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* BBC Films

* The Guardian (Film)

  • post Adam Curtis and Vice director Adam McKay on how Dick Cheney masterminded a rightwing revolution - 18 January
  • We asked the British journalist and film-maker to talk to the director of Vice, the new biopic of the former vice-president, about the naked rightwing power grab that he orchestrated Adam McKay?s Vice is a screwball biopic of Dick Cheney, the man widely reckoned to be the most powerful vice-president in US history. It traces his rise from beer-brained dropout to an intern during the Nixon administration, then covers his tenure as secretary of defense during the Gulf war, and his time as George W Bush?s official deputy from 2001-2009.McKay, after establishing his career with comedies such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Step Brothers, moved into freewheeling, lightly fictionalised accounts of real-life events. His previous film was the financial-crash comedy The Big Short. Continue reading...
  • post From femme fatale to cattle rancher: how Barbara Stanwyck bucked convention - 18 January
  • Her versatility made her a star of Hollywood?s golden age, but Stanwyck?s best characters were always fighters who, like herself, had tasted life?s bitternessEven Barbara Stanwyck struggled to pin down her appeal. ?What the hell,? she blustered at critic Rex Reed, when he asked her to take a stab. ?Whatever I had, it worked, didn?t it?? She was right, of course, and you can forgive her inarticulacy. Stanwyck ? who is the subject of a BFI season, Starring Barbara Stanwyck ? was not just unusually streetsmart and independent for a Hollywood star of the golden age, but superbly versatile, too.Many of her directors tried to put the magic into words. ?Stanwyck doesn?t act a scene. She lives it,? said Frank Capra, who directed her in the early 1930s breathtaking emotional films such as The Miracle Woman and Forbidden. For Billy Wilder, who directed her in ice-cold noir Double Indemnity, it was simple: ?She was the best.? Perhaps Sam Fuller, who gave her a memorable late film role as a fearsome rancher in Forty Guns, summed up the Stanwyck touch most completely as ?the happy pertinence of professionalism and emotion?. She could summon performances that were as still and steady as Bogart or Mitchum. Continue reading...
  • post Salvador Dalí: In Search of Immortality review ? portrait of a gloriously eccentric artist - 18 January
  • David Pujol?s documentary includes some bizarre moments, including Dalí?s seduction of his wife-to-be with a paste made of goat excrement and fish glueProduced by the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, this documentary about the relentlessly eccentric Spanish painter benefits ? as you would hope it would ? from plentiful archive access and a scholarly level of appreciation. So on the one hand we get some utterly bizarre footage of Dalí explaining how he seduced his wife-to-be Gala with a paste made of goat excrement and fish glue (Gala nodding quizzically alongside); and on the other a tight little knot of Dalí connoisseurs discussing the artist with each other while studiously avoiding the camera. The latter certainly elevates the film, but also hampers it; it?s pretty dry stuff compared with the slick Exhibition on Screen films we have become used to in cinemas. Some awkward translations and some rough sound edits are also a little off-putting.But, in aiming to go above and beyond the standard-issue profile, this film (directed by David Pujol) gets into some interesting areas. It focuses mostly on the buildings in Dalí?s life: the fisherman?s hut in the Catalan town of Port Lligat where he built his first studio, the villa he eventually transformed it into, the imposing castle in nearby Púbol he bought for Gala, and the gallery in Figueres where he spent his final months and where he is buried. Continue reading...
  • post Underdog review ? sweat-soaked MMA movie succumbs to cliches - 18 January
  • This montage-riddled clunker hits us over the head with stereotypes of masculinity and sports-drama tropes
    Sticking with religious fervour to sports-drama conventions and cliches, this sweat-soaked, palette-desaturated, montage-riddled genre exercise stars Eryk Lubos as Kosa, a once feted, now washed-up mixed martial arts (MMA) champion lured back into the caged ring for one last bout.If it weren?t for the fact that everyone is speaking Polish and that the action is set in an economically depressed province near the Lithuanian border, this would be virtually indistinguishable from any other low-budget, straight-to-DVD American story about, as the title so ploddingly spells out, an underdog. The film even assigns the hero a cute dog, just to nailgun the point. The floppy-eared mutt not only instigates the meet-cute with Aleksandra Pop?awska?s veterinarian love interest, but its unfortunate fate motivates the hero to get the better of the Russian bad guys. Continue reading...
  • post Best supportive wife: how female characters fare at the Oscars - 18 January
  • This year, Amy Adams is set to face off against Claire Foy for their roles as wives of important men from history, a long-running Academy traditionIt is often said, only semi-jokingly, in Hollywood that the best supporting actress Oscar has the incorrect moniker. Best supportive actress is closer to the mark for an award frequently handed to women playing the stoic, loyal wives or partners of great and/or troubled men ? often in that most Oscar-favoured of genres, the biopic. Related: Why a no-host Oscars could be a gang show of grisliness Continue reading...
  • post Hey Duggee at the Cinema! review ? CBeebies earns its movie badge - 18 January
  • An hour-long compilation of favourite preschool TV episodes brings simple pleasures for toddlers and in-jokes for the grownups
    As regular viewers of the BBC?s preschoolers channel CBeebies will know, Hey Duggee is an animated series about a friendly dog who runs Squirrel Club, an activity group for assorted youngsters of all species: mouse, crocodile, hippo. (Everybody?s welcome in this inclusive, anthropomorphic utopia.) Alexander Armstrong narrates in plummy, jolly tones, animator andassistant director Sander Jones does Duggee?s droll ?woofs?, while young actors voice the rest of the cast.This package, assembled for theatrical release, collates several of the show?s best episodes and it?s not hard to see why the series is so treasured by fans of all ages. Much like Peppa Pig, which it resembles a little too closely, the character design, supersaturated colour palette and highly stylised animation have an easily decipherable, eminently replicable simplicity, all the better to appeal to young minds and spawn a million items of merchandise. Every plot revolves around an effort by the troop to win badges, like Cubs or Brownies. Troop leader Duggee awards them to those who have completed tasks such as running an obstacle course. Continue reading...
  • post Monopoly film adaptation to star Kevin Hart gets go ahead - 17 January
  • After repeated attempts to get a movie based on the board game off the ground, Hart will play the lead in what is likely to be a live-action caperKevin Hart has signed up to play the lead role in a film based on the Monopoly board game, it has emerged.According to Deadline, Hart has joined the long-gestating project along with Tim Story, who directed him in Ride Along and Night School. Hart is also credited as one of the producers. Other than the suggestion it will be live-action, no other details are known. Continue reading...
  • post Netflix criticised for using images of real-life rail disaster in Bird Box - 17 January
  • Mayor of Lac-Mégantic, where 47 died in 2013 explosion, demands images of the incident be removed from streaming giant?s sci-fi hitThe mayor of a Canadian town where 47 people were killed in a rail disaster in 2013 has complained to Netflix after images of the incident were used in the hit sci-fi film Bird Box.The accident happened when a train carrying crude oil exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and the BBC reports that Netflix confirmed that footage of the disaster was included in a montage sequence illustrating an attack. Continue reading...
  • post Rape scenes no longer allowed in films rated suitable for under-15s - 16 January
  • New UK guidelines for films depicting sexual violence follow societal shift, says BBFCScenes of rape and other forms of sexual violence will no longer be allowed in films classified for under-15s in a shake-up of the British ratings system.The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will on Thursday publish new classification guidelines explaining in detail why films get the ratings they are given, from U up to R18. Continue reading...
  • post Apple-produced movie On the Rocks reunites Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola - 16 January
  • Comedy star and director who delivered Oscar-winning global hit Lost in Translation spearhead tech giant?s $4bn move into contentTech giant Apple has announced that its first original feature film will reteam actor Bill Murray and director Sofia Coppola for a father-daughter comedy-drama called On the Rocks.According to the Hollywood Reporter, On the Rocks is about a young mother, played by Rashida Jones, who reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father (Murray) on an adventure through New York. Continue reading...

* CinemaBlend

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