Film Review: The Marmalade Challenge to celebrate #Paddington2DVD

If you are a regular reader you’ll know just how much we loved Paddington 2 when we went along to the press screening. Its a fantastic feel good movie which is perfect for the whole family. It’s so good its nominated for 3 BAFTAs! If you didn’t get a chance to see it at the cinema then you’ll be pleased to hear that its out from today on digital download, DVD, Blu-ray and 4k UHD + Blu- ray. My kids are thrilled as they’ll now be able to watch it over and over again.

paddington2

To celebrate the release we were asked if we’d like to take part in the Marmalade Challenge to design our very own marmalade sandwiches. Now, this was a tricky one- do you go traditional? Off the wall? or shaped? My kids threw some spanners or curve balls at it as they pondered whether marmalade is better on sourdough or traditional bread. Hmm, tricky! This left us with no choice but to try a selection over the weekend, using low sugar marmalade of course. We concluded that the best marmalade sandwiches are traditional white sandwich tin bread (from the bakers not the processed stuff from the shop), but we also give you the option of wholemeal here. Let me know what you fancy the most in  the comments.

Since its the perfect film for our Friday movie nights I anticipate making a lot of marmalade sandwiches!

About the Film

The much-anticipated sequel to the worldwide hit family film finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief…

Paddington’s biggest adventure yet sees Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson joining the all-star returning cast of Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Ben Whishaw as the voice of the beloved bear.

A Heyday Films and STUDIOCANAL production, Paddington’s return to our screens is helmed by BAFTA nominated director Paul King (PADDINGTON, COME FLY WITH ME, THE MIGHTY BOOSH) written by Paul King and Simon Farnaby (YONDERLAND and MINDHORN). 

PADDINGTON 2 is produced by multi award-winning David Heyman (producer of all eight of the HARRY POTTER films, GRAVITY, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM).

The PADDINGTON 2 Blu-Ray and DVD Extras include a director’s commentary, ‘Rain on the Roof’ with Phoenix Buchanan (Full Screen), Paddington 2: The Challenges of Making the Film & a BAFTA Q&A with David Heyman, Paul King, Simon Farnaby, Hugh Grant and Pablo Grillo. iTunes Extras include exclusive junket interviews with Cast & Crew.

PADDINGTON 2 is nominated for three 2018 British Academy Film Awards: ‘Best British Film’, ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’: Hugh Grant, and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’: Simon Farnaby and Paul King.

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Film Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Long Haul

This weekend we went to an advance screening of the latest chapter in the Dairy of a Wimpy Kid franchise. This was hotly anticipated in our house because my kids absolutely love the other films and the books are some of the few which my reluctant reader loves. You can go along this weekend and see it as it opens in cinemas on 20th May.

In this film the Heffley family go on a road trip to his grandma’s 90th birthday party and a few things happen along the way.

One of the things which the children were worried about was whether or not a new cast would work. Greg from the other films is just more likeable somehow and the rest of the cast dont have the same chemistry as the cast from the other films. I liked Alicia Silverstones’s mum who frankly reminded me of someone I know, she even has the same glasses. However, on re-watching a bit of the first film in the franchise I can see that this cast just haven’t captured the essence of the books at all.

My daughter (8) pointed out to me that Rowley doesn’t feature really at all in this film. This is a massive shame as he does feature so heavily in the books and she would have liked to have seen more of him.

Greg is asked for a selfie thanks to his ‘diaper hands’ fame

In terms of the storyline, I enjoyed it and thought there were some laugh out loud moments. The rest of the family not so much, I think its because I haven’t read the books or really watched the other films so for me its quite a stand alone movie. A bit like National Lampoon but without the chemistry, or the 1980’s.

Its hard to review a film which is such an iconic part of a franchise and is an entirely new cast because it is never going to live up to the original. One the one hand, it wasn’t the best film i’ve watched this year, however it did have me laughing out loud at several points. On the other hand, the kids who are massive fans thought it was ok, but didn’t live up to the books and the casting didn’t quite match their expectations. As a result I’d suggest that this is a wet Sunday afternoon sort of film, its not offensive (apart from the scene with the fairground ride and sick incident which nearly caused my daughter to leave the cinema) but its not something to rush and see with high expectations.

My last thought- how did I get so old that Alicia Silverstone is now playing a mum to teenagers?

Learn to draw like Jeff Kinney:

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Film Review: The Boss Baby

This Easter there is a fab new must see film for you to enjoy. The Boss Baby is a new  comedy  from Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks Animation and the director of Madagascar about the arrival of a new baby to the household told from the baby’s point of view. We’re really excited about going to see this one, after we saw the trailer the older kids thought it was just like their little brother who was and still is, the boss in our household!

“Let’s just say… I’m the boss!” – The Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin)

Featuring the voice talents of Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow and from the director of Madagascar, The Boss Baby is due to arrive in cinemas this weekend.

Have a look at the trailer here and do leave a comment when you see it, i’d love to hear your thoughts.

T

Film Review: Swallows and Amazons

swallows and amazonsVery rarely a children’s film comes along which as an adult you love. This is one of those films.

Swallows and Amazons is one of my favourite children’s books and I must admit that I was slightly worried that the film would not do it justice. I didn’t need to worry, the film does justice to the book and manages that difficult feat that you find with some of these classic books in making it accessible to this generation of children.

The story tells us about a family who have a holiday in the Lake District. Their father a sailor is out at sea and they are alone with their mum. Resolved to have an adventure they take a small sailing boat out onto the lake to reach an island where they can camp. This is the stuff of dreams, I cant think of any children nowadays who would be allowed such a privilege. Their boat is called the Swallow and they meet some pirates (local children) called the Amazons. Together they end up embroiled in a spy drama. Its about friendship, sibling relationships, pulling together, coping with adversity and much more. For me it was about reliving my childhood dreams of adventure, for my own children it was about the relationships between the children.

Have a look at the trailer:

This is a beautifully directed, thoughtful film with an excellent script. The scenery of the lakes, alongside the carefully considered costume add to the overall feel. The adult stars  Rafe Spall, Andrew Scott and Kelly Macdonald perform their roles brilliantly, but the children are clearly the real stars of the film, especially little Roger who reminded myself and my husband of our third child. The dialogue between the children was spot on, so much so that the children came out remarking how they thought their conversations (and general dynamics) were very similar to our household.

Once in a while we go to a movie where all of us come out smiling and remarking how brilliant it was. This was one of those films. I want to go on holiday to the Lake District now and to be little and to sail a small boat to an island and camp. I guess we could do some of those things.

Swallows and Amazons Cast and crewWe were really fortunate to have the cast, writer, producer and director introduce the film for us. They clearly cared about making this film and how to correctly convey the essence of the book and you could see their pride. I can see why as they have produced what has to be one of the best films of the summer.

You must go and see this film, you wont be disappointed its simply brilliant. You can see it in cinemas from August 19th

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Film Review: The BFG

I date many of the things I remember in my childhood by the Steven Spielberg film which was out at the cinema at the time. My sister loved ET and I remember her being in reception at school whilst I was learning to read. She got an ET keyring after seeing the movie and we both cried about ET going home. Raiders of the Lost Ark made archaeology seem glamorous and perhaps influenced my future career as an archaeologist. Twister was at the cinema when I was at uni and so on. So you can imagine how exciting it was to be invited along to the UK premiere of The BFG.

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The photo above shows us sitting by the tree from Giant Country. The whole of Leicester Square was transformed into Giant Country and it was absolutely magical. That wasn’t all the children were thrilled to meet Lindsay from Blue Peter who told us that they were covering the premiere on the programme so do watch out for that!

The BFG is one of my favourite Roald Dahl books, I’ve written a lot on this blog about how brilliant his books are. Not least because you can read them and enjoy them as much as an adult as you  can as a child. Its basically the story of orphan Sophie ( loosely based on Sophie Bfg1Dahl the authors grand-daughter) and her dreamlike adventures with a Big Friendly Giant. If you’ve read it you wont need me to say anymore, if you haven’t – well- I wouldn’t want to spoil it.

The film features Mark Rylance as The Giant, a role which he performs superbly and Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. They both give brilliant performances and the mix of animation and live action does work surprisingly well. There are some real visual treats and an epic music score. We all loved the fact that Sophie had a northern accent, a treat since we had assumed she would be American.

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However, as much as I’d love to say that we really, really, really loved the movie, it was just a little too long. It seemed a little bit like a series of scenes threaded together and I found myself counting down the plot points from the book. Now, that said, I read the book many years ago and my 9 year old happens to be reading it at the moment. He tells me that it isn’t quite the same story as the book in places- inevitable- but I guess this could be a bit disappointing for big fans (I’d have to read the book to check though).

From what I recall, The BFG was quite a multilayered book and is actually really quite dark, even sinister in places. The brilliance of the books is that they are just that little bit un-nerving. I think this is where the movie goes wrong, because it all feels a little bit Hollywood and magical. Its a beautiful looking movie and there is a fairytale ending. It just didn’t feel quite like the book felt when I recall reading it, or how my 9 year old feels reading it at the moment.

Overall, we enjoyed the movie. It isn’t a bad movie, it works in lots of ways and is a good film. I suspect its just not for hardcore Dahl fans and more for Spielberg fans. To be honest I’m wondering if i’ve finally grown out of Spielberg. The kids liked it, I suspect they wouldn’t put it at the top of their list of this summers recommended cinema viewing but it wont be at the bottom. A firm 3.5/5 from us.

Synopsis

From the imaginations of two of the world’s greatest storytellers, Roald Dahl and Steven Spielberg, THE BFG tells the extraordinary tale of a young girl named Sophie (played by British newcomer Ruby Barnhill) and the Big Friendly Giant (played by Oscar Winner Mark Rylance) who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Together they embark on a marvellous and buckswashling adventure filled with snozzcumbers, dream jars, frobscottle and even the Queen! The mismatched pair form an unlikely friendship that will inspire enormous bravery in the BFG and give Sophie a taste of the family she dreams of.

Directed by three-time Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, the film reunites the director with his Oscar-nominated collaborator on “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” Melissa Mathison, who adapted the childrens author’s timeless adventure for the big screen. “The BFG” is produced by Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer with Kathleen Kennedy, John Madden, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Michael Siegel serving as executive producers.

The film stars three-time Tony Award®, two-time Olivier Award, BAFTA and Oscar® winner Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant; Penelope Wilton as the Queen; Comedians Jemaine Clement and Bill Hader as Fleshlumpeater and Bloodbottler; Rebecca Hall as Mary, the Queen’s handmaid; Rafe Spall as Mr. Tibbs, the Queen’s butler; and introduces newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie.

The story was first published in 1982 and has been enchanting readers of all ages ever since. Dahl’s books, which also include “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Matilda” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” are currently available in 58 languages and have sold over 200 million copies worldwide.

The BFG will visit cinemas across the UK & Ireland from July 22nd, 2016.