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* BBC Films

* The Guardian (Film)

  • post Seen it all before? The Shape of Water and claims of movie plagiarism - 22 February
  • Guillermo del Toro?s Oscar-nominee has been the subject of three accusations of lifting ideas. But in Hollywood, accusations of copying are nothing newIf Dorothy Parker is to be believed, the only ?ism? that Hollywood holds dear is plagiarism. And, these days, that seems truer than ever. Every day brings another lawsuit from an aggrieved screenwriter. Many are without merit; some prove naggingly robust. This month has seen two high-profile cases. Screenwriter Gary L Goldman has filed a second suit against Disney, claiming the studio purloined his artwork, dialogue, characters and other elements for its animated comedy Zootopia, released in the UK as Zootropolis. (Disney has described the allegations as ?patently false?.) And the makers of Kingsman: The Secret Service are being sued by R Spencer Balentine for lifting elements from his unproduced screenplay The Keepers to augment their adaptation of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons?s graphic novel. (Fox has yet to respond to the suit.) But it is Guillermo del Toro?s romantic fantasy The Shape of Water, nominated for 13 Oscars, that is currently the biggest magnet for plagiarism claims. Continue reading...
  • post Number of female Hollywood leads fell in 2017, study shows - 22 February
  • Despite hits including Wonder Woman and Girls Trip, out of the 100 highest-grossing films of the year, just 24% were led by womenThe number of female protagonists on the big screen was down five percentage points in 2017, according to a new study. Related: 94% of women in Hollywood experience sexual harassment or assault, says survey Continue reading...
  • post Museum review ? Gael Garcia Bernal's student waster ballasts fun Mexican heist movie - 22 February
  • Inspired by a real life robbery, this yarn about a pair of gormless students stealing priceless ancient artefacts is an entertaining and highly watchable thriller

    A deeply preposterous event from modern Mexican history has been turned into a watchable and good-natured dramedy-thriller from director Alonzo Ruizpalacios, who made a terrific new wave-style feature debut in 2014 with his freewheeling movie Güeros. Museum stars Gael Garcia Bernal as a feckless but mercurial student of veterinary medicine; Alfredo Castro is his disapproving father and Simon Russell Beale plays a cynical dealer in ancient artefacts.

    In 1985, all of Mexico was horrified when thieves were reported to have broken into the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and stolen 140 priceless Mayan and Aztec objects; the news media solemnly reported that the heist was surely the work of a sophisticated international gang. Their patriotic outrage turned to embarrassment when the crime was found to be the work of two students, smart or reckless enough to have carried out the robbery but too stupid to have grasped that no one would wish to buy the goods. These objects were simultaneously priceless and worthless.

    The students are re-imagined as two criminal non-masterminds who are out of their depth as soon as they hit the water. It is no accident that one is obsessed with the cliff divers of Acapulco. Bernal plays Juan, and Leonardo Ortizgris is his hangdog college mate Wilson. At a Peter-Pan-ishly youthful 39 years old, Bernal carries off the role of the indolent student rather well: his face has something venal and self-pitying about it. He is very good at conveying a winsome, wounded sensitivity and self-pity.

    Juan slopes around the house, annoying his extended family and querulous parents who still want great or any rate respectable things from him: as Christmas approaches he is expected to dress as Santa to hand out presents at a family party ? a responsibility first undertaken by his late grandfather. He has even had to get his Santa costume especially refitted by a tailor. This indignity is the last straw: Juan is determined to hit the big time.

    Ruizpalacios suggests that Juan first conceives his masterplan by working a summer job at the museum where he is yelled at for touching the artefacts with his ungloved hands ? but he secretly keeps doing it, for the sacrilegious thrill. He has also has student friends who pick up cash as tourist guides, and from them he hears dizzying rumours about certain vastly rich foreigners ready to pay big money for pilfered artefacts.

    Ruizpalacios unveils a terrifically good heist sequence: all but silent, in the manner of Jules Dassin?s 1955 classic Rififi. It is edge-of-the-seat stuff when Juan and Wilson have to break into the glass case that holds an unimaginably precious Mayan mask; I wasn?t sure that the film quite showed us how they had that level of specialist expertise. But it?s a grippingly tense scene: like ripping off the mask of Tutankhamen.

    And then Juan and Wilson set off on their chaotic and incompetent journey to sell their knapsack full of treasure. Before setting off, Juan tries ?cleaning? the mask in the sink with a toothbrush - an unthinkably crass and damaging way of treating the stolen artwork, the kind of crazy negligence Donna Tartt describes in her art theft novel The Goldfinch. And here incidentally is where the film weirdly echoes other Bernal two-person road movies: Y Tu Mamá También and The Motorcycle Diaries. Finally, our two hapless heroes encounter the unsettling British dealer Graves (Simon Russell Beale) who might be induced to get his chequebook out.

    Ruizpalacios doesn?t neglect the central irony at the heart of his story, a political irony which is far more current now than it was in 1985: museums are full of stuff that has already been stolen. These objects are not like paintings: their value resides in a real-world authenticity which is linked to the fact that they were never supposed to be viewed under glass in a museum. Somewhere along the line, they?ve been stolen or bought from someone whose right to sell is, to say the least, questionable. So Juan and Wilson are arguably doing the same thing, and Ruizpalacios has his robbers angrily remind the hatchet-faced Graves of this view. Juan also objects to his high-handed and culturally insensitive term ?pre-Hispanic?, preferring ?Mesoamerican?.

    But Juan and Wilson really aren?t social justice warriors, all they want is the money; and when their plan starts to unravel, the audience must ask themselves if these people have the ruthlessness simply to dump their unsellable haul and move on with their lives.

    Museum is an oddly genial, garrulous film in many ways ? rather like Güeros ? and it doesn?t behave quite like a heist thriller, nor exactly like a coming-of-age comedy, despite Juan?s later and very implausible encounter with a soft-porn star of a certain age. The film just barrels along and it?s at its most engaging when Juan has to deal (especially at the beginning) random details and absurdities that will keep cropping up in real life. It?s a very entertaining night in the museum. Continue reading...
  • post I, Tonya review ? Margot Robbie superbly uninhibited as reviled ice-skater - 22 February
  • With such a dynamic central performance, this hilarious mockumentary account of Tonya Harding?s rivalry with Nancy Kerrigan skates close to celebrating herI, Tonya is a bleakly hilarious tale of absolute unrepentance. It?s based on the true story of US figure skater Tonya Harding: reviled as the blue-collar, white-trash, black-hearted villain who at the very least attempted to cover up her ex-husband Jeff?s grotesque assault on her rival skater Nancy Kerrigan. He?d hired a couple of chaotic goons in 1994 to whack Nancy in the knee with a baton.Margot Robbie gives a fantastically uninhibited performance as Tonya, fighting her way to the top from humble beginnings, frizzy of hair, angry of demeanour, often bringing out a raptor grimace on the ice, denoting pain or gloating triumph. Robbie has to suppress her natural glamour and poise for this: she is perhaps more obvious casting in a film called I, Nancy. Getting her to play both women would have been interesting. Continue reading...
  • post Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep blast Harvey Weinstein for use of statements in lawsuit - 22 February
  • Actors challenge Hollywood mogul?s legal team over use of their statements in his defence against sexual misconduct chargesMeryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have spoken out against Harvey Weinstein after the Hollywood mogul used statements by both actors in an effort to dismiss a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him.Weinstein is the subject of a racketeering lawsuit filed by six women ? Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas (AKA Sarah Ann Masse), Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt, who claim the producer sexually assaulted or harassed them and that his behaviour was covered up by a system of people working within his former studios Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Continue reading...
  • post After Black Panther: can Hollywood maintain black visibility on screen? - 22 February
  • The phenomenal success of Ryan Coogler?s ground-breaking Marvel smash is the latest wake-up call for an industry still lacking in diversity The Black Panther?s blockbuster coronation is now complete. This past weekend, Marvel?s latest superhero extravaganza succeeded under just about every definition of the word. Critics, often the final holdouts against an otherwise unilateral love for the capes-and-tights set, smiled kindly on the film with a windfall of positive reviews across the board. Marvel and director Ryan Coogler promptly obliterated a fistful of box-office records, their $200m-plus take setting a new bar for February?s biggest opening weekend, the highest-selling opening weekend for any non-sequel film, and the most lucrative opening weekend for any film helmed by a black director. And the viewers didn?t just turn out in droves; they came in costume, as social media flooded with attendees wearing African-inspired dress from various screenings around the globe. This is Black Panther?s secret ? before it even existed, the movie had hardcore fans. Related: Black Panther proves the best villains are those who could have been heroes Continue reading...
  • post Why Lady Bird should win the 2018 best picture Oscar - 22 February
  • Ahead of the 2018 Oscars, Hadley Freeman champions Greta Gerwig?s coming-of-age drama about the inner lives of womenIt is still slightly mind-blowing that Lady Bird is nominated at all at this year?s Academy Awards, because there is nothing about this movie that screams ?Oscar fodder!? But the fact that it is nominated is a testament to just how bloody good this movie is, and why it really should win best picture. Its most obviously un-Oscar quality is that it was written and directed by a woman, Greta Gerwig, who is still only 34. Gerwig is, shamefully, only the fifth woman to be nominated for best director in the Oscars? 90-year history. The relevance of her gender is all too apparent in the second factor that makes it seemingly so anti-Oscars: it is about the inner lives of girls and women. The last time a movie about female lives was awarded the best picture Oscar was way back in 1983, when it went to the classic weepie Terms of Endearment, starring Debra Winger and Shirley MacLaine. And one of the women in that had to die for it to be considered worthy. Continue reading...
  • post Playwright's family sues The Shape of Water film-makers over works' similarities - 21 February
  • Son of Pulitzer winner Paul Zindel alleges Guillermo del Toro?s Oscar-nominated film ?exploited? his father?s 1969 playThe family of a Pulitzer-winning playwright has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Guillermo del Toro and Fox Searchlight alleging that the Oscar-nominated film The Shape of Water is a ?derivative? work that has ?glaring similarities? to a 1969 play. David Zindel, son of American playwright Paul Zindel, filed the complaint Wednesday alleging that Del Toro?s critically acclaimed film, which has more Oscar nominations than any other this year, has ?exploited? the play Let Me Hear You Whisper and should have credited and licensed his father?s work. Continue reading...
  • post Why Darkest Hour should win the 2018 best picture Oscar - 21 February
  • Ahead of the 2018 Academy Awards, Steve Rose makes a rousing case for the thrilling political drama in which Gary Oldman gives us the full Churchill In this movie year of seismic change, it is admittedly highly unlikely that the Academy will hand best picture to a film that begins in a roomful of posh, old white guys, but that doesn?t mean there isn?t a case to be made for Darkest Hour. And were that case not made (summons inner Churchill, orchestral music swells on the soundtrack), and made with steadfastness and resolve, then this inspirational motion picture would suffer a fate not unlike that of our desperate fighting forces stranded at Dunkirk had Operation Dynamo not been undertaken. And where would we be then? (Shouts of ?Hear, hear old chap!?, much waving of bills of parliament in the hands of besuited politicians, string section reaches crescendo).Darkest Hour might retell one of the most retold stories in British history, but make no mistake, it is very much a film of the 21st century, made with intelligence, craftsmanship and the occasional special effects-enhanced flourish, not to mention a knowledge of its own semi-fictional status. It is not the story of how Britain won the war, nor is it a biopic, or a veiled Brexit allegory. (What does the Academy care about that, anyway?) It is closer to a pacy political thriller ? a 1940s West Wing, if you will ? covering a relatively short period of time: May to June 1940, the first few weeks of Churchill?s premiership. Continue reading...
  • post Why Call Me By Your Name should win the 2018 best picture Oscar - 20 February
  • Luca Guadagnino?s gorgeous coming-of-age tale oozes nostalgic melancholy and avoids the cliches in many films about gay loveIs Hollywood really changing? Or is just going through poses, like a self-conscious teenager at an outdoor disco in 1980s Italy? If Call Me By Your Name wins best picture at this year?s Academy Awards, we?ll have our answer. Luca Guadagnino?s film tells the story of two young men falling in love, but it?s also an irresistible seduction in itself. One which began before the film?s official release, with a flirtatious clip of Armie Hammer dancing, and continues over the course of a long Italian summer. Like young grad student Oliver (Hammer) and Elio (Timothée Chalamet), the 17-year-old son of his professor-host, we contentedly while away the film?s running time, discussing art and politics in whichever European language feels right, going for long bike rides, taking dips in the nearby lake, and dining outdoors under the peach trees; all of it depicted with languid sensuality by Guadagnino?s lens. Continue reading...

* CinemaBlend

* Guardian - Film

* Recent Posts

Re: Speaking of the BAFTA's by Nath
[February 21, 2018, 09:26:41 AM]

Re: NEW MOVIE TRAILERS 2018 | Weekly #7 by genie
[February 21, 2018, 08:22:57 AM]

I Kill Giants by genie
[February 21, 2018, 08:16:55 AM]

Re: Speaking of the BAFTA's by Luce
[February 21, 2018, 03:44:42 AM]

Re: Speaking of the BAFTA's by genie
[February 20, 2018, 07:59:42 AM]

Re: Speaking of the BAFTA's by Luce
[February 20, 2018, 07:01:33 AM]

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