Paddington Review

Four years ago it was announced that David Heyman, producer of the Harry Potter series, would be turning the much loved character of Paddington Bear into a blockbuster movie. I was of course, enthralled and and have been following production of the film ever since. Casting announcements, filming rumours, trailers, the exit of Colin Firth from the cast and controversy about the films classification have all gone by and finally came my chance to watch the film. And it was amazing.

PaddingtonThe film starts by showing explorer Montgomery Clyde travel to darkest Peru, where he befriends two bears (voiced by Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton) and teaches them about life in London. 40 years later, the bears still live in the forest, now with their young nephew, and still dream of one day travelling to London. But soon an earthquake strikes and this dream is forced to become a reality, however it is only their nephew (Paddington) who is making the journey.

Paddington Bear StationHe is soon picked up by the Brown family (High Bonneville, Sally Hawkins) who, although originally wary of letting a strange bear into their house, soon fall in love with the little bear. In fact the film is really about the developing relationship between the various members of the Brown family and Paddington, as they learn they cannot live without each other.

Paddington MillicentThey also have to team up to defeat Millicent, an evil taxidermist who wants to stuff Paddington and put him on display in the Natural History Museum. Played by Nicole Kidman, this villain is remarkable in that she’s actually quite scary and at some points even convinced me she’s an actual threat (although obviously they wouldn’t kill off Paddington). Peter Capaldi also popped up as the Brown’s neighbour and Millicent’s henchmen – Mr Curry. If Doctor Who’s in a film, it must be good!

Paddington TeaThe movie was an excellent piece of filmmaking. From the superb cast (which also includes Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Geoffrey Palmer) to the elegant and wonderfully detailed sets (both the Brown’s house and Mr Gruber’s shop are beautifully decorated and packed with quirky items) to the storyline itself which was full of both hilarious and tear-evoking scenes.

This is a wonderful christmas treat for both adults and children alike. I mean this is literally the best film I’ve seen all year. It’s amazing, watch it!!!!

Paddington Posters

The Time of the Doctor Review

So it’s the end of an era, the end of an age, the end of a Doctor. On Christmas Day Matt Smith put on his final performance in the role of our favorite Time Lord the Doctor, before hanging up his fez and handing the job over to Peter Capaldi. But what did I think of Smith’s final episode?

Doc-Who-time-of-the-doctor-4The Time of the Doctor was not only a chance for Matt Smith to bow out with a spectacular end but also an opportunity for the various story arcs surrounding Smith’s tenure to be wrapped up. Indeed we learnt the origins of ‘The Silence’, the truth behind ‘Madam Kovarian’ and who tried to blow up the Doctor’s TARDIS back in Series 5.

The storyline, like many of Moffat’s, was simple however pushed to the furthest limits of complexity. There’s this planet which is sending out a signal and for some reason every species in the Universe has come to see what the message is. Included in the masses are Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and an old friend of the Doctor’s, Tasha Lem who helps the Doctor teleport down to the planet to find out what the signal is actually saying. And then “Wahay!” its the Time Lords, broadcasting a message from one of those cracks (Series 5). What’s the message? Well it’s ‘Doctor Who?’ of course (Series 6). And if it’s answered then the Time Lords will be back, just about ready to fight all the millions of monsters parked on the doorstep. Oh dear.

????????????????????????????????????????????????Well the obvious conclusion would be for the Doctor to get the hell out of there, before he starts another time war. But Moffat doesn’t work like that does he. Moffat is perfectly content to throw away hundreds of years of the Doctor’s life for him to spend sitting in a basement, occasionally coming out to kill a wooden Cyberman or something like that. So slowly Smith gets older, with the help of the BBC’s low budget makeup department. Clara pops in now and again, always managing to hitch a lift back with the TARDIS. It’s revealed to us that Smith’s incarnation of the Doctor is going to be the last (Hurt’s War Doctor and Tennant’s Meta-Crisis both counted as regenerations) and we see the attacks on the planet (now revealed to be Trenzalore) getting more and more explosive-y.

Without going into any more detail, I didn’t like the plot. I found it a bit long-winded and confusing, aimed solely at clearing up Smith’s story arcs. However I do believe that Smiths regeneration and Moffat’s solution to the regeneration limit were very emotional and the final scenes of the episode were a good send-off for a well loved Doctor.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Peter Capaldi made a great entrance as the next incarnation of the Doctor, maybe not quite as good as Smith’s debut but the best he could do without the TARDIS falling to bits around him. What will next year bring for Doctor Who? We’ll have to wait another nine months to see!

Also, it’s nearly 2014, so Happy New Year ‘n’ all that!

Fortysomething

Sorry I haven’t blogged recently. Half the time I didn’t have internet and the over half I probably spent eating or sleeping or generally doing nothing.

The other day I was scrolling through one of my most favourite website pages; Benedict Cumberbatch’s IMDb page, when I saw among the list of generally awesome films a small TV series in which Benedict had a recurring role. This show was called Fortysomething.

Fortysomething cast

It is set around the life of Paul Slippery (played by Hugh Laurie someone I recognise for being in Stuart Little and 101 Dalmatians). He’s a doctor and in short he’s pretty messed up. He has a wife Estelle (Anna Chancellor from Pramface) and three sex-obsessed sons of which the eldest is played by Benedict.

During the series Paul jumps to many wrong conclusions including the fact that his wife is having an affair and is continuously made a fool of by his greatly more intelligent children.

Although I wish it were otherwise it was not Benedict Cumberbatch who gave the star performance in this show but actually Hugh Laurie (yes I know he’s the main character so shut your face). Also Peter Capaldi who played Slippery’s work college and rival gave an excellent performance, I dunno why he just did.

fortysomething3