Paul McGuire Grimes of Paul’s Trip to the Movies reviews two new movies in theaters and one home release. One of the movies gets his highest rating…five out of five ticket stubs!
PHANTOM THREAD (theatrical release)
Set in London in the 1950s, Reynolds Woodcock is a world-renowned designer and dressmaker. To call his work special would underscore the effect and power they have on the women who are fortunate enough to wear a Woodcock original. When his seamstresses are seen wearing smocks as part of their uniform, you get the distinct impression he is very particular about his work and what all goes on at the House of Woodcock. His trademark is to keep something hidden in each garment as a secret. It’s a remembrance piece for his mother as the pain of her death still resides in him. Reynolds is a self-described bachelor who claims he is not suited for marriage. His solo lifestyle is questioned when he meets Alma, a young waitress who he engages with in some innocent flirting at her restaurant. Alma goes on to become his muse and lover disturbing the ritualistic way he lives his life. What should be a joyous next chapter for Reynolds becomes a painful annoyance for the kind of genius who can’t be bothered by anyone else’s opinions or daily habits.
-Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville
-Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood) is a kind of writer and director who never takes the easy way out. Every frame, sound effect, and performance is made with a specific intention behind it at times disrupting the audiences’ ideas for where you think his movies are headed
-He makes the film a sensual feast, as that is how Reynolds sees and lives his life. Anderson makes the audience acutely aware of every texture, sound, and mood to feel every pain and joy Reynolds experiences.
-Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the greatest actors of our time. He’s a man of extreme dedication to his work emanating a raw intensity in every moment. Somehow he never loses site of himself, the actor, at the same time. At first you want to love and adore his character, but as he slowly starts to show his full hand, he makes the character extremely hard to like. He makes you shift your focus to the women in the movie and how they shine as the heroes of the story.
-The movie’s score is the best piece of movie music from all last year. It’s beautiful, lyrical, and haunting. It not only compliments the movie, but also feels like its part of the movie’s soul as if the movie was written as a response to the music.
-It has that Old Hollywood/film noir vibe that’s exquisite from frame one until the shocking ending taking the audience on a fascinating visit into the House of Woodcock. It goes in some unexpected directions asking if a character like Reynolds Woodcock can be changed by love or if he even knows how to love.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? If this is Daniel Day-Lewis’ last movie, then he retires with a masterpiece bookending his illustrious career.
RATING: 5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
PADDINGTON 2 (theatrical release)
Paddington Bear has settled down a bit and feeling more and more welcome in his quaint London neighborhood with the Brown family. Everybody in the neighborhood knows and loves him except the cranky Mr. Curry. Paddington is in search of the perfect gift for his Aunt Lucy who is celebrating her 100th birthday. She means the world to him, so he must find just the right gift for her. It’s at an antique shop where he spots a pop-up book displaying the magic and wonder of London. It comes with a pretty lofty price tag, but he is determined to buy it for his aunt to show her his appreciation for everything she has done for him. He decides to work odd jobs around the neighborhood like washing windows, cleaning gutters, and dog grooming in hopes of saving up the money. One night he is witness to a break in when a mysterious man lurks into the antique shop and steals the very book he wants to buy for Aunt Lucy. His attempt to catch the thief goes horribly awry when he is arrested for the crime instead. Paddington is then sent to jail, while Phoenix Buchanan, the real culprit is out on the loose. Buchanan is an out-of-work actor and master of disguises who believes the secrets in the pop-up book could lead to a hidden treasure.
-Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Brendan Gleeson, Peter Capaldi
-The first Paddington movie is streaming on Netflix if you need a refresher
-Ben Whishaw is impeccable at voicing Paddington. He brings a great sense of wonder and awe to the bear that is genuinely optimistic and full of love for everyone in his life.
-Great to see Hugh Grant in the villain role. He never takes himself too seriously as he loosens up and makes for a devilishly fun master of disguises. He makes for a better villain than Nicole Kidman did in the first movie.
-Part of the film’s success is how carefully it brings author Michael Brown’s characters to life. The animation for Paddington is so impressive at capturing his innocence and the playful mayhem that he gets into.
-This film really reminded me of a kid-friendly version of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel with Paddington’s attempt to break out of jail.
-Refreshing to see a kids movie with strong family themes built around a character that just wants to do something special for his loved ones.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Wholesome family fun full of humor, charm, and a little adventure along the way.
RATING: 3 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
IT (home release)
For Bill Denbrough the horrors all started after the death of his kid brother Georgie. The town of Derry, Maine has been experiences these same tragedies for decades. It was down pouring one afternoon when Georgie decided to play outside with his toy paper boat as he watched he float down the water current. It floated right down in to the sewer drain, and as he attempts to save it, a clown appears attempting to play with Georgie. Instead of innocent playing, Georgie is eaten and sucked into the sewers by Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Over the next year Bill is determined to try to find Georgie while he’s dealing with end of school freedom during summer break. He has a good group of friends, each outcast in their own way giving them the nickname “The Losers Club.” As the summer days progress each becomes haunted with their own fears and demons culminating with the sight of Pennywise. More kids start to go missing in Derry and Bill becomes determined that the only way to cope with Georgie’s death and prevent the death of more kids is for the Losers Club to band together and kill Pennywise once and for all.
-The highest-grossing horror movie of all time at the box office.
-Based on the Stephen King book. Unlike the book and 1990 mini-series, this film does not go back and forth between the two timelines. It focuses only on the kid’s timeline and will save the Losers Club as adults for the second movie.
-Set in 1988 and 1989, taking on that Stranger Things vibe which was actually inspired by Stephen King. Could also be thought of as a dark, grim version of Stand By Me or The Goonies.
-The strength and bond between the friends is the focus of the film as opposed to just making it about a scary clown. You grow to really feel for what they’re going through knowing they’re all they have in this small town.
-The script feels in tune with how Stephen King shapes his characters. There is hilarious banter back and forth between them. I found myself laughing far more than I had anticipated. It’s the kind of ribbing you’d expect from boys on the verge of adolescence.
-Bill Skarsgard is frightening as Pennywise. It’s a very different kind of take on the character than what Tim Curry did in the mini-series. There are more visual effects used this time around which takes away from the “realism” that make Tim Curry so scary.