Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw (voice), Imelda Staunton (voice), Hugh Bonneville, Michael Gambon (voice), Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas, Samuel Joslin, Madeleine Harris, Geoffrey Palmer, Alice Lowe, Matt King
Written by: Paul King, Hamish McColl, based on characters created by Michael Bond
Directed by: Paul King
MPAA Rating: PG for mild action and rude humor
Running Time: 95
Date: 01/16/2015

Paddington (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Bear Essentials

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

First appearing in 1958, Paddington Bear is a creature of kindness and politeness, far from the wisecracking, marketable children's characters of today. Yet, somehow the new Paddington movie seems modern while at the same time holding firmly to its quaint, lovely ideals. Ben Whishaw voices the CGI bear, who is raised in darkest Peru under the indirect influence of an English explorer; he loves marmalade. He travels to London and finds a place to stay with the Browns (Hugh Bonneville and a delightful Sally Hawkins) and their children, Judy and Jonathan. Villains can often kill the mood in a children's film, but here it's Nicole Kidman as a driven taxidermist, and she makes the role worthwhile. Director and co-writer Paul King includes a few big slapstick moments, but they arise naturally out of the character's unfamiliarity with the civilized world, and only one brief burp/fart joke enters the proceedings. Perhaps the real appeal of this movie is that good manners never go out of style.

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