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Anthony Simmons obituary

1 hour ago

Writer and director whose best-known films captured London life over several decades

The director and writer Anthony Simmons, who has died aged 93, had a flair for conveying a sense of time and place that owed much to the films he saw on his travels as a young man. “I make European films,” he once said. “My first real contact with film was in Rome watching the neorealists filming in the streets. I never had any training as a film-maker. I came into the industry as an outsider who never quite fitted into the slots of the British film industry.”

Simmons worked across that industry, as a maker of documentaries and shorts, then feature films and, later, as a jobbing director on television dramas. It was at the heart of postwar European cinema that he was first recognised, receiving the Venice film festival grand prix for his documentary Sunday By the »

- Anthony Hayward

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Star Wars to be prosecuted for alleged health and safety breaches over Harrison Ford injury

2 hours ago

Actor, 73, was seriously injured after being hit by a metal hydraulic door in June 2014 while filming scenes on board the Millennium Falcon

A Star Wars production company is to be prosecuted over an injury to Harrison Ford during the filming of box office smash The Force Awakens, the Health and Safety Executive has announced.

Ford, who was reportedly paid more $34m to reprise his role as Han Solo in the revived space opera saga, was hurt by a hydraulic metal door of the Millennium Falcon during an on-set accident in June 2014 at Pinewood Studios near London. The incident saw the 73-year-old sidelined for almost two months, with director Jj Abrams forced to halt production in order for the actor to recover.

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- Ben Child

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Concussion – video review

2 hours ago

In an extract from this week’s Guardian film show, Xan Brooks is joined by Peter Bradshaw to review Concussion, a controversial new drama in which Will Smith plays a real-life Nigerian doctor convinced of the links between playing NFL football and sustaining head-injuries. The film, which was once seen as an Oscar contender, opens in the UK on 12 February

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- Peter Bradshaw, Xan Brooks, Tom Silverstone, Dan Susman and Ken Macfarlane

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A Bigger Splash – video review

2 hours ago

In an extract from this week’s Guardian film show, Xan Brooks is joined by Peter Bradshaw and Catherine Shoard to review Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson in Luca Guadagnino’s Sicily-set erotic thriller. The English-language film, which premiered at Venice last year, is the latest collaboration between the director and Swinton, who made I Am Love together in 2009

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- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Catherine Shoard, Tom Silverstone, Dan Susman and Ken Macfarlane

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Deadpool: the pansexual superhero who has never had a non-heterosexual experience

2 hours ago

He flirts with Thor, Spider-Man and unicorns, but is his roving eye for real?

Movies don’t come any more self-satisfied than Deadpool. From the air of smugness that pervades this Marvel adventure, you would think it was the first picture to break the fourth wall or feature a profane, badly behaved hero. In another sense, though, it has earned the right to be pleased with itself: it does break a small amount of new ground in the area of its hero’s sexual identity. In the comics from which the movie is adapted, Deadpool is pansexual – he makes no distinction between genders or gender identity in his choice of partners. The term “bisexual” would be too narrow for Deadpool, who has flirted with Thor, propositioned Spider-Man and wouldn’t rule out, say, unicorns. A pendulum moves in just two directions; he is more like a sexual swingball.

Related: Deadpool »

- Ryan Gilbey

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Zoolander 2 – video review

2 hours ago

In an extract from this week’s Guardian film show, Xan Brooks is joined by Peter Bradshaw and Catherine Shoard to review the return of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s clueless male models, 15 years after they first pouted down the catwalk. Also returning is Will Ferrell – but this time they’re joined by fashion policewoman Penelope Cruz and new guru Kristen Wiig

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- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Catherine Shoard, Dan Susman, Tom Silverstone and Ken Macfarlane

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Eli Roth: ‘I miss films where you think the makers were insane’

2 hours ago

The director filmed his cannibal horror The Green Inferno in the depths of the Amazonian rainforest. But is he exploiting the tribe who star in it?

“Good horror should provoke and disturb and shock,” says Eli Roth. “If everybody approves of it and everyone thinks it’s just lovely and wonderful, then I haven’t really made a horror movie.”

By his own criteria, The Green Inferno is definitely a horror movie. It’s a story of American students crash-landing in the back yard of the Amazon tribe they were trying to help, where they are greeted less as saviours than as a free tasting menu. As you would expect from the doyen of “torture porn”, Roth’s film dishes out an appetite-challenging onslaught of mutilation and evisceration. But depicting indigenous people as savage cannibals has earned the movie a whole new kind of disapproval.

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- Steve Rose

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George Clooney: film industry has been slow to respond to refugee crisis

3 hours ago

Hail, Caesar! star says the film world ‘reacts’ rather than ‘leads the way’ when confronted with humanitarian disasters, such as Syria and Sudan

George Clooney said the film industry takes too long to respond to humanitarian crises in the wider world. Speaking at a press conference for his new film Hail, Caesar! at the Berlin film festival, Clooney was questioned over the frivolity of the film in the face of nightmarish social and political problems, including the war in Syria and consequent refugee crisis.

Clooney said: “The unfortunate thing about film community is we react to situations much more than we lead the way. Things happen, scripts are written, and it takes a couple of years before people are actually making films.

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- Andrew Pulver

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A Bigger Splash review – Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes plumb the depths of desire

3 hours ago

In Luca Guadagnino’s simmering drama, two ex-lovers are disastrously reunited at a Mediterranean villa where the pool is a temple of bared flesh and sex perfumes the air

Luca Guadagnino assembles a very intimidating quartet for this chamber piece of sexual tension. It’s a very stylish and engaged remake of Jacques Deray’s 1969 psychological thriller La Piscine (The Swimming Pool). The new title brings in the swoony blueness of David Hockney’s painting and alludes also to the unsubtle male competition at work in these poolside encounters.

Wealthy and worldly, his characters are broadly the same as in the 1969 film, which is transplanted from the South of France setting to the Italian island of Pantelleria off the Sicilian coast. The action takes place in a gorgeous villa with a swimming pool, way up in the hills and far from the harbour where increasing numbers of migrants are being held. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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'Iron Boy' saves Sydney and is named Avenger by Robert Downey Jr – video

4 hours ago

A young Australian boy with cystic fibrosis is given the chance to save Sydney from a super-villain. The Make-a-Wish Foundation transforms nine-year-old Domenic Pace into Iron Boy for the day. Iron Boy defeats his arch-nemesis Ultron on the steps of the Sydney Opera House as hundreds of bystanders cheer him on. Iron Boy also receives celebrity support from Robert Downey Jr, the actor who plays Iron Man in the Avengers films

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- Guardian Staff

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Star Wars, beware! Battlestar Galactica is back

7 hours ago

Universal plans latest attempt at a big-screen revival for the sci-fi saga in response to Disney’s box-office success with The Force Awakens

Universal, the studio behind Jurassic World and the Fast & Furious movies, has launched plans to bring sci-fi saga Battlestar Galactica back to the big screen as a multiple-film franchise capable of taking on Star Wars and Star Trek, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

A film based on the short-lived but hugely popular 1978 TV series moved into development in 2009 following the success of a small-screen reboot which ran for four seasons from 2004 onwards. X-Men’s Bryan Singer was at one stage on board to direct but has since moved on, and the project never saw the light of day.

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- Ben Child

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Nina Forever review – undead girlfriend love triangle delivers tender teenage kicks

7 hours ago

This sexy indie fairytale doesn’t overdo the ghoulishness – more Buffy than gory – as it explores the emotional and physical sides of a love affair with a difference

Every young couple thinks their initial intimate encounters are a rebellious and subversive act. For Holly (Abigail Hardingham) and Rob (Cian Barry), they actually have a strong case. When the lights dim and things get hot and heavy, the bloody, broken-boned corpse of Rob’s dead girlfriend Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) emerges from the bedsheets to join them in a love triangle from beyond the grave. The punchline: Nina Forever, while it has a few laughs, is not a comedy.

Holly, a 19-year-old studying to become a paramedic, meets Rob, a bit older, at the suburban British supermarket where they work. She’s had his eye on him since she heard he tried to kill himself when Nina died in a car accident. »

- Jordan Hoffman

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Idris Elba and Taraji P Henson casting news suggests #OscarsSoWhite effect

7 hours ago

New projects for black actors suggest that the negative response to Academy racism might have had a positive impact on the industry

New casting announcements for Idris Elba, Taraji P Henson and Lupita Nyong’o suggest that the ongoing furore over alleged racism within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is having a positive impact on the industry.

Related: Academy president: #OscarsSoWhite 'a punch to the stomach' but new rule changes not ageist

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- Benjamin Lee

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Has Oscars race row led to ageism? – the Dailies film podcast

8 hours ago

The Guardian film team’s round-up of today’s movie news

Your daily update of the latest news and reviews from the Guardian film team. Now showing: has the Oscars diversity row led to some positive casting announcements; anger from some older Academy members over the proposed new voting rules; and which film you should go and see this weekend.

Follow us on Twitter (GuardianFilm, Henry, Ben, Catherine and producer Rowan) and check out our Facebook page. Comment on the show below.

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- Presented by Catherine Shoard with Benjamin Lee and produced by Rowan Slaney

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Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson on Zoolander 2: 'Who better to lead that narcissistic charge?' – video

8 hours ago

The actors who play Derek and Hansel in the sequel to the 2001 male modelling comedy discuss fan pressure and responsibility and the effect of social media on mainstream vanity, while co-stars Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig reveal how they pulled off a memorable kiss

Zoolander 2 is in UK and Australian cinemas now and is released in the Us on 12 February

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- Benjamin Lee and Melanie Cura Daball

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Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal — the Movie review: is Trump beyond parody?

10 hours ago

This mini-movie from Adam McKay’s online comedy channel Funny Or Die is full of good lines, but is trumped by the self-satire of its subject

If you’ve watched the recent Republican TV debate in which Donald Trump deliberately hung back in the wings as he was announced — so that he could come on stage last, and thereby prove himself to be the most important guy in the room — you’ll know that he has already gone beyond satire. Like Henry Kissinger’s Nobel Peace Prize, Donald Trump’s sensational success has rendered satire obsolete.

But his decreasingly funny pre-eminence now gives us this bravura mini-movie from Funny Or Die, Adam McKay’s online comedy channel; it stars Johnny Depp as the bequiffed micro-fascist himself, ranting and pontificating and pointing at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, in a very funny latex-enhanced performance comparable to his South Boston gangster »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Pinewood Studios: a blue-chip jewel of Britain's Hollywood cash grab

12 hours ago

The British studio, which announced it may be looking for a buyer, is the darling of the tax credit system designed to lure big-budget productions to the UK

Related: Pinewood studios considers £350m sale

Once you’ve established your bona fides at the security gate – there to deter both the rubbernecker and the obsessed movie fan – and you step inside the gate of Pinewood Studios, it’s clear that this well-manicured set of low-rise sheds and warehouses is a long way from the ramshackle film studios of yore. Perched on the edge of a country park in rural Buckinghamshire, Pinewood hums with a respectful, well-fed purposefulness, testament to its place as the chosen location for forthcoming international mega-productions such as Rogue One, Doctor Strange and Assassin’s Creed.

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- Andrew Pulver

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Academy president: #OscarsSoWhite 'a punch to the stomach' but new rule changes not ageist

12 hours ago

As Screen Actors Guild and stars such as Angie Dickinson weigh in on the debate, Oscars president further explains thinking behind controversial rule change

Related: Oscar nominees weigh in on lack of diversity: 'there’s an elephant in the room'

As the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs has had a challenging few weeks, coping with the fallout from a set of acting nominations which – for a second consecutive year – featured no people of colour.

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- Nigel M Smith in Los Angeles

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Johnny Depp nails Donald Trump impersonation in Funny or Die spoof – video

15 hours ago

Funnyordie.com parodies the billionaire presidential hopeful in a 50-minute mockumentary directed by Ron Howard. Playing ‘the Donald’ is none other than Johnny Depp, unrecognizable in no small part because of an accurately tousled wig atop his head and a suitably Trumpian vocal delivery. The parody is based in part on the tycoon’s self-promoting and bestselling book from the 1980s, The Art of the Deal. It also stars Andy Richter, Jack McBrayer, Henry Winkler, Stephen Merchant and Michaela Watkins

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- Guardian Staff

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'Blonde, fit, smokin' hot': movie producer shares sexist scripts on Twitter

16 hours ago

Ross Putman tweets verbatim introductions to female characters in scripts he reads, from ‘as adorable as she is sexy’ to ‘honey-blonde farmland beauty queen’

An American movie producer is sharing excerpts of sexist scripts he gets sent, to highlight the grim state of roles for women in film – as well as some equally dire writing.

Related: Sex change: why male roles are being rewritten for women

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- Elle Hunt

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