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Viola Davis leads mission to bring diversity to Hollywood

6 hours ago

The Oscar winner and her husband Julius Tennon explain why the Us film industry’s diversity crisis can only be fixed from within

Actor Julius Tennon is thrilled to be appearing alongside his Oscar-winning wife, Viola Davis, in the new season of her hit show How to Get Away with Murder. It is rare they work together on screen. Off screen, however, the power couple have a joint mission: to change the face of Hollywood by increasing diversity across the industry.

Related: Hollywood still excludes women, ethnic minorities, Lgbt and disabled people, says report

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- Lucy Rock

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Brexit critic Colin Firth opts for Italian passport for ‘family reasons’

13 hours ago

Oscar-winning actor will continue to be based in London as officials in Rome confirm he now holds dual nationality

Many of the threats and promises exchanged during the row over Brexit have yet to be tested by time, but this weekend at least one has come to pass. The Oscar-winning film actor and producer Colin Firth, unmoved by Theresa May’s pronouncements in Florence, has accepted Italian citizenship, according to the Italian interior ministry in Rome.

Related: Kingsman: The Golden Circle review – spy sequel reaches new heights of skyscraping silliness

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- Vanessa Thorpe

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How weird does a celebrity have to be before we stop watching their films?

21 hours ago

All celebrities are a bit weird, so when one is known for being Weird Even For A Celebrity, you know they are probably crossing over to ‘actually quite scary’

Of the many deeply uncool things I am obsessed with – The Golden Girls, the oeuvre of Roxette, Princess Anne’s hair – the uncoolest is also the one that has been with me the longest. Tom Cruise has been a part of my mental landscape ever since I was old enough to read in a magazine that I was supposed to fancy him. I was alive in the 80s and, as strange as this is now to think about, what with his deeply unsexy obsession since with thetans, back then he was very much pitched as Mr Sexxxxxy. Which is even stranger when you think that Cruise didn’t even grow into his face for another decade: back in Risky Business and The Outsiders, »

- Hadley Freeman

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Gaga: Five Foot Two review – pint-sized music doc wallows in self reflection

22 September 2017 11:51 AM, PDT

Despite artful direction and meticulous curation by Gaga herself, the documentary never quite shakes the feel of a longform advert for the singer’s new phase – one that’s preaching to the converted

It’s been a transformative year in the life of Stefani Germanotta, a cycle purportedly captured in the new documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, which is streaming on Netflix starting Friday. The vérité-style feature tracks the artist during the recording, release and promotion of her fifth studio cut, Joanne, culminating with her triumphant performance at the Super Bowl half-time show. The title, a nod to both the performer’s diminutive stature and the Guy Lombardo number, showcases the sincerity and humor and artistry that’s engendered a connection with her legion of Little Monsters over the years, but not even as formidable a talent as Gaga can overcome the inherent pitfalls of the authorized popstar documentary.

Artfully »

- Bryan Armen Graham

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle – did the shock tactics go too far? Discuss with spoilers

22 September 2017 2:53 AM, PDT

Was the sex and violence boundary-pushing or in poor taste? Did the Elton John joke wear thin? And what to make of Colin Firth’s resurrection?

Kingsman: The Secret Service was a big sleeper hit, racking up $414m worldwide and confirming director Matthew Vaughn as a major Hollywood player. So can the British film-maker repeat the trick? So far Kingsman: The Golden Circle is balancing precariously at 50% approval on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a mixed reception to the return of super-spy Eggsie and his cohort of nattily dressed secret agents. Here’s your chance to weigh in on the film’s key talking points.

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- Ben Child

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Tramontane review – musical road trip untangles trauma of Lebanese civil war

22 September 2017 2:00 AM, PDT

Vatche Boulghourjian was selected for Cannes’ Critics’ Week for this meandering mystery about a blind musician who discovers that his childhood was a lie

Tramontane can mean “northern wind”, but is also the name of the lead character; in Arabic it is Rabih. The blind Lebanese singer and musician Barakat Jabbour takes the lead role in this interesting and distinctive if undeveloped feature debut, a kind of road-movie mystery. It is written and directed by Vatche Boulghourjian, the Lebanese film-maker whose career developed through the Cinéfondation at Cannes, and who was selected for Critics’ Week with this film.

Jabbour plays Rabih, a young man who is – like the actor himself – blind and a talented musician. He is the adopted son of Samar (Julia Kassar) and by that token the nephew of Julia’s brother Hisham (Toufic Barakat), a shady businessman. When Rabih is invited to tour Europe with his group, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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On Body and Soul and In Between: this week’s best films in the UK

22 September 2017 1:58 AM, PDT

A peculiar tale about the characters at a slaughterhouse stands out from the crowd, while Palestinian womanhood gets an eye-opening update

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- Steve Rose

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The Guardian at Tiff 2017: Glenn Close on her new starring role, The Wife – video

22 September 2017 1:00 AM, PDT

In the second of our live onstage interviews at the Toronto film festival, Peter Bradshaw discusses The Wife with its star Glenn Close. Close plays a woman whose husband (Jonathan Pryce) is to accept the Nobel prize, and the trip to Sweden precipitates a crisis as frustrations over her own writing career emerge.   

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- Guardian Staff

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In Between review – flatmates crash the cultural boundaries

21 September 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

Three women from Muslim and Christian backgrounds bond over hummus and history in a delightful drama set in Tel Aviv

Most Palestinian films focus on the impact of politics and how the fraught relations with the Israeli state affect the lives of Palestinians. This delightful feature from Maysaloun Hamoud takes a seemingly more apolitical approach. And yet there’s a palpable subtext at play here about the oppressive treatment of women from the territory by their own people, affecting those leading secular lives as well as the religiously observant, Muslims and Christians alike.

In a Tel Aviv apartment, Muslim lawyer and chain-smoking party girl Layla (Mouna Hawa) and her friend Salma (Sana Jammelieh), a lesbian from a Christian family who floats through an assortment of service sector jobs, welcome a new flatmate, hijab-wearing Nour (Shaden Kanboura). Nour is in her last year of university, studying computer science and engaged to »

- Leslie Felperin

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Yes, yes, yes! Welcome to the golden age of slutty cinema

21 September 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

The promiscuous heroine of the indie film Daphne upends on-screen conventions about women and sex. From Bond to Bridesmaids and beyond, are the movies finally coming to terms with female desire?

It is a radical act, which every film generation thinks they are the first to discover: to create characters who are not good people. When you drill into it, this always means creating men who are not good men, since the grey areas around women on screen – do they have any lines that aren’t variations on “help”? Do they have motivation independent of the hero’s? – mean that, even in a putatively intelligent film, it is often quite hard to ascribe a moral arc to them, as it would be to a horse, or a robot. So let’s leave aside “good” – it is vanishingly rare, and pretty bracing, to see a woman on screen who isn’t the villain, »

- Zoe Williams

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Spectacular Fast and Furious car stunt live show is a £25m gamble

21 September 2017 4:01 PM, PDT

Producers of a show based on the film franchise are banking on there being enough petrolheads to fill arenas the world over

It will have a fuel tanker engulfed in flames bouncing across the arena, a jack-knifed lorry pursued by screeching Honda Civic EJ1s, at least two tanks, a souped-up Dodge Charger and a bright orange Lamborghini, obviously, and a submarine crashing through the ice.

“It is not a real Akula-class submarine,” said Rowland French regretfully, who is the creative brains behind the live arena show that he believes is one of the biggest and most ambitious ever staged. “Much as I would like to have the opportunity to play with a real one. It will look like one though.”

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- Mark Brown Arts correspondent

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Women and the look of Lawrence’s Arabia | Letters

21 September 2017 11:38 AM, PDT

Perfidious algorithms | Women in film | Meeting types | John Lemon lemonade

The long read on “Facebook’s war on free will” (19 September) makes valid points about tech, engineers, cold-blooded corporations, manipulation, data mining and commodification etc. But there is a dangerous trend to synonymise the word “algorithm” with “everything potentially malign about digital technology”. An algorithm is merely a tool, a set of rules, a recipe or formula of the sort you might use to filter data or solve a mathematical problem.

John Carvill

Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire

Related: Lawrence of Arabia review – David Lean's sandy epic still radiates greatness

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- Letters

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Moving mountains: how Jennifer Peedom captured pure majesty on film – video

21 September 2017 11:00 AM, PDT

Australian director Jennifer Peedom sits down to discuss the making of her latest film, Mountain, a cinematic and musical collaboration between Peedom and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Written by bestselling author Robert Macfarlane, the documentary explores our fascination with mountains. Peedom explains how the collaboration worked – “it means that I’m not the boss” – and how music and film combined

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- David Fanner

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It’s lit! How film finally learned to light black skin

21 September 2017 9:26 AM, PDT

In lighting, makeup and camera calibration, cinema has pandered to white skin for decades. Now, a new generation of film-makers are keen to ensure people of colour look as good on screen as they should

Insecure, the HBO series currently in its terrific second season (#TeamMolly), has been garnering attention since its pilot for its refreshing look at the lives of a small group of black women in Los Angeles. Broadcast in the same slot as its precursor Girls, which showed women as their “real” messy selves, and before that Sex and the City, a fantasia of skipping round New York in Manolos, Insecure sits somewhere between the two. Its storylines are all too real, but it looks stylish and glamorous.

Previous incarnations of black characters on television have mainly been overlit sitcoms or overly gloomy slices of realism. Insecure is neither – and its actors look like bonafide movie stars. »

- Nadia Latif

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Isle of Dogs: watch the trailer for Wes Anderson's dystopian canine epic

21 September 2017 8:41 AM, PDT

Set in a future Japan where dogs have been banished to an island of garbage, Anderson’s animated film features the voice work of Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Yoko Ono

The first trailer for Wes Anderson’s new animation Isle of Dogs has been revealed.

Set in a dystopian future Japan where dogs have been banished to a island made of garbage, following the outbreak of canine flu, Isle of Dogs follows a young boy’s odyssey to find his lost pet. The film utilises the same stop-motion animation seen in Anderson’s 2009 Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr Fox and features a gargantuan voice cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Tilda Swinton and Yoko Ono.

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- Guardian film

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Colin Firth on the superspy comedy sequel – video

21 September 2017 8:25 AM, PDT

The second Kingsman film sees the dapper British secret agents go up against American supervillain Poppy Adams, played by Julianne Moore, with the help of Statesman, their Us equivalent. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is out now in the UK, and is released on 21 September in Australia and 22 September in the Us.

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- Sophie Zeldin-O'Neill Jonross Swaby

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Borg vs McEnroe’s Stellan Skarsgård: ‘I’ve been changing diapers for 40 years’

21 September 2017 8:00 AM, PDT

He’s both one of Sweden’s most prolific actors and the father of eight kids – including actors Alexander and Bill. So it’s no surprise that – despite starring in the nail-biting tennis drama – he doesn’t have much time for sport

It must be difficult to get entirely swept up in the magic of the movies when you are the man who once changed Pennywise’s nappies. This is the strange position that actor Stellan Skarsgård finds himself in, as he promotes his new film, Borg vs McEnroe, while his 27-year-old son, Bill Skarsgård, is receiving rave reviews for playing the demonic clown in a new adaptation of Stephen King’s It while his eldest son, Alexander, is about to win an Emmy for his role in Big Little Lies. “I was happy when he was doing It because he had so much fun, and that’s where the joy was really, »

- Ellen E Jones

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On Body and Soul review – bizarre and brutal tale of lovers in the slaughterhouse

21 September 2017 7:30 AM, PDT

In this strange, unsettling romance, a Hungarian abattoir provides the backdrop for an affair between two workers that exists only when they sleep

On Body and Soul is an urban pastoral. It’s a love story that unfolds both in a secret inner dreamscape and an outer world of ostensible normality – which is actually far more comically irrational. This duality could be the one hinted at in the title. But which is body and which soul? Where do we assume the spirituality and physicality are located? It’s not entirely clear.

The Hungarian film-maker Ildikó Enyedi won the Golden Bear in Berlin this year for this film, perhaps her most notable success since winning the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 1989 for My Twentieth Century, about identical twin sisters heading for an appointment with destiny and modernity aboard the Orient Express. This movie has the same playfully unexpected sensuality that »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Our Last Tango review – passion and pain in tango doc well timed for Strictly season

21 September 2017 2:00 AM, PDT

This engaging film focuses on a couple who once dazzled audiences with their intimate dance routines but whose off-stage love turned to heartbreak

The return of what is now known as Strictly season on TV is as good a time as any for a release of this very warm and thoroughly watchable documentary from 2015 about Argentinian tango stars María Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes.

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- Peter Bradshaw

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In the Last Days of the City review – adrift in Cairo as the Arab spring looms

20 September 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

A film-maker returns to the place of his boyhood on a quest for love and creative fulfilment in this melancholy cine-journal

In the Last Days of the City is a densely textured, contemplative, beautifully shot film in a self-reflexive, docu-realist style about Cairo in the era just before the Tahrir Square uprising of 2011: the director Tamer El Said uses footage he has amassed over years of filming in Cairo.

In a way, it imports the complications and disappointments that followed Egypt’s Arab spring back to that time; there is no euphoria here. It is a very New Wave movie, recording images of the city as a film-maker in a previous time might have shot in Paris in 1968.

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- Peter Bradshaw

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