Kid's Korner - Paddington & Annie - The good and bad of the season

 It's nice having a bear about the house

Popcorn, M&Ms and a large drink... roll the film...
We did not grow up on Paddington books. There were not too many assumptions made about the storyline, because it was all new to us. It looks like the adventures of a cute bear. The cute factor is good, but will it be silly?

  Kid's Korner rating: 3.5 stars
Parent's Rating: 3.5 stars
     Paddington is a bear. A bear that can be found in the much loved children's book series. After coming in contact with a British explorer while in Peru, Paddington (voiced by ) and his family develop the ability to speak and a romantic idea of all things British. After a significant family event, Paddington travels to London in search of a new home. On arrival to London, he comes face to face with the cold realities of modern culture. Lost and desperate at Paddington Station, he is befriended and eventually taken in by the Brown family. Mrs. Brown () is captivated by the kind, little bear who wears a label that states, 'Please look after this bear. Thank you.' Even though Mr. Brown () desires to find another home for Paddington, the family comes to love the charming, Peruvian bear. Through a series of mishaps and misadventures, Paddington begins to search for the British explorer who discovered his family in Peru, but comes in contact with a museum taxidermist () who has other plans for the rarest of bears.
     The premise of the story might sound ridiculous, but it is based on a children's book series and it works on the big screen. The CGI animation is best we you cannot tell it is CGI. Paddington looks real and he is a refreshing character in today's cinema. Kids all over the theatre were laughing and enjoying his bumbling and innocent adventures. The director, , did a wonderful job of moving the story through the bear's world where people seem comfortable with a talking bear. It also was endearing and entertaining to the adults who came along.  It was a refreshing take on the family. Many things happened that were completely unbelievable, but it is a story about a talking bear. Turn off the reality monitor, sit back and enjoy a good family film. This was one of the best children's films of 2014.

Dad asked the question on the ride home, 'What did we think of the film?' 
We loved it. Not knowing the characters did not take away from the enjoyment of the film. Yes, everyone in the group from 5 to 40+ years old liked the movie. We all want a talking bear!

It is a hard knock movie

Popcorn, M&Ms and large drink... roll the film
A classic story from theatre, film and the comics. The cute red-headed orphan with the red dress. We have seen the films of Annie, but this one has some obvious changes. Will the story and music work in this modern version? 

   Kid's Korner rating: 1.5 stars
Parent's Rating: 1 star

     Annie is the re-telling of the classic musical about an orphan who is given the opportunity to experience the world of one of the wealthiest men in the city.  (Beasts of the Southern Wild) plays Annie, a street-smart, foster kid in New York City. As a baby, she was left by her parents with the promise that they'd be back for her someday. The years pass by and her parents do not come to get Annie. She is moved from one foster care facility to another and is currently under the care of Miss Hannigan (). Through the inevitable twists and turns of the busy streets of New York City, she runs into the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (). Based on the advice of his company vice president, Grace () and his less-than-wise campaign manager, Guy (), Stacks takes on the fostering responsibilities of Annie for the sake of growing public opinion. Their relationship grows beyond a political move to a deeper familial connection. 
     From the beginning of 's retelling of the classic orphan tale, he seems to have an underlying disdain for the original story. It should be explained that this is not a modern spin on a classic story, but a politically correct re-telling of Annie. Gluck manages to eliminate the heart of what made the original story endearing. Usually the music can make up for poor acting, but the modern spin on the familiar tunes did not translate well. Even with the quality of actors, the acting felt robotic and the chemistry between the characters felt manufactured and unbelievable. To go through all of the challenges of this film would take too long. The Kid's Korner recommendation is to go see Paddington or rent the original Annie instead. 

Dad asked the question on the ride home, 'What did we think of the film?' 
We really tried to find something good about the film, but there was not much we liked about the film. The girls love a good musical, but this was not a good musical. The original has 'cheesy' by today's standards, but it was much better than this film.  

Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film? 
1. What does the Bible say about orphans? (John 14:18, James 1:27)
2. Why is family important? (Nehemiah 4:14, Ephesians 5:25)

Kid's Korner are shorter reviews written by Russell Matthews's kids perspective and based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews