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1-20 of 124 items from 2011   « Prev | Next »


Bringing along Baby: Going wailing in The Deep Blue Sea

13 December 2011 1:49 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Esther Walker and daughter Kitty watch Rachel Weisz hit the self-destruct button at a parent-and-baby screening. But their affections are split: one prefers Tom Hiddleston while the other would opt for Simon Russell Beale

A foul and wild day for a nearly deserted showing of The Deep Blue Sea. An indication, probably, that smug mummies don't want to look at Rachel Weisz chewing the furniture for 98 minutes; we want, mostly, to see Ryan Gosling with no clothes on. I hear rumours that there was standing room only at the Baby Club showing of The Ides of March.

"She," I said to Kitty, pointing at the screen, "could have been your mummy." I refer to my husband's – possibly crazed – tale that he was invited to Rachel Weisz's house for a date after interviewing her for Tatler magazine about a hundred years ago. But fate had other plans for both of them. »

- Esther Walker

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The best shows of 2011: Michael Billington's choice

4 December 2011 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

With British theatre looking backwards, even the one new play that almost everyone enjoyed was a skilful reworking of an 18th-century classic

The British theatre is living off its past. Just think of the plays that left a strong impression in 2011: Caryl Churchill's Top Girls (1982), Harold Pinter's Betrayal (1978), Edward Bond's Saved (1965), Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen (1959) and his Chicken Soup With Barley (1958), and Terence Rattigan's Flare Path (1942). Even the one new play that almost everyone enjoyed, Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors, was a skilful reworking of an 18th-century classic.

I admired Mike Bartlett's 13 at the National and Alan Ayckbourn's Neighbourhood Watch in Scarborough for their ability, in very different ways, to reflect the tenor of the times. Two other old hands, David Hare with South Downs and David Edgar with Written on the Heart, turned in highly accomplished pieces. But, even »

- Michael Billington

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Terence Rattigan, the poet of repression

2 December 2011 4:07 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Terence Rattigan's masterpiece The Deep Blue Sea, now adapted for the screen, was based on an affair between men. He was not the only writer to change a character's sex

Terence Rattigan was the great playwright of restraint, which means, of course, that he was obsessed with the prospect of passion breaking out. There is no more fervent champion of sexual obsession than the puritan, and no more convincing exponent of the destructive power of passionate emotion than the poet of repression. Rattigan's great subjects are what may not be spoken about; what may be concealed; and the moments when people – particularly English people – find it impossible to say what they feel. These are subjects often ascribed to Noel Coward, but Brief Encounter is broad and explicit compared to the best of Rattigan. Consider, for instance, the great scene in the Raf movie The Way to the Stars, the »

- Philip Hensher

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Rachel Weisz on Working with Malick

2 December 2011 9:50 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Sitting down with Rachel Weisz recently to discuss her role as a 1950s English adulteress in Terence Davies’ adaptation of the Terence Rattigan play "The Deep Blue Sea," the actress also shed a bit of light on working with a third Terrence – Malick – on his untitled love story with Ben Affleck. She describes the experience as “unlike any other I’ve ever had. Unorthodox would be a massive understatement. There isn’t really a script, you don’t know what the story is, you don’t know who the other characters are. I knew I was Ben Affleck’s sister and that he was in love with two different women but otherwise I didn’t know »

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The Deep Blue Sea drowns us in the love of love

28 November 2011 12:43 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Cinema colludes with chemistry to turn infatuation into a religion, and this Rattigan adaptation only compounds the problem

What is this thing called love? By which, of course, I don't mean "companionate love" (boring except to the likes of Mike Leigh) but that euphoric and ephemeral obsession with another individual that so has a hold on the rest of us.

The American psychologist Dorothy Tennov termed this condition "limerence", and established the accuracy of popular ideas about it through interviews with 500 limerents. Its characteristics turned out to include such reassuringly poetic manifestations as an aching of "the region in the centre front of the chest", a "sometimes incapacitating" shyness in the presence of the love-object, and "a feeling of walking on air" when reciprocation seems at hand.

Familiar though the phenomenon may be, it's fraught with paradox. The Jungian analyst Robert Johnson suggested that romantic love isn't actually love at »

- David Cox

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UK. Terence Davies's "The Deep Blue Sea"

27 November 2011 10:53 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

"In the late 1950s Terence Rattigan fell victim to time and trend," begins Nigel Andrews in the Financial Times. "You could look up 'unfashionability' in an illustrated dictionary and there was the playwright's mug shot: the Winslow Boy/Browning Version/Deep Blue Sea man looking out glumly into a condemned future. Today, with the Angry Young Playwright generation, his usurpers, looking more like the condemned ones, the cry 'Anyone for Terence?' is heard throughout theatreland. Now it invades cinema. Terence Davies's The Deep Blue Sea is one Terry's tribute to another: a Rattigan play about tortured love in postwar England adapted by the filmmaker who gave us his tortured love paean — love of family, of childhood, of the tender nightmares of growing up in 1950s Liverpool — in Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988). Davis hasn't made a feature since 2000, his film of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth. His style doesn't spread easily. »

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The Deep Blue Sea – review

26 November 2011 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Terence Rattigan's romantic drama set in a repressive postwar Britain is brought to the big screen superbly by Terence Davies

If we count his first three short films made on shoestring budgets between 1976 and 1983 as a trilogy, and his next, Distant Voices, Still Lives, as a diptych (they were actually made separately), Terence Davies has directed a mere seven films in 35 years. This puts him in the same exclusive league for low output and high quality as his contemporary, Terrence Malick. Davies's last film, Of Time and the City (2008), was a withering documentary about the sad decline of his hometown, Liverpool, and it followed two feature pictures adapted from American novels set at different times and in different American milieux, John Kennedy Toole's The Neon Bible and Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth.

His outstanding new movie, The Deep Blue Sea, is a version of a play by Terence Rattigan, »

- Philip French

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This week's new films

25 November 2011 4:07 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Take Shelter (15)

(Jeff Nichols, 2011, Us) Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart. 121 mins.

After a year-long disaster-movie onslaught, apocalypse fatigue could well be setting in, but this one's worth the extra effort – particularly since it's less about the end of the world than the threat of it. That plays large in the mind of Shannon's modern-day Midwestern Noah, who sets about building his underground ark. His wife worries more about his mental health, and their day-to-day problems. Brilliantly constructed and performed, it's a domestic saga infused with haunting, unnamed dread.

50/50 (15)

(Jonathan Levine, 2011, Us) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick. 100 mins.

The Knocked Up of cancer movies? Not quite, but this is funnier and more frank than most terminal illness movies. Gordon-Levitt is a potential victim, to whom Rogen offers blokey support.

The Deep Blue Sea (12A)

(Terence Davies, 2011, UK) Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston. 98 mins.

Davies again recreates postwar Britain, this »

- Steve Rose

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This week's new film events

25 November 2011 4:07 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Bristol Palestine Film Festival, Bristol

The Palestinian struggle hasn't been forgotten, but with so much going on in the Arab world this year, it could have slipped our attention a little. This new festival, spearheaded by Ken Loach, should rectify that. Its remit is to see the world through Palestinian eyes, via films, art, photography, discussions and poetry. It's not all pain and misery: the first night proper on Friday, introduced by Loach, has delightful animation Hassan Everywhere and (No) Laughing Matter, which journeys to the West Bank in search of good jokes. Other non-fiction subjects include Jaffa oranges and the Palestinian women's football team, while culture-clash drama Amreeka warmly tracks a Palestinian mother's move to the Us.

Various venues, Thu to 10 Dec, bristolpff.org.uk

Terence Davies, Nationwide

Having struggled to get his films made for so long, Davies is now in danger of becoming a national treasure. The »

- Steve Rose

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Tom Hiddleston: 'I never wanted to be the go-to guy for tails and waistcoats'

25 November 2011 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Spielberg, Allen, Branagh – Tom Hiddleston has had one hell of a year working with the directing greats. His latest is with Terence Davies in The Deep Blue Sea, set in postwar London. He just hopes he won't always be cast in the past

If you want the British actor who best embodies fragile, gilded youth, Tom Hiddleston's your man, boy, whatever. His speciality is the young, the green, the dying; dreamers and schemers; the callow buck sent off on a mission that may prove to be his last. Over the past year he's been sent over the top in the first world war, survived the Battle of Britain in the second and drunk himself sick in the bars of 1920s Paris. He made five films back-to-back, then collapsed in bed last Christmas Eve, his health in tatters, the "walking dead" for the next two weeks. His breakthrough season almost broke him, »

- Xan Brooks

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The Deep Blue Sea – review

24 November 2011 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Rachel Weisz shines in a melancholy Rattigan adaptation, writes Peter Bradshaw

This misery can't last, says Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter … not even life lasts very long. There is much misery in Terence Davies's new movie, and much of the fear that Cs Lewis said was like grief, and also a kind of vertigo and euphoria at looking directly, as if for the first time, at the mystery of existence: the painful, intractable mystery romantic love will never quite be able to solve or explain away.

It's an impressionistic adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play about the young wife of a kindly, dull High Court judge. In 1950, she falls passionately in love with Freddie, a hard-drinking former Raf pilot whom she finds is more in love with his own heroic past. Rachel Weisz performs with enormous intelligence and restraint as Hester; Tom Hiddleston is the prickly airman, horrified by »

- Peter Bradshaw

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My Week With Marilyn – review

24 November 2011 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The stand-off between Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier while making The Prince and the Showgirl is recreated wonderfully in this entertaining film

In 1956, Marilyn Monroe came to Britain to make a movie at Pinewood Studios with Laurence Olivier. This was the tense and ill-fated light comedy The Prince and the Showgirl, scripted by Terence Rattigan, a film that became a legend for the lack of chemistry between its insecure and incompatible stars. One was a sexy, feminine, sensual and mercurial diva. The other would go on to make Some Like It Hot.

The story is told – or part of it – in this intensely enjoyable, entirely insubstantial movie featuring glorious performances from Kenneth Branagh and Michelle Williams as Olivier and Monroe, participants in a love triangle of two stars and a nobody. The whole thing is seen from the standpoint of the film's star-struck third assistant director, Colin Clark, son of the great art historian Kenneth, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Close up: Leveson inquiry sees Hugh Grant tackle film publicity

24 November 2011 9:21 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Hugh Grant, who was lauded for his appearance at the Leveson inquiry this week, had some arguments to air about the film promotion circuit

The big story

This week saw actor Hugh Grant deliver his testimony to the Leveson phone hacking inquiry. Grant, a vocal opponent of invasive press behaviour for many months, gave a thoughtful and measured performance. He no longer appeared "the foppish stereotype Brit," according to the Guardian's Michael White. "More high-minded Gary Cooper in Mr Deeds Goes to Town."

Part of Grant's argument centred on the impression that film stars ought to offer themselves up to promote their films. It was, he said, part of your responsibility to a project to do interviews around it ("If you didn't do a little bit of publicity you'd be a monster"), but far from essential. Grant estimated that around 5% of a film's success came down to whether or not he gave interviews, »

- Henry Barnes

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Terence Davies: follow your hormones

24 November 2011 3:21 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Terence Davies' new film features a bored 1950s wife who leaves her husband after some earth-moving illicit sex. It's how he wishes he'd lived his life, he says

'I'm gay, I live alone and I've been celibate for 30 years," says Terence Davies. "So in a sense, I can't imagine what it's like." The 65-year-old director is talking about women trapped in unfulfilling marriages in the 1950s. And yet, in another sense, he perfectly understands their plight – having witnessed, as a boy in the 1950s, his own mother's brutal marriage.

"My mum had a terrible life because my father was a complete psychopath," he says. "She never once complained. She got on with it. That's what you did. It moves me more than I can say." I can't help thinking of the unbearable scene in his autobiographical 1988 film Distant Voices, Still Lives in which the father bawls "Shut up! Shut up! »

- Stuart Jeffries

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Film Weekly podcast: Jason Solomons meets Terence Davies

24 November 2011 3:20 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

This week on Film Weekly: Jason Solomons meets Terence Davies, who returns with an adaptation of Terence Rattigan's acclaimed play The Deep Blue Sea - his first non-documentary work in 11 years. He discusses his fascination with the postwar era and why he cast Rachel Weisz as a married woman who embarks on a passionate and tortured affair with a Raf veteran (played by Tom Hiddleston).

Jason also delves into the fraught world of west African politics when he meets Jarreth Merz the director of An African Election. The film follows the 2008 Ghanaian presidential elections with a forensic eye, unpacking the very particular tensions in Ghana's political culture.

Finally, Xan Brooks joins Jason to review some of this week's other releases, including Michelle Williams as the blond bombshell in My Week With Marilyn, Brad Pitt sporting a stack of statistics in baseball drama Moneyball and Boardwalk Empire star Michael Shannon »

- Jason Solomons, Xan Brooks, Jason Phipps

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Evening Standard theatre awards: pair win joint prize for Frankenstein roles

22 November 2011 7:56 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre

After alternating playing Victor Frankenstein and the Creature for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller have been rewarded jointly with the best actor prize at the UK's longest-running theatre awards.

The judges for the 2011 London Evening Standard awards said it would have been "invidious not to recognise both actors" for what were memorable performances in Frankenstein, the Danny Boyle-directed production.

One role involved two hours in makeup and getting naked on stage to play Frankenstein's creation; the other, that of the egomaniac scientist himself, did not.

Although the awards have been running since 1955, Cumberbatch and Miller are among the few to share the best actor award, jointly following in some illustrious footsteps – the first recipient was Richard Burton for Henry V, »

- Mark Brown

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Shelagh Delaney obituary

22 November 2011 2:42 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Feisty playwright best known for her ground-breaking debut, A Taste of Honey

Shelagh Delaney was 18 when she wrote A Taste of Honey, one of the defining plays of the 1950s working-class and feminist cultural movements. The play's group of dysfunctional characters, utterly alien to the prevailing middle-class "anyone for tennis?" school of theatre, each explored their chances of attaining a glimpse of happiness. The central character, a young girl named Jo, lives in a decrepit flat in Salford with her mother, who is apt to wander off in pursuit of men with money. Jo becomes pregnant by a black sailor and is cared for by Geoffrey, a young gay friend, until her mother ousts him in what could be a burst of suppressed maternal love or a display of jealous control-freakery.

Delaney, who has died of cancer aged 71, had to endure harsh criticism for her attack on the orthodoxies of the period. »

- Dennis Barker

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Shelagh Delaney, 1939 - 2011

21 November 2011 8:33 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

"Playwright Shelagh Delaney, best known for her 1958 play A Taste of Honey, has died of cancer," reports Robert Barr for the AP. "The writer was just 19 when A Taste of Honey premiered. The downbeat tale of a young woman's pregnancy following a one-night stand with a black sailor, and her supportive relationship with a gay artist, verged on scandalous at the time, but the play had successful runs in London and New York…. Delaney's immediate inspiration was her dislike of Terence Rattigan's play, Variations on a Theme. Believing she could do better, she wrote A Taste of Honey in two weeks, reworking material from a novel she was writing. Delaney and the film's director, Tony Richardson, shared BAFTA and Writer's Guild awards for best screenplay for the 1961 film adaptation, which starred Rita Tushingham."

"Delaney's play sits in between John Osborne's Look Back in Anger (1956) and Joe Orton's »

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Evening Standard theatre awards: pair win joint prize for Frankenstein roles

20 November 2011 5:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre

After alternating playing Victor Frankenstein and the Creature for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller have been rewarded jointly with the best actor prize at the UK's longest-running theatre awards.

The judges for the 2011 London Evening Standard awards said it would have been "invidious not to recognise both actors" for what were memorable performances in Frankenstein, the Danny Boyle-directed production.

One role involved two hours in makeup and getting naked on stage to play Frankenstein's creation; the other, that of the egomaniac scientist himself, did not.

Although the awards have been running since 1955, Cumberbatch and Miller are the first to share the best actor award, jointly following in some illustrious footsteps – the first recipient was Richard Burton for Henry V, followed by Paul Scofield, »

- Mark Brown

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The Year Marilyn Monroe Rocked England

18 November 2011 7:00 AM, PST | Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal | See recent Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal news »

Weinstein Company Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn.”

To get into the character of Marilyn Monroe, actress Michelle Williams decided she first needed to master the iconic bombshell’s signature moves.

“That little dance that she does in ‘Prince and the Showgirl,’ that was the way in for her,” says Simon Curtis, the director of the new film “My Week With Marilyn,” in which Ms. Williams offers a complex portrait of Monroe at the height of her stardom. “She »

- Rachel Dodes

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