We Can Be Kind (Movie Thoughts: Paddington 2)

p2I liked the first Paddington movie enough that I am very interested in seeing ‘Paddington 2.’  And the Anglophile that I am makes me doubly excited about it. Plus, every critic I know and trust has given this film a rave, so as I sat down waiting for the film to start, I was already salivating.

Well, Paddington 2 was….cute. It was very cute. On a personal level, it was just exactly what I needed, because I have been dealing with some stress lately. It made me smile; maybe not laugh out loud, but at the very least a warm, fuzzy feeling.

I wish I loved it. I wish I connected with it. I wish it made me want to see it again right after, but honestly, I totally forgot about it minutes after it ended. There are a lot of very nice things about it – the picturesque London locale, the warm and soothing and very expressive voice of Ben Whishaw voicing Paddington, and the wonderful cast (Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville) There’s a great performance here by Hugh Grant as a villain, and he seems to be enjoying every minute playing it (though him replacing Armie Hammer for a BAFTA nomination is a bit much, really, but I am just bitter)  I even love its pro-immigration lesson, and I hope kids growing up with these films take it to heart, especially in these Brexit/DACA climate.

I just wish the plots were less predictable, that there was some element of surprise. I wish there was more oomph for me – at times it felt just so formulaic you could immediately see where it is going right from the very beginning.

One observation, though, if I may: I thought it was interesting that there is a Sally Hawkins scene here towards the end that is very similar to a scene she has in ‘The Shape Of Water.’ I am sure it is a great coincidence, but still worth observing.

The Rest Is Still Rewritten (Movie Thoughts: The Rewrite)

Whatever happened to Hugh Grant?  I know I haven’t been up to date on a lot of things but I don’t think I have seen a lot of him at late. So I jumped at the chance of  seeing “The Rewrite,” where Hugh Grant is back in fine form in a role only Hugh Grant can do. He is in his element here, with his droll British accent spouting satirical dialogue dryly. As a middle aged screenwriter who had his last Academy Award winning script in 1999, the well has run dry and has to accept a professor job in Binghamton, New York. he is a fish out of water in different ways: an Angeleno in the East Coast, a man whose screenplay is revered but has not produced anything of substance since. It’s all rote, but Grant elevates the material, which could be spotty, and dated (I wonder if this has been languishing for a while) It was also great to see Marisa Tomei as the love interest – they have good adult chemistry and she really has matured to be a great versatile actress. Recommended.