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3 items from 2009

Christmas and new year cinema releases

18 December 2009 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Out This Week

Avatar (12A)

(James Cameron, 2009, Us) Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver. 163 mins

The King Of The World returns with an awesomely expensive epic that makes everything else out there look cheap. It really is a visit to a strange new world: part-prog rock album cover, part-Japanese anime come to life. The mix of real action and animation is flawless, the 3D is unobtrusively immersive, and Cameron has lost none of his gift for gripping, purposeful action. It's a shame the story is so un-revolutionary: a formulaic mix of A Man Called Horse, other Cameron movies, The Matrix Sequels, and Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, all washed down with an eco message that's at odds with the technological spectacle served up. But you'd be churlish not to be carried away by the experience. Come on, this is amazing!

Nine (12A)

(Rob Marshall, 2009, Us) Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz. »

- Steve Rose

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The Queen of Spades | Film review

17 December 2009 2:30 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Thorold Dickinson's gripping and intricately designed British classic from 1948, based on Pushkin's short story, is now rereleased - preceded with an ebullient new on-screen introduction from Martin Scorsese. Anton Walbrook plays Captain Suvorin, an impoverished military captain in 19th-century Russia, resentfully out of his depth with the aristocrats of the officers' mess and longing for the money to match his ambition. Like many of the time, he daringly admires the meritocratic genius of Russia's great enemy, Napoleon, and is obsessed with gambling.

Suvorin is galvanised by the rumour that ugly old Countess Ranevskaya, played by Edith Evans, has sold her soul to the devil for the secret of winning at cards; he plans to offer her a chilling new Mephistophelean bargain: he will take her sin on his own soul, if she will only tell him how to make a fortune at the card-table. Dickinson's film is full of »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Oscars quiz: What film lost all five bids for acting?

5 December 2009 11:15 AM, PST | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

All of the films below received five Oscar nominations for acting. Only one was totally snubbed in the performance categories. Which one? To see the answer, click on the "Continue reading" link below. Answer: "Tom Jones" (1963) lost all five: Albert Finney (actor), Hugh Griffith (supporting actor), Diane Cilento, Dame Edith Evans, Joyce Redman (supporting actress). As for the others: "The Godfather: Part II" (1974) won one: Robert DeNiro (supporting actor). "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) won one: Estelle Parsons (supporting actress). "All About Eve" (1950) won one: George Sanders (supporting actor). Note: "Network" (1976) was also nominated for five acting slots, winning three: Peter Finch (actor), Faye Dunaway (actress), Beatrice Straight (supporting actress). "Peyton Place" »

- tomoneil

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