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Killing Ground review – a Deliverance down under bristling with energy

1 hour ago

Writer-director Damien Power’s blood-splotched debut feature is an outback thriller as beautifully made as it is terrifying

Australian cinema has another magnificently talented prince of darkness to emerge as a major force in 2017, dropping jaws and spreading a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. Tasmanian-born writer-director Damien Power’s holiday-from-hell thriller Killing Ground combines great aesthetic elegance – including beautiful cinematography and naturalistic editing – with an acrid, lingering foulness, derived from knife-edge performances and a terrifying premise executed with airtight verisimilitude.

After a world premiere at the 2016 Melbourne international film festival, the film’s theatrical release arrives not long after Ben Young’s ostentatious, soul-sucking debut Hounds of Love, making this a vintage year for hotshot homegrown spooksters. Killing Ground’s plot revolves around Sam (Harriet Dyer) and Ian (Ian Meadows) venturing into the bush for New Year’s Eve, to camp at a secluded riverbank Ian recalls from his youth. »

- Luke Buckmaster

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Steven Soderbergh: 'Film-making is like sex. If I accidentally give someone else pleasure, that's fine'

3 hours ago

The indie kingpin said he was quitting directing for oil painting. But he’s making more films than ever. He talks about his new heist caper Logan Lucky, starring Daniel Craig as a redneck – and his plan to topple the studio system

Steven Soderbergh is showing me a collage he’s been making. Half-finished, it sits on a table in his New York office. Composed entirely of movie stars in character, the work gives pride of place to Robert De Niro as a mohawked Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. He’s flanked by River Phoenix, John Belushi, Sacha Baron Cohen, Dennis Hopper and Catherine Deneuve. Further afield we have Jack Nicholson, Keanu Reeves and Sharon Stone.

Soderbergh started making collages a few years ago: bored with his library of film books, he simply started cutting them up. “It’s problem-solving,” he says. “You pull an image out. You start looking around. »

- Tom Shone

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American Made review – maverick Tom Cruise feels the need for speed in flashy thriller

4 hours ago

A grinning Cruise is back in Top Gun territory in Doug Liman’s sort-of-true story about a bored pilot who starts working for a Colombian cartel and the CIA

Related: Men behaving badly: how the white middle-class everyman became 2017's antihero

You’d need a heart of stone not to indulge Tom Cruise’s midlife return to Top Gun antics in this flashy, entertaining crime thriller from director Doug Liman, featuring Tom with blindingly toothy grin and sunglasses whizzing around in his light aircraft with Us Customs riding his tail (to quote Roger Avary).

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- Peter Bradshaw

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Hasta la vista: why not even James Cameron can save 3D movies

8 hours ago

A new 3D take on Terminator 2: Judgment day is about to hit cinemas. But with high ticket prices, shrinking box office figures and poor image quality, is the new age of 3D film over before it has even begun?

For once, James Cameron has been left looking off the pace with next week’s 3D rerelease of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. One thousand of La’s finest have been at work for six months retroactively converting – a botch method Cameron has derided in the past – his 1991 action masterpiece to 3D. It feels like an odd throwback: the post-Avatar glow that he imparted on 21st-century 3D has long since faded. 3D box office in the Us dropped by 8% last year, confirming that a dull tint has dropped over the audience’s enthusiasm for a technology revived only a decade ago.

Related: Researchers develop 3D movie screen that doesn't need glasses

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- Phil Hoad

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Martin Scorsese to produce 'gritty and grounded' Joker origin story – reports

18 hours ago

Directed by Todd Phillips, with a lead that’s yet to be cast, the ‘hard-boiled crime film’ will pay stylistic homage to Scorsese’s films of early-80s

The Batman universe is set to expand once more with a new film from Warner Bros and DC with Martin Scorsese on board to produce, according to a report in the Hollywood online news site, Deadline.

The film – an origin story of the character, which won’t be attached to any other iteration – will be directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips, who will co-write the film with Scott Silver (8 Mile, The Fighter).

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- Steph Harmon

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George and Amal Clooney donate $1m to combat Us rightwing extremism

22 August 2017 10:14 AM, PDT

The Clooney Foundation for Justice partners with the Southern Poverty Law Center to fight “bigotry and hate” in the wake of the events in Charlottesville

George and Amal Clooney have announced a partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat “bigotry and hate” in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice says that it will bestow a grant of $1m to the Splc in order to assist the civil rights organization in its attempts to combat violent extremism in the Us, following the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer at a white supremacist rally in the campus city earlier this month.

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- Gwilym Mumford

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Mark Wahlberg named 2017's highest-paid male actor with $68m

22 August 2017 7:35 AM, PDT

The Transformers star pushed last year’s winner Dwayne Johnson into second position in Forbes’ annual list

Mark Wahlberg has been named the highest paid male actor in Hollywood, earning an estimated $68m in the past 12 months.

The annual list, assembled by Forbes, places the 46-year-old in top position after paychecks for Transformers: The Last Knight and forthcoming comedy sequel Daddy’s Home 2. Yet despite his earnings, the most recent Transformers film was a commercial disappointment, making $600m worldwide – the lowest performing installment yet. He’s just finished production on fact-based Ridley Scott drama All the Money in the World, alongside Michelle Williams and Kevin Spacey.

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- Guardian staff

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Gemma Arterton reveals studio filmed her exercising to make her lose weight for role

22 August 2017 6:35 AM, PDT

Actor describes ‘traumatic’ experience in Morocco when Hollywood producers flew out a personal trainer and filmed her at the gym to prove she was exercising

Gemma Arterton has revealed that she was once forced to lose weight for a role by Hollywood producers, who flew out a personal trainer to work with her on location and filmed her at the gym to prove that she was exercising.

Speaking to the Guilty Feminist podcast in June, the British actor described the experience, which occurred while she was filming in Morocco, as “traumatic”.

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- Gwilym Mumford

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The Hitman's Bodyguard knocks Dunkirk off the top of the UK box office – but only just

22 August 2017 6:10 AM, PDT

Previews help propel Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson to No 1, but Christopher Nolan’s juggernaut is still performing powerfully

Knocking Dunkirk off the top spot of the official comScore UK box office chart, The Hitman’s Bodyguard opens with £1.98m from 467 cinemas, including preview takings of £367,000. While 2017 has been light on action comedy hits for adult audiences, the Ryan Reynolds/Samuel L Jackson team-up, rated 15 for language and bloody violence, filled a gap in the market.

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- Charles Gant

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Godzilla vs Kong: whoever wins Hollywood's monster mashup, we all lose

22 August 2017 2:48 AM, PDT

Adam Wingard has promised a definitive victor when the giant beasties go at it in 2020. But the history of ‘versus’ movies suggest that, irrespective of who triumphs, audiences will feel short-changed

The last 18 months have seen something of a renaissance for the high-octane big-budget B-movie. From the hyper-real monster mashup of Kong: Skull Island to the one-gal-against-the-ocean thrills of Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows, to trashy superhero epics such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the multiplexes have been invaded with low-concept, semi-infantilised cinema. It is no surprise to discover that Hollywood executives are currently greenlighting movies based on the whims of four-year-olds, because most of the above films could have been dreamt up – at least in terms of their basic concept – by small children.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing for those of us who love genre fare. The entire blockbuster era was »

- Ben Child

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These aren't the spinoffs you are looking for: Star Wars movies that should never get the green light

21 August 2017 7:33 AM, PDT

From Han Solo to Obi-Wan Kenobi, some of Star Wars’ most famous characters have movies on the way. We can only pray that Chewbacca or Jar Jar Binks are not among them

The Star Wars spin-offs have a tricky line to walk. On one hand, they have to fill in the backstories of some of the most famous characters in movie history. On the other, they have to retain some of the mystery that made them so beloved in the first place. You just have to see how badly George Lucas botched Boba Fett, saddling him with untold daddy issues in the prequels, to see how tricky it’s going to be.

But, still, they keep coming. As well as the troubled Young Han Solo movie, there’s now likely to be a Young Obi-Wan movie, a Young Jabba the Hutt movie and, yes, another crack at a Young Boba Fett movie. »

- Stuart Heritage

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Rooney Mara: look out, Greta Gerwig – there’s a new arthouse darling in town

21 August 2017 1:59 AM, PDT

Is the star of Una and A Ghost Story next in line for the crown of indie queen?

Related: A Ghost Story review – Casey Affleck goes undercover in a strange and haunting tale

Gena Rowlands, Parker Posey, Chloë Sevigny, Greta Gerwig. These are the Us indie queens, women whose legends were built by low-budget films, who used their intrinsic cool and prolific output to keep the most precarious corner of the film industry afloat. With this month’s release of Una and A Ghost Story, two high-profile indies both starring Rooney Mara, is it time to anoint the next successor?

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- Ellen E Jones

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Life and times of Jerry Lewis, the 'king of comedy' – video obituary

20 August 2017 7:20 PM, PDT

The renowned actor and slapstick legend has died in his Las Vegas home at the age of 91. Jerry Lewis was the knockabout clown, singer and showbusiness savant who started professional life in a double act with Dean Martin, went solo and was for a while the biggest comedy star in Hollywood

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- Guardian Staff

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