Immigration. It’s the political hot potato that continues to generate headlines across the UK, and more importantly, it’s the issue at the heart of our first new DVD release of the week – Paddington.
Ben Whishaw voices the titular bear who arrives from darkest Peru seeking refuge and a home among London’s most idyllic upper-middle class streets.
The marmalade-loving furball turns up at Paddington station with nothing but a crumpled hat and an endearing label around his neck, and quickly finds temporary shelter with the kindly, if slightly dysfunctional, Brown family. Disaster and adventure ensue.
Although the gentle warmth of the film sometimes comes across as a little outdated, there’s enough charm among the characters to keep things enjoyable, and enough humour to keep the kids entertained.
The performances are strong throughout the cast, although special mention must be given to the superb Nicole Kidman whose villainous taxidermist is excellent.
Well worth a watch.
Our second DVD release of the week is the hard-boiled crime movie, The Drop.
In his last screen role, James Gandolfini plays Marv, manager of a blue-collar bar that is used as an occasional storage centre for dirty money. Tom Hardy plays his nephew Bob who gets caught up in the drama when this cash is stolen.
The Drop could easily slip into movie cliché territory, but Dennis Lehane’s smart script and Michaël R. Roskam’s impressively-brooding cinematography are matched by fine performances from all the main characters.
It’s not brilliant, and sometimes the tone of the movie seems stuck in one gear, but there is enough going on to keep you interested. A worthy final turn for Gandolfini.