The latest Ellon Cinema Day in the Victoria Hall offered a trio of varied films to cinema-goers.
Paddington was screened early afternoon for families, The Maze Runner for older children and adults and What We Did On Our Holidays for the older viewer.
Ellon Cinema’s Vicki Morgan reviewed two of the films.
Those of you who have read the books or who can remember the original TV series of Paddington Bear will be familiar with this inquisitive, friendly and adorably polite little bear from darkest Peru, as well as other characters such as the Brown family, old Mr Gruber and the irritating Mr Curry.
The cardboard style of animation with its jerky, awkward movements of the 1970s, however, has been completely revamped by the same film studio which gave us the Harry Potter films, giving us a modern version of the well-loved stories, but with a slightly sinister twist.
We meet a rare breed of talking bears, the aunt and uncle of Paddington, at the start of the film in darkest Peru, where they are living happily among the forest, making and devouring large quantities of marmalade.
Previously the bears had been discovered by friendly explorer Montgomery Clyde, who, instead of bringing a specimen of the creatures back to the British Museum, befriends the bears and goes home empty handed, save for film footage he took of the animals.
He left his explorer hat as a leaving present with the bears, but is greeted back at the British Museum to a disgusted society of explorers who throw him out of the society for lack of research material.
Years later, a natural disaster in the forest leaves Paddington fleeing and leaving his Aunt Lucy in an old bears’ home and looking for a family to adopt him at Paddington station, London.
It is here where we meet the Brown family, each perfectly cast, portraying the characters in the original books to a tee. Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville is especially spot on for Mr Brown.
This is the best film, I think, Ellon Cinema has screened so far, and, I’m happy to report, to a record audience number (around 220 people). It’s a first from me, but I think he deserves it...10/10
What We Did On Our Holidays
Any film starring the “Big Yin” evokes high expectations and this offering from the BBC certainly did not disappoint.
Terminally-ill Gordie (Connolly) is nearing his birthday and Gavin, his millionaire son, plans to host a huge, ostentatious Highland party to celebrate the event.
His other son (David Tennant) heads to the Highlands with his wife and three children, aiming to keep up the pretence that they are leading an ecstatically happy married life, so as not to upset his father, while in reality going through a nasty divorce.
As the family reunite in the grand house of Gavin (Ben Miller), tensions rise between the two competitive brothers, a manic-depressive sister-in-law and the rowdy kids, all amid the chaos of the impending birthday celebrations.
This film could have been sponsored by Visit Scotland for it really showcased some stunning areas of the West Coast and I’m now sorted for where we’ll be going for our next summer holidays.
Connolly was, as normal, superb, especially when you realise that during filming he was actually undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and kept it a secret from all involved in the film.
The film is loosely based on the BBCs “Outnumbered” and the dialogue between the children and adults is very much in the style of the sitcom, so if you enjoy that then you’ll most certainly enjoy this film.
It was nice to see some other good British comedy actors included in the cast such as Ben Miller, Celia Imrie, Amelia Bullmore and the lovely Annette Crosbie). There are sad parts, of course and you may need to take your hankies with you, but there are some cracking funny bits in there too.
A lovely, easy to watch film and I enjoyed it a great deal. Recommended – 8/10