PADDINGTON 2 (not reviewed)

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In order to pay for the relatively expensive pop-up book, Paddington takes on a variety of odd-end jobs to raise the necessary funds, eventually finding his niche as a window washer. There's lots of visual fun to be had, but these are some of the sweetest and the silliest, and are greatly aided by an enchanting score from Dario Marianelli (who won an Oscar for Atonement).

It's there that he finds an old pop-up book of London and sets his sights on earning the money to buy it.

I recommend this light-hearted, feel-good movie to children of all ages, and they should even take their kids with them. Brown knows how to play the stuffy patriarch, but here he is allowed to have some fun with the type, just as Hugh Grant, as a pompous actor of the the-a-tre whose star has fallen so low he has been reduced to acting in dog-food commercials, gets to dress up, speak in amusing voices and generally act the stuck-up goof. This time around, a familiar enough plot awaits us: Paddington's settling into his comfortable life at the Brown family's house in Windsor Gardens.

The most amicable and well-mannered bear, Paddington, is back with another adventure and this time he will make you go aww with his wish to get a gift for Aunt Lucy on her 100th birthday. There he finds the ideal present. Paddington is blamed for the crime and is sent to prison, leaving it to the Brown family to uncover the mysterious thief. Thankfully Paddington 2 lives up to those standards and rises above the average sequel.

Now things are not all that good with Paddington as there are people that do not like him. Buchanan pinches the book for clues to a hidden fortune. He said most children loved the film, "but my own children loathed it". Furthermore, because of this, each member feels like less of a distinct personality; during the opening credits Paddington gives a swift narration getting us up to speed on what they each have been up to, but it surprisingly becomes irrelevant until being mentioned again in the ending.

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But the real draw of Paddington and his friends are the warm, cute characters straight out of a bed time story book. Will Knuckles and the inmates prove they do love Paddington after all?

But unfortunately, unbeknownst to Paddington, there is someone else who has been eyeing the book. However, his comic sensibilities, which always lean towards sarcasm (arguably, Grant's best performance is as the acidic lead in the 2002 dramedy About a Boy), fit in squarely with Paddington 2's sly tone. This film is a great movie for the whole family. Meanwhile, Grant gets to have a blast chewing the scenery as Phoenix Buchanan, a wonderfully cartoonish and vain (faded) actor whose knack for vanishing into costumed roles serves him well when he tries his hand at being a crook. "If we are all kind and polite, the world will be right".

On the trail to the treasureCourtesy of Warner Bros. Not only is the CGI good, but the emotions you experience really pulls you out of your chair and grabs your attention. After having solved the filmmaking problem of "rave critical reviews + glowing audience response = success" with "Paddington" in 2015, much of the same creative team is back for a sequel that improves upon its impressive original installment. King's success with the first Paddington movie naturally raised expectations for his followup, and the sequel not only clears that bar, it's an improvement in most every respect.

"Paddington 2" was originally meant to be distributed in the United States by The Weinstein Company, but following the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Harvey Weinstein, producers began looking for another American distributor.

"Paddington 2" opens in theaters on Friday, January 12. Those that have seen the first movie know that Paddington is incredibly well-mannered and wants to please everyone he meets.

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