20 November 2017Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Paddington 2. Three years after the amazing original movie Paddington bursts back onto our screen. Full of good intentions, his naivety lands him in hot water and he finds himself locked up with everyone trying to clear his name. All our old favourites are back, Hugh Bonneville as Mr Brown, Julie Walters as Mrs Bird and Peter Capaldi as Mr Curry among others, however I think the real human star of the show was Hugh Grant, who played the dastardly Phoenix Buchanan with aplomb. Phoenix is a washed up actor reduced to doing dog food commercials who takes advantage of Paddington and makes you want to yell Boo Hiss from the audience. There is some brilliant acting from everyone who is interacting with Paddington, you wouldn’t know there wasn’t a real talking bear there. A great film for all the family to enjoy, oh and stay sat down for the credits on this one!!!
20 November 2017First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – The Death of Stalin. I saw one trailer for this which led to me to think this might be a film worth watching, yet the first twenty minutes or so made me think I had made a terrible mistake, it was fairly boring to be honest’ but I stuck with it and what developed was quite a passable film filled with humour and drama Andean not short of stars. The time is just before the death of Stalin and then the chaos that follows. The film depicts the power struggles that took place after his death. I have little to no knowledge of Russian History but that did not make any difference, I only recognised one or two of the Russian names but knowing that actors made it perfectly easy to follow the plot. I had a sense of watching Monty Python, which was cemented by the arrival of Michael Palin on the screen. It was very clever not to use Russian accents throughout, in fact this added to the comedic value. I think this will be equally entertaining on big or small screen, perhaps Sunday afternoon viewing with a hot chocolate and a roaring fire.
13 November 2017Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Wonder. Today is world kindness day and a link appeared on Facebook offering free tickets at cinemas across the country to see a special pre-release preview of this beautiful film. Wonder is the story of Auggie Pullman who is born different. Home schooled, his mother feels it’s time for him to enter mainstream education and he joins the 5th grade. People can be cruel and kids can be cruellest of all and Auggie struggles in a world where everyone stares and whispers and even bullies. It’s not only Auggie who struggles however, as the film progresses we are told the story from different angles, that of Auggie himself, his sister, his sister’s friend and his own new friend. All have issues which are both affected and unaffected by the way Auggie looks. This is a heartwarming tale, based on a New York Times bestselling book. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson play the parents who love their son fiercely and ache for his anguish and rejoice in his successes as he finds his way in the world of the 5th grade. I urge you to go and see this, easy to watch and the characters are all endearing in their own way, even the bullies. I believe it’s on general release at the beginning of December.
6 November 2017Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Murder on The Orient Express. I have never read any Agatha Christie book and I have never seen any Hercule Poirot films or programs, so I came into this film completely blind. I had no knowledge of who was killed, nor of who the killer was. This star-studded production although not edge of the seat viewing was a good solid murder mystery. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also took the starring role, and produced by among others, Ridley Scott (of Bladerunner fame) this whodunnit was extremely watchable. Good solid performances were given by everyone including the simply smashing Dame Judi Dench. I always suspect it’s hard to give an edge to a new adaptation of something seen and loved before, and equally hard to make such a confined set large enough to bring it to life on the big screen. This was achieved rather well, we all hark back to those days of grand travel in beautiful rolling stock, with waiter service and a decadence long since lost on the modern rail system. That’s why these films work, they give us chance to explore our imaginations and enhance our dreams. Watching a recent interview with Branagh on The Graham Norton show, he said they built a whole set for the derailed train, mountain, bridge, tunnel etc and the results were spectacular. I googled the film and looked at how many people were involved in the production and post production and all the different jobs, take a look sometime, it’s fascinating and easy to see why film making is such a big industry. Only one criticism, what exactly was that growing on Branagh’s face and why did it appear to change colour half way through the film……..he seemed to go more grey overnight.
30 October 2017Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Breathe. Starring the very talented Andrew Garfield this is the true story of Robin Cavendish who contracted polio in Africa in 1958. Paralysed from the neck down and only remaining alive because he was attached to a respirator he fell into a depression and wished to be allowed to die. With the aid of his wife Diana (played by Claire Foy) who absolutely refused to give up on him, he left the hospital and managed to live a life which enabled him to be at home with his family and watch his son grow up. Not content to stay at home he enlisted the help of a talented inventor friend (Hugh Bonneville) to help him become more mobile and this enabled him to travel and to show other polio patients that there could be life outside their hospital beds. Films based on true stories are almost always touching and emotional and this was no exception. An absolutely astounding piece of acting from Andrew Garfield, who for 80% of the film could only give us the character of Robin by moving his eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth, yet he portrayed this character with sensitivity and compassion without coming across as too sentimental. Andy Serkis made his directorial debut on this film , and it was co produced by Jonathan Cavendish, son of Robin and Diana.
30 October 2017First Film of Choice at The Plaza Tonight – Thor: Ragnarok. This is another outing for Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and a very welcome return it is too. Joining him is the enigmatic Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Mark Ruffolo as Banner/Hulk and Idris Elba reprising his role as Heimdall. We once again find ourselves immersed in a gladiatorial contest between good and bad with Thor the central character binding it all together. This outing to Asgard is very much more slapstick than the previous ones and there are many more moments of genuine mirth amongst all the fighting and slaying. Having said that, it in no way detracts from the story and from the core characters that have formed the stable of Marvel stories over the years. Add one Jeff Goldblum as a larger than life caricature of himself into the mix and you have a thoroughly entertaining film. I want to see this again and soon. Oh and people……it’s a Marvel film…..stay until the end of the credits!!!!!!
26 November 2017Film of Choice at The Plaza tonight – Geostorm. This is a classic case of a trailer misleading the audience as to the content of the film. Now I love a good disaster movie, no matter how badly made, and after seeing the trailer for this film I thought we had the next step on from The Day After Tomorrow or 2012, I was not altogether wrong, but I was far from right. Without giving anything away the world comes together to create a solution to bring the planets’ out of control weather systems back into some kind of order. This is done using a massive network of satellites controlled by the International Space Station. When one of the satellites malfunctions it cause a weather anomaly on the ground which is reported as tragic, but when more start to fail suspicions are raised and it seems something more sinister may be at work. We have as the head of our group of heroes the marvellously enigmatic Gerard Butler, who plays the man who invented the whole weather controlling system. Saving the world is written into the script but there is also an underlying story of a man unable to fit in the world and form a meaningful relationship with either his brother or his daughter. Although incredible corny in parts,this film is exciting and totally unexpected in its delivery. Once again the biggest stars are the guys in charge of special effects. Big action movies like this cannot hope to get off the ground without these guys and their computers. Great on the big screen, worth a rewatch at a later date.