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David Hughes

David Hughes

Articles (9)

The 50 best movies set in Paris

The 50 best movies set in Paris

If you can set your film in Paris, you should probably set your film in Paris. The French capital is a cinematic dream packed with iconic settings and the sort of scenery that young directors dream of. After all, this was the setting of the world’s first film screening, and cinema’s love affair with Paris has proven just as passionate as any other romance forged in the City of Love. There is something inherently alluring about this place. Paris has an intangible something that grabs visitors by the collar and refuses to let go. You could call it an X-factor, magic that jumps out from the screen, but that is for you to decide. For us, these are the best films set in Paris, from early classics to modern marvels. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best French movies  

Mamoru Hosoda interview: ‘I’m fed up with the internet being shown as this dystopian place’

Mamoru Hosoda interview: ‘I’m fed up with the internet being shown as this dystopian place’

In the two decades since he was let go as director of Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle – a department all the tougher to take given his fondness Hayao Miyazaki’s films – Mamoru Hosoda has emerged as the natural successor to his childhood hero, earning an Oscar nomination for 2018’s Mirai and an unprecedented 14-minute standing ovation when his latest, Belle, debuted in Cannes. It’s a breathtaking film, combining traditional cel and computer animation to tell the story of Suzu, an ordinary 17-year-old student whose online avatar becomes a global singing sensation in an online world called ‘U’. It isn’t the first time Hosoda has embraced the digital world in his work; his first film was 1999’s Digimon, a kind of digital Pokémon story. Miyazaki’s influence was evident in more recent films, including The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) and 2012’s Wolf Children, but by the time the beguiling Mirai received its Oscar nomination in 2018, Hosoda had stepped out of his hero’s shadow and was drawing worldwide recognition as an animator and an artist.  What was more satisfying, the Oscar nomination for Mirai or the 14-minute standing ovation for Belle at Cannes? ‘I was concerned for people’s hands! Fourteen minutes is a long time to be clapping. Obviously, I was really happy about that because it shows what the audience think of the film, and maybe the prize-winning films at the festival only got a four-minute ovation. But then again, who doesn’t want to be nominated for an Oscar

Lord Buckethead: my part in his downfall

Lord Buckethead: my part in his downfall

Anyone with even a passing interest in British politics will know that it has always been a strange beast – especially recently. But even on a stage so routinely peopled by windbags, chancers and the kind of English eccentrics who willingly defer to ‘nanny’ in all key decisions, the electoral presence of a figure dressed in Darth Vader-like garb is going to cut a swathe on the hustings. So it was on election night 2019 when Lord Buckethead, the villain in a low-budget sci-fi from, stood against Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the west London constituency of Uxbridge. And beneath the mask? Well… me. Photograph: Earl Owensby StudiosGremloids’ official poster How did a film journalist come to run for office as Lord Buckethead? The story starts with a poundshop Star Wars spoof called Gremloids (aka ‘Hyperspace’), directed by American filmmaker Todd Durham and released in 1984. I came across it eight years later while writing press releases for cult VHS distributor VIPCO. In a typically madcap PR stunt, VIPCO boss Mike Lee dressed up as the film’s villain, Lord Buckethead, painted the film’s title on his helmet, and ran against the then-Prime Minister John Major in the general election as candidate for the hastily-formed ‘Gremloids Party’. (Nothing in the electoral guidelines says you can’t use your candidacy as a marketing tool. In fact, the government pays for everyone in your constituency to receive a leaflet about your candidacy, and for £500 a pretty cheap way to advertise

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

Ten tips for saving money at the movies

Ten tips for saving money at the movies

A top seat at one of the West End’s flagship cinemas can now set you back an eye-watering, wallet-lightening £40. And that's before you've even picked up some popcorn. But don’t despair – while tix to the flix can be overwhelming costly, especially if you're seeing the latest 3D blockbuster, there are plenty of ways to catch the latest movies without having to take out a loan. All it takes is a little bit of planning, some imagination and you’ll open yourself up to heaps of movie magic. So, without further ado, here are some handy hacks to help you see movies for less. Recommended: The latest films in cinemas now Go early in the week Swerve the weekend rush and head to the cinema in the first half of the week. With the exception of bank holidays, Monday seats at the Barbican and Shoreditch’s Rich Mix cost £6, while it’s £7.70 at most Picturehouses and £7 at Stoke Newington’s ace Rio. Genesis in Whitechapel is £5.50 for certain weekday matinée. And local fave the Walthamstow Empire has £4.25 seats on Tuesdays. The Rio Cinema. Picture: Alastair Wiper Sign up for secret screenings Studios love to get an early reaction to their upcoming releases with special preview screenings. If you fancy seeing things first and for free – annoying your friends in the process – sign up with ShowFilmFirst or agencies like Stretch and Elevenfiftyfive. Tickets are free, though you may be asked to share your opinion after the movie. Yep, everyone’s a critic. Take a family (preferably your own) Most

Classics Corner: ‘Performance’

Classics Corner: ‘Performance’

If any film defines London at the end of the 1960s, it has to be ‘Performance’. Shot 50 years ago, it was reluctantly released two years later by a studio furious at what its maverick filmmakers had delivered. Warner Bros. wanted ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ with Mick Jagger; what they got was a twisted, hallucinogenic, drug- and sex-fuelled fantasy with a cut-up narrative in which a gangster on the run (James Fox) and a jaded rock star (Jagger) spiral into a surreal mix of free love, fluid identity, madness and violence. Co-directors Donald Cammell and the great Nicolas Roeg, who died last month, wanted to make a film about the heady times they were living in. ‘Into that mix went the political, social and psychological mood sweeping across the world,’ explains producer Sandy Lieberson, ‘and in particular for us in London.’ Fifty years on, the Notting Hill slum where it was filmed now has mansions worth millions, but ‘Performance’ retains its power to shock. Its clothes, music and attitudes are a pure distillation of the spirit of ’68 – the year of the Paris riots, Vietnam War protests, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Seismic changes were also brought about by LSD, the Pill and the (partial) decriminalisation of homosexuality – but thanks to its experimental shooting, sound and editing styles it still feels revolutionary, and as hard to pin down as ever. That hasn’t stopped author Jay Glennie and producer Lieberson – who, before Kubrick came abo

Seat belt cinema: five eye-popping new ways to watch new movies

Seat belt cinema: five eye-popping new ways to watch new movies

Ever since the late 1950s, when maverick film director and showman William Castle sent a glowing skeleton over audiences’ heads at screenings of ‘House on Haunted Hill’, and put vibrating motors in cinema seats to buzz audiences watching ‘The Tingler’, cinemas have been looking for ways to add an extra dimension to the moviegoing experience. 3D had moments in the 1950s and 1980s, before making a comeback in recent years, while live orchestral accompaniments, Secret Cinema installations, singalong screenings and live-by-satellite events have all tried their hand at turning movies into experiences. Now, cinema chains are once again scrambling for new ways to tempt punters back to the multiplexes. But will this new form of bells-and-whistles ‘seat-belt cinema’ blow our minds, or just suck up our cash? Here’s our guide to the dizzying new options available. 4DXExclusive to Cineworld, ‘4DX’ is at the cutting edge of seat-belt cinema, and is literally designed to rock your world. Harnessing technology developed for the Universal Studios theme parks, the all-action format features seats that pitch and roll like bucking broncos, plus wind, rain and strobe lighting effects – all ingeniously timed to match the relevant action in the film you’re watching. Put it this way, I nearly fell out of my seat watching ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’. And if you get misty-eyed during rain-soaked romantic scenes, you can always blame the (thankfully optional) water spray effect. Towels are not pro

My Life in Movies: Emily Mortimer

My Life in Movies: Emily Mortimer

What was the first film you saw in London?‘My mum took me and one of my best friends to see “Grease” when I was about seven. We both had the album, and I remembered she fucked up the cover of hers, and forced me to swap it for her one. I’m still slightly irate about this.’What’s your favourite London cinema?‘It used to be The Coronet in Notting Hill [now the Print Room theatre]. You could smoke on the balcony. I felt psyched going to that cinema.’ What’s your most memorable West End premiere?‘I was determined to go to the premiere of “Young Adam” [in 2003], even though I was about three days from dropping my first kid. They put me in this sugar-plum fairy outfit that made me look like a man doing Cher in drag. I remember Ewan McGregor looking at me in abject horror.’What’s the first London location you remember filming at?‘It was Stephen Fry’s “Bright Young Things” at Somerset House – a big party scene with lots of angels and 1930s costumes. It de-sanctifies a place when you’re smoking fags and putting them out in coffee cups.’ ‘I turned up to the premiere of “Young Adam” looking like a man doing Cher in drag’ What’s been your favourite London location?‘We’re not allowed to talk about Woody Allen anymore, but it was pretty cool shooting at the Royal Opera House on “Match Point”. We shot some exteriors for “Mary Poppins Returns” outside Buckingham Palace too. My trailer was on The Mall, so that was pretty fucking amazing.’ What films would you say sum up London?‘My husband,

My Life in Movies: Eddie Marsan

My Life in Movies: Eddie Marsan

What was the first film you saw in London?‘I was raised in Bethnal Green, and my first London film memory was my dad taking me to see “Robin Hood” in the West End. When I went in it was light, and when I came out it was dark. It was amazing.’ What’s your favourite cinema?‘I like the Curzon Soho. I go in there for a bagel.’ What’s been your favourite West End premiere?‘Probably “The World’s End”, because we were all mates and we’d all been young actors together. Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Nick Frost.’  Eddie Marsan’s first trip to the cinema took in Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ What do you look for in a movie that’s set in London?‘My first rule is to do something different than I’ve done before. I’ve just done “Feedback”, a film set in London by a Spanish director about a London radio host whose studio is hijacked by terrorists. I trust that perspective more than some posh bloke who reads GQ and wants to make a gangster movie.’ What was your first London filming location?‘I used to dance a lot when I was younger and I was in a club in Hackney and someone asked me to be an extra in a film called “Empire State”, which I’ve still never seen. Then I was in an episode of “The Comic Strip Presents…” with Alexei Sayle. That was in a chip shop somewhere in south London.’ Marsan as in Shimon Peres ‘Entebbe’ What’s been the most memorable spot you’ve filmed at?‘I shot a scene in “Sherlock Holmes” with Mark Strong and Robert Downey Jr in an amazing crypt off Bishopsgate. That movie was fu

Listings and reviews (31)

Lynch/Oz

Lynch/Oz

4 out of 5 stars

‘There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about The Wizard of Oz,’ filmmaker David Lynch said in 2007. Given the volume of references to the film (rather than its literary source) in his body of work, from Blue Velvet’s troubled Dorothy to Glenda the Good Witch’s appearance in Wild at Heart, it isn’t surprising. Now, film essayist Alexandre O Philippe, whose documentaries include 78/52 (about Hitchcock’s Psycho), Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist and Memory: The Origins of Alien, has invited six filmmakers and one film critic to contribute film essays exploring the influence of the 1939 American classic on Lynch’s work. Justin Benson (The Endless) argues, with tongue not entirely planted in cheek, that every film owes a debt to The Wizard of Oz – amusingly presenting Apocalypse Now as Exhibit A – before narrowing focus to Lynch’s oeuvre, whereupon Philippe wittily juxtaposes scenes from Wild at Heart with shots of Dorothy looking shocked. David Lowery (The Green Knight) makes a case for Lynch as a populist surrealist before discussing the sinister stories behind the making of The Wizard of Oz, and how the film represented (like Blue Velvet) the dark truth about the American dream, with the Emerald City as fabled ‘shining city on a hill’. It’s unmissable for fans of David Lynch and/or Wizard of Oz aficionados Karyn Kusama (Destroyer) traces Lynch’s obsession with curtains and wind back to The Wizard of Oz, and argues convincingly that Mulholland Drive is a k

Last Flight Home

Last Flight Home

3 out of 5 stars

Writer-director Ondi Timoner made 2018’s brilliant Mapplethorpe, about the controversial photographer, and the devastating Coming Clean about the opioid crisis. Now, she turns the camera on herself, her family, and primarily her father, Eli, as he determines to end his life by taking advantage of California’s newly-minted End of Life Option Act, which legalises medically-induced suicide if certain criteria are respected. Fifty years ago, Eli was America’s answer to Freddie Laker, founding low-cost airline Air Florida (motto: ‘fly a little kindness’), whose routes reached as far as Great Britain during its heyday. Then, at the age of 53, Eli’s neck was cracked by a masseur, leaving him paralysed, just as the airline was collapsing into bankruptcy. Forty years later, he tells his family – including his wife of 50-plus years – that he’s tired of living and wants to end his life. Employing an unvarnished verité style, Ondi captures the final two weeks of her father’s life, recounting his triumphs, failures and regret. Friends, family and Rabbi (his daughter Rachel) convene at his bedside, in person or via Zoom, to bid their farewells and, in the case of his grandson, ask for life advice. Eli’s reply – ‘Respect the people you don’t know and love the people you do know’– is typical of the warmth and kindness he projects throughout. It leaves the impression of a eulogy rather than a clear-eyed documentary Therein, however, lies the film’s main problem. Understandably, Ondi comes to

Utama

Utama

4 out of 5 stars

The impact of climate change on those it hits first, and hardest, is gently yet starkly illustrated in the story of Virginio and his wife Sisa, played by real-life Quechua couple Calcina and Quispe. The pair are non-professional actors whom first-time director Alejandro Loayza Grisi discovered while scouting for locations in the Bolivian highlands, some 12,000 feet above sea level. There, Virginio occupies himself with the lonely job of shepherding llamas across the remote altiplano. Far from the political upheavals, coups d’états and the US-backed interventionism that have blighted the landlocked South American country for decades, the epically widescreen film opens with a shot of a vast, arid landscape that could be something out of Dune, if not for the occasional shock of hot pink from the llamas’ identifying ear tags. It’s best enjoyed on a screen so big you’ll move your head reading the subtitles. Here, we meet Virginio and Sisa, a year into a debilitating drought which threatens to rob them not only of their livelihood, but of their very existence. Many of the locals have already left the parched, cracked landscape, where the wells have run dry and the river is little more than a memory, to make a new life in the city. Virginio, however, is determined to stay, despite the pleas of his grandson Clever (Santos Choque), whose arrival, smartphone in hand, reminds us that this is the present day. ‘If we leave, our land will be left alone in silence,’ someone says as the vill

Midwives

Midwives

4 out of 5 stars

Think of Buddhists and you don’t normally conjure up images of genocide. Yet it is widely known that the Rohingya, the Muslim minority of the mainly Buddhist country of Myanmar, is one of the most oppressed people on the planet. They’ve been subjected to ethnic cleansing since 2016, beginning during Aung San Suu Kyi’s time at the head of government, and it’s only intensified since the 2021 coup that overthrew and imprisoned her. Against this complex backdrop of ethnic rivalries, Islamophobia (even the pop music contains anti-Muslim propaganda) and regular civil war flare-ups, first-time director Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing trains her lens beyond the country’s breathtaking landscapes to zero in on a on a tiny microcosm of Myanmar province Rakhine State: a makeshift gynaecological clinic run by Buddhist midwife Hla and her young Muslim apprentice Nyo Nyo.  It’s thoughtful, empathetic and powerful insight into the region – and its women Hla is determined to help Muslim mothers survive one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates – at significant risk to her own wellbeing, given the disapproval of local Buddhists. Yet for all her selfless actions, prejudices still run deep; Hla regularly belittles Nyo Nyo and refers to by the racial slur ‘kalar’ (‘darkie’). Nothing in Myanmar is straightforward, it seems. With no narration and little contextualisation, Midwives offers a complex picture of life in the region. The people’s many contradictions slowly emerge: such as when a teacher u

The Feast

The Feast

3 out of 5 stars

‘We’ll keep a welcome in the hillside, we’ll keep a welcome in the vales,’ runs the traditional Welsh song. In this cleverly constructed Welsh-language folk-horror, centred around a dinner party in a remote part of the country, there’s no welcome anywhere for frackers and the locals who profit from them – no matter how much Welsh they speak. After an opening scene that sees a hard-hatted construction worker mysteriously killed while fracking, we meet social climber Glenda (Nia Roberts) and her husband, Gwyn (Julian Lewis Jones), a local MP, who are preparing a feast at their modernised farmhouse.  Their plan is to introduce neighbour Mair (Lisa Palfrey), a dairy farmer, to slick mineral prospector Euros (Rhodri Meilir), who has made them a small fortune and could do the same for Mair. Given that Euros is an oily ’80s-style yuppie with a name that positively reeks of globalisation, Mair seems unlikely to take the bait.  A further challenge to the scheme comes via timorous hired help, Cadi (Annes Elwy), who seems to have history with Gwyn, and the couple’s sons, one of whom yearns for the bright lights and dark vices of London, the other has the kind of psychological issues that would have a therapist suggesting double sessions. It’s a sometimes potent cocktail that’s let down by some predictable plotting Gwyn scoffs at Mair’s mention of folk tales about a guardian spirit who protects the local farmland from those who would abuse it. As the courses are served, however, and Cad

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

4 out of 5 stars

In 1982, aspiring filmmaker Robert B Weide wrote to Kurt Vonnegut to ask if he could make a film him. The world-famous satirical novelist behind ‘Breakfast of Champions’ and ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’, two books that changed the landscape of American literature, agreed – much to the filmmaker’s astonishment. Over the next quarter of a century, as he became a well-known documentary filmmaker and Emmy-winning director on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Weide kept filming, becoming not only Vonnegut’s video biographer and unofficial archivist, but also his close friend. ‘I used to worry that the friendship would get in the way of the film,’ he notes, ‘but later on I began to fear that the film would get in the way of the friendship.’ Now, after 40 years – 15 after Vonnegut’s death, aged 84 – Weide (who scripted a film adaptation of ‘Mother Night’ starring Nick Nolte) has finally finished that film. Aptly subtitled Unstuck in Time, after the fate of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’s hapless protagonist Billy Pilgrim (for whom ‘So it goes’ is a fatalist mantra), it’s as different to the film he set out to make as it’s possible to imagine. Rather than a straightforward biographical documentary – though there’s a good hour of that here, featuring some restored home movies from Vonnegut’s childhood, clips from talk shows and interviews with his children – Weide’s film interweaves the more conventional material with his own struggle to shape and finish the film, reluctantly bringing elements of his own life in

McEnroe

McEnroe

4 out of 5 stars

Many people who don’t like sports like sports movies, but it’s a rare sports documentary – a Senna or a When We Were Kings – that truly transcends its subject matter. Even if you don’t follow tennis, or sports in general, it’s hard not to appreciate Barney Douglas’s searching film about John McEnroe, a tennis star once famously dubbed ‘superbrat’ by the British tabloids for his penchant for abusing umpires and throwing rackets. Nowadays, he calls himself ‘the greatest player that ever played’ (which is true, unless you measure this by Grand Slam wins, career titles or prize money).Douglas, previously known for his cricket docs Warriors and The Edge, lets McEnroe speak for himself as he wanders his old New York neighbourhood, recalling the development of his precocious talent by his highly competitive father (and later manager); his sensational Wimbledon debut (he entered as a qualifier and made it all the way to the semis); and his most famous on-court battles – including that five-set final against cool Swede Björn Borg – in obsessive pursuit of ever-elusive perfection. ‘I slightly might be on a spectrum,’ he says, exploring the theory that his preternatural ability stemmed from an understanding of physics, maths and probability that other players lacked. It’s an unabashed celebration of a maverick talent that doesn’t skip the dark stuff It’s an unabashed celebration of a maverick talent, with all the highlights you’d expect from an extraordinary career. Yet it doesn’t skip

La Mif

La Mif

3 out of 5 stars

Social worker-turned-director Fred Baillif uses a cast of newbie actors to give an insider’s look at a Geneva care home for teenagers. A compassionate vérité drama, it zeroes in on the teens and the staff struggling with impossible choices.  The film is largely divided into individual character pieces: 17-year-old Audrey, orphaned by a car crash, is in trouble for having sex with a younger boy; Novinha is spending a weekend with her mother; new intake Précieuse arrives under an emergency protection order after a domestic violence incident – and so on.  Each vignette is captured by Bailliff’s unintrusive handheld camera in docudrama style. But he also shows us the other side of the story: the care workers desperately trying to reconcile state-sanctioned edicts with the reality on the ground. There are non-professional actors here who would put a few formally-trained ones to shame Not all of it lands: a Rashomon-style structure is neither earned nor successfully realised, resulting in about ten minutes of needless repetition, and there’s also a flirtation with melodrama towards the climax. But those errors of judgment aside, ‘La Mif’ (slang for ‘the fam’) is sensitively written and superbly acted. There are non-professional actors here who would put a few of their formally-trained counterparts to shame.In UK cinemas Feb 25.

The Green Knight

The Green Knight

4 out of 5 stars

The legend of King Arthur has inspired filmmakers from Monty Python to Walt Disney, John Boorman to Antoine Fuqua, but the recent tendency has been to ground it in reality: Joe Cornish’s The Kid Who Would Be King was set on a south London council estate and Guy Ritchie’s take on it had Arthur calling everyone ‘mate’. It’s refreshing, then, to see writer-director David Lowery (A Ghost Story) lean into the fantastical elements of the anonymous fourteenth-century poem commonly known as ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. In a master stroke of colour-blind casting, Dev Patel plays Gawain, feckless nephew of King Arthur (Sean Harris), who rashly accepts a challenge from the eponymous enchanted warrior, beheading him and agreeing to receive a similar blow in a year’s time. As the momentous day approaches, however, Gawain begins to have misgivings – as well he might – and his journey to the Green Knight’s realm takes on an increasingly doom-laden dimension. A tale told mainly via startling visuals requires an actor with a singularly expressive face, and Patel rises to the challenge. He strips away knightly courage to reveal the fear lurking behind every so-called ‘hero’. Lowery wittily interprets the original text, adding a sexual dimension and a better ending, and only once strays close to Python terrain (when the ever-brilliant Barry Keoghan pops up as a lolloping scavenger). It’s close to a cinematic holy grail. In UK cinemas and on Amazon Prime Sep 24.

Deerskin

Deerskin

4 out of 5 stars

A decade after Quentin Dupieux’s feature debut, a film (Rubber) about a sentient tire that goes on a homicidal killing spree, the French writer-director delivers another crackpot premise, one with considerably more depth to its tread. Jean Dujardin (The Artist) plays Georges, a man apparently on the verge of a mental breakdown, who drops $7,000 on a fringed deerskin jacket (with a camcorder thrown in for free), and holes up in a remote rural motel, where he convinces Denise, a bored bartender (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Adèle Haenel) who edits in her spare time (‘I put Pulp Fiction into chronological order,’ she says. ‘It sucked!’), that he is a director making an artsy film.As she starts assemble his footage, Georges begins talking to the deerskin jacket – and, in his delusion, it talks back, expressing its desire to be the only jacket that will ever be worn by anyone. What follows is a blackly comic folie à deux, in which Georges goes to ever more extreme lengths to grant the garment's single-minded desire, encouraged by his apparently guileless acolyte. Whether viewed as a treatise on mental illness, fragile masculinity, or the entitlement afforded to artists (a feeling perhaps exaggerated by the presence of Haenel, who recently stormed out of the French Oscars to protest an award given to Roman Polanski), or just a wackadoodle yarn, Deerskin works because Dupieux and Dujardin – who won an Oscar for The Artist, but is arguably even better here – present it with absolute,

The Great Buster - A Celebration

The Great Buster - A Celebration

4 out of 5 stars

Director and film historian Peter Bogdanovich fell in love with silent film star and filmmaker Buster Keaton at an early age, and that affection seeps from every frame of this heartfelt and hilarious celebration of the Great Stoneface’s life and work. At first, it looks like we’re in for a well-curated clip show, as the director and fellow fans – including Quentin Tarantino, Dick Van Dyke, Mel Brooks, Werner Herzog and many more – take us from Keaton’s childhood as part of the hugely successful vaudeville act The Three Keatons, through his screen debut as foil to Fatty Arbuckle, and on to his ten 1920s masterpieces, including ‘The General’ and ‘The Navigator’.  It’s after this purple patch, however, that the film gets interesting, as Bogdanovich explores his wilderness years at MGM – where micromanaged budgets and cookie-cutter scripts stifled Keaton’s creativity – his struggles with alcoholism, mental health issues, broken marriages, and even a broken neck, and on to his resurgent popularity in the 1960s. Fans who know Keaton’s work inside out will be amazed by the gems Bogdanovich has unearthed here, including Keaton’s less well-known but still showstopping work in a Judy Garland musical and his inventive TV commercials. Buster beginners are arguably in for an even bigger treat, and are apt to fall as hard for Keaton as Bogdanovich did over 70 years ago.  

Retratos de amor

Retratos de amor

3 out of 5 stars

Después de enfocarse en Reino Unido y Estados Unidos con The Sense of an Ending y Our Souls at Night, el escritor y director Ritesh Batra regresa a su natal Mumbai, escenario de su aclamado debut en 2013, The Lunchbox, para trabajar a partir de su propio guion, presentando un romance agridulce sobre amantes cruzados por las estrellas, con apuestas más pequeñas pero nada menos que sentimientos. Bajo presión para casarse, el fotógrafo callejero Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) persuade a Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) para hacerse pasar por su prometida. A medida que el bien intencionado trato se vuelve más complejo, se desarrolla un romance tímido a pesar de las diferencias de religión, casta y medios (Rafi duerme en un piso lleno de gente; Miloni tiene un sirviente). Puedes pensar que tiene todos los ingredientes para un musical colorido de Bollywood, pero Batra está más interesado en la realidad de la India moderna, y establece su romance de cocción lenta contra el corazón palpitante de una ciudad tan auténticamente dibujada, que casi se puede oler la comida de la calle.  Siddiqui, quien interpreta al efervescente compañero de trabajo de Irrfan Khan en The Lunchbox, es excelente, y aunque Malhotra se ve obstaculizado por un papel suscrito, su química es palpable. La historia es muy estrecha, pero la ternura en desarrollo de la pareja se presenta con sutileza, encanto y extraordinaria atención al detalle.

News (1)

‘Fight Club’ is 20 today – but does it still pack a heavyweight punch?

‘Fight Club’ is 20 today – but does it still pack a heavyweight punch?

Twenty years ago today, David Fincher’s ‘Fight Club’ landed on an unsuspecting America like a Sugar Ray uppercut. Since then, its status as a modern masterpiece is all but unchallenged. But, asks film writer David Hughes, is its assault on society’s smug complacency still as potent as it once was? ‘The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club’ Well, we don’t care much for rules. With David Fincher’s maverick masterpiece turning 20 today, we’re here to talk about ‘Fight Club’. It was released at the tail end of 1999, arguably the best year for film – at least, since 1939 – with ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Sixth Sense’, ‘The Blair Witch Project’, ‘American Beauty’, ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Magnolia’ among the game-changers. ‘This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time’ ‘Fight Club’ was one of the last films of the twentieth century, but felt like the first film of the twenty-first – a radical, subversive, controversial life lesson in which Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and his pal (Ed Norton) start a bare-knuckle boxing club in a bid to reclaim their manhood from a milquetoast life of Ikea furniture, lattes and self-improvement. Their idea catches on, and before you can say ‘I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise’, fight clubs start springing up all over America, spearheading a kind of revolution designed to shake the masses from their designer-label delirium (or ‘buying shit you don’t need to impress people you don’t like’, as Jim Uhls’s screenplay succinct

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