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5 items from 2014

London Stage Star and Olivier Henry V Leading Lady Asherson Dead at Age 99

4 November 2014 4:56 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

'Henry V' Movie Actress Renée Asherson dead at 99: Laurence Olivier leading lady in acclaimed 1944 film (image: Renée Asherson and Laurence Olivier in 'Henry V') Renée Asherson, a British stage actress featured in London productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Three Sisters, but best known internationally as Laurence Olivier's leading lady in the 1944 film version of Henry V, died on October 30, 2014. Asherson was 99 years old. The exact cause of death hasn't been specified. She was born Dorothy Renée Ascherson (she would drop the "c" some time after becoming an actress) on May 19, 1915, in Kensington, London, to Jewish parents: businessman Charles Ascherson and his second wife, Dorothy Wiseman -- both of whom narrowly escaped spending their honeymoon aboard the Titanic. (Ascherson cancelled the voyage after suffering an attack of appendicitis.) According to Michael Coveney's The Guardian obit for the actress, Renée Asherson was "scantly »

- Andre Soares

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Ken Burns's new TV documentary on the Roosevelts has the epic scale of Tolstoy

6 September 2014 12:30 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The film-maker's 14-hour marathon has a psychological subtlety and depth unprecedented on television

Slightly ahead of schedule I've been spending my evenings in autumnal mode: stretched out on the sofa watching DVDs of the latest, highly addictive American TV series. When it was over I felt as bereft as if the World Cup or Olympics had come to an end. I'm tempted, for reasons we'll come back to, to start over again from the beginning.

The series is not a crime drama though it could hardly be more dramatic. It's Ken Burns's documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, a masterpiece even by his standards. The Civil War (1990) was hailed as the best series of its kind since The World at War. In a way, it was even more impressive since the absence of moving images meant that Burns had to rely entirely on photographs an inventive necessity that has become one of his trademarks. »

- Geoff Dyer

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World War I Series Combines Forces of Ransom Center, Afs and Paramount

30 April 2014 8:30 AM, PDT | Slackerwood | See recent Slackerwood news »

100 years after the start of World War I, three Austin organizations are teaming up to showcase cinema of or about the conflict. The Paramount Theatre and Austin Film Society are joining the University of Texas Harry Ransom Center, which is holding the current exhibition "The World at War, 1914-1918," to host a combined total of 13 films running May through July.

The screenings at the Ransom Center are free (bear in mind it's not a large theater), but tickets are required for the Afs at the Marchesa and Paramount/Stateside shows. Here's the schedule, which concludes with Lawrence of Arabia shown in 70mm:

Mon, May 5, 7 pm, Stateside at Paramount

Grand Illusion (pictured above), 1937 [tickets]

This moving French classic from director Jean Renoir features Jean Gabin among others at a German Pow camp.  Screens as a double feature with L'Atalante as part of Paramount's 100th birthday celebration.

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- Elizabeth Stoddard

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Rupert Evans's favourite TV

10 February 2014 4:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Fleming, Lucan and Hellboy star on his viewing pros and woes

Unmissable show?

The Newsroom. I love the pace. Jeff Daniels is brilliant as the anchor and Emily Mortimer's very good as well. I loved The West Wing; it's my favourite ever television show. I've always loved the writing of Aaron Sorkin. He cleverly intersperses big issues alongside personal relationships. That always interests me, the idea of looking at public issues and the private.

Earliest TV memory?

Super Gran. It was a children's teatime programme on in the 1980s, about a Scottish grandmother who has super powers. It had a very distinctive theme tune, originally by Billy Connolly. It was quite rocking, actually!

Bring back…

It's pretty old school… The World At War. They'd never make it now – they'd probably not get the money – but it just has such extraordinary documentary footage of that war and interviews with »

- Ellie Violet Bramley

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I never dreamt I'd be upset when they called time on Millionaire | David Mitchell

8 February 2014 6:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Now that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? approaches its final episode to my surprise I find myself sad – even though I never enjoyed the show

On reading last week that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has ended its final run, I was amazed to find myself caring. To my surprise, it made me sad. I didn't know I gave a damn about that show – I certainly never particularly enjoyed it – but it turns out I'd been quietly assuming that it would continue and, unbeknownst to my conscious brain, deriving comfort from that assumption. Suddenly it was gone and I missed it, like an old pot plant that you only remember is there when it dies.

Mind you, I'm glad I didn't watch it more – on the dozen or so occasions I caught an episode, I mildly regretted the time spent. It wasn't very entertaining, just moreish – the televisual equivalent of Twiglets. »

- David Mitchell

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