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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!

Vic 2

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.

KINGSMAN: The Golden Circle

 

kingman

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from writer/director Matthew Vaughn and 20th Century Fox is the next level epic to save the world and at the helm is KINGSMAN: The Golden Circle.

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is back and continuing to work with Merlin (Mark Strong) and Arthur (Michael Gambon) with Kingsman. Having a life outside of his work, Eggsy is in love with Princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom) and planning to meet her parents the King and Queen of Sweden.

There is a problem however, former Kingsman trainee Charlie (Edward Holcroft) wants to take out a bit of frustration on Eggsy. After a knock down drag out, he heads for dinner with the royals with the help of Roxy in his ear. Everything is going as planned until rockets are launched at Kingsman headquarters leaving only Eggsy and Merlin alive!

king 1

Their new enemy is Poppy (Julianne Moore), a slightly psychotic gal who lives in the jungles of Thailand in a 50’s theme compound. She has also created a condition that affects people who partake in recreational usage. Oh, and she’s also the only one who has the cure!

Eggsy and Merlin learn that they must go to the United States and find Statesman, their American agent cousins. Their first introduction is to Tequila (Channing Tatum) who isn’t about to make their visit easy, Ginger (Halle Berry) who is the American Merlin and Champ (Jeff Bridges), the Statesman’s leader.

That isn’t their biggest shock – it’s who they have been taking care of. Harry (Colin Firth) is alive and Eggsy needs his help. Knowing they have to follow leads for the cure, Champs insists that Agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) go along for back up.

Time is not on their side as the created disease is spreading and Poppy wants to cut a deal with the President of the United States (Bruce Greenwood). He agrees to her terms but also happily houses the infected, including his own Chief of Staff Fox (Emily Watson)!

king 2

In a final attempt to save the world, Eggsy and Harry put on their best suits and load up to take on Poppy with a little help from a English feathered friend!

Eggerton as Eggsy jumps right back into this role and doesn’t miss a beat. He is smooth, a little mouthy, in love and thrilled to see Harry. Looking good in the Kingsman suit, he drives, fights and drinks with the coolness of a proper agent. Honestly, I just like this kid and he sings so there’s that to add to his resume, like he needs it right?

Firth as Harry is back and a little off kilter. Firth is such a strong Kingsman that when there are moments that are “un-Harry” like, he keeps a straight face while I am cracking up. I couldn’t ask anything more than a straight-man who looks awesome doing it. Strong as Merlin is to die for and I have women in the audience to back me up on that statement. He is calm, cool, collected and doesn’t get worked up about anything. Instead, he is the steady that keeps Eggsy from going off the rails.

Moore as Poppy is just completely bonkers and I love it. She is that kind of crazy where a smile and sweet talk scare me more than a crazy with a weapon! Poppy has an agenda and nothing is going to get in her way as Moore looks like she is having more fun than anyone else in the film.

Tatum as Tequila is off his barrel a little bit as the out of control gun toting Statesman agent. Okay, so he’s hilarious too which is a bonus! Barry as Ginger is stuck behind a computer when she’d rather be out in the field. Bridges as Champs is just cool for the sake of being cool.

king 3

I have to throw a thumbs up at Bruce Greenwood and his crazy depiction of the President. Since he has played the Commander-in-Chief before in the 2007 film NATIONAL TREASURE: Book of Secrets and the 2000 film THIRTEEN DAYS – both serious Presidents – this is his chance to throw caution to the wind and be all out bonkers. He manages it quite well actually.

Other cast include Mark Arnold as General McCoy, Bjorn Granath as the King of Sweden, Lena Endre as the Queen of Sweden, Tom Knight as Angel, Sophie Cookson as Roxy, Keith Allen as Charles, Tobi Bakare as Jamal, Thomas Turgoose as Liam, and Calvin Demba as Brandon.

KINGSMAN: The Golden Circle isn’t rocket science! This is a film that is meant to be fun and a no brainer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to the movies with a tub of popcorn, a soda and not having to analyze ever moment. Instead, this is grab the group and go out together for some serious laughs.

There is action, comedy, unexpected surprises and laughs that just keep coming. The twist on spy films wrapped up in pretty awesome tailored suits works for me and I don’t mind saying it loud and proud. KINGSMAN: The Golden Circle is the reason popcorn, friends and theatre going were invented.

In the end – it’s a save the world kind of situation – again!

India Finds It’s Independence and the Final VICEROY’S HOUSE

Viceroy

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Gurinder Chadha and IFC Films is the story of the last viceroy of India with VICEROY’S HOUSE.

It is 1947 in New Delhi as everyone is preparing for the arrival of Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife Lady Edwina Mountbatten (Gillian Anderson). Newly appointed, Mountbatten is also the last viceroy of India and the great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

His job is almost immediate in the attempt to give India its independence. It isn’t going to be easy from the start. Lady Edwina sees the suffering of India’s people from the streets and wishes to waste no time in helping with their needs.

viceroy 1

At the Viceroy’s Palace, Jeet (Manish Dayal) was a one time Hindu police officer and now wishes to be of service to the new viceroy. He sees Aalia (Huma Qureshi) who he has been in love with from the moment they met. When her father Om (Ali Rahim Noor) was jailed, it was Jeet who protected him. Wanting Aalia to understand his feelings, she reminds him that he is Hindu and she Muslim in a time of conflict between the two peoples.

As Mountbatten meets with leaders Nehru, Jinnah and the Mahatma Gandhi, a plan is being formed to allow two nations to be formed without further incident. Lady Edwina takes it upon herself to learn as much about the people of India as she can to help her husband understand their needs.

When meeting after meeting brings more challenges, it is the people of India who are suffering. When Aalia and her family have to leave New Delhi, Jeet is devastated and realizes that everything is being torn apart. Soon after the violence begins and people are fleeing to New Delhi looking for help from the Viceroy.

Mountbatten needs a little help of his own when he discovers that his position isn’t what he believed which could easily destroy the relationships he has tried to hard to cultivate. Those he trusted, Gen. Lionel Hastings Ismay (Michael Gambon), Cyril Radcliffe (Simon Callow) and Archie Wavell (Simon Williams) seem to know something deliberately kept from Mountbatten.

Brother turning on brother, this story tells the heartache of a country and its people who were not prepared for what was to come.

Viceroy 3

Dayal as Jeet is such an amazing actor. I first saw him in THE ONE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY and was brought into a story that was so beautifully told (and I can’t pass it by when on cable). Here he is a young man who falls for a beautiful Muslim girl while caring for her father. He holds his love for her so dear that nothing – not even culture or religion can change his heart.

Bonneville as Mountbatten arrives with every intent to work with Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah to make the transition. Perhaps a bit naïve that it would happen without incident, Bonneville gives his character true heart and the vision to believe that working together could accomplish everything equally. He is an actor who has the uncanny ability to draw me in and rally for the character. Yes, I’m a Downton Abbey fan but that only adds to liking this character.

Anderson as Lady Edwina is a no-nonsense character who knows what must be done and isn’t going to let anyone stand in her way of getting it done. She also is an amazing support system to her husband and doesn’t mind calling out a General or two when they overstep their boundaries. I just loved her attitude from start to finish and forgot she was Gillian Anderson – that’s how well done her character is.

Qureshi as Aalia is a young woman caught between two worlds. Ever the dutiful daughter, she keeps her feelings for Jeet aside when her father is pleased to marry her to a soldier returning from England who is Muslim. The pain is believable and Qureshi’s performance made me very sad and I won’t say any more.

Other cast include: Nicholas Blane as Sir Olaf Kirkpatrick Caroe, Samrat Chakrabarti as Mohsin, Arunoday Singh as Asif, Lily Travers as Lady Pamela Hicks, Lucy Fleming as Lady Wavell, Denzil Smith as Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Terence Harvey as Sir Fred Burrows, Tanveer Ghani as Jawaharlal Nehru, Jas Deol as Duleep Singh and Neeraj Kabi as Mahatma Gandhi.

VICEROY’S HOUSE is visually stunning with all the finery and costuming done up brilliantly. That is so important to me when a film asks me to take a little time travel journey into a story. I am taken in by the pageantry and traditional clothing of that era. The cinematography is equally as stunning with the richness of colors that the story brings with it.

viceroy 2

This is a story I did not know about the independence of India. I know the story of Gandhi very well and own the film by the same name made in 1982 with Ben Kingsley in the starring role. VICEROY’S HOUSE could easily slide right next to GANDHI and add to the richness and more detail of a story that many might not have known before.

The mixture of history with a personal story of Jeet and Aalia is heartbreaking. Jeet played by Dayal is caught between loving someone he is told he can’t have and breaking with traditions against someone he respects – her father.

This is a majestically told story and breathtaking film that needs to be experiences. This week please head to the theatres and be part of VICEROY’S HOUSE.

In the end – it is the end of an empire and the birth of two nations!

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