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The Red Turtle review – rapturous minimalism from Studio Ghibli

1 hour ago

This wordless animated fable follows the fortunes of a shipwrecked man on an island – and it’s a masterpiece

In the wake of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There, there were reports that Japan’s celebrated Studio Ghibli had run its creative course. But at the Cannes film festival last year, a new pearl was unveiled proudly bearing the world’s most respected animation imprimatur.

Directed by UK-based Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit, who won an Oscar for his 2000 short, Father and Daughter, The Red Turtle is an ambitious east-meets-west endeavour that had been gestating for a decade; a Japanese-French-Belgian co-production (a first for Ghibli) made at Prima Linea studios in Paris and Angoulême, under the long-distance supervision of Ghibli mainstays Takahata and Toshio Suzuki.

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- Mark Kermode

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul review – gross gags on a road to nowhere

2 hours ago

This latest in the family comedy franchise will appeal more to children than their parents or guardians

The fourth film in the series subs in a new wimpy kid (Greg Heffley is now played by Jason Drucker), annoyed at the prospect of a family road trip in which mum (Alicia Silverstone, but with glasses) has banned “all electronic devices”. Kids may be able to relate to Greg’s plight (I know I did), and a silly joke about him becoming a meme called “Diaper Hands” induced a loud giggle, though parents may roll their eyes at the visceral, gross-out quality of the comedy.

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- Simran Hans

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Kiki review – gay ballroom scene strictly life-affirming

2 hours ago

An eye-opening documentary about New York’s underground Lgbt ball culture

Sara Jordenö’s vivid documentary about New York’s underground ballroom scene glows with the heat of radical empathy. Jordenö casts her subjects – gay black and brown teens who find freedom in dance and drag – in warm reds and oranges, giving each individual their moment by fixing on their faces as they make direct eye contact with her camera.

The elephant in the room is Jennie Livingston’s 1990 vogueing documentary, Paris Is Burning, which casts a long shadow over the film. There are two main differences here: firstly, Kiki comes from the community it depicts (Twiggy Pucci Garçon, one of the film’s stars, has a co-writer credit). Secondly, while Paris Is Burning was mostly set against the backdrop of the Reagan era, Kiki takes place in Obama’s America. Inevitably, the dramatic stakes feel different; the urgency of »

- Simran Hans

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Baywatch review – not waving, but drowning

2 hours ago

A big-screen action comedy revival of the TV lifeguards show flashes plenty of flesh but not much else

Seth Gordon’s remake of the 1990s TV series is little more than boobs and the beach (though admittedly, he throws in a couple of set pieces involving male genitalia to try to even the stakes). Priyanka Chopra draws the short straw as a Bond-style villainess with an empty cackle, but it’s fun to watch Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rib Zac Efron’s fallen swim champion (“Where are you from? One Direction?”). The pair have good chemistry, but the film falls apart when Gordon tries (too hard) to turn it into a crime caper.

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- Simran Hans

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Toni Erdmann; The Salesman; Jackie; Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? and more

2 hours ago

Maren Ade’s parent-child comedy is a triumph, while Asghar Farhadi’s domestic suspense film doesn’t match his best

I am writing this week’s column in the balmy rosé-and-Nurofen glow of the Cannes film festival, where Pedro Almodóvar’s jury is about to dish out its prizes. If things go as they usually do, critics will feel alternately vindicated and perplexed by the winners, and a masterpiece or two will go entirely ignored and be just fine anyway – just ask Toni Erdmann (Soda, 15). This time last year, Maren Ade’s ingenious, elastic twist on the parent-child comedy earned the most ecstatic reviews of the festival, while George Miller and his jurors gave it nada.

Trust the critics on this one. Running from dizzily absurd farce to laceratingly honest heartbreak across nearly three exhilarating hours, this story of a tightly wound businesswoman torn between severing and mending relations with her lonely, »

- Guy Lodge

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I Am Not Madame Bovary review – slow boat from China

2 hours ago

An overlong Kafkaesque comedy drama about a woman’s bid to save her reputation runs out of steam

Based on the Chinese morality play about Pan Jinlian – an adulteress who conspires with her lover to kill her husband – Feng Xiaogang’s satirical drama tells the story of Li Xuelian (Fan Bingbing)’s battle with the government to clear her name of the charge of indecency. All of this is wrapped up in the rhetoric of a sticky divorce (and the court’s “wrong verdict”) that drags out for an entire decade, thanks to the ministry’s incompetence and their reluctance to take a marital case seriously (“If it were murder or arson, it wouldn’t be a problem,” one character deadpans).

There are flashes of dark humour here (in one scene, Li tries to convince her butcher to kill her ex-husband) – and plenty of gentle swipes at the Chinese government, »

- Simran Hans

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge review – plumbing the depths

2 hours ago

Disney continues to milk its nautical cash cow with a dismal fifth outing for Johnny Depp and his crew

Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow in the fifth (fifth!) instalment of Disney’s swashbuckling series. The plot is nominal, and so are the film’s first 90 minutes (Paul McCartney cameo included). Boring and noisy, they parrot their predecessors – ugly, murky CGI visuals, and inane, sexist jokes alike. The introduction of astronomer and horologist Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) as the smart one is a thin attempt to excuse the quips about her knickers, of which there are several. Javier Bardem doesn’t even seem to be having any fun hamming it up as villainous Spaniard Salazar. The film’s final stretch very nearly redeems things, with an excursion to a glittering island and an almost exciting underwater battle, but its corny, sequel-baiting ending pushed me overboard.

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- Simran Hans

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The Other Side of Hope review – wry refugee comedy

2 hours ago

A Syrian asylum seeker finds friendship with a hapless Finnish restaurateur in part two of Aki Kaurismäki’s migrant trilogy

The latest from Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki follows Syrian asylum seeker Khaled (Sherwan Haji) as he attempts to make a new life for himself in Helsinki. Emerging from a coal freighter covered in soot, Khaled maintains that crossing the border was easy, because “nobody wants to see me”.

The second in a loose trilogy that began with his 2011 film Le Havre, Kaurismäki’s wry comedy is a timely critique of an intolerant Europe, and a winking cheer to those who offer a handshake of solidarity to their new neighbours. One such individual is the cranky but generous Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), who wins a poker game and buys a decrepit restaurant (the delightfully rubbish Golden Pint, a single painting of Jimi Hendrix adorning its otherwise bare walls) with his prize money. »

- Simran Hans

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Women-only Wonder Woman showings sell out despite outcry

15 hours ago

Movie theaters in Austin, Texas and Brooklyn, New York say ‘no guys allowed’Brooklyn Alamo promises to donate all proceeds to Planned Parenthood

Plans by Us movie theaters to host women-only screenings of Wonder Woman have produced support and some grumbling about gender discrimination.

Related: Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins: ‘People really thought that only men loved action movies’

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- Associated Press in New York

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Cannes 2017 – the best of week two

16 hours ago

Festival spirits were boosted by an outrageous horror starring Nicole Kidman, a brilliant art world satire, and a brutal contender for the Palme d’Or

No visit to Cannes is complete without a trip to the market at the back of the Palais. Hidden from view, like a demented old aunt, sits the realm of zombie rabbits and “erotical thrillers”, a teeming tide pool of B-movie cinema. Except that this year I’ve left the visit too late. When I wander down, early evening on the second Wednesday, the circus is already pulling out of town. It leaves behind a mess of abandoned stalls and plastic crates and myriad screens broadcasting a film called No Signal. It’s lonesome in the market after the sales staff have gone, like walking past a row of off-season beach shops, the dinghies and balls trapped behind wire mesh. Creepy, too, because on retracing »

- Xan Brooks

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Based on a True Story review - Roman Polanski's tall tale falls flat

23 hours ago

Polanski’s thriller about a writer who falls under the spell of Eva Green’s parasitic admirer is confident and stylish but can’t avoid its own gaping plot holes

Related: You Were Never Really Here review - Joaquin Phoenix turns Travis Bickle in brutal thriller

Roman Polanski’s Based on a True Story is a fan-obsession suspense thriller, adapted by Polanski and Olivier Assayas from the award-winning French novel by Delphine de Vigan.

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- Peter Bradshaw

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Cannes 2017 verdict and awards predictions: a festival of sorrow, strength and middle-class woes | Peter Bradshaw

26 May 2017 10:30 PM, PDT

This year’s event took in the migrant crisis, Russian authoritarianism, sulky sculptors – and even introduced us to a loveable pig. There was plenty to enjoy

This year’s Cannes had its overriding theme imposed from without: terrorism. The festival was widely and solidly shocked by the news from Manchester, and the director Thierry Frémaux made an affecting speech from the Palais stage about the need to stand firm with that city and asked for a minute’s silence. Delegates were coming up to Brits all the time and expressing their sympathy. Cannes had had its own scare earlier in the week: a stray bag spotted in an empty auditorium. In went security staff with dogs, a reminder of how convulsed France has been by terrorist outrage – particularly up the coast, in Nice.

But otherwise, the themes of Cannes revolved around the three Rs: refugees, Russia and the ruin of the middle class. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower review – a Hong Kong schoolboy takes the fight to China

26 May 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

A rousing documentary profiles Joshua Wong, the adolescent activist who found fame with his protests against the Chinese government

Related: Joshua Wong, the student who risked the wrath of Beijing: ‘It’s about turning the impossible into the possible’

The Joshua of the title is Joshua Wong, an unassuming Hong Kong schoolboy who decided to pick a fight with the next global superpower, and won, at least initially. In 2011 14-year-old Wong and his Scholarism movement managed to defeat an effort to make China’s communist National Education curriculum mandatory in Hong Kong schools through the power of peaceful protest. It was the first victory an activist group managed in the territory since it came under Chinese rule in 1997, when Wong was a year old.

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- Gwilym Mumford

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Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor to separate after 17 years of marriage

26 May 2017 7:12 PM, PDT

Actors Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor have announced that they are separating after 17 years of marriage.

Stiller and Taylor released a joint statement on Friday announcing their breakup. They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

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- Associated Press

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You Were Never Really Here review - Joaquin Phoenix turns Travis Bickle in brutal thriller

26 May 2017 2:16 PM, PDT

Lynne Ramsay’s portrait of a damaged private contractor is both daring and sickening, bringing to mind Taxi Driver and its notorious antihero

Related: In the Fade review – ninja heroine Diane Kruger marooned in feeble revenge drama

The ghost of Travis Bickle haunts this nightmarish and humidly absorbing psychological drama from Lynne Ramsay, featuring an eerie, jangling musical score by Jonny Greenwood and starring a slab-like and bearded Joaquin Phoenix; it is adapted by Ramsay from the 2013 story from American author Jonathan Ames.

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- Peter Bradshaw

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Helen Fielding says Bridget Jones books are not anti-feminist

26 May 2017 12:24 PM, PDT

Fielding says humour is a ‘very powerful tool’ and describes being able to laugh at yourself a mark of strength, not a weakness

Bridget Jones novelist Helen Fielding has taken a swipe at “shallow” critics who call her books anti-feminist.

The writer was in Hay-on-Wye for the 30th edition of the literary festival and admitted the accusation was one that irritated.

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- Mark Brown, arts correspondent

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Roger Moore worked to protect animals. His campaigns must live on | Letters

26 May 2017 10:40 AM, PDT

The James Bond star called out animal abuse with wit and charm, writes Jennifer White of Peta UK

Animals have lost a dear friend with the passing of Sir Roger Moore (Obituary, 24 May). The long-time Peta supporter may have been best known for his suave portrayal of James Bond, but we believe some of his greatest achievements were his efforts on behalf of animals, including fronting a campaign pushing Selfridges to stop stocking foie gras (it did!), boldly calling for the Queen’s Guard’s bearskin hats to be replaced with synthetic materials, and offering to pop a champagne cork with Theresa May if she brought forward a long-awaited ban on wild-animal circuses. Sir Roger was always an inspiration to work with. He called out animal abuse with wit and charm, and Peta will continue campaigning to help the animals he cared so deeply about.

Jennifer White

Media and partnerships coordinator, »

- Letters

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Aki Kaurismäki: 'I can watch Marvel movies – if it's Sunday and I'm hungover'

26 May 2017 10:28 AM, PDT

He tackles big issues but can’t resist adding jokes, once turning Hamlet into a story about rubber ducks. As The Other Side of Hope hits cinemas, the Finnish director talks about lazy actors, parking tickets – and his Holby City addiction

Twice a year, Aki Kaurismäki climbs into his battered blue Volvo and drives from his home in a Portuguese village all the way to Helsinki. “When I was young, with my Cadillac and lousy roads, it took three days,” says the 60-year-old Finnish director. “Now, with good roads, at my age it takes five.” A shrug. What does he play on the journey? “Otis Redding. Dylan. Finnish tango. I haven’t bought new music in 20 years.”

Helsinki is the setting for most of his humane and poker-faced comedies, including The Man Without a Past, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2002, and his latest gem, The Other Side of Hope. »

- Ryan Gilbey

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Black dynamite: the best Blaxploitation soundtracks

26 May 2017 6:59 AM, PDT

As Melvin Van Peebles’ seminal score to Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is re-released we look at the most important soundtracks from the Blaxploitation era

Blaxploitation films of the 70s and early 80s entertained and empowered their audiences by depicting brown heroes combating racism and greed through outlandish violence. One such film, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, exemplified this and set the framework for cult films thereafter – Shaft and Super Fly among them. Equally striking and ahead of its time was the film’s soundtrack, composed by Melvin Van Peebles, who was also the film’s writer and director. The songs were performed by a young, and then largely unknown, Earth, Wind & Fire.

From the campy action and social awareness of these films emerged profound soundtracks that more often than not overshadowed the films themselves. The music itself was a character device, driving the narrative in fitting and at times explosive ways. »

- David Ma

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In the Fade review – ninja heroine Diane Kruger marooned in feeble revenge drama

26 May 2017 3:06 AM, PDT

Fatih Akin’s drama about a woman whose husband is killed in a terrorist bomb attack is an uncompelling and evasive treatment of a very contemporary subject

Fatih Akin’s mediocre revenge drama In the Fade is the TV movie of the week: feebly uncontentious and un-contemporary.

It is about a white German woman whose Turkish husband is killed, along with their young son, by a terrorist bomb-blast. When the bullshit criminal justice system fails to convict the swaggeringly unrepentant culprits, this woman completes the half-finished samurai tattoo she has on her side, and resolves to take matters into her own hands; her late husband’s extended family and community having apparently fallen silent on the subject of legal or illegal means of redress. They are written out of the story, leaving the field clear for the blonde avenger.

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- Peter Bradshaw

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