Kingsman: The Golden Circle

GoMovieReviews Rating:

MA15+Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Written by: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

Produced by: Adam Bohling, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Edward Holdcroft, Michael Gambon and Poppy Delevingne.

I like to think I have a dark, somewhat, twisted sense of humour, but about 15 minutes into, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, it stopped being funny and became ridiculous.

As with the first, Kingsman (Kingsman: The Secret Service), there is the intentional push into the bizarre with sociopathic villains sporting robotic attachments – akin to a Bond film, yet modernised.

Which led to the huge success of the first Kingsman: entertaining action with a spot of difference that refreshed the British Secret Service while retaining all the charm.

The attempt to modernised the spy genre here, however, was a script filled with the cliché and the just plain stupid.

The inclusion of the Glastonbury Festival and the aged-before-her-years bimbo and terrible dialogue with pick-up lines such as, ‘My crow is looking for a place to nest’, led to confusion with a blurred line between the film making fun of itself and being silly, or not, and therefore coming across as stupid, try-hard and gross.Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Funnily enough (ha, ha, there’s my lazy pun for the day), the apparent obsession with the sh#tter was some of the most amusing parts.

Following on from Clara (Poppy Delevingne), the Swedish Princess getting it Greek style at the end of, The Secret Service, we now have Eggsy (Taron Egerton) swimming in a sh#t filled sewer, an old man having the best sh#t in two weeks, and Elton John offering a backstage pass if Eggsy once again, saves the world.

So, you can tell the style of humour… And those were the funny bits…

The storyline had holes (ha, ha, just can’t stop those puns) as well.

Enter Eggsy, battling Kingsman-rejected, Charlie (Edward Holdcroft) leading to the Kingsmen being hacked by drug lord, Poppy (Julianne Moore) – a woman stuck in the 1950s, living her days in the jungle in a replica of the setting of, Happy Days, but with robotic killer dogs and a drive to serve-up minced human flesh as prime hamburger meat.

This is a super-successful business lady who’s getting no cred.

So, Poppy decides she wants illicit drugs legalised and therefore taxed to get credit for being a successful business woman?  And to give the government control of the drug trade?  The elaborate plot Poppy, the drug lord, devices is not going to give Poppy more money or a prize for, Business Woman of the Year.  It doesn’t make sense.Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Add the American branch of independent secret service, resplendent with cowboy hats, code names like, Whisky, and the sound track of Country Road that seems to be following Channing Tatum around after, Logan Lucky, you’ve got the original idea of Kingsman, a modern James Bond, to modernised B.S. (the sh#t included).

What I did like was the amazing camera work with the audience being spun around and skidding and kicking and Kung Fu fighting right along-side Eggsy.  And the character, Eggsy, was still likeable here.

But instead of the class of the iconic British gentleman, it felt like the entire cast was given a touch of the idiot.

Even Colin Firth as Harry Hart played a doe-eyed, brain-damaged, butterfly enthusiast for most of the film.

So, yes, there’s explosive, huge-budget action, but riding on a patchy plot, filled with the ridiculous.

Victoria & Abdul

GoMovieReviews Rating:

PG-13Victoria & Abdul

Director: Stephen Frears

Based on journalist Shrabani Basu’s book: Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant,

Screenplay by: Lee Hall

Casting Directors, Leo Davis & Lissy Holm. Casting Director – India, Nandini Shrikent. Music by Thomas Newman. Make-up and Hair Designer, Daniel Phillips. Costume Designer, Consolata Boyle. Production Designer, Alan Macdonald. Editor, Melanie Ann Oliver, ACE. Director of Photography, Danny Cohen, BSC.

Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Beeban Kidron, Tracey Seaward.

Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Tim Pigott-Smith, Olivia Williams, Fenella Woolgar, Paul Higgins, Robin Soans, Julian Wadham, Simon Callow and Michael Gambon.

In 1887, Abdul travels from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

As the title suggests, Victoria & Abdul is a film based on the (mostly) true events of a previously unheard of close friendship between Queen Victoria and a Muslim Indian, Abdul Karim.

The film opens on a caricature portrait of the queen: an elderly, overweight woman, bored and cantankerous as she attends seemingly endless engagements to celebrate her 50 years on the throne.  Until a tall, handsome ‘Hindu’ catches her eye.

Aside from the difference in age and race, Queen Victoria blossoms under the attention of this most attractive, warm-hearted man.  And you can see the romantic overtures of the relationship as the elderly monarch falls in love with Abdul’s (Ali Fazal) bright eyes and unique perspective of the world.

Although not a physical relationship, Abdul becomes her close confident and Munshi, a spiritual advisor and teacher – completely unheard of in 17th century England.

She persists in keeping Abdul by her side against the pressure and ultimate rebellion of her Court and family, demanding she stop keeping the Indian man’s company, let alone promote him.

And it’s fascinating to watch the iron will of the Queen as she insists – because, after all, isn’t she the Empress of India?

In 2001, journalist Shrabani Basu, while researching the origins of curry, discovered not only Queen Victoria’s love of curries but also a portrait and bronze bust made of an Indian gentleman.   After further investigation, 13 volumes of Queen Victoria’s diaries were found, previously unread because they were written in Urdu (a Persianised and standardised register language of the Hindustani language).

After translating the diaries, Basu discovered the unconventional relationship between the Queen and a young clerk, Abdul.Victoria & Abdul

The book has been adapted for the screen by writer, Lee Hall (who also wrote the beloved, Billy Elliot (2000)), changing the journalistic style of the book into a drama more suited to a wider audience.

Victoria & Abdul

The setting and costuming were carefully crafted, showing the extravagance of royalty while also showing the silliness of ceremony.

Victoria and Abdul is a period drama, which isn’t really my cup-of-tea, but there’s true brilliance in casting Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria (again) – Dench depicting the Queen’s grit beautifully with guidance from director, Stephen Frears (both Frears and Dench having experience portraying Queen Victoria with Frears directing The Queen back in 2006 and Dench cast as Queen Victoria in, Mrs Brown (1997)).

Victoria & Abdul gives a glimpse into the personality of the woman, her iron will and the simplicity of her nature; the drawing reflected so well in Abdul’s eyes.

It was like watching an elderly, sick woman come to life.

And inspiring to see one so sure of her wants and needs against all other opinions, even those of her son.

Fan’s of Judi Dench you will enjoy seeing her play the borderline dirty old woman cradle snatching a younger man (Abdul, 24 when he first arrived in England and the Queen, in her 80s), and to admire her strength of character while surrounded by pompous idiots.

So, an enjoyable watch with highlights of humour and emotional undertones – a chance to look behind the curtain of English Royalty, to glimpse a remarkable woman who, against all odds and so late in life, found love and friendship in the most unlikely person, her Munshi, Abdul.