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Film | The Guardian

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

Published: Sat, 25 Nov 2017 00:10:51 GMT2017-11-25T00:10:51Z

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

Nightmare in suburbia: how cinema found the darkness behind the picket fence

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:00:23 GMT2017-11-24T06:00:23Z

George Clooney and the Coen brothers’ new movie Suburbicon shows how discrimination is baked into US city planning. But they are far from the first to see trouble in a genteel neighbourhood

Suburbia was always poisoned. Not much in US history is as blandly shameful as the National Housing Act of 1934. Designed to insure mortgages and encourage home owning, the heart of the policy was “redlining”: underwriting loans in areas deemed safe financial bets, refusing those that were not. America being America, the real red line was racial. As prim new developments sprawled across the postwar nation, banks and mortgage brokers had official licence to reject black applicants – and anyone looking to buy a house where black people lived. For much of the 20th century, if you needed help to buy an American home, being white was not enough. You had to live among other white people, which meant joining the exodus to the suburbs. For everyone else, the picket fence meant Keep Out.

A glimpse of that reality can be found in Suburbicon, the new film directed by George Clooney. Set in 1959, the movie is a comedy, at least sometimes, with a typically acid script by the Coen brothers, although the attempt to deal with institutional racism has the tone wobbling madly. Clooney is surer footed on a more familiar version of the ’burbs, re-telling the old gag about the gulf between upstanding suburbanites and what goes on behind tightly drawn curtains. S&M with a ping-pong bat is the least of it in a thick stew of fraud and murder. You know, the suburbs.

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The Big Heat review – Fritz Lang's 1953 thriller retains its shocking power

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:00:05 GMT2017-11-24T13:00:05Z

Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin star in drum-tight and violent revenge flick, a classic from Lang’s American period

The big heat – like the big sleep – is a menacing idea, a miasma that swarms over this taut and violent 1953 crime thriller from director Fritz Lang, a classic from his American period. It stars Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame, and this big-screen rerelease is linked to a Grahame retrospective at the BFI Southbank, London. The big heat is, of course, the force of vengeance, the blowtorch flame of justice, coming from heaven and Earth alike. For some of the people here, that big heat is what is going to come after the big sleep.

Ford plays Sgt Dave Bannion, who is investigating the suicide of a cop, who was apparently overwhelmed with shame at having taken bribes from crime nabob Mike Lagana (Alexander Scourby) and having been part of a far-reaching sordid mass of corruption. The icy keynote of cynicism is struck at the beginning with this officer’s wife Bertha (Jeanette Nolan) – who has grown very accustomed to the high life – reacting with callous indifference and irritation to the sight of his dead body, and hurriedly hiding away his suicide note, which contains full details of all the other police and city officials on the take.

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Antiporno review – has its porn cake and eats it

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 GMT2017-11-24T09:00:00Z

Cult Japanese director Sion Sono has made a shallow, frantic film that sports with sex and repression

Maybe no director is quite as “pro-porno” as the prolific cult Japanese film-maker Sion Sono, but here he is again, with a movie that sports with sex and repression, sensuality and hypocrisy, reality and fantasy, porn and more porn. Sometimes this fiercely cartoony film has satire and surrealism, some ideas about how porn is a theatre of unhappiness or how sex can cauterise painful emotions. But quite a lot of the time it’s a question of having your porn cake and eating it. Kyoko (Ami Tomite) is a beautiful, fashionable young conceptual artist and novelist, evidently living a life of glorious sexual abandon, flouncing naked around her apartment. She humiliates her personal assistant. And then – cut! It’s all just a porny movie she’s in. And she gets humiliated the way she humiliates this other woman in fiction. Or … is the director yelling abuse at her a projection of her own self-hate, her own suspicion that she’s a fraud? Dreamlike memories cut in, revealing her teen loathing of her father and stepmother, her hysterical disgust at their sex life, and her own virginity, and the fact that her talented, sensitive sister died. How exactly? It’s not clear. Antiporno has a kind of energy, but is also shallow and frantic.

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Daddy's Home 2 review – Mel Gibson puts the freeze on Christmas reboot

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:00:22 GMT2017-11-24T06:00:22Z

There’s plenty to like as co-dads Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell spend the holiday with their fathers, but Gibson irradiates the film with his unfunniness

It’s a funny thing – or rather an intensely and overwhelmingly unfunny thing – but this can be a moderately successful film until Mel Gibson shows up and opens his mouth. Or even just smiles. Then he’s a kind of grinning death’s-head of unfunny, toxically irradiating the entire film with poison rays of conceited non-charm. Like the recent and rather better movie A Bad Moms Christmas, this sequel franchises a hit comedy by bringing in the older generation. Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) are the father and stepfather, who have agreed to be co-dads for their kids. But now their own fathers show up for the Christmas holidays. Naturally, reformed tough guy Dusty has an unreformed alpha dad: Kurt, played by Mel Gibson. Brad’s dad is Don (John Lithgow), a gentle soul. There’s some nice stuff here when Don shows how much he’s learned from therapeutic improv comedy classes and when Brad has to give his kid “the talk” about sex, and it turns into a loser tutorial in how to settle for the friend zone. But Mel Gibson shows up and puts the gamma rays of awfulness on it, time after time.

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James Franco: ‘I was certainly taking myself too seriously before. But who doesn’t?’

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 13:39:53 GMT2017-11-23T13:39:53Z

His riotous new film, The Disaster Artist, is one of the best in a fascinating but patchy career. So how did this notorious workaholic with a fear of failure learn to laugh at himself?

James Franco, the stoner’s comedian inside a workaholic arthouse auteur trapped in a Hollywood leading man’s body, is a bewildering enough prospect as an actor, but that’s nothing compared with what he is as an interviewee. As I walk into his hotel room in San Sebastián, Spain, where he is at the film festival showing his latest effort, The Disaster Artist, which he directed and stars in, I wonder which side I’ll get today. (Please, God, not the pretentious-auteur one.) After all, what to expect of a man who, in one year, made eight movies including Eat Pray Love; the pretty good Allen Ginsberg biopic, Howl; the completely meh comedy, Date Night; the endurance movie, 127 Hours (for which he got an Oscar nomination); and a near unwatchable short movie – which he directed, wrote and starred in – called Masculinity and Me?

And my wariness isn’t just based on his career. The two previous times I had encountered Franco in person were baffling – not just because he was so odd, but because he was odd in such different ways that he seemed like two different people. The first was in 2009 at the New Yorker festival when, before an audience of increasingly bemused young women who had come to swoon in front of a Hollywood heart-throb, he read out Frank Bidart’s poem about a necrophiliac, Herbert White, which includes lines such as: “When the body got too discomposed/ I’d just jack off, letting it fall on her.” Don’t all swoon at once, ladies! Franco, on the other hand, liked the poem so much he turned it into a short film starring Michael Shannon.

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Battle of the Sexes review – Emma Stone aces it in tennis's biggest grudge match

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 15:30:05 GMT2017-11-23T15:30:05Z

Steve Carell is well cast as the ex-champ who tried to prove men’s superiority on court, but Stone calls the shots as women’s No 1 Billie Jean King

This is a seductively enjoyable, smart and well-acted film based on the most deadly serious sporting contest of modern times: the Battle of the Sexes tennis match of 1973 in a packed Houston Astrodome. It stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell, respectively women’s No 1 Billie Jean King and fiftysomething ex-champ and self-proclaimed “male chauvinist pig” Bobby Riggs – fighting to prove that men are better at tennis and better, full stop.

The film crucially faces the same challenge as the participants from real life: the challenge of tone. How unseriously should this match be taken? How strenuously should the attitude of casual jokiness be maintained? No one involved in this encounter could be certain of its outcome; neither side could be sure of avoiding humiliation, and thus everyone had a vested interest in keeping it light. Up to a point. But only one side was facing jokiness as a weapon, the same weapon of boorish condescension and toxic bantz that they faced outside the sporting arena every day of their lives. The movie displays the same gracious good humour as its heroine.

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Why is Oscar-buzzed romance Call Me by Your Name so coy about gay sex?

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 12:00:01 GMT2017-11-23T12:00:01Z

The much-lauded 80s-set drama is a triumph on many levels but its conservative attitude towards showing men having sex remains problematic

There was a time, not all that long ago, when Luca Guadagnino’s new film Call Me By Your Name would have been something of a fringe item. A florid gay love story, set in the rarefied playground of wealthy white academics who use “summer” as a verb, awash in Euro-art flourishes inspired by the likes of Bertolucci and Antonioni, and based on an André Aciman novel treasured chiefly within the LGBT community, it’s the kind of film towards which enraptured critics usually struggle to steer substantial audiences.

Related: Call Me By Your Name review – gorgeous gay love story seduces and overwhelms

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Jada Pinkett Smith: ‘Who’s the best at music in my family? Everyone plays in their own sandbox’

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 13:06:43 GMT2017-11-23T13:06:43Z

Fresh from weeing over a crowd of people in Girls Trip, the actor offers her thoughts on the various skill sets of her family

Hi, Jada! Was there a moment of hesitation when you read the Girls Trip script and saw that you had to wee yourself over a crowd of people (1)?

No! People always ask me that. That was actually one of the moments that made me think: “Oh, wow, this is going to be a lot of fun.” It’s completely unexpected and completely outrageous. And, you know, it’s a movie.

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#Starvecrow review – first ever selfie movie needs an upgrade

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 11:00:28 GMT2017-11-23T11:00:28Z

Shot mostly on camera phones, this British drama about a group of insufferable twentysomethings has little going for it besides zeitgeist bragging rights

After found footage and phone footage films, here, with the inevitability of a man in belted jeans launching a new iPhone model to a crowd of saucer-eyed disciples, is the first ever selfie movie – a naive and self-indulgent piece with very little going for it other than zeitgeist bragging rights.

Shot mostly on camera phones by the actors, #Starvecrow is a tiny-budget British drama about a group of insufferably privileged twentysomething mates. Ben Willens is Ben, a controlling narcissist who creepily films everything on his phone. When his on-off girlfriend (Ashlie Walker) walks out for good, he steals her friends’ mobiles – giving the film its footage of attention-seeking drunken antics and nastier behaviour never intended for Snapchat. Ben, like one of the lads from Made in Chelsea after inadvertently catching an episode of The Moral Maze on Radio 4, tells his psychotherapist that he wants to see “between the cracks” of people’s lives.

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Jane review – wondrous footage lights up Goodall's Tarzan dream

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 08:00:24 GMT2017-11-23T08:00:24Z

Jane Goodall’s research into chimp behaviour was a great leap forward in scientific research and this documentary does her work full justice

Here is a portrait of the primatologist as a young woman. Using footage only recently rediscovered in the National Geographic archive, octogenarian Jane Goodall recollects her first field study of chimpanzees in the wild in Tanzania. This was the 1960s, and Goodall was a 26-year-old typist with no academic training. Yet on that trip she made a great leap in scientific research by observing chimps making and using tools. Goodall says that it was her mother who built her self-esteem when she was growing up – encouraging her to see beyond the expectations that a nice, middle-class girl from Bournemouth should get married and start a family. Instead, she dreamed of living with animals in the jungle like Tarzan. There are more than 40 documentaries about Goodall. What makes this one – directed by Brett Morgen, who made The Kid Stays in the Picture – essential, is Goodall’s reflective mood and the wondrous 16mm archive footage shot by Hugo van Lawick, the great wildlife photographer National Geographic sent to film her in Tanzania. The pair fell in love and married (though in the end, Goodall’s happy-ever-after was with the chimps not Van Lawick). One of his miraculous shots, of the annual great migration from Serengeti – a medley of animals gathered together like some majestic parliament of beasts – drew a gasp of wonder from a gentleman sitting behind me.

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Rashida Jones denies she left Pixar over 'unwanted advances' by John Lasseter

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:21:10 GMT2017-11-22T12:21:10Z

Parks and Recreation star refutes reports that she and co-writer departed over Disney animation head’s behaviour, citing lack of diversity at studio

Rashida Jones has denied claims that she left the writing staff of Toy Story 4 due to sexual harassment by Disney animation head John Lasseter, instead stating that her departure was the result of “philosophical differences” over a lack of diversity at Pixar Animation Studios.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Lasseter, who is also the chief creative officer at Pixar, is to take a six-month leave of absence after admitting to undivulged “missteps”. The announcement was swiftly followed by reports of alleged misconduct by Lasseter published by Variety, Vanity Fair and the Hollywood Reporter, with the Reporter investigation including a claim that former Parks and Recreation star Jones and writing partner Will McCormack had exited Toy Story 4 following an “unwanted advance” by Lasseter.

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Suburbicon review – George Clooney spies murder and malice in picket-fence America

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 06:00:22 GMT2017-11-23T06:00:22Z

Matt Damon plays a beleaguered salaryman whose life goes horribly wrong in Clooney’s account of crime and racial prejudice in the postwar US

For his latest directorial outing, George Clooney has given us a macabre comedy noir: watchable, lively, intricately designed, but with exotic plot contrivances and parallel storylines that don’t fully gel. Clooney and longtime producing partner Grant Heslov have rewritten an unproduced script by the Coen brothers, set in a satirically picture-perfect 1950s American suburb. Like the manicured locations of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet or Todd Haynes’s Far from Heaven, this is a place where ugly realities hunch behind the picket fence and the Colgate smiles: racism, deceit, murder.

There is something surreal about the way these two dramas unfold side-by-side without impinging on each other

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Peter O'Toole was not the drunken hell-raiser he made out, says author

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:45:06 GMT2017-11-22T15:45:06Z

Actor’s biographer says personal archive reveals a ‘sensitive, organised man’ who was writing two screenplays just before his death in 2013

Peter O’Toole was writing two screenplays just before his death at the age of 81, according to research that also suggests the actor’s hell-raising image was a myth that he cultivated himself.

While working on a book about the actor, the biographer Alexander Larman had a glimpse of screen versions of the Seán O’Casey play Juno and the Paycock, and Chekhov’s work Uncle Vanya. He said O’Toole starred on stage in those plays, which each had characters with some similarities to O’Toole’s personality.

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In a Lonely Place review – Bogart still captivatingly cynical in noir classic

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:42:40 GMT2017-11-22T15:42:40Z

Humphrey Bogart’s boozy screenwriter plays off perfectly against a marvellous Gloria Grahame in Nicholas Ray’s hardboiled thriller from 1950

Humphrey Bogart’s world-weariness and romanticism take on something brutal and misogynist in this 1950 noir masterpiece directed by Nicholas Ray – and it’s a marvellous performance by Gloria Grahame. This national rerelease is linked to the Grahame retrospective at BFI Southbank, in London. It is adapted from the hardboiled thriller by Dorothy B Hughes, changing her story and rehabilitating the male lead in one way, but in another, introducing a new strain of pessimism and defeat.

Bogart is Dixon Steele, a boozy, depressive Hollywood screenwriter whose tendency to violence and self-hatred isn’t helped by the fact that he hasn’t had a hit in years. Like the directors, producers and actors he occasionally sees in bars, his best days were before the second world war. One night at a restaurant, his agent offers him a much-needed gig adapting some brainless bestseller and Dix shruggingly accepts. The wide-eyed hatcheck girl, Mildred (Martha Stewart), tells him she loves the book and, amused, Dix invites her back to his place to tell him what it’s all about. Having established his intentions are gentlemanly, Mildred agrees.

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A ban on smoking in French films? The idea makes me fume | Stephen Leslie

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:35:26 GMT2017-11-22T12:35:26Z

The great directors have always understood that cigarettes and the screen are inextricably linked, like movement and mortality

The French Socialist senator Nadine Grelet-Certenais has fired up a heated debate in France over the depiction of smoking in the movies. She wants it stubbed out, for good, on the basis that Gallic heroes puffing away on the silver screen makes the filthy habit seem cool and provides the evil tobacco industry with free advertising. Ban it, and everything will be made miraculously better – c’est simple. Her call has been taken up by the health minister, Agnès Buzyn, and suddenly film-makers have a fight on their hands.

The problem with this is that it totally ignores the venerable history of French cinema, which plays out as a long, drawn-out visual love letter to the act of smoking. Smoking a cigarette and cinema have always gone perfectly together – they are both ways of killing time, after all – but the moving image also captures the act of smoking so much better than other art forms, such as still photography. The flare of a match or lighter, and then the upward curl of smoke are forever seductive. All the best French film directors knew this and have exploited it endlessly.

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Manifesto review – Cate Blanchett is astonishing in bravura character study

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:00:19 GMT2017-11-22T12:00:19Z

Blanchett plays 13 characters performing screeds by the likes of Marx and Debord in a hypnotically fascinating exploration of philosophy

There is a hypnotic fascination to this work by artist and film-maker Julian Rosefeldt, one of the few commercial films that explores the boundaries between cinema and installation, or cinema and video art. It owes this relative prominence to the presence of Cate Blanchett, who may be rivalling Tilda Swinton as Hollywood’s experimentalist and patron-muse.

Related: Manifesto: Cate Blanchett's multiple personalities for video artist – in pictures

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Is Kris Kristofferson's wedding-planning dog drama already the worst movie of 2018?

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 07:39:27 GMT2017-11-22T07:39:27Z

Best Friend From Heaven sees Kristofferson voice a dead pooch sent back to earth to arrange his owner’s nuptials. It’s a new low for the ‘talking animals’ genre

You would think that, by now, people would have stopped making films about talking animals. You would think that, after witnessing the monstrosities that were Andy the Talking Hedgehog, A Talking Cat!?! and Kevin Spacey’s Nine Lives, producers would run a giddy mile from such a flat-out dismal genre.

And yet.

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Would ‘intimacy directors’ make shooting sex scenes safer?

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:45:35 GMT2017-11-21T16:45:35Z

The film, theatre and TV industries have problems with sexual abuse, but a new initiative seeks to make nude scenes a more comfortable experience for actors

It is now well-established that the film, theatre and TV worlds have serious problems with sexual assault and harassment. There are, of course, predators and abuses of power in every industry, but performers (as well as crew members) are in a business where boundaries are blurred in the name of art; kissing and intimately touching virtual strangers are often a legitimate part of the job. This week, the Stage reported that Ita O’Brien, a movement director, and her agents Chris Carey and Sam Dodd, had drawn up a set of guidelines to protect actors, from the audition stage to being on set.

These include not asking for nudity or simulated sex at auditions, making sure everyone knows what is expected in terms of sex scenes, having a minimal number of people on set during such scenes, and small but significant things, such as having dressing gowns to hand. O’Brien also recommends employing an “intimacy director” to monitor sex scenes and ensure that people adhere to the safeguarding measures. “Invariably, whenever there isn’t transparency, whenever everybody isn’t in agreement and knows what’s going on, that’s when actors are left vulnerable,” she said.

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Sacha Baron Cohen offers to pay fines of tourists who wore 'Borat' mankinis

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 02:39:54 GMT2017-11-22T02:39:54Z

The scantily clad Czech men were fined $68 each by police in Kazakhstan after they were detained in the country’s capital

Comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen has offered to pay the fines for six Czech tourists who were reportedly detained by authorities in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana for dressing up as his character Borat.

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Pixar's John Lasseter taking leave citing 'missteps' and 'unwanted hugs'

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:01:26 GMT2017-11-22T09:01:26Z

The head of Disney Animation will take a six-month sabbatical after stating he has unintentionally made staff members feel ‘disrespected or uncomfortable’

Disney Animation head John Lasseter will take a six-month leave of absence after confessing to unspecified “missteps”.

In a company memo, obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, Lasseter writes that he has fallen short in creating a culture that engenders “support and collaboration” and hints at behavior that he has been confronted about.

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Justice League lays down the law at top of the UK box office

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:49:01 GMT2017-11-21T13:49:01Z

DC superheroes reign supreme as Paddington 2’s Peruvian émigré leaves Murder on the Orient Express at the platform

The $94m debut for Justice League in the US has been branded a disappointment, but it’s not so clear that the £7.26m UK debut can be so easily described. First, if previews are ignored, that figure ranks as the eighth-biggest opening of 2017, behind Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Despicable Me 3, Dunkirk, It, Fast & Furious 8 and Paddington 2. So, not so shabby.

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Mel Gibson: Weinstein scandal is a 'precursor to change'

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:56:47 GMT2017-11-21T11:56:47Z

Star, dogged by claims of racist and misogynistic behaviour, says he welcomes ‘light being thrown where there were shadows’

Mel Gibson has spoken out about the sexual harassment scandal in Hollywood, saying the wave of accusations against Harvey Weinstein have been “painful” but will lead to change in the industry.

The actor and Oscar-winning director, who has faced repeated damaging allegations of racist and misogynistic behaviour, said: “Things got shaken up a little bit and there is a lot of light being thrown into places where there were shadows and that is kind of healthy. It’s painful, but I think pain is a precursor to change.”

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The Incredibles 2: watch the first trailer for Pixar's superpowered sequel

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 10:50:54 GMT2017-11-19T10:50:54Z

Brad Bird reunites a voice cast that includes Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L Jackson for a follow-up to his acclaimed animated comedy

Thirteen years on from the release of acclaimed animated comedy The Incredibles, Pixar have given us another glimpse of the superpowered Parr family in the first teaser trailer for a forthcoming sequel.

The Incredibles 2 reunites a voice cast that includes Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L Jackson with original writer director Brad Bird in an adventure that will see Hunter’s character Helen, AKA Elastigirl, take centre stage, leaving Bob, AKA Mr Incredible (Nelson), to contend with the challenges of domestic life. The film will also see the Parr’s youngest member, baby Jack-Jack, begin to develop his own nascent powers.

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Harvey Weinstein had secret hitlist of names to quash sex scandal

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 21:57:30 GMT2017-11-18T21:57:30Z

Producer hired team to investigate 91 film industry figures in attempt to stop harassment claims going public

The Observer has gained access to a secret hitlist of almost 100 prominent individuals targeted by Harvey Weinstein in an extraordinary attempt to discover what they knew about sexual misconduct claims against him and whether they were intending to go public.

The previously undisclosed list contains a total of 91 actors, publicists, producers, financiers and others working in the film industry, all of whom Weinstein allegedly identified as part of a strategy to prevent accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him.

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'Rape is a rampant issue'; taboo drama Verna battles the censors in Pakistan

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:58:32 GMT2017-11-17T17:58:32Z

Rejected for its ‘edgy content’, Shoaib Mansoor’s timely revenge thriller has finally made it into cinemas after a public backlash. Is the country’s film industry ready for change?

In recent years, Pakistan has seen a huge resurgence of its film industry, which has emerged from the shadow of Bollywood to find its own identity, one at the forefront of the battle between a growing conservatism in the country and an emboldened youth hungry for change. There’s a notable trend towards female-led narratives, which are not only setting new standards in storytelling, but also challenging taboos around the treatment of women in society.

The battle to get the voices and experiences of women on screen achieved a much-needed victory this week when the Pakistani censor board backed down over a decision to ban a new film about the injustices faced by rape victims in the country – a development that shows that Pakistan might be ready for change both on screen and off.

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Sylvester Stallone accused of sexually assaulting 16-year-old girl in 1986

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:14:32 GMT2017-11-17T12:14:32Z

Film star ‘categorically denies’ claims, detailed in police report, that he and a bodyguard intimidated a girl into sex before threatening her with violence

Sylvester Stallone has denied allegations that he and his bodyguard sexually assaulted a 16-year-old fan in the 1980s and then threatened to “beat her head in” if she spoke up about it.

A spokesperson for the actor described the claims as “ridiculous” and “categorically false”, after a 1986 police report into the alleged encounter was obtained by Mail Online.

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword review – Guy Ritchie's cheerful den of medieval dodginess

Tue, 09 May 2017 18:03:54 GMT2017-05-09T18:03:54Z

The Sherlock Holmes director has conjured up an entertaining rollercoaster that crashes through Arthurian legend, with only the occasional stall

Guy Ritchie’s cheerfully ridiculous Arthur is a gonzo monarch, a death-metal warrior-king. Ritchie’s film is at all times over the top, crashing around its digital landscapes in all manner of beserkness, sometimes whooshing along, sometimes stuck in the odd narrative doldrum. But it is often surprisingly entertaining, and whatever clunkers he has delivered in the past, Ritchie again shows that a film-maker of his craft and energy commands attention, and part of his confidence in reviving King Arthur resides here in being so unselfconscious and unconcerned about the student canon that has gone before: Malory, Tennyson, Bresson, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle etc. Instead, Ritchie launches into an all-purpose tale of medieval brigands and scofflaws. It’s more of a laugh than Antoine Fuqua’s solemn take in 2004.

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Absolutely Anything review - cheap and cheerless sci-fi comedy

Thu, 13 Aug 2015 21:15:10 GMT2015-08-13T21:15:10Z

Simon Pegg plays a teacher endowed with godlike powers and Robin Williams, in his final film role, supplies the voice of a dog. But it’s far from funny

The second word of the title should be “appalling”. It sure isn’t the best way to mark the first anniversary of Robin Williams’s death: this was his very last screen credit, as the voice of an unfunny dog.

There’s a blue-chip cast here, and it’s directed by Terry Jones; the Pythons have cameos, as creepy alien creatures. But this low-budget Brit film is just depressing, a sub-Douglas Adams sci-fi comedy which looks like mediocre kids’ TV with a dismal script and cheap’n’cheerless production values.

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Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto review – 13 Cate Blanchetts in search of a meaning

Tue, 08 Dec 2015 23:31:24 GMT2015-12-08T23:31:24Z

Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne
The words of Futurists, Dadaists and Communists are stolen from the page and given new life by Blanchett playing a teacher, homeless man, mourner and mother in the Berlin-based artist’s latest multi-screen installation

There’s a clinking of champagne glasses, and Cate Blanchett moves to address an affluent crowd. Reading from cue cards in her hand, she praises the great art vortex and describes the poor as detestable animals. “The past and future are the prostitutes nature has provided,” she adds. The crowd chuckles politely.

The scene plays out on one of 13 screens dangling from the ceiling at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne for the world premiere of Julian Rosefeldt’s multi-channel video work Manifesto.

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Whisky Galore! review – twee, comfy-cardigan film-making

Sun, 26 Jun 2016 18:15:21 GMT2016-06-26T18:15:21Z

Gillies MacKinnon’s remake of the classic postwar Ealing comedy is light on laughs and feels out of place in 2016

The Edinburgh film festival kicked off with Tommy’s Honour, a gently old-fashioned yarn about a 19th-century Scottish golf champion that may have induced mild stirrings of patriotism. Now the festival is aiming to repeat the trick with a remake of Alexander Mackendrick’s fondly remembered 1949 Ealing comedy Whisky Galore!, an adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s novel that itself drew on real events.

Like the original, it sets out to be a celebration of canny Scots outwitting humourless (and partly English) officialdom: a ship runs aground on a fictional Hebridean island during the second world war and the locals do their best to liberate some of the thousands of whisky bottles in its cargo. Cue cat-and-mouse shenanigans as the home guard try to reinforce wartime discipline and prevent imbibement above and beyond the quota level. Two weddings are simultaneously planned, involving the daughters of the leading whisky filcher.

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The Fate of the Furious review - Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson ensure franchise still has va-va-vroom

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 22:22:50 GMT2017-04-10T22:22:50Z

The latest instalment of the car-based action thriller – also called Fast & Furious 8 – has lost none of its zip, and even gained Charlize Theron, Jason Statham and Helen Mirren

The resurgence of Fast and the Furious from straight-to-DVD-destined three-wheeler to multiplex monolith has been one of the more unlikely cinematic successes of recent years. This was a franchise that, with 2006’s endlessly lampooned Tokyo Drift, looked less in need of a tune up than to be scavenged for parts and left up on bricks. Five instalments later and it’s as close to a bankable vehicle as it gets in Hollywood.

Of course, cynical sorts might suggest that the untimely death of Paul Walker midway through filming of Fast and Furious 7 gave the series a sympathetic second-look from audiences that might have otherwise abandoned it. That though would underplay the strangely appealing alchemy of the franchise in the past several instalments, which has seen it evolve from a gruff drag race B-movie to something far more universal: a turbocharged mix of cars, quips and explosions, with just the merest hint of sentimentality to keep the date-movie crowd sweet.

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A Quiet Passion review – Cynthia Nixon gives Emily Dickinson the soul of a poet

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 14:30:06 GMT2017-04-06T14:30:06Z

Terence Davies’s elegant film benefits from a terrific performance by Nixon, who makes the reclusive 19th-century poet seem radiant with loneliness

In this film, Cynthia Nixon has the face of someone with a secret. She plays the poet Emily Dickinson, and her face is fever-bright with irony and wit, then loneliness and fear. You can see how emotions are somehow stored in that face provisionally, being refined and saved for later – for the poetry she writes during the night. It is a face that changes as she grows older and moves along the spectrum of genius, publishing little or nothing, angry about the non-consolation of “posterity”. Terence Davies’s film and Nixon’s tremendous performance reminded me of WH Auden saying that Matthew Arnold “thrust his gift in prison till it died”. It isn’t Dickinson’s gift for poetry that gets thrust in prison but her gift for love, and not thrust by her, either. Her poems are periodically quoted by Nixon in voiceover and, with these shrewd selections, Davies may be playfully suggesting that their seductive rhythmic canter has a tiny technical echo with Longfellow, whom Emily professes to despise.

Emma Bell plays the young Emily, who is agnostic and free-thinking, and bullied at a tyrannically puritan Christian school from which she is miraculously rescued by her warm and kindly family, to be welcomed into a protective and relatively liberal circle. She grows to adulthood – a process represented in a strangely eerie digital transformation of her photographic portrait – and is portrayed by Nixon from then on. Jennifer Ehle is excellent as her affectionate sister Vinnie; Duncan Duff is their adored brother Austin, a lawyer who marries Susan Gilbert (Jodhi May), a woman who confesses with sisterly intimacy to Emily how the conjugal duties are to be endured in exchange for the blessings of family. Austin grows to despise himself for shirking military service in the civil war, at the insistence of their kindly but stern father Edward, played by Keith Carradine.

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The Lost City of Z review: Charlie Hunnam slow-burns down the Amazon, leaving Sienna Miller at home

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:00:21 GMT2017-02-13T19:00:21Z

James Gray’s introspective tale of adventurer Percival Fawcett’s obsession with a lost Amazonian city is a twist on the familiar Conrad jungle narrative

James Gray brings a characteristically muted, slow-burn intensity of purpose to this odd, interesting period drama. It is based on the true story of Col Percival Fawcett, a British explorer and army officer of the last century who became obsessed with what he was convinced was a lost city he called “Z”, deep in the Amazon jungle: a vanished civilisation overlooked by the historical and archaeological establishment. For his screenplay, Gray has adapted the 2005 New Yorker article and subsequent book about Fawcett by David Grann. It’s a curious film in some ways, taking what could be an exciting epic adventure in the style of David Lean and turning it into something introspective, slightly morose and anti-climactic. Yet there is a persistent, beady-eyed intelligence at work.

Gray’s film shows that Fawcett’s involvement in Amazon exploration has its origin in his being asked by the Royal Geographical Society to act as an honest broker in a border dispute between South American states about where national territories began and ended, which in turn arose from exploitation of local resources. But while there, Fawcett rises above commercial concerns and even the traditional thrill of imperial prestige. He finds fragments of pots and evidence of ruined sculpture, which triggers a lifetime’s obsession and a need to prove himself to the snobs and prigs who had looked down on him for being not quite top drawer. His Amazon journeys happen as storm clouds of war are gathering; the trips are in some ways driven by the same misplaced romantic need to prove masculinity and hardihood – but also a need to avoid and escape, to turn one’s back on the squalor of conflict.

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Norman: the Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer review – Richard Gere ups his game in iffy film

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 10:30:11 GMT2016-09-05T10:30:11Z

The actor gives a strong performance as a desperate social climber in this fractured drama that works best as a flawed character study

Quietly and usually without much of an audience, Richard Gere is having a bit of a moment. Unlike his similarly aged peers Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis, he’s rejected the senior stuntman route and instead made the decision to embrace his older self, taking on roles that are reliant on his age, often uncomfortably so. In Time Out of Mind, he played a homeless man struggling to reconnect with his estranged daughter, in The Benefactor he was an unhinged philanthropist making amends for his tortured past and, well, he even joined the cast of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

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

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Tommy's Honour review – well-pitched performances bring golf biopic up to par

Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:26:33 GMT2016-06-24T14:26:33Z

This story of teenage golf sensation ‘Young’ Tom Morris is a decent rather than dazzling film to open the Edinburgh film festival, kept on course Peter Mullan and Jack Lowden as father and son

Jason Connery – son of Sean – is still probably best known for his mid-1980s stint in the TV series Robin of Sherwood, but he’s been directing features for a few years now: mostly obscure sci-fi and thrillers, but this, his fifth, has got a modicum of wider interest to it. Tommy’s Honour is a conventional, old-fashioned, biopic of early golf champ “Young” Tom Morris, who remains the youngest ever winner of the British Open as a 17-year-old in 1868, and who succumbed to an appallingly early death just seven years later.

Morris is portrayed with enthusiasm and no little charm by Jack Lowden, who channels a sort of bristling young lion challenge towards his father, “Old” Tom Morris, played with gravelly, bearded dignity by Peter Mullan. Old Tom is the deferential club professional, little more than a skilled servant to the top-hatted members, while Young Tom is a modern-style athlete who expects to be well rewarded for his accomplishments. Their combative relationship not only provides the meat of the film’s drama, but also allows the film-makers to get across some (fairly sledgehammer) points about the social mores of the time.

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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 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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Watch the trailer for The Florida Project – video

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 18:47:57 GMT2017-11-09T18:47:57Z

The Florida Project is the latest film from director Sean Baker, written by Baker and Chris Bergoch, starring Willem Dafoe. Set in a motel in Kissimmee, Florida, the story follows the lives of deprived children living near Walt Disney World 

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Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce reunite in Swinging Safari – trailer

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 00:34:32 GMT2017-11-06T00:34:32Z

Formerly titled Flammable Children, the upcoming comedy from writer/director Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Welcome to Woop Woop) reunites Minogue with her former Neighbours co-star and takes a sepia-tinted look at 1970s Australia: the sun, the surf, the swimmers ... and the swinging. Filmed on the Gold Coast, and with more than a few traces of Puberty Blues, the coming-of-age film follows what happens to three neighbouring families on a quiet suburban cul-de-sac when an extraordinary event shakes up their lives. Swinging Safari's cast includes Asher Keddie, Julian McMahon, Radha Mitchell and Jeremy Sims, and will be released on 18 January 2018

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Rose McGowan: 'I have been silenced for 20 years' – video

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 19:16:37 GMT2017-10-27T19:16:37Z

Rose McGowan, the actor who has accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, makes her first public comments since the allegations. McGowan, who was speaking at the Women’s Convention in Detroit, thanked the audience ‘for giving me wings during this very difficult time’

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Harvey Weinstein accused of rape by actor Natassia Malthe – video

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 03:01:47 GMT2017-10-26T03:01:47Z

Actor Natassia Malthe tells reporters Weinstein barged into her London hotel room late at night in 2008, removed his pants, began masturbating and then forced himself on her. Malthe says: ‘It was not consensual’

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George Clooney calls out 'the other people' involved in Weinstein scandal – video

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:01:59 GMT2017-10-24T07:01:59Z

While promoting his new film Suburbicon, director George Clooney challenged the practices and the other people involved in the Harvey Weinstein allegations: 'I have questions about the other people involved … I want to know who is taking these actresses up to his room.'  Actors Matt Damon and Julianne Moore also comment on the 'revolutionary' events of the past fortnight

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Armando Iannucci on The Death of Stalin, Donald Trump and disappearing democracy – video interview

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:39:06 GMT2017-10-19T10:39:06Z

Backstabbing and deceit are the order of the day in the Veep creator’s historical satire, which stars Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough, Simon Russell Beale and Jason Isaacs as underlings vying for power in the wake of the Soviet dictator’s death. Its creator and cast explain why their film resonates in our current political climate and the parallels between Trump and Stalin

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Bill Pullman breaks award moments after receiving it – video

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 09:44:24 GMT2017-10-18T09:44:24Z

Bill Pullman was honoured with an excellence in acting award at the Woodstock film festival in Kingston, New York. But as he was about to deliver his thank you speech, the award toppled off the lectern and snapped in half. After being handed the broken award, Pullman held up a piece in each hand and said: 'I've got two awards tonight!' It was later repaired by the local artisan who made it

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Emma Thompson: Harvey Weinstein is a predator, not a sex addict – video

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 10:44:12 GMT2017-10-13T10:44:12Z

The actor tells BBC Newsnight that Harvey Weinstein is at the top of a system of bullying, harassment and interference that has been part of women's world 'since time immemorial'. The Hollywood producer has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. His team did not respond to a request for comment on Thompson's interview 

• The full interview can be viewed here

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Never Stop Riding: the Indigenous western with a mobility-scooter shootout – video

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 23:12:46 GMT2017-10-12T23:12:46Z

Premiering at the Tarnanthi festival of Indigenous art in South Australia, the 10-minute film – starring retired stockmen from the APY lands, along with younger local men – aims to get young people interested in horseriding and away from alcohol.

• Tarnanthi festival of Indigenous art runs until 22 October in Adelaide

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Tessa Thompson on Harvey Weinstein: men should join the conversation – video

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 04:04:04 GMT2017-10-10T04:04:04Z

In the aftermath of the exposé of alleged sexual harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, many celebrities have spoken out about the scandal. Tessa Thompson, who stars in Thor: Ragnarok, is urging men to join the conversation. Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and dozens of other women in Hollywood have condemned the producer amid a growing number of allegations, but most high-profile men in the industry have remained silent

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Fans warned about spoilers as full trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives – video

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 03:35:08 GMT2017-10-10T03:35:08Z

Picking up from the final scene from 2015’s The Force Awakens in which Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) came face-to-face on a mountaintop by the ocean, the new trailer for Star Wars The Last Jedi shows Rey wielding a lightsaber and Luke uttering ominous concerns about the 'raw strength' he’s seen only once before: 'It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.' Before the release of the full trailer, the director of Last Jedi, Rian Johnson, advised those who did not want to see spoilers to avoid watching it. 'I am legitimately torn,' he wrote on Twitter in response to a fan who had asked whether or not to watch the trailer. 'If you want to come in clean, absolutely avoid it'

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The Guardian at Tiff 2017: Darkest Hour producers on Brexit and Churchill – video

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 08:00:08 GMT2017-09-25T08:00:08Z

Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, the co-chairs of celebrated British production outfit Working Title talk to the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw about their long and varied careers, including the glory days of the Richard Curtis romcoms Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, and their newest films Victoria & Abdul and Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour.

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The Guardian at Tiff 2017: Glenn Close on her new starring role, The Wife – video

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:42 GMT2017-09-22T08:00:42Z

In the second of our live onstage interviews at the Toronto film festival, Peter Bradshaw discusses The Wife with its star Glenn Close. Close plays a woman whose husband (Jonathan Pryce) is to accept the Nobel prize, and the trip to Sweden precipitates a crisis as frustrations over her own writing career emerge.   

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Moving mountains: how Jennifer Peedom captured pure majesty on film – video

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:00:25 GMT2017-09-21T18:00:25Z

Australian director Jennifer Peedom sits down to discuss the making of her latest film, Mountain, a cinematic and musical collaboration between Peedom and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Written by bestselling author Robert Macfarlane, the documentary explores our fascination with mountains. Peedom explains how the collaboration worked – “it means that I’m not the boss” – and how music and film combined

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Colin Firth on the superspy comedy sequel – video

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:25:56 GMT2017-09-21T15:25:56Z

The second Kingsman film sees the dapper British secret agents go up against American supervillain Poppy Adams, played by Julianne Moore, with the help of Statesman, their US equivalent. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is out now in the UK, and is released on 21 September in Australia and 22 September in the US.

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Other stories: why now is the time for a new movie canon – chosen by women

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 06:00:16 GMT2017-11-03T06:00:16Z

From film schools to DVD shelves, movies considered to be classics are largely made by men. Now, with Hollywood in turmoil, we asked women in film to nominate the movies that should be hailed alongside Scorsese and Spielberg

For as long as most of us have been around, the canon – those books, plays, films and TV series anointed as the most important of their kind – has been defined by a singular commonality: most of it was created by white men. When I entered graduate school in theatre management and producing in the 1990s, we were required to read a series of books entitled Famous American Plays of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s etc. Everything I was assigned, except for two plays – Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding and Lillian Hellman’s The Autumn Garden – was by men.

Sadly, it hasn’t changed over the last couple of decades. When I spoke to female film students at the University of California, Los Angeles a couple of years ago, they said the films on their curriculum were virtually all by white men. These students were made to believe, through the films they studied, that women – our experiences, thoughts, decisions, passions and ideas – don’t rate. Women’s lives are pushed from centre stage into a corner. It is pretty full in the corner, because half the world is stuck there.

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When should cinemas turn on the lights at the end of a film?

Sun, 05 Nov 2017 17:00:23 GMT2017-11-05T17:00:23Z

The final scene of Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name plays while the credits roll – prompting audiences to object to the house lights being turned on. So how do theatres decide when to flick the switch?

Italian film-maker Luca Guadagnino’s new coming-of-age drama Call Me by Your Name has received ecstatic reviews, but not every cinemagoer has emerged from the movie content. According to reports on social media, branches of Vue and Odeon chose to raise the house lights as the credits rolled – even though they roll over the film’s moving final scene.

The scene may not be especially crucial to the plot, but it contains the last beats of an awards-worthy turn by its young star, Timothée Chalamet. So is flicking the light-switch the senseless act of a multiplex with no appreciation for the subtlety of arthouse cinema? Actually, no, says Dave Norris, a former chief projectionist at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square, London.

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Thor: Ragnarok – is it really Marvel's best movie yet? Discuss with spoilers

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 05:00:20 GMT2017-10-27T05:00:20Z

It’s rated 99% on Rotten Tomatoes – but does the humour make up for the lack of emotional heft, Cate Blanchett’s tiny screen time, plotholes and a shorn hero?

• This article contains spoilers

The Thor movies have always been something of a mixed bag. Kenneth Branagh’s cultured introduction to the Norse deity, 2011’s Thor, brilliantly imagined the comic-book saga as heroic fantasy in space, one part Tolkien to two parts Gene Roddenberry, with a dash of cod-Shakespearean pomp for good measure. Then 2013’s Thor: The Dark World rather ruined it all with a muddled tale of cosmic dark elves that to this day remains an entirely missable entry in the Marvel canon. Now we have Thor: Ragnarok, billed by its director Taika Waititi as a reinvention of the son of Odin, and currently the recipient of a staggering 99% “fresh” rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Is this latest trip to Asgard really the best Marvel movie so far? Does the movie live up to Waititi’s own hype? And will you ever forgive him for ruining Chris Hemsworth’s gorgeous mug? Here’s your chance to weigh in on the film’s key talking points.

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How failed racial politics sink George Clooney's Suburbicon

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 11:00:28 GMT2017-10-27T11:00:28Z

The actor-director’s well-intentioned dark comedy, starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, hits a pothole with a curiously misplaced subplot about racism in the 50s

A number of bloodied dead bodies pile up in the course of George Clooney’s new film Suburbicon, but they’re not the primary source of the sour smell emanating from this manic, distracted and, let it be said, notably white black comedy. If you were to briefly summarise the premise of the film – which Joel and Ethan Coen wrote in 1986 before setting it aside, which should perhaps be a red flag – you’d principally describe the woes of Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), a middle-class schlub in 1950s suburbia who gets violently entangled with the underworld after mob goons kill his disabled wife (Julianne Moore). Or so it seems: this being a pastel-noir Coenland of shady truths and shadier motives, the full picture is more complicated than that.

Related: Suburbicon review – George Clooney's picket-fence creepfest grows up to be Fargo's idiot child

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Back from the dead: is the slasher movie set to make a killing?

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:00:03 GMT2017-10-17T11:00:03Z

The hit Happy Death Day hints at renewed interest in the masked killer genre, with Jamie Lee Curtis back in the Halloween saga and Scream getting revived

Vampire in Brooklyn, Thinner, The Dentist, Leprechaun 3 … the horror genre in the mid-90s was terrifying for all the wrong reasons. It was barely even a thing, at least outside of the very bottom shelf of Blockbuster, a place where kids would awkwardly hover before begging parents to let them watch some film about an evil laundry-folding machine.

Related: Horrorwood! Will the new golden age of scary movies save cinema?

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Polyamory, bondage and feminism: the film that tells Wonder Woman's story

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 11:00:39 GMT2017-10-12T11:00:39Z

Behind the scenes of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, a drama that tells the remarkable true story behind the creation of a groundbreaking superhero

Last year, as the US presidential election approached, the cast and crew of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women were finishing their shoot in suburban Massachusetts, thinking that William Marston’s prescription for a better world was finally coming true. Marston, a psychologist who invented a forerunner of the modern polygraph, is best remembered for giving birth to Wonder Woman, a comic he created to show that if men could step back and let women run the world, we’d have peace for our time.

Well, that didn’t happen.

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‘Snoke is Anakin's father’: readers' Star Wars: The Last Jedi theories

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:35:47 GMT2017-10-11T10:35:47Z

From Poe turning to the dark side to Finn being Maz’s son, here are some of your predictions on what will happen in episode eight

Matt, 26, London: Luke Skywalker will be a grey Jedi, somewhere between the dark and the light side. Kylo Ren will be faced with killing his mother, Leia; he won’t go through with it, but she will be killed by someone else. This will make him rethink everything, as even the death of his father by his hand didn’t affect his future as much as he had hoped. After Rey is captured by Snoke, he will help her get free. They will then come together as the dark and light sides of the Force and will develop into grey Jedi, like Luke, forming some kind of new Force order.

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Fargo to Four Weddings: readers' 25 best films of the 90s

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 11:52:43 GMT2017-10-09T11:52:43Z

We asked you to tell us about the films you love from the decade. Here’s what you said

‘The camera work is dizzyingly spectacular’: Jim Hansen, 48, Chicago

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Sedate expectations: will Blade Runner 2049 give birth to the slow-burn blockbuster?

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 05:00:10 GMT2017-10-09T05:00:10Z

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi sequel rejects the breathless fury of modern-day money-spinners in favour of a hypnotically unhurried formula. It won’t catch on – will it?

Blockbusters seem faster and more furious than ever, and not just because producers are desperate to slipstream the success of Vin Diesel’s tyre-screeching franchise. Even as baseline running times have sailed past two hours, the majority of would-be tentpole movies seem resolutely anti-downtime, charging through their story beats in flurries of frantic editing and punch-drunk action.

In a year of aggravating assaults such as the fantasy mish-mash tosh of King Arthur, the heavy-metal headache of a fifth Transformers film and Kingsman’s caffeinated, cartwheeling sequel, the languid pace of Blade Runner 2049 stands out like 2001’s monolith: a mesmerising reminder of cinema’s capacity to instil awe. At one point it is revealed how the latest replicants are “born”, splurging from suspended sacs filled with amniotic fluid. Denis Villeneuve and his cinematographer Roger Deakins seem to have agreed on a similarly immersive approach, practically drowning viewers in visual immensity.

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Let’s have more sex in the movies – but please can it be the fun type?

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 08:00:28 GMT2017-09-30T08:00:28Z

Movies like Daphne depict casual sex among women as a sign of low self-esteem, wholly divorced from desire

Sex, I was informed by the book my mother bought for me when I was 10, meant “that mommy and daddy love each other very much”. But like all the fairytales I read as a child, I’ve since learned that this book presented a somewhat sanitised view of reality. I am now of an age where I know sex can mean many things: validation, forgiveness, boredom. But currently it means only one thing in popular culture when it comes to women: misery.

Yesterday a new film, Daphne, was released in the UK, which tells the story of a young woman, played with extraordinary depth by Emily Beecham, and it is, to use one of Daphne’s own lines, “lovely, in a traumatic sort of way”. But in one regard it feels all too familiar. Daphne’s sex life is chaotic and joyless: she has sex with a man that is so unsatisfying, she takes cocaine afterwards, looking to feel anything, and then has sex with another who so repulses her, she swats his face away from hers as he comes. Daphne’s promiscuity is an externalised expression of her unhappiness, and if that’s ringing any bells for you, it’s probably because you watched Fleabag, Trainwreck, Bridesmaids, or any of the many movies and TV shows depicting casual sex among women as a sign of low self-esteem, wholly divorced from desire. Here, sex is another thing that needs to be fixed.

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Is Get Out a horror film, a comedy ... or a documentary?

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:55:29 GMT2017-11-17T13:55:29Z

Jordan Peele’s film has been submitted in the comedy/musical category at the Golden Globes, prompting debate over which genre it belongs to. What’s inarguable is the significance of its race-relations messageOne of the most striking images from Get Out is a closeup of British actor Daniel Kaluuya wide-eyed in shock as tears stream down his face. As the $4.5m indie horror evolved this year from buzzed-about Sundance hit to $250m-grossing global phenomenon, this image increasingly became the go-to visual to accompany admiring features and reviews, because it effectively communicates something of the movie’s unsettling nature. (Spoiler: Kaluuya’s tears are not a byproduct of mirth.) Which makes it all the stranger that much of this week has been given over to a wide-ranging discussion as to whether Jordan Peele’s high-tension satirical horror should be classified as a comedy.It is all because of the baked-in eccentricities of the Golden Globes. The gong-dispensing offshoot of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) essentially hands out two best picture awards every January, one for drama and one for comedy/musical. If Get Out can smuggle itself into the latter category, it arguably has more of a fighting chance: instead of going head-to-head with Christopher Nolan’s war epic Dunkirk, a likely drama frontrunner, it can compete against more modestly budgeted fare such as romcom The Big Sick or tennis tale Battle of the Sexes. Despite being voted on by only 90 international journalists, the Globes are viewed as a bellwether for the Oscars. If Peele’s film can carve out a win, the thinking goes, it might fuel an underdog narrative all the way to the Academy Awards. Continue reading...[...]

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Jude Law as Dumbledore and darkness ahead: our first look at Fantastic Beasts 2

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:12:43 GMT2017-11-16T19:12:43Z

The first image and title reveal for the latest big screen JK Rowling adventure promises doom, Depp and a younger Dumbledore

From a slim volume released in 2001 by JK Rowling to benefit charity Comic Relief came last year’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, based on the author’s debut crack at screenwriting. And from there sprang an entire five-movie saga based on the adventures of swashbuckling Magizoologist Newt Scamander in the roaring wizarding 20s.

Related: Harry Potter quiz: 20 years, 20 questions

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Plumbing the depths: why Hollywood should give up on making a Super Mario movie

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:51:57 GMT2017-11-15T14:51:57Z

He may be a terrific mascot for Nintendo, but the plumber’s lack of personality makes him a rubbish protagonist for a film – as Bob Hoskins discovered

Illumination is going to make a new Super Mario Bros movie, and what that means to you probably depends on your age. If you’re young enough to be the target audience of Illumination’s other movies – the Despicable Me franchise, Minions, The Secret Life of Pets et al – chances are you don’t know who Super Mario is. If you’re in your teens, you might be wondering why anyone would take a beloved video game character and insert him into a medium as passive as film. But if you’re like me – if you’re just easing the corner into middle age – then this is quite easily the worst news of all time.

Because if you’re my age, you remember the last Super Mario Bros movie. Worse, you remember the Super Mario Bros movie coming out right at the peak of your infatuation with Super Mario, and the feeling of vertiginous disappointment at being tricked into watching such a muddled, muddied rip-off of a film. The script was rewritten after the sets had already been built. It was, by his own admission, Bob Hoskins’ biggest disappointment. The 1993 Super Mario Bros movie should have been a line in the sand – a warning to the rest of the world that no good can come of making films about video game characters.

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The Force is with him: why Rian Johnson is the new Star Wars trilogy’s best hope

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 18:18:01 GMT2017-11-10T18:18:01Z

Lucasfilm’s intergalactic franchise may be steering into unchartered territory, but they’ve found the perfect pilot in The Last Jedi and Looper directorRemember the end of Return of the Jedi, where fireworks explode over Endor and everyone rejoices in wild abandon at the victory of the Rebel Alliance over the evil Empire? For Star Wars fans, the announcement that Rian Johnson, director of the forthcoming episode, The Last Jedi, is to helm an entirely new trilogy of films should generate similarly joyous levels of celebration. It’s a rush of blood to the head equivalent to blowing up the Death Star.Not only does this mean that Disney-owned Lucasfilm is hugely pleased with Johnson’s work on The Last Jedi, it also means that we will be spared – at least temporarily – the sight of directors being summarily thrown to the Sarlacc every few months for getting on studio president Kathleen Kennedy’s dark side. It means Star Wars, post Episode IX, will be almost entirely in the hands of Johnson and his producing partner, Ram Bergman. It means that instead of a committee of writers throwing their ideas into the ether each time a new film is to be made (as happened with The Force Awakens and Rogue One), there should be a reasonable assumption that Johnson will be left alone to craft a trilogy based primarily on his own ideas. Suddenly, there is just one man at the helm of the Millennium Falcon, and even the most fearsome of asteroid belts ought to be negotiated easily. Continue reading...[...]

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Hollywood vending: the best and worst adverts by big-name directors

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 16:27:05 GMT2017-11-10T16:27:05Z

With Michel Gondry helming John Lewis’s latest lampshade-peddling showpiece, we look at movie-makers’ mixed attempts at marketing

If you want to turn the story of a little boy and an oversized Flump with windypops into a heartstring-tugging phenomenon, you probably need to maximise the sense of whimsy and childish wonder. So John Lewis hiring Michel Gondry, the visually inventive Frenchman behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to direct their Christmas advert makes a lot of sense. But is it always a great idea to attach a big-name director to your latest zeitgeist-chasing marketing push? The results, as these examples show, can be … mixed.

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A good time (not a long time): why Hollywood is trimming down its bloated film lengths

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 10:58:58 GMT2017-11-09T10:58:58Z

Clocking in at a lean 121 minutes, the latest superhero blockbuster Justice League trashes the outdated industry belief that longer equals better

Only an idiot would be arrogant enough to expect good news about the Justice League movie at this point. Wonder Woman aside, the film has been exclusively foreshadowed by about a million hours of dreary, desaturated scenes of tortured men howling at drizzle in slow motion. The sort of person who gets excited about the Justice League movie is the sort of person who dresses in tinfoil and gets excited about lightning.

However, good news is indeed here: the Justice League movie will be 121 minutes long. Two hours and one minute and you’re done. Compare that to the 2hr 17min of Suicide Squad, or the 2hr 21min of Wonder Woman, or the 2hr 23min of Man of Steel, or the bone-crushing 2hr 31min of Batman v Superman, with all its portentous “Mankind is introduced to the Superman” chapter cards, and it’s clear that something has changed.

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Cage fights, chat shows, train platforms: the strangest places films have found their stars

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 11:26:50 GMT2017-11-08T11:26:50Z

Looking to cast a new film sensation? Then visit a prison, look at Instagram or head to a station. Because that’s where these future actors were hanging out

In 2014, director Sean Baker shot his lo-fi LA drama Tangerine using three iPhones. For his followup The Florida Project, Baker’s smartphone would again be vital – but for casting, rather than cinematography. Struggling to find someone to play Halley, a free-spirited single mother trying to make ends meet in an Orlando hotel, Baker stumbled on the Instagram feed of Bria Vinaite, a New York designer posting clips of herself goofing around. After a flurry of DMs, Vinaite was hired and is now set to be a breakout star. But it’s not the first time directors have found casting inspiration in unusual places.

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Murder on the Orient Express steams ahead at the UK box office

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 13:50:47 GMT2017-11-07T13:50:47Z

A big budget and starry cast prove just the ticket as Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of the Agatha Christie mystery slays Thor: Ragnarok

Would audiences pay to see another film version of the most famous whodunnit ever? Fox gambled that they would, throwing a lavish budget and a cavalcade of stars at the screen with Murder on the Orient Express, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot.

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Anne Reid: 'Why am I cast as dreadful mothers? I’m adorable!’

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 17:48:57 GMT2017-11-09T17:48:57Z

She’s played Valerie Tatlock in Coronation Street and Daniel Craig’s lover in The Mother, and now stars in the thriller Kaleidoscope. Anne Reid talks to Rebecca Nicholson about awards, Victoria Wood and why it’s good to show older people falling in love on screen

‘What can I tell you without giving the whole plot away? That’s the problem,” smiles Anne Reid. We’re meeting to talk about Kaleidoscope, a knotty, taut and claustrophobic thriller starring Reid and Toby Jones, directed by his brother, Rupert Jones. It’s the kind of brilliantly insidious film that reveals its secrets slowly and cleverly. It’s far better to see it knowing absolutely nothing at all about it. Which, of course, makes it very difficult to talk about. “Well, let’s not tell people then,” Reid decides, firmly. “I play the mother of Toby Jones. It was a great part. She’s dreadful. Why do people keep casting me as dreadful mothers? I’m adorable! But I seem to be terribly good at playing dreadful mothers.”

At 82, Reid is a bona fide legend of stage and screen, though she still refers to herself as “a jobbing actress. I’ve accepted stuff even if it’s a few lines, because I think it’s better to be seen.” For the past few years, Reid has been performing her own cabaret show, telling stories from her life along with her favourite musical numbers, so it should come as no surprise that she is fabulously entertaining company – warm, charming, and always ready with an anecdote. “Have you seen the film?” she asks. I tell her I have. “Where did you get it from?” They sent me a stream. “A stream! I want to have a stream!” she says. There’s a perfect comic pause. “What’s a stream?”

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'The place was crawling with nasty elements' … Alex Gibney on his film about a pub massacre

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 12:00:23 GMT2017-11-03T12:00:23Z

He has tackled Scientology, Enron and al-Qaida. Now, in No Stone Unturned, the documentarian is investigating a village in Northern Ireland still traumatised by a mass shooting that took place 23 years ago

On the evening of 18 June 1994, the Republic of Ireland beat Italy in one of the opening games of the World Cup in Giants Stadium, New Jersey. The surprise victory unleashed wild celebrations in homes, bars and streets on both sides of the Irish border, precipitating a short-lived but intense bout of World Cup fever. In the village of Loughinisland in County Down, Northern Ireland, though, the night is enshrined in local memory for very different reasons.

About five minutes after Ray Houghton scored the single deciding goal, three men in balaclavas burst into the Heights Bar and opened fire on those who had gathered there to watch the game. Eleven of the 24 men present were shot in the back; six of them died outright. The oldest, Barney Greene, was 87; the youngest, Adrian Rogan, was 34. A survivor described bodies “piled on top of each other on the floor” of the small public bar. Other witnesses said that they heard the sound of laughter as the gunmen ran from the scene.

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Jamie Bell on 6 Days: 'I was terrified – they were firing guns at me'

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 15:01:14 GMT2017-11-03T15:01:14Z

The one-time child actor is leaving behind roles as young lovers and sex fiends. He talks about box-office disasters and training to play the leader of a crack SAS team in a new thriller about the 1980 Iranian embassy siege

Hello Jamie Bell. Give me the hard sell. Why were you drawn to the role of SAS siege hero Rusty Firmin? (1)

Why? It’s a good question. My manager’s over there, we should ask her …

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Kenneth Branagh: ‘I want you to smell the steam of the Orient Express’

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 10:00:26 GMT2017-10-27T10:00:26Z

The actor-director’s latest film, Murder on the Orient Express, boasts a stellar cast, including Branagh himself as Poirot. He discusses magnificent moustaches, moral brooding and the passion of Agatha Christie

Women in wild places and mental instability run right through things, don’t they?” says Kenneth Branagh, leaning forward, earnestly. “She’s very, very sensitive, and I see the ghost of her as a heroine in what she writes, in terms of keeping body and soul together, and of being an adventurer.”

He’s talking about Agatha Christie, and giving a reading of the detective novelist’s fiction that is a long way from the more traditional view of her as a comfy West Country matriarch who churned out mysteries to support her family. “I think people have been pretty tough on her,” he adds. “They’re suspicious of the volume of her output. She herself admitted that sometimes she wasn’t proud of a book when she had finished it.

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Danny Lloyd – the kid in The Shining: ‘I was promised that tricycle after filming but it never came’

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 05:00:21 GMT2017-10-27T05:00:21Z

After starring alongside Jack Nicholson in the horror classic, the young actor disappeared. Now 45, he addresses the rumours about his life since retiring from acting aged 13 and recalls his time on set with extreme perfectionist Stanley Kubrick

‘Whatever happened to that kid from The Shining?” For years, horror fans pestered Stephen King about the fate of little Danny Torrance, the boy with psychic abilities who survived the Overlook Hotel. So much so that King eventually wrote a sequel, 2013’s Doctor Sleep. It’s a question that crops up on the internet too, about Danny Lloyd, the child actor with the pudding-bowl haircut who played Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation. On IMDb, Lloyd has just one other acting credit after The Shining (a long-forgotten TV drama about Watergate). Where did he disappear to? “I once read that I had six kids and was a pig farmer,” he says, chuckling on the phone from his home. “That’s not entirely accurate.”

For the record, Lloyd – who goes by Dan rather than Danny these days – is a biology professor at a community college in Kentucky. He did work on a farm to pay his way through university, “but where I’m from in the midwest, that’s where the odd jobs are, on farms”. And he’s got four children, not six – the eldest two are teenagers and tease him mercilessly about his haircut in The Shining.

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Tom Hanks: ‘I’ve made a lot of movies that didn’t make sense – or money’

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 09:00:03 GMT2017-10-14T09:00:03Z

In the downtime between movies, Tom Hanks has written his first collection of short stories. He talks books, regrets, Hollywood egos and fat astronauts with Emma Brockes• Read Hanks’ story Three Exhausting Weeks, with audio from the author“This is odd,” Tom Hanks says with a shake of his shoulders, the international sign of limbering up. We are in a photographer’s studio in LA, a setting that is as familiar to Hanks as the reason for our meeting is strange. He has written a collection of short stories called Uncommon Type and, balanced on the edge of the sofa, is exploring the novelty of giving an interview without “talking points from the studio”. Hanks-the-actor is cushioned; Hanks-the-author is not, and after humbly asking what other writers I’ve interviewed recently (Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis) barks with incredulous laughter. “Oh, shit,” he says.For those of us who came of age in the late 1980s, Hanks has been around as long as we’ve been going to movies, and at 61 he is bizarrely unchanged: hair marginally greyer, face slightly fuller, but otherwise still Hanks, the boyish energy and cheerful cadences recognisable from three decades on screen. He often starts sentences with “Look, I get it”, or rather, “I-I-I get it”, the mild stutter synonymous with his brand of almost cartoonish affability. “Look, I get it,” he says, pushing his black spectacles up the bridge of his nose, hippy beads slack at his wrist. “I’m a famous guy and I wrote a book and all that, but the reality is, how much does a collection of short stories really warrant attention?” Continue reading...[...]

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Call Me By Your Name’s Oscar-tipped double act on their summer of love

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 07:00:24 GMT2017-10-15T07:00:24Z

Film critics are raving about the new gay romance Call Me By Your Name. Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet talk about filming in Italy, fathers – and their relationship on and off setWhen a film is as extraordinary as director Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, you suspend disbelief. It becomes impossible not to imagine that its characters, 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer), a doctoral student working for a professor of Greco culture in northern Italy, and 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet), the professor’s son, are not out in the world somewhere. You picture them now the film is over, continuing to live their lives and picking up the pieces after the devastating love affair that brought them together in 1983. For although we have arrived at a moment in cinema history where – at last – there are more remarkable cinematic accounts of homosexual love than ever before (Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight, Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country, John Trengove’s The Wound), this film occupies a subtle category of its own. It is an adaptation, by James Ivory and Walter Fasano, of André Aciman’s 2007 celebrated novel, described by the New York Times as “hot” and “a coming-of-age story, a coming-out story, a Proustian meditation on time and desire”.On an ordinary, autumnal afternoon, it seems far-fetched that Hammer and Chalamet should be at Claridge’s in London, that they should be available for comment or that they should, after all, turn out to be actors. As the door opens on their hotel suite, it is Oliver and Elio I search for in their faces. Hammer, known for his performance as the Winklevoss twins in David Fincher’s The Social Network, is so good looking it is almost laughable – blond, sportily built, with perfect Amer[...]

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Sally Potter: ‘There’s nothing like hearing a whole place vibrate with laughter’

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 06:30:43 GMT2017-10-08T06:30:43Z

The resolutely independent British film-maker is back with the most broadly entertaining film of her long career – a star-studded black comedy about a disastrous dinner party that reflects the dark state of the nationSally Potter isn’t quite sure how to react to seeing her name on a T-shirt. With bemusement, she turns over the garment I’ve given to her, as if concerned I might be playing a prank, but there it is: SALLY POTTER, emblazoned in bold black capitals on white cotton. She holds it up to her slender frame, its glaring whiteness almost garish against her tidy black turtleneck, and squints down at it. “People are wearing these?” she asks sceptically. Hers is one of several similarly stark tees celebrating women in film, run up by Etsy startup Girls on Tops, and now popping up all over the international film world. Isabelle Huppert has one. Ava DuVernay has one. Greta Gerwig, too. Tracy Letts, a star of Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, wore it to the film’s Toronto premiere. Why not Sally Potter? She smiles wryly. “Well, that’s lovely. And also rather embarrassing.”It’s fair to say that Sally Potter, now 68, did not go into film-making to see her name up in lights, let alone across people’s chests. One of Britain’s most staunchly independent writer-directors, she has mostly resisted the lure of mainstream attention and awards in order to work on her own restlessly inventive terms: tackling Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1992), once deemed unfilmable, with Tilda Swinton switching genders across a 400-year timespan; directing herself in the semi-autobiographical terpsichorean meditation The Tango Lesson (1997); writing and directing contemporary culture-clash romance Yes (2004) entirely[...]

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Audrey Tautou: ‘My subject in these photos is somebody between the character and who I am’

Sun, 01 Oct 2017 08:00:12 GMT2017-10-01T08:00:12Z

The French actor has been in the public eye since Amélie in 2001. Now, in her first show as a photographer, she’s playing around with that image

‘I’m an interesting subject,” says Audrey Tautou, the French actor who exhibited her photographs for the first time this summer at the Arles festival under the title Superfacial. But it’s not her who decided that, she points out – it has been drummed into her over the 15 years or so since she became an international star courtesy of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film Amélie.

Tautou starred as the eccentric young Parisienne who, against the artfully shot background of the streets of Montmartre, sets her sights on increasing the sum of human happiness, one kind act at a time. But it wasn’t simply that the film – charming, whimsical and filled with a particularly French brand of tragicomedy – was a hit – it was that Tautou’s heart-shaped, retroussé-nosed and bob-framed face smiled out from every poster.

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Borg vs McEnroe’s Stellan Skarsgård: ‘I’ve been changing diapers for 40 years’

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:00:21 GMT2017-09-21T15:00:21Z

He’s both one of Sweden’s most prolific actors and the father of eight kids – including actors Alexander and Bill. So it’s no surprise that – despite starring in the nail-biting tennis drama – he doesn’t have much time for sport

It must be difficult to get entirely swept up in the magic of the movies when you are the man who once changed Pennywise’s nappies. This is the strange position that actor Stellan Skarsgård finds himself in, as he promotes his new film, Borg vs McEnroe, while his 27-year-old son, Bill Skarsgård, is receiving rave reviews for playing the demonic clown in a new adaptation of Stephen King’s It while his eldest son, Alexander, is about to win an Emmy for his role in Big Little Lies. “I was happy when he was doing It because he had so much fun, and that’s where the joy was really,” says Skarsgård senior, frowning thoughtfully out of the hotel room window, as if searching for the right words amid the rooftop air vents. “It’s also kind of ridiculous, all of it, isn’t it? On Sunday, Alexander goes up for the Emmy … It’s kind of silly, isn’t it?”

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Steve Buscemi: ‘In some ways I feel I haven’t fulfilled my true potential'

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 07:00:34 GMT2017-09-17T07:00:34Z

From firefighter and bar fly to Hollywood superstar, Steve Buscemi has populated his films with lovable oddballs and cold-blooded killers. But, as Aaron Hicklin finds, it’s all been driven by his need to fit inLike Tommy, the aimless barfly he plays in Trees Lounge, the melancholic 1996 indie film he also wrote and directed, Steve Buscemi found himself in a spiral of hopelessness after leaving school, jumping from one part-time job to another: cinema usher, ice-cream seller, petrol station attendant. There were many long nights in bars. “I really had difficulty there [on Long Island] in my last couple of years because I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing,” he says. “I felt my life was going nowhere.” His father had pushed all four of his sons to take a civil service exam, in Buscemi’s case as an avenue to a career with the fire service, where he would work for four years. Although he knew he wanted to be an actor, he had only a dim notion of how to realise his dream. It was also his father who suggested he apply for drama school, ostensibly as an interlude until the fire department came calling. At his interview for the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, Buscemi was asked why he wanted to be an actor. He casually parroted his dad’s well-meaning advice that acting classes would stand him in good stead for whatever path he chose in life. “I remember her telling me: ‘Well, we really want people who want to be actors,’” he recalls. “In that moment, I felt I really blew it.” He didn’t, as it happens, but it taught him not to be so cavalier about the thing he was most passionate about. Con[...]

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Mark Strong: ‘I’ve seen people I know become very famous. It’s nothing I would recommend’

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 08:00:35 GMT2017-09-17T08:00:35Z

The Kingsman actor on not playing the fame game, the hit-and-run joy of character acting and his punk-rock past

Mark Strong is one of the UK’s most successful cinema character actors, with almost 60 film credits in 25 years, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Zero Dark Thirty and the Kingsman series. On stage, he won the 2015 Olivier award for best actor for his role in A View from the Bridge. An only child, Strong was born in London and brought up by his Austrian mother, who worked as an au pair. His Italian father left when he was baby. He lives in north London with his wife, the producer Liza Marshall, and two sons.

You studied constitutional law at Munich University. You could now be an anonymous functionary in the German legal system. What made you want to become an actor?
I had fantasies of being a European lawyer, but I quickly realised I probably just had fantasies of wearing a raincoat and carrying a briefcase and driving a BMW. I thought that would be cool. But the study of law is so dry, especially constitutional law in German. I came across a class in Munich – only Germans could have a course called Theaterwissenschaft, which means theatre science – and it was way more interesting than what was going on in the lecture halls. I just managed to get in on that somehow, and that opened up the whole world of theatre, acting, performance.

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Michael Keaton: ‘There was a lot of bad taste in the 90s and I contributed to that’

Sat, 09 Sep 2017 08:30:03 GMT2017-09-09T08:30:03Z

From Beetlejuice to Batman to Birdman: the actor on superheroes, surprise roles and his second actThe thick black curls that helped make Michael Keaton look so manic in all those 1980s comedies, and which he then tore at as a tormented Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton’s Batman movies, are long gone; but the satyr-like eyes are unchanged. As he walks into a London hotel room on a grey Saturday morning, holding a cup of coffee, he looks strikingly different from the man I have spent four decades watching on screen: he has the trim, spry build of a wiry woodsman rather than a 66-year-old actor, thanks to half a lifetime spent in rural Montana, fishing and hunting. His walk is reminiscent of a rooster’s strut, with his chest puffed out and a bounce on his toes; that swagger we saw in 2014’s Birdman, for which Keaton won a Golden Globe as the eponymous former superhero actor, was not a put on, it turns out.“Hadley, huh? My niece is called Hadley,” he says, shaking my hand, and embarks on a winding digression about Ernest Hemingway, whose first wife was called Hadley, and various Hemingway descendants whom Keaton has met over the years, and do I know them (I do not), and how I really ought to meet them. So was his niece named after Hadley Hemingway, I manage to ask. Continue reading...[...]

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Taylor Sheridan: 'The big joke on reservations is the white guy that shows up and says: "My grandma is Cherokee"'

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 14:45:58 GMT2017-09-08T14:45:58Z

The Sicario and Hell or High Water writer has turned director with Wind River, an acclaimed crime thriller set on a Native American reservation. He discusses the Great Spirit, police shootouts, and Nick Cave’s giant catThe films of actor-turned-writer-turned-director Taylor Sheridan resemble their central characters: stern, taciturn, unwilling to give anything away unless absolutely necessary. These are tales of law enforcers and their quarry, bonded by a desire to simply keep going. We’ve seen them in Sicario, the Denis Villeneuve-directed account of the drugs war on the Mexico/US border, and the Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water, about two Texas rangers’ attempts to hunt down a pair of down-on-their-luck bank robbers. Sheridan’s screenplays for both were thoughtful, funny and frequently terrifying, but above all succinct. After all, when you’re in a shootout with cartel members or desperate felons, there’s little time to shoot the breeze. Related: Wind River review – Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen team up in smartly chilly thriller | Peter Bradshaw's film of the week Continue reading...[...]

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'Anything is possible in Pakistan – but everything is impossible': Sarmad Masud on filming My Pure Land

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:01:10 GMT2017-09-07T18:01:10Z

The British Pakistani film-maker on how he brought a local legend to the big screen, despite a tiny budget and a difficult shoot Nazo Dharejo had barely mastered the alphabet when her father, Haji Khuda Buksh, first showed her how to load a gun. The kalashnikov would be kept on the wall, hung above the living quarters of the family’s two-storey home, where she grew up with her two sisters, and their older brother Sikander in rural Sindh, Pakistan. They were comfortable, but not extravagantly well off; Khuda Buksh worked as a farmer and had inherited a few dozen acres of land from his own father. His wife, Waderi Jamzadi, raised their children and, once the girls left school, aged seven, taught them what she could at home.The girls were moulded to be tough and resilient. Their father would dress them in trousers and shirts – “boy’s clothes” – instead of more feminine, traditional shalwar kameez. Nazo, the eldest daughter, was given the male nickname Mukthiar and was the first to be taught how to shoot, when she was 16. Two years later, with her brother murdered and her father in prison, the fierce but waif-like teenager was armed and leading a gunfight against a criminal army of bandits sent to steal her family’s home and land. Now 41, she has been dubbed “the toughest woman in Sindh” by the Pakistani press, and the story of that night has become local legend – one that British Pakistani film-maker Sarmad Masud has beautifully rendered in his debut feature, My Pure Land. Continue reading...[...]

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Darren Aronofsky on Mother! - ‘Jennifer Lawrence was hyperventilating because of the emotion’

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 16:32:20 GMT2017-09-07T16:32:20Z

The director’s new film pushed Lawrence – as well as audiences – to the brink. Is the bizarre psychological horror a warped self-portrait?

The hour grows late at the London press junket. The schedule is running horribly behind time. Inside suite 206, the reporters find themselves packed in like sardines. They are perched on tables and windowsills, spilling coffee and mopping up the mess with their notepads. Each time the door opens, a fresh arrival comes in, which means that the walls inch ever-closer and there is less air. Tension is mounting and tempers are fraying. The night before, we all sat down and watched Mother! together. Today, it feels as if we might be living it, too.

Darren Aronofsky’s new film is an explosion, an assault, a haunted-house horror that whips up conflicting emotions. Some love it, some hate it and some pinwheel back and forth, like lost souls in limbo. On screen, Jennifer Lawrence plays an unnamed heroine whose domestic idyll is overrun by an endless procession of malignant houseguests. They are disturbing her in the bathroom; they are making out in her bed. “I’m confused,” she confides, just as the nightmare begins. And by God, she is not the only one.

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Daniel Draper, film-maker: ‘Dennis Skinner sang to me over the phone’

Sun, 03 Sep 2017 07:30:37 GMT2017-09-03T07:30:37Z

The man who persuaded Labour’s ‘Beast of Bolsover’ to commit his story to the big screen says his subject was ‘a joy to work with’Daniel Draper, 30, is a documentary maker from Liverpool whose first feature-length film explores the life of Dennis Skinner, the outspoken veteran Labour MP for Bolsover in Derbyshire. Draper met Skinner in 2014 and spent the next three years making the documentary, supporting himself with a part-time job as a chef. Shot for just £2,400 and completed with £21,009 raised on Kickstarter, Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast is released on Friday.What prompted you to make a film about Dennis Skinner?I made a short documentary in 2014 called Still Ragged, about Robert Tressell’s novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, and Dennis agreed to be in it. Before we started filming, he was talking about trees and collecting chestnuts, and I thought: there’s more here than meets the eye, it’s not all politics. After the project was finished, I sent him a letter saying that I didn’t understand why a film hadn’t been done with him before, and would he trust me to do it – because he’s very wary of what he calls “media types”. He called me back one Sunday morning and we talked for two hours. We just really got on. He was even singing to me over the phone. Continue reading...[...]

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Nick Broomfield: 'I was a rebel, causing as much trouble as possible'

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 10:00:41 GMT2017-09-01T10:00:41Z

The inner life of pop diva Whitney Houston, the murder of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG, America’s first female serial killer … film-maker Nick Broomfield talks closeups, close calls and what drives him to find the truth

Nick Broomfield’s original film about Aileen Wuornos, always described as America’s first female serial killer, was released in 1992. In great detail and with remarkable access he covers successive trials, across different states, in which she was handed the death penalty several times over for the shooting of six men on various highways.

What is striking about the first film, The Selling of a Serial Killer, is how isolated and undefended Wuornos was. With her girlfriend giving evidence against her, Wuornos’s only emotional support came from one coquettish Christian woman who had decided to adopt her during the trial. Her legal counsel was Dr Legal, a solipsistic stoner she had seen on a TV advert, who hoped to make his own fee (she had no money, of course) by selling media access. No women’s movement, no statutory support, no flicker or hint that the courts are dealing with anything but a monster.

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Noomi Rapace: ‘Amy Winehouse was like an angel when I wasn’t in a good place’

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 12:08:40 GMT2017-08-31T12:08:40Z

The Swedish star of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo explains how she plans to do justice to the late singer, plus the logistics of that self-caesarian scene in Prometheus

Hi Noomi. In Unlocked, you play a tough-as-nails spy tasked with preventing a terrorist attack. But the role was initially written for a man, wasn’t it?

Yeah, they kind of rewrote the script for me. I wanted her to be a real woman with a personality, more than some badass agent who’s fighting bad guys. I wanted you to see cracks in her.

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Good Time review – Robert Pattinson excels in electrifying urban thriller

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 09:00:01 GMT2017-11-19T09:00:01Z

Pattinson runs into a whole lot of trouble in this high-energy heist caper from rising indie stars Josh and Benny SafdieThis adrenalised street opera from feted indie film-makers Josh and Benny Safdie has been hailed in some quarters as a revelatory breakthrough for former Twilight star Robert Pattinson, shedding his celebrity status to “disappear” into the role of an aggressively unsympathetic street hustler. Yet Pattinson (who I thought was terrific in the sneeringly maligned teen-vampire series) has always been much more than a pretty face, proving his mettle in films such as David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Brady Corbet’s The Childhood of a Leader, and James Gray’s The Lost City of Z. For me, the real revelation of Good Time comes from seeing the Safdies finally fulfil the promise of 2009’s Daddy Longlegs and 2014’s Heaven Knows What, creating an electrifying urban thriller that combines authenticity with accessibility in a compact, combustible package. Related: Meet the new hotshots of American film-making Continue reading...[...]

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DVD reviews: The Beguiled; The Big Sick; Spider-Man: Homecoming and more

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 07:59:55 GMT2017-11-19T07:59:55Z

Sofia Coppola’s fresh take on a civil war story is beautiful but deadly, a culture-clash comedy plays it too safe, and it’s a reboot too far for one heroThere’s so much gauzy, dusty pink and perfume saturating the screen in Sofia Coppola’s gorgeous The Beguiled (Universal, 15) that you briefly wonder if the characters might just bleed rosewater if you cut them. Yet the blood, when it comes, runs dark, and so does everything else in this smartly, subtly nasty reframing of Don Siegel’s more overtly lurid American civil war thriller, in which suppressed male physicality and repressed female sexuality do tense, unforgiving battle. It’s not quite a complete feminist inversion of Thomas Cullinan’s source novel, but in assiduously stripping back the material to its barest, ghostliest bones, Coppola has highlighted female perspectives less prominent in the earlier film’s musky genre stew. Its tale of vengeance is no less disturbing for the delicate, quivering understanding of desire it brings to proceedings.It’s only when a long-dormant feminine voice is introduced to the narrative, meanwhile, that things get interesting in The Big Sick (Studiocanal, 15), a sprightly but sitcommy culture-clash comedy that’s most disarming when it’s least trying to be. Drawn from the particular life experience of writer-star Kumail Nanjiani, its story of a bumbling Pakistan[...]

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