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The Guardian Film Show - Podcast

5 hours ago

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

5 hours ago

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?

6 hours ago

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

7 hours ago

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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Sundance 2015 review – The Stanford Prison Experiment: notorious behaviour test becomes masterful film

7 hours ago

In 1971, students at Stanford university were divided into guards and prisoners in a mock jail, and quickly spiralled into sadism and subordination. Adapting it for the screen, Kyle Patrick Alvarez cranks up the claustrophobia to nightmarish levels

In 1971, Stanford psychology professor Philip Zimbardo wondered if he could create a college activity more detrimental than majoring poetry. (I joke.) But he did transform the basement of a university building into a make-believe prison with the intention of monitoring the effects of unearned authority, depersonalisation and how institutional settings can alter “normal” people.

Offering quick money to college students during the summer (when the campus was mostly empty) a random coin flip determined whether the kids would be prisoners or guards. The experiment was supposed to last two weeks but was cancelled after six days due to alarming way the subjects internalized their roles. Potentially more frightening was how Zimbardo himself had been drawn into the pageantry, »

- Jordan Hoffman

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

8 hours ago

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

8 hours ago

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?

8 hours ago

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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‘Anti-Putin’ Oscar nominee Leviathan gets wide Russian release

8 hours ago

Andrei Zvyagintsev’s film has been subject to fierce official criticism for its portrayal of modern Russia and cold-shouldered by state TV – but the controversy has stoked local interest

Even as Russia’s Academy-award nominee Leviathan was winning prizes at half a dozen illustrious film festivals and garnering glowing reviews at arthouse cinemas in New York and London, doubts remained as to whether it would even be shown in its home country. Besides a week-long showing in one St Petersburg theatre in September to meet Oscar entry requirements, the film’s release date was postponed, as officials criticised its grim take on modern Russia and many called for it to be banned.

That’s about to change on 5 February, when director Andrei Zvyagintsev’s dark morality tale will begin showing on at least 638 screens around the country, producer Alexander Rodnyansky has told the Guardian in an interview. He said the »

- Alec Luhn in Moscow

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

10 hours ago

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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Reese Witherspoon: five best moments

11 hours ago

The Inherent Vice star has earned her stripes after years of expressive comic and dramatic work. Which five roles do you think are her best?

Peter Bradshaw’s five-star review of Inherent Vice

Reese Witherspoon could teach the average washed-up child star a thing or two. At 38, she’s been making movies for more than 23 years and seemingly hardly lost focus. Over a career spanning dark comedy, emotive drama and even a well-executed bimbo role – American Psycho, we’re looking at you – she’s made the move from an easily typecast pretty face to a gritty lead.

She stars in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, released in the Us on 9 January, out in the UK this weekend and hitting Australia’s cinemas on 12 March. What better reason to look back at her five most impressive performances? Join us, by adding your picks in the comments.

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- Tshepo Mokoena

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Sundance 2015 review: The Russian Woodpecker – paranoia and prophecy from a Chernobyl soothsayer

12 hours ago

In a documentary unlike any other at Sundance, Chad Gracia follows Ukrainian artist Fedor’s attempts to unmask a Chernobyl cover-up – and to deliver a warning as Putin heads to the brink of civil war

Few people know that Soviet officials might have deliberately destroyed the Chernobyl power station to cover up a disastrous nearby attempt to jam Western enemies’ communications. They’re even less likely to believe it when the advocate for this theory is a wild-eyed, tousle-haired Ukrainian artist named Fedor Alexandrovich, fascinated by a monotonous ‘woodpecker’ sound deployed by Soviet spies in the 1980s.

Chad Gracia’s peculiar documentary grafts together two apparently unrelated themes to spectacular effect: Fedor’s absurdist avant-garde commitment to making his art, versus his attempt to investigate what really happened in Chernobyl by talking to all manner of deceptive ex-Soviet bureaucrats. Almost by accident, Fedor and his devoted cinematographer uncover a secret »

- Charlie Phillips

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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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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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Unlocking the Wolfpack – a strange tale of isolated brothers locked in a tiny NYC apartment

29 January 2015 10:23 AM, PST

Director Crystal Moselle spent several years in world of the Angulo brothers. Home-schooled and rarely allowed outside, their main window to the world became cinema

It was pure serendipity, Crystal Moselle says, that she found the Wolfpack. She was walking down First Avenue in Manhattan in the spring of 2010 when a boy, weaving through the crowd, ran past her. Then another one. Then another, and another.

“My instincts took over,” she says. “I just ran after them.”

Related: Sundance 2015 review: The Wolfpack – five stars for study of six siblings who spent 17 years in one Manhattan flat

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- Nicky Woolf in New York

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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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Should critics see films more than once?

29 January 2015 9:00 AM, PST

Slippery plots become clearer after a second viewing, but some movies – such as Inherent Vice – are meant to be confusing. And if critics go back for more, are they being fair to readers, who only get one shot?

There is a rumour circulating that to appreciate Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, a second viewing should be mandatory. The director Edgar Wright summed it up in a tweet (“I call it ‘Inherent Twice’ because I am looking forward to seeing it again”), while Vanity Fair asked: “Are some movies allowed to require a second viewing?”.

Now the consensus is building that once is not enough. It’s a logical response. In common with The Big Sleep or Chinatown, the plot is as tangled and slippery as a bathtub of snakes. It goes without saying that additional viewings will increase comprehension levels. What this fails to take into account is that »

- Ryan Gilbey

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Why has Hollywood snubbed two of Boyhood’s producers in the Oscar race?

29 January 2015 8:31 AM, PST

Thanks to the narrow-mindedness of the Academy, two crucial players behind Richard Linklater’s acclaimed, 12-years-in-the-making drama will be absent if it wins the award for best picture

In an awards season that has dished out snubs with perverse generosity, the move by the voting bodies of the Academy and the Producers Guild of America to exclude two key creators behind Boyhood deserves a trophy of its own. Their decision to deny Jonathan Sehring and John Sloss a place alongside Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland on the producers roster beggars belief.

Mention Boyhood, one of the year’s most adored movies, and the first person who comes to mind should be Linklater. This is only right: it’s his baby. The whole crazy paean to youth sprouted from his feverish indie brain and he was with it every step of its 12-year gestation. You might also think of Patricia Arquette, »

- Jeremy Kay

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Does Bollywood normalise stalking?

29 January 2015 8:09 AM, PST

A defence lawyer in Australia successfully claimed that his client’s aggressive pursuit of women was ‘quite normal behaviour’ for Bollywood fans. Sadly, it’s all too easy to concur

In Australia, a 32-year-old Indian security guard has escaped a jail term after his attorney argued his harassment of women with unwanted texts, messages and personal advances was a by-product of his film fanaticism. What for some might be seen as stalking was, for Bollywood aficionados it was argued, “quite normal behaviour” as the movies encourage the idea that a woman will eventually fall in love with a man if he pursues her hard enough.

Quite a contention, yet it holds cultural weight. Rachel Dwyer, a professor in Indian cinema at Soas, University of London, points out that the “often relentless” nature of the Bollywood leading man’s pursuit can be tracked through decades of examples, which she examines in her book Bollywood’s India. »

- Nirpal Dhaliwal

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