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’12 Years a Slave’: Italian posters racist? (Brad Pitt in ’12 Anni Schiavo’ poster) As 2013 comes to a close, 12 Years a Slave has become embroiled in some healthy, Oscar-friendly controversy. A couple of Italian posters for the film have focused on its white supporting players, Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, instead of on black protagonist Chiwetel Ejiofor. Since then, Italian distributor Bim has issued contrite apologies; Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment, the film’s international sales agent, has demanded a recall of the “unauthorized” posters (it’s unclear if no character posters featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor were ever created, or if they were just not on display); the U.S. media and their cohorts elsewhere have played their usual role in pushing hot buttons and creating controversy — much to the delight of both their advertisers and their viewers/readers; and everyone is now aware of how relevant to our early 21st century world »
- Andre Soares
Actors best known for their roles in TV and cinema are thrilling audiences and critics in plays full of violent, challenging action
The revered Kenneth Tynan, who reviewed theatre for the Observer in the 1950s and 1960s, said: "A good drama critic is one who perceives what is happening in the theatre of his time." All the same, it can be hard to spot a golden age when you are in the middle of it. It seems probable, though, that the London stage is enjoying at least a golden winter.
Four British actors, each of them a household name across the world, are delighting theatre audiences in leading roles in four plays that are not obvious crowd pleasers: Coriolanus, Richard II, Henry V and a new musical version of the Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho. The popularity of the leading men, two from the world of film, Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston, »
- Vanessa Thorpe
Starring Peter O'Toole, this flawed but stunning biopic is a compelling portrait of an enigmatic man
• Peter O'Toole dies aged 81
• More from the Reel history archive
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Director: David Lean
Entertainment grade: A
History grade: C–
Te Lawrence was the Welsh-born British Army officer who campaigned with Arab irregular forces during the first world war. In 1916, Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) is sent from Cairo to the Arabian desert to find Prince Faisal of Mecca.
It's essential to watch this film at the highest resolution possible on the biggest screen you can find. Director David Lean filmed it on sumptuous 70mm film instead of the usual 35mm, which allowed for incredible sharpness. The desert shots are mind-blowing: glimmering mirages, whirling clouds of sand, teeny-weeny people and camels inching across massive, spectacular landscapes (notably Wadi Rum in Jordan, where the real Lawrence and Faisal were based for a while). It »
- Alex von Tunzelmann
Written by Lem Dobbs
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
France/United States, 1991
Steven Soderbergh is a name that carries either plenty of weight or none whatsoever depending on who you talk to. For those who went to see the Ocean’s trilogy mostly for its star-studded cast, namely George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, perhaps the director’s name will fall on deaf ears. For others, the film nerds, Soderbergh is akin to a demi-god. His contributions to modern American cinema in both its mainstream commercial and art house forms are not to be overlooked. Arguably his most interesting works are those for which he chooses to meld star power with his more artistic inclinations, as with The Informant!, Che, and his 1991 oddball neo-noir, Kafka, starring Jeremy Irons and a host of other familiar faces.
Set in Prague a short few years after the first World War, the story »
- Edgar Chaput
The BBC's new spy drama takes us back to the dark days of the cold war, but it's no Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
London, 1974, is the setting for Legacy (BBC2). The UK is in the middle of the worst recession since the 1920s; three-day weeks, rising inflation, strikes and power cuts have brought the country to its knees. The intelligence service suspects that trade union dissent is being orchestrated by the Soviet Union; this is the cold war, there are reds under every other bed. But half the time you can't see them because the lights aren't working. Hurricane lamps – named after the brightest light in snooker at the time – are what they used; 1974 was dim and flickery.
A man, Charles, leaves his south London flat in a raincoat. (In 1974, everyone – women and children too – wore raincoats, and smoked, and drank whisky, and filed things in filing cabinets.) To a purposeful string score, »
- Sam Wollaston
Richard Alwyn's three-part documentary series about the daily working lives of cathedrals has been an underrated gem
The two main channels offered a prime-time shoot-out between Champions League football and Last Tango in Halifax, but for those in search of an hour away from the hurly-burly the only show in town was Cathedrals (BBC4). Richard Alwyn's three-part documentary series about the daily working lives of cathedrals has been an underrated gem and last night's final instalment on Southwark was perhaps the most intimate of them all. The series appropriately ended not with a banging of drums and a crashing of cymbals, nor with a handwringing whimper, but by keeping calm and carrying on against impossible odds. In this part of south-east London, God struggles to make himself heard above the trains that rattle past the cathdedral windows, the city planners that tear apart the local community by building »
- John Crace
By Lee Pfeiffer
The magnificent Oscar-winning best picture of the year for 1968, Oliver!, has been released as a Blu-ray special limited edition (3,000 units) by Twilight Time. This adaptation of the smash stage hit was a dream project for director Lewis Gilbert but, much to his dismay, the director's seat was given to Sir Carol Reed. How Gilbert's version of the film would have differed will never be known but suffice it to say, it's hard to imagine he could have improved on Reed's vision. There had been numerous previous screen versions of Dickens' classic novel Oliver Twist, with the most notable being David Lean's 1948 movie with a star-making turn by Alec Guinness as Fagin. The 1963 stage musical by Lionel Bart was a sensation and it stood to reason that the screen rights were quickly scooped up. The film went against the tide when considering other major musicals of the period. »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
The producers of the wickedly witty new musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” use the tiniest type possible to credit the source material: “based on a novel by Roy Horniman.” Cinephiles will know that Horniman’s “Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal” is also the basis for the 1949 British film “Kind Hearts and Coronets” in which Alec Guinness famously plays the eight murdered victims of a distant relative who feels he deserves to be the Duke of D’Ascoyne. In “Gentleman’s Guide,” which opened Sunday at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the coveted title has been changed to the Earl of Highhurst, »
- Robert Hofler
While the source material credited for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder is Israel Rank, an Edwardian novel by Roy Horniman published in 1907, the show’s key inspiration lies in the film adapted from that book, Kind Hearts and Coronets. That wonderful 1949 Ealing Studios black comedy cast the incomparable Alec Guinness as eight English aristocrats standing in the way of a murderous commoner’s noble birthright. The virtuosic comic turn here belongs to Jefferson Mays, taking on dizzyingly quick changes of costume and characterization with hilarious aplomb. But that’s by no means the sole enticement of this toothsome new
- David Rooney
Trevor Hogg chats with author J.W. Rinzler about a space opera which established a moviemaking empire for George Lucas....
“Right after finishing the Episode III [Revenge of the Sith] book, somewhere around 2005, I knew that the 30th anniversary was coming up and that there had never been a real making of Star Wars  book,” recalls Lucasfilm Executive Editor and Writer J.W. Rinzler. “There was almost no advance publicity. The Making of Star Wars got a couple of big reviews early on and people got excited. For me, I was trying to bring to it the feeling I had gotten from reading The Jaws Log when I was a kid; I found it to be an inspiration because the book told the story of production and not just how they did all of the trick shots.” Rinzler notes, “I don’t like it when writers get between the subject and the reader because »
“We’re multiplying,” says Hitoshi Nagano, a put-upon camera salesman in a giant Tokyo electronics store, and one of the many protagonists in Japanese writer-director Satoshi Miki’s “Its Me, “It’s Me.” Having played a modest run ($1.9 million) at the local box office this spring, this surreal black comedy about the ambiguity of identity opens in limited U.S. release this weekend.
Weirdness is set in motion when Nagano (played by JPop and television idol Kazuya Kamenashi) steals an identity. Before long, he begins encountering duplicates of himself all over Tokyo. Apparently some power or other (never specified) has stolen his identity in an all-too-literal sense, and is making copies of it. But what does ID even mean when everybody is identical? “Are you me or am I you?” Nagano asks one of the copies. Neither of them knows the answer.
Nagano stumbles into this infinite regression loop when »
- David Chute
Though considered a straight-up rip-off of major Hollywood blockbusters at that time, the 1979 sci-fi horror mash-up The Visitor is a true classic in its uncut form. One that stands alongside its influences as a great example of 70s cinema. Sure, it culls its innards from plenty of iconic genre masterpieces. But working like some long lost Quentin Tarantino grindhouse epic, the movie proves itself to be a wholly original entity that surfs on its own unique wave of ridiculous awesomeness.
Quite simply, it's the best movie you'll see this November. And if you love classics from that era, you'll not want to miss The Visitor, as Drafthouse Films rolls out a remastered theatrical release in several major cities. It will also be available this January on VOD and Netflix. This strange hybrid is notorious for giving us one of Hollywood legend John Huston's final performances. He stars as an »
Return Of The Jedi - In a final battle for the freedom of the galaxy, Luke must come face to face with the dark side in order to turn and save Darth Vader while Han, Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca lead an alliance of rebels and ewoks. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was directed by Richard Marquand, from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas. The cast included: Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Anthony Daniels as C-3Po, Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca,David Prowse as Darth Vader, Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine, Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi, Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker, and Frank Oz performing Yoda. »
Feature Andrew Blair 8 Nov 2013 - 07:00
To celebrate its 50th birthday this month, Andrew talks us through 50 great Doctor Who scenes...
Doctor Who, what with being the greatest thing ever and all, has its fair share of great scenes. You could – and people have – write a list of one great scene per story. There are thousands to choose from. Here, we have a list of fifty in no particular order. The criteria is simply that we enjoy them.
Because we all know about 'Do I have the right?' and 'I'm not going to let you stop me now', I've also tried finding moments from less popular episodes just to give them some love. No story is completely without merit (Even Timeflight has Khalid) and like it or not, Time and the Rani happened, so we're all just going to have to deal with it.
So, here's a selection of fifty great scenes. »
"The Bridge on the River Kwai" is considered a classic, but what would have happened if Alec Guinness' character Lt. Colonel Nicholson went home to Britain to deal with the post traumatic stress of being a prisoner of war? Based on Eric Lomax's autobiography of the same name, "The Railway Man" presents Lomax's account of his time as a Pow during World War II. Lomax, a British soldier, was taken captive in Singapore by the Japanese and put to work in a forced labor camp as a part of the "Death Railway," building the Thai-Burma Railroad. Colin Firth stars as Lomax with Nicole Kidman as his wife Patricia who turns to Lomax's past for help dealing with her husband's intense Ptsd. When fellow Pow survivor Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard) informs Lomax that he's found Nagase (Hiroyuki Sanada) the Japanese soldier responsible for their torture, Lomax follows the path of revenge. »
- Casey Cipriani
If it were the late '70s, and you were a wunderkind film artist a bit embarrassed about your zeal for space-opera kids' stuff, you went out and bagged yourself a great to class your movie up: Alec Guinness; François Truffaut; Max von Sydow done up like a disco gladiolus. That tradition is as good an explanation as any for the gorgeous, gloriously strange opening moments of 1979's The Visitor, a Euro-American science fiction horror clusterfuck too messy and weird to have hit back in the day but too inventive and accomplished to have been rotting for so long. (It's been given an HD transfer by Alamo Drafthouse.)
It opens with an alien desert under a great radiating blob of sun, as two robed, Jedi-like figures square off, space western style, one in Kenobi brown an »
His dramatisation of John le Carré's espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy starring Alec Guinness remains a British television classic. More than three decades later, director John Irvin is attempting to chronicle another shadowy life story: Nelson Mandela's years as a guerrilla freedom fighter.
Irvin announced on Friday a drama-documentary that will contain fresh revelations about Mandela's "odyssey" across Africa, his military training and his readiness to kill defenders of South Africa's apartheid regime.
The film, Mandela's Gun, is a joint UK-South African production and claims to be »
- David Smith
"Star Wars" had some pretty cutting-edge special effects for the '70s.But George Lucas' set was still subject to prop problems and gear gaffes.In a new series of outtakes from the film, watch as Stormtroopers fumble and fall all over the set. But it wasn't just the extras who struggled. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and even legendary thesp Alec Guiness all had troubles with their lines. Watch:Plus, as a bonus, check out what the original cast looks 35+ years after the film's release:With rumors that they'll reprise their roles in J.J. Abrams new trilogy, we might be seeing even more of Luke, Leia and Han! Read more »
- tooFab Staff
The original blooper reel from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope has been released.
Note - Audio begins after first 50 seconds
Star Wars Episode VII is due to begin filming in London in 2014, and is currently set for a December 2015 release.
Gallery - »
There's little in this world as delightful as a blooper reel. And a Star Wars blooper reel? A sublime joy. The first few clips in this newly surfaced collection of outtakes don't have any sound, but don't worry: The audio kicks in with plenty of time to hear Alec Guinness chuckle and Mark Hamill ask how to pronounce supernova. Though not technically one of the bloopers, do note just how ratty and gross the hair on Chewbacca's arms is at 1:03. Can someone give Chewie a comb, please? Yeesh. »
- Margaret Lyons
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