Monthly Archives: August 2014

Mystery Road review – stylish Aussie thriller that rises above pulpy cliche

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”.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Goodnight Mommy: hello chilly Austrian matricide horror – Venice review

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.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

When miners and gay activists united: the real story of the film Pride

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…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Manglehorn review – Renaissance man Al Pacino delivers a masterclass as a lion in winter

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.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

99 Homes review: Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon flog the foundations of America

Ramin Bahrani delivers a muscular, complex drama about real-estate – and false promises – in a land of dreams and bankruptcy

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Lindsay Lohan ‘sued for publicity’, claim Grand Theft Auto makers

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

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

The President review: satire, suspense and gusto – Venice film festival

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

Xan Brooks reviews festival opener, Birdman

More from the 2014 Venice film festival

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.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Richard Attenborough dies at 90 – the world reacts

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

1.22pm AEST

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.

1.17pm AEST

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.

“…he’s in Arthur’s bosom If ever a man went to Arthur’s bosom….” Shakespeare “Henry V ” #RichardAttenborough #RIPRichardAttenborough

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Richard Attenborough dies aged 90: a life in pictures

The Oscar-winning actor and director has died aged 90. We look back over his career and life in photographs

• Richard Attenborough: a career in clips Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Just one more Cornetto trilogy: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright set for reunion

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

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Barry Norman: Robin Williams was addicted to sentimentality

Former BBC film critic says actor’s enormous talent ‘could sometimes be spread so thinly as to be almost invisible’ Continue reading… Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | 1 Comment

Are these the best concert films of all time?

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?

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Daniel Radcliffe: ‘If people are speculating about your sexuality, then you’re doing OK’

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

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Why I’d like to be … Patricia Arquette in True Romance

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

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Bad Boys 3 hitting the streets with Will Smith, says Martin Lawrence

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

• Blog: Where there’s a Will Smith, there’s a way to a sequel Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Robin Williams’ wife reveals actor was in early stages of Parkinson’s disease

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

Posted in Entertainment, Internet, Technology | Leave a comment

Star Wars: Episode VII – does Bad Robot’s screenshot reveal more plot?

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?

• Star Wars: Episode 7 to resume filming in August as Harrison Ford recovers
• Star Wars: Episode VII role winner revealed in online video Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

The real Men in Black, Hollywood and the great UFO cover-up

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?

• The Guardian’s top 10 sci-fi movies
• 2014’s most promising sci-fi and fantasy films Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Robin Williams: a lifetime of laughter spent for the good of others

Williams used his talent for comedy to fight for good ends, like relief for victims of illness, homelessness and hurricane Katrina

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Lauren Bacall, smoky-voiced Hollywood legend, dies at 89

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.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment