Latest movies: mother!, Victoria and Abdul, American Assassin, The Villainess

Home invasions, historical humour, misfiring secret agents and a woman on the warpath

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MOTHER! ★★★

Darren Aronofsky’s latest is this year’s big Marmite movie. After eliciting cheers and boos at the Venice Film Festival, it was routinely scorned and celebrated by critics. The one thing everybody agrees on? It’s the most audacious studio film of 2017, with Jennifer Lawrence essaying a performance like nothing she’s ever delivered before. Worth seeing if only so you can dissect it in the pub afterwards.

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VICTORIA AND ABDUL ★★★★

It’s been 20 years since Judi Dench was Oscar-nominated for playing Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown, and she makes a welcome return to the role with this odd-couple biographical comedy. Set during the final years of Victoria’s reign, it sees her befriending Muslim newcomer Abdul Karim (Bollywood star Ali Fazal) for an uplifting and emotional companion piece to Dench’s earlier film.


AMERICAN ASSASSIN ★★

The pieces were in place for this political thriller to succeed Bourne as the new action franchise du jour, but director Michael Cuesta’s film sadly misses the bullseye. Although Michael Keaton is fantastically grizzled as a CIA trainer, American Assassin is unlikely to spawn the series of sequels Lionsgate clearly had in mind.

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THE VILLAINESS ★★★★

A violent revenge thriller from South Korea, The Villainess is as audacious and stylish as the likes of Oldboy and the recent Train to Busan. The film, which follows a woman who is given a new face and enlisted to work as a sleeper agent, received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Expect to be blown away.


ALSO RELEASED THIS WEEK

THE CASE FOR CHRIST ★★

A JOURNEY THROUGH FRENCH CINEMA ★★★★

THE JUNGLE BUNCH ★★

KILLS ON WHEELS ★★★★