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Adeel Akhtar

VICTORIA & ABDUL is Perfection on Stunning Bluray!

Victoria and Abdul

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Stephen Frears, Focus Features and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of an unlikely friendship between VICTORIA & ABDUL.

Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is a clerk in a prison in India and his life is about to change. Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) is to be given a tribute coin and Abdul is the tall man for the job. Along with a shorter Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar), they sale toward England and Abdul is very excited.

There is no time for looking around much as Abdul and Mohammed are given a crash course on how to present to the Queen. Sir Henry Ponsonby (Tim Pigott-Smith) lets the two men know that everything is to be precise and quickly.

During the dinner, Abdul and Mohammed make their way toward Queen Victoria and after a quick nap the presentation is made. Walking backwards, Abdul does the unthinkable and makes eye contact and gives a smile to the Queen and what turns into one moment becomes an unlikely friendship.

vic 1

Much to the horror of Sir Ponsonby and Lord Salisbury (Michael Gambon) as well as her ladies Lady Churchill (Olivia Williams) and Miss Phipps (Fenella Woolgar), the Queen begins to prefer the company of Abdul. They inform the Queen’s son Bertie (Eddie Izzard) and a plan is formed.

Queen Victoria asks Abdul about his land, language and his story as they share walks and private times. It is clear that Abdul cares very much for the Queen and she for him, especially discovering he is married and demanding he get his family and return. That doesn’t stop the Queen’s staff, along with Dr. Reid (Paul Higgins), from looking into Abdul’s past. Believing they can stop him with what they know, it only manages to infuriate the Queen in Abdul’s favor.

Including a knighthood which sends the entire palace into a tizzy and a decision that will not only put their loyalty in question but show how Queen Victoria wasn’t napping any longer.

This is a friendship that is filled with understanding, forgiveness and even unspoken love.

Dench as Victoria once again proves why she is a queen in her own right. She is smart, strong, delicate, wistful and a woman who sees so little to move forward for. Once the Queen’s inner light is ignited, Dench shines every moment of the film. I quite honestly could not take my eyes off her performance and the ending brought me to tears.

Karim as Fazal is a man who doesn’t see the world in such an aggressive way as those around him. A simple jail clerk who happens to know how to write is sent across the world to do one simple thing and it turns into a friendship. Fazal delivers his lines with the innocence I see in Abdul in that how one sees the world is clearly different than the Queen. There are moments where he is clearly confused, moments of profound joy and deep sadness and Fazal gets every drop of emotion out of the audience who is just as enraptured as the Queen.

Vic 3

Izzard as Bertie is just the worst that a son could possible be. Instead of being happy for the emotional reviving of his mother, he sees Abdul as an interloper and acts like a spoiled child instead of a future ruler. Izzard just pours it on and gets the reaction he wants!

Akhtar as Mohammed just wants to go home, and when he sees that the Prince and others want to use that against his friend Abdul – his response is epic! Pigott-Smith as Ponsonby is confused by the relationship between the Queen and Abdul but at the same time has a faithfulness to the way things ought to be done. Higgins as Dr. Reid is just another lackey who isn’t happy about Abdul’s presence and finds himself faced with the wrath of the Queen. Gambon as Salisbury wants one thing only – for Abdul to be gone and the crown to go back to normal.

Williams as Lady Churchill isn’t happy to have the Queen’s ear and convinces Miss Phipps to do the extortion deed. Woolgar as Phipps has a moment in front of the Queen that is nerve wracking to watch but awesome to experience.

Other cast include Julian Wadham as Alick Yorke, Robin Soans as Arthur Bigge, Ruth McCabe as Mrs. Tuck, Sukh Ojla as Mrs. Karim, Kemaal Deen-Ellis as Ahmed and Simon Callow as Puccini.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

The Bluray includes the Bonus Features of Judi & Ali and The Look of Victoria & Abdul. Included in the pack, DVD and Digital HD along with theatre quality sound. The Digital means you can enjoy VICTORIA & ABDUL on television, computer, Tablet and Smartphone!

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VICTORIA & ABDUL is absolutely Oscar worthy in every sense. There is nothing about this film that goes wrong with me. The story between Queen Victoria and Abdul is delightful, funny, testing, sad, misunderstood and heartbreaking.

Mixed in with that is the ugliness of those around the Queen with their jabbing, back biting, underhanded, and horrible treatment of Abdul and Mohammed. Instead of embracing the cultural differences of these two men, they found ways to cut them to the quick – and right to their face in some cases.

The cinematography is amazing and it is a period piece which is going to grab me from the word go. I absolutely adore the costuming which is always an important part of a period piece because it adds such a richness to the storytelling.

I’m warning anyone who sees this film on Bluray to keep a Kleenex handy because for the ending you are going to need it. The chemistry between Dench and Fazal is everything I wanted for this story to be told – thank you both for making me laugh, smile and shed a tear.

In the end – an extraordinary true story of a queen and her new best friend!

VICTORIA & ABDUL is Perfection

vic

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Stephen Frears and Focus Features is the story of an unlikely friendship between VICTORIA & ABDUL.

Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is a clerk in a prison in India and his life is about to change. Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) is to be given a tribute coin and Abdul is the tall man for the job. Along with a shorter Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar), they sale toward England and Abdul is very excited.

There is no time for looking around much as Abdul and Mohammed are given a crash course on how to present to the Queen. Sir Henry Ponsonby (Tim Pigott-Smith) lets the two men know that everything is to be precise and quickly.

During the dinner, Abdul and Mohammed make their way toward Queen Victoria and after a quick nap the presentation is made. Walking backwards, Abdul does the unthinkable and makes eye contact and gives a smile to the Queen and what turns into one moment becomes an unlikely friendship.

vic 1

Much to the horror of Sir Ponsonby and Lord Salisbury (Michael Gambon) as well as her ladies Lady Churchill (Olivia Williams) and Miss Phipps (Fenella Woolgar), the Queen begins to prefer the company of Abdul. They inform the Queen’s son Bertie (Eddie Izzard) and a plan is formed.

Queen Victoria asks Abdul about his land, language and his story as they share walks and private times. It is clear that Abdul cares very much for the Queen and she for him, especially discovering he is married and demanding he get his family and return. That doesn’t stop the Queen’s staff, along with Dr. Reid (Paul Higgins), from looking into Abdul’s past. Believing they can stop him with what they know, it only manages to infuriate the Queen in Abdul’s favor.

Including a knighthood which sends the entire palace into a tizzy and a decision that will not only put their loyalty in question but show how Queen Victoria wasn’t napping any longer.

This is a friendship that is filled with understanding, forgiveness and even unspoken love.

Dench once again proves why she is a queen in her own right. She is smart, strong, delicate, wistful and a woman who sees so little to move forward for. Once the Queen’s inner light is ignited, Dench shines every moment of the film. I quite honestly could not take my eyes off her performance and the ending brought me to tears.

vic 2

Karim as Fazal is a man who doesn’t see the world in such an aggressive way as those around him. A simple jail clerk who happens to know how to write is sent across the world to do one simple thing and it turns into a friendship. Fazal delivers his lines with the innocence I see in Abdul in that how one sees the world is clearly different than the Queen. There are moments where he is clearly confused, moments of profound joy and deep sadness and Fazal gets every drop of emotion out of the audience who is just as enraptured as the Queen.

Izzard as Bertie is just the worst that a son could possible be. Instead of being happy for the emotional reviving of his mother, he sees Abdul as an interloper and acts like a spoiled child instead of a future ruler. Izzard just pours it on and gets the reaction he wants!

Akhtar as Mohammed just wants to go home, and when he sees that the Prince and others want to use that against his friend Abdul – his response is epic! Pigott-Smith as Ponsonby is confused by the relationship between the Queen and Abdul but at the same time has a faithfulness to the way things ought to be done. Higgins as Dr. Reid is just another lackey who isn’t happy about Abdul’s presence and finds himself faced with the wrath of the Queen. Gambon as Salisbury wants one thing only – for Abdul to be gone and the crown to go back to normal.

vic 3

Williams as Lady Churchill isn’t happy to have the Queen’s ear and convinces Miss Phipps to do the extortion deed. Woolgar as Phipps has a moment in front of the Queen that is nerve wracking to watch but awesome to experience.

Other cast include Julian Wadham as Alick Yorke, Robin Soans as Arthur Bigge, Ruth McCabe as Mrs. Tuck, Sukh Ojla as Mrs. Karim, Kemaal Deen-Ellis as Ahmed and Simon Callow as Puccini.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give VICTORIA & ABDUL five tubs of popcorn out of five. There is nothing about this film that goes wrong with me. The story between Queen Victoria and Abdul is delightful, funny, testing, sad, misunderstood and heartbreaking.

Mixed in with that is the ugliness of those around the Queen with their jabbing, back biting, underhanded, and horrible treatment of Abdul and Mohammed. Instead of embracing the cultural differences of these two men, they found ways to cut them to the quick – and right to their face in some cases.

The cinematography is amazing and it is a period piece which is going to grab me from the word go. I absolutely adore the costuming which is always an important part of a period piece because it adds such a richness to the storytelling.

I’m warning anyone who sees the film to keep a Kleenex handy because for the ending you are going to need it. The chemistry between Dench and Fazal is everything I wanted for this story to be told – thank you both for making me laugh, smile and shed a tear.

In the end – this is a friendship based on a true story…well, mostly.

NIGHT MANAGER Brings AMC a Winner

 

night-bluray

 

Now on Bluray from director is the BBC and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the AMC television mini-series that blew everyone away with NIGHT MANAGER.

Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) is the night manager of the prestigious Nefertiti Hotel in the heart of Cairo, Egypt. Keeping his eye on all things, he knows the guests including Sophie Alekan (Aure Atika) who is the mistress of the very wealthy Freddie Hamid (David Avery).

One evening Sophie calls to Jonathan asking him to copy documents and to keep an envelope in safe keeping in case anything happens to her. Curious, he discovers the documents are lists of Hamids’ correspondence and a list of weapons for a company called Ironlast Limited owned by Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie).

With his years of service, Jonathan knows he must turn over the documents to the International Enforcement Agency in London. Doing the right thing costs the night manager with the death of Sophie.

night-4

Fast forward four years and Jonathan is now the night manager of the Meisters Hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland. Keeping his head down he only has to look up to see Ironlast CEO Richard Roper starting back at him. Keeps his cool, he connects with Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) with another list of more weaponry through Ironlast.

Both Burr and Pine know that the only thing they can do is to work together to bring down Roper. Changing his name to Jack Linden and spending time in Devon, England, it is clear that a cover is being created.

Roper, in the meantime, is in Spain working out the details of an arms deal when his young son Daniel is put through an attempted kidnapping. A man pops out of no where to rescue the boy and is beaten thoroughly. Roper recognizes him demanding that he be taken to their villa.

Everyone thinks this man’s name is Thomas Quince but Ropers side-kick Maj. Corky Corkran (Tom Hollander) begins an intensive search into his background. Of course knows him as Pine from Switzerland and confronts him with his criminal past and identities. In gratitude for saving his son, Roper creates a whole new identity of Andrew Birch for Pine.

night

Burr is thrilled that their Operation Limpet is working but tells the staff that no one is to know about their mole River House, not even the upper branches of government. After a devastating death at a party, Roper’s lawyer Juan Apostol (Antonio de la Torre) begins to help Burr with the background of Roper’s network.

Corky continues to be suspicious of the new Andrew Birch and isn’t pleased when Roper gives him control of Tradepass with access to almost everything. The changes are causing suspicion at River House including Geoffrey Dromgoole (Tobias Menzies) and Barbara Vandon.

In the middle of this is Jed (Elizabeth Debicki), Roper’s woman who has a secret of her own that is less than dangerous. Andrew discovers what she is hiding and feels as if he is back in Cairo and the death of Sophie that still haunts him. Seeing the way Andrew and Jed look at each other, Corky lets Andrew know that all eyes are on him and one false move will have dire consequences.

Although Burr is becoming more and more nervous, Andrew continues to feed them information, especially about a compound called Haven. When Corky catches Andrew outside the fence, everything could be blown and he must remain calm to see how it all plays out.

night-3

It all leads back to Cairo and Freddie Hamid! Arriving in Egypt and back at the Nefertiti Hotel, Andrew has little time as Jed helps retrieve information that will stop a shipment from being purchased. Doing what he must to step up the final phase of the plan, Andrew is thrown when Roper lets loose on a monologue of revelations that will change the course of everything.

Hiddleston as Pine-Quince-Birch is sheer brilliance. Not only does he play the quiet and reserved see-all-hear-all charming smile and politely mannered gentleman but damn if it doesn’t work well. I’m telling you right now ladies, there is a reason why this man’s star is rising to the top and (besides my sheer love of Loki) why – oh why – is he not the next James Bond? Just a thought. In NIGHT MANAGER he brings it all and sometimes without saying a word.

Laurie as Roper is deliciously evil that is wrapped around in a weird sense of humor. Obviously a man of an insane amount of money judging by where his homes are located and the traveling, Roper is also a man who snaps his fingers and bad things happen to good people and he does so without any guilt. That’s what makes Laurie a fantastic actor because House he is not in this series.

night-1

Debicki as Jed is a woman who has secrets of her own but this one puts people she loves in danger. Roper and Corky are watching every move she makes and when getting up the nerve to reach out – it is Jonathan who is in the line of fire. Debicki gets a chance to be a combination of emotions in this character but when it’s time to show a poker face it is well done.

Colman as Burr is an actress that has shown time and time again that she is perfectly capable of pulling off any role you put in front of her. The first time she stood out for me is the television series Broadchurch as Ellie Miller and my first thought was ‘who is the extremely talented actress?’ In this series she once again puts it all out there and I said out loud ‘Her name is Colman and she is an extremely talented actress!’ Also a shout out to Menzies as Dromgoole because if you didn’t know this actor before you should by now. Playing the role of Captain Jack Randall in the smash STARZ series OUTLANDER proves that he can be a badass with the top badasses.

Hollander as Corky turns out to be the unexpected surprise in all of this. Of course he has the chops to pull off a crazy role but in NIGHT MANAGER, he is frightening in his ability to make it clear that he will take anyone down that gets in the way of Roper’s business or personal life. He has moments that bring chills then again many might believe as I do that dynamite comes in small packages.

Other cast include: Alistair Petrie as Sandy Langbourne, Natasha Little as Caroline Langbourne, David Harewood as Joel Steadman, Adeel Akhtar as Rob Singhal, Michael Nardone as Frisky, Amir El-Masry as Youssuf, Nasser Memarzia as Omar Barghati and Douglas Hodge as Rex Mayhew.

night-2

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a global operation encompassing motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give NIGHT MANAGER four tubs of popcorn out of five. I wouldn’t be at all upset if there was an extension of this series but Hiddleston would have to be a big part of that. He is Jonathan Pine and that’s all I have to say about that. This series gave viewers twists, turns, upside downs, a few shocking moments and a wild ride that never slows down. That’s what makes great television.

NIGHT MANAGER is actually based on the novel Night Manager by John le Carre and was adapted in 1993 by David Farr. The series came to BBC One followed by AMC in April 2016.

In the end – what’s in a name?

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