Tag: Nicole Kidman

The Northman

Hey kids, do you love Spider-Man?

Then why not check out The Northman!? He does whatever the…cold North can? Hmm. Nope. This is not a super hero movie. This is just a movie about Vikings!

We don’t really get a lot of Viking movies. A lot of them are trash, remember Pathfinder? I unfortunately do. I wish I could forget. We are luck that the How to Train Your Dragons films are technically Viking inspired. But they are animated and they don’t do a super lot with the Vikings religion and atmosphere. They are cute, they are good, but they aren’t what you think about when you hear a Vikings movie.

We also very recently had the new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla game, to get people in the spirit. I don’t know if the God of War reboot counts as a Viking game, but it does deal with Norse mythology, so close enough. Not to mention we had several seasons of a Vikings show, which probably disappointed a lot of people without going too hardcore with it.

All of this to say, that time for something like The Northman to come out has been building up for a few years. And I know I was ready.

This was me screaming like a giddy little school girl.

Set sometime before the year 1000, we start off in some Viking kingdom. The king of this land is King Aurvandil War-Raven (Ethan Hawke) and he is a mighty warrior. His village often gets loot and slaves and plunder from their conquests. His son, Amleth (Oscar Novak), looks up to his father despite rarely seeing him. His wife, Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) is loyal and true. And his brother, Fjölnir The Brotherless (Claes Bang), well…Let’s just say that he earned that title by betraying the King and killing him to take his kingdom. Damn Auvandil, sorry to see you go.

Luckily, Amleth is able to escape by boat. He promises to enact vengeance for the life of his father and rescue his mother, who was taken by Fjölnir. He just has to grow up and get strong. So, several years later, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) does just that. He was found as an orphan by another tribe, and eventually joined their elite wolf fighter unit, and he was a mighty warrior. But thanks to a prophecy, he was eventually told about how he could find Fjölnir and finally complete his vows.

He just now has to journey to Iceland. He pretends to be a slave. A big strong man like him? Yeah. He just does what Clark Kent does. He hunches his shoulders and looks down a lot. But this gets him to Iceland, so he can find Fjölnir, complete his promise, and fulfill his destiny.

Also starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, Elliott Rose, Willem Dafoe, Eldar Skar, and Björk!

The face you make when you need this little weakling to avenge your future death. 

I think I need to talk about Robert Eggers. Outside of a few video shorts, Eggers has now directed three motion pictures. I think most people who have seen his work would agree he is hitting all of the right notes. The Witch was terrifying, unique, and really felt accurate to the area, which was a nice surprise. It helped introduce the world to Anya Taylor-Joy. The Lighthouse was an strong follow up, an impressive visual film with excellent performances from the leads. I didn’t love it as much as The Witch, but I recognized its ambitiousness. 

The Northman however just takes the ball that is already knocked out of the park, and he knocks it into another park. The Northman is a lot of things, except for boring. This is a film that the trailer does justice for, while still giving you very little of the story. It is a revenge flick. It is kind of like Hamlet. It is not just a straight action fantasy film, it has a lot of deeper and slower moments. The film is tense, and intense at various points. 

Honestly, I was surprised at so many moments of the plot. Big strong Amleth finds his uncle pretty early on in the film, I was assuming that it would be over fast. But the set backs that occur are not expected. They do make sense, and it just helps build up some of the bigger events, while still allowing teases along the way.

The Northman is just such a visually stunning film. It is gorgeous, and we get to see many different scenes and locations. There are some battles and scenes that take place in night, with unfortunate authentic lighting, but it isn’t a majority of the film. It is a film that wants to be seen. 

All of this build up from Viking properties have given me what, frankly, is probably the best movie about Vikings ever made. I don’t think Eggers can keep up this pace. He might have to retire before Marvel has him make a film where he has no control in the output. 

4 out of 4.

Being the Ricardos

Daa-daa-daa dadaDAH-dahdaahhhhh.

I Love Lucy is an iconic show in TV and American Pop Culture History. When there were barely any channels, it was basically the most watched thing ever. Around the world, people (non-kids) can recognize Lucy Ricardo and Ricky Ricardo, and maybe they can recognize her wail as well.

Now of course, for me, this is where I get to say I have never seen a full episode of the show. I have just seen clips. Never searching them out either. They just love showing clips of the show in documentaries, in movies, in other shows. How else will you know what decade it is without an I Love Lucy on the TV set in the background?

I do love Aaron Sorkin though. And I know that his fictional behind the scenes look at the making of an episode of I Love Lucy combines some of my favorite Aaron Sorkin based moments. People will argue about scripts and the writing. People will make last second changes. And people will have a lot of things going on in their heads at the same time, often switching between them on a moment’s notice in their dialogue so we have to keep up.

So let’s go Sorkin. Teach me about the show from a fictional perspective based on reality.

You don’t have to be a real red head to play Lucille Ball. She wasn’t a real red head! D:

Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) runs her show with an iron fist and an attention to detail. She won’t let sloppy writing affect her show, because she wants her shows jokes to be believable, and not just playing dumb to the camera. Lucille Ball is quite smart and clever, damn it, even if she plays a bit of a silly simple potato. 

Her Husband, Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) also helps run the show, running different aspects. He keeps the money coming in, he deals with the press stories that affect them, he warms up the audience, he keeps it a smooth sailing ship. They are the perfect couple, fictional or otherwise. Or are they?

In this week on I Love Lucy, we have to deal with a lot behind the scenes. A sudden pregnancy and how it will affect the show. Reports of Desi cheating on Lucille. A bit of the sketch that just won’t work. Side characters feeling inadequate. And oh yeah, reports that Lucille is a communist. 

Hopefully they can tackle these issues while also putting on a good show for the audience, and hopefully they can stay on air this early into their second season. 

Also starring J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Tony Hale, Clark Gregg, and Nelson Franklin

Is this the real life? Or is this just grape smashing? 

I am old enough, and have seen enough movies, that I know what to expect when going in to an Aaron Sorkin movies, and this is basically what I expected going into an Aaron Sorkin movie. But this is only his third movie where he has both written and directed it. The first one, Molly’s Game, didn’t remind me a lot of his previous work, outside of the dialogue. The Trial of the Chicago 7 did remind me a bit of his past work, since it was a courtroom drama, but it still wasn’t fully there. 

Being the Ricardo’s reminds me of older Sorkin. It reminds me of his TV shows specifically, basically all of them. Yes, even Sports Night. And Steve Jobs. It has a hectic feel, despite being over the span of a week. It has layers to it, we also get a lot of flashbacks of the couple as they met, and their careers before the show. It feels like the classic Sorkin, the one who only wrote and didn’t direct. He was able to capture the style that his writing dictated in all of those works, and I am all here for it.

I don’t have any real basis for who should have been cast in these roles or who should not have, because I don’t know the old show. But I did learn a whole lot, and while going back to look things up, I was shocked how much wasn’t made up. Just the timing of things are really what was changed. 

Kidman and Bardem are wonderful together. I want them to be different people and be in a real chaotic relationship together. The rest of the cast was good too, and I was surprised at how much it highlighted other people who worked on the show and the producers. 

Being the Ricardos feels like a movie that should be made for fans of the show, but it made me a fan of the show. Will I go and watch it? Hell no, let’s be honest. I ain’t got time for that. I got enough of it from clips. But I will say I appreciate the real Lucy, Lucille Ball, a lot more than I just assumed before. 

4 out of 4.


Sexual harassment in the workplace should never be tolerated or allowed (or anywhere, of course). And yet, the idea has always persisted and continues to be found out. It must fucking suck.

With the amount of people in positions of power, for hiring and raises, being men who feel like they can do anything without punishment (because they have already been doing it for so long), it creates a scary life to be in for those who get pushed around by these men.

Bombshell is about one of the first big news stories that came out, involving highly famous names and individuals, including those who were less famous but very powerful. This is not just Stan down the hallway. This is people who helped make and produce billions.

And it turns out this bigger moment, which helped spur on and really start the #MeToo movement, started at Fox News.

Fair and Balanced doesn´t mean a damn thing in those doors. 
Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) of Fox News fame, had a bone to pick with Republican candidate for President Donald J. Trump. He hated women, despised them, it was clear, so she wanted to ask him a question about that fact, with lots of quotes to back it up. And she was ignored, but more importantly, the rabid trolls of his fan base turned on him. That was odd. He wasn’t even likely to get the nomination, she just wanted to bring him down a peg.

It turns out a lot of the Fox News fan base liked Trump the most. And that was the beginning of the end for her career there. And it is all thanks to Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) who is about to sue Robert Ailes (John Lithgow). He has been sexually harassing women for years for women to move up the ladder at their network, and even for those who resisted, he still was mean and cruel to them for years. Even Kelly.

And during the investigation, Margot Robbie plays a fictional newer hire, who is just starting to get the stares and attention of the man on the 2nd floor.

Also starring quite a few more people. Like Richard Kind, Josh Lawson, Malcolm McDowell, Connie Britton, Ben Lawson, Kate McKinnon, Allison Janney, D’Arcy Carden, Tricia Helfer, Mark Duplass, Jennifer Morrison, Alice Eve, and Brigette Lundy-Paine.

You go girl, bring down the empire. 

Before watching Bombshell, I wondered if this movie would be this years The Big Short or maybe even Spotlight. Both true stories, both deal with big issues in very different ways. And since this movie involved a lot of breaking the fourth wall early on to set up the scene, and quick cuts, zoom ins to faces, or whatever. A really frantic film.

And yet, given the subject matter, the real situations of sexual assault, women coming forward by the droves to talk about how they were treated by a few men in power. To think this movie mostly talks just about Ailes, and only hints at the Bill O’Reilly sexual scandals that also occurred and came out around the same time.

Bombshell is a combination of both films. I laughed quite a few times, and I cried at least twice. Robbie admitting to her friend about what she did for the man broke me down, and watching an earlier first meeting scene with him was incredibly uncomfortable.

I hated this film for telling the truth and it hurt me in my core. This film is incredibly triggering, and also important at the same time.

The fact that this takes place at Fox News is a really central aspect of this story. The channel itself is pure, conservative trash, and not really news. We all know that. But that does not mean that people there are all bad people and deserve to be sexually assaulted. No one does. These big names have hurt others over and over again with their words in a quest for ratings and fame. And we can also agree what happened to them should not be tolerated.

4 out of 4.

The Upside

[Editor’s Note: Days after seeing this movie, the writer forgot about it completely. He didn’t even remember he didn’t finish writing the review and never posted it. Take that as another aspect of the review.]

What’s this? A serious movie, with some serious actors (and one non serious actor) coming out in January? But that is supposed to be a dumping ground for films! So what is going on with The Upside?

Well, first of all, they are sort of hiding the fact that this is a remake of another movie. They aren’t hiding that it is based on a true story, just the remake aspect. If you haven’t seen the French film The Intouchables, you are doing yourself a disservice, as it is pretty darn good, and one of the most successful French movies ever.

Another thing hindering this movie is the nice Hart sized controversy over anti-gay jokes and Oscars. Before the movie came out, Ellen redeemed him for all the gay people and said he should host, because he seems sorry. The issue with all of that of course is before then, there was no apology until he basically dropped out of hosting. And basically every time he “apologized” he came as a victim and people just trying to get him, never actually seeming sorry. So yeah. January. Dumping ground. Still true.

An American remake? You don’t say?!

Dell (Kevin Hart) is looking for work! Why? Because he is out of prison, and its an aspect of parole. If he doesn’t get a job, he at least needs signatures saying he went there to get one and wasn’t offered it, so that it shows he is trying. I mean, he wants a job. Because he wants money, doesn’t want to get into selling drugs, and has an ex-wife and son to support.

Due to a mix up, he goes into a luxury building thinking he is applying for a janitor gig, following the crowd of people applying for jobs. Really, it is actually to be a life auxiliary support for a billionaire named Philip (Bryan Cranston). He is quadriplegic, needs a live in to clean him, move him, make sure he isn’t dying.

Well, mostly that last part can be ignored. Philip is tired of this life, he has a DNR, let that death happen.

How does Dell get the job? Mostly because Philip is tired of this life, I just said so. He wants a change, and maybe Dell will be unqualified enough to get him killed, who knows. But of course, this mismatched pair are going to be doing a lot more together than they expected.

Also starring Tate Donovan as an annoying neighbor that we all hate. Boo hiss! And of course Nicole Kidman as the runner of the business for Philip.

Finally, someone who can walk down the street with Hart and not look overpowering.

Speaking of overpowering, there are a few scenes where Hart is next to Kidman, who at that point seems like an Amazonian warrior with that level of height difference (as she is probably wearing heels). It is a nice extreme look and added comedy they were not intending.

The Upside is entirely just okay. It is told out of order, like the French film, and has a far different conclusion merely to catch those familiar with the French version off. But overall, it is just slightly more modern and more American. The friendship doesn’t feel as real, and Cranston just looks like he is there because he is supposed to be there. No one goes out of there way to make the acting seem genuine, nor a situation that totally happened.

This is a remake that tried to do its own thing, while still doing a lot similar with the original. It needs to pick a direction. Do we want to focus on the wife/kid direction? If so, good, go for it, but commit. About turning his life around? fine. But we got all of that in a montage and I guess his skill is fixing broken wheel chairs? Kind of odd, and came from nowhere.

The Upside is clearly forgettable, and in Spring, I won’t remember it at all, as it middles its way through theaters.

2 out of 4.

Boy Erased

A lot of films about boys coming out this year. Most notably we have Boy Erased, which this review will be out, and Beautiful Boy, which I haven’t seen yet because I suck, apparently.

I think all of these films are a reaction to Lucas Hedges, who is the Hollywood “it” teenage/young adult male character these days. His first year of acting he was in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Manchester By The Sea, and Lady Bird. All award nominated films.

This year it is Mid90s, this film, and Ben Is Back. Films that just want to use Lucas Hedges up.

Ignoring some of his previous roles where he didn’t have as big of a pull, but apparently he only takes great projects now. Good on him. He doesn’t want to be a boy erased.

“If you are going to be raised in this house, you are going to speak Australian! Crikey!”

Being gay in…well, most places is going to be hard. It is going to be harder if you are in a staunch anti-gay City environment, or ultra religious environment. For example, maybe your parents are preachers. That might not be the best place to come out.

And that is the reality of young Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges). He had to come out to his parents after an incident, despite his dad (Russell Crowe) being the Baptist preacher of the area. This is awkward, uncomfortable, and a bit sad. The mom (Nicole Kidman) wants to be supportive, while also listening to her husband.

Somehow, they all agree to send Jared to a gay conversion therapy camp. It is only for a little bit at first, to see how reluctant someone is to change. They can earn their straight card relatively quickly, with faith and good attitude. Others might have to have a more permanent, longer stay, with overnights and cabins.

And this is where Jared meets people like him. And the very intense and seemingly powerful man running the show, Victor Sykes (Joel Edgerton), who knows that people can change. And if not, they can be forced to change.

Also starring Flea, Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, and Joe Alwyn.

Sleepovers help build trust.

I don’t know how many movies have been about gay conversion therapy before this one. It has been plot points of various TV shows, from South Park to Malcolm in the Middle, but they rarely talk about the extreme dangers to the mind that happened during these things, along with the brainwashing and extreme control of them all.

And this one gets real with it. It puts the viewer in there, it showcases the sadness, and it really makes you think.

At this point there is a lot less gay conversion therapy places in the US, but there are still some that exist. Which is a big problem. This is a film meant to bring more awareness to the issue, in a way that the dozens of articles may not have been able to fully address.

Hedges, Kidman, and Crowe were really great here. I loved the fuck out of Crowe, specifically, it is good to see that he still has it. Edgerton, our director, also really did a good job of making me hate and somewhat fear his character. A lot of great performances.

And yet, at the same time, I strangely didn’t cry. It seems like a perfect film to bring on the tears, and I still couldn’t ever reach that point.

It is a film that will certainly be talked about for some time.

3 out of 4.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

I am frequently reminded that I should be watching more of Yorgos Lanthimos‘s movies. And not just because he is a guy who keeps bringing some out.

My first experience with his film was The Lobster a year ago and it definitely was an experience. I hadn’t seen any of his previous work, but The Lobster was so far out there that I knew this was a director who wanted to do his own thing and not give a shit about what people thought about it. This is the same thought that Terrence Malick must have, but I don’t like his work.

And now he has The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which is wonderful on its own thanks to the trailers. They told me nothing about the movie, but it was visually sexy and clearly different from The Lobster at the same time.

I really should get around to watching Dogtooth, but he has another movie coming out next year, so we will see if it ever happens.

Damn right you eat that spaghetti now. Don’t want it falling out of your pockets later.

Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a really good surgeon. Well, most surgeons are good. I only assume he is good because he is rich, and surgeons are generally rich after they pay off those loans. He has a wife (Nicole Kidman) and two kids (Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic), the typical American household and life. Everything is going so swell.

Steven is also friends with some boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan), who is older than his kids. Martin is a bit slower developmentally, but he lives with his mom only. He had a dad, but the dad died several years ago in a car crash, and Steven has been sort of a mentor to Martin ever since.

But Steven starts to act a bit stranger than normal, and he has already been a strange kid. After introducing Steven to his family, strange events start to occur to his family. A paralyzation affects his son so that he cannot walk and all of the big fancy doctor tests cannot tell them why. That is only the beginning of the problems that affect their family and it seems to have to do with Martin. But why? Why is the big question.

Also starring Alicia Silverstone and Bill Camp.

This might be right after his heart was with a text message.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a quiet film with an unsettling plot behind it, that I chose to not fully reveal. Given the choice our main character ends up making it is something ripe for sadness and anger by many viewers. Good, good, let the emotion flow out of us.

I honestly had no idea where the movie was going on, and once the plot gets fully revealed (which is does VERY quickly and seemingly out of nowhere), every moment gets a little bit scarier. Keoghan has one of the more punchable faces I have ever seen in film, true here and in Dunkirk, but it really works with the character they created. He is unnerving, but not in a cartoon villain sort of way. I will say the film didn’t really do enough to explain his actions or his own mental capacity, so it should definitely be dinged for these reasons.

But let’s just say, some shit is up, it affects this family quite unfairly, and we have to watch most of a film as they deal with shit that continually escalates until a final decision is finally reached. After all the build up, the ending itself was pretty shocking when it came to the hows, the whys, and the whos, but it also makes sense in an eerie way. After all, it is an eerie movie about some people with some strange feelings about reality, so it is also fitting.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a creepy film with some horrifying moments, but one that could have been better with a lot more backstory and explanation when it comes to a few characters. Less can be more, but I think this film had too much less.

3 out of 4.

Queen of the Desert

For some reason, I tend to find movies about deserts pretty dry.

No but really, large amounts of a movie in the desert drain the life force out of me. I could not at all enjoy Sahara. It is why I am afraid to watch Last Days in the Desert. I felt like I was dying during Lawrence of Arabia. (Sacrilegious, don’t care).

And Queen of the Desert just looks like the much shorter, female version of Lawrence of Arabia.

Just people, probably feeling miserable. Miserable and hot.

Queen of the Desert is actually a true story about Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman). Not only did the movie just look like a female Lawrence of Arabia, she was basically doing the same thing as T.E. Lawrence and extremely well known for it. Shit, she KNEW Lawrence. We have someone playing Lawrence in this film. (Even the music is reminiscent of LoA, but at this point, I am now in the analysis part and probably sounding annoying).

The connections are never ending!

She traveled the middle easy, helped to figure out borders, dealt with different political regimes, and had some time for romance on the side.

Also starring David Calder, Damian Lewis, Christopher Fulford, Jenny Agutter, Jay Abdo, with James Franco as Henry Cadogan and Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence.

Camels are about as much of a fashion statement as what dull color you will wear to match the dunes.

I probably never gave Queen of the Desert a fair shake, technically, but it really bored me to the ground. Occassionally something interesting would happen, but it is indeed just Gertrude Bell, doing things in the desert, getting famous and talking to political people, and then the movie ends. Sure, there is some potential romance as well. And I laughed when I saw Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence. Mostly because I was not expecting the character, but he was just so well shaven and I watched this movie right after The Lost City of Z, where Pattinson played a different historical figure but with a great beard.

What disappoints me about this film the most is not the dull feeling I had throughout, but instead that it was directed by the great Werner Herzog. He has directed so many qualities film, and to have this one just drag (thank goodness it wasn’t 3+ hours) made me question his purpose. Honestly, it looks like he just wanted to tell her story, and he should have just made a documentary about that subject instead. He is better at those.

I can’t even figure out how to talk more about this. Just pass this film, there is so much better out there. A book about Gertrude Bell will probably be more useful to your time. Or a wikipedia page.

1 out of 4.


I didn’t know a whole lot about Lion going into it. Well, I knew it had some sort of awards hype, and that I’d probably cry (yay!), but that was it.

Outside of it starring Dev Patel. And you know what? Dev Patel really needs a win right now.

Last year he had Chappie and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. This year he had The Man Who Knew Infinity. Outside of The Newsroom and Slumdog Millionaire, he hasn’t had a lot of hits.

So really, I just hope it is good for him, as I know he is a great actor, he just doesn’t get to be in great films.

Is that the best Lion Face you got? I mean, I get the mane. But wheres the roar?

Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is just a little boy, around 5 year old, living in a small town in India. His mom (Priyanka Bose) is single, so she is a laborer, having to care for four kids. Saroo has an older brother, Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) who he looks up to and convinced him to take him on a small work trip. On the way, Saroo got too tired, so Guddu had to leave him at the train station. As long as Saroo stays there, Guddu will find him after the job and take him home. But when Saroo wakes up he gets scared. He looks around and he is all alone. And he ends up asleep on an empty train, and when he wakes up, he is speeding along the tracks unable to get off for a couple of days. When he gets off finally, he is 1600 km from home in Calcutta.

Being five, he doesn’t know a lot about his home, his mother’s real name, or where he came from. After living on the streets, and eventually getting into an Orphanage, they still cannot find his family. But they have a family willing to adopt him. John (David Wenham) and Sue Brierley (Nicole Kidman). In Australia. In the Tasmania part of Australia. Pretty far away.

Needless to say, he obviously goes, now 7 years old for a whole new life. And 20 years later, he is going to college for Hotel Management. He is older, so that is why Dev Patel is in this movie. He has a girlfriend (Rooney Mara), he has basically forgotten about his past life. Until he sees a reminder in the form of a pastry he always wanted to try. Following the advice of a few friends, he uses this new thing called Google Earth (This was 2008) to find a theoretical circle of travel he might have come from and you know, slowly look over all of it for his home.

And it drives him insane, taking over his life, making him leave his job, leave his girlfriend and talk a lot less with his family. A lot of strain. Given that this is a true story, you can figure out how part of this end.

Also featuring Divian Ladwa and Kershav Jadhav as the other son adopted by the Brierley’s, who has his own sort of problems.

They both lost their families, but Saroo lost his at a bigger scale.

Strangely enough, Lion is actually surprisingly similar to Slumdog Millionaire. An Indian boy has terrible things happen to him in his youth, but eventually something incredible happens to him, and he has to spend a lot of time searching for a loved one. Except Slumdog Millionaire, yes a drama, also has a lot of funny moments and is a romance. Lion is drama, straight through and through, and one that will just make you cry a variety of ways.

We get sad cries AND happy cries with Lion. And not just at a few points in the movie, but just sprinkled throughout it.

A lot of credit should be given towards Sunny Pawar, who was the star of the film for 40-50 minutes. You just feel so bad for the little kid, watching him wander around, escaping bad people, dealing with this shit, AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE. It is heart breaking. He does a wonderful job and will probably be overlooked.

Patel also did a wonderful job, dealing with the angst of remembering his past. And of course the moment where he makes it back home and finds his mother? Yeah, that is when the tears will start flowing. A shout out as well to Kidman, who plays a non-bitchy role for the first time in forever, who brought a lot of emotion as well.

Lion is a great story, well acted, and while it may be emotionally manipulative, it is a good sort of manipulative. Definitely one of the better journeys in film this year.

4 out of 4.


I can say I was definitely not looking forward to seeing Paddington. When I first heard about it, sure, maybe. I vaguely remember child stories about the bear.

But then the film had drama. Colin Firth was supposed to be the voice of the bear, but then he left the project. They literally had movie posters with his name attached for a Christmas release at this point. But Firth left the project, mid production. Oh no. That can’t be good!

So I had a negative perception of the film. Turns out Firth left on his own because he just didn’t think his voice fit the bear at all. He was just too old. The bear had a youthful look and he didn’t feel right for the job. That’s fair I guess. Well, I saw it now damn it. And it is a 2015 movie instead of a 2014. And it is still very, very British.

Fuzzy Bear
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear…

The titular bear, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) didn’t always go by that name. No, he used to have (bearsound) as an identifier. Also he can talk. He was found by a geographer with the rest of his family. The bear family was unusually smart, so he taught them English. They also really seemed to like marmalade.

Eventually, disaster strikes their home, and Paddington is forced to flee the jungles. He decides to head to London, as long ago, the geographer told him he would always be welcome in the Greatest Britain. So he makes it to London, but no one immediately takes him in, like he thought would happen. But then eventually the Browns walk by. Henry (Hugh Bonneville) is against taking in a bear, but his wife, Mary (Sally Hawkins) insists upon helping him out. So they take him in for just one night. Well, he is a clumsy bear who knows nothing about human stuff, so a lot of shenanigans occur.

Eventually they find out he is slightly truthful in his tale of the geographer, so they let him stay. Yay a pseudo-home! Too bad he is also being… hunted! That’s right. A crazy taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) has found out about his existence and really wants to stuff him. Not a euphemism. She gets the help of one of the Brown’s neighbors, a crockety old man Mr. Curry (Peter Capaldi) to help her get that bear!

Also featuring the kids of Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin, and Jim Broadbent. Because Jim Broadbent is the most British man I can imagine.

Two Thumbs
Who has two toothbrushes and is DTF? This bear!

Now, I’m not racist, but that bear had way more pizzazz than I thought a bear could have. Hooray for pizzazz!

I actually found the movie quite enjoyable. It was jolly good fun. Did you see the bear in the bathtub? Hilarity, my good sirs! Hilarity!

This movie was obviously British, but it was also super British. The only thing missing was the Queen herself. There might have even been a Constable.

Kidman’s character felt maybe too ridiculous for my tastes, but the filmmakers were going for a cartoon feel so it all made sense. The family versus the bear dynamic worked really good as well, and I am happy to say the bear never raged out and killed a baby or anything. Overall, it is a decently enjoyable way to waste an hour and a half with the family. I bear no regrets.

3 out of 4.

The Railway Man

The main reason I wanted to see The Railway Man was because of the song they used in the trailer. You know the one. From The Thin Red Line.

God Yu Tekkem Laef Blong Mi” . Seriously, put that song in a trailer, I am going to try and watch your movie. I will also be pissed if your movie isn’t epic enough to warrant the use of that song. Thankfully, Mr. Nobody used it in its movie, and it deserved it.

So, just saying, The Railway Man. A lot of pressure on you to not fuck this one up.

Line Up
They get bonus points for making a World War II movie without Nazis, though.

Eric (Colin Firth). He’s got a secret. He’s been hiding. Under his skin. Wait, no, that is Mr. Roboto. Sorry.

Eric really likes trains. He always has, likes to ride them, knows what makes them tick, knows a lot of trivia. He also served for Great Britain in World War II. While on duty, his company had to surrender to the Japanese military and their unit was taken to work in camps. What did they have to work on? A railroad! The Burma Railway, to be historically accurate. How zany.

Speaking of coincidences, he also met his now wife (Nicole Kidman) thanks to the trains. Trains are really a big part of this guys life.

But he actually does have some pent up secrets. Some things happened to him while he was in that POW camp. Things done to him by Takeshi Nagase (Hiroyuki Sanada), the official translator for the Japanese that he would rather keep buried. But it turns out that Takeshi is still alive, in Japan, and wasn’t taken as a war criminal like the rest of Japanese soldiers from that camp.

This is good, if Eric was the kind of guy to enact revenge. But he wouldn’t do that at his age, would he?

Also starring Stellan Skarsgard as one of his old friends, and Tanroh Ishida and Jeremy Irvine as the younger Takeshie and Eric. I will let you figure out who goes with who.

Don’t just assume races stay consistent, is all I am sayin’.

I don’t think the entirety of The Railway Man lives up to the song. It’s sad, but true.

The ending is fantastic. The encounter between the two older men, combined with flashbacks during World War II. It was very dramatic, tense, and even a bit beautiful. It really kept you glued to the screen.

On the other hand, the first half of the movie tended to drag on. I think it is because see the meeting of Eric and his wife play out, then they are married. They have to give us that whole story. Then we have to have flashbacks of the POW camp. Finding out that the guy is still alive doesn’t even happen until the second half of the film.

It was quite a bore, and ruined the much better ending a bit for me.

This is a true story, but things were changed enough to ramp up the dramatic elements. I don’t care about that. I just care that presumably the beginning wasn’t changed enough to make it more interesting, just the ending. Come on. Enhance All is a way better option than Enhance End.

2 out of 4.