Llanelli Star - - FILM REVIEWS -

RED JOAN (12A) ★★ ★★★

IN­SPIRED by a true story, Dame Judi Dench (pictured) plays an el­derly Bri­tish woman ac­cused of being a Rus­sian spy, in an es­pi­onage thriller di­rected by Trevor Nunn.

Joan Stan­ley (Dench) is a softly spo­ken li­brar­ian, who is a beloved mem­ber of her lo­cal com­mu­nity. Out of the blue, po­lice knock at her door and ac­cuse Joan of op­er­at­ing as an un­der­cover op­er­a­tive for the Rus­sians for more than 50 years.

In flash­backs to the 1940s, Joan (now played by So­phie Cook­son) at­tends Cam­bridge Univer­sity, where she grav­i­tates to­wards Rus­sian stu­dent Leo Galich (Tom Hughes), who se­duces Joan and en­cour­ages her to ex­ploit her tal­ents for the KGB.

Dench pos­sesses an in­nate abil­ity to snag our af­fec­tions even when the script doesn’t give her any­thing in­ter­est­ing to im­part.

I spy a missed op­por­tu­nity.

WILD ROSE (15) ★★★★ ★

SOME­TIMES it’s hard to be a woman but it’s harder to be a woman who sac­ri­fices her dreams of fame for her chil­dren in this up­lift­ing drama.

Rose-Lynn Har­lan ( Jessie Buck­ley, pictured) was still a child when she gave birth to her sec­ond bairn. Now she has been re­leased from prison with a se­cu­rity tag af­fixed to her an­kle to en­sure she ob­serves night-time cur­few, Rose-Lynn must tighten her fee­ble grasp of her ma­ter­nal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties or lose the re­spect of her eightyear-old daugh­ter and five-year-old son for­ever.

Rose-Lynn’s purse-lipped mother Mar­ion ( Julie Wal­ters) fears her daugh­ter will aban­don the chil­dren again to pur­sue im­pos­si­ble dreams of be­com­ing a coun­try mu­sic singer in Nashville.

Un­per­turbed, Rose-Lynn earns money as a clean­ing lady for busi­ness­woman Su­san­nah (So­phie Okonedo). The well-to-do home­owner is daz­zled by Rose-Lynn’s tal­ent and sug­gests they crowd-fund the jour­ney to Amer­ica.

HELL­BOY (15) ★★ ★★★

HELL hath no fury like wise-crack­ing de­monic spawn with sur­ro­gate daddy is­sues in this laboured re­boot.

Spewed from the flaming bow­els of the Earth dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, Hell­boy (David Har­bour, pictured) wages war on crea­tures of the dark with the Bureau For Para­nor­mal Re­search And De­vel­op­ment (BPRD).

Un­der the com­mand of his adopted fa­ther, Pro­fes­sor But­ter­holm (Ian Mc­Shane), Hell­boy joins the hunt for three ram­pag­ing giants in Eng­land.

Hell­boy is re­united with spirit medium Alice Mon­aghan (Sasha Lane), whose abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate with the dead proves vi­tal when wild boar Gru­a­gach (Stephen Graham) re­assem­bles the sev­ered limbs of a pow­er­ful witch (Milla Jovovich).

Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), head of Spe­cial Ops for M11, and sooth­sayer Lady Hat­ton (So­phie Okonedo) join Hell­boy on a mis­sion to slay the crone.

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