Director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Steven Rogers give us a very dark and damaged story but told as a black comedy. Tonya’s mother is a horrible person, but we can’t wait for the next time she verbally abuses Tonya; and when Jeff starts abusing Tonya physically, we look forward to how she’ll take revenge on her abuser. We shouldn’t be laughing, but Tonya’s white trash life is what great comedy is made of. The film does have big dramatic moments, but for those of us that remember the incident and what followed, it’s hard to feel bad for anyone, except for maybe Nancy Kerrigan.
All the performances are 10’s from the judges, but watch for Robbie and Janney to go to the big show (The Oscars). You can also expect Rogers to get an Oscar nod for his dark and hilarious script. The timing of the release, with the Winter Olympics right around the corner, you should expect this film to go big. I did like the fact that the film isn’t trying to make Tonya the victim of this story. They show you that Tonya made a lot of bad choices in her life, and surrounded herself with terrible people. The best way to watch the film is to get some Eskimo Pies, Dove Bars if you can afford them, some cheap beer and enjoy.
Swanner: 3 1/2 stars
I actually liked the story of Elise facing her own demons, as it were. We see she came from an abusive home where she was not just haunted by ghosts but by a father, who had repressed his own psychic ability, who thinks he can beat these abilities out of her. It’s not a big storyline, but more of a personal story. There are still plenty of scares and the film moves well. Elise’s team/sidekicks (Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell) is where the film loses a bit of steam as they try to add humor to film that is more irritating than funny.
The film is set in 2010, this was the investigation she had right before the original film took place. Kind of a Star Wars: Rogue One for those who follow the Star Wars films. Being the fourth in the series there isn’t a lot of character development and we have gotten use to the way they tease us with scares. Even with that being said, I’ve enjoyed them all for being consistent and dependable. You can expect some good scares and a good story making this a good start to 2018.
Swanner: 2 1/2 stars
Swanner: Paddington 2 starts up where Paddington has settled into living with the Browns. He’s become apart of everyone’s life in the neighborhood, and all’s right with the world. With Paddington’s Aunt Lucy’s birthday approaching, Paddington wants to get her just the right gift. At Mr. Gruber’s antique store he finds a pop-up book of London. Aunt Lucy always wanted to visit London, so Paddington decides to get a job to buy the book. Unfortunately the pop-up book is stolen, the law thinks Paddington is the thief, and sends him to Jail.
Judd: Ben Whishaw returns as Paddington, and the movie is once again unfairly released in January. It’s apparent from the cast that the studio knows this will do very well across the pond, but thinks us uncultured Americans are too boorish to enjoy this charming children’s movie. There are no fart jokes or bears pooping in the woods to entertain our Southern citizens – though Padding does wash windows with his butt, so they are trying for some cross-continental humor.
Swanner: I do have to compliment Whishaw for his charming performance. We’ve talked before that Colin Firth was to have voiced Paddington originally but left the project having Whishaw his replacement. After seeing this sequel I don’t think either film would have been as good if Whishaw wasn’t attached. As you mentioned there’s a terrific all-star cast and Paul King returning as director.
Judd: The movie’s preview give most of the plot away, with Paddington dealing with prison life – which sounds much darker than the actual plot. Brendan Gleason plays Knuckles, who takes Paddington into his protection after Paddington teaches Knuckles how to make marmalade. Meanwhile, The Browns are trying to prove that “under-employed” actor, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), is the actual thief. As in the first, the movie is sweet and endearing because it never goes silly or syrupy. It’s a movie for young children that doesn’t treat them like idiots – something most films of the genre can’t manage.
Swanner: I walked out of the film completely charmed; quite a bit like I felt watching the first films. This is what a children’s film should be like, teaching the lessons of how far you get with kindness, or how sometimes it takes a team to succeed. I hope the American film makers look at this film and see how you really can make a films that can entertain audiences of all ages.
Judd: Agreed. The first movie was a wonderful surprise, and it’s sequel is an actual shock that it it was able to match the lovely warm fuzziness of the first. As long as Paddington stays in London, and doesn’t yearn to have his manners ruined by the Yanks, I’m looking forward to any future adventures of the young bear cub.
Swanner: 3 ½ Stars
Judd: 3 ½ stars