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Why my part as the coward father was so hated, by Force Majeure star

26 April 2015 1:00 AM, PDT

Johannes Bah Kuhnke explains how the film approaches masculinity

He has played literature’s most famous predatory paedophile in Lolita; a transsexual glam rocker in Hedwig and the Angry Inch; and a gay man living a double life in The Pride. But according to Johannes Bah Kuhnke, none of these roles has challenged his masculinity, or indeed drawn as much disdain from the audience as Tomas, the attractive, well-to-do family man whose sense of self is so mercilessly torn apart in Force Majeure, the celebrated new film by Swedish director Ruben Östlund, which has received rave reviews since its release in the UK.

Tomas is on a skiing holiday in the Alps with his Norwegian wife and two children when an avalanche roars towards the mountaintop cafe where they are having lunch, for one horrifying instant appearing as if it is going to wipe them all out. Instead of rushing to save his family, »

- Richard Orange

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The stars of Girlhood: ‘Our poster is all over Paris, with four black faces on it…’

26 April 2015 12:45 AM, PDT

Four young women, plucked from the streets of Paris to star in the gritty new film Girlhood, are leading a revolution in both the gender and colour of so much French cinema…

The first time you see them, they come charging at you like colossi – armoured up in shoulder pads and helmets for a game of American football. The next time, they might have stepped off a Harlem street corner in 1961, in leather jackets, jeans and long silky hair, looking like the Ronettes’ harder sisters. Then they’re clubland vamps, dancing to Rihanna in slinky cocktail dresses so freshly shoplifted they still have their security tags. Or just in cornrows and tracksuit pants…

The young heroines of Girlhood are perplexing shape-shifters, defying any attempts to read this new French film as a straightforward social document. If you want to know just how black teenage girls look and behave in the Paris banlieue estates these days, »

- Jonathan Romney

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Al Pacino: ‘It’s never been about money. I was often unemployed’

25 April 2015 6:00 AM, PDT

The actor, 74, on fame, his tailspin at 22 – and the enigmatic Michael Corleone

I’ve learned to live without anonymity. I haven’t been in a grocery store or subway for years. It’s hard for my children to go out publicly with me. Fame is different now than it was 20 years ago – I don’t know what the hell it is now! If I have a rare time of being somewhere and not being recognised, it’s a luxury.

It’s never been about money for me. There were times when I was young when I could have used money: after college I was often unemployed and at one time I slept in a storefront for a few days. But I’ve never been materialistic. Except that I am, of course, because my lifestyle makes me a spender!

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- Francine Cohen

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Citizen Kane and the meaning of Rosebud

25 April 2015 1:00 AM, PDT

Citizen Kane has long been acclaimed as a work of genius and endlessly dissected by critics. But a mystery still lies at the heart of this masterpiece. On the eve of Orson Welles’s centenary, Peter Bradshaw comes up with his own theory about the film’s clinching moment

Spitting Image once made a joke about Orson Welles – that he lived his life in reverse. The idea, effectively, is that Welles started life as a fat actor who got his first break doing TV commercials for wine, moved on to bigger character roles as fat men, but used his fees to help finance indie films which he directed himself; their modest, growing success gave him the energy and self-esteem to lose weight. Then the major Hollywood studios gave him the chance to direct big-budget pictures, over which he gained more and more artistic control until he made his culminating mature masterpiece: Citizen Kane, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Meadowland review – every parent’s nightmare

24 April 2015 10:05 AM, PDT

Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson star as a couple whose son goes missing at a gas station, in a well-crafted and heartbreaking debut

It’s every parent’s nightmare: you turn your back on your kid for two seconds and they disappear. They aren’t playing around, they aren’t hiding in the next room, they have vanished. In the first scene of Meadowland, it happens in a gas station bathroom that has a second exit into an empty garage, which leads to the parking lot, then an upstate New York roadway just busy enough that no one would notice a stray car creeping along.

The undercurrent of dread created by this first gripping scene never quite goes away, but it does mutate and change. After a cut to black, the panicked mom and dad (Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson) are a year older, but in no way have readjusted to life. »

- Jordan Hoffman

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The Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Falling, Stonehearst Asylum and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence: the Guardian film show – video review

24 April 2015 7:33 AM, PDT

Catherine Shoard and Peter Bradshaw join Xan Brooks for our weekly round-up of the big cinema releases. This week the team turn on each other as they assemble their opinions on The Avengers: Age of Ultron; swoon (or snooze) at Carol Morley's drama about fainting schoolgirls, The Falling; go loony for the antics of Ben Kingsley in Stonehearst Asylum; and watch the weird, lonely lives of Roy Andersson's lost souls play out in A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence Continue reading »

- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Catherine Shoard, Henry Barnes, Caterina Monzani, Dan Susman and Andrea Salvatici

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A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence - video review

24 April 2015 7:25 AM, PDT

In this excerpt from the Guardian film show, our critics make a return trip to the fascinating, frightening world of director Roy Andersson, who makes stark tableaux of the strangest extremes of human behaviour. A critical hit at this year's Venice film festival, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is on general release in the UK now Continue reading »

- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Catherine Shoard, Henry Barnes, Caterina Monzani, Dan Susman and Andrea Salvatici

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Stonehearst Asylum - video review

24 April 2015 7:18 AM, PDT

In this clip from the Guardian film show Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw and Catherine Shoard review Sir Ben Kingsley in an old fashioned British horror film about a heroic doctor who makes a house call to the patients of the mysterious Stonehearst Asylum. Kate Beckinsale and Michael Caine co-star in a film that's on general release in the UK now Continue reading »

- Xan Brooks, Catherine Shoard, Peter Bradshaw, Henry Barnes, Caterina Monzani, Dan Susman and Andrea Salvatici

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The Avengers Age of Ultron - video review

24 April 2015 7:07 AM, PDT

In this excerpt from this week's Guardian film show our critics assemble their opinions of Joss Whedon's superhero super epic. Faced by an maniacal artificial intelligence known as Ultron (James Spader), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) et al must again put their differences aside to fight a great evil. The Avengers: Age of Ultron is out now Continue reading »

- Xan Brooks, Catherine Shoard, Peter Bradshaw, Henry Barnes, Caterina Monzani, Dan Susman and Andrea Salvatici

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Hatton Garden heist: the movie – exclusive leaked script!

24 April 2015 5:18 AM, PDT

The daring raid on the safe-deposit boxes in central London has all the elements of a proper gangster film. No one has been arrested. Our film critic imagines who’d star and how they’d pull it off...

The movie begins as Dave, played by Neil Maskell, leaves Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London, clutching a canvas bag of his belongings; he looks grimly around, lights cigarette. An old-fashioned Bentley purrs up, and from out of the back steps Big Mal, played by Mark Rylance, with a thin, menacing smile: “All right, Dave? I heard you were out. You’re looking good, Dave. I’ve got a bit of work on, as it goes, and there could be a drink in it for you. What do you know about enormous concrete-piercing drills?”

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- Peter Bradshaw

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We Are Many: the legacy of the global anti-war protests in 2003 – video trailer world exclusive

24 April 2015 4:35 AM, PDT

We Are Many, directed by Amir Amirani, explores the legacy of the global anti-war demonstrations of 15 February 2003, an event that saw an estimated million people march against the Iraq war in London alone. Filmed over nine years, the film talks to key campaigners, including Damon Albarn, Ken Loach and the late Tony Benn, as well as those who made the decision to go to war. A special satellite screening of the film with a Q+A with Jon Snow takes place in London on 21 May, transmitted to select cinemas across the country, while the film is released on 22 May Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Is M Night Shyamalan found-footage horror The Visit too late to the party?

24 April 2015 4:22 AM, PDT

The once-respected film-maker is returning to his roots with evil gran outing The Visit – but is the stumbled-across-video format too dated to work?

The words “an M Night Shyamalan film” were were once sure indicators of box-office success. The writer/director/cameo actor enjoyed huge hits with The Sixth Sense, Signs and The Village.

But things started falling apart. His shtick became repetitive (Philadelphia setting – check, precocious kid – check, twist at the end – check) and his name became synonymous with disaster. Lady in the Water was a contrived fantasy with an egotistical turn from Shyamalan, playing a writer whose words had the power to change the world. The Happening was a laughable thriller about plants turning against humans, which even Transformers 4 star Mark Wahlberg called “a bad movie”.

Related: The Sixth Sense: the film that frightened me most

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- Benjamin Lee

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Denis Villeneuve: ‘Sicario is a very dark film, a dark poem, quite violent’

24 April 2015 3:21 AM, PDT

The French-Canadian director talks about conquering Hollywood and his latest gritty crime drama, tipped for recognition at the 2015 Cannes film festival

Canada is on a roll at Cannes. Last year it was Xavier Dolan, a young director who came with Mommy, an edgy Quebec family drama that won a world audience. This year it’s Denis Villeneuve, 21 years Dolan’s senior, bringing a Hollywood action thriller, his Tex-Mex drug war film Sicario. Prior to Mommy, the last time a Canadian film was selected for Cannes was The Barbarian Invasions, by Denys Arcand, in 2003.

The night before the announcement that Villeneuve was getting the nod, he and Dolan got together at the younger director’s place in Montreal to toast the nomination with champagne. The evening marked a transition of sorts – in reverse. Usually the older generation hands off the baton to the younger one, but this time the veteran was »

- Jeff Heinrich

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A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence director Roy Andersson: 'I feel friendly to pigeons' – video interview

24 April 2015 2:34 AM, PDT

Swedish director Roy Andersson tells Andrew Pulver how the interruption of a bout of writers' block by a feathered friend inspired his new film, the third in a trilogy of movies about death, loneliness and the funny-odd extremes of human behaviour. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is released in the UK today

Peter Bradshaw's five-star review Continue reading »

- Andrew Pulver, Tom Silverstone and Henry Barnes

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I know who you Skyped last summer: how Hollywood plays on our darkest digital fears

23 April 2015 11:00 AM, PDT

Hit horror Unfriended takes place entirely on social media and computer screens. So if the genre really is a barometer for the anxieties of an age, what does that say about the world we now live in?

‘Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep,” cautioned the tagline for A Nightmare on Elm Street back in 1984. Thirty years on, having your dreams interrupted by some old codger with a pair of scissors is the least of your worries. These days, you can’t even open your laptop.

More than any other genre, horror acts as a barometer on exterior fears. The bogeymen of our times are stumbling ciphers for outside concerns. In the 50s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers fretted about McCarthyism. In the 80s, The Thing riffed horrifically on the emerging Aids epidemic (watch that blood-test scene again). And post-9/11, the torture-porn subgenre, spearheaded by Saw and Hostel, placed viewers in the position of prisoners, »

- Benjamin Lee

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson: ‘Changing my name felt beautiful’

23 April 2015 9:13 AM, PDT

The smouldering star of Avengers: Age of Ultron explains why, when he and his wife Sam Taylor-Johnson only take on one project a year, he opted for another action blockbuster role. And no, it wasn’t all about the money

The first thing I notice when I meet Aaron Taylor-Johnson is his beard. Glossy, thick and caviar-coloured, it seems to precede him by several seconds. The term “face-furniture” would be underselling this bad boy; it’s more like a three-piece suite. I compliment him on it – the lustre, the density. He looks pleased to have it acknowledged. His blue eyes sparkle. Then he says something strange: “It’s real.” I hadn’t thought that it wasn’t. I mumble something about believing him. But now he has made me suspicious.

We chew the fat, or rather the fur. He has noticed a lot of face fuzz in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, »

- Ryan Gilbey

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My favourite Cannes winner: Blow-Up

23 April 2015 8:48 AM, PDT

Continuing our series in which writers choose their favourite Palme d’Or victor, Steve Rose grooves to Antonioni’s 1967 winner, a ‘strange, beguiling time-capsule of swinging London’

You could say Blow-Up was my gateway drug into art cinema. For me, it was the perfect bridge between the British pop culture I knew and the European cinema I had yet to discover. And when I think of Cannes, despite so many great American winners, I immediately think of European film-makers – especially Italians. That’s just me.

Related: My favourite Cannes winner: The Conversation

It's not a detective story. Rather than fitting together, the pieces of the puzzle gradually disappear

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- Steve Rose

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London Road: watch the exclusive trailer for a musical about Ipswich townsfolk dealing with tragedy in their community – video

23 April 2015 6:53 AM, PDT

London Road, which includes Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy in its ensemble cast, is an adaptation of the award-winning National Theatre production about the arrest of Steve Wright, an Ipswich man who was convicted of murdering five sex workers in 2008. Rufus Norris's film uses the dialogue from the real townsfolk who were interviewed by author Alecky Blythe as they came to terms with the fact that a serial killer had been living in their community. London Road is released in the UK on 12 June Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Robert Downey Jr and the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast hit back at superhero movie critics – video interview

23 April 2015 4:45 AM, PDT

The stars of Avengers: Age of Ultron, including Robert Downey Jr, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans, respond to Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu's statement that superhero films are 'cultural genocide'. Avengers: Age of Ultron, which sees the superhero posse take on an evil artificial intelligence, is released in the UK on 24 April and Us on 1 May Continue reading »

- Henry Barnes

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Why Au Revoir L’été is the film you should watch this week – video

23 April 2015 2:50 AM, PDT

Koji Fukada's drama Au Revoir L'été is about an 18-year-old student (Fumi Nikaido) who moves to the seaside to live with her aunt after flunking her college exams. There she meets and falls for a young Fukushima refugee who is working in his uncle's hotel. Peter Bradshaw explains why the film, which was inspired by the work of Eric Rohmer, deserves your time this week Continue reading »

- Peter Bradshaw and Henry Barnes

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