Tag Archives: julie walters

MARY POPPINS RETURNS (2018) – My rating: 8.5/10

Mary Poppins Returns is a musical fantasy directed by Rob Marshall, screenplay written by David Magee and story by Magee Marshall, and John DeLuca. Mary Poppins Returns is based on the book series, Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers.  The film is a sequel to the 1964 original film, Mary Poppins and was released in the United States on December 19, 2018, making it one of the longest gaps between film sequels in cinematic history at 54 years.  While I always got Nanny McPhee mixed up with Mary Poppins, I now know the absolute difference, thanks to the sequel.  I didn’t particularly want to see MPR but I’m glad I did — it’s truly a fun, feel good movie.

Mary Poppins Returns, (MPR) is set in the 1930s London, twenty-five years after the original film. Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, returns to the Bank’s household after a family tragedy:  In 1935 London, Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) lives in the home where he grew up and married Kate and now has three children, Annabel Banks (Pixie Davies), John Banks (Nathanael Saleh), and Georgie Banks (Joel Dawson). Tragady befell Michael and the children when his wife, Kate died a year ago. Ellen (Julie Walters), the house keeper  and Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer), Michael’s sister are helping him to raise the children. However, Michael has taken a loan from the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank where his father formerly was a partner before passing, to cover their living expenses.

William “Weatherall” Wilkins (Colin Firth) sends his associates to warn him that his house will be repossessed if the loan is not repaid in full by Friday. Michael and Jane remember their father left them shares in the bank that can cover the loan, so they searched the house for the certificate proving their ownership of the shares. During the search, Michael finds a kite for which he finds as worthless and puts it out in the trash.  While the children were off to purchase a few groceries for dinner, Annabel, John and Georgie, having taken the park route, separates from Georgie who finds the kite and tries flying it. He ends up being pulled into the sky, but then comes down with Mary Poppins, who decides to take care of the three children as their nanny and starts off by drawing them a bath, which magically leads them down to an oceanic world. Of course, Mary Poppins denied anything fantastical happened.

Michael goes to the bank to see if he can find proof of his father’s shares, but Wilkins denies there are any records of the shares. As Michael leaves the office, Wilkins tears the record of proof out of the official ledger and burns it in the fireplace. That evening, Annabel and John decide to sell their mother’s “priceless” bowl to pay off the debt. Georgie tries to stop them, and the bowl ends up damaged while the three were fighting over it. Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), an official Cockney Lamplighter, greets Mary Poppins and joins her and the kids on a trip inside the painting on the side of the bowl. The group meets the talking animals drawn on the bowl, and Mary Poppins creates the Royal Doulton Music Hall. However, Georgie is kidnapped by a gang consisting of a wolf, a weasel and a badger, causing Annabel and John to try and rescue him . They successfully do so, but end up going out of the painting and later wake up in their beds, thinking their experience was a dream.

The next day, Mary Poppins and the children go to see Mary’s cousin Topsy/Tatikana Antanasia Cositori Topotrepolovsky (Meryl Streep) to get the bowl fixed only to find out the bowl has little monetary value. They then go to the bank to give Michael his briefcase that he left home earlier that morning. When the children get to Wilkins’ office, hoping  to ask him for help, they overhear Wilkins planning to take away their house. Georgie started to see parallels between Wilkins and his associates and the animal gang who kidnapped him, so he interrupts the banker’s meeting. When Michael arrives, he does not believe the children and becomes angry with them for putting the house and his job at risk, as Michael worked part time at the bank. Mary Poppins takes the children home. They are guided by Jack and his fellow lamplighters. Without the shares and no hope for an extension on the loan, the Banks family make preparations to move out of their house.

How the Bank’s family and Mary Poppins resolve the loan issue is very exciting.  The family, Jack and all of Mary Poppins fantasy characters share in exposing the truth about Mr. Wilkins.  There are many more magical characters and adventures to come in this highly appraised sequel.  Right to the very end, there is magic in the air. Mary Poppins Returns received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its acting (particularly Blunt’s performance), direction, musical score, musical numbers, costume design, production values, visuals, and sense of nostalgia. It was chosen by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2018 and received numerous award nominations, including four at the 76th Golden Globe Awards. Children will love it and as an adult, I loved it too. The performances were outstanding, I particularly liked the character Jack, who was just simply marvelous.  You can’t go wrong with this one — Check It Out!

[Mary Poppins Returns is Oscar nominated for Best: Production Design, Costume Design, Original Score and Original Song]

 

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (2018) – My rating: 8.3/10

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a musical romantic comedy written and directed by Ol Parker, from a story by Parker, Catherine Johnson, and Richard Curtis. It is a follow-up to the 2008 film Mamma Mia!, which in turn is based on the musical of the same name using the music of ABBA. Both a prequel and a sequel, the plot is set after the events of the first film, and also features flashbacks to 1979, telling the story of Donna Sheridan’s arrival on the island of Kalokairi and her first meetings with her daughter Sophie’s three possible fathers. I really wasn’t interested in seeing this movie, however I’m glad I did. Mamma Mia! Here we go again was a pretty descent sequel with loads of good music.  This is a feel good movie.

Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) is preparing for the grand reopening of her mother’s Donna (Meryl Streep) hotel, following her death a year earlier. She is upset because two of her fathers, Harry Bright (Colin Firth) and Bill Anderson (Stellan Skarsgård), are unable to make it to the reopening. Additionally, she is fighting with Sky (Dominic Cooper), her husband, who is in New York.  He thinks Sophie should forget about memorializing her mother’s life and come back to New York to be with him.

In 1979, a young Donna (Lily James) has just graduated from university with young Rosie (Alexa Davies) and young Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn), and is getting ready to travel the world. While in Paris, she meets and parties with young Harry (Hugh Skinner). They spend the night together, but Donna leaves soon after. She later misses her boat to Kalokairi but is offered a ride by young Bill (Josh Dylan), and along the way, they are able to help a stranded fisherman, Alexio (Gerard Monaco).  Eventually, Donna arrives on an island and discovers a farmhouse. A sudden storm causes her to encounter a spooked horse in the basement. She goes in search of help only to find a young Sam (Jeremy Irvine) riding his motorcycle who helps her to save the horse.  She and Sam enjoy a whirlwind romance.

In the present, Tanya Chesham-Leigh (Christine Baranski) and Rosie Mulligan (Julie Walters) of Donna and the Dynamos, arrive to support Sophie with the reopening and to cheer up Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), who is still grieving over the death of Donna and the only one of the three fathers who is able to attend the reopening.  Also helping with the reopening is Fernando Cienfuegos (Andy Garcia), the manager of the Hotel Bella.

Mamma Mia! Here we go again turned out to be a good film full of song and dance, plus romance and happy times of an adventurous young lady who has sex with three guys around the same time and becomes pregnant.  While the story is believable, it’s also sad because these three gentlemen were all willing to spend their lives with Donna.  I liked the way the director combined the past and present, thereby allowing this sequel to be understood, even if you didn’t see the original.  I thoroughly enjoyed Mamma Mia! Here we go again, which has so many fabulous songs, sung by Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski and Jessica Keenan Wynn, as well as Meryl Streep, who I didn’t realize could sing so well, to name a few.  There is a surprise visit from Sophie’s grandmother who steals the show.  Mamma Mia! Here we go again was well received by critics and enjoyed better than average reviews.  I recommend this musical to everyone.  Check it out!