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Film | The Guardian



Latest Film news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 06:15:16 GMT2016-09-26T06:15:16Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016
 



Awards, high-profile stars, box-office hits: black cinema enters a new era

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 07:00:28 GMT2016-09-25T07:00:28Z

With the work of black artists at the heart of this year’s London film festival, the organisers are celebrating a success that’s long overdue

First came promises of a fairer deal for black talent; now comes a call for action. The London film festival is to put black film-makers and actors centre screen on the largest scale yet, and then come up with a plan to promote their profile in national cinema.

The Black Star symposium, together with a Black Star season of films that will follow the festival, mark an unprecedented push from the British Film Institute to promote black artists and acknowledge their historical exclusion from the higher-profile side of the industry.

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On my radar: Jane Goldman’s cultural highlights

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 09:00:30 GMT2016-09-25T09:00:30Z

The screenwriter on a great festival, shock horror Train to Busan, hacking TV drama Mr Robot and immersive theatre to die for

Born in London in 1970, screenwriter, producer and author Goldman began her writing career aged 16 when she left school and became a journalist, initially working as a showbiz reporter for the Daily Star. That same year she met Jonathan Ross in a nightclub, married him in Las Vegas aged 18 and went on to have three children with him. While the children were young, Goldman published several nonfiction guides for teenagers and, in 2000, her first novel, Dreamworld, before making the switch to films as co-writer on 2007’s Stardust. The movie was the first of several successful screenwriting collaborations with Matthew Vaughn, namely Kick-Ass (2010), X-Men: First Class (2011) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015). Her latest project is an adaptation for director Tim Burton of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in cinemas this week.

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Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and the search for the perfect PR Hollywood divorce

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 23:04:18 GMT2016-09-24T23:04:18Z

The gloves are off in the marital breakup of the decade. But who will win in the battle of celebrity leaks and lawyers?

Celebrity marriages have not had the best of times: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Middle-aged, male A-list stars are taking a beating. The situation has become so dire that the celebrity news channel E! Online is predicting the “End of an era for celebrity idol worship”.

But nothing quite prepared the celebrity world for the totalling of Brangelina.

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The Outsiders: House of Pain rapper restores house in Coppola's movie

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 10:00:02 GMT2016-09-24T10:00:02Z

Danny O’Connor loved the film from the age of 12 and made pilgrimages to the house where it was filmed. Now he’s bought it to turn it into a museum

As a New Yorker based in California, Danny O’Connor wouldn’t seem to have much affinity with a movie set in a mid-sized city in the US heartland.

But O’Connor, later a member of House of Pain, says his life was changed aged 12 by The Outsiders. Based on the 1967 book by SE Hinton, which she wrote in high school, and which has been studied by generations of American schoolchildren, The Outsiders is about two rival high school gangs divided by class. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, most of its cast – Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze – went on to be superstars, while the film was instantly acclaimed as an icon of drop-dead cool.

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Sarah Solemani: ‘I had to hide my pregnancy. I worked until I was due’

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 07:00:26 GMT2016-09-24T07:00:26Z

She steals the show in the new Bridget Jones film and took a protest to its premiere. The actor-writer-rabblerouser explains why it’s time to shake things up

Sarah Solemani was drunk after a hen do and heading home on a night bus when she bumped into a friend and came up with one of those ideas that seem genius in the early hours of Sunday morning, but invariably never see the light of day. Only, in this case, it did. Less than 48 hours later, she was walking the red carpet at a world premiere in Leicester Square, wearing a dazzling Marchesa gown, and holding a matching placard that read BUDGET THE BABY: Fund creches on film sets #RaisingFilms.

The cause? Improving working conditions for parents in the film industry (the friend she bumped into, Line Langebek, is one of the founders of the initiative, Raising Films, and both women have toddlers). The film? The highly anticipated Bridget Jones’s Baby. It was extremely well executed, as drunken brainwaves go. “Sometimes all it takes is a bit of, ‘Hey! We’re over here,’” Solemani shrugs, handing me a plate, as we sit down to eat lunch in the garden of a photographic studio on a balmy September day.

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Judge not: how Netflix produced the definitive Amanda Knox film

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 08:00:00 GMT2016-09-24T08:00:00Z

By warning against a pop psychology approach to criminal investigation, the streaming giant have made a documentary that is both wise and alarming

Related: Who is Amanda Knox?

The truth is, truth outs. That’s why Hollywood has to be careful when it rips stories from the headlines: unsolved mysteries are liable to solve themselves in due course. In telling the story of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Italy in 2007, the Lifetime network waited cautiously until after the conviction of Kercher’s American roommate Amanda Knox to begin chronicling the affair. Little did they know that their glossy, Hayden Panettiere-starring dramatisation Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy would be nullified six months after its release by Knox’s surprise exoneration on appeal.

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Hell and High Water: why film-makers should keep it slow and simple

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 18:51:50 GMT2016-09-23T18:51:50Z

Two recent films – the Chris Pine western and home invasion thriller Don’t Breathe – demonstrate the virtues of calm, old-fashioned film-making

The acclaimed modern-day western Hell or High Water may pivot on a conflict between disenfranchised brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster), Texas law men (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) and the corporate Man-at-large. However, it’s driven less by traditional action theatrics than by people sitting, surveying their space, drinking in their perverted, disappointing patch of Americana. The film is self-consciously mythic, and that’s why it’s poignant: it wants to be a great and timely western. Watching Hell or High Water, it’s hard not to think of The Last Picture Show, which featured a younger Bridges on the other side of his career, and which was similarly eager to conjure the iconography of an America thought to be long gone – a so-called “purer” America, perhaps.

Related: Hell or High Water review – elegiac Texan western that packs a dizzying punch

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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children review: mordant British YA X-Men is Tim Burton's best in 20 years

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:15:15 GMT2016-09-26T00:15:15Z

That this adaptation is highly stylish is hardly surprising; that it’s quite so charming and funny is. Plus, Samuel L Jackson eats a whole bowl of children’s eyeballs

Film-goers have endured such a punishing onslaught of young adult adaptations, it’s enough to make you want to sulk and dream of escaping into some sort of fantasy realm. Think back, if you can, to recent duds like The Mortal Instruments: City of Bone, The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials or, Rowling help us, that second Twilight film, before they wised-up and added a bit of intentional camp. Survivors of this cinematic drudgery (and there ought to be support groups) have been wondering just what would happen if you took one of these wholly by-the-numbers affairs and hired a director who at least had a little bit of style. With Tim Burton behind the camera, and the always-sharp screenwriter Jane Goldman keeping him on course, we have our answer in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.

The source material is a whopper of an elevator pitch: X-Men done up all British and gloomy and gothic. (If Winona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice read comics when she was 13, they’d have been something like this.) To add additional spin, our young English mutants are caught up in a Groundhog Day of their own creation, so we get the playfulness of seeing quirky magic powers mixed with the familiarity of how a time loop plays out. Add in Burton’s authorial visual stamp and what we’ve got is an extremely pleasing formula. It gels as Tim Burton’s best (non-musical) live-action movie for 20 years.

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The Girl With All the Gifts review – provocative and imaginative

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 08:00:29 GMT2016-09-25T08:00:29Z

Young ‘hungries’ are humanity’s best hope of survival in this smart twist on the zombie movie starring Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton

This fiercely intelligent British chiller from Scottish director Colm McCarthy, whose small-screen credits include Doctor Who, Sherlock and Peaky Blinders, breathes new life into age-old horror tropes, taking familiar fears of zombies, the apocalypse and eerie children and spinning them in surprising ways. Although writer Mike “MR” Carey’s narrative about a fungal plague that turns victims into cannibalistic “hungries” occupies a post-28 Days Later landscape, the central obsessions explored here are closer to the identity crises of Never Let Me Go (both book and film), with a strong underlying strain of the very British weirdness of John Wyndham.

The budget may have been relatively constrained (£4.4m), but not so the ambition of the film-makers who conjure a gripping genre picture as fleet-footed as its nimbly marauding zombies, juggling thoughtfulness and gore, brains and brawn, with subversive wit and invention.

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Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan to star in Paul Dano's Wildlife

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 19:02:07 GMT2016-09-23T19:02:07Z

The star of War and Peace and Swiss Army Man will make his directorial debut after penning an adaption of Richard Ford’s novel with his partner Zoe Kazan

Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan will appear onscreen together for the first time in Wildlife, the upcoming directorial debut from actor Paul Dano.

Dano, who starred in Swiss Army Man opposite Daniel Radcliffe and played Pierre Bezukhov in BBC One’s adaptation of War and Peace, announced the project in June. Based on Richard Ford’s novel, Wildlife is a family drama centered on a boy whose parents’ marriage falls apart after his mother finds another man. It hasn’t been confirmed what roles Gyllenhaal and Mulligan will play.

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Silver screeners: the generation helping cinema blossom

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:43:06 GMT2016-09-23T12:43:06Z

The baby-boomers who once too busy raising families to go to the cinema are now turning up in increasing numbers

The post-second world war baby boomers, we know, are the most fortunate of generations: young people struggle to get on the housing ladder while the newly retired are the wealthiest they have ever been. So it should perhaps be no surprise that in cinemas too, this generation is now making its presence felt, but after some neglect. When the UK film industry almost went under in the 70s, it was partly because baby boomers had less time to go the movies when they had babies of their own to look after. And when it was defibrillated in the following decade by the arrival of multiplexes, the same generation, now thirty-somethings, were not the reason for cinemas’ return to life.

Yet members of this generation are now turning out in large numbers. In America and Canada, 15% of over-60s were defined as “frequent moviegoers” in 2015, up from 14% the year before and 10% the year before that. It is a similar story in the UK, where between 2008 and 2015 the share of over-55s in the audience increased every year (apart from 2011), hitting a peak of 12.5% last year. As Crispin Lilly, CEO of Everyman Cinemas, says: “There is a whole generation of people who grew up with good quality cinemas before the 1980s that are now returning in droves.”

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Anger as Churchill's home turned into Hitler HQ for Transformers 5

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:44:31 GMT2016-09-23T10:44:31Z

War veterans are horrified that Blenheim Palace has been draped in swastika flags for Michael Bay’s latest film

The conversion of Winston Churchill’s former home into the swastika-draped headquarters of Adolf Hitler for a Transformers movie has been denounced by veterans’ groups and former military commanders.

Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, has been reimagined as the headquarters of the Nazi leader in The Last Knight, the fifth Transformers film, which is currently shooting.

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Brad Pitt: FBI evaluating whether to investigate airplane incident

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:10:39 GMT2016-09-23T10:10:39Z

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said it is continuing to gather facts in order to see if further action required

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said it is deciding whether to pursue and investigate an alleged incident regarding the actor Brad Pitt and his children while travelling on a private jet.

Related: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: a marriage that started – and ended – on screen

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LAPD confirm Brad Pitt not being investigated for child abuse

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 15:20:24 GMT2016-09-22T15:20:24Z

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said that rumours were false and the actor was neither under investigation nor had any allegations been made against him

The Los Angeles Police Department is not investigating the actor Brad Pitt for child abuse, a spokesperson confirmed on Thursday. Seeking to debunk rumours that the actor’s recently announced divorce was linked to an outburst against his children earlier this month, Sergeant Barry Montgomery told the Hollywood Reporter that no investigation was underway.

“We understand how rumours get spun up,” he said, “and hopefully we can put a few of them to rest. We have no criminal investigation that we are actively pursuing.”

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Stan Lee to create Chinese movie superhero Monkey Master

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 14:04:35 GMT2016-09-22T14:04:35Z

Monkey Master will weave Chinese and Indian warrior myths into modern-day martial arts story, and follows pioneering mashup Chakra: The Invincible

Marvel Comics great Stan Lee is to enter the Chinese film market by co-creating a new superhero movie character, Monkey Master.

According to Variety, Lee will work on the project with Liquid Comics’ Sharad Devarajan, with whom he created Indian superhero Chakra: The Invincible. While Chakra emerged as a 65-minute animated film on Cartoon Network India, Monkey Master is aiming higher: with backing from China’s Shinework Pictures and Graphic India, Lee and Devarajan are planning an international English-language blockbuster.

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John McEnroe slams biopic starring Shia LaBeouf

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:58:28 GMT2016-09-22T12:58:28Z

The tennis star expresses astonishment that nobody involved in the forthcoming film about his rivalry with Björn Borg has been in touch

John McEnroe, the tennis star who won seven Grand Slam singles titles, has questioned the authenticity of forthcoming biopic Borg vs McEnroe.

The movie, which is currently shooting, focuses on the rivalry between McEnroe (played by Shia LaBeouf) and the Swedish tennis pro Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) in the late 1970s and early 80s. During an interview in Vanity Fair, McEnroe expressed concern about the complete lack of contact from the film-makers.

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Disney confirms Star Wars anthology movie for 2020

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:51:36 GMT2016-09-22T12:51:36Z

CEO Bob Iger says there will be a third film in series that begins in December 2016 with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Disney chief executive Bob Iger has confirmed that another entry in the Star Wars series of stand-alone “anthology” movies is set for release in 2020.

In remarks made to the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, and reported by Deadline, Iger said that a writer had been hired to work on the film. This would be the third in the series that will begin with the release of the Gareth Edwards-directed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in December 2016, and followed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s as yet untitled Han Solo film, due for release in May 2018. No details have yet emerged of the 2020 project.

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James Murdoch: 'failure' Fox has to 'make better movies'

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:44:04 GMT2016-09-22T12:44:04Z

Media boss talks frankly at an industry conference about his film studio’s box-office malaise, and takes aim at restrictive practices by cinema distributors

James Murdoch, the CEO of media conglomerate 21st Century Fox has criticised his own film studio for its “failure” and that “fundamentally, we have to make better movies”.

Murdoch was speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference and, in remarks quoted by the Hollywood Reporter, he addressed the difficulties faced by his film division, 20th Century Fox, after a series of poor box-office performances, including Ice Age: Collision Course and Independence Day: Resurgence.

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The Magnificent Seven review: moderate remake opens 41st Toronto film festival

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 18:35:40 GMT2016-09-08T18:35:40Z

Denzel Washington’s classic western hero is commandingly cool and supported by a rakish Chris Pratt, but there’s a great deal of waiting around for something to happen in Antoine Fuqua’s strenuously-topical western

Magnificent may be overselling it, but The Mildly Diverting Seven doesn’t look so good on a poster. Moreover, Antoine Fuqua’s remake of John Sturges’s Hollywood classic (itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai) can’t and shouldn’t obscure its origins. It lives and dies by being a Magnificent Seven of the now, and this helps and harms the final product.

On the positive side, there’s Denzel Washington looking, to put it in today’s terms, cool AF riding a horse. And getting off the horse, walking next to the horse, quick-drawing on bad guys and rescuing a town of helpless innocents. There are a lot of closeups of belt buckles in this movie and few will complain.

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Queen of Katwe review: Ugandan chess movie could be new Slumdog

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 14:02:05 GMT2016-09-11T14:02:05Z

David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o deliver nuanced performances in a movie which threatens to back itself into a corner but has enough zest and intelligence to carry through

Making a chess movie is a tricky move. Your first stumbling block is that, of all sports, this must be one of the most uncinematic – as well as the most baffling for the novice. Even those familiar with the queen’s gambit need a little while to take a look at a board in an apparently tense setup and assess its import for both players.

Plus, on the big screen at least, the dramatis personae are rarely appealing. Traditionally, movie chess is the recourse of the brilliant but socially awkward male, who uses it to communicate when more common methods prove elusive. Such folk can be a struggle to root for, their victories and defeats wrapped up in psychological trauma and solitary childhoods. A case in point premiered at Toronto two years ago: Pawn Sacrifice, a woozily-boring Bobby Fischer biopic with Tobey Maguire sweating over the bishops.

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The Dressmaker review – revenge drama falls apart at the seams

Thu, 19 Nov 2015 22:30:05 GMT2015-11-19T22:30:05Z

Even Kate Winslet carrying her sewing machine like a gunfighter’s pistol can’t redeem this unbearable patchwork of comedy and tragedy

There’s something chokingly terrible about this film, with its two-hour accumulation of sentimentality building to a pure, clanging wrongness in the tonally misjudged mix of unfunny smalltown comedy and unconvincing smalltown tragedy. Kate Winslet does her best, but there’s nothing she can do with this unbearable and unbearably long movie. She plays Myrtle Dunnage, returning to her dusty Australian hometown in the early 1950s: she is a fashionista, a dressmaker with experience of Paris and Milan: haughty, glorious and glamorous, carrying her Singer sewing machine like a gunfighter with his pistol. It seems the mean-minded, petty population drove her out of town when she was just a kid, for reasons finally and tiresomely revealed in flashback. So now she has a score to settle with one and all, including her cantankerous old mum (Judy Davis) and nasty schoolteacher (Kerry Fox) – but she also finds sympathy from fashion-conscious police officer Sergeant Barrat (Hugo Weaving) and gorgeous semi-clothed neighbour Teddy (Liam Hemsworth). The film’s flower of awfulness only properly blooms when it becomes clear that Myrtle’s dressmaking creations can improve everyone’s lives and liberate them from stilted narrow moralism – like Juliette Binoche’s coy confectionery in a similar, if French, smalltown in Chocolat (2000). The final shift of mood is horribly jarring and unconvincing, and doesn’t even end the film, which drags on to the two-hour mark. Surely Winslet can find better roles than this.

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The Lovers and the Despot: study of Kim Jong-Il's cinephilia is hard to adore

Sun, 24 Jan 2016 11:43:33 GMT2016-01-24T11:43:33Z

There’s an incredible story somewhere in this tale of how an actor and her husband were forced to make films for the late dictator, but this documentary buries it by way of over-measured effects and chronic pussy-footing

There’s not a lot that’s warm and fuzzy about the late dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il. One factoid that floats around is that “the guy loved movies!” As the documentary The Lovers and the Despot shows, even this is tinged with darkness.

Built around a lengthy interview with former film star Choi Eun-hee, directors Robert Cannan and Ross Adam tell the strange tale of how Choi, a South Korean, and her ex-husband, director Shin Sang-ok, were kidnapped by Kim’s agents and pressed into servitude, with the order to make North Korea’s film output great.

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Snowden review: Oliver Stone turns true thrills into dated Hollywood fodder

Sat, 10 Sep 2016 07:47:49 GMT2016-09-10T07:47:49Z

The director’s dramatic retelling of the NSA whistleblower’s rise to infamy boasts a strong central performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt but its attempts to pander to a multiplex crowd are misjudged

Once the Oscar-winning, critic-baiting enfant terrible of Hollywood, Oliver Stone’s position in the industry has gone from illuminating grandmaster to embarrassing grandfather with a string of curiously ill-advised disasters. Alexander, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Savages are the works of a director depressingly out of touch and uncomfortable with his landscape, far from the zeitgeisty provocateur he used to be.

Related: Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Snowden is a patriot

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The Beatles: Eight Days a Week review – moptops conquer the world

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 14:30:45 GMT2016-09-15T14:30:45Z

Ron Howard trashes the idea that there’s nothing new to say about the Beatles with a revealing survey of the four-year odyssey that changed everything

Blink and you’ll miss it, but Ron Howard’s intensely enjoyable documentary about the Beatles’ touring years has a great surreal moment at the very beginning. The moptops are getting out of the plane in New York, on their way to a date with destiny on The Ed Sullivan Show, and the newsreel camera briefly catches a couple of placards held up in the huge airport crowd. “Beatles Unfair 2 Bald Men” reads one, and another says: “England Get Out of Ireland.” The images vanish, and their atypical sentiments are in any case drowned by the global scream of unironic adulation. Yet both echo other undercurrents in Beatlemania: a fear of these weirdly attractive aliens, a hatred of youth culture and youth itself, and perhaps mixed feelings in New York and the US about this extraordinary new British invasion. Maybe Paul McCartney even saw that second placard and modified it as a song title for Wings.

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Bridget Jones's Baby review: Zellweger delivers in fun romp heavy with expectation

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 06:19:01 GMT2016-09-06T06:19:01Z

Broad gags, choice turns and some terrific slapstick involving a hospital revolving door elevate a possibly opportunistic outing into a solid and satisfying comeback

“Sell-by dates don’t mean anything ... do they?” Bridget Jones is talking about the eco-friendly biodegradable condoms she bought ages ago, and with which she has suddenly ended an aeon-long sex famine by using twice, on getting suddenly lucky with two chaps within a few days: dishy online dating expert (Patrick Dempsey) and her old smoulderer, the unexpectedly single Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). Now 40-something Bridget has ascended the duff and there is a Mamma-Mia!-style mystery about the dad’s identity. The director is Sharon Maguire, and the writers are Emma Thompson, Dan Mazer and Helen Fielding, author of the original newspaper column and bestselling book.

As for Bridget’s own sell-by date, well, she now joins the conga-line of figures from the late 90s and early noughties making their sheepish comeback: David Brent, AbFab, Cold Feet. But Renée Zellweger’s own return after 12 years in the dithery role she created – and after a six-year absence from the screen – has been overshadowed by a massive media overreaction to cosmetic work which she has evidently had done.

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Blair Witch review – found-footage sequel brings horror of deja-vu

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 04:00:19 GMT2016-09-12T04:00:19Z

A slick postscript to the 1999 low-budget hit panders to a young audience by swapping the original’s slow-burn for gory theatrics and modern gadgets

Given the quite terrifying frequency at which low-budget, low-wattage and lowbrow horror films are released at the moment, it’s strange and sweetly nostalgic to remember a time when the genre was less ubiquitous.

Related: Bad omens: Blair Witch and the trouble with the horror franchise revival

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The Light Between Oceans review – a swirling, sugar-coated melodrama

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 17:19:25 GMT2016-08-31T17:19:25Z

Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander give heartfelt performances in a tale of love and sacrifice that isn’t afraid to hit cymbal-crashing levels of sentimentality

Prepare for a massive bull market in Kleenex shares. There are oceans of tears in this surging and swirling emotional melodrama from writer-director Derek Cianfrance, adapted from the 2012 bestseller by Australian author ML Stedman.

Unashamedly and even ruthlessly sentimental, this film tugs away at your heartstrings like it’s ringing in the new year. A new Richter scale may have to be devised to measure the mass audience lip-trembling. Never mind “weepie” – it’s a sobbie, a blubberie and (for certain tight-lipped male critics in the audience) a secret-snifflie.

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Morgan review – cranked-up Frankenstein from the family Scott

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 21:00:21 GMT2016-09-01T21:00:21Z

Ridley and son Luke turn in a passable sci-fi thriller, but the horror turns to shlock as the film heads for a predictable twist ending

Coinciding with Mary Shelley’s birthday week, this Scott family affair – produced by Ridley for director son Luke – is another runout for the old story about scientists who create new life only to see it lurch bloodily away from them.

Frosty risk assessor Kate Mara’s investigations into the mishandling of the eponymous hybrid intelligence (The Witch’s still-eerie Anya Taylor-Joy) permits Scott Jr a good hour of existential unease: is it the placid Morgan or her intemperate human overseers (Toby Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Paul Giamatti) who pose the greater threat to this shadowy corporation’s safe operation? Alas, once that question is resolved, the film turns into a passably schlocky runaround, bound for a guessable last-minute twist that has an obvious precedent in the Scott canon.

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Klovn Forever review – one in the eye for decency from Denmark's gross-out duo

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 10:58:44 GMT2016-08-30T10:58:44Z

Racism, sexism, inappropriate coupling: Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen cheerily mine every taboo for a laugh in this sequel to the 2012 sleeper hit

When the film Klovn (Klown) shot to notoriety on the festival circuit in 2012, it did so with the benefit of surprise. Only those familiar with its six seasons on Danish TV could have seen it coming. But when, in the first few moments, meek schlemiel Frank (Frank Hvam) ejaculates into his mother-in-law’s eye, it wasn’t just the shock that got laughs, but the humanity with which it happened. It’s not like we in the audience were thinking “Oh, I’ve been there” but we could see how Frank’s alpha male buddy Casper (Casper Christensen) could lead a lovable yutz like Frank into a situation where this could occur.

Klown’s style of humour feels like every Curb Your Enthusiasm bit that has been rejected for going too far. Hvam, who looks like the Muppets’ Beaker as drawn by Garry Trudeau, is forever that timid, clueless kid following whatever suggestion he’s given by the school bully. Casper is a raging id who can’t think five minutes beyond his next impulse. They are in their mid-40s, so their selfish behaviour would be unbearable in real life. Thank God for movies.

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Souvenir review – Isabelle Huppert swaps Eurovision for paté and back again

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:53:50 GMT2016-09-16T14:53:50Z

This sugary comedy drama sees the actor in unusually light territory and while it’s ultimately little more than a soufflé, her presence makes it rise

Anyone deluded enough to claim that the film industry isn’t both ageist and sexist need only to try explaining just where so many talented female actors over the age of 50 have gone. It’s this forced disappearing act that makes it so pleasurable when there’s a rare exception to the rule. As a sort of French Meryl Streep (in her ability to maintain a steady list of credits, not her acting style), Isabelle Huppert remains at the top of her game at the age of 63.

Related: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House review – Ruth Wilson can't save underwritten horror

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LBJ review: Woody Harrelson compelling if physically unconvincing in firm biopic

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 16:28:04 GMT2016-09-15T16:28:04Z

Harrelson might not look like Lyndon B Johnson – even with the benefit of heavy prosthetics – but he gives a convincing performance of a troubled leader in Rob Reiner’s conventional presidential drama

It’s inevitable that an election year would have an effect on Hollywood, but 2016 has seen an unusually high number of films centred on, or at least relating to, US political history. There’s been Elvis & Nixon, the two Obama dramas, Southside with You and the Toronto-premiering Barry and even a Purge sequel subtitled Election Year. But even within this subgenre, Lyndon B Johnson has been a surprisingly recurrent character.

Related: Jackie review – Natalie Portman astonishes in remarkably intimate portrait

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Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids review - Jonathan Demme's no-frills doc

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 13:04:42 GMT2016-09-15T13:04:42Z

The megastar proves himself to be a fabulous entertainer in film following the final few nights of his 20/20 Experience tour in Las Vegas – there’s no resisting

In recent years, Justin Timberlake’s been forcefully trying to sell to the world that he can act. For a superstar of his stature, he’s done just fine at picking the right roles to showcase his good looks and undeniable charisma, most notably putting both to good use as Sean Parker in The Social Network. But as Jonathan Demme’s concert documentary Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids indisputably shows, Timberlake is only truly in his element when on stage being a showman.

Related: Justin Timberlake 'uses black culture', says hip-hop star Vic Mensa

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Amanda Knox review – slick documentary excels with unprecedented access

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 11:17:19 GMT2016-09-15T11:17:19Z

Netflix’s sharp look at the murder of Meredith Kercher has no big revelations, but is an expansive and detailed account

Thanks to her extreme representation within the media, Amanda Knox – the former US student twice convicted and twice acquitted for the murder of British roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy – has sometimes seemed like a villain invented by a screenwriter. The sexually deviant femme fatale with an appetite for blood.

Knox has even been the subject of a Lifetime movie, with Hayden Panettiere in the lead role. But in this sharply directed Netflix documentary, one of the key aims is exploring behind the headlines, the accusations and the slut-shaming.

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Brain on Fire review: Chloë Grace Moretz fails to ignite disease-of-the-week drama

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:00:43 GMT2016-09-15T09:00:43Z

The true story of a journalist’s struggle with a rare brain disease has initial promise but soon descends into well-worn soap

There’s a great difficulty in bringing a true story about a character struggling with disease to the big screen. Thanks to hundreds of overly sentimental Lifetime movies, a set formula has meant that, as an audience, we’re so familiar with the beats, we need something radical or at least expertly played to make it seem worth telling. Yet for an actor, illness offers them the chance to rotate through a variety of Oscar-friendly situations, showing off how brilliantly they can play pained.

Related: Strange Weather review – Holly Hunter takes classic American indie back on the road

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Their Finest review - Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy struggle with a duff script in wartime drama

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:47:14 GMT2016-09-13T17:47:14Z

An Education director Lone Scherfig goes period again with this account of British women on the home front during the Blitz – but it’s all a bit predictable

Their Finest, the latest serviceable period jaunt from An Education director Lone Scherfig, masquerades as an ode to how women played a major role in boosting national morale during the Blitz of London in the second world war. At its core, it’s really just a workplace love story that grows increasingly uninterested in its plucky heroine’s journey in favour of hitting familiar rom-com notes – and to give audiences another reason to love Bill Nighy.

Related: Jackie review – Natalie Portman astonishes in remarkably intimate portrait

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Catfight review – gory comedy hits us with knockabout fun and broad satire

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:43:57 GMT2016-09-13T15:43:57Z

Anne Heche and Sandra Oh are old enemies who meet years later and become locked in a bitter and violent rivalry in this female spin on Trading Places

Post-Bridesmaids Hollywood was supposed to be filled with female-fronted comedies that didn’t have the word “romantic” placed in front of them. But progress has been painfully slow and it’s been left up to Melissa McCarthy and some Bad Moms to continue the important work.

Related: Sing review – pitch-perfect porcupines have the X factor in jukebox musical

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The Promise review – Oscar Isaac tackles Armenian genocide in cliched but involving romance

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 10:57:44 GMT2016-09-13T10:57:44Z

Hotel Rwanda director Terry George takes on a largely uncovered part of history in this often soapy but well-intentioned and extravagantly mounted epic

There are many reasons to criticise James Cameron’s record-breaking weepie Titanic but one of the most frustrating reminders of its success lies in Hollywood’s repetitive treatment of historical tragedies ever since. Not that the director invented the formula of placing a love triangle in the middle of adversity, but he showed that it could be extraordinarily profitable – and movies from Pearl Harbor to Pompeii have tried desperately to replicate the package.

Related: Denial review – Rachel Weisz makes heavy weather of Holocaust courtroom drama

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My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea review – animated disaster movie smartly captures teenage life

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 09:23:39 GMT2016-09-13T09:23:39Z

This visually unique comedy of teens trying to survive a Poseidon Adventure-style castastrophe is also an acutely observed look at school structure

Given that the majority of us have experienced the scattered highs and crushing lows of school life, it’s always easy to spot an on-screen representation that doesn’t feel authentic. With the boom in teen movies during the late 90s, too many felt as if they represented a narrative that was impossible to relate to and existed purely in the foggy mind of a 40-year-old ex-jock screenwriter.

Related: Sing review – pitch-perfect porcupines have the X factor in jukebox musical

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Denial review – Rachel Weisz makes heavy weather of Holocaust courtroom drama

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 17:42:08 GMT2016-09-12T17:42:08Z

Despite its pedigree – with a top-notch cast and a script by David Hare – this drama about the real-life libel case involving disgraced historian David Irving never comes to life

Denial is textbook Oscar bait: an autumn release recounting an inspiring real story about fighting prejudice, led by a showy performance from an Oscar winner, written by an award-winning playwright, and buffeted by a swelling, emotional score. However, patches of it are so ludicrously hammy it plays like one of those unbearably corny fake films teased at the beginning of Tropic Thunder.

Related: Rachel Weisz interview: A spy in the house of love

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Lion review: Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman hunt Oscars in moving adoption drama

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 17:41:34 GMT2016-09-11T17:41:34Z

The true story of a man using Google Earth to track down his childhood home is often slight but accomplished direction and interesting themes of racial identity keeps it on track

It’s been a rough few years for the Weinstein Company, both critically and commercially with Harvey Weinstein’s intimate relationship with the Oscars turning into more of a casual association. The giddy years that saw vanilla mum films like Chocolat and The Cider House Rules score with Academy voters came to an end and recent attempts to sneak in (with Southpaw, Big Eyes and Mandela) have left the brothers empty-handed.

Related: Queen of Katwe review: Ugandan chess movie could be new Slumdog

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All I See Is You review: Blake Lively regains sight in patchily arresting thriller

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 12:36:22 GMT2016-09-11T12:36:22Z

Marc Forster’s latest packs a visual punch and a terrific lead performance from Lively as a blind young woman who regains her sight. It’s unfortunate the film doesn’t seem to know where to go from there

Marc Forster is a wildly unreliable film-maker: the devastatingly effective drama Monster’s Ball remains his all-time high; Machine Gun Preacher his indisputable low. Still, there’s no denying he’s an incredibly talented visual stylist. For the opening sequence of All I See Is You, Forster stuns with a total banger of a scene that boldly attempts to pit you inside the head of a blind person. It’s a sensorial overload.

Related: Blake Lively on sharks, starlets and filming with Woody Allen

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A Monster Calls review: Liam Neeson's tree offers pre-teen bereavement therapy

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 07:24:51 GMT2016-09-11T07:24:51Z

This family weepie about a boy who imagines a monster to cope with the impending loss of his mother tugs at the heartstrings and aims for wonder – but still comes up a little short

Hollywood has a strange habit of repeating itself, often within the span of a few months. Deep Impact vs Armageddon, Mission to Mars vs Red Planet, No Strings Attached vs Friends With Benefits … the list goes on. Already this year, families have been gifted The BFG and Pete’s Dragon, two films about a child and their creature pal. We now have a third in JA Bayona’s A Monster Calls.

Related: Frantz review: François Ozon surprises again with sumptuous period war drama

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Frantz review: François Ozon surprises again with sumptuous period war drama

Sat, 10 Sep 2016 07:56:33 GMT2016-09-10T07:56:33Z

The prolific French film-maker tones down his often colourful palette to offer a loose adaptation of the 1932 Ernst Lubitsch drama Broken Lullaby, anchored beautifully by German actor Paula Beer

François Ozon is nothing if not a restless film-maker. Despite his ridiculously prolific rate (he’s the Woody Allen of France, churning out one to two films a year), he seems adverse to ever being labelled an auteur. He’s tackled everything from a classic Gallic farce (Potiche), to a murder mystery (8 Women), to an erotic thriller (Swimming Pool), all with varying degrees of success. With an Ozon joint, you never quite know what you’re going to get.

Related: François Ozon: 'I'll admit I'm a little bit twisted'

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Colossal review – Anne Hathaway's madcap monster movie plays it too safe

Sat, 10 Sep 2016 01:00:17 GMT2016-09-10T01:00:17Z

A compellingly odd premise about a woman who develops a psychic connection with a monster rampaging through South Korea is ultimately just not quite odd enough

To call Colossal tonally uneven would perhaps be missing the entire point of Colossal. For months now, the staggeringly odd premise has been the source of feverish online discussion and intense confusion. She did what? And has a what? But how could that? The answers are here and, well, they’re far from befitting of that title ...

Related: The Magnificent Seven review: moderate remake opens 41st Toronto film festival

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Free Fire review – Ben Wheatley's shootout comedy is firing blanks

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 17:16:12 GMT2016-09-09T17:16:12Z

The acclaimed director of Kill List and Sightseers attempts to appeal to a more mainstream audience with a noisy sub-Tarantino caper that fails to grab attention

After the one-two punch of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, the bottom shelves of everyone’s local video store were filled with desperate Tarantino knock-offs from directors hoping a similar formula of violence, wit and songs from the 60s would see them crowned the next film-making wunderkind. As they started to thin out, we then saw the Guy Ritchie effect take its place with laboured gangster comedies dominating British cinema for far too long.

Related: The Magnificent Seven review: moderate remake opens 41st Toronto film festival

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Wakefield review: two hours with Bryan Cranston in an attic is less fun than it sounds

Sun, 04 Sep 2016 07:21:17 GMT2016-09-04T07:21:17Z

The Breaking Bad star gives a showy performance as a businessman who leaves his job to hole himself away and spy on wife Jennifer Garner in this grating and bizarre adaptation of EL Doctorow’s short story

Bryan Cranston has a wonderfully expressive baritone tailor-made for voiceover work. Writer/director Robin Swicord capitalises on it, and mines it to unfortunately nauseating effect in Wakefield, her plodding adaptation of El Doctorow’s short story about a man who chooses to retreat in his attic for several months, away from his family.

With only himself to speak to for much of the film, Swicord has Cranston’s lead character dictate every inane thought that pops into his head. It’s a shame then he’s such terrible company.

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Una review – Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn child abuse drama is stagey disappointment

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 18:06:02 GMT2016-09-03T18:06:02Z

A two-hander about a confrontation between a woman and the man who sexually abused her as a child fails to deliver on its intriguing promise

The challenge with transforming a stage production into a movie is the need to provide enough of a justification as to why the move was necessary. The differences between the two mediums and the benefits and restrictions they both provide mean that an adaptation, either way, can be fraught with difficulty. It’s even tougher when you’re dealing with a two-hander, a common theatrical construct that can feel less at home on the big screen.

Related: Moonlight review – devastating drama is vital portrait of black gay masculinity in America

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Sully review: Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks turn a mile-high miracle into middling drama

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 16:12:35 GMT2016-09-03T16:12:35Z

Eastwood vividly depicts the 2009 harrowing landing of a major aircraft on the Hudson river multiple times in his otherwise perfunctory drama centered on the embattled pilot who saved 155 lives

In person, Clint Eastwood recently has the tendency to come across as brash and combative (in an August interview he derided much of America as a “pussy generation” while telling people to “just fucking get over” Donald Trump’s many controversial remarks). As a film-maker, however, the 86-year-old is the antithesis. His best work – Letters From Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Unforgiven – all share an understated quality that means the emotional impact of his stories rings authentic. Eastwood’s most recent, Sully, squarely fits that bill.

Related: Clint Eastwood defends Trump's 'racist' remarks: 'Just get over it'

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Passengers: trailer for Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt sci-fi drama - video

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:48:15 GMT2016-09-20T14:48:15Z

In Passengers, the new film from The Imitation Game’s Morten Tyldum, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt play passengers on board a spaceship transporting them to a new life on another planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination

  • The film opens in the US on 21 December and in the UK on 23 December
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Hidden Figures: trailer for Nasa scientists biopic - video

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:13:26 GMT2016-09-20T14:13:26Z

The true story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), Hidden Figures reveals the role of three African-American women working at Nasa. The trio were the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit of the Earth in 1962; an achievement which transformed the fortunes of the space race

  • The film is released in the US on 13 January 2017 and in the UK on 24 February 2017
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Sam Neill on Hunt for the Wilderpeople co-star: 'I'm grumpy, he's annoying' – video interview

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:41:11 GMT2016-09-16T14:41:11Z

The stars of surprise family comedy The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, about the friendship between a child in care and his adoptive uncle who go on the run in the New Zealand bush, speak about their working relationship and how unusual it is to come out of a movie feeling better. Thirteen-year-old Julian Dennison also reveals that he fell asleep in Neill’s best-known movie, Jurassic Park, but that working with the veteran actor was ‘awesome’

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Amanda Knox: trailer for Netflix documentary – video

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 13:57:42 GMT2016-09-15T13:57:42Z

A trailer for Netflix’s documentary on Amanda Knox, the American student twice convicted and then acquitted for the murder in 2007 in Perugia, Italy, of her British room-mate Meredith Kercher. The film, by Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst, features archive footage and contributions from the key players

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The Girl With All the Gifts: a clip from the zombie teen thriller – video

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:31:24 GMT2016-09-13T14:31:24Z

Adapted from MR Carey’s post-apocalyptic YA novel, The Girl With All the Gifts is set in a future society where a mysterious disease has turned almost everyone into zombie-like ‘hungries’ who feed on human flesh. Some children, affected by the disease, are able to avoid the zombie-like state – including Melanie (played by Sennia Nanua). When Melanie’s school is attacked, her teacher (Gemma Arterton) and a soldier (Paddy Considine) must help her reach safety

• The Girl With All the Gifts is released on 23 September in the UK

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Edward Snowden: 'I'm willing to make a lot of sacrifices for my country' – video interview

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 11:26:51 GMT2016-09-13T11:26:51Z

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tells the Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill why he should be granted a pardon by the US government. He also discusses the dangers of Donald Trump’s rhetoric on mass surveillance – and what he makes of Oliver Stone’s new movie

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Celebrities read the poem 'What They Took With Them' to support refugees – video

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 03:30:53 GMT2016-09-13T03:30:53Z

Oscar winner Cate Blanchett leads a cast including Keira Knightley, Stanley Tucci, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jesse Eisenberg and Kit Harington in performing the in a film which UN refugee agency UNHCR released to support its žWithRefugees petition. The poem was written by Jenifer Toksvig and was inspired by the stories and testimonies of people fleeing their homes and the items they took with them

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Free Fire trailer: Ben Wheatley's shootout starring Brie Larson – video

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 16:57:08 GMT2016-09-09T16:57:08Z

Ben Wheatley’s followup to High-Rise is a Boston-set 70s shootout feature starring Brie Larson, Arnie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Jack Raynor and Sharlto Copley and unfolding solely in a warehouse during an arms deal. The film has premiered at the Toronto film festival and opens in the UK on 31 March 2017

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Live by Night trailer: Ben Affleck directs 1920s gangster drama – video

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 15:44:58 GMT2016-09-09T15:44:58Z

Marking his return to directing after 2012’s best picture winner, Argo, Live by Night also stars Ben Affleck as the son of a Boston police captain who goes to war but on his return falls into bootlegging in Florida and then more organised crime. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, Affleck also scripted and produced – the film co-stars Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina and Elle Fanning.

• Live by Night is released in December in the US and on 13 January 2017 in the UK

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Captain Fantastic: Viggo Mortensen stars as a survivalist dad – video

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 17:44:19 GMT2016-09-08T17:44:19Z

Captain Fantastic is a 2016 American drama by writer-director Matt Ross. Viggo Mortensen stars as Ben Cash, the patriarch of a family forced by circumstances to reintegrate into society after living in the wilderness of Washington state for a decade

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Ben-Hur trailer: Roman epic gets a greenscreen reboot – video

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:01:48 GMT2016-09-08T14:01:48Z

This 2016 re-interpretation of the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is the fifth cinematic adaptation, the first one being a silent film in 1907. This year’s release is directed by Timur Bekmambetov and stars Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur, alongside Morgan Freeman, Ilderim the chariot trainer, and Rodrigo Santoro, who plays Jesus Christ. The film opened on 19 August in the US and in the UK on Wednesday

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Collateral Beauty: trailer for the Will Smith movie with Kate Winslet – video

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 15:31:54 GMT2016-09-07T15:31:54Z

Will Smith stars in this forthcoming drama about a New Yorker who retreats from life after losing his daughter. When his friends (including Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Michael Pena) find he’s writing abstract letters as a way to deal with his grief, they decide to help him – and enlist Helen Mirren (as Death) and Keira Knightley (as Love) to assist. The film opens in the US on 16 December and in the UK on 26 December

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The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years: exclusive clip – video

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 10:00:31 GMT2016-09-06T10:00:31Z

The first feature-length documentary authorised by The Beatles since the band’s breakup in 1970, Ron Howard’s new movie traces the history of the band through their concert performances, from early days playing small clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg to world tours in packed auditoriums around the globe. In this clip, the fallout from the 1965 Shea Stadium sell-out is explored. The film includes interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and opens in UK cinemas on 15 September

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Café Society, Sausage Party and Things to Come – Film Weekly podcast

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 08:14:32 GMT2016-09-02T08:14:32Z

It’s our final ever episode! To celebrate we’ll be raise a cup to Woody Allen’s Café Society, munch on the illicit goodies of Seth Rogen’s rude, brave adult animation Sausage Party, before wilting into the inevitable with Mia Hansen-Løve’s late-life crisis drama Things to Come. Thanks very much to everyone who watched and listened over the years. The full archive of the Guardian film show, the Dailies and Film Weekly will remain available online

Follow us on Twitter (GuardianFilm, Henry, Ben, Catherine, Andrew, Peter and producer Rowan) and check out our Facebook page. Comment on the show below.

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David Lynch: The Art Life – exclusive trailer for the Venice documentary

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 13:58:31 GMT2016-09-01T13:58:31Z

Shortly to premiere at the Venice film festival, David Lynch: The Art Life takes viewers on a journey with the iconic American director, back to his formative years in small-town Montana and the harder streets of Philadelphia. Dedicated to the director’s youngest daughter, who was born in 2012 when work started on the documentary, Jon Nguyen’s film is billed as a ‘private memoir’ which illuminates Lynch’s movies by looking back over his life

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Sex, booze and stupidity: fratboys on film, from Animal House to Goat

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:00:02 GMT2016-09-23T10:00:02Z

The hijinks celebrated in Animal House are depicted as more sinister in Goat – but in other movies there’s recognition than fratboys have evolved, too

The frathouse comedy is almost as much of an all-American institution as fraternities themselves. In 1978, National Lampoon’s Animal House became one of the most profitable movies of all time and Hollywood realised that there was gold in them there locker rooms. Animal House’s uproariously wacky tone, however, couldn’t have been further removed from Goat, the dark drama starring Nick Jonas about a fraternity’s brutal hazing ritual. Out in the US this Friday, it’s an indication of how America’s attitude has changed towards fraternities, from harmless hijinks to something much more sinister.

After Animal House grossed $141m, having been made on a $3m budget, cinemagoers couldn’t move for snobs and slobs battling in subgenres from sports comedies (Caddyshack, Ski School) and high school raunchfests (Porky’s, Fast Times at Ridgemont High). The venues may have varied, but the central elements remained the same: a group of lovable, sex-crazed guys doing battle with cruel authority figures or talented rivals – and somewhere along the way, of course, they score with some chicks.

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When Barack met Michelle: the presidential biopic as love story

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 15:05:14 GMT2016-09-22T15:05:14Z

Southside With You is the latest in a long line of presidential biopics. But since it is simply an account of the Obamas’ first date, with little reference to their illustrious future, how will it rate alongside the likes of Young Mr Lincoln and PT 109?

If Hollywood is to be believed, the most fascinating parts of a life are the rise and the fall — the ascent up the mountain and the inevitable tumble back to sea level. The middle bit — all the stuff about how one copes with the mundane reality of one’s fate — is less travelled territory. Look no further than the superhero origin story. Despite how often moviegoers have seen Batman’s parents gunned down in an alley, no shortage of films and TV shows choose to dramatise it yet again. But long before capes and masks were dominating cinemas, the film industry was giving audiences another kind of myth: the presidential origin story, of which Barack Obama films Southside With You and Barry are the latest entries in the genre.

Americans love a good presidential biopic, even ones for those commanders-in-chief who might not immediately jump to mind as worthy of the treatment. In 1944, 20th Century Fox released Wilson, a film depicting the 28th president Woodrow Wilson, who shepherded the country through the previous war. The Gorgeous Hussy, a 1936 film about Andrew Jackson, was a fictionalised account of the Petticoat affair, a scandal involving the wife of a cabinet member.

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Curtis Hanson: a thrilling film-maker and effective exponent of mainstream Hollywood style

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:02:14 GMT2016-09-21T14:02:14Z

Hanson got Meryl Streep whitewater rafting, Eminem to act and brought James Ellroy’s cult novel LA Confidential brilliantly to life on film

Success came relatively late for Curtis Hanson: he had been working as a director in Hollywood for more than two decades before he hit a commercial home run with The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, released in 1992 and one of the creepiest of the late-80s/early-90s wave of domestic-peril thrillers that included Fatal Attraction and Single White Female. It starred Rebecca DeMornay as a nanny who torments a family while exacting a complicated revenge, and proved Hanson’s chops as an effective exponent of mainstream Hollywood style: meaty, thrilling and unashamedly populist.

Related: Curtis Hanson: six key films

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Could Passengers be the next Avatar, or will it disappear into a black hole?

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:00:22 GMT2016-09-21T09:00:22Z

Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as star-crossed lovers in space, there’s a lot riding on Passengers. Will it ascend to the box-office heavens?

Some might say that the era of the big budget romance died when Pearl Harbor took a critical drubbing in 2001. And yet James Cameron’s Avatar proved beyond doubt seven years ago that audiences will still sign up for a good old-fashioned love story, provided there’s plenty of spectacle among the lingering glances. By somehow managing to bring together the kind of filmgoer who will pay to see an alien movie with those who would rather spend their last dollar on a late-night screening of The Notebook (as well as looping in some brilliantly synapse-boggling 3D), Cameron briefly appeared to have single-handedly rescued Hollywood from certain doom.

But while Pearl Harbor would never have existed without the success of Cameron’s Titanic four years previously, Avatar’s imitators have largely chosen to focus on the movie’s groundbreaking stereoscopic effects rather than copy its preposterous blend of sci-fi and romance. And who can blame them, given that Hollywood and space have a troubled history stretching all the way back to studios’ clunky attempts to mimic the extraordinary success of Star Wars in 1977? The fact that Disney came a cropper far more recently with the similarly pitched John Carter will not have inspired confidence.

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Brangelina is over: can we kill Team Jolie v Team Jen feud, too?

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:18:45 GMT2016-09-21T09:18:45Z

With the news Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are filing for divorce, the internet has revived an early 2000s rivalry – but 11 years later, it’s looking tired and sexist

It’s Tuesday afternoon and the current status of the internet is “hyperventilating”. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are filing for divorce. Yep, Brangelina is over and people are going brananas – but the spotlight isn’t Brad or Angie or even Shiloh. No, it’s on Jennifer Aniston. Again.

Related: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt: a marriage that started – and ended – on screen

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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: a marriage that started – and ended – on screen

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 06:14:18 GMT2016-09-21T06:14:18Z

The impending divorce of Hollywood’s golden couple 12 years after their first film together comes just two years after By the Sea, a strange melodrama about a couple in meltdown that is hard not to now read as autobiography

The death of Edward Albee this week was an excuse to revisit one of the greatest semi-factual toxic marriages of cinema: the film version of his Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were in a state of boozy, agonised meltdown, and those performances may well have been a catharsis for personal issues.

Perhaps our generation has its own Woolf-anxiety couple in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who today filed for divorce after being an item since 2005. They have only been married since 2014, which will give pause to all those who fear that getting legally hitched amplifies the existing problems in any long-term relationship. For outsiders to speculate about their private pain would be impertinent, especially considering the courage with which Jolie has faced her own health issues. But the fact is that the Jolie-Pitt alliance began with a film about marriage – and now appears to have ended with one.

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Oscars 2017: five things we've learned about this year's race from Toronto

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:45:51 GMT2016-09-19T10:45:51Z

La La Land is still the one to beat, Emma Stone and Natalie Portman will go head-to-head and Birth of a Nation remains on shaky ground

Since it world-premiered as the opening night film of the Venice film festival, Damien Chazelle’s big hearted love letter to Los Angeles has continued to buzz as a major awards contender. Reviews were largely glowing out of the gate (in Venice, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw declared it a “sun-drenched musical masterpiece”). Even Tom Hanks, an Academy member, is a fan: while attending the Telluride film festival, he acted as La La Land’s unofficial mascot, when he was supposed to be touting his performance in Clint Eastwood’s Sully.

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‘Being cute just made me miserable’: Mara Wilson on growing up in Hollywood

Sat, 17 Sep 2016 08:00:43 GMT2016-09-17T08:00:43Z

She was the adorable little girl in Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire… then the phone stopped ringing. The former child star lifts the lid on hitting puberty in the public eye

When I was seven, my family spent a week in Japan to promote the remake of Miracle On 34th Street. Within three days, I was ready to become an expatriate.

“This is so much better than the United States!” I told my mother as we walked back to the hotel with brand new kimonos. I bowed my head to the people we passed. A Japanese businessman smiled at me and bowed back.

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How dare you remake my classic! When directors attack

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 15:52:57 GMT2016-09-16T15:52:57Z

Woe betide the Hollywood studio that revisits a classic film without the blessing of its original creative team. Because things can get ugly ...

Dante’s Inferno makes little mention of those who profit from the work of others, but cult indie director Abel Ferrara once predicted a special place in the pit of suffering for anyone who dared to remake his classic films. Upon learning that Werner Herzog, the famed German champion of bonkers romanticism, was making a new version of Bad Lieutenant, his scuzzy 1992 tale of a lost soul on the streets of New York, Ferrara seethed: “I wish these people die in hell. I hope they’re all in the same streetcar and it blows up.”

At least Herzog’s version, which he cheekily claimed to have made without any knowledge of Ferrara’s existence, turned out to be rather good – at least if you’re fond of peak-crazy Nicolas Cage and phantasmagorical segues starring imaginary iguanas. Dutch film-maker Paul Verhoeven has had to sit tight as two of his best films, RoboCop (1987) and Total Recall (1990), were remade by lesser mortals with all the verve of a Britpop covers band dashing out Wonderwall.

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Why Hollywood musical La La Land will follow Argo and The Artist to the Oscars

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 19:14:26 GMT2016-09-18T19:14:26Z

Whiplash director Damien Chazelle’s meta musical has won the Toronto film festival but its red carpet to the Academy Awards was already secure: Hollywood loves nothing more than a movie about how magical it is

After 2015 proved lackluster (Truth! Demolition! Our Brand is Crisis!), this year’s Toronto film festival arrived with its shoulders heavy. But a diverse and rewarding set of films have helped to make it a memorable 10 days, with Oscar contenders and offbeat discoveries combining to please both critics and audiences.

Related: Damien Chazelle on La La Land: 'Los Angeles is full of people chasing dreams'

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From mech-suit to Batnipples: the best and worst Batman suits of all time

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:00:08 GMT2016-09-16T09:00:08Z

Justice League’s Zack Snyder has been showing off Ben Affleck’s new ‘tactical’ suit from the upcoming film. How does it compare to the caped crusader’s top outfits from the past?

Batman has always been defined by his Batwear. Tim Burton ushered in a new era for Gotham’s dark knight by jettisoning the familiar colour scheme sported by Adam West in the much-loved 1960s show in favour of typically gothic black and an armored, musclebound look. George Clooney’s awful Batnipples, intended as a paean to classical visions of the gods, came to define the floundering Joel Schumacher years. With Ben Affleck sporting a new goggled look in the upcoming Justice League, we look back at Batman’s classiest capes and darkest sartorial disasters.

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Is it time for Ben Affleck's 'Batfleck' Batman to bring back Robin?

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 20:07:20 GMT2016-09-13T20:07:20Z

Ryan Potter, the brilliant star of Big Hero 6, has made a viral video touting himself as Batman’s new boy wonder. Should Ben Affleck be listening?

Has any comic book icon in history proven quite so controversial as Robin, Batman’s perennial sidekick, occasional ward, and partner in crime-fighting? Chris O’Donnell’s paper-thin portrayal of Dick Grayson (along with George Clooney’s Batnipples and a script from the seventh layer of Hades) saw Joel Schumacher rudely ejected from the directorial hot seat after 1997’s critically reviled Batman & Robin. The sometime teen titan was so unpopular with fans that they voted to kill off the Jason Todd incarnation in the 1988-89 comic book story arc A Death in the Family. And so uncertain was Christopher Nolan about bringing back the perky superhero that he hid Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s version behind the unimposing moniker Sgt John Blake for almost all of 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Related: Magic Mike's Joe Manganiello to play Deathstroke in solo Batman movie

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Sullied: with Sully, Clint Eastwood is weaponizing a hero

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 16:24:13 GMT2016-09-12T16:24:13Z

In depicting government investigators as petty and clueless, the Hudson plane crash film trumpets a libertarian worldview at the expense of passenger safety

Directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, the film Sully claims to tell the true story of the “miracle on the Hudson”. Instead, it is another rightwing attempt to delegitimize government – and in the process undermine the safety of millions who travel by air, train, road and boat.

The miracle happened in January 2009 when US Airways flight 1549 smashed into a flock of geese, just three minutes from New York City’s LaGuardia airport. With both engines out, pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, aided by co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles, made the gutsy decision to forgo trying to get to an airport runway. Instead, Sullenberger dead-sticked his Airbus 320 to a landing in the Hudson river, saving the lives of 155 people. The flight lasted six minutes.

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I, Daniel Blake: Ken Loach and the scandal of Britain’s benefits system

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 08:30:55 GMT2016-09-11T08:30:55Z

The veteran director’s latest movie lays bare the cruel realities for those who fall through the cracks of society. We look at Loach’s work and the politics that drive it, while, below, campaigners, artists and analysts react to the film

Daniel Blake, 59, is a skilled craftsman. He has assets, but not the kind that the market rates highly since they have little monetary value: qualities such as integrity, honesty and compassion. In Ken Loach’s new film, I, Daniel Blake, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes earlier this year, Blake’s attributes carry little weight in a system designed to pitch one human being (the bureaucrat) against another (the citizen temporarily in need of state support) at a time of “necessary” austerity.

In a meticulously researched script written by Paul Laverty, Loach’s collaborator for 20 years, Blake, a widower, has had a serious heart attack. What follows are his struggles with the benefits system and his growing friendship with a single parent, Katie, and her two children. After two years in a London hostel, Katie has been moved 300 miles to Newcastle because, allegedly, there is no housing in the capital – a city with 10,000 empty homes.

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Did Mr & Mrs Smith predict the fall of Brangelina?

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:51:53 GMT2016-09-21T14:51:53Z

Rewatching the 2005 action comedy in light of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce uncovers an oddly prescient tale of a marriage unsettled by performance

After John and Jane discover that they are both secretly assassins in Mr & Mrs Smith, they have to methodically go through and debunk all the lies they’ve told each other. John reveals that he had a brief previous marriage, (“No, you’re not going to kill her,” he says exasperatedly when Jane demands the woman’s name and social security number). For her part, Jane reveals that her parents died when she was five.

Related: Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt citing irreconcilable differences

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Bridget Jones's Baby delivers at UK box office, while Blair Witch sneaks into second

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 16:04:31 GMT2016-09-20T16:04:31Z

Renée Zellweger charms a homegrown audience and the horror franchise scares up a crowd, while cinemas show robust August returns

The US opening may have offered a disappointing $8.6m (£6.64m), but Bridget Jones’s Baby delivered a storming victory on home turf, with a UK debut of £8.11m. That’s the biggest opening ever for a film released in September, says distributor Universal.

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Five things we'd like to see in Man of Steel 2

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 16:13:19 GMT2016-09-19T16:13:19Z

With reports that Superman might be on course for a new solo outing, perhaps it’s time Warner Bros brought back the ‘big blue boy scout’ we all know and love

It’s easy to forget, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice having destroyed what was left of Zack Snyder’s reputation earlier this year, that there were many excellent things about 2013’s Man of Steel. Those splendid early scenes on Krypton, reimagining Superman’s homeworld as a striking vision of fantasy-inspired futurism; Michael Shannon’s remarkable General Zod, a raging, monomaniacal volcano of spite; even, to a certain extent, the retooling of Kal-El for the post-911 age, as an object of fear and fall guy for narrow-minded xenophobia.

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Bridget Jones's Baby: Renée's face and daddy issues – discuss with spoilers

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:36:59 GMT2016-09-16T14:36:59Z

The belated third instalment in the franchise is released in cinemas this weekend. Here’s your chance to talk about it without risking the wrath of those who don’t yet know that the baby’s father is …

• This article contains spoilers

Bridget Jones’s Baby has been a long time cooking. The last movie – the ropy The Edge of Reason – was 12 years ago, and talk of a third has been around since around 2009. Gestation was bumpy. Paul Feig and then Peter Cattaneo were on board to direct, but the role went to Sharon Maguire, who did the first one. In 2013, Colin Firth braced fans for a “long wait”, and the following year Hugh Grant said he was out, based on his dislike for Helen Fielding and David (One Day) Nicholls’s script.

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Fifty Shades Darker – the first trailer deconstructed

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:01:09 GMT2016-09-13T17:01:09Z

From painfully ejaculatory fireworks to dry-humping in the shower, Stuart Heritage provides a handy guide to the highlights of the new Fifty Shades film


The first full-length Fifty Shades Darker trailer has just been released. Fifty Shades Darker, you’ll remember, is a film you won’t watch based on a book you haven’t read, that acts as a sequel to a film you haven’t watched based on a book your mum read once.

But fear not. Even though you know nothing of the film’s source material, I’ve compiled a scene-by-scene rundown of the Fifty Shades Darker trailer to get you up to speed. This is the rough story of the film, told in microcosm.

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Little Men’s Jennifer Ehle: ‘I hope fame doesn’t happen to me’

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 15:56:00 GMT2016-09-22T15:56:00Z

The actor says her part in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice allowed her to have the career she wanted – one that isn’t as important as her family life. Is her new film a step back towards the limelight?

Anyone looking to refamiliarise themselves with the BBC’s beloved 1995 TV mini-series Pride and Prejudice will discover there are hundreds of fan videos to be navigated online – a sea of fade-out montages, quotes and acoustic guitar soundtracks honouring Lizzie and Darcy – before finding an actual clip. This subgenre in its own right is testament to the appeal of Jennifer Ehle as the enduring defining Austen heroine.

Ehle, 46, has issued instructions to meet her in Central Park’s Chess and Checkers House, “under the pergola”, which itself seems to be straight out of a period drama. “People do seem to be still very affected by it,” she says when I venture that countless women – including, of course, Bridget Jones – must have based their idea of romance around the role. “They’re not over it, which is really lovely.” Just days ago, she says, she was in the security queue at the airport, “and the woman behind me told me how much she loved it and how much it’s meant to her”.

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The Girl on the Train star Luke Evans: ‘I wasn’t looking for fights …’

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:00:43 GMT2016-09-22T07:00:43Z

He’s slain dragons and played psychopaths. Sometimes the dark roles even spill over into real life. So why is Luke Evans singing show tunes and talking about starting a family?

Not every actor knows the secret of his or her appeal. Not every actor wants to. But Luke Evans gets it in one: “I’ve been told I give off a very masculine vibe.” He says this almost reluctantly, as though he has been asked during a job interview to list his most appealing qualities. “I’ve got an expressive face and I’ve played a lot of angry, tormented creatures. The feedback is that I present myself as a very strong man who can love as much as he can kill. He can care for his children and he can also turn around and fight 15 men.” He continues more quietly in his Valleys lilt: “I don’t have children. I hope I will do at some point.” This moment of reflection is all the lovelier for being entirely unsolicited.

Related: Blunt trauma in Girl on the Train and Friend Request reviewed – the Dailies film podcast

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Little Men director Ira Sachs: 'I have a Marxist perspective'

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 06:00:53 GMT2016-09-20T06:00:53Z

Drugs, gay marriage, gentrification – the writer-director turns big issues into intimate, uncomfortable dramas. He talks about growing up the son of a social scientist and life as a Hollywood outsider

“I can’t fake intimacy,” says Ira Sachs, strolling through a Brooklyn park one humid summer afternoon. This is Sachs’ stomping ground; his set. Over there is a street corner where he witnessed an interaction that made it pretty much wholesale – location and all – into his new film, Little Men. He smiles. “If I was going to make a film in France, I’d have to make a film about someone who knew nothing about France.”

A New Yorker through and through, Sachs – 50, Jewish, gay – has for 25 years been making personal, deceptively small-scale dramas whose emotional wallop derives from their uncompromising authenticity. He’s also a self-cannibal, whose strongest films have derived from personal experience.

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Gemma Arterton: ‘It’s easier to conform and shut up’

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:00:10 GMT2016-09-18T06:00:10Z

Gemma Arterton knows just how sexist the film world can be. Over lunch, she tells Eva Wiseman she’s fixing her career – then two celebrity fans show up…

If you ask Gemma Arterton if she regrets her career choices to date, she will look you straight in the eye and tell you it’s complicated. The year she graduated from Rada she appeared in Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla; in a Brit comedy with Mackenzie Crook; as the lead in Tess of the D’Urbervilles; and as Bond girl Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace. From there, she went straight on to blockbusters Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Clash of the Titans. On her first day working on Quantum of Solace she filmed her death scene, lying naked for two hours on Bond’s bed, covered in black oil. It seems now that the experience gave her time to think.

It’s a hot afternoon in Soho and she is mixing a drink with the casual swing of someone just home from holidaying with her best friend; she’s tanned, freckled, quick to laugh. At the weekend, for her belated 30th birthday party, she tells me she’ll be performing TLC’s “No Scrubs”. Suddenly she’s rapping. “See if you can’t spatially expand my horizon. Then that leaves you in the class with scrubs, never rising…” And then my hands are clapping, because that’s what happens to your hands when a girl spontaneously raps.

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Denzel Washington on diversity western The Magnificent Seven: ‘Audiences like to know who they’re rooting for’

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 15:07:11 GMT2016-09-15T15:07:11Z

The veteran actor joins Chris Pratt to discuss his remake of the classic western. But why are they so keen to play down its obvious radical political subtext?It is mid-afternoon and the Venice Lido is a ghost town baking in the sun. The film festival wound down the previous evening, and now the thoroughfare between the beach and the cinemas is deserted except for construction workers in threes and fours dismantling the decorations. The glitz has faded. The stars are gone.Well, most of them. Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are the last men standing in this tumbleweed town. In the street, their faces loom menacingly out of the posters for the remake of The Magnificent Seven, in which an ethnically diverse cast of outlaws and miscreants defend oppressed townsfolk from a brutal tyrant. Seated at a table in a hotel room, the actors appear somewhat less than magnificent. Washington is slumped in his seat. He is 61, heavy-set, tired-looking. He may be dressed in a baggy, grey T-shirt and jogging bottoms but his magnetism is undimmed. When he peers straight at you, there’s a crackle of electricity in the air. Those aren’t ordinary eyes: they’re the eyes of all the indomitable men he’s played, from Steve Biko to Malcolm X, the boxer Ruben Carter in The Hurricane to the drug lord Frank Lucas in American Gangster. He sweats gravitas. Continue reading...[...]


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Eight Days A Week: how Ron Howard brought the Beatles back to life

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 08:00:54 GMT2016-09-13T08:00:54Z

Howard’s new film captures the sweat, screams and cultural significance of the band’s touring years. He explains why the Fab Four still fascinates him

Related: George Martin: musicians pay tribute to the genius behind the Beatles

The story of the Beatles is like the story of Watergate or the second world war, the civil rights movement or Vietnam: it contains a million smaller stories, a million witnesses, a million angles of approach. Ron Howard’s documentary Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years extrudes yet another narrative fragment from the Fabs’ fable and makes it a story all of its own. It concerns the four years the group spent touring first Britain and Germany, then the US and the world; years that made them, and also broke them.

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John Malkovich: ‘In relationships, I’ve had an addictive personality’

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 08:00:55 GMT2016-09-11T08:00:55Z

The actor and director on addiction and success, Trump’s bankruptcies, and the film he wrote that no one will see for 100 years

John Malkovich has acted in 98 films and is about to make his London directorial debut with Zach Helm’s Good Canary, a play about success, secrets and addiction. He has directed the play in Mexico and in France, where it won Molière awards for direction and design.

What drew you to Good Canary and why return to it?
Lucy Liu, who was at the time going out with Zach, originally approached me with the script and I loved it. Theatre is like surfing. An actor paddles out, gets on a board and waits for the wave: the wave is the collision between your material and the public. You don’t create the wave, you ride it. In good material, there will almost invariably be a wave – and that is why you do good material repeatedly. Good Canary keeps changing. In Spanish, it was jazzily funny. In French, more serious.

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Diane Kruger: ‘I truly believe the best is yet to come’

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 09:00:56 GMT2016-09-11T09:00:56Z

‘Too beautiful’… ‘ex-fashion model’… Will perennially underrated Diane Kruger finally throw off such disparaging tags with her new film, The Infiltrator?

Some reviews stick around and Diane Kruger had the misfortune to receive a memorably withering one when she was starting out as an actress. “Too beautiful to play a role of any substance,” was the offhand dismissal from the New York Times critic, Manohla Dargis, in 2006. The comment was mostly a judgment on Troy, the eye-wateringly expensive Iliad adaptation in which she was cast opposite Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom as a blond, blue-eyed Helen. The film-makers wanted an unknown for the part and Kruger, a German ex-model, beat more than 3,000 women to be the face that, in Christopher Marlowe’s words, “launch’d a thousand ships”.

Ten years – and around 30 films – on, the New York Times line still irks Kruger. “What an ignorant and stupid thing to say!” she exclaims, on the phone from Paris; she splits her time between there and New York. “But it really affected me at the time because I thought, ‘Why is she talking about the way I look? Why isn’t she talking about what I do in the movie?’ And so that really taught me to a) not read critics. And b) to just toughen up. So I was like, ‘Fuck that!’ Or, ‘Fuck them!’ It made me really want to just dig deeper and show them I could do other things.”

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Viggo Mortensen on actors behaving like babies and why he won't vote for Hillary

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 16:00:39 GMT2016-09-08T16:00:39Z

Gangster, killer, Aragorn ... Mortensen is not known for his comedy. But in new film Captain Fantastic, his grizzled deadpan is the funniest thing in a very funny film. But get him on to politics and prima donna colleagues, and he is deadly serious

Viggo Mortensen has just been on This Morning. Before his slot on the breakfast show, the actor sat backstage watching hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford present an item about children crying on planes. Feeling playful, he began his interview by saying he liked to scream on planes himself. Kids, he said, asked him to be quiet. There was a dilated moment of live TV silence. Eventually, the uncertain laughter of Holmes filled the studio. “But it’s OK,” Mortensen went on, “because I always wear a helmet when I fly.”

He is still in the slick dark suit he wore for TV. He looks rueful. “It probably wasn’t the right thing to say. The helmet thing.” The presenters, he says, were baffled. “I think people don’t expect me to make jokes.”

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Gordon Parks, pioneering black film director – archive, 1969

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 04:00:39 GMT2016-09-22T04:00:39Z

22 September 1969: An interview with the black photographer who exposed poverty in America and directed the first blaxploitation films

There is a picture of Gordon Parks now in American school books. This only emerges casually and extremely modestly at the end of our conversation. “As a matter of fact I’m opposite Buffalo Bill, in full colour, and that’s good, because it gives the Negro kids something to identify with.”

It’s not surprising that he is a kids’ hero. He is a “Life” photographer, writer, composer, and now the first Negro film director and producer. “The Learning Tree,” his first feature film, was screened at the Edinburgh Festival. He is 56, with a handsome lived-in face and greying hair, a vivid talker whose opinions have been forged by tough experience.

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How We Made The Commitments

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 07:00:54 GMT2016-09-20T07:00:54Z

Alan Parker: ‘The cast improvised like crazy, breaking the record for most swearwords used in a film’

I was offered a chance to film Les Misérables in the late 80s, but I chose The Commitments instead. After making several films in America, I had a yearning to do something closer to home and to my working-class roots. Dublin’s Northside, where Roddy Doyle’s novel was set, closely resembled the Islington of the 1960s where I grew up. Everyone I knew wanted to be in a band to escape the world we found ourselves in.

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On my radar: Alfred Molina’s cultural highlights

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 10:00:14 GMT2016-09-18T10:00:14Z

The stage and screen actor on the secret life of Eugene O’Neill, the singer Mayer Hawthorne, All About Eve and his favourite Los Angeles eaterie

Born in London to a Spanish father and Italian mother, Molina, 63, decided to become an actor after watching Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus aged nine. He later attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was a member of the National Youth Theatre. After a number of theatre roles he made his film debut in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) as the ill-fated guide Satipo; since then he has starred in more than 70 films including Chocolat, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Frida. Now an LA resident and US citizen, Molina starred in Ira Sachs’s 2014 film Love Is Strange, and he will appear in Sachs’s latest drama, Little Men, out in cinemas on 23 September.

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‘It’s impossible to be vulnerable’: how Moonlight reflects being a black gay man in the US

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:33:46 GMT2016-09-15T17:33:46Z

Barry Jenkins’ highly acclaimed new film follows one boy as he grows into manhood, hiding his sexuality. Here, the director and cast talk about the future Oscar contender

Seven months ago, the Oscars ceremony once again demonstrated that stories about straight white men tend to go down well with groups mostly populated by straight white men. It was the second year running that no acting nominees of colour were nominated and, as ratings fell and the call for diversity mounted, the Academy resorted to radical measures. At the end of June, an unprecedented number of new members were invited to join, 40% of them female or from minorities – and, sometimes, both.

Related: Moonlight review – devastating drama is vital portrait of black gay masculinity in America

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Sunset Boulevard: what Billy Wilder's satire really tells us about Hollywood

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 12:19:45 GMT2016-08-01T12:19:45Z

The scathing black comedy offers up bitterness and grotesquery but also a revealing, and complicated, look at the end of the silent era

“Without me there wouldn’t be any Paramount Studios,” declares Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s black comedy Sunset Boulevard (1950). Former silent film star Desmond may be mad, but there is a grain of truth in what she says: Swanson was one of Paramount’s biggest stars even back when it was called Famous Players-Lasky, just as we are told Desmond was too. While Sunset Boulevard appears to attack the pretentions and excesses of the silent era, in fact its argument about the bad old days of Hollywood is more complicated than that. The horror at the heart of the film is that, as the studio system was starting to crumble, the beginnings of the industry were coming back to haunt it. Desmond’s pride mocks the fall of Hollywood just as it was teetering, rocked by the antitrust laws, the coming of TV and the communist witch-hunts.

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Love & Friendship; The Nice Guys; Fire at Sea; The White Helmets and more – review

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 07:00:28 GMT2016-09-25T07:00:28Z

Whit Stillman’s literate sensibility renders him ideal for an Austen adaptation, while Shane Black mocks masculine archetypesI admit my heart sank a little – only a little, mind you – when I first heard that Whit Stillman was making a Jane Austen adaptation. A singularly literate comic voice in American cinema, he doesn’t work often enough as it is: we can ill afford to donate his gifts to someone else’s comedy of manners, right? Happily, I was wrong; in Love & Friendship (Lionsgate, U), Austen’s brisk sense and Stillman’s wily sensibility make for about as perfect an arranged marriage as you could hope for.A quick, zesty take on Austen’s novella Lady Susan that adores and embellishes her language with equal care, Stillman’s film bridges the social and romantic politics of her era with ours. Beneath its whipped-cream quippery, it shows a very real and ruthless understanding of why we pursue relationships – for a multitude of reasons quite apart from love, friendship or even a compromise of the two. Kate Beckinsale, an actress too few film-makers have thought to challenge over the years, turns out to be an optimum fit for Austen – all surface serenity masking Stanley-knife severity. But it’s Tom Bennett, so inspired and endearing as the most gormless of Austen suitors, who is the revelation here, finding exquisite possibilities for physical comedy amid all those impeccable word[...]


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Frat's entertainment: why Animal House is still the king of college comedies

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 07:59:41 GMT2016-09-19T07:59:41Z

It may be tasteless, but National Lampoon captured the campus experience in a way no UK film has ever managedI once saw National Lampoon’s Animal House at a back-to-school midnight show at the University of California at Santa Barbara in September 1984. I hadn’t counted on the entire two rows of frat-boys behind me who recited every single line of dialogue, in unison, just seconds before the characters onscreen did. It was the first time I realised the term “cult movie” really meant something. Here were a group of people who were modelling their lives – for good or ill, mostly ill – on a movie that spoke directly to their own college experience. One that, as a few epic, real frat-house parties soon showed me, was infinitely more colourful than my own, albeit infused with a sinister sense of everyone growing up way too fast.Compared to my monochrome, rain-sodden, provincial redbrick British university back home, UCSB was in Technicolor and CinemaScope, and rated R, just like Animal House. There was no British equivalent to Animal House or its myriad successors, then or now. The only movie that remotely resembled my UK college experience is Withnail And I. Compared to the rich tapestry of American college movies, we have Sebastian Flyte’s teddy bear, Lucky Jim’s hangovers and Starter For 10. Continue reading...[...]


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Ghost in the Shell teaser trailers: Scarlett Johansson and the five bald truths

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:30:13 GMT2016-09-22T11:30:13Z

Who has time to sit through five 10-second trailers? Especially when they’re complex stories of food murder, hair loss, wires and hall-walking

Eschewing the traditional promotional blueprint for a tentpole movie, Paramount has just released five simultaneous teasers for its 2017 Ghost in the Shell adaptation. Between 10 and 15 seconds in length, each teaser offers a new and tantalising morsel of information about what the film has in store.

Which is all well and good, but in this fast-paced modern age where snapchats and emojis are constantly vying for your attention, who has time to sit through all five? After all, that’s 55 seconds that could be better spent composing a funny tweet about the Great British Bake Off, or Instagramming a photo of a dog in a pot. So, to save everyone a lot of time and effort, I’ve decided to rank each new Ghost in the Shell teaser in order of entertainment, starting with the worst and working upwards. As ever, you are welcome.

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