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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Jupiter Ascending & Paddington

Dearest Blog, with no Hobbit and nary a single decent-looking new release, there was really nothing to draw me to the cinema this weekend aside from the fact that I couldn't imagine sitting out two weekends in a row. Since I also lacked the wherewithal to sit through two stinkers in a row, I paired one of the weekend newbies with my sadly-neglected Paddington.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.

First on my agenda, the comically horrible Jupiter Ascending.

Mila Kunis stars as a seemingly-normal Earthling whose life is endangered when she discovers she's universal royalty.

Dear reader(s), I shan't insult your intelligence by trying to tell you Jupiter Ascending isn't a mess; in fact, it is the cinema equivalent of your family room after the Super Bowl party, the Mall on Black Friday, Morgantown after a big game. I spent a good portion of the movie trying to determine whether the acting is literally the worst in history, or if the dialogue is just so poorly written there was nothing the actors could do with it.

Come next week he'll likely be an Oscar winner, but Eddie Redmayne is an embarrassment, a strangely-sweaty version of Gary Oldman's most over-the-top mid-90s baddie. I adore Sean Bean and Mila Kunis, but I hope they both fired their agents for getting them into this! Curious that a guylinered Channing Tatum, hardly the most respected name among the cast, was pretty much the only one who didn't make me cringe.

The story is a jumbled disaster that sometimes drags worse than the slowest David Cronenberg slog. A chase scene at the beginning is so long and repetitive that I fell asleep twice and woke up while it was still going. Having said all that, Jupiter Ascending is still oddly entertaining at times.

The sets and effects aren't anything special, but they are often very pretty, as are some of the costumes. There are plenty of funny moments--intentional and not--and (at risk of sounding girly) Kunis and Tatum make an adorable couple; it's not hard to root for them.

Jupiter Ascending clocks in at 127 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content, and partial nudity."

Bad as it is, I didn't hate it. How's that for backhanded praise? Of a possible nine Weasleys, Jupiter Ascending gets four and a half.

Next up was Paddington.

A young bear from "darkest Peru" comes to London looking for a home.

I admit, for a movie about which I'd been pretty excited, I've been shamefully neglectful of Paddington.

Its schedule never seemed to work with other movies I wanted to see, and, after a couple weeks, I'd sort of resigned myself to waiting for DVD. I am so glad I didn't! My first thought upon seeing a Paddington trailer was, "Please don't mess this up." When Colin Firth jumped ship (to be replaced by my beloved Ben Whishaw) and the US release was pushed from a perfect holiday date to mid-January No Man's Land, I couldn't help but expect the worst. I am pleased to report that, whatever the reasons for those bumps in the road, Paddington is a pretty perfect movie.

The story is sweet, but never sugarey. The cast is top-notch, and Whishaw couldn't be more perfect as the voice of our beloved bear. There are many great laughs, for kids and adults alike, with enough action to keep things moving along at a good clip.

Finally, the movie manages to bring home an important message without beating viewers over the head with it.

Paddington runs 95 minutes and is rated PG for "mild action and rude humor."

Paddington is perfect for folks of any age, a genuinely terrific afternoon at the movies.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Paddington gets eight.

Until next time...

Well, there's always this...

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