THE BIG SCREEN

Evening Times - - TIMES OUT -

Twenty years af­ter Dame Judi Dench beau­ti­fully cap­tured the aching lone­li­ness of Queen Vic­to­ria in Mrs Brown, the diminu­tive na­tional trea­sure slips back into re­gal garb for Stephen Frears’ heart-warm­ing comedy drama torn from a long-lost page in his­tory. The year is 1887 and Queen Vic­to­ria (Dame Judi) is com­fort­ably in­stalled as Em­press of In­dia, although she has never vis­ited the do­main. In Agra, two lowly men – Ab­dul Karim (Ali Fazal) and Mo­hammed (Adeel Akhtar) – are cho­sen by Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties to present the monarch with a cer­e­mo­nial gold coin called a mo­hur. They travel to Wind­sor Cas­tle, where Ab­dul catches Vic­to­ria’s eye and is rapidly pro­moted to the monarch’s spir­i­tual ad­viser or “Mun­shi”. If there is method in di­rec­tor Dar­ren Aronof­sky’s mad­ness, it is frus­trat­ingly elu­sive, con­cealed be­hind layer upon layer of di­rec­to­rial brio, at­mo­spheric sound de­sign and an emo­tion­ally wrought lead per­for­mance from Os­car-win­ner Jen­nifer Lawrence as a young wife whose poet hus­band (Javier Bar­dem) is crip­pled by writer’s block. She shines even when Aronof­sky’s pic­ture plunges into the gloom. Mitch Rapp (Dy­lan O’Brien) pro­poses to his sweet­heart Ka­t­rina (Char­lotte Vega) shortly be­fore she is killed by mer­ci­less gun­men on a crowded beach in Ibiza. Re­venge boils in his veins and over the next 18 months, Mitch meta­mor­phoses into a gym-toned an­gel of death in or­der to in­fil­trate the ter­ror­ist cell re­spon­si­ble for Ka­t­rina’s death. Be­fore he can com­plete his sui­cide mis­sion, Mitch falls into the clutches of the CIA’s deputy di­rec­tor, Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan), who of­fers Mitch the op­por­tu­nity to train with Cold War vet­eran Stan Hur­ley (Keaton) as part of a covert op­er­a­tion co­de­named Orion. A ma­ni­a­cal koala bear with delu­sions of grandeur threat­ens the safety of crea­tures great and small in The Jun­gle Bunch. Based on a hit French TV se­ries, di­rec­tor David Alaux’s jaunty com­puter-an­i­mated ad­ven­ture fol­lows in the paw prints of a menagerie of brightly coloured tales pop­u­lated by an­thro­po­mor­phised crit­ters in­clud­ing Zootropo­lis, Sing, The Se­cret Life Of Pets and Kung Fu Panda. Stut­ter­ing leader of the Losers’ Club, Bill Den­brough (Jae­den Lieber­her), vows re­venge fol­low­ing the loss of his younger brother, Ge­orgie (Jack­son Robert Scott), who was dragged into the sub­ter­ranean lair of Pen­ny­wise the Clown (Bill Skars­gard).

Jen­nifer Lawrence stars in twisted thriller mother!

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