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Film | The Guardian

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

Published: Fri, 23 Mar 2018 17:41:55 GMT2018-03-23T17:41:55Z

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

How Harvey Weinstein's accusers are fighting their way back to the top

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 15:23:37 GMT2018-03-23T15:23:37Z

Weinstein reportedly tried to destroy the careers of women he allegedly abused – now they’re getting new chances

This month at the Oscars, Annabella Sciorra stood onstage, arms stiff at her sides, and exhaled. “It’s nice to see you all again – it’s been awhile,” she said, the words tumbling out in a rush. The last part was an understatement. The Academy Awards were Sciorra’s first major Hollywood appearance since alleging that Harvey Weinstein raped her in the early 90s. But really, she’d been out of the spotlight for decades, the bright star of Jungle Fever and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle mysteriously snuffed out.

Related: 'You'll never work again': women tell how sexual harassment broke their careers

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Unsane: how film's portrayal of mental illness is (slowly) improving

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 10:23:57 GMT2018-03-23T10:23:57Z

Steven Soderbergh’s new film is the story of a women held in a psychiatric hospital. It shows how film-makers are doing a better job with mental health issues

Steven Soderbergh: Unretired. The director announced in 2013 that he was quitting because “movies don’t matter any more”. But he has continued to work steadily since – in television and, since last year, film again. The film he made before announcing his “retirement” was Side Effects, a psychological thriller exploring big pharma, that followed a young woman (Rooney Mara) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. His new film, Unsane, is a psychological thriller that follows a young woman (Claire Foy) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. It is clear, then, that Soderbergh finds mental illness and psychiatry interesting topics to explore.

He’s not alone. But how has the onscreen treatment of mental illness evolved over the years?

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Here to Be Heard: The Story of the Slits review – rise of the punk pranksters

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 11:00:02 GMT2018-03-23T11:00:02Z

This baggy documentary charts the career of the tough-talking all-female rockers who redefined the concept of ‘girl bands’

Here is a well-intentioned but baggy, unfocused and unsatisfying documentary about punk legends the Slits, which feels like an assemblage of footage that could have been shaped in a clearer and more interesting way. It is evidently coloured by the continuing sadness that followed the death of Ariane Daniela Forster, or Ari Up, in 2010, after the Slits had been enjoying a reformed renaissance.

Ari was the fiercely talented and committed German singer whose mother Nora married John Lydon – a remarkable fact that does not, in fact, clearly emerge from this film and might on its own cast light on an intriguing emotional dynamic within the punk scene.

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Gholam review – Iranian exile haunted by the past in lonely London

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 11:00:02 GMT2018-03-22T11:00:02Z

Shahab Hosseini delivers a nuanced performance as a melancholy Iranian immigrant in Mitra Tabrizian’s sharp drama

Shahab Hosseini, who deservedly won recognition for his intense performance in Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman, offers a nuanced study in acting minimalism with this melancholy portrait of a man living in exile in London, never quite beyond the reach of his own troubled past. It’s a feature debut for Iranian artist-turned-writer-director Mitra Tabrizian, whose background in still photography perhaps explains the crepuscular cinematography.

Hosseini plays Gholam, a taciturn immigrant who works as a minicab driver by night and mechanic by day in a garage owned by kindly Mr Sharif (eminent Iranian actor Behrouz Behnejad). At the cafe run by his uncle, Gholam runs into a former colleague from his army days years ago, who wants to entice him into some shady business, maybe to do with politics. (The story takes place in 2011, during the height of the Arab spring.)

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I Got Life! review – French heart-warmer explores a mother's lot

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 09:00:00 GMT2018-03-22T09:00:00Z

A thread of optimism runs through this comedy starring Agnès Jaoui, in which the travails of Aurore resolve somewhat predictably

A life-affirmer and heart-warmer from French director Blandine Lenoir with weird moments of very misjudged broad comedy. The French title refers simply to its heroine, Aurore, but its English title is taken from the Nina Simone single. It’s a nice moment when Aurore, played by Agnès Jaoui, dances to that song on her own, with her infant daughters (now grown up) joining her in a kind of dream.

There are successful touches in this film, and Jaoui always has presence, but the base note of syrupy sentimentality is never far away, and it is unfunny and unconvincing when Aurore’s best friend, enraged by the sight of smug older guys with young girlfriends in the street, storms up to them and pretends to be a spurned lover, apparently for a laugh. Aurore herself is separated, enduring the menopause, unemployed, and going through another personal crisis when one daughter reveals that she is pregnant, thus making her a grandmother.

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Pacific Rim: Uprising review – John Boyega's charm buoys goofy sequel

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 17:00:04 GMT2018-03-20T17:00:04Z

The follow-up improves on Guillermo del Toro’s patchy robots vs monsters adventure thanks to the Star Wars actor’s charisma and a more cohesive plot

There was a monstrous amount of undeniable glee to be had while watching 2013’s Pacific Rim, a film that played out like a big-budget re-enactment of a seven-year-old smashing his toys together. A procession of scenes featuring giant robots fighting giant creatures proved gloriously fun to behold, recklessly destructive and fantastically silly. But the rest of the film was hopelessly inert, the humans so staggeringly dull that I’d have been content to see them destroyed underneath a public park-sized slimy claw.

Related: John Boyega: ‘I’m very direct. I can’t lie’

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Margot Robbie to bring female-focused Shakespeare to ABC

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 05:47:51 GMT2018-03-23T05:47:51Z

Actor’s production company to create 10 episodes featuring works by the Bard

Margot Robbie is teaming up with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to create a new television series based on a modern version of the works of Shakespeare, told from female perspectives and led by an all-female creative team.

The Oscar-nominated actor has spoken of her desire to work with up-and-coming creators, particularly women, through her production company LuckyChap Entertainment, which she founded in 2014 with a view to championing female talent and stories.

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Cate Blanchett on Woody Allen: 'I don't think I've stayed silent at all'

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 19:09:49 GMT2018-03-22T19:09:49Z

The Oscar-winning star of Blue Jasmine has spoken about the allegations aimed at the film-maker, saying she knew nothing of them when they worked together

Cate Blanchett has addressed the allegations aimed at Woody Allen, claiming she knew nothing of them when they worked together.

The actor won a best actress Oscar for her part in the film-maker’s 2013 comedy drama Blue Jasmine and is the latest star to talk about the claims of sexual abuse leveled at him.

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Man who died after getting trapped in cinema seat named as Ateef Rafiq

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:58:50 GMT2018-03-21T14:58:50Z

Rafiq, 24, suffered cardiac arrest after attempting to retrieve his phone at screening in Birmingham multiplex

The man who died after his head became wedged under the electronic footrest of a cinema seat has has been named as Ateef Rafiq, 24.

In a statement from operator Vue International, the cinema said Rafiq died on 16 March, a week after the incident.

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Robin Williams groped and flashed me on set, says Mork & Mindy co-star

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 12:03:21 GMT2018-03-21T12:03:21Z

‘I had the grossest things done to me,’ says Pam Dawber, but says she took no offence at the star’s lewd antics on the set of their hit sitcom

Robin Williams’s Mork & Mindy co-star has said he repeatedly grabbed her breasts and bottom and exposed himself to her on the set, a new book reveals, but she excused it as part of Williams’s playful personality.

“I had the grossest things done to me by him,” said Pam Dawber, who played Mindy. “And I never took offence. I mean I was flashed, humped, bumped, grabbed. I think he probably did it to a lot of people … but it was so much fun.”

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Game Over, Man! review – painful Netflix comedy is Die Hard with dick jokes

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 00:00:18 GMT2018-03-23T00:00:18Z

A staggeringly unfunny film plays out like a wretched take on the 80s action classic with added gay panic humor and a trio of charmless performances

Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Blake Anderson hold the human penis in a similar regard as Martin Scorsese does the holy cross: it is a graven object of obsession and great fear, a totem of power and pain, an icon through which one can find salvation just as easily as damnation. In Game Over, Man!, Netflix’s new feature film from the former Workaholics man-children, phalluses are everywhere. They’re getting kicked, punched, slapped, and generally brutalized. They’re shoved into faces; sometimes this causes delight, and sometimes despair. They’re severed, thrown around, and used as weapons. In this film’s utterly deranged guiding philosophy, the dong is the essence of life.

Related: The Outsider review – Jared Leto joins the yakuza in crass Netflix thriller

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Unsane review – Steven Soderbergh's brash mental-health thriller slides into silliness

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 21:30:17 GMT2018-02-21T21:30:17Z

Soderbergh’s iPhone-shot film boasts an excellent Claire Foy as a woman trapped in a psychiatric facility – but it’s ridiculous in all the wrong ways

Steven Soderbergh has ventured into the world of psychiatric grand guignol before, with his excellent 2013 thriller Side Effects. But this movie, from screenwriters Jonathan Bernstein and James Greer – known for comedy – is ultimately ridiculous in all the wrong ways. It’s a crazily broad, brash exploitation horror-thriller shot on an iPhone, with creeped-out distorted cinematography, menacingly low lighting, and pastiche midnight-movie design effects. The film has a ragbag of themes including stalking, mental illness and the private medical insurance racket; these competing ideas cancel each other out and aren’t scary.

And yet it has to be said that before things escalate into anarchic silliness, Unsane does pack a punch. Claire Foy brings a fierce commitment to the role of Sawyer Valentini, a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown – in fact, well over the verge. She has moved to a new city with a new identity to escape a stalker. Matt Damon has a cameo as the cop advising her on security: locks, bars, deleting her social media accounts etc. But she is a complete wreck – unable to form friendships or relationships – and to her hospital-based psychotherapist she one day ill-advisedly appears to confess to having suicidal thoughts. This therapist coolly asks her to sign a document, which she thinks is just committing her to more sessions. But suddenly big white-coated men lead her to a locked room. And in that secure facility, she becomes convinced that the attendant nurse is actually her stalker.

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Isle of Dogs review – Wes Anderson's scintillating stop-motion has bite

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 19:00:23 GMT2018-02-15T19:00:23Z

Marooning a pack of dogs on a dystopian Japanese island, the auteur’s new animation is an inspiringly detailed and surprisingly rough-edged treat

It’s well known that for Wes Anderson, the world is one big toy box. The prodigious American auteur proved that with his last feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which turned its human cast into comic puppets placed in a gorgeously crafted train-set universe. Now he proves it again – if anything, more extravagantly – with Isle of Dogs, an animation which, like its predecessor, opens the Berlin film festival in scintillating style.

Anderson has tried his hand at stop-motion animation before with the Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr Fox, but this new talking-animal entertainment is considerably more sophisticated and ambitious. It’s set in a near-future Japan, where Kobayashi (voiced by Kunichi Nomura, one of the film’s co-writers), the corrupt mayor of fictional city Megasaki, has taken draconian measures to curb the spread of various canine diseases, including the dreaded “snout fever”. He orders all Megasaki’s dogs to be exiled to a bleak island, essentially a huge offshore trashpile.

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Final Portrait review: Geoffrey Rush shines in Stanley Tucci's witty Giacometti sketch

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 18:30:22 GMT2017-02-11T18:30:22Z

Tucci writes and directs this amusing, occasionally Beckettian, episode from the life of the great painter, in which he forever delays an American admirer (Armie Hammer) from returning home

Stanley Tucci has created a very amusing, astringent chamber piece of a movie, performed with sympathy and wit by Geoffrey Rush and Armie Hammer.

It is based on the true story of how Alberto Giacometti invited the young American critic and influential admirer James Lord to sit for him in Paris in 1964; the resulting comedy is written for the screen by Tucci and based on Lord’s own memoir of the event.

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Love, Simon review – coming-out comedy is a landmark teen classic

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 02:28:30 GMT2018-02-27T02:28:30Z

The familiar formula of the high school movie is elevated by warmth, humor and remarkable delicacy surrounding the difficulty of being a gay teenager

It’s easy to forget, given Moonlight’s groundbreaking Oscar haul and the steady stream of acclaimed LGBT indies released since, that queer characters in mainstream films are still barely visible. They make infrequent throwaway appearances in minor roles, providing emotional or comic support while their stories remain secondary, thinly sketched, irrelevant. Attempts to crowbar them into franchise films have been embarrassingly coy and so instead, their narratives have been forced to stay within smaller films, where the risk of offending or alienating an over-catered straight audience wouldn’t be viewed as such a problem.

Related: Game Night review – playful comedy thriller will just about win you over

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Tomb Raider review – Alicia Vikander's Lara Croft is a badass bore

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:00:13 GMT2018-03-14T17:00:13Z

The rebooted action heroine channels the spirit of Indiana Jones – and creepy daddy issues – in a dull, derivative romp

Dave Allen once said that men know they’re getting older when they watch Sunset Boulevard and realise they find Gloria Swanson quite attractive. Similarly, a certain generation will sense the grim reaper’s presence now that Angelina Jolie is no longer the screen face of Lara Croft, because the mantle has passed to Alicia Vikander.

This Lara is notably more serious and sensitive, and unlike Jolie, or the figure in the 90s video game – or indeed Karen Gillan in the new Jumanji movie – she doesn’t have to wear cute shorts or revealing clothes, which is fair enough. But she does an awful lot of very pathetic and borderline creepy daddy-daughter pining for that all-important man in her life. It’s a fantastically lacklustre appearance from Dominic West as the stately parent from a stately home, the daring anthropologist “Lord Richard Croft” (the son of a duke or earl, perhaps?).

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Journey's End review – horror, humour and humanity in the trenches

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 09:00:11 GMT2018-02-01T09:00:11Z

This new version of RC Sherriff’s classic play about the futility and slaughter of the first world war is powerful, passionate and superbly acted

For the 100th anniversary of the first world war’s end, here is an unassumingly excellent new film version of RC Sherriff’s classic 1928 stage play, adapted by Simon Reade and directed by Saul Dibb. It is expertly cast and really well acted: forthright, powerful, heartfelt. The dramatic action is opened out, while always conveying the essential, cramped claustrophobia of this tragic ordeal. Cinematographer Laurie Rose’s coolly observant, dynamic camerawork helps drive the dramatic momentum and the sinuous musical score by Hildur Guðnadóttir and Natalie Holt creates a growing sense of horror and dread.

Asa Butterfield plays the young Second Lieutenant Raleigh, newly arrived at the front in 1918. In all his moon-faced naivety, he asks to join C company in the trenches, because the commanding officer there is Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin), who was a few years ahead of Raleigh at school and a family friend. The artless innocence of his beamingly casual attitude, so imminently to be ruined, is made even more ironic by the nepotism.

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Ready Player One review – Spielberg's shiny VR caper isn't worth playing

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 15:13:28 GMT2018-03-12T15:13:28Z

Flashy adaptation of the book is full of pop culture references and striking visuals but a thin plot and shallow characters

With the help of Van Halen’s Jump, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One launches its video game adventure story at full speed. The year is 2045; the place is Columbus, Ohio. Our hero, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), fills in the details while climbing past his grungy homes of his town, “the stacks,” where trailer parks are piled on top of each other sky-high. Things are so miserable in Wade’s world, everyone escapes to play in an immersive virtual reality game known as the Oasis. Its Steve Jobs-like founder, James Halliday (Mark Rylance) is worshipped like a god until his death some years before. However, before he left the mortal world, the benevolent creator left behind a series of games that would reward the winner with the Willie Wonka-like prize of the keys to his virtual kingdom.

Related: Spielberg's Ready Player One – in 2045, virtual reality is everyone's saviour

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Blockers review – sweet tale of parents and teens gets preachy

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 19:01:05 GMT2018-03-11T19:01:05Z

Kay Cannon’s film parodies helicopter parents to often hilarious results – but the film tries too hard to make its point

At some point in the last generation, parents who “just don’t understand” morphed into parents who need to be their kid’s best friend. In Kay Cannon’s Blockers, such helicopter parenting gets a hilarious send-up.

Despite an element of gross bodily fluid-laden gags, Blockers manages to be heartfelt and endearing – even if the film’s message is sometimes heavy handed.

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Gringo review – Charlize Theron ill served by lifeless crime caper

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 14:00:06 GMT2018-03-08T14:00:06Z

Impressive stunts and occasional flashes of wit can’t save this strained comedy drama starring Theron, David Oyelowo and Thandie Newton

Stuntman-turned-director Nash Edgerton takes the helm of this international crime caper, a film yearning and striving to be loved – there are some good lines and a couple of very impressive stunts.

The director’s brother Joel plays Richard Rusk, a crooked and obnoxious pharma exec running a secret Mexican cannabis-pill factory from his US base by arrangement with the terrifying local cartels. Charlize Theron produces the film and has a worryingly humourless role as Rusk’s super-sexy and ruthless lover Elaine, while David Oyelowo does his considerable best with the role of Harold, the likably innocent and trusting Nigerian guy in the office whom our dastardly duo intend to make the patsy for their illegalities. Thandie Newton is wasted in the uninterestingly and ungallantly written role of Bonnie, Harold’s wife. A couple of twentysomethings get mixed up in all this – played by Harry Treadaway and Amanda Seyfried – and their subplot goes pretty much nowhere in particular.

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The Strangers: Prey at Night review – slick sequel fails to replicate scares

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 08:01:04 GMT2018-03-08T08:01:04Z

A follow-up to the nastily effective 2008 hit about a family of masked killers is competently made but devoid of tension

Loosely inspired by the Manson Family murders, 2008’s low-budget home invasion horror The Strangers took a familiar set-up and turned it into something grimly effective and horribly memorable. It was a no-nonsense 85-minute shock to the system about a couple, played by Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, who find themselves tormented by three masked killers. The scariest thing about the film wasn’t the delicate buildup or the third-act gore but a simple, chilling exchange that was widely used in its marketing campaign. During the climax, while tied up, Tyler’s character asks her aggressors why they’re torturing them. Then follows an emotionless reply: “Because you were home.”

Related: Small scream: why TV's horror shows are scarily bad

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Shirin Neshat on the video art that reconnected her with Iran - The Start podcast

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:00:27 GMT2018-03-22T06:00:27Z

The visual artist reveals how her installation Turbulent built a community among the Iranian diaspora in New York, and expressed her feelings for her homeland

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

In 1998, a photographer who made New York her home following the Iranian revolution decided to make her first video installation. Parted from her family for 12 years, absent from the place she grew up in, Shirin Neshat sought out a team of exiled Iranian artists to create a piece that would indulge her nostalgia for traditional music and poetry. The resulting conceptual work, Turbulent, presented ideas rooted in folk culture that commented on women’s isolation in contemporary Iran, and on the creation of art itself.

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Experiment 20: the women who defied a controversial experiment – video

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 21:47:47 GMT2018-03-11T21:47:47Z

Experiment 20 dramatises the stories of three women who took part in the psychologist Stanley Milgram’s ‘Obedience to Authority’ experiments in 1962, and insisted on being heard. More than 800 people were recruited for what they were told was a study about learning and memory. The scenario they took part in urged them to inflict electric shocks on another person. This film by Kathryn Millard is the last in Guardian Australia’s Present Traces series, presented by Macquarie University and linked by archive material

• Watch more from the Present Traces series

Paul Daley on Asio Makes a Movie and Present Traces

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'Stand with me': Frances McDormand gets every female Oscar nominee on their feet – video

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 05:58:23 GMT2018-03-05T05:58:23Z

Frances McDormand uses her best actress speech for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to ask all the female nominees in the audience to stand up together. She tells the audience: 'Meryl, if you do it everybody else will … OK look around everybody ... because we all have stories to tell and projects we need to finance.' She then urges industry figures to speak to them in the next few days to make the projects happen. Her speech ended with: 'I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.' 

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Slasher Patrol: the prowler who shook 1950s Sydney – video

Sun, 04 Mar 2018 23:43:38 GMT2018-03-04T23:43:38Z

The imagination of suburban Sydney in the late 1950s was seized by a series of horrifying and sometimes savagely violent night-time attacks, the work of a mysterious figure the tabloids dubbed 'the Kingsgrove Slasher'. 

Slasher Patrol – part of our Present Traces series of films from Macquarie University based on archive material – tells the inside story of the long investigation and eventual arrest of the Slasher, and of the crack team of cops led by the film-maker’s uncle, Detective Sergeant Brian Doyle

• Watch more from the Present Traces series
• Unnatural Deaths: the emotional power of forensic photographs 

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'I have a spotlight. People listen to me.' John Connors on his controversial award speech

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 09:29:01 GMT2018-02-27T09:29:01Z

John Connors won best actor at the Irish Film and Television Awards recently for his role in Cardboard Gangsters. His speech addressed a number of issues including discrimination against Travellers, suicide and how creativity saved his life and has been watched over 1 million times on Facebook alone. He speaks with Guardian journalist Iman Amrani about class, his journey into acting and what he plans to do next.

Warning: contains strong language

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the ROI, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at

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The Skin of Others: when Douglas Grant met Henry Lawson – video

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 17:00:21 GMT2018-02-26T17:00:21Z

The Skin of Others explores the meeting between Douglas Grant, an Indigenous activist and first world war veteran, and the famous Australian author Henry Lawson which took place at Lawson’s north Sydney home in 1921. Drawing from papers left behind by Percy Cowan, the short film uses dramatic re-creation, archival stills and animated backdrops to bring the meeting to life. The film is the latest in the Present Traces series of films from Macquarie University, based on archive material 

Watch more from the Present Traces series

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India mourns as Bollywood superstar Sridevi dies – video obituary

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 13:08:12 GMT2018-02-25T13:08:12Z

Sridevi Kapoor, a Bollywood actor who broke the mould of traditional female roles, drowned in her hotel bath after losing consciousness, police have said. The prime minister, fellow actors and fans paid tribute after her death aged 54

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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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‘Pakistan is ready for change’: Verna star Mahira Khan on her controversial career

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 08:00:04 GMT2018-03-16T08:00:04Z

The star gained global attention when her film about a rape survivor who takes revenge on her attackers was nearly banned in Pakistan. She explains why its release was a victory for all women

Mahira Khan represents a face of Pakistan rarely seen outside the country: a face that doesn’t fit into the dynamic in which Pakistani women are either a “Madonna or a whore”. An unapologetic rebel in her life choices, she represents a new generation – and is helping redefine what it is to be a Pakistani woman.

The 33-year-old came to the attention of the world in a whirl of controversy when her film, Verna (Or Else), about a rape survivor who wreaks revenge on her attackers, was denied a certificate by the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) in Pakistan because of its “mature themes” and “edgy content”. The ruling attracted global condemnation and the film won the backing of the international film fraternity, including the Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and the Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone (who had faced a similar backlash for her film Padmavati).

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'The hardest member of Radiohead? Ed's probably tasty' – Jonny Greenwood answers readers' questions

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 16:12:58 GMT2018-03-14T16:12:58Z

Fresh from an Oscar nomination for Phantom Thread and with Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here in cinemas, the film composer and Radiohead guitarist discusses his two-pronged career

Jonny Greenwood’s place in the music firmament is well established after three decades as lead guitarist of Radiohead. But he has built a parallel career composing film scores that threatens to eclipse his day job. His recent soundtrack for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, his fourth collaboration with the film-maker, earned him an Oscar nomination this year, and he provides a another distinctive and eclectic score for Lynne Ramsay’s latest, You Were Never Really Here. Taking time off from his dual career, Greenwood answers readers’ questions about cinema, music, guitars and fighting. Steve Rose

Jessie Jones: Working for film obviously uses a different skill set, even ethos, when producing music as there’s always an image that you’re accompanying. I’m just wondering if that’s affected your work with Radiohead. The band, I think, has a very visual soundscape anyway, but I wonder how has working with film influenced that?

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Ruben Östlund: ‘All my films are about people trying to avoid losing face’

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 09:00:42 GMT2018-03-11T09:00:42Z

The Swedish director of Force Majeure and Palme d’Or winner The Square, starring Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West, on the folly of screen violence and finding drama in the oddities of human behaviour

Ruben Östlund is the rugged adventurer of Swedish film, the man who came down from the mountain to sun himself by the Med. I first meet the director on a posh restaurant terrace at the Cannes film festival. He’s easy to spot among the immaculate diners, perched at a corner table and clasping a mug of coffee as though to keep his hands warm. Östlund is bearded and rumpled and reeks of the outdoors – a child of nature come to gatecrash high society. He says he loves the Alps; he loves to ski. He spent most of his 20s shooting extreme sport videos. “Then I got bored of resorts. Too many lift queues.”

I think the ski slope’s loss might be cinema’s gain. Or possibly he’s just swapped one extreme sport for another. Östlund’s latest film, The Square, crash-landed on the festival as a last-minute addition, still warm from the editing suite (and would later make off with the all-important Palme d’Or). It’s a lovely, freewheeling piece of work – a comedy that starts out as a satire on modern art and then jumps the fence to embrace the whole world, riffing on themes of public space and personal responsibility. The film’s title refers to a utopian free zone that is marked out on the street outside a Stockholm museum. “The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring,” the accompanying brass plaque explains. “Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.”

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John Boyega: ‘I’m very direct. I can’t lie’

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 09:00:13 GMT2018-03-10T09:00:13Z

He shook up Star Wars as its first black stormtrooper and hasn’t looked back since. John Boyega on facing down bullies and not being nicey-nice

John Boyega is talking about the day his world changed – and he knew everything would be OK. It’s not when he got the lead role in his first film, Attack The Block, aged 18, nor when he was whisked off by JJ Abrams to Hollywood for a mighty role in Star Wars. Not even when he earned his spurs as a serious film actor in last year’s Detroit, a shocking exposé of racism in the US police.

No, he realised everything was going to be just fine back in secondary school when he learned to use his hands. “I smacked a few people in the face. That was a glorious day. I was 14 or 15. I was on the 148 bus and I got to the bus stop and a guy that had been at our school was there with two of his friends. He wanted a new phone, so he thought he was going to get one off me. Anyway, to cut a long story short, he approached me with one of his friends and I made both their left eyes water. And I didn’t even punch. I slapped – hard. It was significant I slapped because that’s something a parent would do to their child.”

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John Malkovich: ‘I am a constant source of embarrassment to myself’

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 09:30:14 GMT2018-03-10T09:30:14Z

The actor on childishness, night-time wandering and information overload

Born in Illinois, John Malkovich, 64, joined Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company and won an Obie for True West in 1983. The following year he appeared with Dustin Hoffman in the Broadway revival of Death Of A Salesman in 1984 and won an Emmy after it was made into a TV film. He has received Oscar nominations for Places In The Heart and In The Line Of Fire, and also starred in Dangerous Liaisons and Being John Malkovich. His latest film, The Wilde Wedding, is out on DVD and digital. He has two children with the film director Nicoletta Peyran; they have homes in Massachusetts and France.

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David Oyelowo: ‘The Ryan Goslings get to break earlier than black actors do’

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 07:00:31 GMT2018-03-09T07:00:31Z

In new cartel caper Gringo, t​he British star of ​Selma brings his perspective to yet another character that wasn’t ‘written as black’ – just don’t ask him to play the best friend

You may know David Oyelowo by his regal bearing: as Henry VI in the RSC’s 2001 production of Shakespeare’s trilogy; as Martin Luther King Jr in Selma; as Bechuanaland prince Seretse Khama in A United Kingdom, and even as himself, scion of the Oyelowos, a royal family in western Nigeria.

In his new film, however, the 41-year-old British actor is switching it up. “I was looking for something on the lighter side, having done a fair bit of dramatic work,” he says of Gringo, a south-of-the-border cartel caper. “I have a goofy side I realised that the audience hasn’t yet seen. That’s partly why I wanted to do it.”

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Anya Taylor-Joy: 'Whenever I’ve got a girlfriend role, I’ve sent it back'

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 11:00:36 GMT2018-03-09T11:00:36Z

The 21-year-old actor is quickly carving out a niche for playing strong-willed women, in dark thrillers like The Witch and Split, and her latest film, pitch-black comedy Thoroughbreds, might be her darkest yet

Hi Anya, how’s your day been?

Pretty chilled. Doing press for this movie has actually been pretty wonderful because people are receiving it so well.

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Peter Rabbit kicks Black Panther off the top of the UK box office

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 13:42:22 GMT2018-03-20T13:42:22Z

Family-friendly bunnies hop to the top in their first week with double the takings of Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft reboot Tomb Raider

While Black Panther extends its run at the top of the US box office into a rare fifth week, in the UK the Marvel superhero hit succumbs to a well-aimed kick from the family-friendly Peter Rabbit. Very loosely adapted from Beatrix Potter’s children’s tale, this blend of humans (Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne) and digital animals stuns with a £7.27m opening – the second biggest debut of 2018, after Black Panther.

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The Square review – an archly entertaining swipe at the art world

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 09:00:05 GMT2018-03-18T09:00:05Z

A satire on the contemporary art world sits edgily alongside a skewering of male privilege and middle-class altruism in Ruben Östlund’s surreal Palme d’Or winner

The publicity for Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winner The Square features Terry Notary as performance artist Oleg, stripped to the waist, mounting a table at an upmarket dinner and glowering with animalistic rage. It’s an arresting tableau – baffling and intriguing, promising anarchic action and titilatory spectacle. The fact that this in-your-face image only partly represents the film itself seems entirely appropriate, since one of the key themes of Östlund’s surreally cerebral and increasingly weird art-world satire is “the difference between art and marketing”.

“The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring,” reads the rubric for the art installation of the title: a floor-level, illuminated outline of a space in which altruistic behaviour is compulsory. “Within its bounds we all share equal rights and obligations.” Such aspirations are noble but hardly headline-grabbing – until two youthful PR creatives conjure up a shockingly offensive promo video (think Wag the Dog meets Michael Bay) that promptly goes viral. Meanwhile, suave museum director Christian (Claes Bang) is too distracted by the whereabouts of his stolen wallet and mobile phone (ringtones constantly interrupt the drama) to pay proper attention to his job, or the people with whom he works.

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Start your Bollywood romance here

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 18:00:41 GMT2018-03-17T18:00:41Z

If you want to get into Indian films and TV but don’t know how, here are some of the best online offerings

For many of us, Bollywood cinema tends to be the invisible elephant of the UK film market. Vast in output and popularity alike, it’s nonetheless a difficult scene for dilettantes to keep pace with. Media coverage and criticism is scarce, not least because mainstream Indian releases are rarely screened for the press – or perhaps this cause and effect should be reversed – and breakout crossover hits are rare. That makes simply knowing what to see tricky before matters of access come to the fore. With marketing materials as one’s principal guide, one crystal-encrusted musical or strutting street-war thriller looks much like another.

The world of streaming, then, is an ideal way in for the Bollycurious. It may not make the mass of material much more critically navigable, but the convenience of it all enables a lot more enjoyable trial and error. The most obvious port of call is Netflix, which has been beefing up its Bollywood selection for a while before jumping in – as is the network’s wont in all areas these days – with some originals of its own. Later this year comes underworld miniseries Sacred Games, adapted from Vikram Chandra’s sprawling novel and directed by swaggering genre stylist Anurag Kashyap – already represented on Netflix with the tough-skinned Ugly and the deranged serial-killer film Raman Raghav 2.0. His TV saga will aim to lure both Indian audiences and subtitle-happy viewers of crime fare in the Gomorrah mould.

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Danny Boyle's 007: what can we expect from the next James Bond?

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 11:13:19 GMT2018-03-20T11:13:19Z

The Trainspotting director is working on a script for the 25th Bond film. From nods to #MeToo and Time’s Up to Trainspotting-style sleights of hand, here’s what we might get

If the James Bond film producers Eon really want to shake up 007, they should employ Quentin Tarantino – not Danny Boyle – to take charge of the next film in the franchise. Tarantino has long had designs on Bond, and nobody writes better dialogue for Christoph Waltz – so much so that the latter’s underplayed Ernst Stavro Blofeld in 2015’s Spectre was a pale shadow of the Austrian maestro’s freewheeling, rambunctious turns as SS officer Hans Landa in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) and as bounty hunter Dr King Schultz in 2012’s Django Unchained. Imagine Blofeld escaping from jail and going after Her Majesty’s top agent in the forthcoming 25th official Bond flick, this time armed with the dazzling repartee and perfectly poised badinage of a Tarantino script. Now that would be something worth seeing.

Related: Danny Boyle reveals he is working on script for next James Bond film

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From Tomb Raider to A Wrinkle in Time: why Hollywood has daddy issues

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:00:29 GMT2018-03-19T10:00:29Z

Whether it’s a traumatic childhood that spurs on a hero or the drive for adventure, the trope of the absent father has long been a catalyst for cinema

While Hollywood has been smashing its own patriarchy off-screen, we’ve also been seeing a curious absence of fathers on it lately. Especially in family movies. Dead parents have long been a reliable source of sympathy for young heroes, but it’s dads who seem to be dying or disappearing right now. Coincidence or conspiracy?

Related: Tomb Raider review – Alicia Vikander's Lara Croft is a badass bore

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Trapped in the Sunken Place: how Get Out’s purgatory engulfed pop culture

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 07:00:27 GMT2018-03-17T07:00:27Z

A year after Jordan Peele’s horror, its key scene has come to signify a sinister state of being for the likes of OJ Simpson, Stacey Dash as Kim Kardashian denies Kanye West is there

In February 2016, Daniel Kaluuya arrived on set at a large suburban home in Fairhope, Baldwin County, Alabama. In many ways it seemed like any other morning during the three-week, low-budget feature shoot. However, the movie’s director, Jordan Peele, seemed to believe the footage they would shoot that day might take on a greater resonance.

“Yo, this is iconic,” the actor remembers Peele saying to him. Kaluuya wasn’t sure if his director was simply trying to amp him up; nevertheless, he took his place opposite the Oscar-nominated actor Catherine Keener and focused. “It felt intense,” he later recalled to Variety. “It was just that five-page scene that day.”

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The final frontier: how female directors broke into sci-fi

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 06:00:02 GMT2018-03-16T06:00:02Z

It was seen as a job for the boys. That’s changing thanks to the likes of Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins and Claire Denis being given opportunities to oversee big-budget productions

Critical reactions to Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time may have been mixed, but there’s no denying it is a cinema landmark. DuVernay is not just the first woman of colour to direct a $100m (£72m) movie, but a member of a very exclusive club – female directors of big-budget science fiction.

It is sobering to realise that Kathryn Bigelow’s $42m sci-fi noir Strange Days was released nearly a quarter of a century ago. It was a resounding flop, which no doubt convinced studios that women should not be allowed to direct the genre at all. Since then, we have also had Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending from the Wachowskis. But one can’t help wondering if, back in 1999, Warner Bros would have entrusted The Matrix’s $60m budget to a couple of relative unknowns if they had been called Lilly and Lana, instead of Larry and Andy.

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Film depictions of sexual violence are increasingly alarming. It has to stop

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 09:53:06 GMT2018-03-14T09:53:06Z

From mainstream thrillers such as Jennifer Lawrence’s Red Sparrow to art films such as Human, Space, Time and Human, rape has become a repellent, exploitative device

In the just-released thriller Red Sparrow, Jennifer Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a young Russian woman sent to train at an elite spy school. There, she is taught to identify the one thing that a human target desires – and to become that thing to extract information. In one particularly gruelling exercise, Dominika is forced to confront a male student who earlier attempted to rape her, and instructed to “give him what he wants”. However, Dominika niftily flips the terms of the encounter, undressing and offering herself to him instead. The previously eager student suddenly finds himself unable to achieve an erection, and Dominika explains that she figured out what he wanted, as instructed, but that it wasn’t sex: it was power.

If this logic sounds familiar, it is because it’s a perspective on sexual violence that has gained unprecedented mainstream awareness over the past few months. Though men can and do leverage their power and influence in order to elicit consensual sex with women, they also deliberately develop strategies for taking advantage of women through coercion. This clearly isn’t about sex, it is about power; men who assault women are not typically horror-movie monsters, but simply people who want to have power and control over women.

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Could you watch every film released at the cinema?

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:38:15 GMT2018-03-14T17:38:15Z

A £10 pass to watch any movie at any cinema – similar to America’s popular Moviepass – is looking to launch in the UK. Does this mean you should watch anything and everything? ‘Yes!’ says a film critic

Moviepass is a cinema subscription service in the US that allows people to watch unlimited screenings at different cinemas for $7.95 (£5.70) a month. A similar system – cPass – has announced its plans to launch in the UK at £9.95, raising the possibility of UK film lovers being able to get to do what I, as a film critic, do every week – watch every film that hits either the arthouse or multiplex (UK chains Odeon and Cineworld already offer their own passes).

“You have the best job in the world!” The response, when people learn my profession, is only slightly tempered when I point out that there is a vast difference between getting to watch every film – and having to watch every film.

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How gay comedy Love, Simon breaks boundaries by playing it safe

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:41:25 GMT2018-03-13T13:41:25Z

There’s something surprisingly subversive about the glossy crowd-pleasing commercialism of a teen movie with a coming out narrative

At three separate points in my screening of Love, Simon, a sizeable portion of the audience united in a collective “awwwww” – a satisfied, soft-hearted sigh, as if we had gathered for a big-screen showing of a YouTube cat video montage rather than a movie. I may have involuntarily joined in a couple of times: an unabashedly contrived story of a sweet, “straight-acting” high-schooler (lovable dreamboat Nick Robinson) drawn out of the closet when he strikes up an anonymous email friendship with another secretly gay schoolmate, Love, Simon is entirely adorable.

Related: Love, Simon review – coming-out comedy is a landmark teen classic

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How we made 2001: A Space Odyssey

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 15:00:13 GMT2018-03-12T15:00:13Z

Rock Hudson walked out of the premiere, Hal was originally a cockney, and Stanley Kubrick used one of the model spaceships to pay his daughter’s tutor … the makers of the sci-fi classic share their memories

One day in the early 1960s, I had my palm read at a funfair. The palmist saw a rocket ship in my future. Then my agent called and said I’d been offered the lead in Stanley Kubrick’s next film. When I started reading the script, something felt terribly familiar. As a teenager, I had read The Sentinel, a short story by Arthur C Clarke – and that was the starting point for Kubrick’s film.

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Celebrity-in-chief: is Trump the only true star left?

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 14:40:19 GMT2018-03-09T14:40:19Z

The president’s tweet mocking the Oscars may have hit on a terrible truth: that he, not Hollywood’s woke actors, is the age’s real star

Last week, the world was an unstable place in need of serious attention from the US president. America’s proposed steel tariffs had become explosively controversial. Russia was under fire for “laundering” illicit North Korean coal exports. China’s National People’s Congress met to introduce a gigantic constitutional change permitting a Mao-style life presidency – and Donald Trump tweeted: “Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY. Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore – except your President (just kidding, of course)!”

That little faux-modest crack at the end: was that the president being cheerfully magnanimous in his zeitgeist victory? Could he simply be right? Is Donald J Trump, in all his gurning panto villainy and unrepentant, unbecoming enthusiasm for his own prestige, the modern world’s single authentic star? The celebrity-in-chief?

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The end of the auteur?

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:00:26 GMT2018-03-23T06:00:26Z

Auteur theory says a director’s vision is present in every frame. What happens if they turn out to be a liability?

Handing out the Oscar for best director three weeks ago, Emma Stone prefaced the award by suggesting the power and influence of that figure in the film-making process. “It is the director whose indelible touch is reflected on every frame,” she said. In any other year, that statement would have sounded uncontroversial; it has, after all, been integral to the notion of auteurship since it was first expounded in the late 1940s by André Bazin. And it was Andrew Sarris, courier of those ideas to English-speaking readers in the early 60s, who explained that an auteur should have an “identifiable personality” and bring “interior meaning”.

But these are more than usually troubled times in the film industry, and the assumption that the director is present in every frame becomes problematic once that same director turns out to be a liability. It is one thing separating the art from the artist: reprehensible people frequently make great films, and vice versa. But how do we square that with the cult of the auteur? If the value of a movie can be attributed to a single film-maker, it becomes that much harder to argue that extracurricular misjudgments – and even crimes – can be expunged from what is on screen.

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​Sajjan Singh Rangroot review – Sikh first world war drama has mud and guts

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 01:00:21 GMT2018-03-22T01:00:21Z

A commemoration of British Indian army soldiers directed by Pankaj Batra is solid if undemanding viewing

Pankaj Batra’s Punjabi melodrama combines a new angle on the the first world war with an old-fashioned appeal: a broadly fictionalised commemoration of those Sikh soldiers who served in the British Indian army, it flits between the usual barrack-room bonding and memories of girls back home before launching into final-reel shows of heroism and sacrifice. Musical megastar turned actor Diljit Dosanjh – in a move we might now call “doing a Styles” – plays the eponymous Singh, a free thinker schooled to fight the cause of independence but forced to do his bit by his father, a grovelling lackey of empire, in the hope of achieving greater career progression.

Rachid Bouchareb’s second world war film Days of Glory may have been an inspiration: our heroes must navigate the xenophobia and condescension of those who would have them march at the back of the battalion and thereby prove themselves first among equals. The script floats one intriguing historical supposition – that men such as Singh signed up because they thought the Brits were more likely to grant them freedom if they fought together – but Batra generally prefers working with tried-and-tested war movie tropes: the trench dance number is a novelty, but when one recruit speaks longingly of future plans, we instantly know he’s done for.

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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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A Wrinkle in Time review – wacky fantasy takes Oprah to infinity and beyond

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:00:07 GMT2018-03-22T15:00:07Z

Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey star in Ava DuVernay’s charming yarn that embraces diversity and girl power

Ava DuVernay’s new film is a surreal and primary-coloured children’s story: good-natured, unworldly, a bit ungainly, not a masterpiece, but amiable and generous in spirit. Knowing absolutely nothing of the 1962 novel by Madeleine L’Engle on which it’s based, or the Disney TV movie of 2003, I had no fanbase-proprietary claims, no preconceptions as to how this story should be treated or reinterpreted. To me, it felt interestingly like a Roald Dahl tale but without the cynical, vinegary tang. Those tearful, final scenes and the trio of kids reminded me weirdly and pleasantly of something else: The Railway Children.

Yet A Wrinkle in Time has been a bit coolly received by critics, who have indicated that they cannot necessarily submit to its updated credentials as a story about empowerment and young people of colour. Maybe stories about dynamic male superheroes are much more eligible for acclaim on this basis, or any basis, than stories about girls.

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Unsane: how Steven Soderbergh manages to thrill with just an iPhone

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 15:31:49 GMT2018-03-21T15:31:49Z

The director’s latest film, shot entirely on a phone, is a dizzying deep dive into the psyche of a stalking victim kept in a mental care facility against her will. Contains spoilers

The history of Steven Soderbergh is the history of making do. The steadfast indie director likes doing his movies his way, and when money poses an obstacle to his purity of vision, he’s always quick with an industry workaround. He wanted to make a 250-minute account of Che Guevara’s life to be spread across two films and shot entirely in the Spanish language, and since Hollywood wasn’t interested, he hawked his wares with French and Spanish distributors instead. The big studios refused to release Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra unless he first recut it, so he bypassed US theaters entirely and found a welcome home at HBO. He managed to free himself from overseer shackles entirely by selling all the streaming and TV rights to Logan Lucky ahead of its release last year, using that capital to finance the film, and then divvying up the box office proceeds among his collaborators instead of suited investors.

Related: Don’t call it a comeback: the celebrities who love to ‘retire’

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The best songs from teen movies – ranked!

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:37:38 GMT2018-03-15T16:37:38Z

Simple Minds! The Moldy Peaches! Yello! Here are 20 of the most memorable musical moments from the greatest high-school films ever

The visuals of a poolside Phoebe Cates peeling off her bikini top might be more famous than the song that accompanies them, but Amy Heckerling and Cameron Crowe, Fast Times’ director and writer, were no slouches when it came to finding the perfect guitar riff for this early slice of music video-style slo-mo that – legend has it – became the most rewound scene in VHS history.

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Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House review – the Deep Throat riddle

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:00:25 GMT2018-03-23T06:00:25Z

Liam Neeson’s heroic portrayal of the FBI boss who helped topple Nixon following Watergate, doesn’t quite wash

This laborious and solemn Nixon-era drama about the man who was “Deep Throat” gets off to a clumsy start with the title. He brought down the White House’s occupant, not the White House, and perhaps it’s worth noting that this was possible because a sizeable number of Republicans were prepared to think independently and act against the president. In 2018, the current incumbent can luxuriate in the knowledge that there is no immediate danger on that front, although this film’s depiction of a troublesome FBI is nonetheless relevant.

Liam Neeson – ramrod straight in a heavy business suit, with hairpiece and gravelly whisper – plays FBI deputy director Mark Felt, who fed information to the press, and particularly the Washington Post’s Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, about who knew what and when about the Watergate break-in. (He outed himself as the informant in 2005.) And why? Was he a closet pinko? Of course not – although he was a registered Democrat who went over to Reagan in the 1980s. Felt was a loyal bureau man who was convicted in 1980 of ordering break-ins – burgling the homes of suspected members of the Weather Underground, thus violating their civil rights. So were his activities down to pure petulance at being passed over for the top FBI job when its monarchical founder J Edgar Hoover died? Perhaps. This film, however, rather fudges that issue by simply making Felt furious at the new top man’s readiness to be a lapdog for the Nixon White House, apparently willing to whitewash Watergate.

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Oscar winners 2018: the full list

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 07:19:14 GMT2018-03-05T07:19:14Z

All the winners from the 90th Academy Awards

Oscars 2018: how the night unfolded
Oscars red carpet 2018: from Jennifer Lawrence to Salma Hayek – in pictures

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – WINNER!
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

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