Get us in your inbox

Phil de Semlyen

Phil de Semlyen

Global film editor

An experienced film journalist across two decades, Philip has been Global Film Editor of Time Out since 2017. Prior to that he was News Editor at Empire Magazine and part of the Empire Podcast team. He’s a London Critics Circle member and an award-winning (and losing) film writer, whose parents were absolutely right when they said he’d end up with square eyes.

Follow Phil de Semlyen

Articles (383)

The best movies of the 21st century so far

The best movies of the 21st century so far

Movies were born in the 20th century, and the 21st century has nearly killed them. At least, that’s the common narrative. And it hasn’t seemed far from the truth: Between internet piracy, the pandemic, the rise of television as the go-to storytelling medium and the ongoing corporate consolidation that has streaming services Thanos-snapping whole swaths of their catalogues out of existence, the film industry has often felt imperilled throughout the first two decades of the new millennium.  But even among all the doom and gloom – or perhaps even because of it – film itself has continued to thrive. Perhaps it’s a stretch to say movies have never felt more vital, just given all the entertainment options that now exist at the click of the button. But it’s hard to think of a more innovative era in film history than the last two decades: genres have been mixed, matched and completely exploded; more diverse stories are being told than ever before; blockbusters have reached unfathomable hugeness; and the smallest, strangest indies have won awards and reached vast audiences. If cinema in the 21st century has been defined by tumult, it’s also exemplified the ability of filmmakers to rise to the moment, and these 100 movies represent the best of the last quarter-century so far. Written by David Fear, Joshua Rothkopf, Keith Uhlich, Stephen Garrett, Andrew Grant, Aaron Hillis, Tom Huddleston, Alim Kheraj, Tomris Laffly, Kevin B. Lee, Karina Longworth, Maitland McDonagh, Troy Patterson, Nic

The best Denzel Washington movies, ranked

The best Denzel Washington movies, ranked

Most Hollywood wannabes would trade their left arm for a fraction of the charisma Denzel Washington has been bringing to the screen for coming up to four decades. Cry Freedom, Mo' Better Blues, Philadelphia, Malcolm X, Crimson Tide, Training Day, The Tragedy of Macbeth… he’s equally adept at tackling serious stuff as giving upright leading man performances in multiplex hits. These days he’s kicking ass in The Equalizer movies, elevating basic genre fare with his megawatt star power and a raw physicality that borders on the supernatural for a 69-year-old. With Gladiator 2 still to come, here’s our pick of his 15 best performances. It’s true: King Kong ain’t got shit on him. Recommended: 🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time👀 The 20 best movies based on true stories😎 The 23 best Tom Cruise movies👩 The 12 best Angelina Jolie movies

Todos somos extraños

Todos somos extraños

Emotiva y casi indefinible. Todos somos extraños es la nueva película de Andrew Haigh, cinta que se configura como una historia fantasmal de amor y soledad que nos golpeó como un puñetazo en el abdomen. Hacia el final creemos que las lágrimas no pararán de brotar de tus ojos. Te puede interesar: 33 Museos gratis en la Ciudad de México.  Aquí conocemos a Adam (Andrew Scott), quien emprende un viaje de regreso a su infancia, busca un sentido de sí mismo y se enamora perdidamente de su misterioso vecino (Paul Mescal). Entre pisos vacíos y convivencias irrelevantes es que esta relación se va forjando.  Creemos que la cinta contiene un océano de corrientes emocionales. Adapta la novela del escritor japonés Taichi Yamada 'Strangers', pero cambia su escenario de Tokio por Londres, Haigh crea una ciudad casi imperceptiblemente desequilibrada, llena de bloques de departamentos sin alma, desconexión y soledad, además de que añade una gran cantidad de detalles autobiográficos a la historia. A pesar de todo eso, es una película llena de amor por su entorno.  Ahora, todos estos detalles e historia personal se vierten en Todos somos extraños, que completa la trilogía informal del cineasta sobre el amor, junto con 'Weekend' y '45 Years' . "Esas dos son sobre el principio y el final del amor, y esta se trata de su poder y -sin sonar idiota- su importancia cósmica", ha declarado Haigh. Para hacerla, hizo algo casi sin precedentes y filmó en su propia casa de la infancia, así como en otro luga

The 11 best films out in UK cinemas and on streaming in March

The 11 best films out in UK cinemas and on streaming in March

March at the movies is all about giant smashy apes, scaly sea monsters and supernatural demons. With ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ and ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ both stomping into view, with a host of terrified-looking A-listers quivering in their wake of their apocalyptic spectacle, things will be getting loud at the multiplex – especially with ‘Dune: Part Two’ likely to be packing in the crowds. If you like things a little more measured, Hirokazu Kore-eda is here with a soothing human drama, Ava DuVernay has a stirring new travelogue, and delightful, dialogue-less animation ‘Robot Dreams’ would like you to join it for a disco-fuelled roller skate around Central Park. Here’s what to look for.RECOMMENDED: 📽️ The best movies of 2024 (so far)📺 The best TV shows of 2024 you need to stream🏵️ The 100 greatest movies of all time

The best movies of 2024 (so far)

The best movies of 2024 (so far)

It’s still early days, but 2024 is already shaping up to be a stonking year at the cinema. Last year was a cracker, thanks to Oppenheimer, Barbie, Past Lives et al, but the next 12 months will see Denis Villeneuve delivering his long-awaited Dune sequel, George Miller back at the bullet farm with Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, a new Bong Joon-ho, and a tonne of other big-screen fare to get very, very excited about. And we’ve already been spoiled rotten, thanks to the achingly lovelorn All of Us Strangers, Yorgos Lanthimos’s riotous Poor Things, The Iron Claw, the beefcake wrestling movie with the big heart, and Dune: Part Two, the sci-fi blockbuster with the giant worms. So, the criterion for entry: some of the following movies came out in the US at the back end of 2023 – Oscars qualification requires it – but we’re basing this list on UK release dates to make sure the best movies to be in cinemas worldwide in 2024 are included. We’ll be updating it with worthy new releases as we go, so keep this list bookmarked. Anyway, enough of that – here are the year’s very best so far. RECOMMENDED: 🎥 The 100 greatest movies ever made🔥 The best movies of 2023

The best horror movies and shows of 2024 (so far) for a truly scary watch

The best horror movies and shows of 2024 (so far) for a truly scary watch

Last year, a genre usually filled with shambling zombies and sentient mounds of carnivorous goo birthed leftfield successes like M3GAN and Skinamarink, low-budget horror hits that elbowed their way to viral status, even amid the giddy fluorescence of Barbie and prestige awardsiness of Oppenheimer.  By contrast, this year’s slate of scares probably won’t catch too many people sleeping. 2024 is loaded with genre prequels, sequels and spin-offs, from MaXXXine, the third instalment of Ti West’s cult-fave franchise, to the alien-invasion terror of A Quiet Place: Day One, to the extremely-long-awaited Beetlejuice 2. But given that horror is historically a genre of small expectations and big surprises, there’s bound to be something that pops up to frighten the bejeepers out of us when we least expect it. Here’s the best of what’s freaked us out so far.  🎃 The 100 best horror films ever made 😱 The scariest movies based on a true story 💀 The best horror movies of 2023

The best TV shows of 2024 (so far) you need to stream

The best TV shows of 2024 (so far) you need to stream

Last year we bid farewell to Succession, Barry and Top Boy, fell hard for Beef, Colin From Accounts and Blue Lights. The next 12 months should help us move on – the potential impact of 2023’s writers’ strike notwithstanding – as early hits like World War II epic Masters of the Air and Mr and Mrs Smith,  Prime Video’s intoxicating mix of witty marital drama and zippy espionage caper, are already proving. Ahead are hotly-anticipated new runs of Bridgerton and Squid Game on Netflix, a third season of Industry, a sci-fi prequel in Dune: Prophecy, HBO’s barbed political satire The Regime, Park Chan-wook spy thriller The Sympathizer, and The Franchise, the latest from telly genius Armando Iannucci – among many other potentially binge-worthy offerings. But there’s only so many hours in the day and you can’t spend all of them on the sofa. Here’s our guide to the shows most worthy of your time.RECOMMENDED: 🔥 The best TV and streaming shows of 2023📺 The 100 greatest ever TV shows you need to binge

14 of the best spas in the UK

14 of the best spas in the UK

What’s better than a stay-cation? A stay-cation involving a spa, of course. If you’re looking for a bit of well-earned R&R to get away from it all, the UK is brimming with top quality spas and wellness centres to help you wind down. Hot tubs to soothe aching muscles? Check. A facial to cleanse tired skin? Yup. A deep-tissue massage to sort out all of that tension from being bent over a computer all day? Sounds good to us.  From glorious country houses to trailblazing eco-spas, lake view hot tubs and city centre hideaways, this country has it all. Don’t know where to start? Our editors have been out and about, trying and testing spas to sort the good from the fantastic. Now, all you need to do is lay out your comfy clothes and hit the road. And… breathe.  Recommended: the best wellbeing and yoga retreats in the UKRecommended: the cosiest cabins and log cabins in the UK

The best new horror movies of 2023

The best new horror movies of 2023

2023 was a big year for little horror movies. Sure, the most dominant films of the year were full of vibrant colours, cheery vibes and decades-old IP. But if the talk around the popcorn machine wasn’t about Barbie or The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it was often about some small, freaky nightmare whose budget wouldn’t cover the catering on those other blockbusters. Like M3GAN, the year’s first mega-memed movie about a doll come to life. Or Skinamarink, another viral phenomenon borne from the world’s shared childhood nightmares. Or Evil Dead Rise, the latest reboot of the splatstick franchise that somehow manages to be bloodier and more straight-up terrifying than the original. No true horror movie made much of a dent in the box office – unless you count Oppenheimer, which is certainly horrifying, but doesn’t exactly fit under the umbrella. But several scary movies insinuated themselves into the cultural conversation, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them make their way into the regular Halloween rotation, if nothing else. Here are the 16 horror movies of last year that left us the most shaken.  RECOMMENDED:  🔪 The best horror movies and shows of 2024 (so far)💀 The 100 greatest horror films of all time🔥 The best movies of 2023 (so far)📺 The best TV shows of 2023 you need to stream

The 100 best horror movies of all time

The 100 best horror movies of all time

Everyone is scared of something. It might be something specific, like spiders or snakes or heights, or something less tangible, like death or failure. But deep down, even the most posturing tough guy harbours deep-seated fears. Perhaps that explains why horror has grown into one of the most popular of all film genres. Even if a movie doesn’t necessarily touch on the things that personally scare us the most, allowing ourselves to be scared at all helps us confront and ease the anxieties and fears that keep us paralysed.   Of course, horror hasn’t always been a moneymaker. Not long ago, it was mainly a niche interest, ignored by mass audiences and shrugged off by critics. The recent artistic and commercial success of films like Get Out, A Quiet Place and Talk to Me have brought retroactive respect to a genre once synonymous with schlock. So if you’ve spent too much of your film fandom dismissing horror, consider this your guide to everything you’ve missed. Here are the 100 greatest horror movies ever made. Written by Tom Huddleston, Cath Clarke, Dave Calhoun, Nigel Floyd, Phil de Semlyen, David Ehrlich, Joshua Rothkopf, Nigel Floyd, Andy Kryza, Alim Kheraj and Matthew Singer Recommended: 🔪 The best new horror movies of 2024 (so far)🔥 The 100 best movies of all time👹 Cinema’s creepiest anthology horror movies🩸 The 15 scariest horror movies based on true stories

El TOP 5 de la cartelera de cine

El TOP 5 de la cartelera de cine

Si ya es difícil estar al día de todo lo que se puede hacer en Barcelona, imaginad estar al día de todo el cine que se puede ver en nuestra cartelera. Por eso en esta lista encontraréis nuestras cinco películas favoritas, algunas que están a punto de estrenarse y también aquellas imperdibles que no podéis dejar escapar antes de que desaparezcan de los cines (y no olvidéis consultar la lista de los estrenos del mes). NO TE LO PIERDAS: Las 51 mejores películas para ver en familia  

El TOP 5 de la cartellera de cinema

El TOP 5 de la cartellera de cinema

Si ja és difícil estar al dia de tot el que es pot fer a Barcelona, imagineu estar al dia de tot el cinema que es pot veure a la nostra cartellera! Per això en aquesta llista trobareu les nostres cinc pel·lícules favorites, algunes que s'estan a punt d'estrenar i també aquelles imperdibles que no podeu deixar escapar abans que desapareguin dels cinemes (i no us oblideu de consultar la llista de les estrenes del mes). NO T'HO PERDIS: Les 51 millors pel·lícules per veure en família

Listings and reviews (599)

Stopmotion

Stopmotion

4 out of 5 stars

If Aardman hired David Cronenberg to reboot ’80s Plasticine scamp Morph, it might look a bit like this creepy collision of body horror and stop-motion craft. It’s a wildly inventive spurt of bug-eyed British gore that pulls the innards out of the creative process. Quite literally, at some points. Game of Thrones’ Aisling Franciosi was a torrent of female rage in rape revenge thriller The Nightingale. Here, the anguish is channelled inwardly as her stop-motion filmmaker Ella Blake grasps for the inspiration to finish her puppet film, gradually losing her moorings in the process. It doesn’t help Ella’s state of mind that her twisted fairy tale is set in a tangled wood where a trembling puppet is stalked by a grotesque figure called the Ashman. Or that she lives under the shadow of her disapproving mother (Stella Gonet), a legendary animator incapacitated by a stroke and content to sit at her shoulder pointing out what she’s doing wrong. Boyfriend Tom (Tom York) is handsy rather than helpful.  ‘Great artists always put themselves into their work,’ whispers her neighbour, played with impish glee by nine-year-old Caoilinn Springall. She’s a cheery poppet who slowly morphs into a malicious muse, with the unnamed girl soon dishing out the darkest notes imaginable – at least one involving a Stanley knife. It’s a wildly inventive spurt of bug-eyed British gore  The psychological scares stem from the medium itself by debut director Robert Morgan and are underlined by composer Lola de

Out of Darkness

Out of Darkness

4 out of 5 stars

This clever entry to the things-get-freaky-in-the-woods horror canon – fellow entries: The Blair Witch Project, Dog Soldiers, The Witch, The Ritual – turns the clock back to the misty, starvation-stalked days of early man, where a band of hunter-gatherers find themselves hunted, and in one case, gathered, by something deeply malevolent.  Actually, it’s an early woman who gives the film its spine. Extraordinary’s Safia Oakley-Green plays Beyah, a fierce ‘stray’ reluctantly adopted by a small group of nomads traversing this unpromising country to find sanctuary. She gets a few crumbs of solidarity and welcome from Kit Young’s earnest wannabe-warrior that are noticeably absent from Chuku Modu’s brooding alpha and the rest of the group. Out of Darkness wisely dedicates its early scenes to establishing that tense dynamic. These Paleolithic travellers need each other… but how much? The small fault lines quickly become chasms when the nastiness breaks out. As an outsider, Beyah is the most vulnerable once they step into a forest that seems to hold some kind of demonic presence.  Why not risk death by demon when the exposure will get you anyway? Debut director Andrew Cumming makes full use of landscape and time period. Horror often has a problem with characters’ annoyingly faulty decision-making; here, their hierarchy of needs, with food and shelter to the fore, makes self-endangering choices more than believable. Why not risk death by demon when the exposure and hunger will get you

Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two

4 out of 5 stars

Beyond its breathtaking battles and galactic machinations, all soundtracked by a Hans Zimmer score in which the German composer seems to have set all the nobs turned to ‘loudest possible’, what’s most impressive about this seriously-impressive blockbuster sequel takes place beneath the surface. And it’s not the colossal sandworms. No, it’s the subtle character shifts that make Dune: Part Two cerebral as well as cacophonous. The plates are always moving in Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novels: today’s heroes are tomorrow’s pile of corpses. Denis Villeneuve, a writer-director who’s been keen to get his teeth into the tough stuff since his early work like Polytechnique (2009) and Incendies (2010), gets all this. And his screenplay, again co-written with Prometheus’s Jon Spaihts, gives us a hero’s journey with real devil in it. As a sequel, it works for the same reasons that make The Empire Strikes Back so many people’s favourite Star Wars film: there’s a darkness, a bleakness, that makes the fist-pumping moments feel all-the-more earned. There’s a sense, too, that the good guys may not win out. If they’re even good.  It opens with just that stark vision of piled corpses. The vanquished Atreides clan lies smoldering on the inhospitable landscape of Arrakis, while the treacherous Harkonnen, spearheaded by Dave Bautista’s thuggish ‘Beast’, set about harvesting the place for its spice reserves. Only Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides and his mystical Bene Gesserit mum, Jessica (Rebe

Argylle

Argylle

Oh, for the misplaced confidence of a Matthew Vaughn spy caper. With Kingsman, the Brit filmmaker made a franchise of a Nuts mag Bond movie with bum sex jokes, and judging by its sequel-baiting post-credit sting, there’ll be similar hopes for Argylle. It’d be a lot more than this cocksure but overlong and under-funny espionage action-thriller deserves. For all the efforts of a bang-on-form Sam Rockwell doing his best Jason Bourne, the endless CGI and half-developed ideas satisfy neither the eyes nor the brain.  The sorta-Hitchcockian premise – Bryce Dallas Howard’s successful spy writer gets taken for a real spy and Rockwell’s agent steps in to save her, while Bryan Cranston’s bad guys hunt her down – spawns plenty of twists, some of which make more sense than others. There are some showy fight scenes presented in the Vaughn house style (needle drops, slo-mo, more CGI). It all looks so ugly, though, and cries out for more jokes. Forget North by Northwest, this smug misfire goes south. In cinemas worldwide Feb 2.

American Fiction

American Fiction

4 out of 5 stars

The Oscars get a lot of stuff wrong – envelope mix-ups, mani cam, that whole night with James Franco and Anne Hathaway that no one ever talks about, Green Book – but they regularly redeem themselves by swinging a spotlight onto the worthy, but criminally under-heralded. And this year the Academy has seen Jeffrey Wright, too often a stalwart supporting turn on the big screen, and thought: yep, this guy can do a lot more than turn up and give Batman and 007 handy intel. And what a vehicle this adaptation of Percival Everett’s 2001 novel ‘Erasure’ is for the erstwhile Felix Leiter. It’s his meatiest, and best, film role since his breakthrough as Jean-Michel Basquiat in Basquiat three whole decades ago. In fact, it’s two of them. His worthy but low-selling writer Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison creates a literary alter ego, an ex-con called Stagg. R. Leigh, when his arm is twisted into writing a stereotypical ‘Black’ novel called ‘My Pafology’ (initially, he wants to call it ‘Fuck’). There’s no money in literature, his agent (John Ortiz) reasons. But tell a story of deprivation, drugs and crime in the ghetto, preferably involving a stretch in prison? Kerr-ching. The comic potential in this scenario is more than fulfilled. Wright is hilarious both as the bemused, cranky Monk, watching on aghast as a fellow writer (Issa Rae) reads from her phony poverty memoir ‘We's Lives In Da Ghetto’ to a rapt white audience, and when he’s going full ‘gangsta’ as the growling Leigh. It crystallises in

A Real Pain

A Real Pain

4 out of 5 stars

Kieran Culkin and Jesse Eisenberg play once-tight cousins in a road trip comedy-drama that has the latter returning to his Jewish-Polish roots to get to grips with his real family history. Culkin, just as motor-mouthed and f-bombing as Succession’s Roman Roy, but here with an extra slug of despair, is the manic yin to Eisenberg’s neurotic but compassionate yang. It’s an inspired on-screen pairing that plays to both actor’s strengths and finds space for melancholy amid some deeply awkward laughs. The set-up sees Eisenberg’s digital ad salesman David leaving his beloved wife and daughter at home to accompany Culkin’s manically exuberant Benji on a trip to Poland. The pair are tracing the younger life of their now-deceased grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, and their emotionally draining itinerary holds ghettos, concentration camps and a journey to bubbe’s hometown. So what could go wrong for a man with absolutely no filter joining a tour of Holocaust sites? Obviously, everything. In an assured debut that owes a little something to the thorny naturalism of Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip series, Eisenberg-the-filmmaker leans on Eisenberg-the-actor to keep things grounded. David is a perennial worrier, and one of his major concerns is what people around him are thinking. Being stuck with Benji, therefore, is a burden. But he worries deeply for his cousin, too, and loves him too. Culkin has the much showier role as Benji. He flips out and vacates the group’s first-class train carr

The Color Purple

The Color Purple

3 out of 5 stars

If The Producers’ Max Bialystock had been looking for a different kind of keep-the-punters-away tax avoidance scheme and decided that ‘Springtime for Hitler’ wasn’t quite on-the-nose enough, he might have staged a musical about abuse, rape and incest set in the American Deep South. Surely big show tunes sharing the stage with domestic abusers would be the kind of jarring that ensures empty seats every night and keeps the IRS at bay? Except, the massive success of The Color Purple on the Broadway stage gives emphatic, Tony-nominated lie to that notion. The pared-back 2015 revival, in particular, made an ironclad case that big songs and deep sorrows aren’t necessarily oil and water. This polished new movie version of The Color Purple, adapted from the same stage musical (itself adapted from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-winning novel), doesn’t make that case nearly as convincingly. It’s far from a ham-fisted, tasteless Bialystocky nightmare. But neither does it avoid some jarring dissonance, as Celie, a young Black woman in 1900s Georgia, goes from a deep personal hell to some hard-won peace via slickly choreographed saloon-bar stompers, banjo-picking blues numbers, and an awkwardly-staged soul ballad framed within an RKO-style dream sequence. Celie is played by American Idol breakout Fantasia Barrino, who took the role on its 2010 US tour and has the vocal and emotional range to stir the heart, even as showier characters turn up to overshadow her. The film opens with the tone-settin

The Promised Land

The Promised Land

4 out of 5 stars

The most gripping film about potato farming since The Martian, this Danish period epic has Mads Mikkelsen on imperious form as a former soldier on an impossible mission to cultivate the bleak and forbidding landscape of Jutland.  The title – its grabbier Danish name ‘Bastarden’ captures the film’s fierce spirit better – refers to a scrubby peninsular in the country’s western fringes. It’s so barren, everyone in the 18th century court of Frederick V has all but given up on it. Fortunately, there’s one thing more weathered and rugged than this forbidding landscape: Mikkelsen’s desperate army veteran Captain Ludvig Kahlen. This dogged and down-on-his-luck character has a pitch for the bigwigs: he will cultivate the land for the crown and in return, the king will ennoble him. It’s a safe bet for the crown. ‘The heath cannot be tamed’ is the received wisdom. Early scenes, framed in widescreen under leaden skies, see Kahlen grinding fruitlessly away. He builds a homestead, hiring a pair of escaped servants to help, and forlornly tries to coax life from the dead soil. Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel lets us feel the biting wind on Kahlen’s back and sense the fatigue, before ramping up the stakes with an old-fashioned villain. Enter Frederik de Schinkel (Simon Bennebjerg, extremely hissable), a local landowner who takes a jealous interest in the farmer’s progress, eager to maintain the status quo in his corner of Denmark. The Promised Land makes for a gripping man-versus-wilderness su

Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One

4 out of 5 stars

This Godzilla is one scary bastard. With a Bully XL jawline, the scale and intricate design of a Gaudi cathedral and the rage of a grumpy old codger, the subsea icon emerges from the cracks of modern blockbuster-making to remind the world that there is a much better way to make a monster flick. After US studio Legendary delivered a pair of murky and drab Godzilla flicks, not to mention Roland Emmerich’s 1998 monstrosity, it’s a joy to see the scaly icon back on home soil at Toho Studios and handled with such visual panache. Japanese VFX wizard Takashi Yamazaki (Lupin III: The First) unleashes his beast – a vast, terrifying creation capable of attacking a Ginza commuter train like a kid munching on a hotdog – via a series of superbly choreographed action sequences. Facing off against this threat is Kōichi Shikishima (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a disgraced (ie: alive) kamikaze pilot. He’s searching for redemption in the rubble of a bombed-out Tokyo, raising an orphaned baby in a platonic relationship with another young war orphan (Minami Hamabe) and earning danger money sweeping sea mines off the coast of Tokyo. Enter Godzilla and the chance to be a hero, with some help from a top weapons boffin and a few dozen courageous war veterans ready for a final do-or-die mission.Refreshingly, Goldzilla Minus One plays out mainly in broad daylight – aside from a nocturnal opening scene set in the dying embers of World War II, in which a younger, Godzooky-sized version of the kaiju battles a squa

Scala!!!

Scala!!!

4 out of 5 stars

The obvious question is why only three exclamation marks? There’s enough mayhem, mischief and subversive tales crammed into this winningly lo-fi documentary – and the London cinema it memorialises – to warrant slinging at least a couple more onto the title.  London’s legendary Scala Cinema, which closed its doors for the last time in 1993, was never a place to settle down for a quiet night of movie watching. Filmgoers could feel the Tube trains rattling by below them, the toilet cubicles would often shake with semi-furtive activity, and at one of the legendary all-nighters, someone found a corpse. Huston and Roy, the cinema’s cats, would patrol around, terrifying the unwary or high. Across 15 years and 40,000 screenings, it was a place where life would imitate art in all sorts of colourful ways – even when you were watching a John Carpenter movie – and it gets the kind of lovingly gonzo elegy it deserves via this entertaining documentary.  Scala!!! is made by ex-Time Out-ers Jane Giles, a former Scala programmer, and Ali Catterall with a scrapbook-and-sticky-tape aesthetic very much in keeping with its subject. Old Scala-heads like Ralph Brown (Danny from Withnail and I) and Adam Buxton are welcomed back into their old haunt for enjoyable on-camera reminiscences. John Waters even pops up from his San Francisco apartment with some typically entertaining observations and memories (‘A country club for criminals and lunatics and people who were high,’ is how the American auteur d

Wish

Wish

3 out of 5 stars

Not a glorious centenary classic but hardly the egregious bomb of repute either, Wish is Disney celebrating its 100th birthday in so-so style. It’s a normcore fairy tale with a bare-bones plot that gestures at bygone classics like Pinocchio without doing enough to be worthy of comparison. I enjoyed its colourful world-building, the sparky voice cast – especially Ariana DeBose as the hero, Asha, and Chris Pine’s Trumpy villain – and a faint socialist message that might have Walt turning in his grave.Pine, especially, is a lot of fun as the voice of Magnifico, the preening, petulant ruler of the Mediterranean kingdom of Rosas. With his manicured looks and dark sorcery, he’s like Saruman with a better grooming regimen. He secrets away the deepest wishes of his subjects – given physical embodiment as bulbs of light – in his tower, promising to grant them all... eventually.  Of course, as 17-year-old Asha (West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose) quickly discovers, he’s intent on keeping them all for himself. Which, as Disney villain plans goes, isn’t quite up there with turning puppies into a coat or putting a curse on a baby, but still galvanises Asha into summoning a wish-granting Star from the firmament to bring justice to the land. The preening Magnifico is like Saruman with a better grooming regimen Despite the passive nature of his foul(ish) scheme, Magnifico is Disney’s best villain since Tangled. The screenplay, by Allison Moore and Frozen’s Jennifer Lee, makes him a populist ty

Napoleon

Napoleon

3 out of 5 stars

Like a Michelin-starred meal that someone forgot to season, Ridley Scott’s beefy account of Napoleon’s rise to power looks great, is served with some panache, but crucially lacks flavour. The legendary Brit – who kicked off his career with a more bite-sized but much saltier Napoleonic tale in The Duellists – is already promising a four-hour director’s cut. This might be one of those rare occasions where another 80 minutes makes all the difference. Napoleon has too much history and not enough story. In a performance that lacks dynamism, Joaquin Phoenix gets 32 years of Napoleon Bonaparte’s life to embody, from witnessing Marie Antoinette’s execution to dying in exile in the South Atlantic. But by prioritising a conveyor belt of battles, coups and revolutions over a more forensic investigation of its subject, the film too often leaves him feeling more like a passenger than instigator. Aristocratic beauty Josephine de Beauharnais is Napoleon’s – man and movie – main preoccupation. Played with a feline purr by Vanessa Kirby, her poise and elegance reduces the great man to gawkiness, then boyish jealousy, and finally frustration at her inability to provide him with a son. Napoleon has great fun with Boney’s frisky bedchamber antics – he signals his desire like a pig hunting for truffles – but doesn’t give Josephine much inner life as a reward for putting up with all the amateurish thrusting. There are lots of enjoyable historical details here – some of which may have happened; oth

News (480)

Austin Butler: ‘How did I get into my character’s headspace? Death metal’

Austin Butler: ‘How did I get into my character’s headspace? Death metal’

Goth-pale, with the gnashers of a vampire and the blackened mouth of a man who probably gargles with bitumen, ‘Dune: Part Two’s Feyd-Rautha is Oscar-nominee Austin Butler as you’ve never seen him. Elvis has most definitely left the building and one of Frank Herbert’s most disturbing creations – the Harkokken house’s psychopathic angel of death and nephew of Stellan Skarsgård’s superbad baron – has entered. Leaning forward to tackle my questions about his character, those Oscar experiences and his love of London slang, Butler is just about the least Harkonnen-y person you could imagine. He exudes both chill California energy and movie star charisma, with the soft west-coast burr of a man who doesn’t need to strain to be heard these days, an absurdly excellent head of hair and a YSL suit that really only he could pull off. Butler has been acting since he was a kid, after being talent-spotted as a 13-year-old at California’s Orange County Fair. He’s 32 now and has the world at his feet, with that Oscar nod for his hyper-kinetic Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ putting him on the map, and a cool-as-ice Gary Cooper-like turn in Apple TV’s ‘Masters of the Air’, and now a key role in Denis Villeneuve’s epic ‘Dune’ sequel.  Photograph: Warner Bros.Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha with Léa Seydoux’s Lady Margot in ‘Dune: Part Two’ Denis Villeneuve has described your character as a cross between ‘a psychopathic killer and Mick Jagger’. Did you watch a lot of Rolling Stones videos

One Day soundtrack: the full tracklist for the Netflix drama by episode

One Day soundtrack: the full tracklist for the Netflix drama by episode

Our pick of the best streaming show of 2024 so far, Netflix’s One Day is the complete package: romantic, funny, moving and beautifully acted, especially by its leads Ambika Mod as Emma and The White Lotus’s Leo Woodall as her on-off partner Dexter. The soundtrack is also highly bingeable, with a crate loads of acid house classics, mop-topped ’90s indie tunes and Britpop anthems, as well as some proper cheese.Unusually, it’s thanks partly to ‘One Day’ author David Nicholls that it’s turned out to be a great show to listen to as well as watch. ‘In the novel, there’s a bit where Dexter is going through boxes and he finds an old compilation tape Emma did for him back in 1989. That prop, for me as a novelist, was fun to work out. Over the years that morphed into an 80-song playlist,’ he explains. ‘Beyond that, I thought it would be useful to know what Emma and Dex were listening to. I have all of their record collections, which was something that I dipped into when we were compiling the soundtrack as well.’ Nicholls and music supervisor Matt Biffa out there heads together – and occasionally butted them – to come up with the definitive One Day setlist you see below.‘I was absolutely adamant that we should use the Pixies, that we should use Blur, that we should use Radiohead,’ Biffa remembers. ‘I really wanted to use Oasis, but I think that was a step too far.’ Oh, and in case you’re wondering, ‘Brimful of Asha’ made the cut. Because everyone needs a bosom for a pillow. Episode 1 Yo

Ya hemos visto 'Dune: Parte 2', la atronadora respuesta de Denis Villeneuve a 'El Imperio contraataca'

Ya hemos visto 'Dune: Parte 2', la atronadora respuesta de Denis Villeneuve a 'El Imperio contraataca'

Más allá de sus impresionantes batallas y maquinaciones galácticas, todo con una banda sonora de Hans Zimmer en la que el compositor alemán parece haber puesto todos los potenciómetros al máximo de volumen, lo más impresionante de esta secuela de gran éxito de taquilla tiene lugar bajo la superficie. Y no son las colosales lombrices de tierra. No, son los sutiles cambios de carácter los que hacen que 'Dune: Parte dos' tan cerebral como cacofónica. Todo es movedizo en las novelas de ciencia ficción de Frank Herbert: los héroes de hoy son el montón de cadáveres de mañana. Denis Villeneuve, un escritor y director que ha querido clavar los dientes en lo difícil desde sus primeros trabajos como 'Polytechnique' (2009) e 'Incendies' (2010), lo consigue. Y su guion, de nuevo escrito conjuntamente con Jon Spaihts ('Prometeo'), nos ofrece un viaje de héroe con auténtica maldad dentro. Como secuela, funciona por los mismos motivos que hacen que 'El Imperio contraataca' sea la película preferida de 'Star Wars' para tanta gente: hay una oscuridad, una desolación, que hace que los momentos potentes se disfruten más. También da la sensación de que los buenos no ganan. Si es que son buenos. Se abre con la cruda visión de cadáveres hacinados. El vencido clan Atreides humea en el paisaje inhóspito de Arrakis, mientras los traidores Harkonnen, encabezados por la 'bestia' de Dave Bautista, emprenden el control de las reservas de especias. Solo el Paul Atreides de Timothée Chalamet y su mística

Ja hem vist 'Dune: Parte 2', l'eixordadora resposta de Denis Villeneuve a 'L'Imperi contraataca'

Ja hem vist 'Dune: Parte 2', l'eixordadora resposta de Denis Villeneuve a 'L'Imperi contraataca'

Més enllà de les seves impressionants batalles i maquinacions galàctiques, tot amb una banda sonora de Hans Zimmer en la qual el compositor alemany sembla haver posat tots els potenciòmetres al màxim de volum, el més impressionant d'aquesta seqüela de gran èxit de taquilla té lloc sota la superfície. I no són els colossals cucs de terra. No, són els subtils canvis de caràcter els que fan que 'Dune: Parte dos' tan cerebral com cacofònica. Tot és movedís a les novel·les de ciència-ficció de Frank Herbert: els herois d'avui són la pila de cadàvers de demà. Denis Villeneuve, un escriptor i director que ha volgut clavar les dents en les coses difícils des dels seus primers treballs com 'Polytechnique' (2009) i 'Incendis' (2010), ho aconsegueix. I el seu guió, de nou escrit conjuntament amb Jon Spaihts ('Prometeu'), ens ofereix un viatge d'heroi amb autèntica maldat dins. Com a seqüela, funciona pels mateixos motius que fan que 'L'Imperi contraataca' sigui la pel·lícula preferida de 'Star Wars' per a tanta gent: hi ha una foscor, una desolació, que fa que els moments potents es gaudeixin més. També fa la sensació que els bons no guanyen. Si és que són bons. S'obre amb la visió crua de cadàvers amuntegats. El vençut clan Atreides fumeja en el paisatge inhòspit d'Arrakis, mentre els traïdors Harkonnen, encapçalat per la 'bèstia' de Dave Bautista, emprenen el control de les reserves d'espècies. Només el Paul Atreides de Timothée Chalamet i la seva mística mare Bene Gesserit, Je

Where was ‘Wicked Little Letters’ filmed? The real-life filming locations in Sussex

Where was ‘Wicked Little Letters’ filmed? The real-life filming locations in Sussex

A movie that could be budgeted from its own swear jar, period comedy-drama ‘Wicked Little Letters’ will be turning the air blue when it lands in UK cinemas this weekend. Based on real life events that took place in early 1920s England, the film stars Jessie Buckley and Olivia Colman as two acquaintances whose relationship is poisoned by a series of abusive letters. It’s all set in Littlehampton, Sussex, where the events actually took place – a seaside town that became the focus of a whole nation when the mystery behind the poison-pen letters reached the newspapers. Directed by Thea Sharrock (‘Me Before You’) and penned by writer-comedian Jonny Sweet, the film used a little production magic to bring ’20s Sussex back to life on screen – whispering neighbours, busy police constables, inquisitive broadsheet hacks and all. Here’s how they did it.  Photograph: Parisa Taghizadeh/StudioCanal‘Wicked Little Letters’ was filmed in the Sussex town of Arundel Where is Wicked Little Letters filmed?  The films centres around the toxic relationship between Littlehampton’s pious Edith Swan (Colman) and Irish single mum Rose Gooding (Buckley), the woman she accused her of sending a series of insulting and obscene letters. Investigating police officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) quickly realises that Rose may not be the culprit.Rather than shoot in Littlehampton itself, a radically different-looking town a century on, the production used the nearby Sussex towns of Arundel and Worthing to recre

‘Barbie’, Emma Stone and ‘The Zone of Interest’ win at the UK’s feminist film awards

‘Barbie’, Emma Stone and ‘The Zone of Interest’ win at the UK’s feminist film awards

The UK’s feminist film awards took place in London last night and there were wins for ‘Barbie’, Emma Stone and ‘The Zone of Interest’ in the field of female and non-binary-led filmmaking. Organised by the Girls On Film podcast, the awards took place at Regent Street Cinema and rewarded ‘excellence in women-focused films in the fields of diversity, inclusion and the representation of women and people of marginalised genders’. The Fiction Feature Award was won by Celine Song’s ‘Past Lives’ and the Feature Documentary Award went to ‘Kokomo City’. ‘Barbie’ won the Production Design and Publicity Awards, while Emma Stone picked up the Female Orgasm on Screen Award, sponsored by Intimacy On Set, for ‘Poor Things’, whose costume designer Holly Waddington also won in the Costume Design category.  Molly Manning Walker won the Cinematography Award for ‘Scrapper’ and the Composer Award went to Mica Levi for ‘The Zone of Interest’. The Female Friendship went to drama ‘Nyad’ for its depiction of 64-year-old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad (Annette Bening) and her friend and coach Bonnie Stoll (Jodie Foster) The awards were hosted by Girls on Film co-founders Anna Smith and Hedda Lornie Archbold, with ‘Typist Artist Pirate King’ actor Monica Dolan, Mark Kermode and ‘Rocks’ director Sarah Gavron among the presenters.The winners and commendations in full: Fiction Feature Award, Sponsored by EON Productions – PAST LIVESDocumentary Feature Award – KOKOMO CITYFemale Friendship Award  – NYADEnsemble

The BBC is airing a devastating new documentary about Sarah Everard

The BBC is airing a devastating new documentary about Sarah Everard

The murder of Sarah Everard by an off-duty police officer in March, 2021, shook London – and Londoners – to the core. The shockwaves from the 33-year-old’s brutal death at the hands of Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer, still reverberate, with public trust in the Metropolitan Police plummeting since the crime and the subsequent handling of the Clapham Common vigil in Everard’s memory. Recent polling shows that only four percent of young women in London have a high level of trust in the Met.   A new documentary, ‘Sarah Everard: The Search For Justice’, will air on BBC One and promises to shine new light on the crime and its bitter fallout. The  60-minute programme will look into the 33-year-old London marketing executive’s murder and expose ‘how this devastating crime unfolded’. The production team has had Sarah Everard’s parents to call on in its research. They’ve expressed their hope that the doc will ‘contribute to the ongoing dialogue’ around violence against women’ and the policing of these kinds of cases. ‘They hope that it will bring increased focus to issues of women’s safety, and abuse of power by police and others in positions of authority,’ says the BBC. ‘The murder of Sarah Everard sent shockwaves across the country and ignited an urgent conversation about police failings and violence against women and girls,’ says Emma Loach, BBC lead commissioning editor for documentaries.  Also lending their voices to this bleak but critical London story will be the senior

Is ‘Ordinary Angels’ a true story? Inside the miracle movie with surprising origins

Is ‘Ordinary Angels’ a true story? Inside the miracle movie with surprising origins

Hitting US cinemas on February 23 is a film that can’t fail to make a splash. Not only does Ordinary Angels boast an Oscar-winner as its lead, but it has an eager in-built audience ready to head to the cinema. It’s the latest release to emerge from a partnership between mainstream film studio Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company, a US production house making Christian movies. Last year’s Jesus Revolution told the true-life story of an evangelical pastor from California (The Kissing Booth’s Joel Courtney); this time it’s a race-against-time story, with Hilary Swank playing a woman battling to save a young girl from critical illness – and taking on the elements in the process.   Photograph: Lionsgate Is Ordinary Angels based on a true story? Yes, the film is inspired by real events that took place in Louisville, Kentucky during the depths of the biting winter of 1994. A hairdresser called Sharon Stevens (Swank) met a roofer called Ed Schmitt (Alan Ritchson, Reacher), a widower whose five-year-old daughter, Michelle, is in urgent need of a liver transplant.  The call finally came through that a new liver was ready. The wrinkle? It was in Omaha and the whole state was in the grip of the so-called ‘Kentucky Blizzard’, with temperatures as low as 22 below and 16 inches of snow on the ground. With highways closed and the clock ticking on the organ’s viability, Sharon sprang into action, galvanising the local community to carve out a helicopter pad on the town’s snowbound car park a

Wicked Little Letters: inside the surprising true story behind the comedy

Wicked Little Letters: inside the surprising true story behind the comedy

The concept of trolling long predates the era of Twitter – sorry, ‘X’ – and other social media feeds. Back in the day, there wasn’t even a character limit on an anonymous poison-pen missive slipped through a letterbox, or a doxxing parchment pinned to the town hall notice board, so you could really get stuck in. Anonymity, however, was a lot trickier to maintain when things needed to be delivered in person. Which is what makes it so intriguing that Jessie Buckley and Olivia Colman’s new comedy, Wicked Little Letters, is based on a real-life incident in the English seaside town of Littlehampton. Back in the 1920s, two women clashed over a series of sweary letters. Read on for the full story. Warning: contains spoilers for Wicked Little Letters. Is Wicked Little Letters based on a true story?  In 1920 a series of anonymous and obscene letters started landing on the doormats of residents of the Sussex town. The main recipient was a sanctimonious lady called Edith Swan (played by Colman in the film), with insults ranging from 'cow' to ‘whore’ being lobbed her way. And they got fruitier as they went. ‘The cakes you make look like they’ve fallen out of some fucking sheep’s fucking arsehole’ was one of the more specific dissing on offer. And bear in mind that it was considered improper for women to utter even the mildest curse word in those judgy Edwardian times.The finger was quickly pointed at a larger-than-life, sweary Irish woman called Rose Gooding (Buckley). The Daily Mail new

Where was ‘True Detective: Night Country’ filmed? Inside the filming locations for season 4

Where was ‘True Detective: Night Country’ filmed? Inside the filming locations for season 4

Murder-mysteries are so hot right now. Post-White Lotus, Knives Out and the Poirot revival, you can turn the channel without encountering a surprising corpse and a small army of sleuths sniffing around for a culprit… and we’re so very here for it. One murder-mystery that’s more icy cold than red-hot is season four of HBO’s mercurial True Detective series. Originally created by Nic Pizzolatto and getting off to a flyer with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey’s cops slipping down an occult rabbit hole in its first season, it’s gone off the boil a bit since then. But the new fourth season, written and directed by Issa López, set in a perma-dark Alaskan town and starring Jodie Foster, is a major return to form. Read on to find out the who’s, what’s, and, most specifically, where’s of True Detective: Night Country.  Photograph: ShutterstockThe northern Alaskan town of North Slope Borough was an inspiration for Ennis Is Ennis, Alaska a real place?  Do not head to Google Maps, because there’s no such place as Ennis. Like Northern Exposure’s town of Cicely, Ennis is a purely fictional Alaskan settlement that was created for the show. If you’re looking for the next best thing, and don’t mind a very long schlep, North Slope Borough, a town on the most northern point of Alaska that has a 50 percent indigenous population, is a major inspiration for Ennis. Photograph: ShutterstockThe Icelandic town of Akureyri is a location in ‘True Detective: Night Country’ Where was True Detect

Shush! Mike Leigh’s super-secret new film has a name and a first pic

Shush! Mike Leigh’s super-secret new film has a name and a first pic

Well, he kept that quiet... After a six-year absence from our screens, Mike Leigh has a new film coming out this year – and he’s just revealed the title and shared a first still to give a flavour of what to expect. Thus-far under wraps, ‘Hard Truths’ will reunite Leigh with his ‘Secrets & Lies’ star Marianne Jean-Baptiste in a ‘tough but compassionate intimate study of family life’ set in contemporary London. Michele Austin, another ‘Secrets & Lies’ alumni, is co-starring.It’s Leigh’s first film since ‘Peterloo’ in 2018 and 2014’s ‘Mr Turner’ prior to that, and sees the filmmaker back mining a similar vein of modern-day urban drama as ‘Another Year’, ‘Secrets & Lies’ and Naked’. There’s word on an official release date yet, but it will be in cinemas in the UK and US in 2024. What happened to the house in Mike Leigh’s ‘Naked’?The 100 best British films ever made

‘The Zone of Interest’ wins big at this influential London film awards

‘The Zone of Interest’ wins big at this influential London film awards

The Oscars may still be a way off but this year’s awards season is officially in full swing. Last night, the 44th London Critics' Circle Film Awards dished out its biggest prize to ‘The Zone of Interest’, Jonathan Glazer’s Holocaust drama. ‘The Zone of Interest’ won Best Film and Best Director for Glazer, while ‘Past Lives’ picked up Best Foreign Language Film, and Andrew Haigh’s ‘All of Us Strangers’ won The Attenborough Award for British/Irish Film of the Year. After being surprisingly overlooked at the BAFTA nominations, Andrew Scott got some richly deserved recognition for his work in ‘All of Us Strangers’, winning Best Actor. His co-star Paul Mescal won British/Irish Performer for his work across 2023, also including ‘God’s Creatures’, ‘Foe’ and ‘Carmen’ Emma Stone won Best Actress for her equally stellar performance as ‘Poor Things’ ingénue Bella Baxter. Da'Vine Joy Randolph won Best Supporting Actress for ‘The Holdovers’, and Charles Melton won Supporting Actor for ‘May December’ – some consolation after missing out on an Oscar nomination. Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy and the Heron’ won the new Animated Film award, and Mstyslav Chernov’s ‘20 Days in Mariupol’ won Documentary of the Year. The London Critics' Circle Film Awards are voted by UK film critics – Time Out included – and represent the UK's longest-standing critics organisation.  The winners in full:  Film of the Year‘The Zone of Interest’ Foreign Language Film of the Year‘Past Lives’ Director of the YearJonathan