Cloud Atlas (2012)

Its central conceit (“From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present”) and thesis (“by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future”) resonate, but marring the former’s clever edits and easter eggs are some discomforting cross-racial transformations and one can’t help but wonder if the thrust of the latter would’ve been stronger with a chronological narrative. As it is, some stories sit better than others (Ewing’s white saviour arc underwhelms; Cavendish’s caper is a hoot).
5

Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

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To win a bet, an eccentric British inventor beside his Chinese valet and an aspiring French artist, embarks on a trip full of adventures and dangers around the world in exactly eighty days. (IMDb)
It’s pretty goofy–in a cringe-y way sometimes (the plot and the green screens are pretty hard to take seriously), but mostly it’s just a lot of fun, with humour that comes often and is often quite clever (see the accidental artwork arising from the altercation) and an adventure that brings with it plenty of cool kung fu action and bumbling side characters. It wasn’t at the forefront obviously, but there were hints of good character development for Coogan’s progressive yet uptight scientist too.
7/10 (Good)

 

Paddington 2 (2017)

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Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen. (IMDb)
Keeps the cute British humour of the first film, with another delightful villain and some added Wes Anderson-esque flair (see the opening character updates; prisoners’ introductions), and within this quirky framework floods you with overwhelming emotion (see the lovely tie-in of Mary’s training at the climax, and of course that beautiful bear with the most selfless of souls showing the radical power of kindness: Knuckle’s first taste of marmalade was his first taste of love and I’m sobbing).
9/10 (Amazing)

Arthur Christmas (2011)

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Santa’s clumsy son Arthur gets put on a mission with St. Nick’s father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than 2 hours. (IMDb)
A unique take on the Santa story that cleverly contorts it into the realm of realism; the high-tech vs. old school, productivity vs. personal touch themes that arise from this fun setting make the premise even more engaging (and hilarious; Nighy’s “back in my day” Grandsanta is a riot). A simple adventure plot is constructed from here with more than enough wacky humour and slapstick to keep you smiling, and with fairly nuanced family character studies thrown in to add some heart too.
7/10 (Good)