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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.

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Articles (335)

The best films out in UK cinemas and on streaming in February

The best films out in UK cinemas and on streaming in February

While February can sometimes be light on exciting new releases, this month offers a vibrant line-up of must-see new films – in cinemas and on streaming. There are comebacks galore, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicking back into gear with a third ‘Ant-Man’ movie, returns for three auteurs of different stripes in Sarah Polley, Hirokazu Kore-eda and M Night Shyamalan and a big-screen debut for Idris Elba’s John Luther. The Brendan Fraser renaissance – ‘the Brenaissance’ – lands in UK cinemas with ‘The Whale’, while ‘Saint Omer’, ‘Blue Jean’ and ‘The Strays’ signal the arrival of exciting new talents. And if none of those do it for you, ‘Cocaine Bear’ would like a word. RECOMMENDED: The most anticipated movies of 2023The 100 best movies of all time

The 100 best movies of all time

The 100 best movies of all time

Warning: the list you’re about to read is guaranteed to raise your blood pressure, make your veins bulge and possibly rupture your larynx screaming, ‘What the hell are these idiots thinking?!’ That’s the nature of publishing an article about the greatest movies of all-time. Any discussion about movies inevitably gets heated, and that’s a good thing. Few artistic mediums generate the same kind of passion among its most strident fans as cinema. Sure, music, literature and television can get folks riled up, too. But something about film is different. Movies live with us in a way great songs and books don’t. They shape who we are and how we see the world. Watch a favourite movie enough, and gradually it doesn’t just become a creature comfort or a nostalgic trigger – it almost becomes a lived-in experience. And so, yes, if you read a list of the greatest movies ever made, and your fave isn’t on there, well, people can get a bit annoyed. Mad, even. We welcome it, though, because as you’ll read, we’re passionate, too. (Although if you must yell at us, please remain civil.) We cannot guarantee this list lines up perfectly with your own personal canon. But when it comes to genres, eras, countries and content, you’ll find a little bit of everything, from blockbusters to art films, cult classics to slapstick comedies, bloody actioners to even bloodier horror flicks. Even while trying to cover all our bases, there’s surely something that’ll set you off for one reason or another. And that

The 18 greatest stunts in movie history

The 18 greatest stunts in movie history

Stunt professionals put their bodies, and sometimes even their lives, on the line daily to pull off the coolest action beats in massive blockbusters. There’s no Oscar for it and they rarely get to walk the red carpet taking the plaudits, but make no mistake, they’re the lifeblood of many of our favourite movies. And if you sell ice packs, they’re probably your number one customers. Thanks to VFX, the way action movies are made has changed radically since the madcap silent era days of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd clinging precariously to buildings. But one thing has stayed the same: it’s still a job for tough, daring and visually inventive people seeking new ways to keep audiences slack-jawed and on the edge of their seats. There is one more thing that unites them: they’re passionate movielovers, to a man and woman, who regularly look to cinema’s past for inspiration. To celebrate their work – and kick off Time Out’s Action Month – we asked some of the most respected, experienced stunt people in cinema, including bona fide legends like Vic Armstrong and Simon Crane, to pick a stunt or sequence that they love above all others, and give an expert’s view of how it was pulled off. And guess what? They love Jackie Chan even more than the rest of us. RECOMMENDED: 💥 The 101 greatest action movies ever made👊 The 30 best fight scenes ever filmed

The 101 best action movies of all time

The 101 best action movies of all time

Action is one of cinema’s most misunderstood genres. Not that it ever hurts them at the box office – the general public loves them, of course. Among highfalutin cineastes, action movies are too often considered trashy, low-brow junk food, replacing all story and substance with eardrum-shattering explosions and mindless violence. In a lot of cases – maybe even most of them – that characterisation is certainly true. But anyone who’s ever allowed their senses to get shattered by the booms, blasts and breaking bones of a truly great action movie knows that there are few moviegoing experiences that can compare.   Also, not all action movies need be loud and dumb. The right director can choreograph violence with almost balletic grace, while the right actors actually make you care about the person trying to outrun the bullets and the bombs. This list of the greatest action films ever made is proof that the genre is more versatile than it appears. We polled over 50 experts in the field, from Die Hard director John McTiernan to Machete himself, Danny Trejo, along with Time Out’s writers, and the results show just how awesome and unique the best action movies can be when done correctly. Written by Eddy Frankel, Eddy Frankel, Joshua Rothkopf, Trevor Johnston, Ashley Clark, Grady Hendrix, Tom Huddleston, Keith Uhlich, Dave Calhoun, Phil de Semlyen,  Dave Calhoun & Matthew Singer Recommended: 🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time😬 The 100 best thrillers of all-time🌊 33 great disaster movie

The 30 greatest fight scenes in the movies

The 30 greatest fight scenes in the movies

Great movie dust-ups come in all shapes and sizes. Asian action cinema has blessed us with balletic beat downs that deliver high-speed martial artistry from legendary figures like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Gordon Liu; the western has chucked a thousand and one window-smashing saloon-bar rumbles into the mix, leaving Tombstone glaziers overworked and our eyeballs in need of ice packs. Then, of course, there’s the big Hollywood action movies, which send valiant heroes into action against evil baddies and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. The hero usually wins, but they’re defnitely going to take a beating first. To continue Time Out’s celebration of great action movies, we’ve dug through the medium’s greatest fight scenes to pick the best of the best: the wince-worthy smash-ups that keep us coming back for more. But first, a few criteria: improvised weapons – staffs, clubs, arm cannons, hose pipes, toasters, forks, golf clubs, etc – are all fine, but guns don’t quality here (even if one or two firearms do feature). Also omitted are boxing bouts, a whole list in itself, although the dojo is well-represented. What’s left, though, are the most impactful, visceral and spectacular examples of close combat cinema. Find a sofa, hide behind it and prepare for impact. RECOMMENDED: 🥋 The 25 best martials arts movies ever made.🧨 The 101 greatest action movies ever made.🪂 The 18 greatest stunts in cinema (picked by the greatest stunt professionals)

The 40 best Netflix original series to binge

The 40 best Netflix original series to binge

Netflix changed the streaming game – and then the game changed on Netflix. When it comes to original programming, the streamer was once pretty much the only player in town, having broken down the door to streaming becoming the dominant form of prestige TV with House of Cards way back in 2013. Obviously, the landscape is much more crowded now. But just when it seems like Netflix has been fully eclipsed by the revolution it kickstarted, something like Squid Game comes along and blows up, placing the streamer right back at the centre of the entertainment conversation. Even during its dry spells of buzz-worthy content, the company has churned out so much classic original programming that most of us won’t get to half of it in our lifetimes. So we’ve put together a list of the 40 Netflix originals series you absolutely must make time for. We’ve left out shows that originated elsewhere before the platform picked them up (sorry, Black Mirror) and we’re also sticking to scripted series (sorry not sorry, Tiger King). Happy bingeing! Recommended: 🎥 The 35 best movies on Netflix right now🔎 The best true crime documentaries on Netflix👽 The best sci-fi shows streaming on Netflix

The best murder-mystery movies to test your sleuthing skills to the max

The best murder-mystery movies to test your sleuthing skills to the max

The murder mystery has come back from the dead. Up until a few years ago, the old-school whodunnit had fallen desperately out of fashion, despite being a tentpole cinematic genre stretching back to the earliest talkies. Then came Rian Johnson’s Knives Out and it became clear that audiences were clamouring for the return of pop-culture products that test their own sleuthing skills. Now, the genre is undergoing a full-scale renaissance, from Only Murders in the Building to remakes of Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile to Knives Out’s recent discourse-starting sequel. It’s a very welcome return, particularly when you consider how accustomed we’ve all become in the last few years to half-watching movies from our couch while scrolling through our phones. It’s the ideal antidote to distracted viewing. After all, what other brand of film engages your mind and pulls you through the screen like a murder mystery? With a renaissance now in full swing, we felt it was time to round up some of the genre’s classics, along with its hidden gems. Here are 40 of the best. Contributors: Phil de Semlyen, Matthew Singer, Annette Richardson, Ashanti Omkar Recommended:🕵️ The 100 best thriller films of all time🔪 The best true crime documentaries on Netflix in the US🔥 The 100 greatest films ever made

5 lugares donde se rodó Babylon

5 lugares donde se rodó Babylon

Audaz, extravagante y llena de opulencia y exceso, Babylon de Damien Chazelle, se encuentra en algún lugar entre una carta de amor llena de adoración al viejo Hollywood y una nota escrita con un bolígrafo envenenado durante una resaca de vodka. La película sigue las trayectorias profesionales de aspirantes al cine y una superestrella del cine mudo; la estrella emergente y fiestera de Margot Robbie; el autor de la Edad de Oro de Brad Pitt; y el nuevo actor mexicano-estadounidense de Diego Calva;  y el trompetista de jazz de Jovan Adepo, pero también está lleno del fantasma del pasado de Tinseltown. Figuras legendarias como Clara Bow, Harry Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford y otros grandes del pasado acechan cada momento. Definitivamente es una llamada contundente para un viaje familiar al cine, pero su recreación de Los Ángeles de las décadas de 1920 y 1930 es espectacular: una evocación del pasado de la tierra del cine conjurado en hoteles históricos de Los Ángeles, bares chi-chi, ranchos polvorientos y al menos un espeluznante castillo abandonado al estilo Scooby-Doo en las entrañas de California. Recomendado: Diego Calva, el mexicano que protagoniza Babylon. "La forma de recrear Los Ángeles de hace 100 años es ir a las afueras de Los Ángeles de hoy, donde hay grandes extensiones de tierra virgen y campos de naranjos, y todavía se siente como un pequeño pueblo de vacas", dice Chazelle. "Queríamos encontrar lugares donde aún pudieras sentir el polvo de la preciudad que er

The 15 best World War I movies of all time

The 15 best World War I movies of all time

World War I has inspired not just some of the greatest war films, but a few of the greatest films ever made. Maybe because they’ve wrestled with complex themes of sacrifice, trauma, justice, social hierarchy, nationhood and the nature of comradeship, and eschewed simpler heroics, films like Paths of Glory, All Quiet on the Western Front and La Grande Illusion have only grown in stature over the years. And the war’s enduring place in the public consciousness has seen a new wave of Great War films, with 1917, They Shall Not Grow Old and Journey’s End, and Germany producing its biggest contribution to the canon with Netflix’s new take on All Quiet on the Western Front. To rank these films is a tricky task, so we enlisted the help of military historian, author and podcaster Paul Reed to cast an expert eye over them. A long-time interviewer of Great War veterans himself and the host of The Old Front Line podcast, he brings a unique perspective on their historical strengths – and weaknesses. 💥 The 50 best World War II movies🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time

The 100 best romantic movies

The 100 best romantic movies

‘When done right, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, better in the cinema.’ That’s Tom Hiddleston talking about romantic movies. And he has a point, doesn’t he? The best romantic films have given cinema some of its most unforgettable films and heartstopping moments. We’ve brought together more than 100 experts to choose the best romantic movies of all time, and there is something here for all lovers. Smash-hit chick flicks. Romcom faves. Forbidden love. Epic tales of lovers washed away by the tide of history. 1980s teen classics that you still see through 15-year-old eyes. Heartbreaking films that we defy you to watch without sobbing. Feeling saucy? Here are the best romantic hotels to book in Melbourne.

50 películas que hay que ver al menos una vez en la vida

50 películas que hay que ver al menos una vez en la vida

Cada uno tiene sus preferencias, así que cualquier debate sobre cuáles son las mejores películas de todos los tiempos se puede alargar horas (o, en nuestro caso, toda la vida). ¿Puede haber alguna lista que las agrupe a todas? Es difícil, pero hemos intentado incorporar desde las revoluciones cinematográficas más clásicas hasta las más modernas, grandes estrenos, todos los géneros, países, épocas... cine para todos los gustos, haciendo equilibrios entre la racionalidad y el sentimentalismo. El reto ha sido enormemente complicado, pero no nos hemos podido resistir a elaborar una buena lista, nuestra lista. Decidnos hasta qué punto nos hemos equivocado. ¡Y, ah, prohibido repetir directores! RECOMENDADO: Las 50 mejores películas para ver en familia. 

The 34 best films of 2022

The 34 best films of 2022

It’s not been your standard, regular, common-or-garden year at the movies so far. The slate of big new movies remains a little (okay, a lot) skinnier than usual and release dates have continued to shift, with more than one big release decamping to the safer surrounds of 2023. But even the lingering impact of Covid hasn’t stopped it being an often crowd-pleasing, occasionally electrifying six months so far. From awards picks like Parallel Mothers and Licorice Pizza, to virtuoso indie gems like British chef thriller Boiling Point and Aftersun to popcorn perfection like RRR and Top Gun: Maverick, there’s been much to celebrate. Here’s our best of the best of the year to date. RECOMMENDED:📺 The best TV and streaming shows of 2022 (so far)😬 The best thriller films of all-time🤣 The best funny films of all-time🌏 The best foreign films of all-time

Listings and reviews (511)

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

4 out of 5 stars

Nan Goldin is angry. The artist-photographer, a landmark figure in the 1970s counterculture of New York, became an opioid addict when she was prescribed OxyContin for tendonitis in 2014. A few days later she was taking 15 pills a day and en route to an early grave. She recovered but hundreds of thousands of her compatriots haven’t been as lucky. The company, Purdue Pharma, that injected this deadly prescription drug into the nation’s bloodstream made the morally corrupt Sackler family filthy rich. So the fact that it pumped its ill-gotten profits into reputation-washing via sponsorship of major galleries makes it all even more personal. Laura Poitras’s gripping documentary distils that fury perfectly. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is part-candid biography, part-career retrospective and part-activism procedural. It’s full of fly-on-the-wall reportage of Goldin’s campaign to take down the corrupt, venal Sacklers. They are hateful people and you’re invited to share her righteous fury. ‘As long as there’s a jail,’ she spits, ‘they should be in it.’ The film follows Goldin and her co-campaigners at P.A.I.N. (‘Prescription Addiction Intervention Now’) as they try to make that happen. They plan and execute PR stunts at those Sackler-sponsored New York galleries. Poitras’s camera is there to capture a cloud of fake prescriptions that flutters down through the Guggenheim’s spiral ramps, stopping gallery-goers in their tracks. It’s a kind of agitprop art in itself, but with a purpos

Enys Men

Enys Men

4 out of 5 stars

Mark Jenkin’s intricately hand-made, black-and-white debut, Bait, was a gentrification drama laced with bone-dry wit that looked like an antique but delivered a seriously modern wake-up call to a class-ridden society.  The Cornishman’s equally eye-catching follow-up is cut from the same folklore-influenced cloth but serrates Bait’s homemade aesthetic into a jagged yet spectral horror. You don’t so much watch it as become slowly enveloped by its miasmic atmosphere.Set in 1973, Enys Men (pronounced ‘mane’) takes its name from the eerie stone statue that stands lonely vigil on a small island a boat’s ride from the Cornish coast. It’s uninhabited but for one wildlife expert, known only as The Volunteer (British telly veteran Mary Woodvine), who diligently monitors a strange, alien-looking flower that grows on its clifftops.  A transistor radio is her only link to the mainland, and our only source of dialogue and information. Enys Men is an exposition-free zone, beyond snatched radio reports about an old seafaring tragedy that’s been memorialised by that stone monolith. Eerie, post-synched sound design, fractured, Nicolas Roeg-like editing, and desaturated colours – Jenkin shot on grainy 16mm colour film stock and injects sudden bursts of red into the frame – amplify the building dread that seeps through the screen. A rocky, gorse-coated landscape that looks serenely beautiful in the first half of the film becomes hostile in the second.  You don’t so much watch it as become slowl

EO

EO

5 out of 5 stars

Okay, hands up: who had a donkey on their bingo card as the breakout movie star of 2023? The little mule at the centre of this intensely life-enriching, gloriously shot, sometimes acid-trippy parable about the tumultuous life of one beast of burden in modern-day Europe proves that you don’t need words to be captivating on screen.  Like Winnie the Pooh’s doleful pal, Eeyore, EO’s name is taken from the braying noise he sometimes uses to alert the world to moments of mild displeasure. It’s a rare sound – this is a pretty chilled donkey – although his unfortunate tendency to make a dash for it when no one is looking cascades him from one uncertain episode to the next. The film begins in a Polish circus and takes in long-haul truck journeys, treks through fairy-tale forests, and stints on farms and horse racing stables. The latter comes to an abrupt end when he inadvertently knocks over, well, everything in his stable. Like all silent film stars worth their salt-lick, EO is a master of slapstick.  But Polish arthouse veteran Jerzy Skolimowski, who has scratched out such dark depictions of the human soul as 1970’s psychosexual shocker Deep End, hasn’t lost his edge down the years. He directs with endless compassion but zero sentimentality, reflecting the ugliness of the world through the imponderable eyes of this little donkey.Amid the widescreen European landscapes come vivid jolts of violence: pissed-up football thugs bearing crowbars and a sudden, heartstopping murder. EO is ma

M3GAN

M3GAN

4 out of 5 stars

How great would it be to buy your child a self-aware A.I. companion that comes equipped with deep-fake empathy, weird silicone skin akin to a Thunderbirds character, eyes like surveillance cameras and hands that can either hug like a sister or grip like a vice?  Obviously, it would be entirely terrible, a fact of which this deliciously spiky comedy-horror is all too aware – even if its dopey, tech-trusting characters take a while to twig. Fusing a blend of broad satire and the kind of vague plausibility that was once a hallmark of Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fis, M3GAN rollicks along with all the slickness and shocks you’d expect from a film produced by Insidious’s James Wan. It always keeps you in on the joke – and it’s a killer joke. The title takes its name from the prototype doll rebuilt by roboticist and toy inventor Gemma (Allison Williams) to help salve her niece Katy’s (Violet McGraw) grief after the death of her parents. In truth, the creepy doll is as much designed to get the little tyke off her case and out of her pristine toy collectibles, as she adjusts to a guardianship she’s not emotionally equipped for.  A hushed whirl of data and robotics accompanies M3GAN as settles into her new surroundings and playfully connects with her young owner. Over at Gemma’s toy corporation, meanwhile, this marketable new doll is seen as a great chance to ‘punch Hasbro in the dick’. Under pressure to hit her testing deadlines, Gemma barely notices her slowly morphing into a kind of Genius

The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans

4 out of 5 stars

Steven Spielberg has been indirectly telling us about his childhood for so long he’s turned us all into amateur psychologists. From all those lost dads and the separation anxiety of Close Encounters and E.T., to the outright abandonment of Empire of the Sun and War of the Worlds, and even that pesky monkey in Raiders of the Lost Ark, we’ve felt the reverberations of his boyhood since he first called ‘action’. (Yes, his mum once bought the family a troublesome monkey). So, does The Spielbergs – sorry, The Fabelmans – bring anything new to the table? Thanks to its filmmaker’s gifts, the open-hearted storytelling and some fine performances, especially from Williams and Dano, the answer is a resounding yes. ‘I still think I make personal movies,’ Spielberg has said, ‘even if they do look like big commercial popcorn films.’ Here’s his personal movie that looks like a personal movie. On one level, it’s a slow-motion road trip film (hello, Sugarland Express) that follows young Sammy Fabelman, Spielberg’s on-screen surrogate, and his family, as work opportunities take them from New Jersey to the sun-kissed beaches and high-school antisemitism of ’60s California, via a painful period in Arizona.  It’s also a family drama full of repressed emotions, hidden secrets and difficult truths. Newcomer Gabriel LaBelle, a virtual doppelganger for the teenage Spielberg, plays witness as dad Burt (Paul Dano) disappears deeper and deeper into his career as a pioneering computer wizz and mum Mitzi

Tár

Tár

5 out of 5 stars

Chilly, severe, distancing, utterly captivating and made with formidable filmmaking IQ, Tár is a movie very much in the mold of its ever-present central character: world-renowned conductor and fully functioning sociopath Lydia Tár.  Played by an Oscar-worthy Cate Blanchett beneath a permafrost of icy disdain, she’s a character built to wander into the midst of the culture wars shooting from the hip. She feels like the creation of a filmmaker who has spent a decade or so doomscrolling on Twitter, absorbing all the vitriol and polarisation, which might be the case considering that its American writer-director, Todd Field, hasn’t been behind the camera since his arresting domestic drama Little Children back in 2006. It’s been our loss. From the moment the end credits appear, incongruously, in its opening moments, as if the film itself is tuning up, he treats us to an elegant but edgy tour of a high-art world laden with ego and hidden pitfalls. Like Black Swan, a more feverish psychological portrait set in a similarly highfalutin milieu, it charts the murky terrain where passion tips into obsession and raw ambition into something much darker.  Blanchett’s Tár is an EGOT winner who claims to have flourished under the mentorship of Leonard Bernstein. We meet her chugging pills ahead of an on-stage rendezvous with a New Yorker interviewer. It’s a scene that spells out what she wants the world to see of her, rather than who she actually is: a sanitised, low-Tár version, motivated by

Avatar: El sentit de l'aigua

Avatar: El sentit de l'aigua

4 out of 5 stars

La seqüela d''Avatar', que James Cameron ha trigat 13 anys a fer, ja és aquí, entranyablement sincera i diferent de gairebé qualsevol altra superproducció moderna que puguis veure. La meitat de la diversió consisteix a mirar d'esbrinar què estàs presenciant realment. Proporciona tal quantitat d'imatges i acció èpica que necessitareu el vostre propi port USB per absorbir-ho tot d'una sola vegada. Hi ha balenes que parlen, fades aquàtiques i una infinitat d'altres meravelles al·lucinants. Quan, mentre els crèdits avançaven, un amic em va preguntar: "Llavors, era Kate Winslet qui feia de balena?" Em va semblar una pregunta totalment raonable. Perquè consti, Winslet, una de les noves incorporacions respecte al repartiment del 2009, no interpreta la balena. Irreconeixible en forma d'avatar, és una de les líders tribals oceàniques que ofereixen refugi a l'insurgent Na'vi Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), la seva parella Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) i els tres nens (Jamie Flatters, Trinity Bliss i Britain Dalton) que han tingut des de la primera pel·lícula. Els humans han tornat a Pandora amb més idees d'explotació i tenen Sully, un William Wallace de pell blava alt com un sant Pau, al seu punt de mira. Proporcionant el yin militarista al yang espiritual de la pel·lícula, torna el coronel Quaritch (Stephen Lang). Pensàveu que era mort? Bah. El guió de Cameron només el ressuscita en forma d'avatar de Na'vi, assedegat de venjança. Es dirigeix a la jungla amb un equip fortament armat. No cal dir

Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar: The Way of Water

4 out of 5 stars

James Cameron’s 13-years-in-the-making Avatar sequel is magnificently out-there, endearingly sincere and unlike just about any other modern day blockbuster you’ll see. Half the fun comes in trying to figure out what you’re actually witnessing. In the spirit of the story’s consciousness-uploading tech, it’s such a rush of epic visuals and action, you’d need your own USB port to absorb it all in one sitting. There’s talking whales, aquatic fairies and myriad other mind-bending wonders. When, as the credits rolled, my friend turned to me and asked: ‘So, was Kate Winslet playing the whale?’ it seemed like an entirely reasonable question.  For the record, Winslet, one of the new additions to the 2009 cast, is not playing the whale. Unrecognisable in mo-cap avatar form, she’s one of the oceanic tribal leaders who offer refuge to Na’vi insurgent and all-round family man Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), his partner Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and the three kids (newcomers Jamie Flatters, Trinity Bliss and Britain Dalton) they’ve had since the first movie. Humans have returned to Pandora with more exploitation in mind and Sully, a towering, blue-skinned William Wallace, is in their sights.  Providing the militaristic yin to the movie’s spiritual yang is once again scenery-chewing leatherneck Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang). Thought he was dead? Pah. Cameron’s screenplay just resurrects him in Na’vi avatar form, thirsting for revenge on Sully. Into the jungle he heads with a heavily armed team

Strange World

Strange World

4 out of 5 stars

What have they been putting in Disney Animation’s tea? Judging by this trippy, rainbow-coloured homage to classic sci-fi, it’s something potent that rhymes with ‘jassid’. Because the studio’s 61st film is right up there with its third, 1940’s Fantasia, in its commitment to madcap visuals and a vibrant experimental streak. Exploring its bonkers world of tentacled monsters and walking rock formations are the Clade family: earnest farmer Searcher (voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal), his pilot wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union), their perma-embarrassed teenage son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) and the family’s cute three-legged dog. They’re summoned from their mountain-enclosed land, Avalonia (shades of Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon here), on a subterranean quest to save the miracle plant that powers the country. Somewhere down in the great below is Searcher’s long-missing explorer dad (Dennis Quaid), ready to provide some cross-generational tension with his beta son.As well as a beautiful-looking creation, Strange World is a nostalgic one. The opening and closing credits bookend the movie with artwork styles borrowed from 1920s pulp mags like ‘Amazing Stories’, while co-directors Don Hall (Big Hero 6) and Qui Nguyen pepper the movie with retro touchpoints. The debt to classic sci-fis like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Fantastic Voyage is there in every frame. Judging by this trippy homage to classic sci-fi, they’ve been putting something potent in Disney Animation’s tea There are som

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

4 out of 5 stars

Rian Johnson’s first Knives Out movie was a sharp-witted retooling of the old Agatha Christie template that stuck an elegant dagger into the idle snobbery of America’s moneyed types. Fittingly for these wildly unequal times, his sun-soaked, lockdown-set follow-up is more – lots more – of the same.  Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (the clunky title makes sense in context) sacrifices a little suspense in exchange for sharper satirical jabs and bigger laughs. Happily, it also plays to its biggest strength: Daniel Craig’s sleuth-for-hire Benoit Blanc, whose arch manners are a great showcase for the ex-007’s breezier side. He offers us our polite but unimpressible entrée to its ensemble of largely terrible one-percenters.  Thin-skinned tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton, channelling the ubiquituous Elon Musk) has assembled them on his private Greek island for a self-aggrandising murder-mystery game. He’s had it specially created by ‘Gone Girl’ writer Gillian Flynn, one of the movie’s many entertaining namechecks and cameos (listen out, too, for ‘Jeremy Renner’s small-batch hot sauce’ and ‘Jared Leto’s hard kombucha’). Blanc, who has been spending lockdown depressed at the lack of good cases, has been invited by a mysterious third party. Joining him on the guest list is a broadly drawn but juicily played ensemble. The two straight shooters in attendance are Bron’s loyal deputy Lionel (One Night in Miami’s Leslie Odom Jr) and the ex-business partner he once stiffed, The So

Hunt

Hunt

2 out of 5 stars

Take a conventional spy flick, pour about nine double espressos into it and you might get something like this frenetic, blood-splattered South Korean thriller. It’s a maelstrom of double and triple crossings, spent bullet casings, exploding vehicles and sudden punch-ups, all stitched loosely together via a plot that will require you to type ‘South Korean history 1980s’ into Google to have any clue what’s going on.It’s the directorial debut of Lee Jung-jae, best know outside his homeland as Squid Game’s great survivor Seong Gi-hun. Behind the camera, he struggles to match the creeping suspense of that massive Netflix hit, or its canny gear shifts. Hunt is a film stuck entirely in fifth, racing from one sudden shootout to another at the expense of the labyrinthine plot.On screen, though, Lee’s enigmatic aura is a nice fit for Park Pyong-ho, an intel operative in the South Korean equivalent of the CIA charged with tracking down a North Korean mole. Also involved is old rival Jung-do (Jung Woo-sung), whose domestic intelligence agency suspects Park’s mob of knowing more than they let on. The steady stream of sadistic torture scenes make ‘24’ look like ‘Paw Patrol’ Throw in a plot to assassinate the repressive South Korean president, the threat of a sudden North Korean invasion and an undercurrent of popular unrest and there’s altogether too much going on to tie neatly together. Sure enough, the script makes merry with its main characters’ motivations in a violent climax that mak

Enola Holmes 2

Enola Holmes 2

3 out of 5 stars

O​ut o​f all ​the ​​hundreds of ​Netflix film​s​, Enola Holmes feels the most like it belongs on the small screen. Its recreation of Victorian London – all music halls and grand saloons – looks a bit soundstagey; its sprawling cityscape suffers from an overload of CGI.  But for an evening in, it’s reliable entertainment. That’s thanks mainly to Stranger Things’ charismatic Millie Bobby Brown, whose charming, brilliant and surprisingly fighty sleuth steps out from the shadows of her more famous brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill), in a sparky story of young feminists socking it to corrupt 19th century gents and bent coppers.  The real-life Matchgirls’ strike of 1888 forms a historic backdrop for a sequel handled with pacy verve and winky fourth wall breaking by Enola Holmes director Harry Bradbeer. A sweatshop match factory where the workers are dying of typhus, and from which one girl has gone missing, is the centrifuge around which its swirl of clues, red herrings and McGuffins orbits. All fly several miles over gormless Inspector Lestrade’s head (Adeel Akhtar).Several games are afoot at once this time, with Enola tracking down the missing girl and Sherlock on the trail of a financial conspiracy, and Jack Thorne’s script juggles them nicely.  The dynamic between the conceited but caring Sherlock and the headstrong Enola is especially fun, with the film most alive when Brown and Cavill are on screen together. Helena Bonham Carter adds a helter-skelter energy as their mum and Dav

News (316)

‘Back to Black’: everything we know about the Amy Winehouse biopic so far

‘Back to Black’: everything we know about the Amy Winehouse biopic so far

It’s fair to say that the new Amy Winehouse biopic is not going down universally well with the internet so far. Back to Black began filming around London in January and the first paparazzi shots to emerge from the set have melted some corners of social media down into a big morass of rage and horror.  But judging a film by a few out-of-context pap shots snatched around London may yet prove hasty. Back to Black has a pedigree filmmaker-artist behind the camera in Sam Taylor-Wood, a friend of Winehouse’s, and the full backing of Winehouse’s estate, family and record label. Her friends and her public, however, are yet to be convinced. There’s a lot going on, in other words. Here’s what we know so far. What is the Amy Winehouse biopic ‘Back to Black’ about? According to the official blurb, the film will tackle Amy Winehouse’s (Marisa Abela) ‘vibrant years living in London in the early aughts and her intense journey to fame’.  In other words, Back to Black will chart the Grammy-winner superstar’s rise to fame, as well as her struggles with addiction, frequent run-ins with the tabloid press, and ultimately, her death from alcohol poisoning in 2011, aged just 27. Behind the camera is another Londoner, Sam Taylor-Wood, who is best known in filmmaking circles as the director of 50 Shades of Grey, Nowhere Boy and another tale of addiction, 2018’s misery-lit adaptation A Million Little Pieces. ‘The film is believed to be very much a passion project for Taylor-Johnson, who was a close fr

8 unexpected things we learned from the new Michael J. Fox documentary

8 unexpected things we learned from the new Michael J. Fox documentary

One thing the Sundance Film Festival delivers almost without fail every year is a new doc that offers startling insights about the troubled life of a much-loved public figure – or, as was the case last year, Kanye West. This year there are two to pick from: Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, about 1970s child star Brooke Shields and her bitter introduction to Hollywood, and Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, a buoyant but bittersweet portrait of the kid from Edmonton, Canada who became a Hollywood icon. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), Still charts the euphoric highs and deep lows experienced by the one-time Marty McFly and Alex P Keaton. With new interviews, archive footage, some smart reconstructions and a tonne of spiky wit and still-boyish charm, the 61-year-old looks back at his Hollywood breakthrough, that cruel Parkinson’s diagnosis and a stirring comeback story in a heart-filling story of resilience under pressure. Here are five unexpected revelations from the documentary.  Initially, he thought his Parkinson’s disease was a bad hangover Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie opens, Apocalypse Now like, with a blurrily drunken hotel room encounter with its subject. The reconstruction shows Fox waking up after a night’s drinking with his old friend and Doc Hollywood co-star Woody Harrelson, shaking and unable to focus on the finger in front of his face. ‘The trembling was a message from the future,’ Fox recalls. It turned out to be a sign of P

The Oscars nominations 2023 list in full, from ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ to ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

The Oscars nominations 2023 list in full, from ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ to ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

This year’s Oscar nominees have been unveiled and there was plenty of good news for The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once and All Quiet on the Western Front. Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s leftfield sci-fi collected 11 nominations, while Martin McDonagh’s tragicomic fable of a crumbling friendship in 1920s Ireland picked up nine.Netflix’s Great War epic All Quiet on the Western Front, the rolling stone of this year’s awards season, also proved a big hit with Academy voters across the board. Among its nine nominations were a Best Picture nod, multiple nominations in the technical categories and a Best International Feature nod, where it will surely be the hot favourite to become Germany’s first winner since 2006’s ​​The Lives of Others. There were a few big surprises, too: Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winning Triangle of Sadness picked up unexpected Best Picture and Best Director nominations, and there was a Best Actress nomination for Andrea Riseborough for the little-seen alcoholism drama To Leslie. The otherwise overlooked Women Talking will be vying against other Best Picture candidates like The Fabelmans and Everything Everywhere All at Once on March 13. Perhaps surprisingly, there were snubs for two cinema-oriented films. Both Damien Chazelle’s extravagant Hollywood epic Babylon and Sam Mendes’s ode to the Odeon, Empire of Light, were shut out in all the major categories. The Whale earned Brendan Fraser a widely-tipped Best Actor nomination but d

Six things we learned from the Oscar nominations

Six things we learned from the Oscar nominations

There were a few uplifting aspects to this year’s Oscar nominations, even aside from Riz Ahmed’s attempt to announce a Best Animated Short nod for "My Year of Dicks" with a straight face (he managed it, no one else did). Chief among them was the wide spectrum of films being celebrated, especially in the Best Picture bracket, where intimate comedy-dramas (The Banshees of Inisherin), huge-grossing legacy sequels (Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick), spiky satires (Triangle of Sadness), brilliantly out-there sci-fis (Everything Everywhere All At Once) and a Steven Spielberg joint (The Fabelmans) rub shoulders. But while it’s a lineup without the usual quote-unquote ‘villains’ – a Green Book or a Don't Look Up – it still throws up a bunch of talking points to chew over.  1. Has a #MeToo backlash been staved off with one key nomination? Well, you can’t accuse the Academy of tokenism this year… or can you? The presence of Sarah Polley’s hard-hitting feminist drama Women Talking on the Best Picture shortlist turned a very male-heavy lineup into something a little more palatable and representative. The film – a showcase of superlative performers – was snubbed in the acting categories and Polley’s Best Director omission leaves that category looking very blokey.  2. The super-rich and Putin are the villains of the year Despite a Palme d’Or win, Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness is a surprise contender in the Oscars’ Best Picture and Best Director brackets. Where Babylon’s

What’s it like to take the real-life Hogwarts Express to Scotland?

What’s it like to take the real-life Hogwarts Express to Scotland?

Forget King’s Cross and Platform 9¾ – sorry, nerds – because the real-life Hogwarts Express leaves from next door at the otherwise unlovely Euston. Twice a night, six days a week. No running through pillars required. There’s cognitive dissonance in that statement, I know. As any commuter will tell you, Euston is the place where dreams go to die. With its oft-delayed services and slabby 1960s architecture, it has the general vibe of an NCP car park that’s been cruelly stripped of all its joie de vivre. People mill about under its shiny new LCD boards on the off-chance of news from Harrow and Wealdstone.  But it was lingering under the departure board, evening after evening, waiting for my train home that the idea of swapping London Northwestern for the Caledonian Sleeper gradually wormed its way into my brain. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with trains (ie: I wanted to be a train driver as a kid, mainly because I was heavily into ‘Ivor the Engine’), but I’ve never actually slept on one. At least, not in the formal sense, rather than the nodded-off-and-woke-up-in-Northampton one. Photograph: Serco Sleepers are all the rage on mainland Europe, but we’re late adopters in this country. There are only two overnight services spanning the UK: the Caledonian Sleeper and the shorter Night Riviera service, which whisks passengers from Paddington to Penzance in eight hours. Both service a mix of bright-eyed tourists and weekend commuters gliding across a snoozing land to more scenic

Netflix is airing its first ever Welsh-language series

Netflix is airing its first ever Welsh-language series

The campaign to keep the Welsh language alive has just found a powerful ally. Netflix is streaming ‘Dal y Mellt’, the streaming platform’s first ever Welsh-language series next month, according to BBC News. Landing on Netflix in April, ‘Dal y Mellt’ (‘Catch the Lightning’) will join the Wye-set ‘Sex Education’ in bringing a bit of the valleys to our front rooms. It’s a crime thriller that zigzags between the back streets of Cardiff, Soho, Porthmadog in north Wales and Holyhead in Anglesey, following a man called Carbo (Gwïon Morris Jones) through a world of betrayal, secrets and heartbreak.  Also in the cast is ‘Master and Commander’s Mark Lewis Jones and ‘Mindhorn’ actress Lois Meleri-Jones. ‘Dal y Mellt’ is adapted from a 2019 novel by Iwan ‘Iwcs’ Roberts, who also produces. ‘People ask what I’d compare it to,’ says Roberts, ‘“Peaky Blinders”, Guy Ritchie's stuff? No, I want people to say, it's like “Dal y Mellt”. I am firm in the belief that this is a Welsh language drama created for the people of Wales, because frankly, the Welsh deserve it. The six-episode series originally screened on Welsh language free-to-air channel S4C in 2022. ‘This is fantastic news for Welsh language drama,’ says S4C's CEO Sian Doyle. ‘The popularity of international dramas on Netflix globally proves there is an appetite for exciting quality drama regardless of language.’ Netflix, meanwhile, said that it hoped that it could play a role in helping to ‘promote and preserve the Welsh language’. It s

How ‘Babylon’ filming locations recreated Hollywood’s hard-partying ’20s

How ‘Babylon’ filming locations recreated Hollywood’s hard-partying ’20s

Bold, extravagant and full of opulence and excess, Damien Chazelle’s Babylon sits somewhere between an adoring love letter to old Hollywood and a poison pen note dashed out on a vodka hangover. The movie follows the career trajectories of three movie hopefuls and a superstar silent filmmaker – Margot Robbie’s fast-rising, hard-partying starlet, Brad Pitt’s Golden Age auteur, Diego Calva’s Mexican-American studio factotum and Jovan Adepo’s jazz trumpeter – but it’s also full of the ghost of Tinseltown’s past. Legendary figures like Clara Bow, Harry Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and other bygone greats haunt its every moment.  It’s not an elephant everyone will want to stand behind – it’d definitely be a punchy call for a family cinema trip – but its recreation of 1920s and ’30s Los Angeles is spectacular: an evocation of movieland’s past conjured up in historic LA hotels, chi-chi bars, dusty ranches and at least one spooky, Scooby-Doo-style abandoned castle in the Californian hinterland.  ‘The way to recreate the Los Angeles of a hundred years ago is to go to the outskirts of today’s Los Angeles where there are big stretches of unspoiled land and orange groves, and it still feels like a small cow town, says Chazelle. ‘We wanted to find locations where you could stiil feel the dust of the pre-city that LA was.’ Here’s four real-life locations he and his team turned into its movie studios, gambling dens and temples of druggy debauchery. Photograph: Scott Garfield Blue

Temporada 5 de 'Stranger things': tot el que en sabem

Temporada 5 de 'Stranger things': tot el que en sabem

'Stranger Things' s'està acabant. Poc després d'haver-nos deixat bocabadats amb el final de la quarta temporada, la sèrie ja posa rumb cap a la seva darrera part, tot presentant la grandesa de Kate Bush a les noves generacions i temptant-nos amb sorpreses amagades. I serà desconcertant en més d'uns quants aspectes: els personatges s'enfrontaran a una fatalitat gairebé segura i ens haurem d'acomiadar d'una sèrie tan poderosa culturalment, que ens ha fet pensar que viure als anys vuitanta va ser realment genial. No serà fàcil tornar a omplir aquest espai amb altres sèries, ni a la vida real. Per sort, encara no ho hem de fer. La cinquena temporada està a tocar i ens portarà una batalla final i climàtica amb Vecna. Però què en sabem fins ara? Com és habitual, els germans Duffer, els creadors i 'showrunners' de 'Strangers things', mantenen l'Upside Down com un secret. Però a poc a poc se'n va tenint més informació. Això és el que en sabem: Foto: NetflixStranger Things   (Atenció: el següent text conté espòilers de la quarta temporada) Quina és la data del llançament potencial de la temporada 5 de 'Stranger things' a Netflix?  L'última temporada entrarà en producció aquest mes de maig, per tant, encara devem estar molt lluny d'una data de llançament a Netflix.  Tres de les quatre temporades anteriors s'han emès a l'estiu, de manera que si ho haguéssim d'endevinar, entre el maig i el juliol del 2024 podria ser el moment d'esperar-ne l'emissió. David Harbour també prova d'endevina

'La ballena': Brendan Fraser es digno de un Oscar en el drama sobre la obesidad de Aronofsky

'La ballena': Brendan Fraser es digno de un Oscar en el drama sobre la obesidad de Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky no es un director que haga películas fáciles. Ya sea la adicción a las drogas ('Réquiem por un sueño'), la enfermedad terminal ('The fountain') o la autolesión obsesiva ('The wrestler', 'Black swan'), aborda temas difíciles, presentando profundos retos a su público, especialmente los de carácter sensible. Y lo hace de forma brillante. Pese a ser una adaptación de una obra de teatro (del dramaturgo estadounidense Samuel D. Hunter) y estar ambientada casi en su totalidad en un solo lugar, 'La ballena (The whale)' no es una excepción. De hecho, se asemeja más a 'The wrestler' de 2008, aunque más que la lucha profesional suicida, es el aumento de peso extremo y el aislamiento social que definen a su personaje principal. Charlie (Brendan Fraser) es un profesor universitario aquejado y confinado en un apartamento que está desesperado por volver a conectar con su hija alienada antes de que su corazón enfermizo se agote. Gracias a unos sorprendentes trabajos de maquillaje con prótesis (del maquillador canadiense Adrien Morot) que de algún modo hacen que el antiguo George de Jungla sea totalmente reconocible, pero totalmente transformado, 'La ballena (The whale)' ofrece varios momentos angustiosos, sobre todo las escenas donde Charlie engulle cualquier cosa que pueda comer. Sin embargo, el filme no es ni tan triste ni tan voyeurista como podría haber sido. Charlie no es ni un objeto de ridículo (como a menudo lo son los personajes de sus características en Hollywoodla

Where was The Banshees of Inisherin Filmed?

Where was The Banshees of Inisherin Filmed?

Newly crowned Golden Globes winner The Banshees of Inisherin is steadily building a rep as a hot Oscars favourite in a multitude of categories: Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Farrell) and Best Original Screenplay (for Martin McDonagh), with likely nominations for Brendan Gleeson and Kerry Condon in Best Supporting Acting categories and for McDonagh as Best Director. Heck, if there were a Best Animal category, Jenny the miniature donkey would be a shoo-in for that too. But the film has another, more unsung star in the Irish landscape itself. ‘What we wanted to capture in the film was the beauty of Ireland and the cinema of it,’ explains McDonagh. ‘We just wanted to make one of the most beautiful Irish films we could possibly make.’ Mission very much accomplished.Here’s where to go to follow in their footsteps and take in the movie’s spectacular, bracing Atlantic coastline. Photograph: ©20th Century StudiosDún Aonghasa in Inishmore is a key ‘Banshees’ location Inishmore (Inis Mór) Set on the fictional island of Inisherin in the 1920s, a peaceful haven where the gunfire from the Irish Civil War is heard and felt but not seen, Banshees charts the gradual, and agonising, falling out of two lifelong friends and drinking partners: Pádraic (Farrell) and Coln (Gleeson). Using Galway as a base, Martin McDonagh and his team set off by car to scour Ireland’s west coast for suitable locations to create that quietly tumultuous world. They found some of them in the biggest of the three A

'La ballena': Brendan Fraser és digne d'un Oscar al drama sobre l'obesitat d'Aronofsky

'La ballena': Brendan Fraser és digne d'un Oscar al drama sobre l'obesitat d'Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky no és un director que faci pel·lícules fàcils. Ja sigui l'addicció a les drogues ('Rèquiem per un somni'), la malaltia terminal ('The fountain') o l'autolesió obsessiva ('The wrestler', 'Black swan'), aborda temes difícils de cara, presentant reptes profunds al seu públic, especialment els de caràcter sensible. I ho fa de manera brillant. Malgrat ser una adaptació d'una obra de teatre (del dramaturg nord-americà Samuel D. Hunter) i estar ambientada gairebé íntegrament en un sol lloc, 'La ballena (The whale)' no n'és una excepció. De fet, s'assembla més a 'The wrestler' del 2008, tot i que més que la lluita professional suïcida, és l'augment de pes extrem i l'aïllament social que defineixen el seu personatge principal. Charlie (Brendan Fraser) és un professor universitari afligit i destinat a un apartament que està desesperat per tornar a connectar amb la seva filla alienada abans que el seu cor malaltís s'esgoti.  Gràcies a uns sorprenents treballs de maquillatge amb pròtesis (del maquillador canadenc Adrien Morot) que d'alguna manera fan que l'antic George de la Jungla sigui totalment reconeixible, però totalment transformat, 'La ballena (The whale)' ofereix diversos moments angoixants, sobretot les escenes on Charlie endrapa qualsevol cosa que pugui menjar.  No obstant això, el film no és ni tant trist ni tant voyeurista com podria haver estat. Charlie no és ni un objecte de ridícul (com sovint ho són els personatges de les seves característiques a Hollywoo

Brendan Fraser, a las puertas del Oscar por 'The Whale', el drama sobre la obesidad de Aronofsky

Brendan Fraser, a las puertas del Oscar por 'The Whale', el drama sobre la obesidad de Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky no es un director que haga películas fáciles. Ya sea la adicción a las drogas ('Réquiem por un sueño'), la enfermedad terminal ('The Fountain') o la autolesión obsesiva ('The Wrestler', 'Black Swan'), aborda temas difíciles, presentando profundos retos a su público, especialmente los de carácter sensible. Y lo hace de forma brillante. Pese a ser una adaptación de una obra de teatro (del dramaturgo estadounidense Samuel D. Hunter) y estar ambientada casi en su totalidad en un solo lugar, 'The Whale' no es una excepción. De hecho, se asemeja más a 'The Wrestler' de 2008, aunque más que la lucha profesional suicida, es el aumento de peso extremo y el aislamiento social que definen a su personaje principal. Charlie (Brendan Fraser) es un profesor universitario aquejado y confinado en un apartamento que está desesperado por volver a conectar con su hija alienada antes de que su corazón enfermizo se agote. Gracias a unos sorprendentes trabajos de maquillaje con prótesis (del maquillador canadiense Adrien Morot) que de algún modo hacen que el antiguo George de la Jungla sea totalmente reconocible, pero totalmente transformado, 'The Whale' ofrece varios momentos angustiosos, sobre todo las escenas donde Charlie engulle cualquier cosa que pueda comer. Sin embargo, el filme no es ni tan triste ni tan voyeurista como podría haber sido. Charlie no es ni un objeto de ridículo (como a menudo lo son los personajes de sus características en Hollywoodland), ni el foco del asc

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