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The Courier really delivers – Benedict Cumberbatch deserves several award nods for his role

THE COURIER

★★★★☆

(12A) 112mins

LIKE many people, I fell for the charms of Benedict Cumberbatch when he was making his cunning deductions at lightning speed as Sherlock.

So to see him playing Greville Wynne, an out-of-his-depth spy often dripping in sweat, is a refreshing change — and one that Cumberbatch takes in his well-heeled stride.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne in The Courier

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Benedict Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne in The CourierCredit: Alamy

Based on a true story, the film follows Greville, a dapper salesman working as a secret courier for MI6 and the CIA to smuggle Soviet intel from KGB mole Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) out of Moscow in the Sixties.

In doing so, he reveals and stops Russian plans to nuke Cuba and could easily have changed the world as we know it.

Surprising, then, that Greville has not been more celebrated in history, especially seeing the life-changing consequences of his bravery in this film.

The Courier tells this very human tale marvellously, with an edge of class that makes it sleek and stylish.

Director Dominic Cooke and screenwriter Tom O’Connor create a perfect Sixties couple in Greville and his wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley).

So realistic are their middle- England exchanges that it felt like I could be peeking behind the net curtains on my own grandparents 60 years ago.

Greville’s bland home life also gives reason to why he has a sudden taste for adventure, even a life-threatening one, making his actions understandable.

Meeting his American handler (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan) and M16 agent (Angus Wright), you can see he has a taste for the danger – even though clearly it does not come naturally to him.

There are plenty of clammy-palm moments, with nods to Le Carré-style spy thrillers, lots of clever sleights of hand, coded conversations in dark alleys and the dreaded feeling the bad guys are always one step ahead.

But while the story is one of a serious thriller, there are also many humorous moments and heartfelt feelings in the relationship between Greville and Oleg.

Cumberbatch deserves several award nods for his dedication to the role, making The Courier a movie that really delivers.

FREE GUY

★★☆☆☆

(12a) 115mins

SOMETIMES we are reminded why Nineties Jim Carrey was a comedy genius.

Watching Free Guy is one of those times.

Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer in a scene from Free Guy

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Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer in a scene from Free GuyCredit: AP

Ryan Reynolds is trying to do his best impression of Carrey in The Truman Show in his role of bank teller Guy.

Every day, Guy wakes up happy in his repetitive world and goes to his job wearing his bland clothes with a smile on his face.

But we quickly learn Guy is a non-playable character in a brutal, open-world computer game.

And a glitch in the algorithm means he becomes self-aware and can suddenly break free and do what he wants.

And what he wants is programmer Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer).

So while trying to impress her and make himself the hero of the game, he baffles the game’s evil owner Antwan (Taika Waititi) and designer Keys (Joe Keery) who need to stop him in his pixelated tracks.

There is a tremendous amount of wild special effects, which creates a crazy ride but left me feeling like I’d overdosed on E numbers.

The comedy isn’t funny enough, the characters are too flimsy and the pace too frantic to make you actually care about anyone involved.

Jim, we need you.

PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE

★★★☆☆

(G) 90mins

ANYTHING that can hold a three-year-old’s undivided attention for an hour and a half is nothing short of witchcraft.

So straight off the bat, this film deserves huge credit for that.

Paw Patrol: The Movie has plenty of guest stars including Kim Kardashian, McFly’s Tom Fletcher and Ronan Keating

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Paw Patrol: The Movie has plenty of guest stars including Kim Kardashian, McFly’s Tom Fletcher and Ronan KeatingCredit: Splash

Parents of youngsters across the country will need no introduction to Chase, Marshall, Skye and friends – the band of vigilante dogs who keep Adventure Bay safe from the evil, top hat-wearing Mayor Humdinger.

But taking a simple cartoon concept to the big screen requires some big- name cameos and a handful of gags pitched at adults.

(How do the Paw Patrol pay for all this stuff, asks one pup. Our merchandise sells like hot cakes, comes the tongue-in-cheek reply.)

Guest stars include Kim Kardashian, McFly’s Tom Fletcher and Ronan Keating. As the Paw Patrol get to work, the storyline takes a modern twist with hero pup Chase suffering panic attacks and anxiety.

Flashbacks to his early days as a frightened stray on the streets spark doubts over whether he’s really cut out to be a hero.

There are enough twists and turns to keep young viewers enthralled, albeit not in the same league as a Disney or Pixar modern classic.

But it won’t make grown-ups want to Yelp for Help.

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