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Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

The British have a long tradition of transferring TV shows onto the big screen. ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Are You Being Served’, ‘The Sweeney’ and others have graced the broader canvas of movie houses to varying success. Whilst some were simply quick cash-grabs, a few still enjoy devoted cult followings. ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ should effortlessly find itself on the latter list. As outrageously silly as its TV counter-part, it leaps onto celluloid with a debauched flourish sure to make its mischievous characters smile.

Fashion editor Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and best friend Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) still party like teenagers. Although now women of a ‘certain age’ their antics keep making headlines. After attending a party where they accidentally knock a supermodel in the river, all hell breaks loose. Chased by an eager media pack, the ladies flee to the French Riviera for privacy. They quickly discover new charms in the rich paradise where their style of salacious mayhem makes the locals wonder what’s hit them.

Fans of the ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ series can breathe easy. Its film version does justice to what’s gone before whilst pushing the franchise forward to new horizons. Unlike other TV to film adaptations, it doesn’t stray too far from its low-key roots and sticks to a tried and trusted formula. Whilst its first half is slower than its second, ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ has an abundance of quirky characters sure to delight. Even those not versed with the show can enjoy it with the physical and verbal humour charging at you a mile a minute.

Mandie Fletcher’s direction gamely keeps the momentum going despite some slow moments. She certainly didn’t need to tell the cast what to do as they seamlessly slide into their usual roles with ease. Saunders and Lumley have the most fun as their eternally wicked characters with some new one-liners sure to be quoted by their admirers. The overall ‘look’ is glossier than the TV series with the French scenery adding more colourful flavour to an already sparkling canvas.

Although not consistently funny, ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ is worth handing over cash for. You receive more than what you may get from its TV counter-part with the film aiming for high fun. That it generally succeeds is a testament to the strength of its premise with a sequel sure to make followers of the fashionably gruesome central twosome happy.

Rating out of 10: 7

Jason Bourne

You can’t keep a good spy down – just ask James Bond. Attempting to beat that super-spy’s record is the Jason Bourne series which began with ‘The Bourne Identity’ in 2002. Based on Robert Ludlum’s book, the film met with great success and has seen it reach its fourth sequel in ‘Jason Bourne’. After sitting out the series with the last entry, Matt Damon returns as the mysterious agent eternally searching for his identity amidst a myriad of explosions and guns.

After several years of laying low from his pursuers, former rogue agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) resurfaces. With his friend Nicky (Julia Stiles) in tow, he faces a new set of challenges including a program devised by the CIA to re-capture him set up by shady CIA Director Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones). Events rapidly escalate with new threats to the world order ramping up the pressure on Bourne to escape his latest predicaments.

‘Jason Bourne’ sets out to re-connect the series with its fans after ‘The Bourne Legacy’s lacklustre showing. Whilst the previous sequel tried something new, it is Jason Bourne audiences want to see. They receive plenty of his stylised action as filmed with kinetic intensity by director Paul Greengrass. From the first frame ‘Jason Bourne’ never rests as the film and character run a speedy pace towards a typically fiery climax. Whilst the simplistic plot is missing some of the series’ impact, it is good seeing Damon return to a franchise he definitely owns.

Occasionally Greengrass’ frantic direction detracts from completely enjoying the film. This is especially true during the action sequences which are edited within an inch of their lives leaving little room for them to breathe. It’s difficult seeing what’s exactly happening even if the infamous ‘shaky-cam’ for which Greengrass is known is generally well utilised. Damon effortlessly slips into his role with the high calibre cast doing much with the thinly written script.

‘Jason Bourne’ is a decent entry in the franchise without being ‘great’. More depth in the screenplay and better editing in the action scenes would have made for a more satisfying experience. This won’t stop the producers from milking a lucrative cash-cow with Bourne sure to return in future instalments.

Rating out of 10: 7