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Film | The Guardian



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



Published: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 12:23:56 GMT2018-02-20T12:23:56Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018
 



Youth in revolt: is Lady Bird the first truly feminist teen movie?

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 07:00:35 GMT2018-02-20T07:00:35Z

Greta Gerwig’s film packs in John Hughes-style teenage angst. But its focus on self-determination and female bonds – rather than validation by boyfriend – sets it apart

  • Warning: this articles contains spoilers for Lady Bird

The teen movie is an often raucous affair: embryonic sexual stirrings, combative parent/child relationships and the heart-tugging turbulence of post-adolescent friendship – which is why it is surprising to find Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, such a quiet and understated film. But there is perhaps something about Gerwig’s delicacy of touch that lends clarity to one of the film’s most resounding themes: its unapologetic feminism.

The central character (Saoirse Ronan) – unsatisfied with her comparatively drab given name, Christine – precociously assumes the alias Lady Bird. She dresses in thrift-shop clothes, has clumsily dyed pink hair and dreams of leaving what she deems the cultural wasteland of Sacramento, California, and her claustrophobic Catholic high-school – to study at a pricey liberal arts college on the US east coast.

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Black Panther hunts down second biggest ever Marvel opening at UK box office

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 12:02:17 GMT2018-02-20T12:02:17Z

Ryan Coogler’s landmark film holds up well in British market, while The Shape of Water could break Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster duck

As the release date approached, it was becoming increasingly apparent that Disney and Marvel’s decision to mount the first major black superhero movie was going to pay off richly – in the US, at least. And, indeed, Black Panther delivered $235m (£167m) in North America over the four-day President’s Day holiday weekend, with African-American cinemagoers representing 37% of the audience.

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Why Get Out should win the 2018 best picture Oscar

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 13:00:13 GMT2018-02-19T13:00:13Z

In the first of a series ahead of the 2018 Oscars, Peter Bradshaw champions Jordan Peele’s brilliantly scary satire

The nomination of Jordan Peele’s Get Out for best picture, a category that sadly often only rewards middlebrow-prestigious classiness, shouldn’t blind us to the fact that it is a brilliant scary movie: a horror suspense-thriller with hilarious moments. This is a cracking genre entertainment in the style of Ira Levin, and its piercingly relevant political satire – the basis on which it has been admitted to the 2018 Oscar club – needn’t deflect the impact of its sheer enjoyability. There are some great films on this year’s best picture list, but Get Out is the most purely subversive and raucously entertaining. It’s a film to make you wonder how or why John Carpenter’s Halloween never got a nomination.

A nasty ambiguity dangles silently from the title. Get Out … you’re not welcome here? Or Get Out … while you still can? Is it about the exclusion of black Americans from white privilege? Or is it about an insidious welcome, a spurious inclusion, a learned pantomime of liberal friendliness, whose purpose is to disarm and defang grievance and relegitimise white class supremacy for the 21st century? Of course, it’s both. And Peele avails himself of the satirist’s prerogative: to be provocative, bold and even unfair; to stab at those well-meaning people whose anti-racism consists partly in a conviction that race prejudice is a thing of the past.

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Profile review – Skyping-with-Isis thriller dials up the suspense

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:44:40 GMT2018-02-20T10:44:40Z

Timur Bekmambetov’s film about a journalist investigating women online being lured to Syria is silly but effective

Cinema is currently deciding how it meets the challenge of representing the way modern life and modern experience is increasingly happening online. The recent supernatural horror-thriller Unfriended had the ingenious idea of playing out its entire drama on one computer screen in real time, a kind of found-footage 2.0, switching between Facebook, Skype and instant messaging, the various prompts all bleeping and pinging away disturbingly as a sinister presence looms up. Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (who went to Hollywood in the last decade for brash and crass movies such as Wanted) has applied this approach to a thriller that asks the eternal question: what happens when cops or reporters with unsatisfactory home lives go undercover among people who actually treat them rather well?

Profile is based on the 2015 non-fiction bestseller In the Skin of a Jihadist by a French journalist who now has round-the-clock police protection and has changed her name to Anna Erelle. She was investigating the phenomenon of young European women being radicalised online and lured to Syria; Erelle created a fake profile on Facebook and began chatting to a senior Islamic State commander who then tried to lure her over, repeatedly promising her that she would be his “bride”. A very dangerous game.

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Utøya massacre re-enactment stuns Berlin audiences

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 14:48:19 GMT2018-02-19T14:48:19Z

Single-take film shot in real time draws praise from survivors of 2011 attack as it premieres at Berlin festival

A real-time feature film re-enactment of the massacre by a far-right terrorist in Norway has premiered at the Berlin film festival, where it drew praise from survivors as a painful but necessary examination of the dangers of extremism facing Europe.

Related: 'We had to tell this dark story' … how Utøya is remembering the massacre

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Geoffrey Rush's co-star 'visibly upset' after confrontation, court told

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 06:27:02 GMT2018-02-20T06:27:02Z

Documents claim actor entered theatre’s female bathroom before being told to leave

The Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush was involved in a confrontation that left a female cast member “visibly upset” at a party following the 2015 Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear, according to allegations in newly released court documents.

On Tuesday the federal court in Australia published a previously suppressed document filed by Nationwide News – a subsidiary of News Corp – in its defence of defamation proceedings brought by Rush against the newspaper publisher.

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Three Billboards on the march, Paddington 2 barely registers – what we learned from the Baftas

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:14:40 GMT2018-02-19T10:14:40Z

Even if the Baftas no longer signal a shoo-in for the Oscars, Three Billboards has got its awards mojo back, while Joanna Lumley’s hosting debut was a mixed bag

After suffering a backlash over its depiction of Sam Rockwell’s racist cop character and struggling ever so slightly in the guild awards and Oscar nominations, there was the sense that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri badly needed a win. And the Baftas duly obliged, handing Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy drama awards in five categories. Not a landslide haul by any means, but impressive nevertheless given the sense that Bafta voters were otherwise spreading the wealth fairly widely. Now McDonagh and co must hope that this plum haul will convince academy voters to give the film a second look before they hand in their ballots at the end of the month. Perhaps the high-profile recent stories about the film’s titular billboards inspiring real-life protests on both sides of the pond might help in that regard: the Academy loves the idea that cinema can make a difference, after all.

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'Full of heart but devoid of life': is Crash really the worst Oscar winner ever?

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 11:15:02 GMT2018-02-15T11:15:02Z

The 2004 drama’s unsubtle look at race relations has critics drawing parallels with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Will this year’s best picture nominee suffer the same fate as its forebear?

You don’t hear this said a lot, but losing the best picture Oscar was the best thing that could ever have happened to Brokeback Mountain. Ang Lee’s elegiac, heart-splintering cowpoke romance was universally predicted to make history as the first overtly gay story to take the Academy’s top prize. Following months of critical adulation and endless preliminary prizes, it was all going swimmingly on the night until Jack Nicholson opened the best picture envelope and announced, with tellingly raised eyebrows, that the 2006 winner was ... Crash, Canadian journeyman Paul Haggis’s well-meaning, well-acted but clod-footed treatise on race relations in Los Angeles.

As the industry’s collective gasp greeted the upset, Brokeback’s reputation was set in a second: it was the gorgeous trailblazer that Hollywood wasn’t quite ready to embrace. That distinction has more appealing cachet than “best picture winner” – an honour that places a critical target on even the most beloved film’s back.

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Oscars 2018: the growing backlashes to this year's major nominations

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:00:15 GMT2018-02-14T10:00:15Z

Is Three Billboards racist? Is The Shape of Water a copycat? Is Call Me by Your Name pedophilic? And, most importantly, why have this year’s films struck such a nerve?

Much as a political candidate is vetted before a big convention, this year’s nominees for the best picture Oscar have been subject to a battery of litmus tests. As the awards race has been ramped up, the nine films in contention for the night’s biggest prize have attracted more controversy than any slate in recent memory. And to keep with the metaphor, much of the hubbub around these films has been political in nature: for the Academy, winners aren’t so much chosen as they are elected.

Related: Despite its awards, Three Billboards is a shallow look at race in rural America

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Get Out triumphs at Writers Guild of America awards

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:13:37 GMT2018-02-12T14:13:37Z

Jordan Peele’s smash-hit horror film and the gay coming-of-age movie Call Me By Your Name take top prizes at Oscars bellwether

Get Out and Call Me By Your Name took the top prizes at the Writers Guild of America awards, in one of the final major awards-season bellwethers before next month’s Oscars.

Get Out, the smash-hit satirical horror written and directed by Jordan Peele, triumphed in the best original screenplay category, beating I, Tonya, Lady Bird, The Big Sick and current Oscar best picture favourite The Shape of Water. However, another best picture frontrunner, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, was ineligible at the WGAs because it did not meet the organisation’s signatory rules.

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Three Billboards triumphs as Time's Up dominates the 2018 Baftas

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 07:13:42 GMT2018-02-19T07:13:42Z

Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy-drama takes home five awards in ceremony hosted for the first time by Joanna Lumley

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the bleak, bitter, blistering comedy about injustice in small-town America, took the major honours at the 2018 Bafta film awards on Sunday night.

It was a starry, glamorous ceremony, at which the sexual-harassment shame of the film industry and the the subsequent Time’s Up movement were ever present.

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Geoffrey Rush touched actor in way that made her 'uncomfortable', court told

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 07:01:25 GMT2018-02-19T07:01:25Z

Rush’s barrister says allegation of inappropriate touching published by News Corp ‘completely opaque’

Geoffrey Rush repeatedly touched a female cast member “in a way that made her feel uncomfortable” during a 2015 production of King Lear despite being asked to stop, a Sydney court has heard.

The Australian actor is suing the News Corp subsidiary Nationwide News and journalist Jonathon Moran for defamation over articles published by the Daily Telegraph in November and December last year that reported on alleged “inappropriate touching” of a female colleague during the Sydney Theatre Company production.

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Domestic violence activists Sisters Uncut invade Baftas red carpet

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 20:44:38 GMT2018-02-18T20:44:38Z

Members of the direct action group link arms in response to Theresa May’s domestic violence bill, which they say will punish survivors of abuse

Activist group Sisters Uncut have stormed the Baftas red carpet in protest of the Conservative government’s domestic violence policies.

Members of the feminist direct action group linked arms on the red carpet at the Royal Albert Hall, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Time’s Up, Theresa”. The protesters remained on the red carpet for several minutes before being led away by police. No arrests were made.

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Insidious: The Last Key review – horror prequel fails to unlock scares

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:51:15 GMT2018-01-05T20:51:15Z

The latest entry in the wearying supernatural series squanders its intriguing protagonist (a 74-year-old woman) and instead, regurgitates familiar tropes

All horror films, whether their creators or fans wish to admit it, trade a little bit in cruelty. At some point we’ll watch, from the safety of our voyeur’s perch, someone writhe in agony as they are stabbed or bludgeoned or strangled. Yet the cruelest thing in Insidious: The Last Key doesn’t happen to anyone on screen. After a reasonably well-executed prologue, one with good acting, dramatic moments, a genuine eerie tone and a visual landscape crafted with care, the rug is pulled from us. We move from the 1950s to “now”, and with that we exit a warm bath of sincere film-making to an icy tub of cliche. You can scream, but no one will save you.

Related: Slender Man trailer: a mythical monster worth the wait? Fat chance

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The Post review – Streep and Hanks scoop the honours in Spielberg's big-hearted story

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 14:00:18 GMT2017-12-06T14:00:18Z

Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep impress as Washington Post bigwigs fighting to expose government lies about the Vietnam war in the director’s timely drama

Steven Spielberg’s handsome new picture has a big, beating heart on its classically tailored sleeve. It’s a rousingly watchable film from first-time screenwriter Liz Hannah about the Washington Post, its editor Ben Bradlee, proprietor Kay Graham and what is supposedly their platonic office romance while publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. In the face of legal threats and boardroom fainthearts, their mission was to disclose the truth about how the US government deceived America about the unwinnability of the Vietnam war. It was the scoop that paved the way for the Watergate investigation.

The film is a pointed celebration of liberal decency in the past and implied present. Its stars’ unadorned surnames have been put up on the poster over the title with granite simplicity: “Streep Hanks The Post”. These are naturally intended as Lincoln-Memorial-level rebukes to today’s various squalid declines in Washington and Hollywood.

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The Greatest Showman review – Hugh Jackman puts on a show in cheesy, charming musical

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 08:00:09 GMT2017-12-20T08:00:09Z

Jackman plays 19th century PT Barnum in a crowd-pleasing if middle-of-the-road film that paints the circus impresario as a body-positive evangelist for diversity

Hugh Jackman is at his most relatable here in this cheerful fantasy musical, so mainstream it is at the exact centre of the road as if placed there by some impossibly sophisticated scientific implement. The film succeeds in being cheesy and sugary at the same time, and is very loosely based on the life of the legendary showman and inveterate crowd-pleaser Phineas T Barnum, the man who in the 19th century possibly invented entertainment as we know it today.

Another type of movie might seek to draw parallels between the cheeky impresario Barnum – frantically promoting fake or at any rate unreliable news about giants, bearded ladies etc – and another questionable American celebrity of the present day. But this is a Barnum we can all get behind. He’s an entrepreneur, a dreamer, a family man, an idealist, an underdog, a proto-modern evangelist for diversity (he has circus turns of all shapes and sizes) and he’s someone for whom the template for conventional white body image is not the be-all and end-all.

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Molly's Game review – Jessica Chastain ups the ante in Aaron Sorkin poker drama

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 15:30:04 GMT2017-12-28T15:30:04Z

With its propulsive, savvy dialogue, Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut about a poker host who called rich men’s bluff has addictive and amoral snap

She certainly is. America’s so-called Poker Princess, Molly Bloom, is the enigmatically glamorous woman in this very enjoyable true-life story who ran the hottest private card game in LA and then New York, before finally being led away in handcuffs in 2013 on illegal gambling charges. Luxurious hotel suites had been turned by Molly into macho gladiatorial arenas in which movie actors, sports stars, hedge fund managers and other wealthy poker addicts did battle under her gaze. There were no women players – a fact on which the film passes no comment.

Models were hired to serve drinks. Scented candles masked the reek of testosterone and rage. And Molly presided over it all, monitoring the bets on her laptop in the corner, wryly commenting on the Joycean echoes in her name (she repeatedly had to say no to these men) and accepting huge tips at the end of the night. She is played with exotic queenliness by Jessica Chastain, with something of the impassive hauteur and mute vulnerability that Elizabeth Taylor brought to Cleopatra. But who is Molly’s Antony? Does she even need an Antony? Of this, more in a moment.

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Phantom Thread review – Daniel Day-Lewis bows out in style with drama of delicious pleasure

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 17:00:16 GMT2017-12-07T17:00:16Z

In his final film, Day-Lewis reunites with Paul Thomas Anderson to deliver a masterful performance as a society dressmaker beguiled by a young waitress

A brilliant English couturier of the postwar age: fastidious and cantankerous, humourless and preposterous – and heterosexual, in that pre-Chatterley era when being a bachelor and fashion designer wasn’t automatically associated in the public mind with anything else. Daniel Day-Lewis gives us his cinema swansong in this new film from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. He is Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock, celebrated dressmaker to the debutantes of Britain, but now under pressure from the New Look and influences from across the Channel. He treats us to a fine display of temper on the subject of that unforgivably meretricious word: chic.

Just when he is at his lowest, Woodcock falls in love with a shy, maladroit German waitress at the country hotel where he happens to be staying. This is Alma, played by Vicky Krieps. With his connoisseur’s eye, Woodcock sees in her a grace and beauty no one else had noticed, certainly not Alma herself. Dazzled, she comes to live with him as his assistant and model in the central London fashion house over which Woodcock rules with his sister and confidante Cyril, played with enigmatic reserve by Lesley Manville. But, as Woodcock becomes ever more impossible and controlling, submissive Alma must find new, more dysfunctional ways to re-establish her emotional mastery over him.

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All the Money in the World review – raucous crime thriller banishes ghost of Kevin Spacey

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 17:00:22 GMT2017-12-19T17:00:22Z

Ridley Scott’s drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III looked sunk after allegations were made against the actor, but Christopher Plummer excels as his last-minute replacement

‘The rich are different from you and me,” said F Scott Fitzgerald, to which Ernest Hemingway is famously alleged to have replied: “Yes, they have more money.” This film suggests they also have more fear of their own children – fear that they will parasitically suck away energy that should be devoted to building up riches and status; that they will fail to be worthy inheritors of it, or waste it, or cause it to be catastrophically mortgaged to their own pampered weakness. This fear is the driving force of Ridley Scott’s raucous pedal-to-the-metal thriller about the ageing and super-rich oil tycoon J Paul Getty, freely adapted by screenwriter David Scarpa from the 1995 page-turner Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J Paul Getty by veteran true-crime author John Pearson. It is directed by the 80-year-old Ridley Scott with gleeful energy and riotous attack. The old guy is always the most interesting character on screen, and that can hardly be an accident.

In 1973, cantankerous Getty refused to pay the kidnap ransom demanded after his 16-year-old grandson John Paul Getty III was snatched by Calabrian mobsters from the streets of Rome. And why? Because he didn’t want to set a precedent and reward crime? Because he suspected this wastrel boy had cooked up a scheme to scam him? Or because, in his wizened and ornery old apology for a heart, he just didn’t feel like parting with a single dime? Only when a severed ear arrives through the post does the old boy feel like getting out his chequebook.

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I, Tonya review – scattershot skating biopic offers flawed, foul-mouthed fun

Sat, 09 Sep 2017 19:04:46 GMT2017-09-09T19:04:46Z

Margot Robbie transforms into disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in an uneven but often hilarious retelling of her controversial career

At the beginning of I, Tonya, we’re informed that what we’re about to see is based on a set of “irony-free, wildly contradictory and totally true” interviews with disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding and ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. It’s a necessary, playful reminder that despite the far-fetched nature of the events in the film, there’s at least a kernel of truth here. Even star Margot Robbie assumed the script was fictitious on first read, unaware of how Harding’s lurid story gripped most of the western world back in the early 90s.

Related: Molly's Game review – Aaron Sorkin's poker drama is a bet that fails to pay off

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Hostiles review – Christian Bale soldiers on in brutal, beautiful and flawed western

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 06:51:41 GMT2017-09-12T06:51:41Z

Bale stars as an oppressive army officer seeking redemption in the Old West in Scott Cooper’s striking, if somewhat glib, take on the genre

Related: Loving Pablo review – Javier Bardem's Escobar flick fails to sniff out new lines

The sight of a baby being shot is something which sets the tone, the feel, and the body language of this brutal and self-regarding Western from writer-director Scott Cooper, based on an unproduced screenplay by the late Donald Stewart, who scripted the The Hunt For Red October.

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle review – fantasy romp likably upgraded for gamer generation

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 02:00:11 GMT2017-12-09T02:00:11Z

Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart have fun in a video-game world in an amiable sequel-by-numbers with a body-swap twist

The 90s family adventure Jumanji was a fantasy romp about children being whooshed into the universe of a magical board game, where a former kid player played by Robin Williams had grown to adulthood, having been marooned there. The film seemed to be using the grammar and rhetoric of video-gaming, which is about getting from one level to another by not getting killed.

Now it has been upgraded for 2017 in a way that makes the gaming idea explicit, and yet also as quaint and antique as board games might have looked in 1995. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a big, brash, amiable entertainment with something of Indiana Jones, plus the body-swap comedy of Freaky Friday, or F Anstey’s Victorian classic Vice Versa. It features an endearing performance from Dwayne Johnson who, as a teen wimp magicked into a giant Herculean body, has to look nervy and nerdy and say things like “Oi vey”.

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Pitch Perfect 3 review – Rebel Wilson and co hit the top notes in subversive sequel

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 08:00:21 GMT2017-12-19T08:00:21Z

Throwing all plausibility in the bin, the Bellas take on a whistlestop European tour of military bases in their third outing, which somehow stays in tune

Few viewers came out of Pitch Perfect 2 thinking, “this franchise will run and run”. Second time around, the premise of competitive a capella already seemed to have exhausted its possibilities. How many more “riff-offs” did we need to see? How many more big competitions were left to enter? How many more slightly over-extended Rebel Wilson one-liners could we take? But this third – and surely final – outing basically explodes its own formula. It’s like a good Christmas pantomime. It assumes we all know the drill, then has a whale of a time subverting it. In the process it throws out all semblance of plausibility, but by this stage, who really cares?

The opening set-up is literally explosive: the Bellas are on a luxury yacht, performing another of their choreographed, beatbox-backed cover versions for the delectation of three unknown men. Suddenly Fat Amy (Wilson) comes crashing through the skylight, hoses the men with a fire extinguisher, and they all jump overboard before the yacht explodes.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi review – an explosive thrill-ride of galactic proportions

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:34:04 GMT2017-12-13T10:34:04Z

Director Rian Johnson delivers a tidal wave of energy and emotion in the eighth episode of the saga, as Luke, Leia, Finn and Rey step up to meet their destiny

An old hope. A new realism. An old anxiety. A new feeling that the Force might be used to channel erotic telepathy, and long-distance evil seduction. The excitingly and gigantically proportioned eighth film in the great Star Wars saga offers all of these, as well as colossal confrontations, towering indecisions and teetering temptations, spectacular immolations, huge military engagements, and very small disappointments.

The character-driven face-offs are wonderful and the messianic succession crisis about the last Jedi of the title is gripping. But there is a convoluted and slightly unsatisfying parallel plot strand about the Resistance’s strategic military moves as the evil First Order closes in, and an underwritten, under-imagined and eccentrically dressed new character – Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, played by Laura Dern.

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Present Traces: Asio Makes a Movie – video

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:00:04 GMT2018-02-13T17:00:04Z

In 1951 Asio began using movie cameras in secret surveillance of people who were suspected of being threats to the state. Their prime suspects? Then 21-year-old Aboriginal man Ray Peckham and 32-year-old Indigenous activist Faith Bandler, on their way to a Berlin peace festival. Alec Morgan uncovers the fascinating story of Asio’s unreleased silent footage

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Crocodile Dundee Super Bowl ad – video

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 05:09:28 GMT2018-02-05T05:09:28Z

A Tourism Australia ad inspired by Crocodile Dundee has aired to a potential 110 million Super Bowl viewers in the US as part of a record $US27m  campaign targeting American travellers. 

The ad is a continuation of the Dundee: The Son Of A Legend Returns Home faux trailers which have emerged online in recent weeks to make it appear a Crocodile Dundee film sequel was in preparation. 

The ad features Chris Hemsworth and the original Crocodile Dundee, Paul Hogan

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Gurrumul documentary to debut at Berlin film festival – watch the trailer

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 22:31:06 GMT2018-01-25T22:31:06Z

The life of the late Indigenous musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, who died in Darwin last year, aged 46, is profiled in a new documentary, Gurrumul. Yunupingu was a multiaward-winning, internationally recognised artist from Galiwin’ku, in remote north-east Arnhem Land who started in the band Yothu Yindi before his solo career. The documentary is a snapshot of an artist on the brink of global reverence. It premieres at the 2018 Berlin film festival. In Australia it will play at the Perth festival from 12 February and be released in cinemas nationally from 26 April

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Sofia Coppola on the film that launched her – The Start podcast

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 06:00:07 GMT2018-01-25T06:00:07Z

Our new culture podcast, The Start, brings major artists to the mic to reveal how they began their careers. In this first episode, Sofia Coppola talks about the fear and the thrill of directing her debut film, The Virgin Suicides

Subscribe and review on Apple Podcasts or Acast, and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

At the 1999 Cannes film festival, attendees watched the work of a little-known 28 year old. That film was The Virgin Suicides, written, directed, and produced by Sofia Coppola. The novel by Jeffrey Eugenides about a doomed family of teenage sisters had resonated so much with the young Sofia she felt compelled to step behind the camera and make her own mark on movies.

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Margot Robbie practises her Oscars face – video

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 07:04:01 GMT2018-01-24T07:04:01Z

The Australian actor has been nominated for her first Academy Award for her role as US figure skater Tonya Harding in the film I, Tonya. Here she practises her Oscars face in preparation for the big night

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The female-powered 2018 SAG awards: 'we are living in a watershed moment' – video report

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:16:17 GMT2018-01-22T09:16:17Z

Kristen Bell presents the 2018 SAG awards supported by an all-female list of hosts. Bell opened the night by telling the audience: 'We are living in a watershed moment' 

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James Franco discusses recent sexual misconduct allegations – video

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 12:18:39 GMT2018-01-10T12:18:39Z

James Franco has said the sexual misconduct allegations made against him are 'not accurate'. Speaking on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the actor commented on the criticism he received after wearing a Time's Up pin at the Golden Globes awards. He told Colbert: 'I can’t live if there’s restitution to be made. I will make it. So if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it.'

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Oscars 2018: the four big problems the Academy needs to fix

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:06:10 GMT2018-01-11T19:06:10Z

From Casey Affleck and James Franco, to how to top the Golden Globes show of solidarity, this year’s awards ceremony has a number of difficulties to address

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony has, as I see it, four main problems, though in the manner of large organisations with four problems you can see from space, these will probably multiply wildly between now and 4 March as they scramble to solve them.

The first is that the Golden Globes has now started a solidarity arms race, or it will be taken that way by the Oscars, the organising principle of which is to be bigger and better. It wasn’t just that everybody wore black as a statement of sisterhood, right down to the child cast of Stranger Things, who looked like #MeToo retold a la Bugsy Malone. There were plenty of naysayers to the principle of sartorial protest – it wasn’t a huge sacrifice colour (that would have been peach), and you could use a black frock to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with victims of sexual abuse, then wear it again to almost anything. But the red-carpet ritual was potent nevertheless, just as visible protests against racism are powerful in sport; it’s a world where usually only mavericks make statements and everyone else is carefully viewless.

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Death wears Mickey Mouse ears: how Disney is doing parents a favour

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 06:00:05 GMT2018-01-05T06:00:05Z

Ever since Bambi’s mother was shot, cinema has been teaching young audiences about mortality. Pixar’s new blockbuster, Coco, is the most sobering yet

Walt Disney could not deal with funerals. Where possible, he avoided attending them – if they proved inescapable, his mood would darken for hours afterwards. The whole subject of mortality appalled him. Before he died in 1966, he would tell his daughter Diane he wanted no funeral at all. He should, he insisted, be remembered only as he had been in life, a wish that takes on a certain poignancy given the world then spent half a century speculating about his place in a cryogenic freezer.

Strange, too, that so many of the films he made said so much about death. For generations, children’s movies – and Disney movies most of all – have been breaking the very worst of bad news to the young, arriving under cover of a U certificate to reveal the random cruelty and finality of it all. The hunter’s gunshot that left Bambi motherless rings out into the present day. Just a few recent additions to the Disney graveyard would include the noble Mufasa, slain during The Lion King, poor Ellie Fredriksen passing on in the opening sequence of Up, and the royal couple whose drowning kickstarts Frozen. Peer beneath the cowl of the Grim Reaper and you will surely find a pair of mouse ears.

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Wonder women: how female action heroes will blast cinema screens in 2018

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:10:35 GMT2018-01-04T17:10:35Z

This year’s movie slate suggests a sudden industry interest in female-driven blockbusters. But is this a response to the Weinstein revelations? Or does it boil down to hard cash?

After #MeToo and allegations of predatory behaviour by powerful men in Hollywood, it feels good for the soul that the year in film kicked off with news that women rule the box office. Last year, the three most popular films in the US had female leads, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi at No 1, followed by Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman in third place. And there’s plenty more where they came from. Hollywood is still waking up to its masculinity problem, but 2018 looks as if it could be the year powerful women roar on screen in female-driven sci-fi, action blockbusters and super-sleuth thrillers.

First up, in February, Ex Machina director Alex Garland’s eco-sci-fi, Annihilation, looks like Ghostbusters with a degree in biology; Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as scientists in boiler suits leading an all-woman expedition to the site of an alien invasion. In March, Jennifer Lawrence finds her inner Jason Bourne in the cold war thriller Red Sparrow, playing a Russian ballerina turned spy, while Alicia Vikander will shoot her way to international superstardom as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot.

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Moon Nazis and sex in space: what can we learn from movies set in 2018?

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:27:58 GMT2018-01-03T16:27:58Z

Looking back through Hollywood’s sci-fi vaults, films from Rollerball to Terminator: Salvation offer a bleak view of the year ahead

While the specific reasons remain a topic of heated debate, everyone seems to be in agreement that things are, in the most general sense, quite bad. Whether you’re concerned about encroaching fascist powers or a restriction of free speech, the planet’s eventual heat-death or vanishing industries and the jobs that go with them, everyone can find something to lose a little sleep over in 2018. Credit the movies, then, with giving us fair warning. Cinematic visions of the future have always favored the dystopian over the utopian, preferring to nail-chew over our shared anxieties rather than build upon hopeful fantasy.

Related: Future shock: unearthing the most cutting-edge sci-fi movies of 2018

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How Phantom Thread undresses our ideas about toxic masculinity

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 11:30:26 GMT2018-01-02T11:30:26Z

Paul Thomas Anderson’s sly and subversive romance presents us with a tortured male creative genius but surprises us with what’s in store for him

“For the hungry boy,” scribbles a boarding-house waitress on a note of paper, before handing it back to her bewitched customer, after he orders an over-full English breakfast that could feed several men. So begins Paul Thomas Anderson’s glistening, magnificent Phantom Thread, and it’s a moment of rare, blithe sexiness in his oeuvre: a light little flirt-note – were the film set half a century later, it might be signed off with a smiley face – that sets in motion a far darker, more perverse and conflict-riven romance than most would expect from such breezy beginnings.

Related: Phantom Thread review – Daniel Day-Lewis bows out in style with drama of delicious pleasure

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Prowling panthers, paranormal spies and vengeful ice-skaters: must-see movies of 2018

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 07:00:21 GMT2018-01-02T07:00:21Z

The Black Panther roars, Matt Damon shrinks, Aardman go stone age and Jennifer Lawrence takes spying into a new dimension – we preview the best cinema of the new year

Dir. Ridley Scott
Veteran Ridley Scott took his place in the history of #MeToo by firing Kevin Spacey from this film and replacing him with Christopher Plummer, who plays ageing oil tycoon J Paul Getty in this true story from the 70s. Getty refused to pay a kidnappers’ ransom for his abducted grandson and instead hired a former CIA tough guy (played here by Mark Wahlberg) to get him free. Read the full review.
• Released on 5 January in the UK; out in US.

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'Blade Runner 2049 is a roaring achievement': readers on the best films of 2017

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 14:30:40 GMT2017-12-28T14:30:40Z

We asked for your opinions on the Guardian critics’ choices for the most outstanding films of the year. Here’s what some of you said

After announcing Call Me By Your Name as best film of 2017, we asked you if you agreed with our critics. Many of those who replied suggested the same film but, in no particular order, here are 10 other films you thought worthy of the top spot.

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The 50 top films of 2017 in the UK: the full list

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 09:00:12 GMT2017-12-05T09:00:12Z

A heartrending love story tops our list of the year’s best films, which also features a kids’-eye view of Florida, political horror, erotic thrills, sci-fi noir, ghosts, grief and communism

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Yippee ki-yay, turkey plucker … how Die Hard became a classic Christmas movie

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 10:00:03 GMT2017-12-21T10:00:03Z

It’s not about Christmas, seldom shown at Christmas, and Bruce Willis’s vest isn’t red with fur trim – but this action blast is as essential as tinsel and telly

Related: The key to a great Christmas film: misery and mayhem | Jack Bernhardt

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Nakatomi Plaza, not a creature was stirring – well, except for those crazed Euroterrorists led by Alan Rickman and the loose-cannon New York cop played by Bruce Willis. There is nothing terribly seasonal about Die Hard, despite its Christmas Eve setting. It takes places in Los Angeles, so there’s no snow. There’s a tree in the building, and a few items of Christmas clothing – allowing McClane, when he knocks off his first terrorist, to put him in a Santa hat, write the words “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho” on his top and send him in the lift to Rickman.

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Bollywood sexual harassment: actors speak out on Indian cinema's open secret

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:02:50 GMT2017-12-13T01:02:50Z

Women tell the Guardian that unmasking of abusive men is overdue in industry that shames and undermines victims

The casting director had one hand pressed to the phone at his ear; the other, according to a police complaint, he rested on Reena Saini’s thigh.

“He was casting for TV serials,” Saini, 26, recalls. “One day he called me for an audition. And when I reached the place he said, come into my car and talk, I’m in a hurry.”

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How I, Tonya betrays its tragicomic ice-skating protagonist

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:35:54 GMT2017-12-11T17:35:54Z

Tonya Harding’s difficult life, filled with domestic violence and struggle, is played for laughs in an uneven biopic that never really scratches the surface

Long before Frozen, those of us who were American girls in the mid-90s lived and breathed a different icebound battle of good and evil. Every morning in the winter of seventh grade, I was hungry to read the newspaper for more details in the war between Nancy Kerrigan, America’s smooth-haired brunette sweetheart and her frizzier blonde nemesis, Tonya Harding.

Related: I, Tonya review – scattershot skating biopic offers flawed, foul-mouthed fun

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'Ordeal arthouse': why do auteurs want to make audiences suffer?

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 07:00:36 GMT2017-12-08T07:00:36Z

Caniba, a hard-going film about a cannibal, has prompted walkouts – but highbrow film-makers who indulge in ultraviolence are often given more leeway by critics

Even hardcore cinephiles inured to navel-gazing noodlings can sometimes find them difficult to sit through. But, if hours of action-free footage weren’t punishing enough, auteurs have figured out a surefire way of making their films even more of an ordeal: the insertion of gruelling violence, taboo-busting perversion and ridiculously pessimistic worldviews.

Caniba, the latest documentary from Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, combines the best of both worlds. Or worst, depending on your point of view. There are no establishing shots, only extended out-of-focus closeups of Issei Sagawa as he obliquely reflects on his 1981 murder of Renée Hartevelt, a fellow student at the Sorbonne who had rejected his advances and whose corpse he partly devoured.

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Daniel Kaluuya: ‘I'm not a spokesman. No one’s expected to speak for all white people’

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 10:00:56 GMT2018-02-10T10:00:56Z

The Get Out and Black Panther star on why he doesn’t like race debates - and what his mum makes of his American accent

For the best part of two years, Daniel Kaluuya has lived and worked in the US, where his elevation to fame – sudden, unexpected, by turns gratifying and alarming – has made him look differently on his native UK. “I think there’s more room in the US to create something and see what happens,” the 28-year-old says, while unwinding after a photoshoot in New York, where he is taking a break from LA awards shows. (A week after our meeting, Kaluuya is nominated for an Oscar for Get Out; the film was also nominated at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild awards.) “While in England, I feel, there’s The Way and if you don’t fit in with The Way, then you don’t fit in. A lot of people think their way is The Way. I think my way is a way. And you’re imposing your way on to my way, and I’m like: no way.”

A year after the release of Get Out, the hit horror-comedy-satire by Jordan Peele, in which Kaluuya plays Chris, a good-natured photographer who finds himself at the mercy of a plot by his white girlfriend and her family to body-snatch African Americans, he is still uncomfortable with the apparatus of fame. He moves stiffly around the studio, crossing the room with what seems like the last vestiges of youthful self-consciousness. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a professional footballer; acting was just a channel for what one teacher euphemistically called his “busyness”, so there is some irony in two of his best performances, in Black Mirror and Get Out, being notable for their stillness. The most famous scene in Peele’s film sees Kaluuya weeping, wide-eyed, as the direness of his situation becomes clear. But it is a much subtler scene, at the beginning of the film, that really showcases his talents, as he cycles between bafflement and eagerness to please while trying to make small talk with his girlfriend’s parents.

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Laurie Metcalf on Lady Bird and the return of Roseanne in the age of Trump

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 12:48:43 GMT2018-02-08T12:48:43Z

The actor – best known for playing Roseanne’s sister – had not had a film role for 10 years when Greta Gerwig’s surprise hit came along – and threw her an unlikely Oscar nomination

Some weeks before the announcement of her best supporting actress Oscar nomination, Laurie Metcalf is beginning to crumble under the demands of awards season. “These days have been so weird. This train I’m on, it’s a first for me, and it’s just relentless.” Sitting in the courtyard of a hotel in Century City that was hosting the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards, Metcalf, 62, flinches at the constant pinging of texts on her phone. “You just get told where to go,” she sighs. “I guess there’s a strategy to it.”

The reason Metcalf’s life has transformed into a blur of dress fittings, photoshoots and the preparation of acceptance speeches is her performance as the embattled mother to Saoirse Ronan’s truculent daughter in Lady Bird, the widely acclaimed coming-of-age film written and directed by Greta Gerwig.

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Alex Gibney: ‘Every business Trump touched withered and died’

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 09:00:23 GMT2018-02-04T09:00:23Z

The documentary-maker on his new Netflix series, Trump’s ‘trail of slime’ and how tennis keeps him sane

Alex Gibney was born in New York City in 1953 and educated at Yale and UCLA film school. He was 52 when he scored his first major success as a documentary film-maker with Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005). Three years later, he won a best documentary Oscar with Taxi to the Dark Side. Since then, he has been hugely productive, turning out films about political sex scandals (Client 9), WikiLeaks (We Steal Secrets), doped-up cyclists (The Armstrong Lie) and Scientology (Going Clear). The theme of high-level corruption, which runs throughout his work, lies at the heart of Dirty Money, a six-part series he has produced for Netflix.

What drew you to these particular stories?
We were looking for stories in which the characters seemed larger than life and in those stories you find the larger themes. With people like [VW exec] Stuart Johnson, whose deposition we showed in Hard NOx [the first episode of Dirty Money, which Gibney also directed], it was instructive that he felt the need to tell the truth. It was the same on the Enron film: people wanted to unburden themselves. They all remembered a kind of slow corruption, what they called a tugging in the gut when they felt they might be doing something wrong. But your boss thinks it’s OK, so you go ahead, making one corrupt compromise after another, until you realise the line you weren’t supposed to cross disappeared some time ago.

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Greta Gerwig: 'I'm at peak shock and happiness'

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 09:00:23 GMT2018-02-04T09:00:23Z

The Lady Bird director on being only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for a best director Oscar, #MeToo and looking like a nerd in front of Angela Merkel

This year’s Oscar nominations were announced a couple of Tuesdays ago in Los Angeles at the frankly antisocial hour of 5.22am. Greta Gerwig, whose very personal, coming-of-age debut film Lady Bird was hotly tipped, lives in New York but happened to be in LA for work. She woke up first at 3.30am: “And I said, ‘No, it’s not time’ and I forced myself to go back to sleep.” When she eventually surfaced just before seven, the nominations were headlines around the world. Gerwig made herself a coffee, had a shower and ever-so-casually checked her phone. There it was: she’d made the cut for best original screenplay. And “achievement in directing”. Oh, and Lady Bird was in the running for best picture, too.

“I started crying and laughing and screaming,” says the 34-year-old Gerwig, who, until now, has been mainly known as an actor, often in comic roles. “And it sunk in… It’s still sinking in. It doesn’t quite feel real. You’re still getting me at peak shock and happiness.”

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Paul Thomas Anderson: ’You can tell a lot about a person by what they order for breakfast’

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 14:00:02 GMT2018-02-01T14:00:02Z

The director is back, with another charismatic obsessive – this time a 1950s couture designer – in Phantom Thread. But his brush with fashion has not left him with a taste for togs

About four years ago, Paul Thomas Anderson got sick. “Just a bug … inexplicable. It wasn’t food poisoning. It was just one of those things that takes you over.” Tended to by his wife, Maya Rudolph – she of Bridesmaids’ most memorable gastrointestinal moment – Anderson hatched a plan: a movie about the tenderness of the invalid and the power of the nurse. And whether the odd bout of illness might sometimes be healthy.

Phantom Thread – exquisitely styled, emotionally raw, saturated with machismo – looks like classic Anderson. Daniel Day-Lewis, who won an Oscar for the director’s There Will Be Blood, is back as another ravenously charismatic obsessive, Reynolds Woodcock, a brilliant, brattish couture designer in postwar London. But strip away the cravat and you find a pussy bow. Phantom Thread is a subversion – a hymn to women’s upper hands and stronger stomachs. For Reynolds is upstaged by his sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville, on super-wither), and turned subservient to new muse, Alma (Vicky Krieps). A fumbling, blushing immigrant waitress, Alma is whisked off to Reynolds’s London fashion house to act as a live-in muse, and initially appears no match for the suave genius 30 years her senior. Yet Reynolds underestimates her at his peril. As do we. Watch the movie a second time and all her entreaties – “Whatever you do, do it carefully”; “Maybe I’m looking for trouble” – sound like threats.

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Lies We Tell: how a Bradford double-glazing salesman got Harvey Keitel and Gabriel Byrne to star in his debut film

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 16:00:04 GMT2018-02-01T16:00:04Z

Mitu Misra had never been on a film set before – so how did he persuade two A-listers to star in the British-Asian drama he wrote and directed?

‘You see that dormer window up there?” says Mitu Misra as we stand in an alley behind some shops in Bradford. “When I was a lad I used to climb out of that window late at night.” After he had climbed out of the second-floor window, little Mitu would shin down a drainpipe, jump on to a toilet roof and then hit the ground running to the nearby cinema.

“At school, I was beaten up regularly and called ‘Paki’. Growing up, most of my friends were Pakistani immigrants. We were all quite poor. Cinema, be it Bollywood or Hollywood, was my way out.”

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Sofia Coppola on making The Virgin Suicides: 'When I saw the rough cut I thought: Oh no, what have I done?'

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 06:00:07 GMT2018-01-25T06:00:07Z

The director relives the creation of her debut film, from the family tragedy that drew her to the story of five sisters taking their lives – to its terrifying Cannes premiere

I grew up with a lot of men. It was me and nine boys, once you count all my brothers and cousins. My dad, Francis Ford Coppola, was a macho film-maker and his friends were all of that ilk, so I think I really clung to femininity and a kind of girly aesthetic.

When I was in my mid-20s, I came across The Virgin Suicides. I remember seeing the cover – it was just all this blonde hair. I read it and loved it. It felt like Jeffrey Eugenides, the writer, really understood the experience of being a teenager: the longing, the melancholy, the mystery between boys and girls. I loved how the boys were so confused by the girls, and I really connected with all that lazing around in your bedroom. I didn’t feel like I saw that very much in films, not in a way I could relate to.

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The Shape of Water review – a seductively melancholy creature feature

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:40 GMT2018-02-18T09:00:40Z

Guillermo del Toro’s magical movie, a cold war thriller, is underpinned by a superb cast and knowing nods to Hollywood classics

In my opinion, the 21st century has produced no finer movie than Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 masterpiece, which acts as a sister picture to his 2001 Spanish civil war ghost story, The Devil’s Backbone. Like Del Toro’s first feature, Cronos (1993), these Spanish-language gems possessed a unique cinematic voice, the distant echo of which could still be heard even amid the thunderous roar of 2013’s Pacific Rim. Now, with his awards-garlanded latest (co-scripted by Game of Thrones graduate Vanessa Taylor), Del Toro has conjured a boundary-crossing hybrid that is as adventurously personal as it is universal, a swooning romantic melodrama that reshapes the mythical themes of Beauty and the Beast with deliciously bestial bite.

An opening voiceover establishes the fable-like tone, setting the story “a long time ago” in “a small city near the coast, but far from everything else”. This is the US in the early-60s, with the cold war and the space race providing the backdrop for “a tale of love and loss and the monster who tried to destroy it all”.

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DVD and download reviews: A Ghost Story; I Am Not a Witch; It; Dina; The Rehearsal

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 07:00:20 GMT2018-01-14T07:00:20Z

A man in a white sheet goes cosmic, a Welsh-Zambian newcomer blazes a witchy trail, and a Stephen King adaptation provides scary comforts

When any film names itself plainly after a particular genre, chances are it’s not going to do exactly what it says on the tin. So it proves with A Ghost Story (Lionsgate, 12), David Lowery’s beautiful, confounding, time and space-bending tale of romantic devotion and longing – a casually inventive American indie that gradually belies its humble mumblecore beginnings. On the one hand, it delivers on the promise of its title to almost goofily literal effect: not only does leading man Casey Affleck play an actual ghost for the bulk of its running time, but one clad in the old-school white sheet of a million last-minute Halloween getups.

It’s a nod to tradition that only underlines how far the film spirals from expectations in all other senses. After outlining a brittle living-world romance between Affleck and Rooney Mara’s midwestern hipsters, the film first jolts us with the former’s sudden death, before springing into an aching study of mutual mourning and loneliness in the dead and living parties alike. (Aptly, it all looks like a forgotten, sun-faded family album: the corners of the frame bevelled throughout, the colours restfully muted.) Lest you start expecting Whoopi Goldberg and Unchained Melody from this setup, all that is a mere prelude to something more elastic and cosmic in scope: a visual and sonic ode to the relentless passage of time. If that sounds affectedly fey, trust in the clear, clean, transporting nature of Lowery’s film-making.

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Black Panther proves the best villains are those who could have been heroes

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:00:38 GMT2018-02-20T10:00:38Z

Like Terminator and Darth Vader, Erik Killmonger’s evil is all the more compelling when we find out the wrong turn he has taken

When Empire magazine published its list of the all-time top 50 villains in cinema in 2016, there was no place for any of the Marvel cinematic universe’s many baddies. In fact, only a single comic-book villain, Heath Ledger’s Joker from 2008’s The Dark Knight – made the cut. The MCU has had its moments when it comes to charismatic exponents of evil – Tom Hiddleston’s heartbroken yet icily evil Loki in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and Cate Blanchett’s slinky but ruthless Hela in its sequel, Thor: Ragnarok, spring to mind. But it would probably be fair to say there have been as many misses as hits along the way.

One of the most heartening aspects of Black Panther’s success has been the way it bucks this trend. Michael B Jordan’s Erik Killmonger is the first villain since Loki to steal the movie away from a Marvel title character. It is in the persona of Killmonger, rather than that of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa/Black Panther, that righteous anger against colonialism and the ongoing mistreatment of people of African origin around the world is embodied. That he is the villain of the piece does not matter one bit. We understand his justified rage, and we understand equally why the violent course of action he takes in an effort to restore justice is misguided.

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Cinema’s conflicted relationship with the countryside

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:00:10 GMT2018-02-19T10:00:10Z

Peter Rabbit paints an idyllic fairytale of lush green fields while Clio Barnard’s Yorkshire farming drama Dark River gives us the hard truth about rural life

Following God’s Own Country, The Levelling, and The Goob, Clio Barnard’s new Yorkshire farming drama Dark River is the latest in a recent run of British movies giving us the hard truth about modern rural life. Here, the English countryside is a landscape of mud, mess, junk and – above all – hard work. It is a place of hardship, secrets and family conflict, where preparation for the role could involve killing and gutting a rabbit. It is also a place where you’re as likely to hear a Romanian accent as a Yorkshire one.

Related: Ruth Wilson: ‘The industry sells sex… and that’s confusing’

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Isn't it time disabled actors and directors were allowed to make their own films?

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 06:10:48 GMT2018-02-09T06:10:48Z

Sally Hawkins shines as a mute woman in Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar hopeful The Shape of Water. But imagine if cinema actually opened up to film-makers with disabilities

The Oscar frontrunner The Shape of Water is being hailed as a breakthrough in the cinematic presentation of disabled characters. Its protagonist, Elisa, played by Sally Hawkins, is a mute cleaner who bonds with a mysterious humanoid sea creature and uses American Sign Language to communicate.

But, despite the plaudits, The Shape of Water trades in the mainstream cinema tropes of depicting disabled people as The Other, something it has in common with recent films such as Stronger and Breathe, which are about the “horror” of an acquired impairment. Disability in such films helps to define normality and reassure able-bodied audiences that they are “normal” – disability is abnormal and something to be feared. Awards-season cinema is a modern freak show where the able-bodied can watch films about the tragedy of disability and reinforce their fragile sense of self, of fitting in, and be thankful that they aren’t The Other.

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Deadpool 2: is this the most annoying marketing campaign ever?

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 11:30:02 GMT2018-02-09T11:30:02Z

The release of a self-referential trailer and a bizarre set of live Super Bowl tweets are just the latest steps in a strategy that might end up exhausting fans

I can’t wait for Deadpool 2 to come out. I mean I literally can’t wait, because Deadpool 2’s marketing campaign makes me want to hurl myself into a mincer and I really want it to end.

Related: Apocalypse now: what happens when the X-Men crash the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

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A Westeros far, far away: what will happen when Game of Thrones meets Star Wars?

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 06:00:19 GMT2018-02-08T06:00:19Z

Death. Betrayal. Lightsaber assassinations. Will Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and DB Weiss transform the series into a sprawling political space epic?

If you’re a Star Wars fan, the next decade will see thy cup of blue milk runneth over. In addition to the ninth instalment of the saga proper in December 2019, this May’s Han Solo spinoff, Rian Johnson’s new trilogy, the rumoured Obi Wan Kenobi standalone movie and the clutch of TV shows Disney has in development, Lucasfilm has now announced that, once Game of Thrones is done and dusted, its showrunners, David Benioff and DB Weiss, will write and produce yet another trilogy of new films. It seems the galaxy far, far away is likely to never be that far away at all, from now until the end of time.

Related: Game of Thrones creators to write and produce new set of Star Wars films

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Mute point: why silent women make the biggest noise at the Oscars

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 09:01:19 GMT2018-02-05T09:01:19Z

Sally Hawkins’ character in the Shape of Water may seem disempowered; but it’s the latest mute female lead to soar in awards season

Related: The Shape of Water review – Guillermo del Toro's fantasy has monster-sized heart

Women are finally being heard in this #MeToo moment, so it is ironic that one of this year’s best actress Oscar nominees plays a character who doesn’t say a word. Sally Hawkins, the mute heroine of The Shape of Water, steals the show making barely a sound. Looking back through movie and Oscars history, silence is often golden.

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Bergman: why are the great director's women all tragi-sexual goddesses?

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 15:00:30 GMT2018-02-04T15:00:30Z

Ingmar Bergman’s spellbinding films made his female stars immortal. But they weren’t all grateful. Could this famously manipulative genius have survived in the #MeToo era?

In 1971, Ingmar Bergman had just completed his first English-language film, The Touch. It starred Elliott Gould as an American archaeologist in Sweden, who has an affair with a beautiful, troubled woman, played by Bergman regular Bibi Andersson. To promote it, Bergman and Andersson made an extraordinary appearance on America’s Dick Cavett Show – an unimaginably rare TV outing for this director, rather like seeing Jean-Luc Godard pop up on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show.

Seated next to his very quiet star, Bergman declared: “I think acting is a very special women’s profession. Women have much more talent for acting. I think women, perhaps from education, are more used to enjoying looking into the mirror that is the audience or the camera’s eye. If a man stands in front of a mirror, he can perhaps feel a little bit ashamed. He looks at his clothes, his hair and his face. A woman by education is not ashamed of looking at herself.”

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Natalie Wood: reinvestigating the mysterious death of a movie star

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 19:52:13 GMT2018-02-02T19:52:13Z

Wood drowned in 1981 and almost 40 years later, her husband is a ‘person of interest’ – will we ever know what really happened?

In the TV series Hart to Hart, Robert Wagner played an amateur sleuth who with his wife, played by Stefanie Powers, investigated murder and intrigue among Los Angeles jet-setters.

Poisoning, kidnapping, blackmail, espionage, the golden couple cracked case after case in the ABC series which ran from 1979 to 1984.

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Fantastic Beasts 2: why can't they just let Dumbledore be gay?

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 16:30:05 GMT2018-02-01T16:30:05Z

JK Rowling outed Harry Potter’s mentor years ago, but the new film exploring the wizard’s younger years leaves his romantic life to guesswork

News reaches us this week, from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them director David Yates, that the next film in the Harry Potter spin-off will not “explicitly” mention the gayness of Hogwarts honcho Albus Dumbledore. This is an exciting development for keen followers of the wizard’s constantly evolving sexuality. The first step in the fictional magician’s journey came in 2007, when, after writing a series of seven books that never mentioned Dumbledore fancying anyone at all, JK Rowling delighted an audience of Potterheads by “revealing” that he was gay. Quite how somebody is supposed to be gay without it ever being said, written or observed is for greater minds than mine to fathom, but this apparently throwaway comment duly entered Potter lore.

Time-travel ahead 11 years, and David Yates finds himself making Fantastic Beasts 2, the entire point of which is that it’s about Gellert Grindelwald, whom Rowling had said (but not written) that Dumbledore was in love with. So the film-makers of this Potter-adjacent franchise that nobody had foreseen are in a spot of bother, since for obvious reasons it would be politically and financially savvy if the new films could also somehow get away with him being gay while never stating it, like the seven books and eight films we’ve already had. That’s the thing with coming out, or being an ally: you might actually have to run the risk of taking some sort of personal hit, or having to stand up for yourself.

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The Broken Circle Breakdown: watch the trailer for Belgium's foreign language Oscar entry - video

Fri, 18 Oct 2013 10:07:00 GMT2013-10-18T10:07:00Z

Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) falls madly in love with Elise (Veerle Baetens) even though the two are polar opposites. The couple's love blossoms, but is challenged when their daughter falls critically ill. The Broken Circle Breakdown is selected as the Belgian entry for the best foreign language film at the Oscars 2014. The film will be released in the UK on 18 October Continue reading...The Broken Circle Breakdown chronicles the love of two opposites and the trials they are put through when their daughter falls seriously ill Photograph: Menuet Producties/ Topkapi FilmsThe Broken Circle Breakdown chronicles the love of two opposites and the trials they are put through when their daughter falls seriously ill Photograph: Menuet Producties/ Topkapi Films


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Why Kelly + Victor is the one film you should watch this week - video review

Thu, 16 Jan 2014 07:00:00 GMT2014-01-16T07:00:00Z

Andrew Pulver recommends the haunting British romantic drama Kelly + Victor. The film, from first-time feature director Kieran Evans, follows the eponymous leads as they meet, become romantically involved and find darkness lurking in the bedroom. Pulver says the film is directed with real visual flair and played with 'unforced naturalness' by its two rising stars

Novelist Niall Griffiths meets the characters he created on set
• Kelly + Victor is out on DVD now Continue reading...Kelly + Victor Photograph: Hot Property FIlmsKelly + Victor Photograph: Hot Property FIlms


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7 Days in Entebbe review – Rosamund Pike hostage drama never gets off ground

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 21:30:23 GMT2018-02-19T21:30:23Z

Sluggish account of the 1976 plane hijacking fails to capitalise on strong cast and script, and José Padilha at the helm

It was one of the most audacious undertakings of the age: the Israeli mission to Uganda to rescue the passengers of a hijacked Air France plane in July 1976. And Brazilian director José Padilha should have been just the audacious director to tell the story: recently at the helm of the Netflix series Narcos, he made his name with Rio hostage documentary Bus 174 and galvanised the Berlin film festival with his thunderous 2008 Golden Bear winner, the favela police drama Elite Squad. But he’s unlikely to set the Berlinale competition on fire with this ponderous, sometimes ludicrous, number that goes through all the docudrama motions to pretty flat effect.

Apart from Padilha, 7 Days in Entebbe has promising credentials: a strong cast headed by Daniel Brühl and Rosamund Pike as the German radicals who prove out of their depth running the hijack mission with two Palestinians, and a script by Black Watch playwright Gregory Burke, who also scored a notable Berlin hit in 2014 as writer of the super-tense Northern Ireland drama ’71.

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Black Panther sets opening weekend record with $192m ticket sales

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 18:11:18 GMT2018-02-18T18:11:18Z

The movie had the fifth-biggest opening weekend ever in North America, suggesting it will set a record for films directed by a black filmmaker

Already a much-celebrated pop-culture milestone, Black Panther is now a record-setting smash at the box office, too.

The Marvel superhero film blew past expectations, with $192m in ticket sales in North America over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. That makes Black Panther the fifth-biggest opening weekend ever, not accounting for inflation.

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Daniela Vega: the transgender star lighting up the film industry

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 10:00:41 GMT2018-02-18T10:00:41Z

Following her breakthrough role in Oscar-nominated Chilean film A Fantastic Woman, the actor talks about finding her voice, her diva grandmother, and winding up conservativesYou have to be one hell of a performer to take the title role in a film called A Fantastic Woman and convince the world that, yes, your character truly is a fantastic woman and you are too. And if you’re a largely unknown actor in only your second movie, it takes some quite remarkable self-assurance. But, a decade after transitioning as female, and a year after her breakthrough role dazzled the Berlin film festival, Chilean newcomer Daniela Vega is fully enjoying the rewards of being fantastic and on her own terms. She didn’t model her character in the film on any screen stars, she says, and the same goes for discovering her own identity as a woman. “Soy muy yo,” she says – “I’m very much me.”Directed by Sebastián Lelio , A Fantastic Woman, the follow-up to his acclaimed female-centred drama Gloria, has been the toast of the festival circuit over the past year and is now heading for the Academy Awards, where it’s up for best foreign language film. It’s a magnificent work, stylish, playful and highly serious and, despite its protagonist’s sometimes harrowing ordeals, exuberantly uplifting. But what seals the film’s brilliance is Vega’s extraordinary portrayal of Marina, a young trans woman facing intense social hostility. It may be that, as Juliet Jacques suggested in a recent Guardian article, that in playing someone whose experience is in some ways close to hers, a trans actor such as Vega is able to bring a special bonus of “emotional memory” to her performance. But regardless of the viewer’s curiosity as to whether or not Vega essentially “is” Marina, there’s no denying that she brings a depth, sophistication and resilience to the role. Continue reading...[...]


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Melancholy and Mother Courage: why Three Billboards won the 2018 Baftas | Peter Bradshaw

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 22:41:55 GMT2018-02-18T22:41:55Z

Martin McDonagh’s black comedy, which features a powerhouse performance from Frances McDormand, surged to a surprise victory at the UK’s premier film awards

What a resounding and rather surprising victory at this Baftas for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri which was crowned with best film. It also got best British film – a little counter-intuitively for a film from an Irish-heritage writer-director, Martin McDonagh, and a story drenched in Americanness. This is on account of its production and talent provenance: the same convention which a few years ago made Gravity a British film in the eyes of Bafta.

Three Billboards is a movie that has snagged, sharply, in the minds of Bafta voters, and they have responded generously to its mix of satire, jagged black comedy and wan romantic melancholy – and they also absolutely loved Frances McDormand’s powerhouse performance in the role of Mildred, which won her best actress. She had a kind of postmodern Mother Courage role, the grieving middle-aged women who is past caring what people think of her and who rents three billboards just outside of town to complain that the man who raped and murdered her daughter has still not been caught. The film has been paid the ultimate compliment of becoming a meme. We have seen a “three billboards” display deployed after the Florida school shooting, to attack Senator Marco Rubio over administration and gun control – and also to attack the British government over Grenfell.

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Black Panther review – Marvel's thrilling vision of the afrofuture

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 17:00:41 GMT2018-02-06T17:00:41Z

The latest big-screen superhero story is a subversive and uproarious action-adventure, in which African stereotypes are upended and history is rewritten


Director Ryan Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole tackle the superheroes of colour question with this surreal and uproarious movie version of Marvel’s Black Panther legend, in which the sheer enjoyment of everyone involved pumps the movie with fun. It’s an action-adventure origin myth which plays less like a conventional superhero film and more like a radical Brigadoon or a delirious adventure by Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Those were the colonial-era mythmakers whose exoticism must surely have influenced Stan Lee and Jack Kirby when they devised the comic books in the 1960s, supplying the Afro- in the steely afrofuturism of Black Panther that generations of fans have treasured and reclaimed as an alternative to the pop culture of white America. But it’s the –futurism that gives Black Panther his distinctive power.

Chadwick Boseman plays T’Challa, a prince with a sensitive, handsome, boyish face and something introspective, vulnerable and self-questioning in his style. After the death of his father (shown in Captain America: Civil War, from 2016), T’Challa succeeds to the throne of the fictional African state of Wakanda, which lies west of Lake Victoria, on territory that is occupied in the real world by Uganda, Rwanda and northern Tanzania.

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