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In Between review – the struggle of free spirits trying to fly

4 hours ago

Three female flatmates in Tel Aviv fight the constraints of their Muslim faith and families in an inspiring directorial debut

This bittersweet debut feature from Maysaloun Hamoud is a spiky treat, an empowering tale of three Palestinian women living in Tel Aviv, each fighting their own battles for independence and fulfilment. Balancing tragicomic relationship blues with sharp sociopolitical observation, Hamoud’s slyly subversive drama draws us deep into an often hidden world. As the title suggests, these women occupy a liminal space, caught between freedom and repression, religion and secularism, the past and the future. Theirs is a world in flux, in which the drugs and partying of the underground scene stand in stark contrast to the strict hypocrisies that dominate the cultural landscape. As one of them tells her devout father: “Some people live in palaces, but God knows what their life is like inside…”

Laila (Mouna Hawa) is a force of nature, »

- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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King Arthur; Baywatch; The Red Turtle; 3 Hearts and more – review

5 hours ago

Guy Ritchie’s sword-and-sorcery epic and a remake of a 90s camp classic fall flat while there are delights for young and old alike elsewhere

As the days shorten, outfits lengthen and autumn greets us with chilly reserve, Hollywood is still poring over the results of its summer autopsy – a grim one, with the season ending in its lowest Us box office total in a decade. As fingers of blame are pointed in any number of directions, from Netflix to the political administration, the slump is more easily explained in a few individual cases; even the least discerning viewers couldn’t find much to love in films as obnoxiously misconceived as King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner, 15) and Baywatch (Paramount, 15).

The former sees Guy Ritchie trying out the same trick he pulled with Sherlock Holmes – meshing the lairy contemporary laddishness of his geezer crime flicks to an older-school English storytelling institution. »

- Guy Lodge

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Borg vs McEnroe review – a five-set thriller of a film

5 hours ago

Sverrir Gudnason is superb as the ice-cool Swede struggling to contain a cauldron of emotion – and Shia Labeouf’s not bad either as his voluble opponent

A tale of sporting rivalry is given a brooding, introspective Scandinavian twist by Janus Metz, hitherto best known for his award-winning documentary Armadillo. Stoic, seemingly unflappable Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and volatile, temperamental brat John McEnroe (Shia Labeouf) competed for the Wimbledon title in 1980. On paper, it was a clash of opposites. But in fact, this film argues that the two men had more in common than anyone suspected at the time. Ice-man Borg, the main focus of this film, was in fact a volcano; his obsession with detail, his superstitions, were all part of the meticulous control mechanism he constructed to prevent the eruptions of anger that so tarnished McEnroe’s early reputation.

Whether or not you know the outcome, this is a cracking watch. »

- Wendy Ide

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle review – sneering spy spoof sequel

5 hours ago

Requiring Taron Egerton to act proves a stretch too far for this unpleasant, poorly plotted follow-up

This is a code-red warning. I repeat, code red. You may be in the mood for a piece of trashy fun this weekend. You might have embraced the slick anarchy of the first Kingsman movie. But on no account let that persuade you to part with your money for a ticket to this sour-spirited and glib sequel. Taron Egerton returns as Eggsy, newest recruit of the elite secret agency Kingsman. He does a decent job of the two key requirements of the role: wearing suits and hitting people. But an early plot twist requires him to emote, at which point the whole house of cards tumbles down.

I didn’t think it was possible for someone to both grieve and smirk at the same time, but apparently it is. In fact, the whole film »

- Wendy Ide

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On Body and Soul review – rule-breaking romance

5 hours ago

A Hungarian love story set in an abattoir uses startling juxtapositions to beguiling effect

Cinema might be guilty of creating many of the cliches of romance, but, occasionally at least, it also destroys them. And this year brings two particularly strong examples of the latter. On Body and Soul, the Berlin Golden Bear-winning account of two outcasts who find love in a Hungarian abattoir, might not have the showy impact of Guillermo Del Toro’s forthcoming The Shape of Water (mute cleaner hooks up with fish monster) but the pictures share two things. Both combine the fantastic and idiosyncratic to beguiling effect; both rewrite the rules that govern who is deemed worthy of love in the movies.

The two main characters in On Body and Soul are Endre (Géza Morcsányi), the reserved manager of a slaughterhouse who hides his emotions along with his useless left arm, and Maria (Alexandra Borbély »

- Wendy Ide

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'The voice of the voiceless': how Viola Davis and Julius Tennon are changing the face of Hollywood

6 hours ago

The wife-and-husband team set up their own production company to tackle Hollywood’s persistent diversity problem

The actor Julius Tennon is thrilled to be appearing alongside his Oscar-winning wife, Viola Davis, in the new season of her hit show, How to Get Away with Murder, later this month. It is rare they work together onscreen.

Offscreen, however, the power couple spend much of their time working together for they have a joint mission: to change the face of Hollywood by increasing diversity across the industry.

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- Lucy Rock

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Viola Davis leads mission to bring diversity to Hollywood

13 hours ago

The Oscar winner and her husband Julius Tennon explain why the Us film industry’s diversity crisis can only be fixed from within

Actor Julius Tennon is thrilled to be appearing alongside his Oscar-winning wife, Viola Davis, in the new season of her hit show How to Get Away with Murder. It is rare they work together on screen. Off screen, however, the power couple have a joint mission: to change the face of Hollywood by increasing diversity across the industry.

Related: Hollywood still excludes women, ethnic minorities, Lgbt and disabled people, says report

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- Lucy Rock

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Brexit critic Colin Firth opts for Italian passport for ‘family reasons’

20 hours ago

Oscar-winning actor will continue to be based in London as officials in Rome confirm he now holds dual nationality

Many of the threats and promises exchanged during the row over Brexit have yet to be tested by time, but this weekend at least one has come to pass. The Oscar-winning film actor and producer Colin Firth, unmoved by Theresa May’s pronouncements in Florence, has accepted Italian citizenship, according to the Italian interior ministry in Rome.

Related: Kingsman: The Golden Circle review – spy sequel reaches new heights of skyscraping silliness

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- Vanessa Thorpe

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How weird does a celebrity have to be before we stop watching their films?

23 September 2017 12:59 AM, PDT

All celebrities are a bit weird, so when one is known for being Weird Even For A Celebrity, you know they are probably crossing over to ‘actually quite scary’

Of the many deeply uncool things I am obsessed with – The Golden Girls, the oeuvre of Roxette, Princess Anne’s hair – the uncoolest is also the one that has been with me the longest. Tom Cruise has been a part of my mental landscape ever since I was old enough to read in a magazine that I was supposed to fancy him. I was alive in the 80s and, as strange as this is now to think about, what with his deeply unsexy obsession since with thetans, back then he was very much pitched as Mr Sexxxxxy. Which is even stranger when you think that Cruise didn’t even grow into his face for another decade: back in Risky Business and The Outsiders, »

- Hadley Freeman

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Gaga: Five Foot Two review – pint-sized music doc wallows in self reflection

22 September 2017 11:51 AM, PDT

Despite artful direction and meticulous curation by Gaga herself, the documentary never quite shakes the feel of a longform advert for the singer’s new phase – one that’s preaching to the converted

It’s been a transformative year in the life of Stefani Germanotta, a cycle purportedly captured in the new documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, which is streaming on Netflix starting Friday. The vérité-style feature tracks the artist during the recording, release and promotion of her fifth studio cut, Joanne, culminating with her triumphant performance at the Super Bowl half-time show. The title, a nod to both the performer’s diminutive stature and the Guy Lombardo number, showcases the sincerity and humor and artistry that’s engendered a connection with her legion of Little Monsters over the years, but not even as formidable a talent as Gaga can overcome the inherent pitfalls of the authorized popstar documentary.

Artfully »

- Bryan Armen Graham

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle – did the shock tactics go too far? Discuss with spoilers

22 September 2017 2:53 AM, PDT

Was the sex and violence boundary-pushing or in poor taste? Did the Elton John joke wear thin? And what to make of Colin Firth’s resurrection?

Kingsman: The Secret Service was a big sleeper hit, racking up $414m worldwide and confirming director Matthew Vaughn as a major Hollywood player. So can the British film-maker repeat the trick? So far Kingsman: The Golden Circle is balancing precariously at 50% approval on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a mixed reception to the return of super-spy Eggsie and his cohort of nattily dressed secret agents. Here’s your chance to weigh in on the film’s key talking points.

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- Ben Child

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Tramontane review – musical road trip untangles trauma of Lebanese civil war

22 September 2017 2:00 AM, PDT

Vatche Boulghourjian was selected for Cannes’ Critics’ Week for this meandering mystery about a blind musician who discovers that his childhood was a lie

Tramontane can mean “northern wind”, but is also the name of the lead character; in Arabic it is Rabih. The blind Lebanese singer and musician Barakat Jabbour takes the lead role in this interesting and distinctive if undeveloped feature debut, a kind of road-movie mystery. It is written and directed by Vatche Boulghourjian, the Lebanese film-maker whose career developed through the Cinéfondation at Cannes, and who was selected for Critics’ Week with this film.

Jabbour plays Rabih, a young man who is – like the actor himself – blind and a talented musician. He is the adopted son of Samar (Julia Kassar) and by that token the nephew of Julia’s brother Hisham (Toufic Barakat), a shady businessman. When Rabih is invited to tour Europe with his group, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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On Body and Soul and In Between: this week’s best films in the UK

22 September 2017 1:58 AM, PDT

A peculiar tale about the characters at a slaughterhouse stands out from the crowd, while Palestinian womanhood gets an eye-opening update

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- Steve Rose

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The Guardian at Tiff 2017: Glenn Close on her new starring role, The Wife – video

22 September 2017 1:00 AM, PDT

In the second of our live onstage interviews at the Toronto film festival, Peter Bradshaw discusses The Wife with its star Glenn Close. Close plays a woman whose husband (Jonathan Pryce) is to accept the Nobel prize, and the trip to Sweden precipitates a crisis as frustrations over her own writing career emerge.   

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- Guardian Staff

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In Between review – flatmates crash the cultural boundaries

21 September 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

Three women from Muslim and Christian backgrounds bond over hummus and history in a delightful drama set in Tel Aviv

Most Palestinian films focus on the impact of politics and how the fraught relations with the Israeli state affect the lives of Palestinians. This delightful feature from Maysaloun Hamoud takes a seemingly more apolitical approach. And yet there’s a palpable subtext at play here about the oppressive treatment of women from the territory by their own people, affecting those leading secular lives as well as the religiously observant, Muslims and Christians alike.

In a Tel Aviv apartment, Muslim lawyer and chain-smoking party girl Layla (Mouna Hawa) and her friend Salma (Sana Jammelieh), a lesbian from a Christian family who floats through an assortment of service sector jobs, welcome a new flatmate, hijab-wearing Nour (Shaden Kanboura). Nour is in her last year of university, studying computer science and engaged to »

- Leslie Felperin

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Yes, yes, yes! Welcome to the golden age of slutty cinema

21 September 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

The promiscuous heroine of the indie film Daphne upends on-screen conventions about women and sex. From Bond to Bridesmaids and beyond, are the movies finally coming to terms with female desire?

It is a radical act, which every film generation thinks they are the first to discover: to create characters who are not good people. When you drill into it, this always means creating men who are not good men, since the grey areas around women on screen – do they have any lines that aren’t variations on “help”? Do they have motivation independent of the hero’s? – mean that, even in a putatively intelligent film, it is often quite hard to ascribe a moral arc to them, as it would be to a horse, or a robot. So let’s leave aside “good” – it is vanishingly rare, and pretty bracing, to see a woman on screen who isn’t the villain, »

- Zoe Williams

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Spectacular Fast and Furious car stunt live show is a £25m gamble

21 September 2017 4:01 PM, PDT

Producers of a show based on the film franchise are banking on there being enough petrolheads to fill arenas the world over

It will have a fuel tanker engulfed in flames bouncing across the arena, a jack-knifed lorry pursued by screeching Honda Civic EJ1s, at least two tanks, a souped-up Dodge Charger and a bright orange Lamborghini, obviously, and a submarine crashing through the ice.

“It is not a real Akula-class submarine,” said Rowland French regretfully, who is the creative brains behind the live arena show that he believes is one of the biggest and most ambitious ever staged. “Much as I would like to have the opportunity to play with a real one. It will look like one though.”

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- Mark Brown Arts correspondent

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Women and the look of Lawrence’s Arabia | Letters

21 September 2017 11:38 AM, PDT

Perfidious algorithms | Women in film | Meeting types | John Lemon lemonade

The long read on “Facebook’s war on free will” (19 September) makes valid points about tech, engineers, cold-blooded corporations, manipulation, data mining and commodification etc. But there is a dangerous trend to synonymise the word “algorithm” with “everything potentially malign about digital technology”. An algorithm is merely a tool, a set of rules, a recipe or formula of the sort you might use to filter data or solve a mathematical problem.

John Carvill

Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire

Related: Lawrence of Arabia review – David Lean's sandy epic still radiates greatness

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- Letters

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Moving mountains: how Jennifer Peedom captured pure majesty on film – video

21 September 2017 11:00 AM, PDT

Australian director Jennifer Peedom sits down to discuss the making of her latest film, Mountain, a cinematic and musical collaboration between Peedom and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Written by bestselling author Robert Macfarlane, the documentary explores our fascination with mountains. Peedom explains how the collaboration worked – “it means that I’m not the boss” – and how music and film combined

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- David Fanner

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It’s lit! How film finally learned to light black skin

21 September 2017 9:26 AM, PDT

In lighting, makeup and camera calibration, cinema has pandered to white skin for decades. Now, a new generation of film-makers are keen to ensure people of colour look as good on screen as they should

Insecure, the HBO series currently in its terrific second season (#TeamMolly), has been garnering attention since its pilot for its refreshing look at the lives of a small group of black women in Los Angeles. Broadcast in the same slot as its precursor Girls, which showed women as their “real” messy selves, and before that Sex and the City, a fantasia of skipping round New York in Manolos, Insecure sits somewhere between the two. Its storylines are all too real, but it looks stylish and glamorous.

Previous incarnations of black characters on television have mainly been overlit sitcoms or overly gloomy slices of realism. Insecure is neither – and its actors look like bonafide movie stars. »

- Nadia Latif

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