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Film | The Guardian



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



Published: Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:09:09 GMT2017-03-29T11:09:09Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Chris Addison to direct gender-swap Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 10:12:27 GMT2017-03-29T10:12:27Z

The Thick of It actor to make big-screen directorial debut with Nasty Women, which stars Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as con artists

The Thick of It actor Chris Addison is to direct the film Nasty Women, the gender-swapped remake of the 1980s comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

According to Variety, Addison will make his big-screen directorial debut with the film, which stars Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as two con artists who plot to swindle a tech prodigy out of his fortune. TiMER director Jac Schaeffer will write the screenplay.

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Emma Thompson attacks 'evil' Hollywood pressure on women to be thin

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 09:51:00 GMT2017-03-29T09:51:00Z

Thompson reveals she almost quit 2008 film Brideshead Revisited after a co-star was asked to lose weight

Emma Thompson has criticised Hollywood for the pressure it puts on female actors to be thin, saying that she almost quit Brideshead Revisited because another actor was asked by the film’s producers to lose weight.

Thompson made the comment during an interview on Swedish talk show Skavlan, after another guest brought up the subject of weight loss. Thompson didn’t reveal the name of the actor, but confirmed that she confronted producers of the film over the issue.

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Ghost in the Shell review – Scarlett Johansson remake lacks mystery

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:04:03 GMT2017-03-29T08:04:03Z

Johansson does cyberbattle in a westernised reimagining of the Japanese anime classic that proves watchable but doesn’t have the spirit of the original

In all her un-nippled robotic nudity, Scarlett Johansson swoops down from a high building, ready to do cyberbattle with hackers, criminals, terrorists and the concept of human identity itself. Here is the top-dollar adaptation of the Masamune Shirow manga serial and the resulting 1995 anime gem by Mamoru Oshii.It has been standardised and westernised with hardly any actual Japanese characters left in it, and effectively reimagined as a superhero origin myth, with tropes derived from the existing templates laid down by Metropolis, Robocop, Blade Runner and Total Recall. The film incidentally makes some play with rudimentary Hawking-style robot voices. There are some stately cameos from Juliette Binoche and Takeshi Kitano.

It’s a spectacular movie, watchable in its way, but one which – quite apart from the “whitewashing” debate – sacrifices that aspect from the original which over 20 years has won it its hardcore of fans: the opaque cult mystery, which this film is determined to solve and to develop into a resolution, closed yet franchisable. As for Johansson, she carries off the deadpan cyber-eroticism of her role with that ghost-in-the-shell of a smile of hers: although none of the other cyber-creatures are required to get quasi-nude in the same saucy way. Her otherworldly creature from Jonathan Glazer’s classic horror Under the Skin was a thousand times more disturbing and the obvious superhero quality of the role here, sometimes makes her seem like a more solemn version of Black Widow, her character in the Avengers movies.

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Cristian Mungiu: ‘We were called the sacrifice generation – and so were our parents'

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 07:00:01 GMT2017-03-29T07:00:01Z

He grew up in post-communist Romania and his films capture the fears of a society emerging from Soviet rule. Cristian Mungiu talks freedom, corruption and parenthood

Slight of stature and soft of voice, Cristian Mungiu is an unlikely leader of a cinematic revolution. But ever since his second film, the harrowing abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes film festival in 2007, Mungiu has become the best-known director, and de facto leader, of a group of film-makers who emerged a decade ago from post-communist eastern Europe – and most particularly, the new wave that exploded from Romania, the country that experienced the toughest transition from Soviet domination in the late 1980s.

Now, almost 30 years after the revolution that led to 1,100 deaths and ended with the overthrow of Nicolae Ceaușescu, Mungiu has a new film in cinemas, only his third since that breakthrough a decade ago. Called Bacalaureat, or Graduation, it’s a knotty fable, thick with disillusion and shabby compromise: a surgeon in Romania’s second city, Cluj, is desperate to get his daughter to university in Britain, but just before she takes her crucial exams, she is attacked and sexually assaulted. Fearful that, despite her hitherto excellent academic record, the trauma will mean she won’t get the required grades, he resorts to back-slapping, payoffs and favours to try to secure the right result.

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Darlene Cates dies aged 69: ‘Best acting mom I ever had,’ says Leonardo DiCaprio

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 04:32:29 GMT2017-03-29T04:32:29Z

Oscar-winning actor pays tribute to ‘endearing personality and incredible talent’ of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape co-star

Leonardo DiCaprio has paid tribute to Darlene Cates as “the best acting mom I ever had” following her death at the age of 69.

The Oscar-winning actor worked with Cates on the 1993 film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Cates died in her sleep at her home in Forney, Texas, on Sunday, her family confirmed.

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Beauty and the Beast magic helps UK box office survive the spring sunshine

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:47:50 GMT2017-03-28T13:47:50Z

Not even the weather could stop the family-friendly fairytale, but the outlook was less bright for CHiPs, The Lost City of Z and Jake Gyllenhaal sci-fi Life

A sunny weekend and a dearth of strong new releases should have created a tough environment at UK cinemas. But business remained sturdy almost entirely thanks to Beauty and the Beast. Declining a gentle 37% from the opening frame, the Disney musical delivered £12.33m, for an awesome 10-day total of £39.9m. The Jungle Book had reached £21.7m at the same stage of its run last April.

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An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power trailer: climate change has new villain – video

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 05:41:25 GMT2017-03-29T05:41:25Z

Former US vice president Al Gore has produced a follow-up to his award-winning 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Watch the first official trailer

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Trump's treasury secretary accused of ethics violation after Lego Batman 'plug'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:58:32 GMT2017-03-28T12:58:32Z

Democrat senator calls for investigation of comments made during interview, but spokesman for Steven Mnuchin says alleged product promotion was a ‘lighthearted moment’

A senior Democrat has called for US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to face an ethics violation investigation over comments he made plugging The Lego Batman Movie, a film financed by one of Mnuchin’s companies.

In a letter to Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, Ron Wyden, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate finance committee, expressed concern over comments made by Mnuchin during a live Q&A with the political news website Axios, in which Mnuchin called on the public to “send all your kids to Lego Batman”.

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Pharrell Williams' early life to be made into movie musical

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:52:16 GMT2017-03-27T16:52:16Z

The star’s childhood will be the basis for Atlantis, a project that’s being characterized as a music version of Romeo and Juliet

Pharrell Williams’ life is set to inspire a big-screen musical called Atlantis.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the project will be based on the singer’s younger years in Virginia Beach. Initial reports suggest it will be similar to Romeo and Juliet, but with songs.

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Gary Barlow confirms Star Wars: The Last Jedi cameo appearance

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:58:27 GMT2017-03-27T13:58:27Z

The singer joins a list of people, including Tom Hardy and princes William and Harry, expected to play cameo roles in Episode VIII of the sci-fi saga

Gary Barlow is set to visit a galaxy far, far away, with the singer announcing that he will appear in forthcoming Star Wars sequel The Last Jedi.

In an interview on ITV’s Lorraine, the Take That member confirmed his involvement in the film – also referred to as Episode VIII – but said he would not be playing a stormtrooper, as had previously been suggested.

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Netflix can't get enough Adam Sandler as new four-film deal signed

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:39:17 GMT2017-03-27T11:39:17Z

The streaming giant, which financed and released Sandler’s recent films The Ridiculous 6 and The Do-Over, has commissioned more of the same

For Netflix, at least, it seems there is no such thing as too much Adam Sandler. The streaming service has signed up the much maligned comic for a further quartet of films, to go with the four it has already financed. According to Deadline, Netflix will finance and produce the films, which will be available exclusively on the platform.

“Love working with Netflix and collaborating with them,” Sandler said in a statement. “I love how passionate they are about making movies and getting them out there for the whole world to see. They’ve made me feel like family and I can’t thank them enough for their support.”

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Snake's alive! Escape from New York remake on the way, with Robert Rodriguez directing

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:43:45 GMT2017-03-27T09:43:45Z

The From Dusk Till Dawn director will take the helm of a reboot of John Carpenter’s cult 80s action film, with Luther creator Neil Cross to write the script

A remake of cult 80s action film Escape from New York is coming to cinemas, with Robert Rodriguez lined up to direct it.

Deadline reports that 20th Century Fox, the studio that owns the rights for the reboot, have chosen the Mexican-American film-maker to direct, while Neil Cross, creator of the British crime series Luther, will write the film’s script.

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Life review – Jake Gyllenhaal hits the retro rockets for sub-Alien space horror

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:01:20 GMT2017-03-22T00:01:20Z

Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds play members of a scientific team investigating material from Mars that turns out to contain a hostile life-form

Like the anonymous phone call in a horror film that turns out to be coming from inside the house, Life is a sci-fi thriller about a contamination crisis: a crisis that goes on pretty much uninterruptedly for around an hour and three quarters. It’s a serviceable, watchable, determinedly unoriginal film starring Jake Gyllenhaal about a parasite-predator in a spaceship, a creature which can only survive by feeding off a pre-existing host. The expressions on the spacepersons’ faces here may give a guide to the feelings of Ridley Scott and everyone involved with the 1979 classic Alien when they see it. Life is indebted to Alien, to say the least, although its final, perfunctory hint of a conspiracy doesn’t approach Alien’s powerful satirical pessimism.

Related: Jake Gyllenhaal to play anarchist joining the fight against Isis

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Power Rangers review – colour-coded superpowers revealed in goofy origins story

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 23:12:30 GMT2017-03-21T23:12:30Z

It may be the most unlikely and least welcome superhero movie of the year – or even the decade – but this reboot actually benefits from lowered expectations

You can rationalise and contextualise and say that the Marvel effect means any Lycra-clad saviour with an iota of brand recognition is now apt for revival in some format. Once the lights dim, however, nothing can prepare you for the ontological strangeness of watching a Power Rangers movie in 2017. Especially one that is – forgive me if my voice rises an octave here – not entirely terrible? That is, in fact, basically harmless, if you don’t object to feeding your kids pop-cultural leftovers, with odd flickers of charm besides? In an age of hype, some films are bound to benefit from massively reduced expectations; this would be one of them.

Related: Power Rangers features first gay screen superhero

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CHiPs review – timid, off-colour cops-on-bikes remake

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:00:27 GMT2017-03-24T08:00:27Z

This comic-ironic remake of the old TV show never quite thrums into life, and contains a few horribly misjudged moments

Here comes yet another addition to the “ironic film remake of a beloved 70s/80s TV series” genre, which is starting to look as dated as the shows it purports to send up. Updating of the cops-on-bikes action drama of the same name, ChiPs stars Michael Peña in the old Erik Estrada role of Ponch, a sex-addicted FBI agent who is tasked with rooting out police corruption by going undercover in the California highway patrol unit. There he’s paired up with idiot-savant rookie Jon Baker (Dax Shepard, also the film’s director), whose guilelessness is counterbalanced by a remarkable gift for riding motorbikes. Soon the pair are on the trail of a dirty cop (Vincent D’Onofrio, entirely wasted in a gruff, underdeveloped role), bickering and blowing stuff up as they go. When placed next to the gleeful postmodernism of the 21 Jump Street films, this feels remarkably timid, its humour built around off-colour gags (including one desperately poorly judged Oscar Pistorius joke) and the mildly homophobia-tinged bromance between Ponch and Baker. Shepard and Pena do at least throw themselves into proceedings with elan, but they can’t prevent CHiPs from seeming a distinctly second-gear affair.

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I Called Him Morgan review – jazz star's story comes in from the cold

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 10:22:00 GMT2016-09-12T10:22:00Z

Kasper Collin’s spellbinding documentary reveals the tender and tragic tale of hard bop trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen

With the best jazz recordings you recognise the beginning and know where it’s going to wind up, but it’s the road there that’s unpredictable. To that end, Kasper Collin’s I Called Him Morgan isn’t just the greatest jazz documentary since Let’s Get Lost, it’s a documentary-as-jazz. Spellbinding, mercurial, hallucinatory, exuberant, tragic … aw hell, man, those are a lot of heavy words, but have you heard Lee Morgan’s music? More importantly, do you know the story of his life?

Lee Morgan may have been one of the most important trumpet players in jazz, but he doesn’t have the household name status of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie or Miles Davis. Unfortunately, like Bix Beiderbecke and Clifford Brown, he died way too young. While Morgan’s output as the leader of his own working group is outstanding (may I recommend to you The Sidewinder, The Gigolo or perhaps even The Rumproller) he was also a linchpin member of the classic Blue Note sound overseen by producers Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff and engineer Rudy Van Gelder.

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Wilson review – Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern in mostly charmless adaptation

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 04:47:47 GMT2017-01-24T04:47:47Z

The filmic take on Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel wants to stand up for the weirdos – but instead makes you yearn for silence

That annoying creep who sits next to you on an otherwise empty bus and won’t stop talking? How would you like to spend an entire movie with him? Don’t worry, it’ll end with life lessons about the importance of family. Wait, come back!

OK, it’s not all bad. Wilson, an adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel of the same name from The Skeleton Twins’ director Craig Johnson, at least features an adorable terrier. But, she dies. Oh man, I keep screwing this up!

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Beauty and the Beast review – Emma Watson makes a perfect Belle in sugar-rush romance

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 17:00:07 GMT2017-03-03T17:00:07Z

Watson star cuts a demure, doll-like figure in Disney’s live-action remake, which features an outbreak of starry cameos and the world’s briefest gay reveal

The world’s most notorious case of Stockholm syndrome is back in cinemas. Disney now gives us a sprightly, shiny live-action remake of its 1991 animated musical fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, with Emma Watson as Belle, the elfin beauty from a humble French village whose poor old dad (Kevin Kline) is imprisoned by a wicked beast who lives in a remote castle. This is in fact a once handsome prince (played by Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens), transformed into a monster by an enchantress as a punishment for his selfishness, while all his simpering courtiers were turned into household appliances such as candles and clocks. Belle offers to be his prisoner in her father’s place. Gradually the grumpy, soppy old Beast falls in love with her and she with him.

Everyone warbles the classic 1991 showtunes by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman, and there is a sugar-rush outbreak of starry cameos at the very end, from A-listers who are given full status in the final curtain-call credits. The whole movie is lit in that fascinatingly artificial honeyglow light, and it runs smoothly on rails – the kind of rails that bring in and out the stage sets for the lucrative Broadway touring version.

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T2 Trainspotting review – choose a sequel that doesn't disappoint

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:48:37 GMT2017-01-19T22:48:37Z

Danny Boyle’s followup to the cult 1996 hit isn’t quite as quick and extraordinary as the original, but it is a funny, moving ode to middle-aged male disillusion whose risks pay off in spades

Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting is everything I could reasonably have hoped for – scary, funny, desperately sad, with many a bold visual flourish. What began as a zeitgeisty outlaw romp in the Uncool Britannia of the 1990s is now reborn as a scabrous and brutal black comedy about middle-aged male disappointment and fear of death.

It reunites the horribly duplicitous skag-addicted non-heroes of the first movie about twentysomethings trying to get off heroin in Edinburgh, and finding that they have nothing very much to put in its place. In that film, I often hid my head in my hands, unable to watch scenes about dead babies and diving into gruesome lavatories. Now it’s the sight of desolate men’s faces that made me want to look away: stunned by the realisation that their lives are coming to an end.

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Song to Song review – Terrence Malick returns to form with lyrical love triangle

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 16:30:39 GMT2017-03-11T16:30:39Z

The divisive film-maker adds story to swirling camerawork as Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling cross paths in the Texas music scene

Some artists just see the world differently. Terrence Malick, the secretive and mercurial film-maker whose recent output has been, it’s fair to say, divisive, has a very specific lens. In Malickville, time swirls with a beautiful, melancholic rush of imagery, dizzying the senses at every turn. Malick’s life must be exhausting if every walk across the kitchen to pour a cup of tea is such a moment. But if that is your perception, or what you want to project out into the world, then I guess you have to go for it. This time it pays off.

Related: Is Terrence Malick ahead of his time or out of date?

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Burn Your Maps review: if the kid from Room wants to be Mongolian, let him

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 15:27:27 GMT2016-09-09T15:27:27Z

Jacob Tremblay and Vera Farmiga (as his understanding mother) are irresistible in this strange tale, premiering at Toronto, of a young boy with goats on the brain – it’s just a shame the film isn’t as interested in the locals as they are

Few actors working in Hollywood today have a more expressive face than Vera Farmiga. With a crooked smile or a slightly tilted head, she has the uncanny ability to convey complex emotions in even the briefest reaction shot. Lucky we are, then, that this newest film, Burn Your Maps, offers a rich character, roiled in tumult, and plopped in an extraordinary setting. This isn’t to say this movie is a masterpiece, but it’s one that doesn’t just tug on the heartstrings it yanks on them like a streetcar passenger afraid he’ll miss his stop.

We open in suburban Chicago, where young Wes (Jacob Tremblay) has for some reason become fascinated with everything Mongolian. He watches YouTube videos, is teaching himself the language, listens to throat-singing and takes his older sister’s Uggs and makes them into shepherd’s boots. It’s all very cute, and images of him riding around on his bicycle with goats and eagles made from toilet paper are adorable.

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The Belko Experiment review – gory workplace horror promotes nastiness

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:00:28 GMT2017-03-15T11:00:28Z

An enjoyably manic shocker about an office full of employees forced to kill one another uses dark humor and extreme violence to grab attention

Ever have one of those days when you feel like killing your coworker? How about all of them? How about all of them but in a creative array of graphically violent ways? If this is starting to sound like a thought process you often have but perhaps wisely keep secret from others then you’ll probably get a sadistic kick out of this nasty little horror.

Related: Get Out: the film that dares to reveal the horror of liberal racism in America

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Kong: Skull Island review – only de-evolution can explain this zestless mashup

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 22:00:28 GMT2017-03-02T22:00:28Z

Tom Hiddleston’s talents are lost in this jumbled jungle caper that repeatedly indulges in anti-climax and silliness

Deep in the distant jungle … the undergrowth stirs, the lagoons froth, the branches shake and a huge monster rears terrifyingly up on its haunches, blotting out the sun. Run for your lives! It’s a 700 ft turkey, making squawking and gobbling noises and preparing to lay a gigantic egg.

This fantastically muddled and exasperatingly dull quasi-update of the King Kong story looks like a zestless mashup of Jurassic Park, Apocalypse Now and a few exotic visual borrowings from Miss Saigon. It gets nowhere near the elemental power of the original King Kong or indeed Peter Jackson’s game remake; it’s something Ed Wood Jr might have made with a trillion dollars to do what he liked with but minus the fun. The film gives away the ape’s physical appearance far too early, thus blowing the suspense, the narrative focus is all over the place and the talented Tom Hiddleston is frankly off his game. Given no support in terms of script and direction, he looks stiff and unrelaxed and delivers lines with an edge of panic, like Michael Caine in The Swarm.

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Personal Shopper review: Kristen Stewart's psychic spooker is a must-have

Mon, 16 May 2016 21:38:59 GMT2016-05-16T21:38:59Z

Cannes gets its first marmite sensation with Olivier Assayas’s uncategorisable – yet undeniably terrifying – drama about a fashion PA trying to exorcise herself of her dead twin

Is Kristen Stewart the fifth ghostbuster? Questions like that are liable to pop into your mind watching this captivating, bizarre, tense, fervently preposterous and almost unclassifiable scary movie from Olivier Assayas. It’s a film which delivers the bat-squeak of pure craziness that we long for at Cannes, although at the first screening some very tiresome people continued the festival’s tradition of booing very good films.

Personal Shopper had that undefinable provocative élan that reminded me a little of Lars Von Trier’s Breaking The Waves. It is actually Assayas’s best film for a long time, and Stewart’s best performance to date – she stars in a supernatural fashionista-stalker nightmare where the villain could yet be the heroine’s own spiteful id. Is it The Devil Wears Prada meets The Handmaiden (also in Cannes) with a touch of Single White Female?

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My Scientology Movie review – Louis Theroux gets smart with the cult church

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 14:30:56 GMT2016-10-06T14:30:56Z

All sorts of weird stuff starts happening as Theroux reiterates the sheer nastiness of the organisation in his provocative documentary

The Church of Scientology is a deeply strange organisation and, appropriately enough, Louis Theroux has made a strange film about it. It works as a companion piece to another documentary, the one that I think is the definitive takedown: Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, from 2015. It’s an interesting, if flawed piece of work; Theroux’s opaque manner masks an uncertainty as to exactly what he wants to say, and he finally seems to turn on his own chief witness.

Theroux’s Scientology movie is undoubtedly a smart piece of what could be called improv-ocation. He shows up in LA, advertising his intention to film a series of scripted and unscripted scenes recreating key moments from the life of the Scientologists’ sinister chief, David Miscavige. (Theroux may here have been inspired by Josh Oppenheimer’s modern-classic documentary about the Indonesian tyranny, The Act of Killing.) He will audition actors, film the audition process, and use as his adviser a famous apostate and whistleblower, former Scientologist enforcer Marty Rathbun – a man now hated in the church for his betrayal.

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Raw review: I didn't faint in classy cannbibal horror – but

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 16:54:29 GMT2016-09-21T16:54:29Z

The flesh-eating movie that had them requiring ambulance intervention in Toronto never lets up. It’s also a complex drama of adulthood, sex, conformity, hazing, body image and lust

Julia Ducournau is a 33-year-old first-time feature director who makes her worryingly brilliant debut with this saturnalia of arthouse horror. At the Toronto film festival, it had audiences dry-heaving and indeed wet-heaving in the aisles and the cinema lavatories. This is the sort of film which pundits are often keen to label “black comedy” as a way of re-establishing their own sang-froid. In the same tongue-in-cheek spirit, it has been called coming-of-age drama. There is a grain of truth in both of these labels. It is a film about cannibalism, and has clearly been influenced by Jorge Michel Grau’s We Are What We Are, John Fawcett’s Ginger Snaps, and perhaps especially Marina de Van’s body shocker In My Skin – which incidentally featured a young Laurent Lucas, a veteran of extreme French cinema who also turns up here.

Related: Cannibal horror film too Raw for viewers as paramedics are called

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Logan review – Hugh Jackman's Wolverine enters a winter of X-Men discontent

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:30:21 GMT2017-02-17T21:30:21Z

The third and final Wolverine film is a poignant study of ageing and infirmity, as the arthritic mutant holes up in Mexico with a declining Professor Xavier

Superpowers are one thing, but no-one said they were immortal. What happens when superheroes get old? Actually, what happens when, like many non-superheroes, they arrive at late middle-age without a partner, in ill health, and with an ageing parent to look after? Or parent-figure anyway. You find yourself asking these questions watching this surprisingly engaging, but downbeat – and also violent – X-Men movie from the Marvel stable. It is more like a survivalist thriller than a superhero film, and signals its wintry quality with the title itself. It’s like seeing a film entitled Banner or Parker or Kent. With the approach of death, maybe super identity is cast off. Superpowers start to fade along with ordinary powers.

Related: Does Brie Larson's Captain Marvel signal a new era of superhero diversity?

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Headshot review – ultra-violent Indonesian action-thriller

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 22:30:29 GMT2017-03-02T22:30:29Z

Bad guys go on the rampage in this stylish and excessively gory iteration of the action genre

This Indonesian action film unfolds a story as old as time, or at least as old as film noir, in which a bad man (the undeniably charismatic Iko Uwais) experiences a trauma so severe (shot in the head, thrown into the sea) he wakes up with amnesia and somehow a completely different personality (which seems unlikely from a neurological point of view). Nerdy-cute medic Ailin (Chelsea Islan) nurses him back to health in the hospital and names him Ishmael after the narrator of Moby-Dick, which she happens to be reading at the time.

The film-making owes far less to any literary antecedents than it does to the kind of ultra-violent, stylish action films made in Hong Kong and Korea. As such, it’s a very good iteration of the genre, with moody lighting, razor sharp editing and great fight sequences, but be advised that only the strongest of stomachs need apply: it is excessively gory and amoral, even by the standards of such fare, with lots of blood-letting, eye-gouging and murder achieved with assorted implements of destruction including, at one point, a chopstick to the head.

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Table 19 review – divorce yourself from this unfunny wedding comedy

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:55:41 GMT2017-03-01T15:55:41Z

Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow and Stephen Merchant are all wasted in an embarrassingly tone-deaf film filled with thin characters and bad writing

At weddings – or at least at weddings in the movies – there’s that moment when the officiant says: “If anyone knows of a reason to prevent this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace.” I only wish I could have been present when so many actors I admire said “I do” to this tone-deaf, embarrassing motion picture.

To be fair, there is a kernel of a good idea in Table 19. It’s all set at a wedding, where beloved family and friends are close to the action at tables one, two and three. In the back, and close to the bathrooms, is the table of “randoms”, the guests invited out of social obligation who ought to have had the decency to send their regrets.

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Get Out review – white liberal racism is terrifying bogeyman in sharp horror

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:35:28 GMT2017-02-22T20:35:28Z

Writer-director Jordan Peele masterfully combines incisive social commentary with genuine, seat-edge suspense in film exploring evils of American suburbia

There’s a great, often under-appreciated, history of social commentary within the horror genre. From John Carpenter’s politically charged They Live to Bryan Forbes’ haunting adaptation of The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin’s icy take on the male fear of second-wave feminism, scares and satire used to arrive simultaneously. But somewhere along the way, that tradition has been jump-shocked out of its seat, popcorn flying, and replaced with vapidity, an impatient teenage audience force-fed predictable thrills over a story that might provoke or inspire debate.

Related: Get Out: the horror film that shows it's scary to be a black man in America

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Bitter Harvest review – timely but uneven Ukrainian famine drama

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:30:16 GMT2017-02-23T23:30:16Z

Despite honourable intentions, this film addressing the Stalin-inflicted 1932-33 genocide in Ukraine is at times embarrassingly bad

At least Bitter Harvest’s release date is relatively timely, given the recent focus in the news on Russia’s brutally aggressive, expansive ambitions. Putin may be accused of killing, but he’s got nothing on Joseph Stalin who instigated the genocide via famine of some 10 million Ukrainians in 1932-33, an atrocity now known at the Holodomor. This drama by director/co-writer George Mendeluk is one of the very few western films to address the subject, and while one may applaud the intention, the execution is markedly uneven.

Max Irons stars as Yuri, a Cossack’s son with dreamy eyes and notable daddy issues who deeply loves feisty local beauty Natalka (Samantha Barks). Not long after their marriage, Stalin (incarnated by Gary Oliver in cutaway scenes, practically twiddling his bushy, fake moustache) comes to power and the tractors of death start ploughing up the land. The dialogue is at times embarrassingly bad, and the death of practically every principal supporting character is marked by a shot of some prop being splattered with metonymic blood. On the other hand, the period details are impressive and must have cost a pretty kopiyka or two, and the film benefits visually from being shot on location.

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The Great Wall review – lavish Chinese spectacle

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 08:00:03 GMT2017-02-19T08:00:03Z

The country’s most expensive co-production to date is a visual treat, complete with a grizzled Matt Damon, but don’t expect any complex plotting

On the hunt for precious “black powder”, rogue mercenaries William Garin (a grizzled-looking Matt Damon) and Pero Tovar (Game of Thrones’s Pedro Pascal) are captured by The Nameless Order, an ancient military operation occupying the Great Wall of China. The order are preparing to battle the mythical Tao-Tie – giant, green, lizard-y looking monsters that are resurrected every 60 years to teach the Chinese a lesson about unchecked greed and swarm the wall in their millions.

Commander Lin (the film’s sole speaking female character, played by Jing Tian) takes a shine to William, pointing out their similarities. However, though both are dab hands with a bow, the two fight for different reasons; he for food and money, she for trust and honour, a lesson William inevitably learns by the film’s conclusion (perhaps making an oversimplified case for Chinese communism).

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A Cure for Wellness review – evil spa horror has eels, incest and aqua aerobics

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:00:16 GMT2017-02-07T14:00:16Z

An alternately intriguing and frustrating chiller has flashes of elegance but settles for unhinged hokum with bizarre results

An understandably forgotten mini-trend in the 80s was the strange idea to set horror films in gyms. Granted, the decade was generally monopolized by a sudden obsession with working out, but audiences weren’t that pumped with the prospect of seeing sweaty youths get crushed to death by weight-training equipment in films like Death Spa and Killer Workout.

Related: Rings review – spooky Ringu reboot smoothly reinvents the wheel

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Fifty Shades Darker review – submissive sequel offers little light relief but lots of washing

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 07:43:13 GMT2017-02-10T07:43:13Z

EL James’s panting couple are back – but director Sam Taylor-Johnson is not – in this daft yet dull S&M soap

Related: The seven most wonderfully ridiculous moments in Fifty Shades Darker

This is a chaste age at the cinema. La La Land may be sold on its leads’ sizzling chemistry, but Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone remain strictly zipped throughout. Film fans in search of titillation are unlikely to be sated by Loving’s snuggles or Moonlight’s angsty, unseen intimacy. In tilting for Oscars, contenders are emulating the statuettes’ anatomy.

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The Lego Batman Movie review – funny, exciting and packed with gags

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 23:00:35 GMT2017-02-09T23:00:35Z

This sophisticated pop culture adventure set in a world of Lego bricks just might rescue DC Comics’ battered reputation

Growing inexorably in awesomeness, the Lego movie empire delivers another fantastically funny and highly sophisticated pop culture adventure, though with only a hint of the first film’s existential angst. (Gotham City is said to be built on thin planks over a void that smells of “dirty laundry”. Like a kid’s bedroom, maybe?) The Lego Batman Movie might even rescue DC’s battered reputation and persuade audiences to feel good about Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn and the idea of Batman fighting Superman. In a world made of Lego bricks, Batman – voiced with basso profundo severity by Will Arnett – is a super-successful crime fighter who battles terrible loneliness back at Wayne Manor: superb scenes of poignant emptiness. This film incidentally has the most devastating use of Harry Nilsson’s One (Is the Loneliest Number) since Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is wounded by Batman’s refusal to commit to an exclusive hero-villain combat relationship: Batman hurtfully says that he prefers to “fight around” with Bane, Superman and the like. So Joker devises a wicked plan that forces Batman to swallow his loner pride and ask for crime-fighting help from his stepson Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) and new Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson). It’s packed with gags and smart allusions. Why can’t non-Lego movies be as funny, exciting and weirdly moving as this?

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A United Kingdom review: Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo in fine romance

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 22:30:14 GMT2016-09-09T22:30:14Z

A strange, shameful chapter of history is dusted off by Amma Asante to make this earnestly stirring Empire drama

With terrific warmth and idealism – and irresistible storytelling relish – director Amma Asante gives us a romantic true story from our dowdy postwar past. And with some style and wit, she even revives the spirit and showmanship of Richard Attenborough, who I think would have really enjoyed this gutsy movie.

It’s a tale of star-crossed lovers with the bigoted British government playing a particularly shabby and nasty House Of Capulet: a story of imperialism, bully-ism, and Westminster functionaries passing off their taboo horror of interracial marrying as a matter of realism and political expediency.

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The Lure: mermaid musical a splashy distraction until lack of story seems fishy

Sun, 24 Jan 2016 16:17:23 GMT2016-01-24T16:17:23Z

This Polish vampire musical featuring mermaid siblings seems to have it all – but after a while the wackiness gets weary and even the foam seems thin

Agnieszka Smoczynska’s tale of sibling mermaids could possibly be the strangest film in this year’s world cinema competition. Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska star as two sirens, Golden (Olszanska) and Silver (Mazurek), who swap swimming, seduction and hunting men for a life as star turns at a seedy gentleman’s club.

Looked after by the club’s matriarch Krysia (played by Kinga Preis) they use their vocal ability to draw the crowds (their act is called The Lure), but there are a couple of problems with their adopted lives. The first is that Golden can’t stop chomping on the vital organs of the male townsfolk, and the other is that Silver has managed to fall in love with her band’s bass player.

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Rings review – spooky Ringu reboot smoothly reinvents the wheel

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 18:07:26 GMT2017-02-03T18:07:26Z

F Javier Gutiérrez’s update of the Japanese cult horror flick comes up with a fair mystery and an admirably loopy finale featuring swarming cicadas

Circles within circles. It’s been 15 years since The Ring, Gore Verbinski’s American translation of the cult Japanese horror Ringu, which means an entire generation of westerners might not have been scared or bored to death by the sight of lank-haired spooks emerging from the gogglebox. This update for the era of iPhones and .MOV files has very quickly to acknowledge that the VHS players that perpetuated this curse circa the millennium are now practically occult items, less likely to be found occupying cherished home-cinema space than collecting dust, along with Ouija boards in junkshops.

Related: Ghost in the system: has technology ruined horror films?

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The Comedian review – De Niro delivers as standup who's sick of life's punchlines

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 08:08:09 GMT2016-11-12T08:08:09Z

De Niro’s turn as a misanthropic weather-beaten comic who can’t seem to shake his annoying alter-ego, mixes Bad Grandpa’s puerile pathos and Louie’s darkness

Robert De Niro recently made headlines for saying he could no longer punch Donald Trump in the face now the New York businessman is president-elect. It’s the kind of thing you could imagine his character in The Comedian, the misanthropic burned-out standup Jackie Burke, working into a routine or perhaps taking a step further. In fact, Burke – whose put-upon manager is played by Edie Falco – doesn’t have any such issues with self-constraint, and triggers the film’s first act by assaulting a heckling audience member in a public breakdown that has shades of Michael Richards.

That outburst sets up the well-worn premise of The Comedian: a standup who can’t shake his best known and, often, most mainstream character. Unlike De Niro’s portrayal of wannabe comic Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy – who was a Walter Mitty fantasist a mile away from the big time – Burke has tasted success, and that’s the problem. Despite his best efforts Burke can’t get his fans to see him as something other than Eddie, a sitcom dad who is somewhere between Archie Bunker and Ray Romano. He’s got a catchphrase (“Arlene!”), there’s a suitably hokey theme tune (think Too Many Cooks), which his fellow inmates sing to him when he’s imprisoned for assault and for people of a certain age, it’s clear he’ll forever be Eddie from Eddie’s Home.

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I Am Not Your Negro review – James Baldwin's words weave film of immense power

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:10:10 GMT2016-10-20T19:10:10Z

Raoul Peck’s stunning look at the civil rights era ends up as the writer’s presumptive autobiography, but it gets there via an unexpected route

Raoul Peck’s documentary I Am Not Your Negro has a “written by James Baldwin” credit in its opening sequence. At first this seems like a polite tip of the hat to the author, essayist and public intellectual who died nearly 30 years ago. Soon we realize this is an accurate statement of fact. Each line of the narration that permeates the film is taken directly from one of Baldwin’s texts or letters. His words dominate the archival clips as well.

Related: Black films matter – how African American cinema fought back against Hollywood

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The Zookeeper's Wife review – Jessica Chastain drama is wildly inconsistent

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 15:00:39 GMT2017-03-20T15:00:39Z

The true story of a couple helping Jews at the Warsaw Zoo during the second world war has moments of power but also suffers from an uneven script

My favorite moment in Mel Brooks’s Spaceballs is when George Wyner explains the villains’ dastardly plan and Rick Moranis turns directly to the camera and says “everybody got that?” I was reminded of this during The Zookeeper’s Wife when Jan Zabinski, the zookeeper (Johan Heldenbergh), explains to his wife, Antonina (Jessica Chastain), how they can use the tunnels and shelters in their now empty zoo to aid Jews trying to escape the Warsaw ghetto. Hearing his plan, she nods, gives a faraway look and says: “A human zoo.”

Related: Patti Cake$ review – Juno meets 8 Mile in formulaic crowd-pandering indie

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Patti Cake$ review – Juno meets 8 Mile in formulaic crowd-pandering indie

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 19:21:50 GMT2017-03-16T19:21:50Z

Despite success of being picked up by Fox Searchlight, this tale of a white female rapper in New Jersey opts for audience-pleasing indie formula over authenticity

Every year at Sundance, the studios (or their indie sister companies) impatiently wait for the breakout hits: the films that cause widespread laughing, crying, screaming, tweeting or preferably all of the above. The titles that cause the most fervent reactions are then snapped up, repackaged and sold to a mainstream audience with enthused quotes like “You’re going to LOVE this movie”. The process, which has unearthed some gems in the past, has grown tired and shamelessly transparent.

The films that are miraculously “saved” from what’s seen as an ignoble fate in – clutches pearls – arthouse cinemas no longer feel quite as fresh, their very existence seemingly tailored to slither into this cynical machine. Audiences are becoming wise to this too. Recent big-money acquisitions, such as Dope and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, have felt a little too slickly engineered and both were inevitable box office disappointments.

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The Most Hated Woman in America review – Melissa Leo lifts messy biopic

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 21:30:12 GMT2017-03-14T21:30:12Z

A gripping performance from the Oscar-winner isn’t enough to save a tonally awkward take on the true story of a woman taking on religion in 50s America

The Most Hated Woman in America, a biopic of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, wins the award for inspiring my swiftest personal pivot from film-watching to Wikipedia-checking. The instant the closing credits hit I raced to my laptop with supersonic speed: wait, did this actually happen?

Related: Song to Song review – Terrence Malick returns to form with lyrical love triangle

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Burning Sands review – grim drama uncovers brutal hazing at black fraternity

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 12:00:04 GMT2017-03-10T12:00:04Z

A strong young cast, including Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes, anchors a tough look at toxic masculinity on campus for Netflix

“It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men.”

It’s a Frederick Douglass quote frequently, and accurately, used in the bleak college drama Burning Sands which shows that a) in 2017, we’re still struggling to teach boys how to grow into decent, well-adjusted men and b) he really is getting recognized more and more.

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The Force review – admirably layered police documentary falls short at climax

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 21:46:48 GMT2017-01-27T21:46:48Z

Outstanding access and an unobtrusive approach almost make up for some unexplored leads and an anticlimactic ending

Debuting as it did at 2017’s Sundance Film Festival, it is very difficult not to compare The Force to another documentary in this year’s class, Whose Streets? The guerrilla-style Whose Streets? is an expressive, urgent note sent from underground. The Force, in comparison, is the official story.

Related: City of Ghosts review: could be the definitive Syria documentary

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Newness review: swipe left on this shallow dating drama

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 21:11:49 GMT2017-01-26T21:11:49Z

Nicholas Hoult and Laia Costa are a dull millennial couple addicted to Tinder in this visually slick yet emotionally vapid take on modern relationships

The young people today – they can’t stop screwing! Well, if this movie is any indication, anything is welcome if it keeps these people from talking.

Newness, the latest from director Drake Doremus, is a gorgeously shot film with an emphasis on beautiful people in closeup, striking interior design and impressionistic shallow focus. The screenplay, unfortunately, is equally shallow, and that’s a bit of a problem when it wants so hard to make a grand pronouncement about The Way We Live Now.

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Rebel in the Rye review – JD Salinger drama catches attention but sinks into cliche

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 20:30:47 GMT2017-01-25T20:30:47Z

Nicholas Hoult plays the author in a watchable but shallow take on creativity and the process of writing a classic

The first shot in Rebel in the Rye is of a broken down man staring at the Central Park carousel. This isn’t an adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye and it isn’t quite a biopic of its author, JD Salinger. It’s more like a “making of” story, the long struggle to get the novel about the disaffected teen in a red hunting cap on to the page and out into the world. Though this telling has more than its share of well-worn story beats that Salinger’s hero Holden Caulfield might accuse of being phoney, there are enough occasional insights into the creative process, as well as juicy tidbits about the secretive Salinger, to make this a very agreeable, if at times shallow, watch.

Related: Wilson review – Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern in mostly charmless adaptation

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Beach Rats review – Brooklyn bro faces his sexuality in quietly powerful drama

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 03:30:35 GMT2017-01-24T03:30:35Z

Broody tale of a young man struggling to come to terms with his own desires avoids cliche and provides a poignant and authentic character study

The fascinating complexities of the coming out experience have been largely underrepresented on the big screen, strange given the strong dramatic potential for both eroticism and torturous inner struggle. But recently, Barry Jenkins’ deservedly lauded heartbreaker Moonlight gave much-needed insight and tenderness to this journey while also exploring the damaging effects that performed hyper-masculinity can have.

Related: Call Me By Your Name review: A Bigger Splash director makes waves with superb gay romance

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The Polka King review – Jack Black shines in a weirdly enjoyable film

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 01:58:18 GMT2017-01-24T01:58:18Z

Based on the life of disgraced polka sensation Jan Lewan, Jacki Weaver, Jason Schwartzman and Jenny Slate round out a wacky comedy that’s full of heart

There are three things you can always count on: death, taxes and that any movie with Jason Schwartzman playing a clarinet can’t be all bad.

The Polka King, a return to Sundance for Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky after Infinitely Polar Bear, is definitely wacky, perhaps even a little zany, but as the pre-title card and closing credits photos remind us, this is based on a true story. That fact serves as a considerable engagement engine, as this is the type of story where, if someone told it to you, you might say, “Man, they ought to make a movie about that!”

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Beware the Slenderman review – documentary on a deadly meme

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 15:35:15 GMT2017-01-23T15:35:15Z

A harrowing and nuanced look at the notorious online figure who inspired two 12-year-old girls to stab their friend

Due to an over-reliance on shock sensationalism, the true crime genre had been mostly discarded by documentary film-makers and relegated to tawdry late-night television. But it’s experienced something of a respectable makeover in recent years, thanks to the phenomenally successful Serial podcast, the Netflix breakout Making a Murderer and the critically adored OJ: Made in America, which is currently favorite to win the best documentary Oscar next month.

Related: Inside Netflix’s Amanda Knox: ‘She was cast as a she-devil’

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The Yellow Birds review – Iraq war PTSD made beautiful but baffling

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 14:36:43 GMT2017-01-22T14:36:43Z

French director Alexandre Moors has a strong cast and excels at creating mood. Alas, his big reveal cannot dispel the fog of the Iraq war

Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line proved that you could make a beautiful movie about war. The Yellow Birds, a Sundance premiere from French director Alexandre Moors, is the first attempt at a beautiful movie about post-traumatic stress disorder.

The most memorable parts of this Iraq war drama are those detached from the overall story. The Bible-quoting soldier pouring salt over a scorched battlefield, the decision-making when a patrol group discovers a body bomb, a pre-assault interview in which soldiers are asked if this is the most important day of their life.

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Mudbound review – a masterly, meaningful tale from America’s divided past

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 14:18:32 GMT2017-01-22T14:18:32Z

Premiered on Saturday, a day of million-woman marches, Dee Rees’s masterful film of racial divide in 1940s Mississippi says much that we all might heed

“I dreamed in brown,” Carey Mulligan’s Laura McAllan recalls in voiceover, commenting from some unknown point in time about a life on a farm in the Mississippi delta. It’s a life spent in struggle with the land, one bad crop away from hardship, only clean on Saturdays, forever sweeping death from her doorstep. “The country life,” she calls it.

It’s not just Laura whose thoughts we hear in Mudbound, Dee Rees’s masterful adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s 1940s-set novel. This is a giant of a story, very much the soul of America in microcosm, and as such each of the players deserves and gets our sympathy. Well, everyone except Pappy, Laura’s racist father-in-law whose interment in a hastily dug grave bookends the story.

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Person to Person review – Broad City star underused in meandering ensemble indie

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:00:19 GMT2017-01-20T23:00:19Z

Abbi Jacobson is a reliable comic presence but she’s lost in this slight tale of disparate characters over a single New York day

While Sundance has become a trusted, and often forgotten, launchpad for vital genre offerings (in previous years The Blair Witch Project, Saw, The Witch and The Babadook all premiered at the festival), it’s mainly associated with quirky low-budget indies that warrant use of the heinous term “dramedy”. The often overwhelming number of films that neatly fall into this bracket means that some fall by the wayside, their entire reason for existing boiled down to a Park City premiere.

Related: Al Gore's Inconvenient Sequel to open Sundance in acutely political year

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Bright Lights review – a fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:00:19 GMT2017-01-06T13:00:19Z

The strong bond between the late actors is brought to life in this heartfelt and funny HBO documentary that offers many poignant moments

Their differences extended down to their dogs. Dwight, a perfectly poof-y white Coton de Tuléar, stays with the elegant and eternally camera-ready Debbie. But good luck keeping your eyes off Gary, the dark, panting bulldog with his slobbery tongue drooping out of the side his mouth. Gary was forever in Carrie’s arms, on her side of the Reynolds-Fisher compound where the legendary Hollywood mother-daughter team lived and laughed during their final years.

Related: Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher: surviving instant fame and finding a lasting bond

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Gold review – the priciest ore is a bore in Matthew McConaughey misfire

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 14:46:51 GMT2016-12-30T14:46:51Z

An allegedly true story emerges as a lackluster riff on American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street with a scrappy turn from an overly disguised lead star

There’s not much that glitters in Gold, a lackluster caper that proves that even the priciest ore can bore. Stephen Gaghan’s new film is an admixture of the capitalist nihilism from The Wolf of Wall Street and the cheap-suit true crime of American Hustle. On paper the elements are there, but unfortunately the alchemy fails. This year’s earlier picture War Dogs, already something of a formulaic copy, comes off looking like quite the jewel by comparison.

Related: The most exciting film dramas of 2017

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in-depth fan review: 'This is a movie made for fans'

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 12:00:01 GMT2016-12-15T12:00:01Z

While its whole purpose is to tread water in a larger pool, I was ready to do cartwheels in the aisle by the end of this latest spin-off

SPOILER WARNING: There is discussion of the film’s content in the following review, so proceed with caution

There has never been a film franchise like Star Wars so it stands to reason there’s never been a film like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is not, if we’re being honest, a real movie. It is a fan exercise. Its whole purpose is to tread water in a larger, more familiar pool.

Most of the moments that crackle are direct touchpoints with something we recognize. The sequences that are Rogue One qua Rogue One are occasionally intriguing, but, predominantly, merely adequate. And unlike in last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there is a clear and recognizable section for dashing out if that extra large Diet Pepsi has gone rogue in your bladder. This is a movie made for fans.

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The Handmaid’s Tale: Elisabeth Moss stars in disturbing first full trailer – video

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 04:36:10 GMT2017-03-24T04:36:10Z

The brutality of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale is brought to life in a film starring Elizabeth Moss, released in the US on 26 April. Moss plays Offred, who narrates life from the dystopian totalitarian future in the country of Gilead, where women are imprisoned and forced to procreate for the ruling male elite and their infertile wives

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The Wizard of Lies trailer: see Robert de Niro in HBO’s Bernard Madoff drama – video

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:57:41 GMT2017-03-22T10:57:41Z

Watch the trailer for HBO’s latest TV drama The Wizard of Lies, starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. De Niro plays Bernard Madoff, the former stockbroker and fraudster as his Ponzi scheme slowly unravels around him, dragging his family into the spotlight. The Wizard of Lies premieres on HBO on 20 May

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Raw: watch a clip from the feminist cannibal horror film – video

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 14:57:50 GMT2017-03-13T14:57:50Z

Directed by Julia Ducournau, Raw is a French-Belgian horror film about a vegetarian woman who becomes a cannibal after being forced to eat raw rabbit liver during a veterinarian school initiation. It has already attracted widespread notoriety after an ambulance was called to a screening at the Toronto film festival. Raw stars Garance Marillier, and is released in the UK on 7 April

WARNING: This clip contains disturbing images

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Samuel L Jackson on casting black British actors in American roles – video

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 17:21:03 GMT2017-03-09T17:21:03Z

The American actor Samuel L Jackson questions the casting of black British actors in roles about US race relations during an interview with the New York radio station Hot 97. Pointing out that ‘some things are universal, but [not everything]’, Jackson says the decision to feature the British actor Daniel Kaluuya as a black man falling victim to white liberal racism in the satirical horror film Get Out made him wonder ‘what a brother from America would have made of that role’

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Oscars 'seal clap' was to protect rings, says Nicole Kidman – video

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:12:56 GMT2017-03-09T13:12:56Z

Actor Nicole Kidman tells Australian radio station KIIS FM on Thursday that her unusual style of ‘seal clapping’ at the Oscars was to protect her diamond rings. The way Kidman applauded when an award was introduced on stage went viral on social media, prompting comparisons with a seal

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Fake Ryan Gosling accepts German film award after convoluted prank – video

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 01:50:57 GMT2017-03-09T01:50:57Z

In February German prank duo Joko and Klaas posed as a fake PR agency, promising Ryan Gosling’s attendance at the glamorous Goldene Kamera screen awards if the La La Land star could be picked as a winner. According to the pair, it took the organisers 90 seconds to call them back.

After Gosling’s win was announced, Munich cook Ludwig Lehner walked up to the podium instead. ‘I dedicate this award to Joko and Klaas,’ he said in a German accent, as perplexed stars including Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda and Colin Farrell watched on

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'Man is not infallible': Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L Jackson on Kong: Skull Island – video

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:19:44 GMT2017-03-08T12:19:44Z

Kong: Skull Island is a reboot of the celebrated giant-ape movie, and the first in a series of ‘shared universe’ films with the Japanese monster Godzilla. Tom Hiddleston plays a former British soldier hired as part of an expedition to a mysterious island, while Samuel L Jackson is the American air force pilot who takes the mission in. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong Skull Island is released on 9 March in the UK, 10 March in the US and Australia

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Emma Watson: Vanity Fair photo does not undermine feminism – video

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 09:37:30 GMT2017-03-06T09:37:30Z

The actor Emma Watson hits back at critics who say she has betrayed her feminist ideals by posing for a revealing picture in Vanity Fair magazine, in which parts of her breasts were exposed. Speaking to Reuters on Sunday, Watson says those who attack the photo do not understand that ‘feminism is about giving women choice’

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Get Out: trailer for Jordan Peele’s comedy horror – video

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 14:59:10 GMT2017-03-01T14:59:10Z

Get Out is Jordan Peele’s debut directorial feature about a young African-American man who visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, starring Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams as the couple. The film is seen as a satire on liberals who consider themselves to be allies to movements against racism

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Logan's Hugh Jackman: 'People think it’s easier to stay in your own backyard' – video interview

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 11:00:42 GMT2017-02-28T11:00:42Z

Hugh Jackman talks about Logan, his final outing as X-Men Wolverine; why he thinks previous films didn’t do the character justice; how the film speaks to the current climate of paranoia; and about not compromising to make an adult movie about the ramifications of violence. Jackman also explains why he hopes that people see the film who have never before watched a comic book movie

• Logan is released in the UK on 3 March

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Who had the card? Jimmy Kimmel explains Oscars mix up – video

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 06:07:03 GMT2017-02-28T06:07:03Z

Jimmy Kimmel, the host of one of the most eventful Oscars ceremonies in history, explains how the best film fiasco took place. One day after the debacle at the Dolby Theatre that resulted in La La Land being awarded Moonlight’s best picture Oscar, Kimmel told the audience of his own show that ‘the accountants gave Warren the wrong card and they apologised for it today, so it wasn’t Warren Beatty’s fault.’ Kimmel explained that Beatty was given the best actress envelope, and that is how the epic confusion arose.

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Moonlight stars say Oscars blunder ‘disrespectful to La La Land' – video

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:14:41 GMT2017-02-27T16:14:41Z

Moonlight stars Trevante Rhodes and Ashton Sanders discuss Sunday night’s blunder at the Oscars in which La La Land was mistakenly awarded Best Picture, when in fact Moonlight had won the award. Rhodes said it was an unfortunate moment for the cast and crew behind La La Land: ‘It was a disrespectful moment to La La Land because that was an incredible production made by a bunch of incredible people’

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White Helmets dedicate Oscar to humanitarian workers – video

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:55:39 GMT2017-02-27T15:55:39Z

Raed al-Saleh, the head of the White Helmets – a volunteer rescue group that operates in rebel-held parts of Syria, gives an acceptance speech from Syria after a film about his group won an Oscar for best short documentary. The footage was posted to the group’s Facebook account

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La La Land mistakenly named best picture – video

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 06:16:43 GMT2017-02-27T06:16:43Z

Moonlight has won best picture at the Academy Awards in a historic Oscar upset that saw Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty reading out the wrong winner. Shock and chaos spread through the Dolby Theatre when producers of La La Land were stopped in the middle of their acceptance speeches to be informed that Moonlight was the correct winner

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All This Panic: the most relatable film about teenage girlhood ever?

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 07:30:24 GMT2017-03-26T07:30:24Z

Jenny Gage’s intimate documentary of seven Brooklyn teenagers has been praised for its honest account of growing up. We asked four British school friends to assess it‘I don’t want to age. I think that’s the scariest thing in the entire world,” says Ginger Leigh Ryan, one of the girls featured in Jenny Gage’s documentary All This Panic. Set in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Clinton Hill and directed by the former US fashion photographer, with cinematography by her husband Tom Betterton, the film follows seven teenagers – best friends Lena and Ginger, their school friends Sage, Olivia and Ivy, Ginger’s younger sister Dusty, and Dusty’s best friend Delia – over a three-year period.i-D magazine said the film “might be the most honest documentary about teenage girlhood ever”. That’s a bold claim, but there’s something to be said for the way Gage’s film articulates the emotional intensity of being a teenage girl. What makes it different from other coming-of-age films is the way it allows the girls to articulate their experiences as they occur, and in their own words. The Virgin Suicides showed teenage girls as their male classmates remembered them; Spring Breakers objectified and parodied them; films like Fat Girl, Fish Tank, Girlhood and Mustang shaped their stories around their protagonists’ particular traumas rather than their triumphs. Gage takes them seriously, and wants to hear what they have to say about the world and their place in it. The film follows the girls as they experiment with dating and drinking, but doesn’t dodge more serious issues, like Lena’s dysfunctional family and precarious finances, Ginger’s decision not to go to college (and her father’s insistence that she “try and be more interesting”), and Olivia’s eventual coming out. Continue reading...[...]


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Rotten Tomatoes: is the semi-fresh aggregation site really destroying cinema? | Peter Bradshaw

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 06:32:49 GMT2017-03-24T06:32:49Z

Batman v Superman producer Brett Ratner is right to address the site’s dumbing down of film criticism, but his negative review is also a case of sour grapes

Brett Ratner is right. Sort of. The director of the Rush Hour films and the producer of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has launched a passionate denunciation of the movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. I’m giving his attack a “semi-fresh” rating.

Ratner says: “The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. I think it’s the destruction of our business.” Well I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly hurting the art of conversing about film. Whenever someone solemnly invokes a Rotten Tomatoes score you can feel the conversation become paralysed.

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Eraserhead: the true story behind David Lynch's surreal shocker

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 07:00:28 GMT2017-03-22T07:00:28Z

Forty years on, the director’s fatherhood freakout has lost none of its horrific power

On 19 March 1977, the world changed, after which there was a long uncomfortable silence. The occasion was the first public screening of Eraserhead, the feature debut of David Lynch, at the Filmex festival in Los Angeles. It was not a hot ticket. The film arrived with little advance publicity at the only festival to accept it. The screening took place at midnight, drawing a modest crowd who dutifully watched for the next two hours (the film was then longer than the 89 minutes it became). When it ended: nothing. But no one left either. Just silence. Then, finally, applause.

Lynch was barely into his 30s, still a way off from the master surrealist with the silver quiff who created Twin Peaks. And it hadn’t yet become apparent that this was how everyone would react to Eraserhead. You wonder exactly how many people since have been left mute after their first encounter with Jack Nance and his socket-finger hair, cast as luckless new father Henry.

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Kong: Skull Island – why do Hollywood blockbusters have such Trump-like politics?

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:00:26 GMT2017-03-22T05:00:26Z

From Godzilla to Assassin’s Creed, Hollywood is churning out fantasies of authoritarian rule, but it doesn’t have to be this way

When Guardian reviewer Peter Bradshaw wrote that only a theory of “de-evolution” could account for the truly woeful Kong: Skull Island, he was right in more ways than one. The film is indeed a total mess, but its politics are peculiarly regressive, too. To say that it manages somehow to turn the giant monkey Kong into a Donald Trump-like figure sounds absurd, but it’s not far from the truth.

The movie is a remake of sorts of the 1933 film, King Kong. The action takes place in 1973, at the close of the Vietnam War, and depicts a military and scientific expedition that crashes on Kong’s island and must journey to the coast to be rescued. Drama ensues when the leader of the military force (played by Samuel L Jackson), stinging over America’s withdrawal from Vietnam, decides that in Kong he has found an enemy that, unlike the Viet Cong, can be defeated.

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What The Rock is cooking: Dwayne Johnson's next 26 films decoded

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:55:58 GMT2017-03-17T11:55:58Z

The world’s highest-paid actor has a staggering number of movies in the works – and you can probably guess what happens in them from their titles alone

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson currently has 26 movies in development. That is a staggering amount of work, possibly equalled only by crippling-debt-era Nicolas Cage. On paper, it looks like a tremendous amount of resources will go into developing all of these scripts. In reality, though, that’s unlikely to be the case, because Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson only really makes three types of film: the ironic action comedy, the kids movie and the disaster epic. In fact, you can probably guess what happens in all of those forthcoming films just by looking at their names. With this in mind, let’s go through his project list on IMDb and take a guess at the plots from the titles alone, starting with the most recent.

Related: Dwayne Johnson: a graceful and complex comedy heavyweight

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You've Got Mail: the forgotten world of 90s movie websites

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 08:00:25 GMT2017-03-15T08:00:25Z

Shonky graphics, confusing menus, weird picture galleries … the film websites from the internet’s early days haven’t aged well. So why are they still there?

You’ve Got Mail has dated horribly in the 19 years since it was released. It isn’t just the haircuts that have aged, or the music, or even the fact that it’s about a battle between small bookstores (which don’t exist any more) and big bookstores (which don’t exist any more) over who gets to sell the most books (which nobody reads any more).

Related: How Twitter killed the official movie website

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The Handmaiden: the return of erotic cinema

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 07:00:15 GMT2017-03-14T07:00:15Z

Eroticism has long been a dirty word in film. But a new thriller about a clandestine affair between two women in 1930s Korea returns the genre to its transgressive roots.

Is eroticism fashionable in the cinema again? Is it valid to admit wanting it in the darkness of the auditorium – like fear at a horror film, or happiness at a romcom, or sadness at a weepie?

The question arises from Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, which is out next month. Intricate, intimate, gorgeously detailed and bejewelled, it is the Korean director’s brilliant version of the novel Fingersmith by British author Sarah Waters, with the setting changed from Victorian London to 1930s Korea under Japanese colonial rule.

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From Gladiator to Scarface: five film heroes to bring back from the dead

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 09:38:00 GMT2017-03-14T09:38:00Z

As Ridley Scott plans to revive his deceased Roman warrior for a follow-up to the historical epic, here are some other dead characters ripe for reincarnation

“Death is not the end” is usually a comforting sentiment but it can also be a threat. Hollywood’s voracious appetite for sequels means that even the quiet, dignified passing of a beloved movie’s main character might not prevent a franchise from steamrollering on. Ridley Scott recently declared his desire to resume the story of his Oscar-winning 2000 epic Gladiator but surely the fact that Russell Crowe’s legendary scrapper Maximus expired in the arena might prove to be a roadblock to any sequel? Apparently not. “I know how to bring him back,” Scott recently announced at the SXSW festival. What could the veteran director have in mind? And how might some other currently lifeless film franchises benefit from a death-defying do-over?

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Behind the scenes of Comic Relief’s Love Actually: Andrew Lincoln’s creepy cards return

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 14:00:05 GMT2017-03-12T14:00:05Z

Richard Curtis has reunited stars of his soppy film favourite for Red Nose Day Actually. Will it be happy endings all round? Warning: spoilerBeing on the set of a Richard Curtis film is very like being in a Richard Curtis film. Everyone is good-looking and brisk and witty, here in the borrowed London townhouse where the 60-year-old director is shooting a short sequel to his movie Love Actually. Outside in the real world people are angry, at odds, ever more polarised. On Curtis’s closed set, a dungareed world of Lillies and Berties and Cols and Ems, trays of brownies circulate and the chat is about who slept with who once but stayed friends. Hugh Grant is present, roaming around and given licence to be caustic and urbane: “If anyone needs me I’ll be in my lair.” Otherwise the prevailing spirit is level-headedness and sympathy. “Richard likes it,” an assistant says to me, “when people are nice to each other. Plum?”Curtis is making this short followup to Love Actually in aid of Comic Relief and Red Nose Day, causes he co-founded in the 1980s. Many of the actors from the original have agreed to return, including Grant, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy and Liam Neeson; charity tempting them back, after 14 years, to Curtisland, that preposterous and seductive fantasia-Britain that was established in a trilogy of famous romcoms: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Notting Hill (1999) and Love Actually (2003). Of the three it was the last, a multi-narrative soup of soppy vignettes, written and directed by Curtis, that went on to have the most prodigious afterlife. Love Actually is now broadcast on TV with metronomic, Bond-movie regularity. In a single week last winter more than 1m copies of the film were sold on DVD in the US. At around the same time, in the UK, Love Actually was voted by the Radio Times “the nation’s favourite Christmas movie”. Continue reading...[...]


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Is Terrence Malick ahead of his time or out of date?

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 18:12:02 GMT2017-03-09T18:12:02Z

Film-lovers held their breath when the director returned from a 20-year hiatus. But as his output increased, so did the catcalls. Music drama Song to Song is his last chance to save his reputation

Wait: is it really almost 20 years since Terrence Malick stumbled out of the desert and into his comeback? Apparently yes – it was Christmas 1998 when the director released his grandly oblique war movie The Thin Red Line, his first film since 1978.

By pure good luck, I was in New York and saw it the weekend it opened, in a cinema humming with the sense of a moment. Back then, this was special. For two decades, no one had thought there would even be another Malick film. The Bigfoot of US cinema had made two unalloyed classics before the age of 35 in Badlands and Days of Heaven, announcing himself as the world’s hottest young auteur. Then he disappeared – or at least quit the movies. Remarkably, given the stakes, the new film was a triumph. Nearly everyone at the sold-out screening was rapt. Nearly. Midway through the three-hour film, a man in the front row got to his feet. “This is bullshit,” he shouted, and began walking out. “Bullshit!” he repeated, loudly.

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Black American actors slighted as Brits nab roles: 'We can't tell our own stories?'

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 07:00:29 GMT2017-03-09T07:00:29Z

The casting of black British actor Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out, a horror film about racism in America, has sparked debate about a trend some find troubling

Samuel L Jackson’s critique of black British actors taking US roles has sparked a heated debate in Hollywood where African American performers said the hiring of UK talent is another form of industry discrimination they face on a regular basis.

Jackson argued that Get Out, Jordan Peele’s satirical horror film about racism in liberal suburbs, could have been better with an American in the leading role, instead of British actor Daniel Kaluuya. “I tend to wonder what that movie would have been with an American brother who really feels that,” he told a New York radio station.

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A theater chain wants to add jungle gyms to movie screens. It's a bad idea

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 17:11:19 GMT2017-03-08T17:11:19Z

Cinépolis Junior chains will oversee the latest innovation in movie theater gimmickry: kids distracted with a play area as they watch the latest Pixar film

A Mexican theater chain wants to bring all the comforts of home to the movies – including screaming kids.

One-upping the latest fad of dine-in theaters, Cinépolis, based out of Mexico but making inroads into the US, is launching Cinépolis Junior, auditoriums devoted exclusively to children’s films. The seats will be bright and colorful, there will be an expanded array of snacks, and there will even be bean bag chairs for those who choose to eschew back support. So far, so good.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi – the five most outlandish fan theories

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 16:24:56 GMT2017-03-08T16:24:56Z

We know very little about The Last Jedi, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from guessing. It seems fake news is just as prevalent in a galaxy far, far away

Maybe it’s Disney’s fault. Eight months prior to the debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens we had at least witnessed a startling teaser trailer for JJ Abrams’ movie. But there has been little to no verifiable information about forthcoming sequel The Last Jedi, bar that tantalising title. Into this void have crept dark things (and YouTube vloggers) peddling rumours, conspiracy theories and downright lies. Moreover, where many of these tall tales would have once languished on the text-heavy pages of Reddit, they are now being reported verbatim on the websites of traditional newspapers. It turns out fake news is just as prevalent in a galaxy far, far away as it is in the real world.

Related: Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Luke's first words revealed to Disney shareholders

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After the Moonlight fades: what's next for LGBT cinema

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 17:21:56 GMT2017-03-07T17:21:56Z

The shock Oscar win of the low-budget drama about a black gay man’s life has set in motion a year that might finally provide a substantive view of sexuality

A week after Moonlight’s stunning best picture upset at the Academy awards, we’re beginning to put the bizarre circumstances of its coronation to one side – and to focus on the equally astonishing fact of the victory itself. Rewarding a micro-budget all-black character study steeped in Asian and European arthouse aesthetics is already an unprecedented reach for the organisation that famously swept Do the Right Thing aside in 1990 – but by adding the film’s complex queerness to the equation, we leap even further into the void.

Related: Did #OscarsSoWhite work? Looking beyond Hollywood's diversity drought

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Emma Watson on Vanity Fair cover: 'Feminism is about giving women choice'

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 07:08:26 GMT2017-03-06T07:08:26Z

The Beauty and the Beast actor said those who attack photo that shows parts of her breasts do not understand that ‘feminism is about giving women choice’

The actor Emma Watson has hit back at critics who say she has betrayed her feminist ideals by posing for a revealing picture in Vanity Fair magazine, in which parts of her breasts were exposed.

Related: Emma Watson: the feminist and the fairytale

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Why Beauty and the Beast isn't the first Disney movie for LGBT audiences

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 19:12:40 GMT2017-03-03T19:12:40Z

The studio has promised fans its first ‘exclusively gay moment’ in the live-action fairytale but that betrays a history of covert messages in its animated films

It’s unprecedented for a major studio blockbuster, much less a family film, to pursue the LGBT audience. Gay viewers seeking mainstream self-identification in the cinema have usually had to settle for winking nuances and allusions, or at worst, the more oblivious homoeroticism of sundry Michael Bay-style brawnfests. No more, apparently: in an age when a film as overtly queer as Moonlight can win the establishment honour of a best picture Oscar, a corporation as large as Disney can also finally acknowledge the love that once dared not speak its name.

Related: Beauty and the Beast to feature first 'exclusively gay moment' in a Disney movie

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Gurinder Chadha: My film has been wilfully misrepresented as anti-Muslim

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 17:53:01 GMT2017-03-03T17:53:01Z

The director of Viceroy’s House argues that her film about India’s partition of 1947, far from ignoring the freedom struggle, celebrates it

Fatima Bhutto, in reviewing my film Viceroy’s House, has every right to express her opinion about it. Everyone sees history through their own lens; some only see what they want to see. My film is my vision of the events leading up to India’s partition. It is not the first and it will not be the last interpretation, and I am delighted that it is provoking such heated public debate.

What saddens me is that a film about reconciliation should be so wilfully misrepresented as anti-Muslim or anti-Pakistan.

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Fatima Bhutto on Indian partition film Viceroy’s House: ‘I watched this servile pantomime and wept’

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 07:00:39 GMT2017-03-03T07:00:39Z

Gurinder Chadha’s film is a glossy imperial version of India’s traumatic partition that scandalously misrepresents the historical reality

Gurinder Chadha’s response: My film has been wilfully misrepresented as anti-Muslim

Gurinder Chadha’s Raj film Viceroy’s House begins with an ominous warning: “History is written by the victors.” It sure is. The empire and its descendants have their fingerprints all over this story.

Viceroy’s House, the story of the Mountbattens’ arrival in India and the subcontinent’s subsequent breakup, opens to the sight of bowing, preening and scraping Indians at work on the lawns, carpets and marble floors that are to greet the last viceroy of colonised India, Lord Louis Mountbatten – or Dickie, as he was known – played by the rosy Hugh Bonneville. In one of his first scenes, Mountbatten instructs his Indian valets that he never wants to spend more than two minutes getting dressed – fitting for the man who dismembered India in less than six weeks. As always, it is the Indians, not the British, who fail in the simplest of tasks set out for them (they take 13 minutes).

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Hampstead: will filmgoers be flocking to the heath – or running for the hills?

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 14:38:33 GMT2017-03-03T14:38:33Z

There’s bereavement, bonding and a Hairy Biker lookalike in the trailer for Diane Keaton’s romcom, which threatens to ‘do a Notting Hill’ for leafy north London

It’s been almost two decades since Notting Hill became flooded with foreign tourists who do nothing but stand around in Notting Hill purely because someone once made a film called Notting Hill. And now, finally, someone has decided to send them somewhere else.

In June, a film called Hampstead will be released. Like Notting Hill, Hampstead is a geographically specific romcom. Like Notting Hill, it is likely to send visitors into a frenzy. And, like Notting Hill, it’s probably going to annoy the locals quite a lot. But does Hampstead really have what it takes to become the new Notting Hill? Let’s find out.

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Logan: Hugh Jackman's X-Men farewell, mini-mutants – discuss with spoilers

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 11:56:34 GMT2017-03-03T11:56:34Z

It’s got great reviews, but how does Logan fit in to the X-Men-verse, and can a pre-teen girl move the franchise into the future?

  • This article contains spoilers

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Logan is quite simply one of the greatest comic-book movies of all time, sitting pretty on a 93% “fresh” rating that places it behind only The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Superman in the grand pantheon of superhero flicks. The tale of Wolverine’s last hurrah on the Tex-Mex border, struggling against his own body’s mysterious dilapidation and fighting to keep an increasingly senile Professor X from tearing the world apart, has wowed the critics and looks set for the biggest opening of the year so far at the US box office this weekend. Here’s a chance to give your verdict on the movie’s key talking points.

Related: Logan review – Hugh Jackman's Wolverine enters a winter of X-Men discontent

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Critics assemble: our writers pick their favorite superhero films

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 20:00:49 GMT2017-03-02T20:00:49Z

Batman v Superman v Captain America v all of the X-Men. Which cape-wearing, civilian-saving adventures are worth cheering?

Given the repetitive influx of superhero films in recent years, you’d be forgiven for wanting very little to do with anything involving a cape, a mask and a post-credits teaser for a long time. But wait, the R-rated Wolverine sequel Logan hits cinemas this week and critics agree that it’s worth getting over yourself for.

Related: Logan review – Hugh Jackman's Wolverine enters a winter of X-Men discontent

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Alien: Covenant trailer: five things we've learned about the xenomorph saga

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:13:21 GMT2017-03-01T15:13:21Z

The Covenant crew are more intent on getting drunk than contemplating the cosmos, and the Engineers have reason to have beef with mankind

The “big boy” is back. Five years after the sporadically thrilling yet utterly obtuse Prometheus left us with more questions than answers about the Alien universe and the mysterious, godlike Engineers, the latest trailer for Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant restores the iconic xenomorph to centre stage – or at least, its 21st-century cousin. But can the veteran film-maker’s latest venture into the drool-dripping maw of extra-terrestrial purgatory satisfyingly pick up all those lost threads from its frustrating predecessor? What happened to Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw and Michael Fassbender’s David the android, last seen setting off for the Engineers’ home world in a borrowed ship? Will the new crew prove any more canny than their forebears at sidestepping completely avoidable demises? And do our space daddies really want to destroy mankind because we killed Jesus? Here are five takeaways from the new trailer.

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Get Out: the film that dares to reveal the horror of liberal racism in America

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 13:00:28 GMT2017-02-28T13:00:28Z

Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed low-budget shocker became a surprise hit and showed viewers a terrifying look at the fractured myth of a post-racial USThe success of Jordan Peele’s Get Out – it took $30m in its first weekend in the US – is remarkable for lots of reasons. This is a first-time film from a respected, but essentially cult comedian, with no real big-name stars and a premise that is anathema to most of middle America. Yet people came out to see it in their thousands and critics raved about a horror film, which just does not happen. The film has a A- rating from audiences on CinemaScore, which as some have pointed out is unheard of for a horror, and a rare 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Like Donald Glover’s Atlanta, almost universal praise has followed the film’s debut and as with that series, Peele has dealt with race in America in a refreshing, funny and unflinching manner. The number of things Peele manages to reference is stunning: the taboo of mixed relationships, eugenics, the slave trade, black men dying first in horror films, suburban racism, police brutality. Related: Get Out review – white liberal racism is terrifying bogeyman in sharp horror Continue reading...[...]


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Anatomy of an Oscars fiasco: how La La Land was mistakenly announced as best picture

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 07:31:38 GMT2017-02-27T07:31:38Z

How could the wrong film have been named as the winner of the Oscars’ most important award? Here are the pictures that tell the story

Oscars 2017: full list of winners

It will go down in Oscars history as the most awkward, embarrassing moment of all time: an extraordinary failure in the Oscars voting procedure. The traditional high point of the marathon Oscars telecast collapsed in ignominy as organisers were forced to acknowledge that the wrong film – La La Land – had been named best picture winner, instead of the actual victor, Moonlight. We piece together the sequence of events that led to the chaotic scenes.

1. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty emerge from the back of the stage to announce the best picture win.

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Will Moonlight beat La La land? Our final Oscars 2017 awards predictions

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 01:04:52 GMT2017-02-27T01:04:52Z

The Academy Awards take place in Hollywood tonight – and you can follow all the action from 11pm GMT on theguardian.com. But first, it’s time for us to put our money where our mouth is

Oscars 2017 live: the red carpet, the awards ceremony and the aftermath

Related: 'And the Oscar will go to' … who shall win the 2017 Academy Awards, and why

Everyone’s key prediction for the 89th Academy Awards is, of course, that Donald Trump will take quite a kicking.

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Bill Paxton: sad loss of a superb supporting actor with leading man chops | Peter Bradshaw

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:54:33 GMT2017-02-26T17:54:33Z

The star, who has died suddenly aged 61, shone brightest in his characterful collaborations with Billy Bob Thornton, but he also made a sturdy action hero in the likes of Twister

Bill Paxton was a big, handsome Texan guy who had the strong, capable and eminently cast-able look of a natural character actor or supporting player, rather than a starry lead – he had an open, good-natured face which could nevertheless cloud interestingly with sadness or anger or malice.

He was affectionately celebrated online as someone who had been taken out by a Terminator (he was the blue-haired mohawked punk who unwisely sneers at Arnie: “Nice night for a walk, eh?”) a Predator and also an Alien. In Aliens he was memorably moaning: “Game over man…!”

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Everything you'll never understand about the Oscars until you've been | Hadley Freeman

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:00:01 GMT2017-02-25T13:00:01Z

Oscars regular Hadley Freeman on why the hottest ticket in Hollywood is even more ridiculous – and wonderful – than TV makes it seem

The cliche about glitzy televised events is that they, like the celebrities, always seem diminished in real life. Movie premieres, fashion shows, the Baftas, the World Cup opening ceremony, Miss UK: I have covered them all for this paper and they look a lot better on TV than in person (yes, Miss UK really was that bad). I guess they benefit from the extra half stone that the camera puts on.

But none of this is true about the Oscars. Up close, the experience is, if anything, even more overwhelmingly ridiculous than what you see on TV.

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My favorite best picture Oscar winner: The Lost Weekend

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:00:32 GMT2017-02-24T13:00:32Z

Concluding our series of Guardian writers’ all-time Academy picks, Benjamin Lee explains why this harrowing 1946 winner is still one of the most vital films about alcoholism ever made

When the Academy chooses to reward a film that revolves around an “issue”, it’s usually one that takes said issue, smooths out any jagged edges and then uses it to bludgeon the audience into exhausted submission. Subtlety and even a vague awareness of reality are concepts that get ignored in favor of an after-school special full of simplistic preaching (*coughs* Crash *ends cough*).

Related: My favorite best picture Oscar winner: Titanic

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Why Hacksaw Ridge should win the best picture Oscar

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:03:03 GMT2017-02-24T10:03:03Z

Mel Gibson’s gore-laden war story is not just a crowdpleasing tale of American bravery, it’s a unique film about faith and suffering It’s the age-old story: a solitary, unlikely individual is chosen by a higher power to transcend their limitations and achieve something impossible. Against all the odds, and despite the scorn of their peers, their deep beliefs allow them to do something others cannot. They endure, they prevail and, eventually, they go down in history, remembered with reverence and awe. They do not have a say, these chosen few, they must simply follow the call of duty. But they always prevail. And so it is that I today accept my own impossible burden: to write about why a Mel Gibson film should win the best picture Oscar.For those of you who haven’t seen Hacksaw Ridge – which may include those opposed to individuals who make antisemitic remarks or engage in domestic abuse – let me set the thing up for you. Andrew Garfield plays Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist from Virginia. Hard-working Doss (the irony is lost on the Americans) is a patriot who volunteers to join the army after Pearl Harbor, but there’s a small complication: his religious beliefs prevent him from taking up arms. Continue reading...[...]


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Why I love Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 05:59:31 GMT2017-02-18T05:59:31Z

He always seems coiled and controlled, fleshing out minor TV and movie roles until he fills the screenIn Hollywood, as in life, there are “overnight successes” that closer inspection reveals have been years in the making. Oprah wasn’t born Oprah, you know? It takes time to become fully formed, and no US actor embodies that more than Mahershala Ali. This is his moment.Ali, 42, is the hot favourite to win the best supporting actor Oscar next weekend, for his role in Barry Jenkins’ masterpiece Moonlight (he won the SAG award last week, delivering an emotional acceptance speech touching on the perils of persecution). But not everyone has seen him in that movie (a deeply nuanced performance), so thank heaven for Netflix. Ali starred in House Of Cards (as Frank Underwood’s former chief of staff, Remy Danton) and more recently in Marvel’s Luke Cage. Continue reading...[...]


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