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18 articles

Star Wars career curse: can Adam Driver and Domhnall Gleeson go rogue?

2 hours ago

The Empire can strike back in unexpected ways, with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Natalie Portman all complaining of a downturn in fortunes after their appearances. But the force is sure to awaken in the following five

It’s been called the curse of Star Wars. No, not Harrison Ford’s recent accidents at Pinewood Studios and in the air above Los Angeles, though these were worrying enough. We’re talking the famous inability of cast members to retain the spotlight once they have walked away from the iconic space opera saga.

It happened to Carrie Fisher, Aka Princess Leia, whose post-Return of the Jedi travails were documented in her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge (later an Oscar-nominated film). And it certainly struck Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), who never secured the A-list status handed to Ford despite being the original trilogy’s central figure. The less said about »

- Ben Child

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Jeff Bridges: five best moments

3 hours ago

Reliving the career of the Oscar-winning actor, who plays a wizard in this week’s Seventh Son

As one of the few actors who gets a pass for starring in more than his fair share of questionable films (purely because he’s so likeable), Jeff Bridges is still a man in need of a good script. After back-to-back flops with The Giver and R.I.P.D., he’s back on shaky territory in this week’s critically loathed fantasy Seventh Son, reuniting with his Big Lebowski co-star Julianne Moore.

But to remind ourselves of happier times, here’s a look at his career high points:

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- Benjamin Lee

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Southpaw trailer: Jake Gyllenhaal buff and bloodied in boxing film

3 hours ago

Jake Gyllenhaal’s follow-up to Nightcrawler sees the actor roaming the ring as a beat-up boxer looking for one last fight in order to win back custody of his daughter

The boxing movie limps to the next bout with the arrival of the trailer for Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Billy Hope, a former lightweight champ hauling himself back into the ring for one last fight after the death of his wife (Rachel McAdams) and the state’s removal of his daughter (Oona Laurence) into care.

Originally conceived as a star vehicle for Eminem and touted as a sequel of-sorts to 8-Mile, the trailer’s debuted on the rapper’s website. Gyllenhaal, who shot Southpaw directly after playing gaunt newshound Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler, packed on the pounds for Fuqua. His Billy looks buff, but beat: battered into a corner and swallowing blood.

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- Henry Barnes

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The Face of an Angel - video review

7 hours ago

In an excerpt from this week's Guardian Film Show Henry Barnes, Peter Bradshaw and Benjamin Lee review Daniel Brühl as a desperate director on the hunt for a film in Michael Winterbottom's take on the press frenzy around the Meredith Kercher murder trail. Co-starring Kate Beckinsale and Cara Delevingne The Face of an Angel is released in the UK on Friday 27 March Continue reading »

- Henry Barnes, Peter Bradshaw, Benjamin Lee, Richard Sprenger, Catarina Monzani, Gabriel Edvy and Andrea Salvatici

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Which 80s horror icons would you like to be scared by again?

7 hours ago

If an ‘Expendables of horror’ ever got off the ground, who do you think should be slicing and dicing?

Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead renown has come out (once again) and urged the film industry to get a horror-movie answer to The Expendables up and running (with axe-wielding maniac not far behind). He’s even got a script. Given that the Sly Stallone crew consisted of over-the-hill 80s action stars reliving past glories, it’s not too imagination-stretching to see a movie face-off between 80s horror icons such as Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Ash himself. (In fact, a toe has already been dipped in those waters with the 2003 film Freddy Vs Jason).

Related: Joe Queenan's guide to horror film cliches

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- Guardian film

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The film that makes me cry: Dreams of a Life

7 hours ago

This documentary about a mysterious woman who had been dead in her bedsit for three years before she was found is heartbreaking – and a salutary reminder to keep our loved ones close

I’m not an ostentatious weeper when it comes to films. My style is more the silent, something-in-my-eye blinking back of tears. I’m not ashamed – I work for the Guardian; crying among men is permitted here – it’s just the way I am. As such, my choice here of Dreams of a Life is as much for the maudlin, retrospective shadow it cast over my thoughts as for the extent of in-the-cinema waterworks.

Carol Morley’s part-dramatised documentary was damned with some lukewarm reviews on its release in 2011, which I find baffling. It’s an empathic, brave, clever, haunting attempt to use one person’s tragic story to grapple with one of the more basic human fears. »

- Peter Walker

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The Guardian Film Show: Cinderella, Wild Tales, The Face of an Angel and Get Hard - video reviews

7 hours ago

Peter Bradshaw and Benjamin Lee join Henry Barnes for our weekly round-up of the big cinema releases. This week the team watch Kenneth Branagh sprinkle fairy dust on a new live action version of Cinderella; see Ordinary Joes turn extraordinarily violent in black comedy Wild Tales; follow Michael Winterbottom he dives into the press frenzy around the Meredith Kercher case in The Face of an Angel; and wince at Will Ferrell preparing for prison by stocking up on dick jokes in Get Hard. Plus interviews with the cast and crew of Cinderella

• Listen to the audio-only version of this week's show Continue reading »

- Henry Barnes, Peter Bradshaw, Benjamin Lee, Richard Sprenger, Catarina Monzani, Gabriel Edvy and Andrea Salvatici

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Kate Beckinsale on The Face of an Angel: ‘Without journalists, we live in a police state’

26 March 2015 11:00 AM, PDT

Michael Winterbottom and the star of his film inspired by the murder of Meredith Kercher discuss the challenge of tackling such an emotive case – and what it taught them about the media today

There’s an early scene in The Face of an Angel where Kate Beckinsale and Daniel Brühl swig espresso in a scenic Roman square. As a troupe of street performers seem to levitate behind them, the pair discuss their plan to observe a murder trial in Siena. “If you’re going to make the film, make it a fiction,” Beckinsale’s seasoned journalist Simone tells Thomas, the dissolute director played by Brühl. “You can’t tell the truth unless you make it a fiction.” Brühl furrows his brows and concurs.

Related: How can a feature film about Amanda Knox ring more true than the news?

Related: Michael Winterbottom’s Meredith Kercher movie: revealing truths through fiction

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- Paul MacInnes

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Why is Hollywood suffering another gay panic attack?

26 March 2015 8:57 AM, PDT

Will Ferrell’s new film Get Hard is underpinned by an uneasy homophobia that takes comedy back to a pre-bromance era

In the new Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard, an appealing comic premise is established in a slick studio comedy manner, complete with trailer-ready sight gags and a radio-friendly pop soundtrack. Ferrell’s character, a disgraced investment banker, is heading to prison in 30 days and he enlists Hart’s struggling car-washer to help him prepare, leading to a variety of farcical situations. But reviews have been mostly toxic, with Variety calling out “some of the ugliest gay-panic humour to befoul a studio release in recent memory” and The Playlist labelling it “more offensive than just about anything we’ve seen lately.”

It’s a regrettable misfire as the stars are likable, their chemistry is strong and there’s an amusing initial attempt to challenge stereotypes (Ferrell wrongfully assumes »

- Benjamin Lee

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Matt Berry: ‘I think aliens might just see us as cattle’

26 March 2015 8:24 AM, PDT

He voices an alien dolphin in the Spongebob movie, but the It Crowd actor has never seen a dolphin in real life, or had a rap battle with a seagull, or stolen a recipe for a krabby patty … although he has made a prank call or two

Hey Matt. In the new Spongebob movie, you’re voicing an alien dolphin (1). Is this the strangest character you’ve ever voiced?

I’ve voiced inanimate objects and I’ve voiced jelly sweets (2) before, so I don’t know. When you do adverts, you voice all types of nonsense. I think it’s probably one of the most interesting. In terms of animation, I’d say that it’s the most far out.

Related: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water first look review – superhero slugfest drags a good sequel down

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- Benjamin Lee

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Blade Runner’s Sean Young: ‘If I were a man I’d have been treated better’

26 March 2015 7:55 AM, PDT

The star famous for playing the femme fatale Rachael in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic has had many ‘troubled moments’ since – including lawsuits, booze addiction and some unpleasant co-stars. So what is it like to be on the outside of Hollywood looking in?

“Please don’t write shit about me, Ok?” This is how the last email that I get from Sean Young ends, the one where she says she regrets ever writing to me.

The actor emailed for the first time the week before, responding to a request for an interview. It had taken some nudging to elicit a reply. She was, she said, busy with a play, but email was doable. “Try to be brief because I get way too many emails in general Lol,” she wrote, “[but] I can try and help you out.”

Related: Tears in rain? Why Blade Runner is timeless

People didn’t like that »

- Danny Leigh

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Cinderella director Kenneth Branagh: 'Shakespeare academics can be as bitchy as the fans of comic book movies' - video interview

26 March 2015 7:43 AM, PDT

The director of Disney's new live action version of the Cinderella story tells Ben Lee why there's slightly less pressure directing a fairy story compared to Shakespeare or a comic book film, while stars Lily James and Richard Madden imagine what would happen to Cinderella and Prince Charming in their happy ever after. Cinderella is released in the UK on Friday 27 March Continue reading »

- Benjamin Lee and Henry Barnes

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Cate Blanchett swears at Australian interviewer on TV show The Project – video

25 March 2015 4:36 PM, PDT

Cate Blanchett has sworn during an interview on Australian TV after seemingly taking issue with the line of questioning. Earlier in the interview on Channel Ten's The Project, she rebuffed Jonathan Hyla's suggestion that she seemed 'like the type of person that we should just crack open a beer' with. Blanchett responded: 'This date is not going well, I do not drink beer.' Later, his question on how she kept a cat on a leash in her new Disney film Cinderella prompted her to swear - albeit with a sly look on her face - and ask if that was really what he wanted to talk about Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Insurgent exploits Ya gap and proves dauntless in France and Brazil

25 March 2015 6:09 AM, PDT

In this week’s instalment of our series tracking the global box office …

Second instalment of the Divergent series holds ground in the Us, expands abroadIs misfire for The Gunman result of ‘geri-action’ fatigue?

South Korean word-of-mouth puts Whiplash on the global chart

The training period is over for the Divergent franchise. Industrially cut from the young-adult mould though it is – with its story of youngsters hothoused into a totalitarian society’s five specialised factions – studio Lionsgate opted for a low-risk opening with the first film, ushering it out into 18 territories last March. No such allowances for number two, Insurgent, which went out in 77 on the corresponding weekend this year, with star Shailene Woodley’s recognisability in the Ya genre – thanks also to last year’s breakout hit The Fault in Our Stars – now sufficiently strong to withstand even a drastic new pixie-cut. And Insurgent seems to have held its nerve, »

- Phil Hoad

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Robert Duvall: ‘Whatshisname should have won the Oscar’

24 March 2015 12:12 PM, PDT

He may not have bagged an Academy award for The Judge but Robert Duvall is feeling jovial. He shows Alex Needham his Eddie Redmayne impersonation, shares his love of Kes – and explains why Leonard Rossiter was one of the greats

Robert Duvall is a cinematic legend. The man who proclaimed “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!” in Apocalypse Now this year became the oldest person to be nominated for a supporting actor Oscar for his role in the film The Judge, though he lost out to Jk Simmons for his turn as a sadistic music teacher in Whiplash. It was Duvall’s seventh Academy award nomination – he won best actor for Tender Mercies in 1983.

Related: Robert Duvall: five best moments

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- Alex Needham

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Like Leviathan? You'll love The Leviathan!

23 March 2015 10:31 AM, PDT

Neill Blomkamp’s new movie has a title – and it’s a lot like that Russian drama from last year and the cod documentary from the year before. So why doesn’t Hollywood give a damn about recycling titles?

When Andrey Zvyagintsev’s bleak Russian epic Leviathan premiered at last year’s Cannes film festival to great acclaim, observant – and pedantic – cineastes remarked on its familiar title. Back in 2012, a documentary also called Leviathan garnered strong reviews if little attention, thanks to its slow-paced look at the state of the fishing industry.

Meanwhile, any self-respecting B-movie completist has been smugly rifling through their VHS collection to show off a copy of 1989 underwater horror Leviathan, which starred Peter Weller and Ernie Hudson and some ridiculous monster thing. Yet all of this has just been eclipsed by news that another damn film is being made with the same damn name.

Related: Leviathan »

- Benjamin Lee

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Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation trailer review – dangles with Cruise

23 March 2015 9:46 AM, PDT

Tom Cruise takes his top off and clings onto things in this first trailer for the fifth Mission Impossible movie. Stuart Heritage deciphers the plot from the promo

In a year packed to the gills with returning heroes like Star Wars and Jurassic Park and the Avengers, it’s easy to overlook something like Mission: Impossible 5. And that’s perfectly understandable, because what are the Mission: Impossible films if not incredibly expensive excuses for Tom Cruise to dangle off stuff? And, in all honesty, if you’ve seen Tom Cruise dangle from one thing, you’ve pretty much seen him dangle from everything.

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- Stuart Heritage

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How Paddington took Paul King from Mighty Boosh to almighty blockbuster

23 March 2015 7:16 AM, PDT

Paul King’s first film took £55,000. His second – an adaptation of Michael Bond’s friendly bear books – has made £170m and counting. How did the former director of Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi manage it?

“The world does not,” says Paul King, “always greet the announcement of a CGI reboot with great enthusiasm.” For eight years, the prospect of a hybrid live-action/computer-generated Paddington film was met with fretting and trepidation. Purists were concerned about the insertion of fart jokes into Michael Bond’s prose. Children of the 1970s worried about trampling over the memory of the Michael Hordern-narrated TV series.

Production was, publicly at least, a little troubled. Harry Potter honcho David Heyman first optioned the property in 2007, when Warner Bros were on board. After they dropped it, French outfit StudioCanal took over, and planning proper didn’t begin until 2013. Then, last summer, the departure of Colin Firth, »

- Catherine Shoard

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18 articles

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