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Sam Taylor-Johnson on Fifty Shades Of Grey: ‘A feminist doesn’t have to be on top’

9 hours ago

She’s an artist who’s made just one film – now Sam Taylor-Johnson has directed Hollywood’s most controversial (and explicit) movie in years. But will it be any good?

Sam Taylor-Johnson and I are sitting outside a photography studio in Los Angeles, in the baking January heat, watching a video she’s made on her phone. The sun is very bright and what I can see is deficient in certain key respects: there is a singer, the Weeknd (yes, no e), dressed in clothes, and a row of dancers wearing kinky underwear or topiaried pubic hair. (This distinction, when you’re trying to figure out how controversial a music video is going to be, is pretty key.) Then Dakota Johnson, star of Fifty Shades Of Grey, descends naked from the ceiling, in a sort of string bag made of rope.

When you are open-minded about the Bdsm scene (bondage, »

- Zoe Williams

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The Guardian Film Show - Podcast

30 January 2015 10:02 AM, PST

Helmed this week by Rebecca Nicholson, the Guardian Film Show looks at the week's big releases and hears cheers or boos from critics Peter Bradshaw and Catherine Shoard. They assess Colin Firth spy caper Kingsman: The Secret Service, Paul Thomas Anderson's Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice, Stephen Daldry's Brazilian adventure Trash, and a superpowered Disney animation in Big Hero 6. Plus there are interviews with Joaquin Phoenix and Katherine Waterston Continue reading »

- Catherine Shoard

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The Avengers, the Minions and the Terminator touch down on Super Bowl Sunday

30 January 2015 10:01 AM, PST

Forget the football, just watch the trailers: Hollywood is splashing out on some expensive ad-time to show off its forthcoming wares

Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer reviewMore from Week in geek

The annual Super Bowl broadcast invariably features a torrent of TV spots promoting the movies that Hollywood hopes will be massive at the multiplexes in 2015. Sunday’s event is expected to give us 30-second glimpses of Jurassic World, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator: Genisys and Minions, among others, and there is even talk, however unlikely, of a fresh look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens or a first glimpse of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Here’s a quick rundown of what we can expect.

Related: Jurassic Park IV: something has survived (and it seems to be half human) | Ben Child

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- Ben Child

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With De Mai Tinh 2, has Vietnam finally embraced gay film-making?

30 January 2015 9:32 AM, PST

The slapstick comedy has broken box-office records in Vietnam, but Lgbt campaigners are protesting against its flamboyantly camp central character

An unconventional romantic-comedy sequel has made Vietnamese history by smashing the country’s box office record within days of its release. However, the word of mouth hit has also sparked debate in the socially conservative country over the portrayal of its lead character, who is transgender. Some have seen the film’s triumph as further sign that Vietnam is finally opening up – its release coincided with the news that Vietnam has lifted its ban on same-sex weddings – but not everyone is convinced that it equals progress.

A month on from its release and De Mai Tinh 2 (known in English as Let Hoi Decide) is nearing the £3.3m mark, an enormous sum for a Vietnamese feature. The film stars Thai Hoa, the country’s answer to Jim Carrey, as Pham Huong Hoi, »

- Kim Megson

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'A golden shining moment': the true story behind Atari's Et, the worst video game ever

30 January 2015 8:41 AM, PST

Legend has it that millions of copies of Atari’s tie-in with the sci-fi blockbuster were secretly buried in New Mexico after the game was branded a stinker. A new documentary, Atari: Game Over, goes digging for the truth

On 22 September1983, in the dead of night, 13 trucks were driven to a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and their contents emptied. Everything was buried and concreted. And that should have been that. But it wasn’t.

A few days later, scavengers arrived and found some Atari Et video games. Word got out. The tie-in product had been released to much fanfare the previous December, but had gained a reputation as a stinker. Now, here in New Mexico, as legend began to have it, were millions of them, unloved, unsold, underground. The game, many believed, was responsible for Atari’s sudden downfall, and the company had physically buried its shame. Years later, »

- Alex Godfrey

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The Guardian Film Show – Kingsman: The Secret Service, Inherent Vice, Trash and Big Hero 6 – video reviews

30 January 2015 7:37 AM, PST

Helmed this week by Rebecca Nicholson, the Guardian Film Show looks at the week's big releases and hears cheers or boos from critics Peter Bradshaw and Catherine Shoard. They assess Colin Firth spy caper Kingsman: The Secret Service, Paul Thomas Anderson's Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice, Stephen Daldry's Brazilian adventure Trash, and a superpowered Disney animation in Big Hero 6. Plus there are interviews with Joaquin Phoenix and Katherine Waterston

If you'd rather watch each review individually, you can – here are Kingsman: The Secret Service, Inherent Vice, Trash, and Big Hero 6 Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Accident investigators on set of Martin Scorsese film Silence after ceiling collapses – video

30 January 2015 7:30 AM, PST

One person died and two were injured on Thursday when a ceiling collapsed on the set in Taiwan of Martin Scorsese's upcoming film Silence, the production said. The three were working as contractors to reinforce a building on the Central Motion Picture Corporation Studios lot that had been deemed unsafe for production when the accident happened, a crew member says Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Oscars 2015: who will win the best animated feature race?

30 January 2015 7:14 AM, PST

How to Train Your Dragon 2 flies into pole position after The Lego Movie – incredibly – wasn’t even nominated. But the sumptuous Song of the Sea, awash with Celtic myth and magic, is the best of the bunch

There are those who complain that it’s too easy to score an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. They’re essentially right: current Academy rules state that at least 16 feature-length animated films must qualify for consideration in any given year for the category to yield five nominees. This year, 20 films did, meaning a full quarter of the titles in play wound up with a nomination. When you consider that 87 submissions for best foreign language film were vying for the same number of slots, or that 323 films qualified for best picture this year, the animated race looks a little soft.

Then again, try telling that to the makers of The Lego Movie. »

- Guy Lodge

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Sundance 2015 review – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: a buzzy breakout hit

30 January 2015 4:48 AM, PST

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s droll teen drama is a cross between (500) Days of Summer and The Fault in Our Stars, and looks set to match their success

Those desperately seeking a breakout hit at this year’s Sundance can heave a sigh of relief at the emergence of this inspired, insightful romp from Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, best known for helming episodes of the similarly perky TV series American Horror Story and Glee.

Adapted by Jesse Andrews from his book of the same name, pundits have been quick to pitch the film as a crossbreed lying somewhere between (500) Days of Summer and The Fault in Our Stars. With a swagger that’s refreshing and infectious – Gomez-Rejon confidently mashes up live action with animation – it could certainly court mainstream success. There was a serious bidding war at Sundance for the rights, but in keeping with the film’s irreverence, the filmmakers favoured an inventive distribution deal through Fox Searchlight. »

- Ed Gibbs

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Aacta awards 2015: red carpet highlights - video

29 January 2015 3:37 PM, PST

Australian film and TV stars including Essie Davis, Geoffrey Rush, Josh Thomas and Luke Arnold walk the red carpet before the 2015 Aacta awards at the Star in Sydney. As Luke Buckmaster wrote in December, it has been an influential 12 months for Aussie movies and 2014 was the year that genre film-making found its feet. Read our live coverage from the event for all the winners Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Kingsman: The Secret Service review – a smirking, charmless spy spoof

29 January 2015 2:44 PM, PST

Starring Colin Firth as an ultra-dapper spy, this tongue-in-cheek action caper forever demands to be congratulated on how ‘stylish’ it is

• League of gentlemen: Kingsman and Britain’s posh-boy spies

Mark Millar on Kingsman: ‘I was seeing so many demonised housing estate characters’

With the superhero fantasy Kick-Ass in 2010, Matthew Vaughn and co-screenwriter Jane Goldman created one of the most purely enjoyable movie adventures of the past five years. But I just couldn’t make friends with Vaughn’s new film, the tongue-in-cheek action caper Kingsman: The Secret Service, based on the comic book by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.

This smirking spy spoof, weirdly charmless and dated in unintentional ways, stars Colin Firth as Harry Hart, the ultra-dapper member of a top-secret organisation of agents. Hart recruits a lad called Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to the firm, and this youngster finds himself on the frontline of Kingsman’s battle against sinister software plutocrat Valentine, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Big Hero 6 review – visually striking Asian-fusion animation

29 January 2015 2:30 PM, PST

An inflatable automaton breaks new ground in Disney’s latest animation, but it goes with a familiar origin-story tack

This new Disney picture is a visually striking, if derivative, family adventure unfolding in a city that looks familiar but isn’t: San Fransokyo. It’s a blend of San Francisco and Tokyo, populated by Japanese-Americans, and the Golden Gate bridge is enlivened with some new Asian-fusion-style architecture. It isn’t clear if this means the city is supposed to have evolved ethnically, or if it exists in some intriguing alternative universe.

Continue reading »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Trash review – a likable kid’s adventure with a grownup angle

29 January 2015 2:14 PM, PST

Three kids from a Rio favela are on the trail of corruption in this watchable thriller from Stephen Daldry and Richard Curtis

Nothing to do with Andy Warhol’s movie from 1970. This is a fast-moving and likable children’s adventure with a fiercely grownup angle, mainly because the kids involved have had to grow up quickly. Screenwriter Richard Curtis has adapted a Ya novel by Andy Mulligan, and Stephen Daldry directs. Raphael (Rickson Tevez), Gardo (Eduardo Luís) and Rato (Gabriel Weinstein) are three Brazilian street kids from the favelas, who scratch a living from mountains of trash at the city limits. One day they come upon a wallet containing some cash and, more importantly, photos and documents. It all relates to corrupt politicians and vicious cops who badly want this wallet back. The boys find themselves way out of their depth, but they have some friends in the form of a cantankerous whisky priest, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Pelo Malo (Bad Hair) review – quietly perceptive Venezuelan drama

29 January 2015 1:45 PM, PST

Mariana Rondón’s tale of the tense relationship between a mother and her curly-haired son has dark but insightful undertones

This breakthrough drama from Venezuelan writer-director Mariana Rondón starts small – sketching a somewhat tetchy, resentful relationship between a single mother and her nine-year-old son in latter-day Caracas – and gradually builds an idea of a society constructed along restrictively gendered lines. Both main characters are brushing against the grain: mama Marta (the excellent Samantha Castillo) quitting menial cleaning work to try out as a security guard, Junior (Samuel Lange Zambrano) struggling to straighten the unruly moptop he inherited from his macho deceased dad and become a singer. (He’s a little like the crossdressing hero of 1997’s French crowd-pleaser Ma Vie en Rose.) Rondón charts their progress in unemphatic slices of life, just playful enough for the whole not to feel like a tract; a pre-teen female neighbour’s gabby obsession with rape – funny, »

- Mike McCahill

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No Manifesto: A Film About Manic Street Preachers review – intelligent fan’s-eye-view

29 January 2015 1:30 PM, PST

No glitz, no glamour, just a measured, unpretentious documentary for the faithful

Almost 30 years after forming and 20 years after the disappearance and presumed death of their rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards, Manic Street Preachers have become the subject of a sympathetic documentary from Elizabeth Marcus – in the fan’s-eye-view style that is becoming de rigueur, and which has been applied to the Stone Roses, Pulp and Morrissey. The emphasis is on a supportive approach that doesn’t mythologise: the camera shows rehearsal, recording and live shows, with fans of all shapes and sizes being interviewed in the same unpretentious, respectful way as the band members themselves. Speaking as someone who knows nothing of the group’s music, I found that Manic Street Preachers seem intriguingly to inhabit a world outside the usual one of celebrity obsession: they have become hugely successful (more slowly than they hoped), but there is no glitz and glamour, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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I Am Yours review – delicately etched Nordic drama

29 January 2015 1:29 PM, PST

Amrita Acharia is impressive as a Norwegian-Pakistani caught between different worlds

This atmospheric, delicately etched Nordic drama stars Amrita Acharia as a second-generation Norwegian-Pakistani woman caught between several contiguous but different worlds. Divorced from her nice but dull architect husband, with whom she shares custody of their young son (Prince Singh), she finds it hard enough being a single mother while trying to launch an acting career. To make things tougher, her conservative family, led by the passive-aggressive mother from hell (Rabia Noreen), never stop guilt-tripping her about shaming the family. Sexual sparks fly when she meets a Swedish film director (Ola Rapace), but he is too self-absorbed to handle the demands of dating a woman with a child. Though sometimes it seems like European arthouse cinema churns out films on this or similar themes by the metric ton, Acharia’s electric performance is impressive, while director Iram Haq brings »

- Leslie Felperin

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Tales of the Grim Sleeper review – a forensic study of real-life murder in La

29 January 2015 1:15 PM, PST

In his latest documentary, Nick Broomfield examines the grim evidence surrounding a series of killings that still haunts the city after 25 years

Nick Broomfield’s documentary picks over the grisly bones of a serial-killer case that continues to haunt La. In 2010, Lonnie Franklin Jr was charged with murdering 10 women over the previous quarter-century; he’d gained the nickname “Grim Sleeper” from the theory he had rested 14 years between killings, but Polaroids scattered around Franklin’s pad suggest other victims may simply have vanished into this impoverished, crack-scarred, deeply misogynist landscape. 

Related: 'Grim Sleeper': 160 pictures of women may be serial killer's victims, say police

Continue reading »

- Mike McCahill

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American Sniper: an old-fashioned western in military uniform

29 January 2015 10:45 AM, PST

Clint Eastwood’s film about navy Seal Chris Kyle is on target to become the biggest-grossing war movie in history. How did it win the nation’s hearts and minds?

At some point this weekend, a small but important record will be broken. Since its release in the Us two weeks ago, Clint Eastwood’s new film, American Sniper, has made a little over $209m. Between now and Sunday night, it will (if you ignore inflation) almost certainly become the highest grossing war movie ever, outstripping the $216m of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. This was nothing that anyone saw coming. There was no turbo-charged marketing campaign. Its leading man, Bradley Cooper, is a star – but stars don’t guarantee box office any more.

Related: American Sniper to be highest-earning war movie ever, but Mortdecai dead in the water

Related: Is American Sniper historically accurate?

Related: American Sniper review: »

- Danny Leigh

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Ted 2's first trailer – can you bear it without Mila Kunis?

29 January 2015 10:42 AM, PST

Our first look at the return of the foul-mouthed talking teddy bear suggests Seth MacFarlane has cut out the middle (wo)man and gone straight for the bromance

Just over two years ago, we voted Ted the second best film of 2012 (just below The Master, just about Amour). So we’re excited by this first look at the sequel, in particular the fact it looks like more of the same: Ted and Mark Wahlberg, talking trash, on a sofa.

There’s some small differences: the shock value has gone, the token woman has changed. Out is Mila Kunis, in is Amanda Seyfried as a lawyer named Sam L Jackson who represents our furry friend in his case to be recognised as human.

Continue reading »

- Guardian Film

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Alfred Molina: ‘I’ll do anything. I’m a bit of a slut that way’

29 January 2015 9:12 AM, PST

The Love is Strange star is game for most roles – just don’t ask him to diet, run or jump. He talks about ageing, his wife Jill Gascoine’s struggle with Alzheimer’s and why he gives ‘good foreign’

Occupying the corner table of a near-empty cafe off Sunset Boulevard, Alfred Molina eats porridge as he mulls the implications of ageing in Hollywood. “I’m getting older now. Certain roles are beyond me. If someone says we’ve got a great part for you but you’ll need to lose 30lb, I say, well, get a thinner actor.”

He pats his stomach and gives an affable shrug. “Same thing if I was asked to gain 30lb to play Orson Welles. I’ve done physical transformations in the past, but not any more. You notice that it’s mostly young actors who do it.” He pauses. “I’ll be 62 this year. »

- Rory Carroll

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