Saturday, Oct 19, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 43 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 19, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 03
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Magnificent Paddington 2 a candy-colored treat
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

PADDINGTON 2
Now playing


Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) loves his life with the Brown family. They in turn have accepted him as another member of their clan. Heck, so has the entire neighborhood, everyone from the forgetful Dr. Jafri (Sanjeev Bhaskar), to the bubbly Miss Kitts (Jessica Hynes), to the lonely Colonel Lancaster (Ben Miller), to the charming Mademoiselle Dubois (Marie-France Alvarez), to the gregarious Mr. Barnes (Robbie Gee) embracing the Peruvian bear as one of their own, imagining their daily lives without him impossible.

But after a break-in at Mr. Gruber's (Jim Broadbent) antique shop, former movie star turned neighborhood celebrity Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) claims to have witnessed Paddington robbing the store. With his paw prints everywhere and the bear freely admitting he was in Mr. Gruber's place, stating under oath to have gone inside only after seeing another mysterious figure breaking in, the cranky Judge Gerald Biggleswade (Tom Conti) has no other choice but to send the Brown family's furriest member to prison. But while he attempts to make the best of what is undeniably a bad situation, Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins), her husband Henry (Hugh Bonneville), her mother Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) and their children Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) will not rest until Paddington is free, investigating the crime for themselves and discovering the secretive Buchanan might not have been entirely truthful with his testimony during the trial.

If 2014's Paddington was a pleasantly heartfelt surprise that did real justice to author Michael Bond's timeless stories featuring everyone's favorite blue coat and red hat wearing bear, then Paddington 2 is an outright revelation. To put it more bluntly, this sequel is what The Godfather Part II is to The Godfather, what The Empire Strikes Back is to Star Wars, what Before Sunset is to Before Sunrise. It is an immediate, undeniably wonderful instant classic that starts off 2018 here in the United States on an endearingly enchanting high, and it's hard to believe less than a dozen days into a new year I've already watched a motion picture I can honestly proclaim is worthy of being considered for my December top ten list, and we've still got roughly 50 weeks of movie watching left to go!

I do have to say, 'Here in the United States,' because Paddington 2 did open in England to rave reviews last November. Not only that, it was recently nominated for BAFTA Awards (the British version of the Oscars) for Outstanding British Film of the Year, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Hugh Grant. Even more importantly, it deserved all three noms. Returning writer/director Paul King and his entire creative team (most notably co-writer Simon Farnaby) outdo themselves with this sequel, filling the movie with so much intelligence, heart, whimsy, emotion and, most importantly, kindness watching it proves to be an absolute joy I didn't want to see come to an end.

Grant is having a blast as the flamboyant Phoenix Buchanan. But where he could have just decided to play things as over the top and as cartoonishly theatrical as humanly possible, instead the veteran actor chooses to give an actual bona fide performance. He infuses this nefarious villain of a thousand faces with a maniacally driven wherewithal that's a continual delight. More, Grant shows an affinity and respect for the material, fitting right into the work King has so expertly constructed for him to be a part of with a determined enthusiasm that's just plain marvelous.

Of course, the same could also be said for the returning cast members, Hawkins, Bonneville, Walters, Harris and Joslin in particular. They are the Browns, the way they collectively show such genuine affection for Paddington, how they so selflessly welcome him into the center of their hearts with such festive grace, it's all just so beguilingly authentic, each of them disappearing so completely it's hard not to believe they're a real family. I just adored the way they so altruistically rally to the bear's defense, in the process showing the audience how to be better human beings just by accepting others for who they are and not expecting them to be anything else but that.

The stuff in the prison feels like it was pulled out of some Wes Anderson stylishly imaginative fever-dream, the whole section a mad cross of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Yet King never loses the core sensibilities of Bond's source material. In fact, the prison, thanks to some timely marmalade and a newfound yen for deliciously sugary pastry, becomes a candy-colored playground of pink pastels, flowery table settings and bite-sized teacakes. It all makes sense, and in this world where a talking Peruvian bear can make friends and become a valuable member of the community this is an important element that cannot be underappreciated.

Whishaw continues to voice Paddington with magnificent restraint, while a central plot strand concerning his beloved Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton), about to celebrate her 100th birthday, no less, brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it again now as I sit here writing this review. There's also a climactic chase involving a pair of locomotives, a window washing ladder and a pop-up book that's energetically sublime, many of the various characters introduced throughout the film coming together in a way that's merrily wondrous. I might even go so far as to proclaim Paddington 2 pretty much perfect, but let me indulge in one more marmalade sandwich before I make the decision to say just that.


Lively Den of Thieves a derivative heist thriller
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

DEN OF THIEVES
Now playing


Detective 'Big' Nick O'Brien (Gerard Butler) runs the Major Crimes Unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. He's aggressive, belligerent, violent and could care less if he or his men burn a few bridges as they go about bringing down career criminal crews while they're in the middle of their latest high-profile robbery. Even though he's a drunk and his home life is a bona fide mess, Big Nick likes to think he's a good cop, all of his efforts going into doing his job instead of being a better husband or father.

Former Marine Ray Merriman (Pablo Schreiber) is one of the best thieves in the business. He runs the tightest crew in L.A., his group responsible for some of the most profitable, and still unsolved, bank robberies and heists the city has ever seen. Now, with the help of getaway driver Donnie Wilson (O'Shea Jackson Jr.), a newcomer to his team who makes an immediate impression, Merriman is planning his coup de grace. He and his men are going to steal millions right out from under the nose of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Even better, he's going to do it in a way that all but guarantees the government won't even realize they've been robbed.

Following in the footsteps of Michael Mann's 1995 classic Heat (not to mention coming quick on the heels of John Hillcoat's Triple 9 released last February), director Christian Gudegast, the screenwriter behind London has Fallen and A Man Apart making his directorial debut, attempts to revitalize the cops and robbers melodrama with the testosterone-filled action-thriller Den of Thieves. Featuring a solid cast of grizzled character actors (which includes the likes of Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, Evan Jones, Jordan Bridges, Mo McRae and Brian Van Holt), the movie certainly looks authentic, and as such the filmmaker is able to craft an aura of imminent violence that's decidedly palpable for every second of his film's epic 140-minute running time.

Pity it's all so unrelentingly dumb, clichéd and devoid of a single new idea. Gudegast and co-writer Paul Scheuring's (The Experiment) script is a giant mess that creates archetypes instead of complex three-dimensional characters, more concerned with coming up with unforeseen twists and turns that will hopefully spin this overly familiar scenario on its head than it is in grounding things in anything even slightly plausible. Big Nick and his team do things that would not just get them fired, but would likely put them in jail alongside the criminals they're chasing. Merriman is billed as criminal genius yet he never makes the obvious move to eliminate the one major obstacle that could lead to him getting caught or killed.

It doesn't matter that Butler and Schreiber play their respective characters with conviction and strength. It doesn't matter that a handful of individual moments lead to a smidgen of insight that makes these men far more interesting than they eventually turn out to be. It doesn't matter that Gudegast stages his action scenes with an eye for detail, the level of intensity he engineers for a climactic shootout and during the actual Federal Reserve heist itself both undeniably exciting. None of that matters, however, because the movie is so brain dead, so filled with bad ideas and lame plot devices, that maintaining interest in what is going on and why, let alone caring about who is going to survive until the end, is practically impossible.

There is one exception, and thankfully it is a major one. Jackson, so terrific in Straight Outta Compton and amusingly memorable in Ingrid Goes West, is fantastic, adding a layer of mischievous gravitas to his portrayal of Donnie that's enthralling. It isn't even a question that he's the film's most interesting character, this man is far more than he appears to be, and as such there's a constant sense that there is more going on behind his eyes and inside his head than initially meets the eye. Jackson registers these nuances with ease, and almost all on his own he made me enjoy what was going on far more than I otherwise would have.

Make no mistake, there is amusement to be found in watching Butler do his best over-the-top Al Pacino impersonation, the action veteran having so much fun wallowing around in the muck and mire of Gudegast and Scheuring's screenplay it's hard not to enjoy what he's doing. The film's sound design is also extraordinary, while Cliff Martinez's (Only God Forgives, Drive) suitably visceral score adds an atmosphere of edgy uncertainty I couldn't resist. Finally, I really did love the actual heist, and while the sequence doesn't compare to the one in Rififi, there are at least elements of it that do deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as that 1955 classic.

Unfortunately, none of these items that I found pleasing or that I felt worked about the movie mean I think anyone should rush out to a theatre to see it. Den of Thieves is way too derivative of similar motion pictures (most notably the aforementioned Heat) and features a script that continually presents the majority of its characters as short-tempered nincompoops who could barely plan a birthday party or catch the common cold let alone plan the heist of the Federal Reserve or capture hardened criminals in the act of participating in a heinous crime. There's fun to be had, that's a certainty, just not enough of it to make Gudegast's flashy debut anything more than a moderately intriguing, yet still instantly forgettable, ill-plotted curiosity.








Così fan tutte a problematic opera for our times
------------------------------
2018 Academy Award nominations predictions
------------------------------
Seattle Theater Writers announce the (Seventh Annual) 2017 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards nominations!
------------------------------
Timon of Athens would be a 1%-er now
------------------------------
Broadway stars Jeremy Jordan and Betsy Wolfe get double standing ovations at Seattle Symphony Pops' 'Broadway Today' concert
------------------------------
Così fan tutte at Seattle Opera mines the work's complexity
------------------------------
2018 SALISH SEA EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL

Seven programs of early music on period instruments in Seattle

------------------------------
Seattle Humane - Pets of the Week
------------------------------
Children's Film Festival Seattle welcomes all families Jan 25-Feb 10
------------------------------
Washington Ensemble Theatre presents Young Jean Lee's Straight White Men
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Help create a social and support network for LGBT veterans
------------------------------
Cyndi Lauper to perform with Rod Stewart this summer at White River Amphitheater

Mary Lambert to appear at Pizza Klatch benefit in Olympia on February 3

------------------------------
Magnificent Paddington 2 a candy-colored treat
------------------------------
Lively Den of Thieves a derivative heist thriller
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1707 23rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News 2018 - DigitalTeamWorks 2018

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News