on December 7.

Buble and Babs get festive

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Michael Buble appeared on Barbra Streisand’s recent album Partners and now she’s repaying the favour by performing on his annual Christmas TV show.

The one hour special, Michael Buble’s Christmas in New York, will also feature Ariana Grande, Miss Piggy and the famous Rockettes.

The show airs in the US on NBC on December 17. I hope one of the UK broadcasters will show it too.

Hamm heads back to Pawnee

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Jon Hamm is returning to Pawnee.

His character Ed appeared in the last episode of Parks and Recreation’s sixth series when he was fired by Leslie.

He’ll be among a host of stars appearing in the final series including Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones and Megan Mullally.

Meanwhile, Hugh Laurie is currently filming a special appearance on Veep.

We don’t know anything about his role yet but pictures of him with Julia Louis Dreyfus and the rest of the cast have started popping up on Twitter.

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The Hobbit international premieres

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Not long now until the world premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies which is taking place in London on December 1.

Not to worry if you’re not based in the UK though as more international premieres have been confirmed: Paris follows London on December 4, then it’s on to Toronto for December 6 with a simultaneous event going on in Mexico, it’s Brazil’s turn on December 7.

The cast and crew arrive in North America for the New York premiere on December 8 followed by LA on December 9.

And at some point they’ve got to fit in Wellington – wouldn’t surprise me if they make it the very final event.

See Walliams’ new BBC show

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David Walliams will attend a special screening of his new BBC adaptation at the BFI Southbank on December 14.

The one-off special is based on Walliams’ book The Boy in the Dress.

It tells the story of 12-year-old Dennis who is ordinary boy, who lives in an ordinary town – but he feels different.

A chance view of a fashion magazine introduces him to a whole new world of colour and creativity, but can a boy wear a dress, and what will the Headmaster, his Dad, and his friends think if they find out?

The cast includes Jennifer Saunders, Tim McInnerny, Meera Syal, James Buckley, David Walliams and Kate Moss.