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Finding Dory review – strikingly lovely

1 hour ago

A forgetful fish searches for its family in this charming sequel to Finding Nemo

The very best of the sequels attempted by the Pixar studio manage to combine a familiar milieu with the opportunity to explore entirely different themes to the original films. Toy Story 2 (which was written but not directed by Finding Dory co-director Andrew Stanton), for example, looks at the fear of mortality through the prism of the playroom. Toy Story 3 takes on the aftermath of a relationship breakdown. Finding Dory, meanwhile, is slightly less adventurous thematically, in that it reprises the central motif of Finding Nemo: that of the enduring parent-child bond, and the special embrace of family, in all its permutations. However, it is approached with such charm and warmth that it hardly matters that the two films share such similar arcs.

In this case it is Dory, the amnesiac blue tang (voiced »

- Wendy Ide

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Barry Lyndon review – re-release of Kubrick’s masterly period piece

1 hour ago

Ryan O’Neal plays an 18th-century rogue-turned-aristocrat in Kubrick’s 1975 gem

One of the most beautiful of all Stanley Kubrick’s films, originally released in 1975, this slyly savage tale of social climbing in the 18th century is also arguably his funniest. Ryan O’Neal stars as Irish rogue and ne’er-do-well Redmond Barry who, after defeating a love rival in a duel and ignominiously deserting the army, reinvents himself as British aristocrat Barry Lyndon. As leisurely as it is painterly, this is a masterclass in cinematography – famously, Kubrick used nothing but natural light in all but a few scenes. Don’t miss the chance to watch it in a cinema.

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- Wendy Ide

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The Commune review – the more the merrier?

1 hour ago

A couple’s experiment with group living backfires in Thomas Vinterberg’s beautifully acted but heavy-handed drama

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s own experiences of growing up in a commune during the 1970s and 80s inform his unflinching approach to the subject in this drama, which was based on his own stage play, Kollektivet. More heavy-handed than Lukas Moodysson’s similarly themed Together, less abrasively confrontational than The Idiots by fellow Dogme 95 signatory Lars von Trier, The Commune is slightly melodramatic in its exploration of the emotional fallout when an experiment in collective living coincides with the breakdown of a marriage.

When university lecturer Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) inherits a huge house on the outskirts of Copenhagen, he is dissuaded from selling it by his wife, Anna (Trine Dyrholm), who proposes sharing the space with like-minded friends as a way of easing the financial burden, and staving off the middle-class, middle-age »

- Wendy Ide

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The Fall review – a long-running feud in every sense

1 hour ago

This documentary about the rivalry between athletes Zola Budd and Mary Decker just about crosses the finishing line

This somewhat thin documentary revisits a story of athletic rivalry that marked the careers of two runners and in some ways overshadowed their other achievements. The reigning queen of the track, the American Mary Decker had yet to win an Olympic medal. Her main challenger was Zola Budd, a teenage South African who ran barefoot and was raised on a farm. The press scented a story and, after Budd was controversially granted British citizenship in order to compete in the 1984 Olympic Games, did everything it could to stir up tension between them. Disaster struck when the pair collided and Decker fell, later blaming Budd for the incident. In fact, the film argues, the media had most cause to feel guilty. A belated reunion between the two athletes reveals little about either.

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- Wendy Ide

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Author: The Jt LeRoy Story review – the unmasking of a phenomenon

1 hour ago

The ‘truth’ about a fabricated literary sensation is fascinating but leaves much still unresolved

Jeremiah “Terminator” LeRoy was a phenomenon. The HIV-positive, transgender, drug-addicted child of a truck-stop prostitute, his autobiographical novels were a literary sensation. The slight, softly spoken author, cowering behind oversized sunglasses and wig, was propelled into celebrity circles, and courted by Asia Argento, Madonna, Courtney Love and others. Except Jt LeRoy didn’t exist. He was the invention of writer Laura Albert, who described him as an “avatar” through whom she could create with a freedom she didn’t have as herself. Jt in the flesh was played by Albert’s sister-in-law, Savannah Knoop.

This film explores the story – which is rather more complex and knotty than the “literary hoax” it was described as at the time – from Albert’s perspective. And while it gives a fascinating insight into her near pathological compulsion to try on other voices and identities, »

- Wendy Ide

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Stonewall; Holding the Man; Mapplethorpe; Batman v Superman; Hardcore Henry; A Kind of Loving; Film4 downloads – review

1 hour ago

Queer cinema exposes a soft centre, caped crusaders meet in a cinematic Spaghetti Junction and Film4 releases a fine haul

It’s a strange summer for Roland Emmerich, gay German doyen of the action ridicu-spectacle. Practically unnoticed beneath the bang and clatter of his daft Independence Day sequel, his passion project, Stonewall (Metrodome, 15), slips straight to DVD tomorrow. A clumsy but oddly endearing fictionalisation of 1969’s Lgbt riots in Greenwich Village, it was irrecoverably lambasted at last year’s Toronto film festival. Not without reason either: it’s a cosy, cliche-reliant telling of a still-nervy slice of social history, filtering its tale of outsider representation through the Colgate-white perspective of Jeremy Irvine’s hero.

Rejigging facts to let an indecently chiselled midwest farmboy cast the first Stonewall stone, among other cornball artistic liberties, is a clear own goal on Emmerich and writer Jon Robin Baitz’s part. But the sentimental »

- Guy Lodge

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Here come the B-list, breathing new life into superhero films

9 hours ago

A fresh cast of characters has given the movies a boost and the studios know they’re on a winner

Steven Spielberg’s skill as a film-maker is beyond dispute. As a soothsayer, though, his credentials are shakier. In 2013, he predicted that the superhero movie was heading for the boneyard. “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground,” he said, “and that’s going to change the paradigm.”

He reiterated that prediction last year: “We were around when the western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the western.”

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- Ryan Gilbey

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The Bronze: What a bad sport

30 July 2016 1:00 AM, PDT

Hollywood’s antihero trend spawns an obnoxious Olympian in this new VOD movie

If there’s a single taboo in contemporary Us comedy, it’s politeness. Ever since Bad Santa kicked off an industry-wide arms race to spin every emblem of civic responsibility – from teachers to neighbours to grandpas – into something “Bad”, misanthropy has been the order of the day in American entertainment.

Nowadays, every comic hero is an antihero, although few are quite so hateful as retired gymnast Hope Annabelle Greggory, the emotional black hole at the centre of The Bronze, a sporting comedy which premiered last year at Sundance and this week goes straight-to-vod just in time for the Rio games. Having garnered national attention with a dramatic third-place finish at the 2004 Olympics, Hope now clings to her status as the pride and joy of Amherst, Ohio, the small midwestern town in which her former glory still entitles »

- Charlie Lyne

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Danny DeVito: ‘Do all you can to make sure Donald Trump doesn’t become president’

30 July 2016 1:00 AM, PDT

How social-media activism (and an oddball sitcom) introduced the 80s star to a millennial audience

Related: Wiener-Dog review – Gerwig, Delpy and DeVito, united by a dachshund, divided by Solondz

Danny DeVito is scrolling through his Twitter feed, looking at pictures of his own foot. He’s been sharing them under the hashtag #Trollfoot, which, for the uninitiated, is somewhere between a performance art project and a very public private joke: images and videos of the 71-year-old actor’s bare trotter held up against a variety of backdrops, gifted to his following of almost 4 million. “It’s kinda fun,” DeVito says, speaking with the Guide over lunch in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “There’s no explanation, except it’s me and my foot. And you guys will look at it!”

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- Ashley Clark

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Asian Americans decry 'whitewashed' Great Wall film starring Matt Damon

29 July 2016 6:58 PM, PDT

Critics say forthcoming film The Great Wall is just the latest example of Hollywood putting a white person in a role that should go to a person of color

A chorus of outrage followed the release on Thursday of the first trailer for The Great Wall, a fantasy adventure set in China more than 1,000 years ago, which stars the white Hollywood star Matt Damon in the lead role.

Damon plays a soldier in ancient China in The Great Wall, an English-language film directed by Zhang Yimou and set for release in February 2017.

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- Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco

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Why violence against women in film is not the same as violence against men

29 July 2016 10:58 AM, PDT

My blogpost about the treatment of Batgirl in Batman: The Killing Joke had plenty of readers asking why I didn’t get upset about depictions of men getting hurt. But there’s a crucial difference

Whenever you mention that a piece of art shows violence against women, you can be sure that the comments section will reply, with confused gusto, “What about the men?!” Men get shot in movies too, after all; why doesn’t anyone complain about that? Hurting men, the argument goes, should negate hurting women. As long as everyone is being treated with equal violence, gender is irrelevant, and we can go back to enjoying murder and mayhem untroubled by conscience, or, indeed, thought. So goes the argument.

Earlier this week, I pointed out that the treatment of Batgirl in The Killing Joke is sexist. Barbara Gordon, Aka Batgirl, in the original 1988 comic by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, »

- Noah Berlatsky

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Extreme weight loss and tooth extraction: when method acting goes too far

29 July 2016 10:22 AM, PDT

Which star didn’t bathe for four months? Who became a cabbie? Our guide to actors who take their art to new levels

Marlon Brando may be the most famous Hollywood exponent of method acting, even if the double Oscar-winning star of On the Waterfront and The Godfather always refused to accept the tag. But even Brando’s efforts to prepare for a part – which once involved him living alongside wounded soldiers in a veteran’s hospital for a full month to play an injured second world war lieutenant in his 1950 film debut, The Men – pale into comparison with those of some of his spiritual successors.

Related: Jai Courtney's Suicide Squad prep: magic mushrooms and cigarette burns

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- Ben Child

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Matt Damon and The Great Wall: the latest targets of whitewashing on film

29 July 2016 10:15 AM, PDT

The Jason Bourne star battles monsters in the trailer for China’s most expensive film, causing online commentators to ask why a white man is playing the lead

Earlier this year, the Hollywood remake of classic Japanese anime Ghost in Shell caused controversy by casting Scarlett Johansson in the lead role, as did Marvel’s Doctor Strange for signing up Tilda Swinton to play a character depicted as Tibetan in the comics. Now, the forthcoming blockbuster The Great Wall finds itself embroiled in the same type of whitewashing controversy, for casting Matt Damon in a film depicting an epic battle on the titular Chinese structure.

The Great Wall is the first English-language film directed by Zhang Yimou, who made House of Flying Daggers and Hero, and the most expensive production completed in China, with a budget of $150m. A Chinese/American co-production, its diverse cast includes Willem Dafoe, Game of ThronesPedro Pascal, »

- Nigel M Smith

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Luc Besson told to pay €450,000 for plagiarism of John Carpenter classic

29 July 2016 9:06 AM, PDT

Appeal court in Paris rules Nikita director ‘massively borrowed key elements’ of the 1981 film Escape from New York

The French filmmaker Luc Besson has been ordered to pay Hollywood’s self-styled “master of horror”, John Carpenter, nearly €450,000 (£379,000) for plagiarising his classic 1981 movie Escape from New York, according to a report published online on Friday.

The director of The Fifth Element and Nikita had denied that his 2012 film Lockout copied the cult futuristic thriller in which New York’s Manhattan island is a giant prison overrun by its inmates.

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- Agence France-Presse in Paris

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Nick Jonas in talks to join Dwayne Johnson in Jumanji reboot

29 July 2016 7:34 AM, PDT

Jonas’s casting in film dubbed as ‘reimagining’ of the 1995 classic starring Robin Williams would mark the pop star’s biggest foray into acting

Pop star and actor Nick Jonas is close to joining Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black in a reboot of Jumanji, the 1995 family fantasy starring Robin Williams.

Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) will be taking over from the director of the original, Joe Johnston. His remake is once again based on the award-winning adventure book by Chris Van Allsburg, about a magical board game that unleashes havoc upon the world after some curious youngsters find it hidden in an attic.

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- Guardian Staff

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Gwyneth Paltrow plans separation from Goop

29 July 2016 5:16 AM, PDT

The actor has revealed plans to uncouple from her lifestyle website, saying that the brand’s growth may be limited by her connection to it

The actor Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed plans to step away from her lifestyle website, Goop. Speaking at the 2016 Sage Summit in Chicago, Paltrow, who founded the brand in 2008 as a weekly newsletter, explained that although running the business has been “an amazing journey”, she saw Goop’s future as involving a step away from its founder.

“In order to build the brand I want to build, its scalability is limited if I connect to it,” said Paltrow. “So I always think: ‘How can I grow the brand? How can I separate myself from the brand?’ and I think its going to be more its own brand.

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- Catherine Shoard

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Barry Lyndon: Kubrick's vision of a compromised life

29 July 2016 5:00 AM, PDT

Barry Lyndon is perhaps Stanley Kubrick’s most charming protagonist – yet he is a bully, a deceiver and a snob

Stanley Kubrick was a connoisseur of truly terrible men. In the midst of the Watergate decade, the era of My Lai, Salvador Allende and the Pentagon papers, when heroism was a bargain-basement deal, Kubrick’s heroes upped the ante in the antiheroic. Starting with Sterling Hayden in The Killing and James Mason’s Humbert Humbert in Lolita, Kubrick had long focused on the morally corrupt. A Clockwork Orange’s Alex, The Shining’s ghost-ridden Jack Torrance, even the rationally murderous computer Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey, all trace a broader cultural shift towards the dishonourable and troubling protagonist. Perhaps the most ambiguous of this crew is charming Barry Lyndon. Played by Love Story’s all-American dreamboat, Ryan O’Neal, Barry is ostensibly the most attractive of all of Kubrick’s protagonists. »

- Michael Newton

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Jason Bourne, Finding Dory, Author: The Jt Leroy Story and The Commune reviewed – Film Weekly podcast

29 July 2016 4:00 AM, PDT

The Guardian film team discuss the latest films hitting UK cinemas

This week, we review the revamped Jason Bourne; Pixar’s Finding Dory; documentary Author: The Jt Leroy Story and Thomas Vinterberg’s Danish film The Commune.

Follow us on Twitter (GuardianFilm, Henry, Ben, Catherine, Andrew, Peter and producer Katie) and check out our Facebook page. Comment on the show below.

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- Presented by Andrew Pulver with Peter Bradshaw and Henry Barnes and produced by Katie Callin

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Ellen DeGeneres on Finding Dory: 'Her disability becomes her strength' – video interview

29 July 2016 3:54 AM, PDT

Ellen DeGeneres and Dominic West, the stars of Pixar sequel Finding Dory, join director Andrew Stanton to talk about how the film aims to appeal to both children and their parents, as well as the appeal and depth of DeGeneres’s character – an upbeat blue tang fish with short-term memory loss. DeGeneres discusses why ‘just keep swimming’ is a good motto for those with or without a disability and how not over-analysing a handicap can be wise

Finding Dory is released in the UK on 29 July

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- Andrew Pulver and Jonross Swaby

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Author: The Jt LeRoy Story review – the intriguing tale of a literary hoax

29 July 2016 3:39 AM, PDT

This strange, exasperating documentary reveals the women behind the persona of the bestselling male writer who claimed to be the son of a prostitute

This intriguing if sometimes exasperating documentary features intertitles in punky cut-out lettering, maybe in homage to The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle. It is about a notorious literary hoax, from an era when misery memoirs were all the rage. Ten years ago, the bestselling young author Jt LeRoy – supposedly the son of a prostitute, writing harrowing fiction avowedly based on his horrific childhood – turned out to be a woman called Laura Albert. But was that a hoax? Didn’t Mary Ann Evans claim to be a man called George Eliot?

Related: Jt LeRoy unmasked: the extraordinary story of a modern literary hoax

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- Peter Bradshaw

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