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Anna Smith

Anna Smith

Articles (38)

The 100 best comedy movies: the funniest films of all time

The 100 best comedy movies: the funniest films of all time

It’s easy to make a funny movie. Making a classic comedy is an entirely different matter. It’s one thing to make audiences laugh in the present, but to keep them laughing through the ensuing decades is one of the most difficult tricks in cinema. Because as society changes, so does our sense of humour. What’s hilarious in 1923 might bomb in 2023, and one generation’s laugh riot is another’s laugh riot is another’s ‘huh?’.  That makes ranking the best comedy films of all time particularly difficult. You first have to ask, what makes a comedy truly great? There’s many criteria, but one of the most important is durability. Can it withstand the test of time, and stay funny five, ten, 100 years down the road? Making that determination isn’t easy. So we called in some help. To put together this list, we asked comedians like Diane Morgan and Russell Howard, actors such as John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker and a small army of Time Out writers about the movies that make them chuckle the hardest for the longest period of time. In doing so, we believe we’ve found the 100 finest, most durable and most broadly appreciable laughers in history. No matter your sense of humour – silly or sophisticated, light or dark, surreal or broad – you’ll find it represented here.  Recommended: 🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time🥰 The greatest romantic comedies of all time🤯 33 great disaster movies😬 The best thriller films of all-time🌏 The best foreign films of all-time

The 50 best World War II movies

The 50 best World War II movies

War has long fascinated filmmakers, going back to the birth of cinema, but none have proven so endlessly enthralling as World War II. It’s understandable, given the remarkable scale of the destruction, the atrocities it involved and what it represented in the grand scheme of human history. So many movies have been made about the conflict, it almost stands apart from other war movies as a genre unto itself – and we’ll almost certainly see many more over the coming decades. It’s a daunting task, then, to choose the best World War II movies ever made. That’s why, along with polling our well-studied TimeOut writers, we also called in an outside expert to come up with this definitive list: Quentin Tarantino, a man who knows a thing or two about making a great WWII film. Among the selections, you’ll find wide-scale epics, personal dramas, devastating documentaries, historical revisions and even a comedy or two. War, as we all know, is good for absolutely nothing – but at least we have these films to help make some sense of it. Written by Tom Huddleston, Adam Lee Davies, Paul Fairclough, Anna Smith, David Jenkins, Dan Jolin, Phil de Semlyen, Alim Kheraj & Matthew Singer Recommended: ⚔️ The 50 best war movies of all-time🎖️The best World War I movies, ranked by historical accuracy💣 The 101 best action movies of all-time🇺🇸 The 20 best Memorial Day movies

Viola Davis se convierte en una feroz guerrera africana en The Woman King

Viola Davis se convierte en una feroz guerrera africana en The Woman King

⭑⭑⭑⭑✩ Al ver The Woman King me viene a la mente la frase "ya era hora". Ya era hora de que hubiera una epopeya dramática de gran presupuesto sobre guerreras negras, inspirada en hechos reales. Ya era hora de que una película ambientada en el siglo XIX tuviera un elenco predominantemente negro, y que la esclavitud fuera solo una parte de la historia. Ya era hora de que esta película fuera dirigida por una mujer. También es hora de que a Viola Davis se le dé un papel principal de acción. Su única esperanza es que una película tan atrasada también sea realmente buena.  Uff, Está... Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, 2012 ) dirige una epopeya apasionante y accesible, mientras que Davis es carnosa y magnífica como la general Nanisca, líder del legendario Agojie. Esta unidad de guerreras compuesta exclusivamente por mujeres lucha para proteger el reino africano de Dahomey de los traficantes de esclavos y los invasores violentos. Ellas entrenan a la próxima generación, incluyendo a Nawi, de 19 años, bellamente interpretado por Thuso Mbedu de The Underground Railroad. Después de resistir obstinadamente los intentos de su padre de casarla con hombres abusivos, Nawi es arrojada a las puertas de Agojie y aprovecha la oportunidad de aprender a decapitar a un hombre con un golpe limpio de espada.  Como muchas de sus guerreras, Nanisca es víctima de múltiples violaciones, y aunque esto se suma a su motivación para patear traseros masculinos abusivos, no la define: es muchas cosas,

The 50 coolest filmmakers in the world right now

The 50 coolest filmmakers in the world right now

What makes a filmmaker cool? In the heyday of the studio system it might have been about creative autonomy, an office on the lot and the studio barman knowing how to mix your Martini. In the heady, revolutionary days of the ’60s and ’70s, a devil-may-care attitude, radical new stories to tell, and ideally a beard of some description might have marked you out as the hipster’s auteur of choice. Times have changed, though. The moviemaking world has fewer boundaries, more entry points and finally, slowly but surely, more hunger to share stories by women and people of colour.  There’s a long way to go but we wanted to celebrate a time of gradual change by singling out the filmmakers who are genuinely moving the dial. The ones swinging for the fences in their choice of material and the way they’re bringing it to the screen. They’re not all new names – you’ll find some old stalwarts on here – but they all have in common a restless urge to do something different, exciting, bold. They come from across the planet and reflect all genres, and every kind of movie and moviemaking style. To take it a step further, we’ve asked a few of them – Rian Johnson, Barry Jenkins and Lynne Ramsay, among others – to share what makes them tick as movie lovers: the scenes that make them laugh hardest, the cinemas they stan for, the cities that inspire them, and the movies that have left them cowering in the back row. Even the posters that they had up on their bedroom walls growing up. Turns out that a lo

Os 100 melhores filmes de ficção científica de sempre

Os 100 melhores filmes de ficção científica de sempre

O potencial cinematográfico (e não só) da ficção científica é quase infinito. É nestes filmes que os nossos maiores pesadelos podem tornar-se realidade e os nossos sonhos concretizar-se, ao mesmo tempo que é dito e posto em causa algo sobre o nosso presente. E o género sempre fez as delícias do público, desde o tempo dos efeitos especiais básicos e rudimentares dos filmes mudos ao excesso digital dos blockbusters contemporâneos. Hoje, no entanto, é a própria crítica quem aplaude e celebra muitos destes filmes, tal como acontece com os super-heróis e o terror. A pensar nisso, elegemos os 100 melhores filmes de ficção científica de sempre. Recomendado: Filmes em cartaz esta semana

The 100 best comedy movies

The 100 best comedy movies

The best comedies in the history of cinema achieve more than just making you laugh (although, granted, it’s not a great comedy if it barely makes you crack a smile). Classic romcoms like ‘Notting Hill’ have us yearning for true love while teen movies like ‘Mean Girls’ get us cringing at memories of being too dorky to join the cool gang at school (and ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ ticks both boxes). Then there are the political satires, like ‘The Death of Stalin’, which serve up uncomfortable truths alongside the funnies. And finally, when we need to get into the festive spirit, the Christmas film archives are crammed with titles that leave you giggling into your eggnog.  All of which makes choosing the 100 best comedies of all time a little tricky. To help us with the task, we enlisted the help of comedians (such as Russell Howard and Diane Morgan), actors (John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker, among others), directors and screenwriters (including Richard Curtis), as well as several Time Out writers. So the next time you need something to turn that frown upside down, you’ll know where to start. RECOMMENDED:  London and UK cinema listings, film reviews and exclusive interviews

Cita sangrienta

Cita sangrienta

⭑⭑⭑✩✩ El guionista y director Danny Morgan interpreta a Jim, un tipo dulce y tímido en la víspera de su cumpleaños número 30. Su mejor amigo Alex es un completo idiota, pero al menos es divertido, y lo interpreta el entretenido Michael Socha (Being Human). Cuando la pareja conoce a dos hermanas (Georgia Groome y Kelly Wenham) en un bar, Jim sospecha que todo es demasiado bueno para ser verdad, y tiene razón. Estas sirenas tienen la intención de atraer a los hombres a su mansión espeluznante para asesinarlos en un ritual oculto. Es aquí donde la idiotez de Alex resulta útil para la trama: persuade a Jim para que ignore ciegamente las señales de advertencia, compre drogas para adormecer la mente y tenga una cita doble que podría terminar en un derramamiento de sangre.  Si bien se habla de la relación de las hermanas entre sí, esto es principalmente ladino y sexista en el límite: la misoginia de Alex se lleva un poco lejos para reírse a veces. Pero la amabilidad esencial de Jim compensa en su mayor parte, y cuando esto es sangriento, lo hace.

‘Atlantics’ director Mati Diop: ‘It hurts to see Africa misrepresented’

‘Atlantics’ director Mati Diop: ‘It hurts to see Africa misrepresented’

‘I can’t stand to watch Africa be misrepresented. It hurts me too much.’ So says French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop. Her acclaimed debut feature film ‘Atlantics’, which hits cinemas and Netflix simultaneously on Friday, is the perfect riposte to lazy depictions of life on the continent. Set in Dakar, it’s the compelling story of a teenage girl, Ada, whose lover goes missing. Diop’s hypnotic film mixes the spookiness of a supernatural chiller with the social punch of a neo-realist drama. It’s unlike anything else you’ll see this year. The actor-turned-filmmaker was born into a multi-talented family. Her father is the musician Wasis Diop and her uncle was the prominent filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty (director of 1973 Senegalese classic ‘Touki Bouki’), whose presence Diop still feels. ‘I didn’t get to meet him because I was quite young when he passed away, but I think his films were very mythical. His was a magnetic and charismatic story.’ ‘I wanted black people to be able to see themselves in the mirror’ Her 2009 short film ‘Atlantiques’ explored the subject, showing young African men taking to the sea in flimsy boats. With ‘Atlantics’ she’s flipped the perspective from the men to the women left behind. ‘I was interested in the woman’s point of view,’ she explains. ‘I think that point of view came from me.’ For her leading actress in ‘Atlantics’, she was looking for ‘an extremely rare bird’, and after seven months, she found that quality in newcomer Mame Bineta Sane, who exu

The Beatles’ın son hayranı

The Beatles’ın son hayranı

Ünlü İngiliz dizisi ‘EastEnders’ın oyuncularından Himesh Patel, Danny Boyle’ın yönettiği ‘Yesterday’de kendi ayakları üzerinde durmaya çalışan bir müzisyeni canlandırıyor. Karakteri Jack Malik, tuhaf bir kazanın ardından uyandığında tüm dünyada The Beatles’ı hatırlayan tek kişi olduğunu fark ediyor. Jack Malik, yakaladığı ani ünle başa çıkmaya çalışırken, usulca konuşan ve düşünceli bir havası olan Patel ise şöhreti gayet iyi taşıyormuş gibi görünüyor.   ‘Yesterday’ teklifini ne zaman aldınız? 2017 sonlarında New York’ta bir oyunda rol alıyordum ve menajerimden müzikal yönleri olan bir Danny Boyle filmi hakkında bir e-posta aldım. Seçtiğim bir Coldplay şarkısını söylemem gerekiyordu. Seçmeler için video çektim, gönderdim ve ardından beni çağırmak istediler. Londra’ya geri döndüm, Danny ve Richard [Curtis, filmin senartisti] ile tanıştım. Bu ana kadar zaten senaryonun bir taslağı elime geçmişti ve aklımı almıştı. O odaya adım atmak çok korkutucuydu, ama o kadar müthiş insanlar ki, birer sinemacı olarak başarıları akla gelmiyor bile. Hemen rahatladım.     Danny Boyle’un işleriyle ne zaman tanıştınız? Danny’nin izlediğim ilk filmi ‘28 Days Later / 28 Gün Sonra’ydı, ardından ‘Sunshine / Gün Işığı’nı, sonra hepsini seyrettim, nasıl bir deha olduğunu anladım. Olimpiyat Töreni çok etkileyiciydi. Richard Curtis’e gelince, evdeki bir dolapta ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral / Dört Nikah, Bir Cenaze’nin video kasetinin olduğunu hatırlıyorum, ama izlememe izin verilmiyordu. Garip bir biçimd

Himesh Patel: ‘Ed Sheeran was very nice to my dad’

Himesh Patel: ‘Ed Sheeran was very nice to my dad’

Himesh Patel isn’t the first ‘EastEnders’ actor to end up in a romcom penned by Richard Curtis, but he’s certainly the first actor of colour to play the hero. Directed by Danny Boyle, ‘Yesterday’ casts him as Jack Malik, a struggling musician who wakes up after a freak accident to find he’s the only person who can remember The Beatles. Jack wrestles with the challenges of sudden fame – but the softly spoken, thoughtful Patel seems ready to handle it. When did you get the call for ‘Yesterday’? ‘I was doing a play in New York and my agent emailed me about a Danny Boyle movie with musical aspects. I had to do a Coldplay song of my choice, then I met Danny and Richard in London. It was kind of terrifying going into that room.’ When did you first come across their work? ‘I was banned from watching ‘‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’’ at home’ ‘The first film of Danny’s I saw was “28 Days Later”, then I watched everything. With Richard, I remember there was a VHS [tape] of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” in the cabinet at home and I wasn’t allowed to watch it. Weirdly, I only saw it about three years ago. It’s hilarious.’ How into The Beatles were you growing up? ‘I wasn’t a devotee. But “Imagine” is my mum’s favourite song and I remember her talking about it when I was a kid, so I knew who John Lennon was. It was a while before I listened to “Sgt Pepper”. I remember when George Harrison passed away; my mother said that he was very into India, so that was interesting to me.’ ​His guitar g

Patricia Clarkson: ‘What we tolerated in the late ’80s – oh my God!’

Patricia Clarkson: ‘What we tolerated in the late ’80s – oh my God!’

Whether you discovered her in ‘The Station Agent’, ‘Easy A’ or ‘Sharp Objects’, chances are you love Patricia Clarkson – or ‘Patti’, as the Louisiana-born actress calls herself. Exuding warmth and just a hint of eccentricity, she kicks off our chat by wolfing down a protein bar while complimenting me on my choice of footwear. (‘So cute! I love black patent. You can wear it anywhere.’) But it’s the 59-year-old’s latest role that’s really intriguing: in Carol Morley’s ‘Out of Blue’ she plays Mike Hoolihan, a blunt New Orleans detective on a murky murder case. So, over to Patti: ‘All right – I’ve finished my protein bar. Here we go, baby!’ How did ‘Out of Blue’ come about? ‘My agent said to me in hushed tones: “Patti, I think you’re going to get an offer on this amazing Carol Morley film. It’s a loose adaptation of a Martin Amis book.” I adore Carol and knew her films [‘The Falling’, ‘Dreams of a Life’]. We were supposed to meet for 30 minutes in LA, and three hours and some bourbon and whiskey later, that was it.’ Did you see elements of Mike in you? ‘I don’t look or seem like Mike, but I knew that character lived in me. I’m a chameleon. Mike exists in a factual, cool, detached, untouchable world and I’m very tactile, gregarious and outspoken, but there is a part of me that is unfussy, quiet. I just had to find that.’ ‘I’d never equate what I dealt with with the people who’ve suffered sexual assault’ Which of your past roles is most important to you? ‘Playing Greta in [1998 ind

Introducing Denise Gough

Introducing Denise Gough

Denise Gough has scored rave reviews for her theatre work in ‘People, Places and Things’ and ‘Angels in America’. But aside from small roles in the likes of ‘Jimmy’s Hall’, she hasn’t been known to film fans – until now. Gough’s turn as Mathilde de Morny, aka Missy, the gender-nonconforming lover of Keira Knightley’s title character in ‘Colette’, should establish her as a major onscreen talent, a prospect she was taking in her stride when we meet.  Did you always want to act? ‘I got on stage when I was nearly nine and really loved it. Then I did an acting class in the town that I was from [Ennis, County Clare], then I came to London and I fucked around for five years and started doing an acting class in an old nightclub. And then that teacher turned out to be a teacher at a drama school and I got an agent.’ Did you have any reservations taking on what some people might see as a trans role? ‘I wanted to be sure that it was okay for me, as a woman, to play that role. I spoke to a turn-of-the-century trans expert, who talked about assigning contemporary sexual identities to historical figures. There’s no way of knowing whether she was at the forefront of what would be the butch lesbian movement or the trans movement. I thought: I’m not going to apologise for taking the role. What I really hope won’t happen is that I can only play what I am, because as an Irish woman that doesn’t leave me very much. I’m a direct descendent of the first ever female pirate but nobody’s told that st

Listings and reviews (109)

Alice, Darling

Alice, Darling

3 out of 5 stars

Set in contemporary Canada, Alice, Darling takes its time revealing exactly how Alice (Anna Kendrick) is being controlled by her artist boyfriend Simon (British actor Charlie Carrick). It’s a smart move that reflects the insidious nature of psychological abuse – so often invisible to both the victim and their friends. We first see Alice on a night out with Sophia (His House’s Wunmi Mosaku) and Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn). She’s anxious and checking her phone constantly, worried about upsetting her boyfriend. When she invites the pair to the opening night of Simon’s art exhibition, you catch a quick look between the girls. Alice’s friends are clearly concerned, but they don’t know the full story. That’s gradually revealed on a tense girls’ holiday, and it’s quietly gripping stuff. But this still feels closer to a drama than the thriller it’s billed as, exploring Alice’s mental state and the impact on her friendships. Written by Alanna Francis and directed by Mary Nighy (daughter of Bill), this takes a sensitive and empathetic approach to its central character. Alice is constantly afraid of crossing Simon, blaming herself for not living up to his unreasonable expectations. It’s a believable portrayal of the impact of gaslighting and brainwashing: Alice’s conviction that she’s at fault will resonate with many audiences.  It’s a believable portrayal of the impact of gaslighting and brainwashing Kendrick herself has revealed that she was once in an abusive relationship, and her underst

She Said

She Said

4 out of 5 stars

Movies about investigative journalists often centre around men breaking stories a decade or so ago. She Said is about women exposing a wound so recent it still feels raw: the shocking accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Based on the 2019 book ‘She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement’, it details the efforts of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor (Kazan) and Megan Twohey (Mulligan) to persuade Weinstein’s accusers to go on the record – when most had signed non-disclosure agreements. With Patricia Clarkson as then-assistant managing editor Rebecca Corbett, it’s a starry account of an urgent story. With a pacy, detail-oriented script from Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Ida), director Maria Schrader (I’m Your Man) presents an unsentimental picture of the two reporters. Kantor is asking industry contacts about Weinstein, then co-chair of The Weinstein Company. She’s either met with wary hints about abuse and bullying, or completely fobbed off. When Twohey returns from maternity leave, she joins Kantor in a dogged fight for the truth. They have to be able to name at least one source before they can go to print, so they start door-stepping and cold-calling suspected victims, while remaining sensitive to the trauma involved. It’s gripping stuff, with some of the most compelling scenes take place in the UK. Samantha Morton puts in a riveting turn as Weinstein’s former assistant Zelda Perkins, while Jennifer Ehle is compelling as a mother wh

Causeway

Causeway

4 out of 5 stars

Two lost souls find comfort in each other in this effective slow-burner set in New Orleans. Directed by New Yorker Lila Neugebauer, Causeway features one of Jennifer Lawrence’s best and most subtle performances as Lynsey, a soldier who is recovering after an explosion in Afghanistan. She’s told that it will require considerable physio and time for her to recover both physically and mentally. When she’s eventually discharged home, it’s clear that she is still suffering from PTSD and memory issues – and that ‘home’ isn’t exactly where the heart is. Strains soon appear in her relationship with her mother Gloria (Linda Emond). When she winds up at a random garage after her beat-up truck breaks down, she meets mechanic James (Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry), who subtly clocks her memory problems and makes small gestures to help her out. It becomes clear that he’s got his own demons, and the pair begin a hesitant friendship borne more out of need than desire. Causeway offers an involving portrait of disparate people who make a connection over occasional beers and frequent loneliness. Both actors are terrific: Lawrence is understated and compelling while Henry is by turns sympathetic, amusing and heartbreaking. Neither appear used to courting friendships, unschooled in the art of platonic overtures. Perhaps because of this, the waters are occasionally muddied by the suggestion of a mutual attraction. Refreshingly, the screenplay sidesteps buddy movie or romance tropes in favour of a he

The Woman King

The Woman King

4 out of 5 stars

Watching The Woman King, the phrase ‘it’s about time’ springs to mind. It’s about time there was a big-budget dramatic epic about Black female warriors, inspired by true events. It’s about time that a film set in the 1800s had a predominantly Black cast, and that slavery was only part of the story. It’s about time this film was directed by a woman. It’s also about time that Viola Davis was given a leading action role. Your only hope is that a film this overdue is actually good, too  Phew. It is. Gina Prince-Bythewood (2012’s Love & Basketball) directs a gripping, accessible epic, while Davis is meaty and magnificent as General Nanisca, leader of the legendary Agojie. This all-female unit of warriors fight to protect the African kingdom of Dahomey from slave traders and violent invaders. They train up the next generation, including 19-year-old Nawi, beautifully played by The Underground Railroad’s Thuso Mbedu. After stubbornly resisting her father’s attempts to marry her off to abusive men, Nawi is dumped at the gates of the Agojie, and leaps at the chance to learn how to behead a man in one clean swipe of a sword.  The Woman King’s script isn’t perfect, with a few sudden jumps and one contrivance too many, but it’s easy to forgive that in the sheer thrill of it all. The training scenes recall classic sports movies, and the ensuing action scenes really deliver, while the narrative hits emotional beats that recall everything from Braveheart to Gladiator.  It’s a story of siste

The Score

The Score

3 out of 5 stars

Small-time crooks plan a big job in this blend of British crime movie, romance and musical. Yep, musical. Writer-director Malachi Smyth has penned a lockdown gangster flick and weaved in songs from the back catalogue of musician and actor Johnny Flynn, who also co-stars as Mike, the criminal cohort of Troy (Will Poulter). It’s an unusual decision that yields mixed results. Over the course of one day, Mike and Troy prepare to meet a mysterious contact in a rural café. As they do so, their characters and moods are revealed, and they occasionally break into song. There’s an easy way of knowing who to root for: world-weary Mike is rude to the waitress, Gloria (Lady Macbeth’s Naomi Ackie), while upbeat Troy tries to woo her with a sweetness that seems initially incongruous but ultimately adds heart to the film.  But the banter-heavy script feels mannered and it’s too easy to mentally recast The Score with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Tarantino-esque monologues are sometimes funny, more often derivative. But an understated Ackie holds the attention and invites sympathy, and there’s harmony in every sense when Gloria and Troy share a romantic number or two. As the dramatic stakes are raised, there’s enough tension to see you through to the emotional ending.  This mix of crime movie, romance and musical doesn’t always strike the right notes The Score doesn’t always strike the right notes, but it has its high points thanks to a simple, rewarding romantic arc.In UK cinemas Sep 9

Showing Up

Showing Up

3 out of 5 stars

Showing Up is director Kelly Reichardt’s first film in the Cannes competition, but it feels more fitting for her original festival home: Sundance. A leisurely, mumblecore dramedy set in an artistic community in Oregon, it stars an excellent Williams as a sculptor, Lizzy, who’s preparing for a new show, but is vexed by various distractions, including a wounded pigeon. The bird in question is actually caught and mauled by Lizzy’s scene-stealing ginger cat, Ricky, but when it’s found by Lizzy’s fellow artist landlady Jo (Hong Chau), she feigns ignorance and helps tend the bird back to health. Meanwhile, Lizzy’s been without hot water for two weeks, something Jo is steadfastly ignoring, using her upcoming two shows as an excuse.  The strained relationship between landlady and tenant provides much of the film’s gentle comedy, as Lizzy dolefully watches Jo spend time on anything but the heating. Jo is characterised largely by what she doesn’t do, and what she leaves Lizzy to deal with, and it’s a familiar type: charismatic, but whimsical and selectively selfish. Meanwhile, our heroine’s family has plenty going on, from her father (Judd Hirsch) and his new friends, to her troubled brother Sean (John Magaro, so fantastic in Reichardt’s last film, First Cow). Seeing Kelly Reichardt commit to her lighter side is both refreshing and slightly frustrating From Certain Women to First Cow, Reichardt has delivered some deep and powerful storytelling, and seeing her commit more fully to her l

Corsage

Corsage

4 out of 5 stars

Phantom Thread star Vicky Krieps puts in a terrific performance as Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who is turning 40. In the Vienna of 1877, that’s basically considered over the hill. Famed for her beauty and figure, she instructs her staff to lace her bodice – or ‘corsage’ – ever tighter as gossips whisper that she’s put on weight. Writer-director Marie Kreutzer explores the contrast between her ceremonial public image and her personal desires in a film that would make a good companion piece to the recent Diana film Spencer. This is a woman who is restrained not just by her clothing, but by the expectations of society. She has a complicated relationship with her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph (Florian Teichtmeister), but enjoys flirtations with several men as she travels to England and Bavaria. She visits hospitals in her finery, dispensing beautifully wrapped perfumed sweets to patients. As she watches a woman chained up and screaming, presumed mad, you can’t help wondering if Elisabeth might have been in that position herself, were it not for the accident of her noble birth. ‘Sissy’, as she’s known, is straining at invisible chains and she longs to break out of them.  It’s riveting stuff, aided by Vicky Krieps’s bold and brilliant turn The Favourite and Marie Antoinette also spring to mind when watching this formally unconventional story of an unhappy royal. But Kreutzer has her own style of revisionist feminist history, and aided by Krieps’s bold and brilliant turn, it’s riv

Happening

Happening

4 out of 5 stars

‘It’s not fair,’ is a line from this drama that sums it up rather neatly. Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei) is a bright young student who gets pregnant on her first time. Abortion is so illegal, no-one even dares utter the word. Doctors – invariably male – are more inclined to sabotage her attempts to end the pregnancy than help. Male students see her condition as a sexual opportunity. She will have to give up her studies if she goes to term. When a professor asks what has been ailing her, she describes it as ‘an illness that strikes only women and turns them into housewives’. And it really isn’t fair. Audrey Diwan’s elegant film makes this point without banging any drums, instead neatly weaving it into the fabric of an engaging realist drama. The stakes are so high, the French director is even able to introduce a thriller-like elements to the story (based on the autobiographical short by French author Annie Ernaux). The ticking clock in Anne’s belly lends tension, while the possibility of hospitalisation, death or prison looms large: anyone who even helps her could end up behind bars.  Audrey Diwan’s elegant film is not for the faint hearted Happening is not for the faint hearted: it goes further than Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake in depicting the realities of illegal abortion. But there’s respite in other more soothing details of Anne’s life, including the friendship of Hélène (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Luàna Bajrami) and Brigitte (Louise Orry-Diquéro), who self-identifies as the ‘m

Great Freedom

Great Freedom

4 out of 5 stars

It’s 1968 and Hans (Franz Rogowski) is jailed under Germany’s Paragraph 175, for ‘deviant sexual practices’. It’s clear he’s been here before: he complies with searches in a routine fashion, and greets an old friend, the long-serving Viktor (Georg Friedrich), also recognising another former intimate, Leo (Anton Von Lucke). Flashbacks soon dig into reveal Hans’ tumultuous relationship with the young, fragile Oskar (Thomas Prenn).  It’s a poignant queer love story between Hans and two, possibly three, men over the decades. Initially an impenetrable character who can’t speak freely, Hans is defined by his actions, and invites more and more sympathy as he makes sacrifices for his friends and lovers. Rogowski – so distinctive in everything from A Hidden Life to Victoria – puts in a compelling performance and handles the shifts in era well.Austrian filmmaker Sebastian Meise manages to find romance amidst the dirty needles and dirty toilets, delivering as many memorable tender images as he does unpleasant ones. There are flashes of dark humour, not least in the irony of punishing gay offenders by locking them up with others. There are fascinating details, from the jailors allegedly putting libido suppressants in the salt, to the liberating quality of a simple box of matches and a cigarette delivered to a man in pitch-black solitary confinement.  Great Freedom is a portrait of a political journey, as well as that of a quietly fascinating hero The Great Freedom of the title is a gay

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday

4 out of 5 stars

The French director of Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story isn’t the obvious choice for British period drama, but Eva Husson nails it with this atmospheric 1920s-set feature based on Graham Swift’s novella. Adapted by Lady Macbeth screenwriter Alice Birch, it stars Josh O’Connor as Paul, an engaged upper-class fellow having a secret affair with a neighbour’s maid, Jane (Odessa Young). The pair are rarely clothed, but this is more about intimacy than erotica, exploring the contrasting ways that the different classes behave both in and out of bed. It’s also a moving depiction of grief from a supporting cast of Oscar-winning heavyweights: Olivia Colman and Colin Firth play a couple who have lost their sons in World War I. She’s silent and miserable, apart from one heartbreaking outburst; he’s putting on a jovial show and repressing his sadness, all stiff upper lip. The event of Mothering Sunday does not feel like a celebration, however much champagne they drink in the beautiful English countryside. It’s a sad indictment of a society unable to articulate its grief and sorrow. Even the conflicted Paul only feels liberated with Jane, yet their romance seems doomed.A moving drama that shifts back and forwards in time to paint a portrait of its characters’ lives, Mothering Sunday is particularly satisfying when it focuses on Jane, who’s beautifully portrayed by rising Aussie star Young. Ultimately, this is the story of the author Jane is to become, when she’s briefly played by Glenda Jack

Reminiscence

Reminiscence

2 out of 5 stars

Reminiscence begins as an intriguing futuristic noir. Jackman’s Nick is a war veteran who’s living in a dystopian, flooded Miami, where people are desperate to remember happier times (sound familiar?). Nick and his business partner Watts (Thandiwe Newton) can help them do exactly that. Clients enter their facility and are submerged in a machine that projects key memories back to them – and onto the wall, helpfully for us.  Like many of their clients, Nick and Watts are clinging onto the past: largely analogue in a digital age, they’re housed in a big, old-fashioned building, and their contraptions have a steampunk vibe. Enter Jackman’s The Greatest Showman co star Rebecca Ferguson as Mae, who sashays into the building like a true femme fatale. Nick can’t take his eyes off her – and her memories prove even more alluring. When she disappears, Nick plunders more minds in an effort to find her, and figure out her mysteries. As you can probably tell, Reminiscence is a complicated film, and the reasons it doesn’t come together are as numerous as its ideas. One key problem is the voiceover: Jackman is saddled with an exposition-heavy narration that would have Ridley Scott baying for a director’s cut. And with little humour to take the edge off, the dialogue is too mannered even for a potboiler. Only Newton really brings it to life, as excellent here as she was in Westworld. Her character Watts tries to warn Nick that his mission is unwise, if not slightly pathetic. Unfortunately, no

Emma

Emma

3 out of 5 stars

Hay una advertencia sobre "breve desnudez natural" en esta nueva adaptación de Emma de Jane Austen, pero no temas, esta querida historia de matrimonios erroneos no ha sido aderezada con juegos indecorosos de croquet al desnudo u orgías a la hora del té. En cambio, preparándose para ser vestido por sus criados después de una caminata, está el viejo amigo de Emma —y su potencial interés amoroso—, el Sr. Knightley (Johnny Flynn) que se desnuda de manera casual. La cámara no se detiene en su trasero, pero tampoco desvía la mirada tímidamente. Sí, esta versión sigue siendo una comedia de época estudiantilmente amigable para la familia, pero con nalga ocasionales. La escena de la declaración es, tal vez, una pista de que Emma es el trabajo de una directora. Autumn de Wilde muestra intencionalmente la desnudez masculina antes que la femenina, y se interesa por la realidad detrásy las circunstancias que dominaron la vida de la clase alta en el siglo XIX. Mientras que el romance no es el punto principal, solo cuando se abandona la sofocante ceremonia sobre que el verdadero amor realmente puede florecer. Hay una escena fabulosa cuando Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy) y Knightley se ríen a carcajadas, y otra cuando bajan la guardia detrás de una pantalla colocada estratégicamente. Conocida por sus ingeniosas películas de moda y videos musicales para Rilo Kiley y Beck, Wilde pone un sello sutilmente contemporáneo en Emma. Los trajes de Alexandra Byrne renuevan la apariencia de los hombros tan afil

News (9)

How this year’s Academy Awards nominations have let female directors down

How this year’s Academy Awards nominations have let female directors down

The Oscar nominations had a few surprises this year – I gasped out loud several times watching the nominations, cheered several more times, and booed at least once. I’ll come to that in a minute.  Leading the nominations is Everything Everywhere All At Once, the inventive multiverse sci-fi that scored Michelle Yeoh’s first Leading Actress nomination (at the age of 60), making her the first Asian actress to figure in that category. There were also nods for all the other central cast members, namely Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, and – less widely predicted – Stephanie Hsu, who plays Yeoh’s daughter in the film. These are not just highly deserving nominees but injected some much-needed diversity into the actor categories. Aside from the brilliant Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Black actors were conspicuously absent. And there was nothing for Viola Davis for The Woman King. The hit action epic is up for BAFTAs and is leading the nominations at the ‘Girls On Film’ Awards, but has been completely overlooked by the Academy. Nothing either for Danielle Deadwyler for Till, the heartbreaking and deeply moving story of a mother searching for justice. These are both films directed by Black women – Gina Prince-Bythewood and Chinonye Chukwu respectively – which makes their absence particularly uncomfortable. My booing, as you may have now guessed, was reserved for the Director category. Now, I loved Triangle of Sadness and The Banshees of Inisherin, but was dismayed to

‘Causeway’ is one of Jennifer Lawrence’s best and most subtle performances

‘Causeway’ is one of Jennifer Lawrence’s best and most subtle performances

This low-key buddy drama about a wounded soldier showcases Jennifer Lawrence at her best ★★★★ Two lost souls find comfort in each other in this effective slow-burner set in New Orleans. Directed by New Yorker Lila Neugebauer, Causeway features one of Jennifer Lawrence’s best and most subtle performances as Lynsey, a soldier who is recovering after an explosion in Afghanistan. She’s told that it will require considerable physio and time for her to recover both physically and mentally. When she’s eventually discharged home, it’s clear that she is still suffering from PTSD and memory issues – and that ‘home’ isn’t exactly where the heart is.Strains soon appear in her relationship with her mother Gloria (Linda Emond). When she winds up at a random garage after her beat-up truck breaks down, she meets mechanic James (Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry), who subtly clocks her memory problems and makes small gestures to help her out. It becomes clear that he’s got his own demons, and the pair begin a hesitant friendship borne more out of need than desire. It’s one of Jennifer Lawrence’s best and most subtle performances Causeway offers an involving portrait of disparate people who make a connection over occasional beers and frequent loneliness. Both actors are terrific: Lawrence is understated and compelling while Henry is by turns sympathetic, amusing and heartbreaking. Neither appear used to courting friendships, unschooled in the art of platonic overtures. Perhaps because of this,

How 'Attack the Block' staged an alien invasion in south London

How 'Attack the Block' staged an alien invasion in south London

In sci-fi horror comedy 'Attack the Block', a group of south London teenagers defend their council estate against an alien invasion. Ten years' after the film’s release, writer and director Joe Cornish explains why he wouldn’t have set it anywhere else. Why did you set the film in south London?  ‘I’ve lived in south London all my life and thought up the idea for the film while roaming around my neighbourhood. I was born and bred in Stockwell so I knew the streets where the story could happen, the buildings it could happen in and the people it might happen to. I wanted to film in as many of those real places as possible.’ Were there challenges while filming on location? ‘We made sure the gang in the film were wearing the right colour bandanas and once we’d done that, we were pretty much fine. There was a night when a woman in her dressing gown marched into shot and shouted ,“Take your poxy, two-bit film and fuck off!” We were just excited to hear someone using the term “two-bit”.’ What were John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker like on set? ‘My main memory is seeing them in full costume, loaded up with weapons and fireworks, teaching each other dance moves. And Jodie going out of her way to embarrass the young cast by using as much street slang off camera as possible – in a Yorkshire accent.’  Want more iconic London films? Check out our top 30 list.

The most memorable moments from the Oscars 2020

The most memorable moments from the Oscars 2020

Oscars ceremonies aren’t just a useful reminder of who’s dating who (Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara!), they can also throw us a few surprises. The Academy rocked the boat in various ways this time around, while also delivering the usual mix of witty moments and faintly painful ones. Here’s a catch-up of the most memorable things that happened while you were asleep:  1. ‘Parasite’ beating ‘1917’ to Best Picture What a moment! The Oscars aren’t always known for recognising the film that’s really the best of the year, and the South Korean black comedy is also the first non-English-language film to take the big one. Even Bong Joon-ho’s translator started looking excited when he scored Best Director as well as International Feature Film, making a fourth Bong hit look like a distinct possibility, rather than a film critic’s wistful dream. The director eagerly promised to have a drink after his first prize, so goodness knows how many chandeliers he is still swinging from as you read this. 'Parasite' 2. Joaquin Phoenix’s acceptance speech The internet is divided on this one, but if Phoenix was putting it on then he really does deserve Best Actor. His impassioned speech painted him as a reformed ‘scoundrel’ committed to tackling injustice and promoting veganism – his vivid description of the treatment of cows must have had breakfast viewers spluttering on their cornflakes. The ‘Joker’ actor delivered a nice message about using his position to help others, and topped it off with a

Why Greta Gerwig is still great (despite the Oscars snub)

Why Greta Gerwig is still great (despite the Oscars snub)

If you didn’t already love Greta Gerwig as an actor, her debut as a solo director, ‘Lady Bird’, probably sealed the deal. A brilliant coming-of-age film, it scored her a nomination for the Best Director Oscar. Her follow-up, ‘Little Women’, is firm proof that she’s one of the most exciting filmmakers out there. Entertaining and, yes, expertly directed, it mixes a feminist message with comic chops, warmth and at least three all-timer Meryl Streep moments. It captures the thrills and frustrations of being a young woman in the 1860s – and a fair few of those of being a woman in 2020 too. So when the Academy failed to nominate a single woman in the Best Director category, #GretaGerwig was soon trending on social media. Singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis even posted an in-depth poem on the subject (sample verse: ‘Oscar noms/What the flip?/Where are Adam Sandler/And Greta Gerwig?’). In Entertainment Weekly, ‘Little Women’ star Florence Pugh noted the irony: ‘Greta made a film about women working and their relationship with money and with working in a man’s world.’ The Oscars is still a man’s world, in other words. oscar noms what the flip?where are @AdamSandler & greta gerwig? lupita, @awkwafina safdie bros noah’s the Baumbut some of these OG songs tho? brad pitt nom is tight but Scarjo twice ?whatevs i’ll be watching the @OnCinemaOscars special all night 🖤 — jenny lewis (@jennylewis) January 13, 2020 On my feminist film podcast ‘Girls on Film’, I’ve championed many women who could

Rolling with The Rock: what’s it like at a 4DX screening of ‘Rampage’?

Rolling with The Rock: what’s it like at a 4DX screening of ‘Rampage’?

The former Empire cinema at Leicester Square was a familiar part of the London movie scene but it was long overdue a makeover, especially when it came to the sound: I remember straining to hear muffled dialogue on a few occasions during screenings there. Since acquiring the site in 2016, the folks at Cineworld have been busying away making it as hi-tech as possible. That includes a big new IMAX cinema and the most recent addition, a 4DX auditorium aiming to blow audiences away with a series of effects whirring around them. 4DX was invented in South Korea and first launched in the UK in 2015 at Cineworld Milton Keynes, believe it or not. And now it’s come to London.I trotted down the red carpet at Cineworld Leicester Square to check out this immersive experience on its launch night. After a glass of bubbly, I headed in for the big event: a 4DX screening of The Rock’s new monster movie, ‘Rampage’. The impressive 136-seater screen (pictured above) comes complete with a cloakroom – no bags allowed, and we soon found out why. The big, roomy seats are programmed to respond to the rhythms, jumps and bumps in the showing film by jolting around quite wildly, so open drinks are out, too (I was quite relieved when a couple with runny ice creams decide to sit elsewhere). Just watching the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ trailer before the movie had us in a spin: there were squeals and giggles as the seats vibrated and rolled. During ‘Rampage’ 4DX (3D glasses included), there were more surprises

Review: 'Blade Runner – The Final Cut' at Secret Cinema

Review: 'Blade Runner – The Final Cut' at Secret Cinema

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe… unless you’ve already been to Secret Cinema presents ‘Blade Runner – The Final Cut: A Secret Live Experience’. The immersive movie event first did the sci-fi classic ‘Blade Runner’ in 2010, transforming an East End warehouse into futuristic LA complete with strippers and snakes (were they real? I think so). It was a blast, and since then they’ve grown much bigger, from the ambitious ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ to the impressive ‘Star Wars’. As with any evolving event, there have been teething problems – but with this ‘Blade Runner’, I reckon they’ve got sussed. Before the event, I fill in an online empathy test to gain an identity. I try to fix it so I come out as a Replicant (cooler costumes) but I’m a detective in the Replicant Trafficking Division named Vicki Mallory, and must wear a mac and carry various items, including an umbrella. I figure Vicki must go undercover at some point so I cyber-punk it up, and it turns out I was right. When we arrive at the secret London location, our group of VIP ticket holders is briefed by a detective and lead into the heart of rebel land, where we must gather information to report to a police chief, who is a rather good actor, and also gives us whisky. This detective thing is getting better. As ever with Secret Cinema, the clue’s in the name (even though they now reveal the film in advance), so I'll describe the rest of the experience in broad terms. The setting is exciting, evocative and loaded wit

Filmmaker Gurinder Chadha explains how her mum ended up on the poster for 'Bend it Like Beckham'

Filmmaker Gurinder Chadha explains how her mum ended up on the poster for 'Bend it Like Beckham'

Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock   From stunt doubles to costume designers, we talk to the people who've helped make some of London's most iconic films. 'Bend it Like Beckham' kickstarted the career of Keira Knightley and put Hounslow on the cinematic map. Producer, writer and director Gurinder Chadha shares what it was like filming in her neighbourhood and how her mum ended up on the movie poster. The film is set in Hounslow – how important was the location to you? ‘The film is autobiographical; I grew up in west London. It’s always fun to film in your own hood and it’s become a record of British Asian lives, and Southall and Hounslow from 16 years ago.’ Did any locals get involved? ‘We always had locals wanting to be part of the film. India has a huge film culture, so there’s never any shortage of extras! My extended family all feature in the film, including my mum, who made it on to the poster as one of the women in the line as Jess takes her penalty at the climax of the movie.’  How does it feel to revisit the film’s locations now? ‘I recently went to Sutton Square in Heston, where we shot the exteriors of Jess’s family home. While we were there a group of young lads came up and said, “Did you know this is the house where ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ was shot?” I nodded. He said, “Lots of people like you come here and take photos – shall I take one of you?” That made me smile. The film is so important for so many people around the world, particularly the Asian diaspora and female

We asked ‘Shaun of the Dead’ director Edgar Wright about bringing a zombie apocalypse to London

We asked ‘Shaun of the Dead’ director Edgar Wright about bringing a zombie apocalypse to London

From stunt doubles to costume designers, we talk to the people who've helped make some of London's most iconic films. In rom-zom-com ‘Shaun of the Dead’, London experiences a zombie apocalypse. Director Edgar Wright explains why the setting still resonates with him. Most of the film was shot in north London. Why that area? ‘“Shaun of the Dead” was conceived by me and Simon Pegg when we were both living in north London. He lived in Crouch End and I lived in Islington, so making the movie was literally like having a zombie apocalypse on our doorsteps. It holds a very special place in my heart as it’s a document of where and how we lived at the time.’  How important was it to you to shoot the film in London? ‘At one point in the development of the movie, our line producer asked if we would consider shooting on the Isle of Man for tax reasons. I said I would rather not make the movie if we couldn’t shoot it in London. We loved the idea of having the living dead invade the suburbs that you’d usually only see in Mike Leigh films.’  Do you still hang out at any of the places featured in the film? ‘The only scene not shot in north London was at the Winchester. That was at the Duke of Albany in New Cross (now turned into flats). It would make me misty-eyed if I went back. I have been back to the corner shop in Crouch End. I think fans go there and buy Cornettos. I’m not sure if the owner finds that funny.’  Here's everything you need to know about the BFI London Film Festival.

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