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

2 hours ago

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

• More 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, with Rooney Mara, his co-star from Lowery’s 2013 breakthrough film, »

- Ellen E Jones

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How I, Tonya betrays its tragicomic ice-skating protagonist

14 hours ago

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

15 hours ago

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

17 hours ago

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

18 hours ago

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

20 hours ago

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?

23 hours ago

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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The 50 best films of 2017 in the UK: No 10 Manchester by the Sea

10 December 2017 10:00 PM, PST

As our countdown enters the final stages, Cath Clarke champions a harrowing, beautifully acted film where tragedy has no easy resolution

More of the best culture of 2017

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Hollywood tends to side with Nietzsche on the subject of human suffering. So films end with characters recovering from tragedy, or at the very least achieving some kind of emotional closure, and we all get to go home with the uplifting message that everything in life happens for a reason – even the crappy stuff. But Kenneth Lonergan’s shattering portrait of grief has something different to say. What if some tragedies are impossible to come back from? What happens to the people broken into too many pieces to heal?

So no, Manchester by the Sea doesn’t win the prize for cheeriest film of 2017. But it is definitely in the running for most beautifully acted »

- Cath Clarke

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