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* BBC Films

* The Guardian (Film)

  • post Awkwafina: ?I was always the crazy one, the funny one. I?d do anything for a laugh? - 17 June
  • When she?s starring alongside Sandra Bullock in Ocean?s 8 or rapping about her vagina on YouTube, she?s Awkwafina. But at home she?ll always be Nora Lum from QueensThe front desk clerk at the Beverly Hills Hotel is polite but puzzled. ?Nora Lum? No, we have no one staying here of that name.? How about Awkwafina, I ask, spelling it out for him. He looks at me as though he thinks I might be messing with him. ?Sorry, madam,? ? is that a note of relief in his voice? ? ?no one of that name either.? I reach for my phone, but then I have an idea. Sandra Bullock? Suddenly I have the attention of all three front desk clerks. ?This way, madam.??Who the fuck is Awkwafina? That?s everyone?s reaction,? laughs Nora Lum/Awkwafina (pronounced Aquafina) when I eventually find her. She and Bullock ? or ?Sandy? as Lum affectionately calls her ? are both holding court at the hotel today to discuss their new movie Ocean?s 8, a female reboot of the Ocean?s Eleven crime comedy heist first made famous by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1960, then reprised by George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon in Ocean?s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen. In the movie poster Bullock and Lum are flanked by six other top-tier names: Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson and Mindy Kaling. ?No one knows why I was cast,? says Lum, who has just turned 30. ?Even I don?t know. Gary Ross [the director] really took a chance on me. He saw something in me that I don?t think I even saw in myself. Because of his confidence, I felt confident, too.? Continue reading...
  • post How Beyoncé and Jay-Z put a visionary African film back in the spotlight - 17 June
  • Touki Bouki was a commercial flop in 1973. But the arresting image used in the couple?s latest tour has sparked new interestThe image is arresting: a man sits astride a motorcycle, the handlebars adorned with the giant skull of a zebu, its horns forming a wide skeletal embrace. His head is turned; something beyond the frame has caught his attention. Seated behind him is a woman, her hands on his shoulders, staring straight down the lens. To some, this photograph will be instantly recognisable as a homage to Touki Bouki (the title means ?The Hyena?s Journey?), generally credited as the first African avant-garde film. The fact that the couple in the modern restaging are Jay- Z and Beyoncé, with the image spearheading the promotional campaign for their On the Run II world tour, has propelled this little-known but visionary Senegalese film into the spotlight some 45 years after it was made.Jay-Z and Beyoncé leave the UK this weekend with praise for the two-and-a-half hour stadium extravaganza ringing in their ears. In the Observer, Kitty Empire called parts of the show ?unbearably exciting?, while Rachel Aroesti in the Guardian declared it ?staggeringly impressive?. It?s tempting to hope that even a handful of the millions of fans who flock to the tour between now and October will investigate the film that has been one of its inspirations. Continue reading...
  • post Harry rotters: Warner Bros cracks down on Potter fan festivals in US - 16 June
  • Studio says unauthorized commercial activity needs to be halted but fans liken move to Dementors sucking the joy out of funWarner Bros is cracking down on local Harry Potter fan festivals around the US, saying it is necessary to halt unauthorized commercial activity. Fans liken the move to Dementors sucking the joy out of homegrown fun. Festival directors say they will change the events into generic celebrations of magic. Related: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review ? thrilling Broadway transfer is magic Continue reading...
  • post John Travolta's screen portrayal of crime boss Gotti takes a pelting - 16 June
  • The film, directed by Kevin Connolly, scores a rare zero on the website Rotten Tomatoes
    Mobsters regularly face worse than a hail of rotten tomatoes, but John Travolta?s screen portrayal of the New York City crime boss John Gotti has taken quite a pelting. The film, directed by Kevin Connolly, has scored a rare zero on the well-known review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Continue reading...
  • post Blind film director Adam Morse?s dream comes true with Edinburgh debut - 16 June
  • A decade after he suddenly lost his sight, Adam Morse has made Lucid, a feature film starring Billy Zane and Sadie Frost. He tells of his hard path to successAdam Morse had always dreamed of becoming a film-maker and nothing ? not even the sudden loss of his sight ? was going to stop him. Now, almost a decade after he was registered blind, his first feature film, with a cast headed by Hollywood actor Billy Zane, is to receive its world premiere at the Edinburgh international film festival.Lucid explores dreams and reality and reflects Morse?s view that ?nothing can stop us from making dreams come true?. Observers say the fact that the 28-year-old has written and directed a film with only peripheral vision ? let alone with high-profile actors such as Zane, Sadie Frost and Laurie Calvert in it ? is extraordinary. Continue reading...
  • post How gay cinema is calling on the past to point at a radical future - 15 June
  • A wave of quietly revolutionary films are taking a thoughtful and celebratory look at queer identity ? and reaping the rewards at the box officeOn the penultimate night of this year?s recent Cannes film festival, I went ? as is the custom for rosé-seeking journalists hanging on through the last days ? to the Queer Palme awards night, where an independent jury announces their pick for the best LGBT-themed film of the fest. It?s traditionally more of a party than an awards ceremony, not least because the winner tends to be a foregone conclusion. That one overtly queer film that was in the official selection? Yep, probably that one.Not so this year, as the cocktail rounds were lightly speckled with speculation after a festival unusually rich in LGBT narratives. The Belgian director Lukas Dhont?s debut Girl, a sensitively wrought study of an aspiring transgender ballerina, prevailed over a number of credible candidates: Kenyan lesbian coming-of-ager Rafiki, tough French rentboy portrait Sauvage, loopy Portuguese elasti-sexual comedy Diamantino and Christophe Honore?s tender Parisian Aids drama Sorry Angel, among others. At an event whose programming is still controversially plagued by representational blind spots ? not least its shortage of female film-makers ? the rainbow flag was flying at full mast.
    Continue reading...
  • post BFI criticised for naming trans activist Munroe Bergdorf as speaker at women's summit - 15 June
  • Institute says it appointed Bergdorf to ?further the gender debate and encourage audiences to recognise the value of difference?The British Film Institute has come under attack for its decision to appoint the trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf (who identifies as a woman) as the keynote speaker of its Woman with a Movie Camera summit, which is due to take place on 16 June.An open letter posted on the website ipetitions says Bergdorf?s role is ?an an insult to all the women film-makers who struggle on a daily basis to get their films made?. Referring to Bergdorf throughout as male, the letter says: ?We question the suitability of a male who has benefitted from the very structures we are critiquing as a speaker on the subject of women?s agency in relation to film-making ? What kind of cultural work is being performed when a male is speaking on behalf of women film-makers?? Continue reading...
  • post Liza Minnelli: I do not approve of Renée Zellweger's Judy Garland biopic - 15 June
  • Performer describes reports that she has bonded with the actor who will play her mother in Judy as ?100% fiction?Liza Minnelli has said it is ?100% fiction? that she approves of the forthcoming Renée Zellweger biopic of her mother, Judy Garland.In a post on Facebook responding to a report that she had ?bonded? with Zellweger over the latter?s portrayal of Garland in the Rupert Goold-directed feature film, Minnelli wrote: ?I have never met nor spoken to Renée Zellweger ? I don?t know how these stories get started, but I do not approve nor sanction the upcoming film about Judy Garland in any way.? Continue reading...
  • post Sylvester Stallone under investigation by police sex crimes team - 14 June
  • Actor ?categorically denies? allegations of historical sexual misconduct being reviewed by Los Angeles prosecutorsLos Angeles prosecutors said on Wednesday that their sex crimes team was reviewing a case against Sylvester Stallone.Greg Risling, spokesman for the Los Angeles District Attorney?s office, did not give any further details but said the case was presented by police in Santa Monica, California. Continue reading...
  • post Rebel Wilson's $4.5m defamation damages slashed to $600,000 - 13 June
  • Court rules that actor did not prove she had lost work as a result of Bauer Media articlesRebel Wilson?s record $4.5m damages win for defamation by Bauer Media has been reduced to just $600,000 on appeal.The Hollywood star has been left with an award of $600,ooo for general damages only after her claim for special damages was rejected by three judges of the appeals court. Continue reading...

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