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Review: Passengers - Starship couple are lust in space

Passengers (12A, 116 mins)

By Damon Smith

Mankind searches for new planets to inhabit and the Starship Avalon launches, loaded with 258 crew and 5,000 passengers in deep sleep, bound for the distant colony of Homestead II.

The journey from Earth will take 120 years, predominantly on autopilot, but a meteor shower causes a malfunction to the ship's central computer. Hibernation pods malfunction and mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and journalist Aurora Dunn (Jennifer Lawrence) wake prematurely. They discover they cannot reset the pods' sleep command and must spend the rest of their lives with the ship's robot bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen) while friends and loved ones slumber peacefully and defy the ravages of time for the next 90 years. As they come to terms with their predicament, romance sparks between Jim and Aurora. When crew chief Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburne) is also roused early by a software glitch, a shocking secret is exposed that undermines the couple's relationship. Passengers is a missed opportunity that relies on the white-hot star wattage of Lawrence and Pratt to keep us engaged.

Three stars

Beauty gives emotions a battering

Collateral Beauty (12A, 97 mins) Howard Inlet (Will Smith) is the majority shareholder is an advertising agency, which he runs with his business partner and good friend, Whit Yardsham (Edward Norton). Three years ago, Howard lost his only daughter and the grief has reduced him to an empty shell, unable to communicate with colleagues or clients. Whit fears the company will implode unless he takes drastic action. They hire private investigator Sally Price (Ann Dowd) to gather incriminating evidence and she discovers that Howard writes angry letters to Death, Time and Love.

So Whit, Claire and Simon hire three actors - Brigitte (Helen Mirren), Raffi (Jacob Latimore) and Aimee (Keira Knightley) - to portray these three abstractions and converse with Howard, then secretly film the conversations as proof of his madness.

Meanwhile, Howard stumbles meekly into a self-help group for parents run by Madeleine (Naomie Harris).

Collateral Beauty deals with the characters' woes like a bull in a china shop of brittle emotions.

Three stars

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