First up is Paddington 2:
A sequel that stands on its own, but is also aware of where it comes from. It is rare that a sequel is as good, or better than the original. Paddington 2 is the first sequel that you do not need to see the first movie to understand what is going on. In fact the only thing to really need to know is Paddington is originally from Peru and was sent to England by his Aunt Lucy. If you are familiar with the books written by Michael Bond or the stop motion animation TV series that began in 1976 then you are all step.
With that being said, I need to point out the the story for Paddington is a solid story, believable, but also just a tad bit over the top. As Paddington is a clumsy bear and a penchant of being over eager to help that lands him into some tight spots, but he means way and because of that he is the most well loved Spectacled Bear in Windsor Gardens.
What's a Spectacled Bear?
A bear native to the Andes Mountains of South America, and if you didn't know it, Paddington was originally supposed to be from darkest Africa, but it was changed to Peru because bears don't live in Africa.
The story of Paddington continues with Paddington wanting to get Aunt Lucy a very special birthday present, a pop-up book of London. The problem is that the book cost $1,000.00, and the bigger problem is that book has been stolen and Paddington is now blamed for the crime.
The Brown's, they are on the case to find he thieve and Paddington is sent to prison where he meets Nuckels and share he's love of Marmalade with hardened criminals. The pop-up book and the little bear from Peru are on a wild chase to find adventure and the real meaning of friendship
For Paddington 2, they created a beautiful story about adventure, friendship, and accepting others even if they are different.
Hugh Grant is a stand out favourite. He is delightful and really makes his mark on the story. I think he had a lot of fun as Phoenix Buchanan and Jim Broadbend as the slightly forgetful but always helpful Mr. Gruber; of course Peter Capaldi was a personal favourite, reprising his role as cranky Mr. Curry. I thought the casting was solid for all of the characters, especially the Browns.
The animation was very fluid and I never felt that Paddington wasn't a part of the live actors, and the bit about the pop-up book with Paddington and Aunt Lucy was adorable and creative way to include Aunt Lucy into the story.
Paddington 2 is a must watch for both kids and adult alike. This is a movie that know no age limit, in my opinion, as there is something that anyone would get out of it.
Next, Lady Bird:
A coming of age movie about Catherine "Lady Bird" McPherson and her mother, Marion.
I loved the trailer for this movie, and because of that I needed to see this movie. It's such a real movie. There exists a place that is this movie and I felt that all of the characters were real people. The story was very real, relate-able story. That was what drew you into Lady Bird's world.
The story of Lady Bird is that she is trying to survive her senior year of high school at a catholic school, with dreams of leaving Sacramento behind, and going to school on the East coast. But there are the standard money problems, mother and daughter arguments, and the poor life choice that all teenagers must face from boys, dating, friends, and sex. All very real things that all of us have had to experience in one way or another.
The writer of this fantastic story, Greta Gerwig makes you feel like you are living in Sacramento, CA in 2002, post 9/11, and at the beginning of the war of terrorism. A scary time for anyone, but especially for a teenager looking to spread her wings and go New York City. Saorise Ronan who plays Lady Bird is so convincing that you would swear she was an American teenager not an Irish actress, even though she was born in The Bronx and later moved to Ireland when she was three. I first encounter Saorise in the Vincent Van Gogh bio-pic, Loving Vincent, which is the first oil painting animated movie. She is also featured in Ed Sheeran's video, Galway Girl.
Also, you haven't seen Laurie Metcalf in a role like this, she is raw in to portrayal of Marion and her chemistry with Saorise and Tracy Letts as Larry McPherson (the Dad) is very powerful.
Greta Gerwig is an amazing writer and director, so I definitely want to see more of her work. So, go out and check it!