Paddington and the rest of the fortnight’s DVDs

The best things to watch at home over the next two weeks

Star of a brilliant children's book adaptation I Image: StudioCanal

Paddington

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Ben Whishaw

What could have been a complete mess is in fact one of the best movies of last year, for kids or otherwise. Witty, surprising, expertly-crafted, it will appeal to the whole family. The CGI works a treat, as does Whishaw’s youthful voice, while the human co-stars give it their all. Highly recommended (check out the bottom of the page for extra good stuff).

The Hunger Games: Mockingkay - Part 1

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Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore

It’s the beginning of the end for Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) as the rebellion against the Capitol gets into full swing. Anyone who’s read the books will know politics play quite a large part in this finale, as opposition leader President Coin (new cast member Julianne Moore) treats Katniss as a crucial tool to ignite the swell against Panem’s oppressive regime. In the novel that meant the narrative dithered somewhat, even though it was dealing with perhaps more complex themes than in a normal story of this kind. It also meant our heroine was relegated to something of an observer. But Lawrence is a magnetic lead the likes of which come along rarely, so she can pull off the difficult job of watching as the carnage unfolds around her.

The Skeleton Twins

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Starring: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson

Hader is one of the unsung heroes of US comedy right now, superb on Saturday Night Live and in small supporting roles and now getting his due as a leading man. This does smack of bit of indie schmindie, the kind of pic which wows Sundance Festival crowds, but the presence of Hader and Wiig as suicidal siblings trying to find contentment makes it a worthwhile watch.

The Homesman

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Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer

Jones seems to be trying to single-handedly prolong the Western genre and this is a neat take, with Swank as a woman who employs Jones’s gruff cowboy to help transport her and a group of women away from pioneer life. As you would imagine, the performances are great and Jones’s deftly handles the spectacular vistas.

Extraterrestrial

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Starring: Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Michael Ironside To give you a sense of what you’re in for here, the Twitter hashtag to promote the film when it came out was #GetProbed. Ironside – the brilliant character actor who makes every scene he’s in better – is fun as the local conspiracy theorist, in this tale about a group of teens who head for a weekend in the woods and end up on the wrong side of alien visitors. If you don’t expect much more than that and fancy some cheap shocks, you’re golden.

 

Are you a Paddington fan? Click on, then download and print out the activity sheet below for some fun bear-related games...

Paddington activity sheet

 

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