5:00 PM, 21st April, 2018
Paddington Bear, now happily ensconced in London with the Brown family, picks up a series of odd jobs so that he can afford to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. When the gift is stolen by a mysterious figure, Paddington is falsely imprisoned for the theft and the Browns must hunt for the culprit to clear his name.
Unlike many kids films, writer-director Paul King trusts that his audience, including children, can deal with loss, abandonment and even the prospect of death. The first film supported inclusion and multiculturalism, and this second instalment shows the value of Paddington’s kindness, belief in good manners and, when necessary, the efficacy of a really hard stare. Along with an inspired, standout performance from Hugh Grant as a washed up actor.
I saw the first film featuring the little bear from darkest Peru at the ANUFG’s screening in 2015, and have since enjoyed watching it many times with my grandson (and maybe a few times by myself). Could Paddington 2 possibly be as good? Fortunately, my fears that this would be a disappointment were unfounded: this is a terrific film, a heart-warming charmer that’s even better than the first.
7:00 PM, 21st April, 2018
What us Aussies call bushfires our American friends refer to with a more evocative name: wildfires. This ensemble drama - based upon a true story - is about the rural fire brigade of the small country town of Prescott as they are faced with one of the deadliest wildfires in US history.
The film begins with the town slacker, Brendan ‘Donut’ McDonough (Teller), seeking redemption by joining the fire brigade. Despite Brendan’s history of petty crime and drug use, the supervisor of the fire brigade, Eric ‘Supe’ Marsh (Brolin), gives Brendan a chance. We then follow the twin threads of Brendan’s training and the fire brigade as a whole seeking to pass an assessment which will certify them as an elite ‘hotshot’ team. That is, until a devastating wildfire in June 2013 puts them all to the ultimate test.
Only the Brave is a powerfully affecting and engaging drama that has everything you could want in a fact-based film: solid performances from an excellent cast and a re-telling of events with incredible verisimilitude thanks to some impressive special effects and cinematography. Plus, enough action, drama, comedy and romance to keep even the most cynical of moviegoers happy.