Priyanka Chopra and Sam Heughan have chemistry. It’s bubbly, believable and worth rooting for. That’s half of the battle in any rom com and a casting coup for James C. Strouse’s Love Again – which, ironically, features Chopra’s real life husband, Nick Jonas, as the world’s worst date. You can’t make this stuff up. Chopra plays Mira Ray, a children’s book illustrator beset by grief, following the tragic death of her near-fiancé John (Arinzé Kene) two years prior. Heughan is down and out music critic Rob Burns, a Scot in New York who stalks and lies to Mira, all the while colonially invading her privacy. It’s all in the name of love, of course. Hm. ‘This is a problem’ – so says Celine Dion in the film’s second half. Oh yes, she’s in it too.
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Marvel could really do with a win round about now. Bringing audiences back after a finale called “Endgame” was always going to be a tough sell. Even so, the lack of a gathering momentum in post-pandemic era of the studio’s Cinematic Universe has been conspicuous. While Doctor Strange set a strong ball rolling, there was a stumble in Thor’s stride and a downright limp in Ant-Man’s. Throw in a Jonathan Majors shaped scandal and increasing dependency on nostalgia headlining and the marvel rather begins to lose its -lous. Still, the so-called Multiverse Saga remains in early days. Perhaps a septet of intergalactic rejects can turn things around yet.
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Rachel Joyce translates her first novel into her first screenplay with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. There’s more than a touch of the Jonas Jonassonian to the tale, in which a dull pensioner traverses the length and breadth of Britain on foot. Fry boasts fewer comic spikes than Jonasson’s 100 year-old man but is no less eccentric, his story just as strangely believable an anecdote of very human quirk. Joyce’s ponderous words find happy union in the thoughtful eye of Hettie Macdonald, one half of the directing duo behind lockdown hit Normal People, and lush cinematography of Kate McCullough. The plotting is somber and steady but offers much welcome breathing space to appreciate the minutiae of English beauty, town and country alike.
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