Don Shanahan opens January with three new reviews on Every Movie Has a Lesson

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Click on the titles for the full reviews

PADDINGTON 2

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Michael Bond’s kindhearted and anthropomorphic spectacled bear beloved and known around the world as Paddington Bear.  The Peruvian immigrant to jolly old England lives by a rhyming credo of sorts that could not ring truer with honest-to-goodness heart: “If you are kind and polite, the world will be right.”  Equivalent to Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane mildly berating Christopher Reeve’s Clark Kent 40 years ago in Superman: The Movie about his use of the word “swell,” cynics may scoff at Paddington Bear’s whimsical simplicity.  Those folks need to a reminder of how to be comfortable with such a natural feeling of politeness because Paddington 2 is better than just swell.

I, TONYA

For anyone who thinks Suicide Squad star and The Wolf of Wall Street vamp Margot Robbie is just a hot bod and a pretty face, watch I, Tonya.  The 27-year-old Aussie’s ferocious and zealous performance riding the peaks and valleys of disgraced former champion figure skater Tonya Harding will erase those old notions centered solely on attractiveness.  Brimming with depravity and teaming with talent, I, Tonya may be the brashest film you will see seen this year and, quite frankly, one of the downright best as well.

HOSTILES

Opening with a horrifying scene of a family slaughtered and a homestead razed by rogue Comanche criminals, Hostiles sets a tone of merciless hardship.  It immediately mirrors that set piece with a parallel scene showing a squad of American soldiers harassing Native American captives.  The American mistreatment may be come short of the murderous death dealt by the Comanches, but, the moral behavior is barely better quarter.  We immediately see that we are no better and the epitome of that Lawrence quote.  The year is 1892 and this is the brutal landscape of America being described by Lawrence then and Cooper now.

 

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