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July 15, 2024

Cinema review: Johnny English Strikes Again

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At the end of this, the woman who had occupied the seat a few down from me, still chortling as she hurried past on her way to the Ladies, said, ‘That was good, wasn’t it. It was so stupid.’ Which, to be honest, pretty much sums it up. With Britain under attack from hackers who have revealed the identity of all its secret agents while managing to cause chaos throughout the land, a livid prime minister (Emma Thompson) is forced to call on some old stagers to sort out the mess. Among them is Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson), whose first act is to accidentally wipe out the other former operatives (Edward Fox and Michael Gambon, hamming up their cameos with relish) in a beautifully executed sight-gag. The underpinning reference throughout, of course, is to Bond, most reverently when English jumps into his Aston Martin and heads to the south of France, accompanied by a musical score derived unerringly from Monty Norman’s iconic theme. The straight man on his mission is Bough (an impeccable performance from Ben Miller), and together they are able to fall on their feet despite running amok on the Riviera. The femme fatale in the piece is Opheliea (Olga Kurylenko), a Russian spy who is bemused by English’s ineptitude. The villainy comes from Jason (Jake Lacy), an insufferably vain cyber-meister whose goal, like any bad guy worth his salt, is to rule the world. It is English’s old-school approach to problem solving (he is flummoxed by the smartphone given him by HQ) up against the wonders of the wireless new age, and the set-ups are, for the most part, funny without being riotous. But for a comic actor whose genius is best expressed in quiet moments – the pick-up at the bar is priceless – the idea that ‘less is more’ might have been adhered to with even more droll results. For fans of Atkinson, however, director David Kerr’s debut on the big screen after a distinguished career in television is a hoot.

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Tweed boating trip turns fatal

A boating venture on the Tweed River ended in tragedy on Saturday when the vessel capsized and a passenger died.

Two in hospital, including officer, after perilous arrest

A Northern Rivers man wanted for arrest and an officer trying to arrest him are both in hospital after a disastrous encounter in the early hours of the morning.

Federal Labor funds Mullum hospital site masterplan  

A $263,000 federal grant has been awarded to Byron Shire Council for a masterplan and development strategy for the former Mullumbimby Hospital site.

Paddle-out for innovative shaper, Geoff McCoy

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