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Tom Hardy to play both Kray twins

11 hours ago

British actor to play both Ronnie and Reggie in new film about the East End gangsters by La Confidential screenwriter

The Hollywood star Tom Hardy has confirmed he will play both Kray twins in a new film about the East End gangsters.The 36-year-old British actor said on Friday he was definitely on board with the project, which will be called Legend.

The Inception and Batman star will take on the task of playing both Ronnie and Reggie Kray and says it is a challenge he relishes.

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- Press Association

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Transcendence: 2014's most unexpected turkey?

13 hours ago

The Johnny Depp sci-fi film had an all-star cast, Christopher Nolan's right-hand man as director and the hottest script in Hollywood. So where did it all go wrong?

Even if real life mirrored science fiction and we could predict the future, it would have taken a pretty sophisticated bit of kit to have nailed the emergence of Wally Pfister's Transcendence as one of 2014's bigger critical turkeys. Christopher Nolan's cinematographer lined up a sumptuous cast including Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman and Kate Mara for his directorial debut. Jack Paglen's script, about the revival of a dead artificial-intelligence researcher, Will Caster (Depp), as an apparently omnipotent digital version of his former self, made the 2012 Black List of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. Trailers so far have suggested an intriguing fate-of-humanity thriller with shades of The Terminator, Watchmen and The Matrix. But early reviews are in, »

- Ben Child

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The Demon the film that breaks the last cinematic taboo

15 hours ago

Yoshitaro Nomura's realist 1978 child-abuse drama is as shocking as ever, and makes us rethink the limits of what can be shown on screen

The little boy is lying back in a woman's arms. "Eat, you brat!" His screams are stifled because she is palming clods of rice into his mouth. "I said eat!" There's rice smeared about his face, in his eyelashes, his hair. She glares at her husband, who is standing impotently back. "You spoil him. I'm teaching him a lesson."

That's the first of several highly distressing scenes from Yoshitaro Nomura's 1978 melodrama The Demon, which stars Ken Ogata as a pathetic, philandering printer whose wife is outraged when his mistress dumps three illegitimate children on them. The wife initially vents her anger, then bullies him into abandoning his offspring, and worse. Scenes like the above are an utter shock to the modern cultural palate. With extreme violence ubiquitous, »

- Phil Hoad

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Jersey Boys trailer: Will The Four Seasons film hit the right note?

16 hours ago

The first trailer for Clint Eastwood's version of the hit Broadway show suggests a shimmying tale of loyalty, friendship and light-hearted gangster cliché, says Henry Barnes

Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood's biopic of 60s pop sensations The Four Seasons, adjusts its quiff, clears its throat and gets set to wail. The film, an adaptation of the hit Broadway show of the same name, follows The Four Seasons (those under 50: think One Direction with a mob connection and fewer perfumes) from their New Jersey roots to pop super-stardom.

The Four Seasons were famed for their tightly-drilled performances of hits like Big Girls Don't Cry and Walk Like a Man. But their slick veneer hid a tough back story. In the early days the group rubbed shoulders with the mob, sometimes robbing grocery stores to fund their music and often playing venues run by the Mafia.

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- Guardian Staff

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Star Wars fans pore over images of possible film set in the desert

16 hours ago

Latest instalment of franchise, Star Wars: Episode VII, has been shrouded in secrecy, but images offer hint shooting has begun

At first glance, they appear to be nothing more than pictures of a unremarkable tent in the depths of the Arabian desert. But for the legions of Stars Wars fans, a set of grainy images could provide a seductive first insight into Star Wars: Episode VII, a film that has become one of the most closely guarded secrets in Hollywood.

Taken on Tuesday morning by a photographer from Abu Dhabi newspaper the National, the three pictures allegedly show a film set being built in the dunes near the resort of Qasr Al Sarab that bears similarities to Tatooine, the desert-like home planet of Luke Skywalker.

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- Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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Human fish and the 10-stone toddler: the weird world of British Pathé

17 hours ago

British Pathé has uploaded 3,500 hours of historic footage to YouTube. Stephen Moss dives into the archive and discovers the mind-boggling strangeness of our recent past

British Pathé, which documented the first 70 years of the 20th century in cinema newsreels, has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 films to its YouTube channel. That's about 3,500 hours of historic footage. How on earth do you start exploring that?

The answer is to plunge in randomly, which is how I hit on Micky the alsatian, aka "the world's greatest canine jumper", filmed in 1930 leaping over a 9ft 6in gate to a jazzy musical score (this was before the days of stentorian Pathé commentaries) without impaling himself. Well done, Micky.

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- Stephen Moss

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Maps to the Stars trailer: David Cronenberg v Hollywood

18 hours ago

Robert Pattinson drives a limo around a city-full of neurotic, self-obsessed Angelenos in Cronenberg's satire on the Hollywood star system

David Cronenberg: 'I never thought of myself as a prophet'

Cronenberg joins Cannes 2014 line-up

You used to know what you were getting with a David Cronenberg movie: icky body horror in the 80s and 90s, stylish and violent gangland thrillers in the noughties. Now, at 71, the Canadian film-maker appears to be embarking on a new era in which he hones in on the tristesse and ennui of the rich and famous with elliptical detachment.

Maps to the Stars, the first trailer for which hit the web earlier this week, will follow Cosmopolis to the Cannes film festival next month. Like its predecessor, Cronenberg's film appears to feature plenty of Robert Pattinson getting his rocks off in a rather swanky limo. But this time around the action is transferred from New York to Los Angeles. »

- Ben Child

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My guilty pleasure: Alien vs Predator

22 hours ago

Paul Ws Anderson's franchise mash-up doesn't make a lot of sense, but it is a bug-eyed, all-action depiction of warring alien natures, green in tooth and claw, with a great cast. And it finds romance in the unlikeliest places

More from My guilty pleasure series

There's a touching scene near the end of Alien vs Predator when an eight-foot, fang-faced predator, using the acidic blood from the severed finger of an alien face-hugger, tenderly scorches a mark of courage and respect onto the cheek of the last human survivor. She grimaces as her skin burns, and then their eyes meet across the great expanse of space and time that separates both cultures, and then they kiss or they would have if the queen alien hadn't eviscerated the woman's new friend with the pointy end of her tail. And there ends the almost-birth of a new movie genre, the inter-species romcom. »

- Dave Turner

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Rewatching classic Australian films: Crocodile Dundee

17 April 2014 5:07 PM, PDT

The most commercially successful Australian film in history may linger fondly in the memory, but it plays awkwardly now

Its been almost three decades since Paul shrimp on the barbie Hogan first doffed his iconic Akubra hat and graced the big screen, wrestling wild animals, sipping pots of beer and comparing knife sizes in the role that defined his career. But given the oafishness of his character, graced" hardly seems the right word.

Back in 1986, when Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee became a local and international box office sensation (the film that bears his name is to this day the most commercially successful Australian feature in history), Hogan and director Peter Faiman extracted laughs from the story of a Tarzan-like rube with a small brain, a big heart and a bigger knife.

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- Luke Buckmaster

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Super Duper Alice Cooper review 'competent but underwhelming'

17 April 2014 4:15 PM, PDT

Elton John, Iggy Pop and other rock stars pay homage in this so-so bio-doc about the notorious rocker

This competent but underwhelming portrait of the 70s/80s rock star sticks to the usual wave-graph structure of a thousand other rock bio-docs: the subject starts from humble origins, rises to the top, declines due to substance abuse and ego issues, and ends up finding fame and happiness at last through sobriety, comeback concerts and managing not to die. All that's missing is the obligatory footage of a Hall of Fame induction. That said, the often snake-draped Cooper has always been a charismatic presence who gives good quote, and even if the music hasn't aged well bar the big hits like Eighteen and School's Out  the film makes a persuasive case for his influence and appeal. Borrowing from the visual playbook of the Robert Evans-centred doc The Kid Stays in the Picture, »

- Leslie Felperin

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We Are the Best! review entertaining, good-natured story about young girls in a punk band

17 April 2014 2:45 PM, PDT

Lukas Moodysson goes back to his directorial roots with an enjoyable adaptation of a graphic novel by his wife about a trio of 12-year-old girls forming a band

Lukas Moodysson has circled back to his roots with this ingenuous, good-natured story about three lonely 12-year-old girls in 1982 who form a punk band. It is a long-overdue rediscovery of humour and gentleness, based on a graphic novel by the director's wife, Coco, Moodysson and possibly doubly autobiographical in the sense that Lukas and Coco are remembering their own teen rebellions and casting a keen eye on their children. Mira Barkhammar is the introverted, bespectacled Bobo, the driving force of the band, who finds herself marginalised by the dynamic, prettier Klara (Mira Grosin) and talented guitarist Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne). The movie is more about their downbeat, dull, day-to-day lives and interminable, inconclusive band rehearsals than any actual musical identity; all this is entertaining and real, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Magic Magic review Juno Temple and Michael Cera in a satisfyingly nasty drama

17 April 2014 2:30 PM, PDT

In part it looks like a horror-thriller, but Magic Magic is more an unnervingly plausible depiction of mental breakdown, and it features a couple of career-high performances

Chilean director Sebastián Silva gave us a clever and disturbing psycho-chiller of domestic servitude in his 2009 movie The Maid, then teamed up with Michael Cera for the peyote-dream road movie Crystal Fairy. Now he reunites with Cera for Magic Magic, a film with some mannerisms that make it look like a horror-thriller, although it is more a disquieting and unnervingly plausible depiction of mental breakdown. Juno Temple takes her career to the next level with this artless, raw performance, something to be compared with Catherine Deneuve in Polanski's Repulsion, and Cera comes into his own as a natural villain and the nastiest piece of work to be seen in the cinema all year. Temple is Alicia, who has come to Chile to hang »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Rebel Without a Cause review an imperfect film, but James Dean still has an extraordinary, feline potency

17 April 2014 2:15 PM, PDT

There is some stuffy, faintly reactionary stuff in this famed 1955 teen drama, but James Dean is truly extraordinary, and it has some brilliant scenes

Nicholas Ray's 1955 teen issue drama is re-released as part of a James Dean season at London's BFI Southbank. I haven't seen it since the last revival in 2005. Then it looked to me stuffy, with a reactionary insistence that men's failure to be real macho types was leaving their sons with problems; the issues of gay sexuality and abuse appeared to be skirted around, and everything was seen from the fussy older-generation's perspective. All this is probably still true, but I responded more positively this time. Dean's performance has such an extraordinary, feline potency and the opening scene is actually brilliant: Dean's Jim Stark reels drunkenly into the police station's juvenile division and mocks everyone, while Natalie Wood's Judy, in another office, tremblingly recounts her horror at her dad's contempt, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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The Love Punch review entirely ridiculous but likable midlife comedy

17 April 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

The cast might well have done it just for the sake of a holiday on the French riviera, but at least this cheerfully daft adventure canters along amiably

It is said that Michael Caine decided to do the 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels after reading the script's first line: "Ext. South Of France. Day". Perhaps Emma Thompson had a similar experience before accepting her role in this entirely ridiculous, cheerfully daft and very amiable midlife comedy in which she goes to the French Riviera to steal a super-valuable diamond. Thompson and Pierce Brosnan play Kate and Richard, a bickering divorced couple who face poverty in their retirement years because a sinister plutocrat has bought Richard's company and done a Robert Maxwell on the pension scheme on which these ex-spouses were relying. They are forced to team up to get revenge and head off to Cannes, along with feisty neighbours Jerry (Timothy Spall »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Locke review Tom Hardy is mesmerising in an engrossing solo thriller

17 April 2014 1:45 PM, PDT

This supremely gripping one-man drama is a perfect vehicle for Tom Hardy's pent-up brilliance

For years, I remained stolidly baffled while all around, critics simpered and swooned at the words "Tom Hardy". The mere mention of his name caused hardened reviewers to whinny ecstatically as they slid to the floor. Well, it's time to do some swooning and simpering and whinnying and sliding of my own. Hardy gives us a masterclass in less-is-more acting for this absolutely engrossing, stripped-down solo piece, written and directed by Steven Knight, the screenwriter of Cronenberg's Eastern Promises and Frears's Dirty Pretty Things. For an hour and a half, all you see is Hardy himself, playing a construction manager at the wheel of his car, talking to the people in his life on his hands-free mobile his boss, his wife, his former assistant. It's a story so involving, it sounds like someone came up to Knight in the pub, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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God's Not Dead review warped evangelist drama

17 April 2014 1:30 PM, PDT

The content lurking beneath the telemovie sheen of this religious drama veers from the suspect to the outright hateful

Rush-released for Easter, this warped evangelist item a perturbing Us sleeper hit proceeds from a semi-credible dramatic framework in initiating a debate between a pious student (Shane Harper) and his atheist professor (erstwhile Hercules Kevin Sorbo, an unlikely proponent of Bertrand Russell). The multi-stranded content lurking beneath its sun-dappled telemovie sheen, however, veers from the suspect (see the would-be Christian beaten by her Muslim father!) to the outright hateful: by the jawdropping climax, wherein a preacher is effectively granted divine right to mow down non-believers, "doing God's work" has become indistinguishable from Grand Theft Auto. Ban this sick filth.

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- Mike McCahill

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Wrinkles (Arrugas) review 'the politest possible prison movie'

17 April 2014 1:15 PM, PDT

A black-humoured but heartbreaking Spanish animation draws a desolate portrait of care home life

A warm welcome for this funny, heartbreaking animation from Spain by Ignacio Ferreras about a care home for people with Alzheimer's. A retired bank manager called Emilio is placed by his son in a home when his forgetfulness becomes too much to bear, and his new residency assumes the character of the politest possible prison movie. Poor bewildered Emilio is befriended by the dodgy Miguel, who shows Emilio how to survive and how to make the best impression on the staff. Watching this movie has the same desolate quality as Philip Larkin's poem The Building, and yet it is tender and lovable, too.

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- Peter Bradshaw

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Reaching for the Moon review messy but respectful biopic of artists' relationships

17 April 2014 1:15 PM, PDT

Poet Elizabeth Bishop and landscape architect Lota de Macedo Soares's messy lives and loves are paid watchable tribute

The take-home moral of most biopics is that you can be gifted or happy but never both, especially if you're an artist. Reaching for the Moon gets to make this point twice with its account of the tempestuous relationship between American poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) and Brazilian landscape architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Glória Pires). Not only do they have to navigate around Lota's first girlfriend (Tracy Middendorf), and battle for success during the homophobic 1950s and 60s, but they also have to deal with Elizabeth's alcoholism and Lota's mental instability. Director Bruno Barreto doesn't always succeed in carving a clear shape out of the messy raw material, but the film is consistently watchable, and pays due tribute to its protagonists' talent, illustrated by frequent recitations of Bishop's poetry and location work showing off Soares' designs, »

- Leslie Felperin

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Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to go head-to-head at Cannes film festival

17 April 2014 11:37 AM, PDT

Jimmy's Hall, directed by Loach, and Leigh's Mr Turner among the 18 films selected to compete at prestigious event this year

Two of the greats of British cinema, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, are to go head to head at this year's Cannes film festival, more than two decades since they first sparred for one of the most prestigious prizes in the film world.

The pair first competed at the premier European film festival in 1993, when Loach won the jury's prize for Raining Stones and Leigh walked away with the best director accolade for Naked.

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- Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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Bill & Ted's 25th birthday: party on, dudes!

17 April 2014 10:20 AM, PDT

Who would have predicted that a goofy movie about two time-travelling California metalheads would still be celebrated 25 years after its release? Hadley Freeman was 12 when Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure came out and she's loved it ever since

Of all the delightfully improbable scenarios depicted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure from Napoleon Bonaparte causing havoc on a waterslide to Billy the Kid and Socrates (aka "So-crayts", of course) picking up chicks in a California mall to George Carlin acting in a film alongside Keanu Reeves and a member of the Go-Go's none would have seemed more unlikely on its release than the idea that one day, with much media fanfare, the public would be celebrating the film's 25th anniversary.

By the time Bill & Ted was released in 1989, the 80s teen film explosion was starting to taper out. Heathers, which came out in 1987, had so deftly satirised the conventions of the genre »

- Hadley Freeman

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