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Star Wars director: 'hell yes' to a woman or person of colour directing franchise

36 minutes ago

A brand new Star Wars trilogy is in the works, but directors for two of the films are yet to be announced

The director of the latest Star Wars film has said it is “about time” a woman or person of colour was brought in to direct a film in the franchise.

Rian Johnson, who has made his Star Wars directing debut with The Last Jedi, which opens in UK cinemas on Thursday, is the third white man to direct a film from the popular sci-fi series. Other directors of the franchise have been creator George Lucas and Jj Abrams, who directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015.

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- Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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Salma Hayek claims Harvey Weinstein threatened to kill her

52 minutes ago

The actor has penned an essay detailing a history of predatory behavior from the disgraced producer, referring to him as a ‘monster’ with ‘Machiavellian rage’

Salma Hayek has come forward with an essay, detailing her alleged experiences working with Harvey Weinstein, claiming unwanted sexual advances and threats of violence.

In a piece for the New York Times, the Oscar-nominated actor writes that she spent years saying no to the disgraced producer following his demands for sexual activity with her. She joins numerous other women in Hollywood who have accused Weinstein of similar impropriety.

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- Benjamin Lee

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'If there's an ocean, maybe there's surf': Bruce Brown on making The Endless Summer

4 hours ago

In one of the last interviews he gave before his death this week, Bruce Brown talks about chasing summer and surf around the globe, turning a $50,000 gamble into a $33m cult classic

The first Hollywood movies about surfing like Gidget and Beach Blanket Bingo gave the sport a bad rep. They made us out to be a bunch of idiots having food fights. We wanted to show how it really was: a legitimate sport. In 1955, while I was doing military service in Hawaii, I started filming my buddies on the waves. By the early 60s, my surf films were giving me a regular income, and I decided to take more time over one.

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- Interviews by Phil Hoad

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Three Billboards leads Screen Actors Guild nominations as The Post is snubbed

4 hours ago

Dark comedy-drama picks up four nominations, but there’s no room for The Post’s Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep or Phantom Thread’s Daniel Day-Lewis

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri leads the way in nominations for the Screen Actors Guild awards, historically one of the key indicators of which films will triumph at the Oscars.

Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy-drama, which stars Frances McDormand as a mother who takes desperate measures to bring her daughter’s killer to justice, received a total of four nominations in total, with nods for McDormand (best female actor), Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell (supporting actor) and best ensemble.

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- Gwilym Mumford

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'Yay, porgs!' – critics' verdicts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

9 hours ago

From ‘most entertaining Star Wars movie in many a moon’ to ‘appallingly purified’, Rian Johnson’s film has critics at the New Yorker, CNN and elsewhere divided

The first reviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are in and, with the exception of a few naysayers, the reaction has been mostly positive. Currently, Rian Johnson’s sequel has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, matching the rating of 2015’s The Force Awakens. On rival reviews aggregation site Metacritic, The Last Jedi has bested its predecessor with a rating of 85 to the Force Awakens’ 81.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy gave the film a broadly positive review, with minor caveats:

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- Gwilym Mumford

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi review – an explosive thrill-ride of galactic proportions

9 hours ago

Director Rian Johnson delivers a tidal wave of energy and emotion in the eighth episode of the saga, as Luke, Leia, Finn and Rey step up to meet their destiny

An old hope. A new realism. An old anxiety. A new feeling that the Force might be used to channel erotic telepathy, and long-distance evil seduction. The excitingly and gigantically proportioned eighth film in the great Star Wars saga offers all of these, as well as colossal confrontations, towering indecisions and teetering temptations, spectacular immolations, huge military engagements, and very small disappointments.

The character-driven face-offs are wonderful and the messianic succession crisis about the last Jedi of the title is gripping. But there is a convoluted and slightly unsatisfying parallel plot strand about the Resistance’s strategic military moves as the evil First Order closes in, and an underwritten, under-imagined and eccentrically dressed new character – Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, played by Laura Dern. »

- Peter Bradshaw Guardian film critic

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The 50 top films of 2017: No 8 Blade Runner 2049

14 hours ago

Another joint entry for the UK and the Us in our movie countdown – Xan Brooks hails an ambitious sci-fi sequel that took the original’s tantalising loose ends and ran with them

• More on the best Us films of 2017

• More on the best UK films of 2017

• More on the best culture of 2017

Blade Runner 2049 was the sequel that dared to dream it might surpass its creator. It was the blockbuster that breathed, the film replicant made flesh. In returning to the source material of the original Blade Runner (itself adapted from Philip K Dick’s 1968 novel), director Denis Villeneuve could by rights have got away with ticking the appropriate boxes and contentedly riding a wave of shared nostalgia. Instead, he opted for full immersion, a deep dive into the subject matter, even at the risk of losing his bearings. I’ve rarely seen a film so dazzled and entranced by its own possibilities. »

- Xan Brooks

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Jennifer Lawrence to star in film adaptation of Hannah Kent's Burial Rites

17 hours ago

Film will be directed by Luca Guadagnino, whose latest, Call Me By Your Name, has been nominated for three Golden Globes

The Oscar-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence will reportedly star in and produce the upcoming film adaptation of the Australian author Hannah Kent’s award-winning 2013 novel, Burial Rites.

Kent’s novel is based on the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland in 1830. A farm worker, Magnúsdóttir was sentenced to death for her part in the murder of two men and, due to the structure of the Icelandic legal system, spent her last days at an isolated farmhouse with a family of upstanding citizens watching over her. Kent’s novel reimagines the story of these final months before Magnúsdóttir’s execution.

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- Stephanie Convery

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Bollywood sexual harassment: actors speak out on Indian cinema's open secret

19 hours ago

Women tell the Guardian that unmasking of abusive men is overdue in industry that shames and undermines victims

The casting director had one hand pressed to the phone at his ear; the other, according to a police complaint, he rested on Reena Saini’s thigh.

“He was casting for TV serials,” Saini, 26, recalls. “One day he called me for an audition. And when I reached the place he said, come into my car and talk, I’m in a hurry.”

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- Michael Safi in Mumbai

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The Golden Globes have ignored female directors. In the year of #MeToo, this won’t wash

12 December 2017 10:28 AM, PST

Films including Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Dee ReesMudbound have been hotly-tipped – but not a single woman was nominated in the best director category

The nominations for the Golden Globes were announced on Monday, and for the umpteenth time, not a single woman picked up a nod for best director. Instead, the voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association came up with what feels like a list of the usual white male suspects: Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Guillermo del Toro, Martin McDonagh and Christopher Nolan.

Often, you will hear exclusion of female film-makers rationalised away. Awards, the argument goes, merely reflect the gender gap in Hollywood. And since women have fewer opportunities to prove themselves behind the camera (just 7% of the top 250 films in 2016 were directed by women), it stands to reason that they will be less represented in awards.

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- Cath Clarke

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Old master paintings given to National Gallery by Dutch aristocrat

12 December 2017 9:57 AM, PST

Baron Willem van Dedem’s bequest called ‘Christmas gift to the nation’, with four works on public display from Wednesday

Four old master paintings left to the National Gallery by a Dutch aristocrat who died in 2015 will this week go on public display.

The gallery described Baron Willem van Dedem’s bequest as a “Christmas present to the nation”. Not only are they beautiful works of art, but they fill gaps in the collection.

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- Mark Brown Arts correspondent

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Swinging Safari review – Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce in outrageous ode to 70s Australia

12 December 2017 9:00 AM, PST

Nothing is sacred in the delirious comedy from Priscilla’s Stephan Elliott – a sex romp that simultaneously celebrates and denigrates Aussie culture

If you watched the gloriously ‘Strayan trailer for the writer/director Stephan Elliott’s Swinging Safari, you might have assumed all the kooky bits were plucked out to make an outrageously cockeyed, slaphappy promo.

I can assure you the actual film is 10 times as batshit crazy as the marketing materials suggest.

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- Luke Buckmaster

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UK box office suffers worst week in years as The Last Jedi looms

12 December 2017 7:37 AM, PST

Snowy weather and the upcoming release of the new Star Wars film created a perfect storm for the UK top 10, but things were rosier for Jumanji, Paddington 2 and The Disaster Artist

A perfect storm of factors combined to depress UK box office to its worst weekend in recent years. Most significantly, the arrival of Star Wars: The Last Jedi this Thursday (14 December) means that distributors gave the 8 December date a wide berth, not wanting to release a major film and then have it knocked off screens six days later. But the snowy weather at the weekend across much of the UK cannot have helped, with families preferring sledging activities to daytime cinema outings, and transport disrupted. Finally, a couple of more commercially promising titles that were available to audiences – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Fox animation Ferdinand – were still at the preview stage, and so the box office »

- Charles Gant

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The 50 top films of 2017: No 9 A Ghost Story

11 December 2017 10:00 PM, PST

As our countdown continues, ninth place in both the UK and Us is taken by a strange and haunting romance

See the rest of the UK countdownSee the Us countdownMore on the best culture of 2017

It all began with a bedsheet. Writer-director David Lowery has said he’d envisioned making a film featuring this rudimentary ghost costume long before he began working on his fourth feature. It’s also this image – the mute, sheet-clad figure, with two holes for eyes – which has remained lodged in our minds in the months since Lowery’s strange, supernatural love story was first released. And ultimately, this may be what saves A Ghost Story from the stain of Hollywood’s ongoing sexual harassment scandal. The sheet makes it sometimes possible to forget that Casey Affleck – an actor who has settled two claims out of court – is the man underneath.

Affleck is there in the early scenes though, »

- Ellen E Jones

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How I, Tonya betrays its tragicomic ice-skating protagonist

11 December 2017 9:35 AM, PST

Tonya Harding’s difficult life, filled with domestic violence and struggle, is played for laughs in an uneven biopic that never really scratches the surface

Long before Frozen, those of us who were American girls in the mid-90s lived and breathed a different icebound battle of good and evil. Every morning in the winter of seventh grade, I was hungry to read the newspaper for more details in the war between Nancy Kerrigan, America’s smooth-haired brunette sweetheart and her frizzier blonde nemesis, Tonya Harding.

Related: I, Tonya review – scattershot skating biopic offers flawed, foul-mouthed fun

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- Jean Hannah Edelstein

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Sublime Shape of Water leads Golden Globes on merit, but all-male director list is dismaying | Peter Bradshaw

11 December 2017 9:09 AM, PST

Prestige pictures lead the way, with The Post and Three Billboards also up there – but with no Dee Rees, Kathryn Bigelow or Greta Gerwig, the director nominations look dubious

• Full list of nominees

At first glance, the major loser in this year’s Golden Globe nominations would appear to be Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, his superb daymare about a 1950s London fashion designer; it gets its mandatory best actor (drama) nod for Daniel Day-Lewis in his valedictory performance but nothing in the way of best film or best director. Nothing, furthermore, for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling as a younger-generation replicant-hunter who winds up on the track of his predecessor, Harrison Ford. Nor is there anything for the red-hot topicality of Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit – and in fact the best director category has, depressingly, been turned into a boys’ club; all the more dismaying »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Golden Globes 2018: Shape of Water, The Post and Three Billboards lead nominations

11 December 2017 6:32 AM, PST

Trio of films look to battle it out for top honours at next year’s ceremony, while there is a surprise inclusion for troubled drama All the Money in the World

•The full list of nominations

Guillermo del Toro’s cold war fantasy The Shape of Water emerged as the frontrunner for the Oscars after picking up a total of seven nominations for the 75th Golden Globes. However, the film looks set to face strong opposition from Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers drama The Post and Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, at a Globes ceremony that will provide the entertainment industry with its first major opportunity to respond to the sexual abuse scandal plaguing Hollywood.

Two months after the emergence of allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein that would prompt a further torrent of claims against men in the film industry, the nominations exhibited an already changed landscape in Hollywood. »

- Gwilym Mumford

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God's Own Country and Lady Macbeth triumph at British independent film awards

11 December 2017 5:31 AM, PST

Yorkshire-set love story and atmospheric period drama honoured at this year’s Bifa ceremony, with a Guardian short film also among the winners

God’s Own Country, Francis Lee’s drama about a gay relationship between a Yorkshire farmer and a Romanian migrant worker, triumphed at the British independent film awards, picking up best independent film as well as prizes in three other categories.

The film, based on its director’s own upbringing, beat competition from The Death of Stalin and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, to take home the award for best British independent film, along with a best actor award for star Josh O’Connor, while Lee was awarded best debut screenplay for his script. The trio of awards were added to the previously announced best sound award.

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- Gwilym Mumford

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The 50 best films of 2017 in the Us: No 10 Lady Macbeth

11 December 2017 4:00 AM, PST

As our countdown enters its final stages, Florence Pugh’s sphinxlike anti-heroine revolts against marriage and the wider balance of race, sex, power and class in this powerfully subversive film

• More best culture of 2017

Sex, power, race and class – it’s hard to think, offhand, of a recent movie which has brought these factors together so closely, so pungently and so subversively. William Oldroyd’s smart, spare, low-budget Brit indie Lady Macbeth is based on Nikolai Leskov’s 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. It is adapted by playwright Alice Birch, and transposed from Russia to the rugged English north-east; it has already famously been adapted by Shostakovich as the opera which got him into serious trouble with Stalin and as a film by Andrzej Wajda. Behind it all is Shakespeare’s play and perhaps the most brilliant female character he ever wrote: the perpetrator and instigator of an act of criminal daring. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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The Smurfette Principle: why can’t Hollywood accept gender equality?

11 December 2017 1:00 AM, PST

As Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and It show, the problematic trope of token girls in all-male gangs endures

It has been a good year for women in cinema in many ways, with a high count of quality female-made and female-led movies, and the removal of an echelon of sexual predators from the industry. But by some metrics, there’s still a way to go. In particular, the Smurfette Principle. The phrase was coined back in 1991 by Us writer Katha Pollitt, who bemoaned the number of films and TV programmes that featured a group with one lone female. Not just The Smurfs but also The Muppets, Winnie The Pooh, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and so forth. “The message is clear,” she wrote, “... boys are central, girls peripheral.”

Related: Wonder Woman review – glass ceiling still intact as Gal Gadot reduced to weaponised Smurfette

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- Steve Rose

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