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Desperately seeking distribution: new Aussie hit thriller not available at home

1 hour ago

Director of The Suicide Theory, a black comedy thriller made in Queensland, hopes Us success will help to secure distribution deal in Australia

Earlier this month a bizarrely compelling new Australian film blitzed into American cinemas. Brisbane film-maker Dru Brown’s micro-budget directorial debut, The Suicide Theory (he has made one other feature but regards it as a hobby project), generated a windfall of head-turning reviews – the kind that seem to have been written by critics who’ve just picked their jaws up from the floor.

If the response to Brown’s darkly comic and shrewdly orchestrated thriller could be summarised with a single line, it would be something like: “What the hell was that?” Not necessarily in a bad way. In fact, generally speaking, in a good way.

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- Luke Buckmaster

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The Cobbler review – botched Adam Sandler fantasy comedy

2 hours ago

This entirely dreadful yarn about a magical cobbler is up to Sandler’s usual standards, but you might have expected more from its director

It stars Adam Sandler and, yes, cobbler’s in the title. Make your own jokes, because they’re otherwise lacking here: this botched fantasy – in which Sandler’s downtrodden Max discovers a magical stitching machine that allows him to literally walk a mile in his customers’ shoes – collapses amid its attempts to reshape a notionally sincere script to fit an A-list heel. An intriguing Jewish-heritage angle is soon overwritten so a bodyswapping Sandler can gawp at boobs; thereafter, it shrugs through boring squabbles with slumlord Ellen Barkin towards a will-this-do? punchline about cobblers being “guardians of soles”. Such indifferent material may now be expected from Sandler; coming from Tom McCarthy, writer-director of 2003’s cherishable The Station Agent, it’s an almighty shame.

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- Mike McCahill

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Beyond the Reach review – desert-dry survival thriller

2 hours ago

Michael Douglas is suitably villainous in this modern Western about a wealthy hunter gone rogue in the California desert

Related: Michael Douglas: ‘It’s more fun to be bad!’

Michael Douglas serves up an enjoyably villainous performance for this survival thriller in the classic 70s style of Deliverance and Duel, based on the 1972 novel Deathwatch by Robb White. It’s certainly tense, with some nice touches, though with plausibility issues and an odd, unnecessary coda. Douglas plays Madec, a rich and thoroughly obnoxious asshole who’s come to the Mojave desert basin for some hunting, driving a flashy Mercedes SUV and using a customised Austrian hunting rifle. For a guide, he hires Ben (played by Jeremy Irvine), a young local guy with excellent knowledge of the terrain. But while out there in the burning heat there is a terrible incident caused by Madec’s arrogant irresponsibility; Ben refuses to »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Hot Pursuit review – strained, unfunny Reese Witherspoon cop comedy

2 hours ago

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara team up for a witness-protection comedy that can’t get its double-act balance right – and doesn’t have any good jokes

The title would work better if the two hot women were the ones doing the pursuing, as opposed to being pursued – and indeed, if the film were funny in the first place. Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara have a terrible, sub-Thelma-&-Louise act as an uptight cop and the Colombian drug-baron trophy wife she is escorting to witness protection, forced to go on the run together and surrounded on all sides by gun-toting criminals and corrupt law officers. (Brit actor Robert Kazinsky gets the young Brad Pitt role as a sexy young guy they pick up on the road.) It’s not that Witherspoon can’t do comedy exactly: she was famously great in Alexander Payne’s classic Election – but there she was playing it dead straight, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Man With a Movie Camera review – visionary, transformative 1929 experimental film

3 hours ago

Dziga Vertov’s experimental silent documentary upends reality in ways that are still dizzying, thrilling and strangely sexy

The spirit of punk throbs in this extraordinary silent classic from 1929, now on cinema rerelease. Dziga Vertov’s experimental documentary essay remains fascinating after all these years, as potent as an exposed fragment of sodium. It shows scenes of city life in Moscow, Odessa and Kiev, and the credits describe it as an “experiment in cinematic communication of visible events”, which doesn’t do justice to its dedication to transforming and upending reality. This film is visibly excited about the new medium’s possibility, dense with ideas, packed with energy: it echoes Un Chien Andalou, anticipates Vigo’s À Propos De Nice and the New Wave generally, and even Riefenstahl’s Olympia. There are trick-shots, split-screens, stop-motion animation, slo-mo and speeded up action. Welles never had as much fun with his train-set »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Cub review – creepy woodland horror as cubscouts go camping

3 hours ago

The weird traditions and customs of cubscouting are the Usp of this effective Belgian horror about a group of boys on a excursion in a creepy forest

There’s an effective nastiness to this slasher-horror about a cub-scout pack from first-time Belgian director Jonas Govaerts, who draws on influences ranging from Guillermo Del Toro to Sam Raimi – though not Baden-Powell. (One character is surnamed Franju, incidentally, which may be a tiny homage to Eyes Without a Face: mask-wearing turns out to be important.) A cub troop is about to go on a camping trip, but there’s tension in the ranks: a lot of the boys don’t much like Sam (Maurice Luijten), a troubled kid from a broken home. When they pitch camp in a creepy forest, the cubs have a fantasy game about a werewolf called Kai who comes out at night. But it’s only Sam »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Iris review – affectionate portrait of the fashion muse

3 hours ago

Late Grey Gardens director Albert Maysles turned his lens to one of New York’s darlings of style, resulting in an engaging but minor film

Related: Six lessons in chic from the Iris Apfel documentary

The 93-year-old Iris Apfel is a cult New York figure: the textile designer who became famous in fashion circles for her colossal collection of costume jewellery, and then for being an exotically dressed eccentric, much cherished in a bland world of airkissing and corporate conformity. We last saw her in Richard Press’s 2010 documentary about another NYC icon, fashion photographer Bill Cunningham; now she is the subject of one of the last films completed by the late Albert Maysles, in which Cunningham is also glimpsed briefly.

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- Peter Bradshaw

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Mission impenetrable: are Hollywood blockbusters losing the plot?

6 hours ago

From Fast & Furious to the Avengers, Terminator and Jurassic World, the trend for ridiculously over-complicated storylining is out of control this year. Is it time for a purge?

Forty-five minutes into the seventh Fast & Furious movie, Vin Diesel drives towards a huge precipice. The audience have only the faintest idea why he’s there. Ditto why they have paraglided their cars into Azerbaijan. Is it Azerbaijan? It’s probably to rescue someone … who was it again? Something to do with a surveillance gizmo means they need to find their nemesis Jason Statham, except Statham seems to find them whenever he wants, being the one about to push Diesel off the cliff, not the random mercenaries they’re nicking the device from. Only Kurt Russell – who’s watching everything from his covert-ops unit and chatting about craft ale – seems to understand what the hell is going on.

What was once a »

- Phil Hoad

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Crispin Glover: ‘When you raise questions people say, ‘You’re crazy’’

7 hours ago

He’s either a glorious eccentric or a complete pain in the arse depending on who you talk to. So what’s the truth? The cult actor talks about why he fell out with the makers of Back to the Future, his obsession with the Czech Republic and his new film, The Carrier

It’s about 9am in Los Angeles when I speak to Crispin Glover, but it quickly becomes apparent that time doesn’t mean that much to the man, nor place neither. He expresses surprise at my reference to it being morning – “Oh, right!” – and, when I ask about La, he quickly switches the subject to the Czech Republic, where he has a second home, or, as he puts it, “a chateau”.

It seems an unusual place for a New York-born, La-raised actor-director to take up residence, and I casually wonder if he has family there. This then »

- Hadley Freeman

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Jenny’s Wedding review – good intentions can't save this lesbian drama

7 hours ago

This well-meaning but hackneyed film seems aimed at bigoted middle American boomers who have trouble accepting their gay offspring

It’s time to face the music. As we fought for marriage equality, one line of rhetoric was “who does it hurt?” Now we have the answer. It hurts the liberal film critics, condemned to watch insipid family melodramas like Jenny’s Wedding, a tedious low-budget cavalcade of cliche so marinated in good intentions that I don’t know how I’ll look myself in the mirror after filing this review. But duty calls. This epistle to bigoted middle American boomers means well and may indeed be therapeutic to some struggling to accept a gay family member (or to gay people whose families aren’t accepting), but as a movie it is a complete misfire. The story, performances and editing choices range from predictable to risible.

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- Jordan Hoffman

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James Woods sues Twitter user for $10m after being called 'cocaine addict'

7 hours ago

The Oscar-nominated actor has filed a defamation lawsuit against ‘Abe List’, who has targeted him with ‘reckless and malicious’ insults

James Woods is taking legal action against a Twitter user who has sent defamatory tweets to the actor, labelling him a “cocaine addict”.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Once Upon a Time in America star has filed a $10m lawsuit against a user known as “Abe List”. Woods’ actions were triggered specifically by Al’s accusation that he is a “cocaine addict”.

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- Benjamin Lee

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The Guardian Film Show: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Hot Pursuit, Beyond The Reach and The Cobbler

8 hours ago

Our film critics review this week's releases, including Tom Cruise's fifth bout of ab-flashing in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Reese Witherspoons bumpy road movie, Hot Pursuit

Henry Barnes and Peter Bradshaw join Xan Brooks for our weekly round-up of the big cinema releases. This week our team of critics accept the spy games, insane stunts and insaner ab-flashing of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation; hitch a ride with Reese Witherspoon's pot-holed road comedy Hot Pursuit; scream through the desert with Michael Douglas in Beyond The Reach; and watch Adam Sandler search for soul in supernatural shoe drama The Cobbler

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- Presented by Xan Brooks, with Peter Bradshaw and Henry Barnes. Produced by Andrea Salvatici

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The Cobbler - video review

8 hours ago

In an excerpt from this week's Guardian film show, Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw and Henry Barnes search for soul in The Cobbler, a comedy-drama starring Adam Sandler as a craftsman whose magical shoe-stitching machine lets him experience what it's like to be in someone else's shoes. Also starring Clifford "Method Man" Smith and Steve Buscemi, The Cobbler is released in the UK on Friday 31 July Continue reading »

- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Henry Barnes, Richard Sprenger, Dan Susman and Andrea Salvatici

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Hot Pursuit - video review

8 hours ago

In an excerpt from this week's Guardian film show, Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw and Henry Barnes hitch a ride with Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, a comedy in which Witherspoon plays an uptight cop that must escort the boisterous wife of Colombian drug lord across Texas. Produced by Witherspoon's Type A production company, Hot Pursuit is released in the UK on Friday 31 July Continue reading »

- Xan Brooks, Henry Barnes, Peter Bradshaw, Richard Sprenger, Dan Susman and Andrea Salvatici

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Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - video review

8 hours ago

In an excerpt from this week's Guardian film show, Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw and Henry Barnes accept Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, the fifth in the series that features Tom Cruise as secret agent Ethan Hunt. This time around Hunt and his team have gone rogue in an effort to take down multi-national terrorist organisation The Syndicate. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is released in the UK today Continue reading »

- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Henry Barnes, Richard Sprenger, Dan Susman and Andrea Salvatici

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First look at Idris Elba as an African warlord in Beasts of No Nation trailer

9 hours ago

Trailer released for film about child soldiers in an African civil war, which caused consternation in the film industry after it was bought by Netflix

Netflix’s purchase of the distribution rights for Beasts of No Nation was a definite gamechanger: although it wasn’t the first feature film acquired by a streaming site, it was the first really high-profile, awards-bait film that had been sold in this way, and signalled the streamers’ intent to move into areas that had hitherto been seen as the preserve of the cinema-only circuit.

Fears that Netflix would only show the film on its streaming service have so far been allayed, as it has been booked in for a world premiere at the Venice film festival before a Us release in October – though its simultaneous availability on VoD means that major cinema chains will boycott it.

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- Andrew Pulver

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The Guardian film show: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Hot Pursuit, Beyond The Reach and The Cobbler - video reviews

9 hours ago

Henry Barnes and Peter Bradshaw join Xan Brooks for our weekly round-up of the big cinema releases. This week our team of critics accept the spy games, insane stunts and insaner ab-flashing of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation; hitch a ride with Reese Witherspoon's pot-holed road comedy Hot Pursuit; scream through the desert with Michael Douglas in Beyond The Reach; and watch Adam Sandler search for soul in supernatural shoe drama The Cobbler Continue reading »

- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Henry Barnes, Richard Sprenger, Dan Susman and Andrea Salvatici

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Jesse Owens biopic sprints away from troubled Hollywood studio

9 hours ago

Film telling story of multi-gold-medal winning track star has been cut loose by Relativity Media ahead of the studio filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The makers of a forthcoming biopic of celebrated athlete Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, have managed to extricate the project from struggling Hollywood “mini-major” studio Relativity Media as it slides towards near-certain bankruptcy.

According to Variety, producers of the film – which is due to star The Hurt Locker’s Anthony Mackie and begin shooting later this year – successfully cancelled ongoing negotiations that would have seen Relativity become the film’s distributor. Had the project not been released from the negotiations, it would most likely have been caught up in drawn-out proceedings that will commence when Relativity is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday.

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- Andrew Pulver

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation review – functional old-school action thriller

9 hours ago

Tom Cruise’s unlikely survival as a traditional action hero continues with this spy-thriller franchise’s fifth instalment, which makes no significant attempts to update the formula

The increasingly stately Tom Cruise/Mission: Impossible action-adventure franchise is now almost 20 years old. It has employed as directors Brian De Palma, John Woo, Jj Abrams, Brad Bird and now Christopher McQuarrie – and got through female leads including Emmanuelle Béart, Thandie Newton and Michelle Monaghan. During its existence, the competing Bourne franchise with Matt Damon has come and gone. But M:i just continues, and so does its star Tom Cruise – now 53 years old, but buff of bod and tight of ab and looking hardly older now than when he started in the series, which gave him a turbocharged boost as an A-list star in an era when such creatures were thought to be becoming extinct. Now he’s even developing Jack Reacher on the side as well. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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First trailer for awards-tipped kidnap drama Room

10 hours ago

The adaptation of Emma Donughue’s best-selling novel stars Brie Larson as a woman living in a confined space with her young son

With this week’s announcements for the Toronto and Venice festival lineups, we’re starting to see the impending awards season come into focus.

Related: And the Oscar may go to … 40 key movies in contention for 2016 awards

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- Benjamin Lee

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