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1-20 of 33 items from 2011   « Prev | Next »

Drama lessons: what we learned from 2011 TV

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

In a great year for serious serials we learned a lot from the goggle-box. Warning: not all of it was useful

Families: they can get complicated

Game Of Thrones was full of awkward relationships: while House Lannister's Queen Cersei and Jaime played house, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) was coerced into marrying man-mountain Khal Drogo by her power-crazed brother Viserys. The tables shifted once she realised her new position came with a horde of savages to command. See also: Sarah Michelle Gellar sticking it to … Sarah Michelle Gellar on Ringer.

Money trails have never been more confusing

With his gnomic pronouncements ("You, you're the threads. But me, I'm the rope"), enigmatic threats ("Don't let the soup burn"), and willingness to be mean to children, The Shadow Line's Gatehouse (Stephen Rea) was one of TV's most puzzling villains. Was he a deadly puppet master, a darkside Gregg Wallace, or just the »

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'Fresh Meat' star Zawe Ashton: 'Movie would be exciting'

19 December 2011 9:26 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Fresh Meat's Zawe Ashton has said that the prospect of a movie adaptation is "exciting". The St Trinian's 2 actress, who plays Vod, also spoke of her "surprise" at the success of the student comedy. She told Metro: "Well we don't really do university or college movies here so in terms of it being a first I think it would be exciting." The E4 sitcom, which also stars comic Jack Whitehall and Inbetweeners actor Joe Thomas, was crowned 'Best New Comedy Programme' (more) »

- By Paul Millar

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Dreams of a Life – review

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

Five years in the making, riveting to watch and revealing to ponder long after it ends, Carol Morley's film is a documentary about a bizarre news story and an obsession. The news story in a 2006 tabloid reported the discovery of a dead woman, Joyce Vincent, aged 38, whose decomposed body was found in a flat above a north London shopping centre. She had died three years earlier surrounded by Christmas shopping; the heating and the TV set were still on. No one had reported her death. The obsession is Carol Morley's. She became fascinated with Joyce's identity, why no one had inquired about her, and what sort of society could have allowed such neglect.

So she tracked down friends, acquaintances, family members and other parties, but steered clear of sociologists, and compiled the movie from talking head interviews and dramatised episodes, largely silent, featuring Zawe Ashton as the grown-up »

- Philip French

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This week's new films

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

Dreams Of A Life (12A)

(Carol Morley, 2011, UK) Zawe Ashton, Neelam Bakshi, Jonathan Harden. 95 mins

This ingenious documentary unravels a bizarre mystery that cuts to our deepest emotional fears, but it also transcends its own genre. The mystery is Joyce Vincent – who tragically died alone in her London flat, aged 38, and whose body wasn't found until three years later. Who Joyce was and how this came to pass is gradually (partially) pieced together, as Morley tracks down former associates and stages reconstructions of her life (with Ashton, unrecognisable from her Fresh Meat incarnation). What starts as a horrific news item becomes the moving story of a real person, albeit an enigmatic one. And in the process, the film itself shifts from sobering documentary to dignifying biopic, giving this strange, sad story a subtle avant garde flourish.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (12A)

(Guy Ritchie, 2011, Us) Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, »

- Steve Rose

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Dreams of a Life – review

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

A documentary about Joyce Vincent, who lay dead on her sofa for three years before being found, is a searingly powerful examination of modern loneliness

All the lonely people … where do they all come from? Documentary film-maker Carol Morley has focused on where one of them ended up, a modern-day Eleanor Rigby. It's a story both horrifying and heartbreaking. Reporting on this movie's premiere at the London Film festival earlier this year, I wrote that it lingered persistently in my mind, and it lingers still, like a melody of desperate sadness. Apart from having a gripping story to tell, this is a film with real questions to ask about sexual politics and the welfare state.

One grim day in 2006, acting on account of rent arrears, Haringey council officials broke down the door of a bedsit in a housing complex above Wood Green Shopping City in north London. This was occupied by a single thirtysomething woman, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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This week's new film events

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

Teuvo Tulio's Lost Masterpieces, London

What? You've never heard of Teuvo Tulio? Where have you been? Clearly not in mid-century Finland, or you'd know all about this unsung, unorthodox auteur. A former silent screen idol, Tulio fashioned an unabashedly melodramatic style behind the camera (his heroes were Cukor, Lubitsch and Von Sternberg), oblivious to his own lack of budget or professionalism. His movies typically mix fallen women, country charmers, ripe rural imagery and social commentary, as shown in the four restored movies here, made between 1938 and 1946, with the series opening with In The Field Of Dreams. His influence can be detected in the works of Fassbinder, Guy Maddin and Aki Kaurismäki, some of whose films play alongside Tulio's here, plus Cukor's The Women.

Ica, SW1, Fri to 23 Dec

Dreams Of A Life Q&As, London

It's no understatement to describe Carol Morley's forthcoming documentary as one of the »

- Steve Rose

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'Dreams of a Life': The ghost of Christmas not so long past

8 December 2011 4:00 PM, PST | The Independent | See recent The Independent news »

While many actors relish playing real-life characters, the challenge facing Zawe Ashton in the acclaimed new docudrama Dreams of a Life was very different from portraying, say, Maggie Thatcher or Marilyn Monroe. Ashton plays Joyce Vincent, the woman who died mysteriously in her North London bedsit in 2003 and whose body, surrounded by unopened Christmas presents and with her TV still on, was only found three years later. »

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Close up: Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise master 'The Meh'

8 December 2011 10:01 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise dismiss a lawsuit and a rumour as 'par for the course' and 'ludicrous'

The big story

Celebrity gesture of the week? The shrug.

Angelina Jolie sported one as a lawsuit claiming her directorial debut was nicked from a Croatian journalist was filed, then Tom Cruise (aka Tom Cruise's People) took up the trend in response to rumours that crowds who greeted the Mission Impossible star's arrival in Mumbai were hired actors.

It became both rather well. "It's par for the course," said Jolie of Josip Knežević's claim that she had taken her story from his book, The Soul Shattering. "It happens on almost every film. There are many books and documentaries that I did pull from, but that particular book I've never seen." Jolie's film, In The Land of Blood and Honey, is set during the Bosnian war and sees a Serbian camp commander »

- Henry Barnes

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Zawe Ashton: 'It's difficult for women to admit we're not coping'

8 December 2011 4:04 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

She's the gobby scene-stealer from student sitcom Fresh Meat. So how did she portray Joyce Vincent, a woman who lay dead and forgotten in her flat for three years, in the new film Dreams of a Life?

Joyce Vincent was found in a bedsit above a shopping centre in Wood Green, north London, in 2006, three years after she had died. Council workers, finally spurred into action by rent arrears, had to scale a mountain of post before they could get through the door to where she lay in front of the sofa, the television still on. Reading the scant news reports, it was easy to jump to the conclusion she had been a marginal figure, perhaps a drug addict or somebody with no family or friends. But there were details that nagged – the Christmas presents she had been wrapping lay next to her (who were they for and why hadn't they missed her? »

- Emine Saner

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Film Weekly podcast: Dreams of a Life

8 December 2011 1:56 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

This week on Film Weekly, Jason Solomons meets British film-maker Carol Morley and actor Zawe Ashton to discuss their new film Dreams of a Life. Morley's film takes a forensic look at the life and tragic early death of Joyce Vincent, a popular and vibrant woman who lay in her north London flat for three years after she died. The room was undisturbed, her television and heating still on. Morley and Ashton explained how they used a mix of documentary and drama to tell Vincent's story.

Guardian film critic Xan Brooks pops in to review some of this week's other releases, including Antonio Banderas as an adventurous animated cat in Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots, the high concept science drama Another Earth, all-star ensemble smooch-fest New Year's Eve and French re-make The Well-digger's Daughter. Xan and Jason also round up some of this week's gongs goings-on with news from the »

- Jason Solomons, Xan Brooks, Jason Phipps

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The best films of 2011: Peter Bradshaw's choice

5 December 2011 1:09 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Despite the UK Film Council's golden age, 2011 was very much a mixed bag of events

In some ways, 2011 was the strangest year in living memory for British cinema. The UK Film Council was officially wound up at the end of March, a showy act from this coalition government, annulling a Labour creation on the grounds of high salaries and cronyism, but transferring much of its budget and responsibilities to the British Film Institute. And this at a time when the Film Council was having a golden age: a bag of Oscars for The King's Speech and a feeling that it had fostered real talent. Something was going very right for British cinema. Lynne Ramsey's We Need to Talk About Kevin premiered at Cannes; Steve McQueen's Shame and Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights made waves at Venice.

Two film-makers from Iran showed that cinema was able to address »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Trailer and poster for Carol Morley's Dreams of a Life

21 November 2011 9:18 AM, PST | The Geek Files | See recent The Geek Files news »

Nobody noticed when Joyce Vincent died in her bedsit above a shopping mall in Wood Green, north London, in 2003.

Her body - sat on the sofa surrounded by Christmas presents she had been wrapping - wasn't discovered until three years later. The TV was still on. Newspaper reports offered few details of her life, not even a photograph.

Who was she? And how could this happen to someone in our so-called age of communication?

For her new film Dreams of a Life, filmmaker Carol Morley set out to find out. Joyce may have died in tragic isolation, but Morley was not going to let her be forgotten - and what she found out was extraordinary.

With her detective work far more successful than that of the police and council authorities, Carol traced Joyce's friends, colleagues and ex-boyfriends through ads in the local press, on black cabs and via online social networks. »

- David Bentley

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Close up: yes, Miss Piggy, you will go to the ball (maybe)

11 November 2011 1:44 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

This was the week that Eddie Murphy baled out of the Oscars, leaving the way clear for the some fabric puppets

The big story

Once upon a time the Oscar ceremony was a comforting drone punctuated only by the odd song-and-dance routine and the banshee wailing of overwhelmed best actress award winners. Not any more. Someone, somewhere, decided it had to get "edgy". Last time, they had cool young persons in the shape of James Franco and Anne Hathaway introducing it - and look how that worked out.

The big idea for 2012 was to hire a bona fide Hollywood hotshot, so naturally the word went out for Brett Ratner. Yes, well... he made Rush Hour 2, you know. No sooner had Ratner persuaded his mucker Eddie Murphy to act as the show's host (an inspired choice, we give him that) then he was promptly ejected from his co-producer role after »

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Trailer trash

29 October 2011 4:07 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Gossip and news from the London film festival's closing night gala – plus this year's Golden Pigeons

About last night

The Lff's closing-night gala was a teary affair. Terence Davies's The Deep Blue Sea, crowned by Rachel Weisz's awards-worthy lead performance, is beautiful, especially for admirers of brown, pub singalongs and vintage wallpaper. Yet the scene where Tom Hiddleston's Freddie hurls a shilling at Weisz's Hester is one of the most vicious acts of screen violence I've ever witnessed. The film is stylised, of course, but it's a style of which I'm very fond. You have to wallow in The Deep Blue Sea's romantic ebb and flow of love and hurt. Even more moving was Davies's tribute to outgoing Lff director Sandra Hebron, whom he reduced to tears with typically florid praise on behalf of all the film-makers "to whose films she's given an audience" over her decade at the helm. »

- Jason Solomons

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Have you been watching … Fresh Meat?

27 October 2011 4:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Student life in a shared house sounds like a stale scenario, but the Peep Show writers have rustled up a tastier dish

It began with six very different characters – three male and three female – moving into a shared house together. How do you even pitch that any more without the commissioning editor dropping off at their desk or hurling themselves into the shredder with boredom?

But the writers of Peep Show have somehow taken a comedy-drama about a co-ed house share – the most overused format in television today – and made it seem new, even bracing. Set in a student house in Manchester, it uses some of the editing, music and direction techniques of overtly "youth" dramas (like Skins) but without losing the warmth of character or the intrinsic uncoolness of burgeoning adulthood. And it has unexpectedly confirmed Jack Whitehall as an acting talent, albeit in a role he was born to play. »

- Julia Raeside

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Ode to the lonely: Dreams of a Life at the London film festival

20 October 2011 4:03 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Carol Morley's bold drama-documentary about a young woman whose dead body lay undiscovered in a north London flat for three years is difficult to watch but unforgettable

The BFI London film festival is now in full swing, with a mouthwateringly juicy selection of movies, many of which have been extensively roadtested at other festivals, their reputations burnished and sellout status pretty much guaranteed. This week George Clooney is in town, an old friend of the Lff, to promote his movies The Ides of March and The Descendants, and to gladhand London's Bafta voters.

The Lff is certainly not short of glamorous titles, and yet I find myself broodingly preoccupied and even slightly obsessed with a sombre film from Britain. This is Carol Morley's horrifying, heartbreaking drama-documentary Dreams of a Life.

It has a real-life Eleanor Rigby tale to tell, and it asks powerful questions about community, sexual politics, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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55th BFI London Film Festival - Dreams of a Life (2011)

17 October 2011 2:17 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Dreams of a Life, 2011.

Written and Directed by Carol Morley.

Starring Zawe Ashton, Jonathan Harden, Ki'juan Whitton and Daren Elliott Holmes.


The sad and intriguing story of a young woman discovered in a London flat three years after her death.

How would you feel if one day someone contacted you and told you that a former lover, an ex work colleague or an old friend's body had been found in her bedsit... but she had in fact been dead for three years and had only just been discovered?

This is what happened to the associates of Joyce Vincent, whose badly decomposed body, which upon discovery was nothing more than a skeleton, was found on the sofa of her home in 2006. Three years down the line from her death, people were flabbergasted that someone can just vanish without anyone trying to find them; as one interviewee points out "even in »

- flickeringmyth

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Sue Johnston to star in Christmas comedy

11 October 2011 2:00 AM, PDT | Virgin Media - TV | See recent Virgin Media - TV news »

Sue Johnston is to star in a one-off Christmas comedy special. The 'Royle Family' actress will appear in 'Lapland' - a 90 minute show to be broadcast on BBC One over the festive season - alongside 'This Is England' actor Stephen Graham and 'Waterloo Road' star William Ash. The show, which will also star Elizabeth Berrington, Julie Graham, Zawe Ashton and Keith Barron, sees Sue play family matriarch Eileen Lewis who saves each year for a special Christmas to remember. This year, the Lewis clan decide to go to Lapland on a package trip to meet Father Christmas - but end up getting »

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DVD Releases: 'Weekender'

26 September 2011 2:00 AM, PDT | CineVue | See recent CineVue news »

★★★☆☆ Weekender (2011) - the latest film from director Karl Golden and starring Zawe Ashton, Jack O'Connell and Henry Lloyd-Hughes - takes us back to the manic highs and crashing lows of the 1990s rave scene. The film follows two happy-go-lucky crooks, Matt (Lloyd-Hughes) and Dylan (O’Connel), who we see attempting to steal a cigarette machine at the beginning of the film.

Read more » »

- Daniel Green

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DVD Review: Blitz

25 September 2011 4:24 PM, PDT | Blogomatic3000 | See recent Blogomatic3000 news »


Stars: Jason Statham, Paddy Considine, Aiden GIllen, David Morrissey, Zawe Ashton | Written by Nathan Parker | Directed by Elliott Lester

Jason Statham and Paddy Considine as the fuzz kicking arse and taking names on the trail of a cop-killer in South East London, this writer’s very own ends? I’ll take a slice of that pie, please.  I had been meaning to catch Blitz at the cinema upon its release, but it didn’t stick around long enough. As such, I was delighted when the test disc dropped through the post for its DVD release.

Statham is, of course, the rogue cop and loose cannon, but by god, does he get results. He’s not afraid to break a few bones (though not his own) in pursuit of justice and is only tolerated on the police force as he’d be too dangerous operating on the other side of the law. »

- Jack Kirby

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