Monthly Archives: August 2014
Aaron Pedersen excels as an indigenous Australian cop caught between two worlds in Ivan Sen’s evocative outback thriller
Despite playing out in locations with such evocative names as Massacre Creek, Slaughter Hill and the titular Mystery Road, this atmospheric Australian thriller is closer in tone to the measured, brooding unease of Ray Lawrence’s Jindabyne than to the visceral thrills and spills of Greg McLean’s Wolf Creek. More interested in unpicking the broiling tensions of outback Queensland than in tying up the loose ends of his straggle-threaded whodunnit plot, writer-director Ivan Sen (who also shoots, scores and edits) goes walkabout through the minefield of contemporary Australian culture, offering an evocative snapshot of an unravelling crime scene – social, racial and economic.
Charismatic Aaron Pedersen stars as detective Jay Swan, returning to his small-town roots after a stint in “the big smoke”, which has merely widened the chasm between him and his former peers. The son of a stockman, Jay is “an Abbo copper” caught between two worlds – alienated from his own community, ostracised by his white workmates. “Are you one of them ‘black trackers’ who turns on his own?” asks a sneering landowner. His family are no more trusting: “At least I know who I am,” declares his habitually drunken and battered estranged wife, Mary (Tasma Walton), contemptuous of her former partner’s “big house” life on the other side of town, dismissing his concern for the welfare of their teenage daughter as “10 years too late”.
The debut film by Veronika Franz – the wife of Ulrich Seidl – is the Haneke-esque story of a woman swathed in bandages and her potentially vengeful twin sons
Veronika Franz, the journalist and wife of Austrian film-maker Ulrich Seidl, makes her debut, co-directing with Severin Fiala for this chilly, angular, ultra-violent arthouse horror showing in the Venice film festival’s Orrizonti sidebar. Seidl himself produces, and the result is a technically proficient and at times unwatchably horrible ordeal set in an elegant modern lake-house bordering sinister forests and fields. It’s all topped off with a huge psychological twist, and this ending would appear to be influenced by a very specific director and very specific film. Naming these would be unsporting, but it is generally comparable to Haneke’s Funny Games and Jessica Hausner’s Hotel.
Elias is a nine-year-old boy who appears to be enjoying an idyllic summer in this lake house with his twin brother Lukas. We see the pair romping around the surrounding countryside happily and unselfconsciously enough but it is only once they get indoors that things turn sour.
There does not appear to be a dad on the scene, and their mother, a TV presenter, is a short-tempered disciplinarian. Yet there is good reason for this: she is recovering from surgery. Her face is covered in bandages, giving her, on first appearance, the look of a skeleton.
In an era of raging homophobia and strident union-bashing, two minority groups made common cause in a Welsh mining community. As a new film – tipped to be a smash hit – that dramatises events is released, we hear the stories of those who were there Continue reading…
Playing an embittered, curdled loser the actor looks as vital and exciting as he did in his pomp
The Venice film festival clearly believes that nothing succeeds like an excess of Al Pacino. In the course of one hectic 14-hour period, guests took their seats for two new films featuring the 74-year-old actor, a veritable banquet of volcanic brooding and rasping, actorly monologues. The first of these, The Humbling, provided a paunchy, punch-drunk adaptation of the Philip Roth novel. But the second, Manglehorn, showcased the finest performance Pacino has delivered in years.
Directed by the talented David Gordon Green, Manglehorn is a beguiling, minor-key study of the lion in winter, mane gone grey, claws all blunted. Pacino is Angelo Manglehorn, a one-time roustabout who ekes out a living as a locksmith in Texas. Green’s symbolism is neat, if a trifle heavy-handed. Manglehorn has no trouble rescuing a small boy trapped inside the family car, but can’t unlock his own damaged heart. “I got nothing but frustration and disappointment,” he growls, peering out at the town over wire-rim specs.
Ramin Bahrani delivers a muscular, complex drama about real-estate – and false promises – in a land of dreams and bankruptcy
Rockstar Games rebuts suit alleging infringement of image rights and privacy by dismissing similarities between actor and character, and alleges Lohan is simply seeking publicity. Continue reading… Continue reading
Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s despot-on-the-run satire gestures to eastern Europe and the fallout of the Arab spring. It’s a gutsy and vivid parable, says Peter Bradshaw
Perhaps even Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s most devoted admirers weren’t expecting his latest film – here opening the Festival’s Orrizonti sidebar section – to be quite so absorbing and gripping. But that’s what it is, and the director discloses a unsuspected gift for satire and suspense, along with some old-fashioned storytelling gusto. Makhmalbaf is the co-screenwriter with his partner, Marziyeh Meshkiny – herself an established film-maker – and they have between them created a gutsy drama and a vivid parable. It’s the sort of movie that Milos Foreman might have directed forty years ago but it feels contemporary and as sharp as a tack. This is a really good film, and – startling though it sounds – Makhmalbaf might even have a rather commercial property on his hands.
The story concerns an ageing dictator in an unnamed country, known only as the President, played by Georgian actor Misha Gomiashvilli. When his exhausted regime’s sadism, cynicism and brutality become too much to bear, there is a coup. His grotesquely spoilt wife and daughters flee the country but the President is left behind with his adored grandson (Dachi Orvelashvilli), whose parents have been killed in the revolution. The President has always had a mawkish fondness for this boy – a projection of his own infantilised status and pampered privilege. They steal ragged clothes and a guitar and the old man and child have to disguise themselves as a travelling street musician and his dancing monkey-boy, and live among the people they oppressed; the bounty on their heads rises inexorably and all the time they fear discovery and violent death at the hands of a newly disloyal military which the President (clearly a former army officer) indoctrinated in savagery.
The actor best known for roles in Brighton Rock and The Great Escape has died. Film-makers, actors and fans pay tribute across the world
- Richard Attenborough dies at 90
- Peter Bradshaw: a sad day for the British film industry
- A career in clips
- A life in pictures
- David Puttnam pays tribute: an irreplaceable man
- Interview: on laughter, levity and losing his daughter
Attenborough played a huge range of characters over the decades, from young gangsters to enigmatic scientists. For now, we’ll leave you with a few of them in this video just launched on the Guardian film site.
Just a few more of the Twitter tributes from the worlds of film, music and the arts.
Richard Attenborough was a true friend to my Grandfather and a kind, kind man. RIP. #legend
Richard Attenborough’s Pinkie was one of the greatest roles in British Cinema.
The Oscar-winning actor and director has died aged 90. We look back over his career and life in photographs
With the duo poised to reprise their Shaun of the Dead roles for an animated TV special, Pegg confirms plans for another trilogy Continue reading… Continue reading
Former BBC film critic says actor’s enormous talent ‘could sometimes be spread so thinly as to be almost invisible’ Continue reading… Continue reading
Open thread: Björk’s latest concert film, Biophilia Live, will be screened in cinemas across the world. What are the best live concert films you’ve ever seen?
He’s given up Googling himself, he doesn’t actually demand nude scenes in his films, and it was a big mistake talking about the drinking: the former Harry Potter actor on trying to convince people he’s just a normal guy
In the final part of our series in which Guardian writers nominate their cinematic heroes, Ellie Violet Bramley raises a Snapple to Alabama Whitman, the lovely badass who rises above the violence of Tony Scott’s True Romance
Third film in the buddy cop franchise is gearing up after Will Smith and studio Sony show interest in going back on patrol, says Smith’s co-star
Susan Schneider says Williams was sober at time of his death on Monday and that he was not ready to disclose diagnosis Continue reading… Continue reading
A tweet from JJ Abrams’s company this week riffed off reports of a leaked storyline for the space sequel. Does this mean the rumours were bang on target – or light years off-course?
In a new documentary, US government agents claim they spent decades giving fake evidence of extraterrestrials to gullible ufologists. But why? And how can we trust them now?
Williams used his talent for comedy to fight for good ends, like relief for victims of illness, homelessness and hurricane Katrina
- Russell Brand: losing the divine madness of Robin Williams
- Hadley Freeman: Williams’ weirdness brought out his best
The actor, best known for The Big Sleep and How to Marry a Millionaire, dies at family home after suffering a stroke
• Obituary: poor New York girl who sashayed into Hollywood
• A life in pictures: Lauren Bacall
• Lauren Bacall: a career in clips
• From the archive: Lauren Bacall interview
• Lauren Bacall remembered for film noir classics
Lauren Bacall, the tough-talking femme fatale who taught Humphrey Bogart how to whistle, died on Tuesday at the age of 89, according to a statement from Bogart’s estate.
“With deep sorrow, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we
confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall,” read the brief but elegant
line, posted to Twitter with a picture of Bacall accepting an honorary
Oscar in 2009.