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The strange, sad story of Adam Deacon: 'I started thinking, will I ever act again?'

2 hours ago

The east London-born actor starred in films such as Kidulthood and pipped Eddie Redmayne to a Bafta. He was poised for Hollywood until a skunk-induced psychosis led to a row with mentor Noel Clarke and a restraining order. Now appearing on stage in The Retreat, he talks about seizing his second chance

When Adam Deacon beat Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston to the Bafta for rising star in 2012 it caused an upset. While Deacon was a working-class school dropout who played street boys, the Eton-educated Redmayne and Hiddleston were already Hollywood sex symbols in the making. But the upset was nothing compared with what came next. As Redmayne and Hiddleston continued their ascent to superstardom, nothing more was heard of Deacon – until 2015, when he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, convicted of harassing his former mentor and director Noel Clarke, and charged with possessing an offensive weapon after reportedly »

- Simon Hattenstone

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The Incredibles 2: watch the first trailer for Pixar's superpowered sequel

5 hours ago

Brad Bird reunites a voice cast that includes Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L Jackson for a follow-up to his acclaimed animated comedy

Thirteen years on from the release of acclaimed animated comedy The Incredibles, Pixar have given us another glimpse of the superpowered Parr family in the first teaser trailer for a forthcoming sequel.

The Incredibles 2 reunites a voice cast that includes Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L Jackson with original writer director Brad Bird in an adventure that will see Hunter’s character Helen, Aka Elastigirl, take centre stage, leaving Bob, Aka Mr Incredible (Nelson), to contend with the challenges of domestic life. The film will also see the Parr’s youngest member, baby Jack-Jack, begin to develop his own nascent powers.

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- Guardian film

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Good Time review – Robert Pattinson excels in electrifying urban thriller

7 hours ago

Pattinson runs into a whole lot of trouble in this high-energy heist caper from rising indie stars Josh and Benny Safdie

This adrenalised street opera from feted indie film-makers Josh and Benny Safdie has been hailed in some quarters as a revelatory breakthrough for former Twilight star Robert Pattinson, shedding his celebrity status to “disappear” into the role of an aggressively unsympathetic street hustler. Yet Pattinson (who I thought was terrific in the sneeringly maligned teen-vampire series) has always been much more than a pretty face, proving his mettle in films such as David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Brady Corbet’s The Childhood of a Leader, and James Gray’s The Lost City of Z. For me, the real revelation of Good Time comes from seeing the Safdies finally fulfil the promise of 2009’s Daddy Longlegs and 2014’s Heaven Knows What, creating an electrifying urban thriller that combines authenticity with accessibility in a compact, »

- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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Trophy review – conflicted hunting documentary

8 hours ago

An argument in favour of legalising big game hunting is undercut by the film’s own footage

This documentary about the overlap between trophy hunting and wildlife conservation makes a passionate, if not entirely convincing, argument for the legal hunting of the Big Five (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, and rhino) as an alternative to illegal poaching. The film gives voice to the commercial case for breeding and hunting, which feels at odds with the emotive way these kills are positioned. Viewers are encouraged to balk at the blunt brutality with which a rhino’s horn (“more expensive than gold or heroin, in weight”) is sawn off, to be moved by the guttural sound of a dying elephant, and to experience indignation when an American hunter poses with a slain buck, holding it up by its horns.

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- Simran Hans

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Justice League review – dour and wooden beneath the wisecracks

8 hours ago

Joss Whedon’s quips sit ill with Zack Snyder’s leaden direction, while Ben Affleck makes for an unconvincing Batman in this dire DC offering

With Superman out of the picture, Batman and Wonder Woman must come together to assemble a ragtag group of superheroes to rescue three “Mother Boxes” from the evil demon Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds, barely recognisable underneath all the CGI) in this inchoate sequel. Their team includes Ezra Miller as superfast, socially awkward, self-confessed “black hole of snacks” the Flash, Game of Thrones’s Jason Momoa as the frequently shirtless Aquaman and Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), a former college football star turned Cyborg. Ribbing wisecracks, courtesy of co-writer Joss Whedon, jar with director Zack Snyder’s oppressive, dour approach to the source material. Ben Affleck is especially wooden as Batman/Bruce Wayne, while Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman (unsung leader of the pack and the film’s »

- Simran Hans

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Ingrid Goes West review – millennial cliches smartly skewered

8 hours ago

There’s avocado toast and self-actualisation aplenty in Matt Spicer’s absurd comedy

Matt Spicer’s bitter comedy of the absurd follows Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza, deadpan but with a manic edge), a depressed twentysomething who inherits $60,000 from her mother and uses the money to move to California, inspired by Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an Instagram influencer she read about in Elle. Taylor’s bio is a sincere string of platitudes: “Treasure hunter. Castle builder. Proud Angeleno.” Ingrid pilfers tips on how to curate the right kind of cool from Taylor’s social media feeds and it’s not long before the young women become “Best friends”, shopping for artisanal lamps and alternating margaritas with lines of cocaine in Joshua Tree, and things start to turn a little Single White Female. O’Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton) also shows up as Ingrid’s landlord, Dan, a Batman-obsessed stoner screenwriter, »

- Simran Hans

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Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool review – Hollywood on the Mersey

8 hours ago

Annette Bening stars as fading silver-screen siren Gloria Grahame and Jamie Bell as the young actor who fell for her

Jamie Bell and Annette Bening star in this 80s-set romantic drama about fledgling Liverpudlian actor Peter Turner and his romance with (Old) Hollywood siren Gloria Grahame, based on Turner’s memoir. Their age-gap relationship is revealed in retrospect, when Grahame falls ill during a run in a play and re-enters Turner’s life. An overwrought score pushes the film into the territory of melodrama, but mostly it works, with tender performances from the two leads. Bell is particularly good as the devoted Turner, all vulnerable, searching gaze and eyes glossy with emotion, whether disco-dancing with Bening’s sensual, petulant Grahame or gently burping her in bed.

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- Simran Hans

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Mudbound review – thoroughly modern period drama

8 hours ago

Mary J Blige and Carey Mulligan star in this tale of two families in the Jim Crow south

“I dreamed in brown,” sighs Carey Mulligan’s voiceover of her character Laura McAllan’s mudbound existence. This graceful adaptation by Dee Rees (director of the luminous Pariah) of Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel is unable to wash itself clean of mud, fertile ground for deep-rooted prejudice and a filthy, sticky substance that taints and traps its characters in a world resistant to social progress. Though it’s a Netflix release, it is getting a one-week run in some Curzon theatres. The gorgeous digital cinematography by Rachel Morrison (Black Panther, Fruitvale Station) deserves to be seen on the big screen.

Set in the Jim Crow south, this complex, thoroughly modern period drama looks at the overlapping lives of two families – one black (the Jacksons) and one white (the McAllans). Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan) and his weathered wife, »

- Simran Hans

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DVD reviews: The Beguiled; The Big Sick; Spider-Man: Homecoming and more

8 hours ago

Sofia Coppola’s fresh take on a civil war story is beautiful but deadly, a culture-clash comedy plays it too safe, and it’s a reboot too far for one hero

There’s so much gauzy, dusty pink and perfume saturating the screen in Sofia Coppola’s gorgeous The Beguiled (Universal, 15) that you briefly wonder if the characters might just bleed rosewater if you cut them. Yet the blood, when it comes, runs dark, and so does everything else in this smartly, subtly nasty reframing of Don Siegel’s more overtly lurid American civil war thriller, in which suppressed male physicality and repressed female sexuality do tense, unforgiving battle. It’s not quite a complete feminist inversion of Thomas Cullinan’s source novel, but in assiduously stripping back the material to its barest, ghostliest bones, Coppola has highlighted female perspectives less prominent in the earlier film’s musky genre stew. »

- Guy Lodge

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Harvey Weinstein had secret hitlist of names to quash sex scandal

18 hours ago

Producer hired team to investigate 91 film industry figures in attempt to stop harassment claims going public

The Observer has gained access to a secret hitlist of almost 100 prominent individuals targeted by Harvey Weinstein in an extraordinary attempt to discover what they knew about sexual misconduct claims against him and whether they were intending to go public.

The previously undisclosed list contains a total of 91 actors, publicists, producers, financiers and others working in the film industry, all of whom Weinstein allegedly identified as part of a strategy to prevent accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him.

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- Mark Townsend

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Why she killed herself: a film-maker's painful search for meaning in her sister's belongings

18 November 2017 3:00 AM, PST

After her big sister took her own life Hope Litoff sought answers in her journals, art and old pill bottles – and made a brutally candid film, 32 Pills, of the process

When Hope Litoff’s sister Ruth, a talented photographer and artist, killed herself, her belongings were put in storage because there were “too painful to look at and too important to throw away”.

Six years on and still struggling to understand why Ruth took her life, Hope decided to search for answers in the journals, piles of artworks, and boxes filled with bottles of prescription pills and more mundane items that were gathering dust in the lock-up. She filmed the process, including her emotional unravelling and return to alcoholism as she confronted her grief.

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- Lucy Rock

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'Rape is a rampant issue'; taboo drama Verna battles the censors in Pakistan

17 November 2017 9:58 AM, PST

Rejected for its ‘edgy content’, Shoaib Mansoor’s timely revenge thriller has finally made it into cinemas after a public backlash. Is the country’s film industry ready for change?

In recent years, Pakistan has seen a huge resurgence of its film industry, which has emerged from the shadow of Bollywood to find its own identity, one at the forefront of the battle between a growing conservatism in the country and an emboldened youth hungry for change. There’s a notable trend towards female-led narratives, which are not only setting new standards in storytelling, but also challenging taboos around the treatment of women in society.

The battle to get the voices and experiences of women on screen achieved a much-needed victory this week when the Pakistani censor board backed down over a decision to ban a new film about the injustices faced by rape victims in the country – a development »

- Alia Waheed

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Justice League – hit or miss for the DC Extended Universe? Discuss with spoilers

17 November 2017 8:46 AM, PST

It has patched-together directing, shoddy special effects and a wetter than ever Batman, but is the latest Dceu instalment still worth watching?

• This article contains spoilers

Just when you thought it was safe to head back into the Twittersphere, the ongoing war between Marvel and DC fanboys and girls is about to reignite. Why? Because the critics don’t really like new DC Extended Universe instalment, Justice League, much more than they did the operatically dark and muddled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, or the bombastically nonsensical Suicide Squad. That’s now three out of four movies in this new superhero cinematic realm that have failed to pass muster, with only Patty JenkinsWonder Woman standing tall.

Related: Justice League review – good, evil and dullness do battle

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- Ben Child

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Is Get Out a horror film, a comedy ... or a documentary?

17 November 2017 5:55 AM, PST

Jordan Peele’s film has been submitted in the comedy/musical category at the Golden Globes, prompting debate over which genre it belongs to. What’s inarguable is the significance of its race-relations message

One of the most striking images from Get Out is a closeup of British actor Daniel Kaluuya wide-eyed in shock as tears stream down his face. As the $4.5m indie horror evolved this year from buzzed-about Sundance hit to $250m-grossing global phenomenon, this image increasingly became the go-to visual to accompany admiring features and reviews, because it effectively communicates something of the movie’s unsettling nature. (Spoiler: Kaluuya’s tears are not a byproduct of mirth.) Which makes it all the stranger that much of this week has been given over to a wide-ranging discussion as to whether Jordan Peele’s high-tension satirical horror should be classified as a comedy.

It is all because of the »

- Graeme Virtue

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Cate Blanchett: artists are being silenced

17 November 2017 4:40 AM, PST

A news anchor, a widow, a bearded drunk … Cate Blanchett’s new film sees the actor take on 13 personas in a script cribbed from 50 revolutionary texts. She and director Julian Rosefeldt explain why Manifesto is an artistic call to arms in the age of Trump

Here’s Cate Blanchett as you’ve never seen her before: as a bearded old man pulling a shopping cart through a post-industrial wasteland. In a drunken Scottish accent he/she proclaims: “We glorify the revolution aloud as the only engine of life. We glorify the vibrations of the inventors young and strong. They carry the flaming torch of the revolution!” Now Blanchett is a grieving widow telling a funeral congregation, “to lick the penumbra and float in the big mouth filled with honey and excrement”. Now she’s an American news anchor in the studio, talking to a reporter standing in the rain under an umbrella. »

- Steve Rose

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Sylvester Stallone accused of sexually assaulting 16-year-old girl in 1986

17 November 2017 4:14 AM, PST

Film star ‘categorically denies’ claims, detailed in police report, that he and a bodyguard intimidated a girl into sex before threatening her with violence

Sylvester Stallone has denied allegations that he and his bodyguard sexually assaulted a 16-year-old fan in the 1980s and then threatened to “beat her head in” if she spoke up about it.

A spokesperson for the actor described the claims as “ridiculous” and “categorically false”, after a 1986 police report into the alleged encounter was obtained by Mail Online.

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- Gwilym Mumford

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Heartstone review – fervent teen sexuality drama

17 November 2017 2:00 AM, PST

This long, Iceland-set debut steams with suppressed emotion as two teenagers explore a dawning relationship

A remote, wildly beautiful – and wonderfully shot – Icelandic village is the setting for this soulful, indulgent story of teen angst and teen sexuality, which is a feature debut for Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. Thor (Baldur Einarsson) and Kristján (Blær Hinriksson) are best friends whose home lives are both fracturing. Thor’s mother has been abandoned by her husband for a younger woman and she is not-so-secretly despised by Thor’s older, callous sisters. Kristján’s father is an obnoxious and homophobic bully. The boys make vague and maladroit attempts at romantic connections with girls, but the resulting quartet’s truth-or-dare adventures at same-sex kissing alert Thor and Kristján to another possibility: that they themselves are in love. It’s a long movie whose suppressed emotions hiss and steam like geysers and just occasionally there is something »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Hollywood awards season rolls on despite harassment claims: 'No one's falling apart over this'

17 November 2017 1:00 AM, PST

The industry is diving into its annual tradition of self-congratulation as the Oscars approach, even as sexual misconduct allegations continue to pour in

The entertainment industry axiom that the show must go on reputedly dates to the 19th century, when circuses continued with performances regardless of lions breaking loose, acrobats tumbling to the ground or the big top catching fire.

Hollywood is following suit.

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- Rory Carroll in Los Angeles

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Remember Baghdad review – brief, gripping history of Iraq's Jews

17 November 2017 12:00 AM, PST

Fiona Murphy’s absorbing documentary focuses on members of London’s Iraqi Jewish community to tell a little-known slice of Middle Eastern history

There is a potency and pungency to this brief, absorbing documentary about a part of Middle East history that is often passed over: the Jews of Iraq. It is a story that film-maker Fiona Murphy approaches by talking to those of the expatriate Iraqi Jewish community in London who yearn for their homeland.

After the first world war, British control of Iraq afforded its Jews relative protection. In the 30s and 40s, despite attempts by Hitler’s Nazis to gain a foothold in the country, Iraqi Jews were spared the horrors of the Holocaust, and postwar Iraq prided itself on an easygoing pluralist prosperity. But after the monarchy was brutally deposed, and the country joined the six-day war against Israel, antisemitism became part of Iraq’s righteous »

- Peter

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Uphill battle: can Mudbound change the white face of war films?

16 November 2017 10:00 PM, PST

If you go by the movies, the world wars look to have been fought and won by white people – although history begs to differ. Now, Netflix’s Mudbound is challenging this perception

Over there I was a liberator. People lined up in the streets waiting for us, throwing flowers and cheering. And here I’m just another nigger pushing a plough.” So says Ronsel Jackson, a young, black army sergeant, recently returned from wartime Europe to Jim Crow-era Mississippi. Jackson, played by Jason Mitchell, is a character in the epic new movie Mudbound, which pointedly contrasts his experiences with those of a white neighbour returning from the second world war. It’s a true-to-life experience that we have never seen on screen before; it’s rare enough to see a film even acknowledging that African Americans, or other people of colour, were involved in the war at all.

If you go by the movies, »

- Steve Rose

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