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Salma Hayek: ‘I am a feminist because a lot of amazing women have made me who I am today’

9 hours ago

When the star of Frida and From Dusk Till Dawn first arrived in Hollywood, she was dismissed for sounding like ‘a Mexican maid’. As she prepares to showcase her new film at the Women of the World festival, she talks about women’s rights and how she became a power-player in the movies

Unsisterly though it sounds, I didn’t expect to like Salma Hayek very much. Because we both go to a lot of catwalk shows, I see her all the time: I’m there as a reporter, and she’s there because her husband Francois-Henri Pinault is the CEO of Kering, the luxury group that owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta, among others. There, she rocks a kind of boss’s wife vibe, dressed to the nines in the designer’s clothes. Or at least that’s how it had always come across to me. »

- Jess Cartner-Morley

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The Oscar-winning experiments that might change the future of film

10 hours ago

From risky new formats to digital advances, award-winning films in vogue are using different models – but will they affect the future?

Birdman and Boyhood became the toast of the Oscars not just because of their merits as movies, but the extraordinary ways they were made. Together, they have upended the form of mainstream cinema: Boyhood was put together in 12 years, while Birdman appears to have been shot in one seamless take, with no cuts (a feature of the same length usually has around 3,000). The technical and logistical challenges of these films aren’t just dry footnotes but key selling points, much milked by each film’s marketing campaign.

Related: Boyhood: The College Years - Richard Linklater considering shooting sequel

Related: Birdman: the best film about theatre ever made?

Related: David Lynch: director of dreams

“Some film-makers … thought that if you play a scene in an airplane, the plane should be in the air, »

- Fred Wagner

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Will Smith losing freshness fast as Focus dissipates at global box office

12 hours ago

In this week’s instalment of our series tracking cinema’s worldwide winners …

• Us numbers for Focus, following After Earth’s, suggest Will Smith has lost domestic support

Chow Yun-Fat helps Chinese box office reach milestone

• Fifty Shades sweeps the board everywhere but the far east

$31.3m for a 32-territory rollout featuring a big name, supposedly one of the hallowed few able to open a film singlehandedly is not good form. Will Smith’s conman thriller Focus, co-starring Wolf of Wall Street bombshell Margot Robbie, has already been positioned as a lowering of expectations for the box-office main man after the disappointment of 2013’s After Earth, which limped on a $130m budget to $243.8m worldwide. So let’s not use the blockbuster measuring chart – on which Smith has marked some lofty notches, including Independence Day’s $817.4m ($1.2bn corrected for inflation) – to size up his new venture.

Continue reading »

- Phil Hoad

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Jurassic World: meet the dino-stars

13 hours ago

The fourth Jurassic Park movie is released in June and the various species who populate the cast have been unveiled. But what role will each of them play in the family-friendly 3D slaughter?

Jurassic World, the fourth movie in the Jurassic Park series, will be released in three months. This means that ITV2 is three years and three months away from having a new film it can broadcast on a loop every weekend for ever. It also means we’re probably two and a half months away from the producers of Star Wars doing something to disable whatever momentum Jurassic World builds up.

Meanwhile, the Jurassic World publicity machine has cranked into gear. On jurassicworld.com, the species of dinosaur that feature in the new movie are being revealed. So what are they? How will they figure in the action? It’s time to take a closer look.

Related: Jurassic World »

- Stuart Heritage

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The film that makes me cry: The Mothering Heart

14 hours ago

Lillian Gish pours out her emotions in a Dw Griffith silent classic that packs young love, infidelity and tragedy into a powerful 25 minutes

We live in cynical times, worse luck, in which we’re suspicious of sentiment. If we allow ourselves to shed a tear at the cinema, we tend to worry we have been tricked in some way. Such qualms were rarer in the silent era, when audiences were happier to extend their sympathy towards the screen. That’s one of the reason why I love early films – where others see slush, I see naked emotional honesty, and an opportunity for a healthy cathartic sob.

The king of sentiment was Dw Griffith, whose abundant filmography contains plenty of weep-out-loud moments. But he was never more successful in this art then when Lillian Gish was in front of his camera – in feature-length films such as Broken Blossoms (1919) and Way Down East »

- Pamela Hutchinson

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Wim Wenders retrospective: five to watch, and one to miss

15 hours ago

The director, currently the subject of a retrospective in New York, gave us Harry Dean Stanton in the desert and Pina Bausch in 3D. Here are his best films (and one clunker)

As one of the key figures – along with Fassbinder, Herzog and Schlondorff – of the New German Cinema movement that reinvigorated (West) German film in the 70s, and gave the country of Marlene Dietrich, Ufa and Fw Murnau a bona fide cinematic movement to rival the nouvelle vague, Wim Wenders has been making films for over four decades. In that period he’s produced some genuine masterworks, a handful of uncategorisable oddities and more than his fair share of clunkers. If Herzog comes off as unhinged, and Fassbinder as ice-cold, Wenders appears urbane (when he’s good) and unbearably pretentious (when he isn’t).

Be that as it may, Wenders has earned his place among the pantheon of postwar »

- Andrew Pulver

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Power Rangers fan film shows muscle as it deflects rights holders' assault

15 hours ago

Bloody and profane, it is the latest blockbuster in the increasingly influential world of short films that have started to trigger conflicts with ‘official’ versions

Last week a short fan film is attracted the type of buzz you’d expect from a studio blockbuster. Power/Rangers, an unofficial take on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, features actress Katee Sackhoff being violently interrogated by James Van Der Beek. With bloodshed and more f-bombs than you’d expect from an interpretation of a kids’ TV show, the short has enraged rights holder Haim Saban but delighted fans by showing them familiar characters in a different light.

The film is back online this week, having been briefly removed from YouTube and Vimeo after Saban reputedly issued a legal threat. The short’s producer, Adi Shankar, has written a disclaimer disassociating the film from the Power Rangers brand, but there’s no guarantee that will »

- James Luxford

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The blockbuster's in decline – here's how to save it

3 March 2015 8:00 AM, PST

More than 25 superhero movies in the next four years could spell troubled times for the Us box office. How can the studios avoid fatiguing film-goers?

With every new Marvel announcement (the latest of which is due on 5 March), a combination of excitement and resignation hits. While the Disney-owned studio has a habit of producing superhero films that fly a little higher than the rest, there are only so many costumed crimefighters we can bear to see on the big screen.

Do we really need 11 Marvel films in the next four years, which, added to the other superhero offerings on the horizon, makes more than 25 in total?

Related: Birdman got it wrong: serious actors love playing superheroes

Related: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay's bombed-out dystopia is all too familiar | Suzanne Moore

Related: Our pick of 2015's most exciting sci-fi and fantasy films

Related: Can Marvel save Spider-Man from his tangled web of sequels? »

- Benjamin Lee

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Zachary Quinto: Leonard Nimoy was like a father to me

3 March 2015 4:25 AM, PST

Leonard Nimoy helped his replacement as Spock deal with the pressure of stepping into an iconic role. But Quinto remembers how a professional relationship soon developed into a close friendship

I first met Leonard Nimoy in 2007 at the Comic-Con conference in San Diego where it was announced I would be taking over the role of Spock. I was really excited to meet him and hopeful he would support me stepping into it. I never imagined how our meetings about the character would evolve into a very profound friendship.

Related: Zachary Quinto: 'Playing Spock was about cultivating an inner life'

Related: How Leonard Nimoy grew to love Spock as much as we did

Related: Leonard Nimoy – a life in pictures

Continue reading »

- Zachary Quinto, as told to Rory Carroll

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CA Lejeune: the pioneering female film critic who changed our view of cinema

2 March 2015 11:02 AM, PST

The Guardian and Observer critic blazed a trail for female reviewers – but today, the proportion of women writing about film is falling. What can we learn from this bracing, witty writer?

“The kinema must please the women or die,” thundered the Manchester Guardian’s weekly film column in 1926. Back then, cinema audiences were largely female, but film-makers largely male. “She is no fool, this woman, no sluggard in criticism”, wrote the critic, appalled at an industry utterly mistaking what mothers and housewives wanted to see at the cinema. “[She is] the first to notice the inconsistencies of a production, the bad workmanship, the flaws in thought, she has no illusions about her screen friends and their quality.”

Continue reading »

- Pamela Hutchinson

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Julianne Moore on Still Alice: 'The idea our inner self could be taken away is very frightening' - video interview

2 March 2015 4:52 AM, PST

Julianne Moore, star of Still Alice, talks to Catherine Shoard about playing a character with early-onset Alzheimer's. The actor explains how talking to people with the disease helped shape her Oscar-winning portrayal of a university lecturer dealing with her diagnosis, calls for more funding and challenges the idea that Alzheimer's is an immediate death sentence. Still Alice is released in the UK on Friday Continue reading »

- Catherine Shoard and Paul Frankl

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