In deepest, darkest Peru an explorer stumbles across a family of semi-intelligent bears and tells them about a place called Britain. After an earthquake destroys the family nest, young Paddington Bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) travels to the UK in search of a home. After finding the bear at Paddington Station, the good-natured Brown family provide him with a temporary home. The only thing Paddington must avoid is the evil museum owner Millicent (Nicole Kidman), who has a penchant for stuffed animals. It’s been 56 years since Michael Bond’s furry creation first appeared in print and thankfully, the long wait for Paddington’s film debut has been well worth it.
In an arid, desert-like setting reminiscent of an old western, water has become a scarce and dwindling commodity. In this near-apocalyptic vision of the future, Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon) provides for his son Jerome (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and daughter Mary (Elle Fanning) by trading supplies with the water people who deal in the aforementioned precious resource.
Ernest lives in the hope of returning his land to the lush green fertile fields of his memories through irrigation. Meanwhile, the son of a wealthy local businessman, Flem Lever (Nicholas Holt) has his own designs, for both Ernest’s homestead and his daughter and is willing to achieve them by any means necessary.
Glimpses of future tech, such as the robot walker and the machines that help Ernest’s hospitalised wife, pique the audience’s curiosity, but unfortunately extra plot lines somewhat dissolve the overall strength of the narrative and the central characters are thinly drawn out, relegated to easily recognisable archetypes. Overall, Young Ones is an intriguing, if slightly unfulfilling fusion of frontier western and futuristic sci-fi.
Review by Matt Blackwell
After an extended tour of Afghanistan with the US military, decorated army medic, Maggie Swann (Michelle Monaghan), returns home and struggles to regain the connection with her five-year-old son. It’s a touching drama that sees a dedicated servicewoman and mother struggle with her allegiances between her fellow soldiers and her estranged son. Fort Bliss documents in detail the difficulty of being a woman in what remains largely a man’s world.
In her second directorial outing, Angelina Jolie tells the unbelievable true story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), the rebel who grew up to be an American Olympic star. With the outbreak of World War Two, Louie enlists in the Air Force and goes on to survive a plane crash, 47 days at sea on a raft and then several years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, becoming a hero in the process.
Festive film: A Christmas Carol (1999)
No Christmas is complete without a retelling of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic. Ebenezer Scrooge is a miser who, on the eve of Christmas, is given the chance to mend his ways thanks to visitations from several ghosts. Patrick Stewart plays the miserable and twisted character of Scrooge perfectly, bringing real gravitas to the role.
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