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Tarantino's The Hateful Eight liveread: 'Reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs'

10 hours ago

Director's new script, revealed during a liveread featuring Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell and Samuel L Jackson, harks back to his early work, says John Patterson

Tarantino sues Gawker over Hateful Eight script leak

Blog: Gawker: Tarantino should blame himself for script leak

Director Quentin Tarantino and the website Gawker are at each other's throats over the latter's now infamous link to an online copy of Tarantino's latest screenplay, The Hateful Eight. Enraged that this had happened when casting had barely commenced, the director shut down the movie unilaterally (perhaps finally ...) and sued Gawker. In the meantime, to give the material a more controlled public airing, Tarantino arranged a live-read of the script in association with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's film programme.

We gather at the venerable United Artists Theatre, a sumptuous 1927 movie palace, all faux-Byzantine motifs and three tiers of balconies, bearing our $200 tickets and plenty of questions. »

- John Patterson

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Hop recap: A rabbit knocks stuff over

19 hours ago

Russell Brand as the Easter Bunny, chewy sweets over chocolate. Nothing about Hop - which is being shown on Channel 4 at 6:10pm tonight - has any spring in its step, says Stuart Heritage

Chances are you haven't fully forgiven Channel 4 for not showing Elf last Christmas. And rightly so personally speaking I still can't watch Channel 4 or look at the number four or think about whatever Kevin McCloud might be doing right now without experiencing a great surge of resentment. But that's Ok. Channel 4 ruined Christmas, but it might have saved Easter.

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- Stuart Heritage

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Locke review 'bold and evocative'

21 hours ago

Tom Hardy proves he can act in a minor key in this compelling portrait of a man in transit and in crisis

Till now, Tom Hardy's best-known performances have tended to project the image of the movie star most likely to headbutt someone on the red carpet. I'm not thinking just of his unintelligibly deranged Batman villain Bane, but also of his extraordinary lead in Bronson, playing the notorious British prison hard case like a roaringly theatrical circus strongman. His soft-spoken protagonist in Locke is entirely different, yet there's still a touch of the excess that you associate with Hardy for Ivan Locke is a man who lives, as his name suggests, with an excessive degree of control.

Steven Knight's film starts with Locke, a Welsh construction professional, leaving a Birmingham building site in his BMW which is where he stays for the rest of the film, driving and making phone calls. »

- Jonathan Romney

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Women bridge gender gap as French film embraces a new nouvelle vague

22 hours ago

As a festival of Gallic cinema opens in the UK, women both on screen and behind the camera are now in France's cultural vanguard

Half a century has passed since a group of mostly young and almost exclusively male directors electrified the culture-starved, postwar public with what would become known as nouvelle vague films.

Using handheld cameras and with a shortage of both money and celluloid, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Éric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette among others created a golden age of French cinema.

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- Kim Willsher

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Wake in Fright Philip French on the Australian classic starring an outstanding Donald Pleasence

19 April 2014 4:08 PM, PDT

(Ted Kotcheff, 1971; Eureka!, 18)

A key film in Australian cinema, Wake in Fright is based on Kenneth Cook's 1961 novel about John Grant, a weak, frustrated teacher in the outback going to Sydney for Christmas, losing all his money gambling in a bleak town known as "the Yabba", and spending several nightmarish days and nights carousing with hard-drinking locals leading up to a bloody kangaroo hunt. Dirk Bogarde bought the novel to star in, with Joseph Losey directing. The screenplay was written by Evan Jones, author of several Losey-Bogarde movies. But like another Losey project set in Australia (Patrick White's Voss scripted by David Mercer), it fell through. Jones's script eventually reached the screen in this remarkable picture, perceptively directed by the London-based Canadian Ted Kotcheff. Skilfully edited by the Australian Anthony Buckley to create an air of constant unease, it's shot by the British cinematographer Brian West to resemble »

- Philip French

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Guy Lodge's DVDs and downloads Easter special

19 April 2014 4:06 PM, PDT

Look no further for a bracing antidote to hoary biblical epics on television and escapism that stretches belief from Ben Stiller

Every year, the aisles of Easter greeting cards in stationers' shops grow wider, as more commercial enterprises clock to the holiday's prettier-than-Christmas potential but the film industry, by and large, has resisted. The list of great Easter-related films is short, and the list of those available online considerably shorter. Happily, iTunes recently identified an exception by adding Pier Paolo Pasolini's rapturous The Gospel According to St. Matthew to their download roster and you could not ask for a more bracing antidote to the hoary biblical epics that TV programmers routinely trot out over this particular weekend.

Not at all the reading one might expect from the bristly gay Marxist, this spare, serene observation of Jesus Christ's trajectory from birth to death to, well, beyond instead surprises with its devotion to the text, »

- Guy Lodge

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The Sea review 'lugubrious' adaptation of John Banville novel

19 April 2014 4:05 PM, PDT

Ciarán Hands is a little too insistent in his grief in this glum bereavement drama

John Banville adapts his own 2005 Man Booker-winning novel as a glum bereavement drama of the rain-on-windowpanes variety. Ciarán Hinds plays a widowed art critic who returns to the scene of a sun-kissed but ultimately painful summer of his childhood a lost world inhabited by louche bohemian adults (Natascha McElhone, Rufus Sewell, both ripe as all hell) who seem to be trapped for eternity in a Jack Vettriano painting. Hinds plays the bibulous grief a little too insistently with jowls a-quiver, but Sinéad Cusack, pithy as the dead wife, and a silky Charlotte Rampling bring some tone. Otherwise, a lugubriously literary affair.

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- Jonathan Romney

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Magic Magic review 'shapeless mess'

19 April 2014 4:05 PM, PDT

Even a 'memorably repellent' Michael Cera can't save Sebastián Silva's film about graceless Americans abroad

Earlier this year we saw the engaging, if not so engagingly titled, Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012 one of two films by Chilean director Sebastián Silva about graceless Americans abroad. Where the loose, mumblecore-ish druggie farce Crystal Fairy was enjoyably scabrous, its companion piece Magic Magic, again starring Michael Cera, is a shapeless mess. Juno Temple (always watchable, often weird and she's certainly both here) plays fragile Alicia, travelling outside the Us for the first time, and lapsing into disturbed panic when she falls among less than sympathetic travelling companions on a Chilean island. Silva drums up a vague mood of hovering balefulness but the result is neither effective psycho-horror nor a full-blooded indie improv exercise. But the cast, including the director's brother, Agustín Silva, is good, and as a sneery narcissist, the »

- Jonathan Romney

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Wrinkles review 'unsentimental evocation of old age'

19 April 2014 4:05 PM, PDT

This Spanish animation, with voices from Martin Sheen and Matthew Modine, is intelligent and entertaining

Adapted from a comic strip by Paco Roca, this traditional cel animation from Spain is a surprising thing indeed an intelligent, entertaining, altogether unsentimental evocation of the experience of old age. With its crisply drawn, unfussy visuals, Wrinkles is about Emilio, an elderly ex-bank manager who reluctantly enters a retirement home and tries to hide the onset of Alzheimer's. Oh yes, all the joyous things are here dementia, incontinence, callous adult offspring and yet Wrinkles is a tender, life-affirming piece, mischievous although it never tries to package its theme in a falsely cheery Last of the Summer Wine fashion. The American dubbing is done by Martin Sheen, as sobersided Emilio, and Matthew Modine as his son but the winning turn is by veteran George Coe, as charismatic and often downright obnoxious old cynic Miguel.

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- Jonathan Romney

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 review CGI pizzazz, but an unnecessary film

19 April 2014 4:05 PM, PDT

The latest Marvel output adds little to the mix

We've all become used to a constant flow of Marvel product as a fact of life but does anyone need these films, apart from the most addicted comics obsessives, and Stan Lee's financial advisers? The rebooted Spider-Man franchise, launched almost as soon as Tobey Maguire had hung up his web-shooters, seems altogether redundant, but it must be said that Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man fulfilled its remit with laudable coherence and efficiency. His follow-up, though, is more like a taster menu than a movie proper, or like a garbled "Previously on" sequence that thinks it's a whole mini-series.

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- Jonathan Romney

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We Are the Best! review Lukas Moodysson rediscovers his sense of fun

19 April 2014 4:05 PM, PDT

A film about a 1980s proto-riot grrrl band is a boisterous pleasure

Sweden's Lukas Moodysson scored a likable crossover hit with his 2000 comedy Together, about 1970s commune living, but later veered off into dark, experimental realms so confrontationally outre that they made Lars von Trier look like Ron Howard. In We Are the Best!, he unexpectedly rediscovers his sense of fun, with a teen-feminist tale set in Stockholm in 1982, about three girls two of them 12, one slightly older who form a punk band, with just one song to their name. It's a good one, though, a cri de coeur against sport with lyrics that, in translation, demonstrate the glory of the subtitler's art: "The atomic bombs blow up our cities, yet you want more tennis committees!"

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- Jonathan Romney

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The Love Punch review 'utterly joyless' romcom

19 April 2014 4:04 PM, PDT

Emma Thompson's middlebrow new comedy seems perfect for Nigel Farage. Which isn't a recommendation

Popular wisdom has it that any film containing Emma Thompson must be irreproachably classy. Hmm ever see her opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in pregnant-man comedy Junior? The Love Punch is a grisly romcom caper about a divorced English couple who recapture their spark when they try to steal a diamond from the financier who robbed them. Directed by Joel Hopkins with what you can only call "le Michael Winner touch", this comedy is set in France, where everyone is either dastardly, cartoonish or ever so ooh-la-la. Brosnan mocks himself affably (yes, again), Thompson shoots him "oh-you're-incorrigible" looks, and the whole thing is middle-aged, middle-class and middle-budget, like a big-screen episode of Terry and June. Utterly joyless although you can somehow imagine Nigel Farage enjoying it immensely.

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- Jonathan Romney

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Ken Loach: you ask the questions | Film | The Observer

19 April 2014 4:00 PM, PDT

Jimmy's Hall, released in May, is likely to be the swansong from the acclaimed British director of 29 films including classics such as Kes and Cathy Come Home. Here's your chance to quiz him on a 50-year career that started on Z-Cars

The film world gave a collective whimper of sadness last autumn, when it was reported that Ken Loach was at work on his last ever feature. The 77-year-old director seemed to confirm as much when he picked up a lifetime achievement award at the Berlin film festival in February, saying: "There comes a point when the spirit is willing but the flesh is maybe not so capable"

Though Loach is still expected to work on documentaries, next month's Jimmy's Hall, a drama set in 1920s Ireland, recently selected to be in competition at Cannes, will be a swansong of sorts. To mark the occasion we've invited him to take »

- The Observer

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Animal-rights activists picket Liam Neeson's NY home over horse carriages

19 April 2014 11:26 AM, PDT

Around 50 demonstrators fill Manhattan sidewalk

Star is vocal supporter of carriage-horse industry

Animal-rights activists protesting outside the actor Liam Neeson's New York home on Saturday said they did not agree with him that the city's carriage horses should keep working.

Neeson did not appear as about 50 demonstrators filled the sidewalk in front of his Manhattan apartment building. They held signs with such slogans as: "Liam Neeson: Stop Supporting Cruelty!"

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- Guardian Staff

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Lindsay Lohan's reality show didn't need to take her seriously

19 April 2014 8:38 AM, PDT

As the final episode of her Oprah-led docu-series approaches, the star has hit the chat show circuit hard but what do her varied performances reveal about her life?

As the old adage goes, there's no such thing as bad press. No one knows this better than Lindsay Lohan.

When the final instalment of her 'docu-series', Lindsay, airs on Own on Sunday, Lohan may not have convinced many viewers of her acting chops, healthy lifestyle or newfound sobriety. But none of this will damage her career, because it is now very clear that her career has nothing to do with acting.

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- Katie Rogers

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Happy 10th birthday Mean Girls, Tina Fey's timeless teen comedy

19 April 2014 1:00 AM, PDT

How the film that made Lindsay Lohan a household name skewered the social hierarchies of American high schools and spawned a rabid cult following

Ten years ago this week, the film that would transform Lindsay Lohan into a teen movie queen premiered in the Us. Lilo's ticket to adolescent idolatry was handed to her by future 30 Rock creator Tina Fey then Saturday Night Live's head writer and director Mark Waters. Mean Girls would gross $129m, and although it didn't exactly revolutionise the high-school comedy genre, it injected sass at a time when the biggest hitters were largely samey Hilary Duff vehicles. With a plot that embraces and busts cliche in equal measure, a highly quotable screenplay and a killer cast, it gained a fanatical cult following.

Fey, who wrote the script, plays the film's moral compass, Ms Norbury. She drew inspiration for the screenplay from her own teenage years, »

- Hannah J Davies

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Gbf, out this week on DVD & Blu-ray

18 April 2014 10:00 PM, PDT

'It's an obnoxiously camp DayGlo assault of a movie, every second of its runtime deep-fried in double entendre'

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Studios are often criticised for intentionally misrepresenting their films in an attempt to reach a wider audience than they might do otherwise. It's a fair complaint: millions of people might have been spared Marley & Me had its poster not shied away from depicting the onslaught of postnatal depression and canine euthanasia that made up the film's final act. But ever so often, a film comes along for which misrepresentation is a crucial part of the package. Jawbreaker director Darren Stein goes back to school in Gbf, the story of a newly outed high school senior who finds himself stalked by a trio of would-be prom queens, each of them desperate to secure their own socially appropriate "gay best friend". From the off, it's an »

- Charlie Lyne

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Tom Hardy to play both Kray twins

18 April 2014 9:29 AM, PDT

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?

18 April 2014 7:42 AM, PDT

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

18 April 2014 6:13 AM, PDT

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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