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Paddington 2 backers thought to be seeking to cut ties with Weinstein Company

3 hours ago

Backers thought to be seeking to scrap Us distribution deal claiming family film should not be associated with studio at centre of sex harassment scandal

The backers of the Paddington films are thought to be seeking to scrap the Weinstein Company’s lucrative deal to distribute the upcoming sequel in the Us, in the wake of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder Harvey Weinstein.

A source close to Heyday Films, the co-producer of Paddington with the French company StudioCanal, said the family film should have no association with TWC.

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- Mark Sweney

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Actor Rosemary Leach dies aged 81

9 hours ago

Agent announces death of star known for films such as A Room With a View and TV series including The Jewel in the Crown

Rosemary Leach, the award-winning stage and screen actor best known for the films A Room With a View and That’ll Be The Day, has died after a short illness.

Related: Rosemary Leach obituary

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- Caroline Davies

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I Am Not a Witch review – magical surrealism

13 hours ago

Rungano Nyoni’s debut feature, the story of a girl in Zambia accused of witchcraft, is comic, tragic – and captivatingly beautiful

In a remote Zambian village, a nine-year-old girl (Margaret Mulubwa) is accused of being a witch and given a stark choice: to accept her supernatural branding and live a tethered life as a sorceress, or to cut her ties with local tradition and be transformed into a goat that may be killed and eaten for supper. Thus begins this bewilderingly strange yet terrifically sure-footed feature debut from writer-director Rungano Nyoni. Born in Zambia and part-raised in Wales, Nyoni first made international waves with such award-winning shorts as Mwansa the Great (2011) and Listen (2014). Now, this daringly satirical parable of magic and misogyny, superstition and social strictures confirms her promise as a film-maker of fiercely independent vision, with a bright future ahead.

Unsurprisingly opting to embrace her supernatural status, the young »

- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

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Meet the new hotshots of American film-making

13 hours ago

As Dee Rees’s racially charged, Oscar-tipped film Mudbound debuts on Netflix, we speak to the director about challenging the establishment, while below, we profile directors Eliza Hittman, the Safdie brothers and Chloé Zhao

In the opening scene of the new film Mudbound, two bedraggled white men are digging a hole, ominous storm clouds overhead. They are using old-fashioned shovels and it’s difficult immediately to date the action, but it becomes clear they are brothers, burying their father. When they realise the coffin will be too heavy for them to lower in, they stop a black family, passing by in a horse and trap. Only a few words are spoken, but the looks they exchange make it clear that there is history between these two families.

The ambiguity of the film’s time frame was intentional, explains Dee Rees, Mudbound’s 40-year-old director. The film is actually set in »

- Tim Lewis

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The Death of Stalin review – more bleak than black

14 hours ago

Armando Iannucci’s comic-book adaptation, about the aftermath of the despot’s death, is less caustic than his usual offerings

Known and loved for lacerating political satires The Thick of It, In the Loop and Veep, Armando Iannucci has a gift for skewering incompetent authority figures – locating the humour in their bumbling errors – as well as for truly creative, foul-mouthed insults. Iannucci and Soviet Russia: on paper, it’s a match made in heaven – both an opportunity to capitalise on anti-Russia sentiment and a chance to jab one of history’s most notorious autocrats in the ribs at a time when dictatorial, power-drunk figures are actually in power. A shame, then, that it doesn’t jab hard enough.

The film is adapted from Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin’s graphic novel, in which Stalin’s sudden death in 1953 serves as a catalyst for action, with neurotic acting general secretary Nikita »

- Simran Hans

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DVD reviews: Gifted; Alone in Berlin; The Mummy; Slack Bay and more

14 hours ago

Marc Webb’s child-custody weepie has an honest edge, while Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson raise the stakes of a Nazi resistance drama

My esteemed colleague Mark Kermode often talks of Altitude Adjusted Lachrymosity Syndrome (Aals), the tendency we have to vulnerably cry buckets while watching films – often wholly unremarkable ones – on planes. That would handily explain my reaction to Gifted (Fox, 12), a slick, soap-scrubbed and shamelessly tear-engineered child-custody drama, if not for the annoying detail that it caught me very much on terra firma. Perhaps it’s not that unremarkable after all.

A sore streak of honest feeling runs through The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb’s weepie; ditto the fresh, true performances from Chris Evans, as the adoring but no-bullshit uncle and guardian of a seven-year-old maths genius, and from McKenna Grace, beguiling but never cutesily camera-trained as the tyke in question. Together, they have an utterly credible, »

- Guy Lodge

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My Little Pony: The Movie review – Rainbow Dash to the rescue!

14 hours ago

This big-screen plastic toy spinoff may be a shrill assault on the senses but at its heart is a thoroughly positive message

At the chewy, candy core of this assaulting, shrill, Skittles-hued headache is a well-meaning treatise on solidarity and female friendship. Ponies Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Rarity must pool their powers to save the kingdom of Equestria from all-encroaching evil and evil’s henchwoman, Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt). Still, at least the all-star cast – including Taye Diggs as smooth-talking alleycat Capper and Orange Is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba as Queen of the Hippogriffs – seem to have fun. Music fans might also stifle a chuckle upon seeing the pop star Sia in pony form, nose-skimming fringe and all.

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- Simran Hans

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Happy Death Day review – unapologetically derivative

14 hours ago

Groundhog Day meets classic teen slasher in this enjoyable horror about a college girl endlessly reliving the same fateful events

The latest project masterminded by indie-horror production company Blumhouse (Get Out, Paranormal Activity, The Purge) is a joyous, punchy throwback to the teen slasher movies of the 1990s and early 2000s. For bratty sorority girl Tree (an endlessly watchable and witty Jessica Rothe), each morning begins the same way: she wakes up in an unfamiliar boy’s dorm room, on her birthday, takes a walk of shame across campus, and goes about her day until that evening, when somebody in a creepy baby mask murders her. In Groundhog Day fashion (a cinematic reference point the movie cheekily wears on its sleeve), she relives the same day again and again, locked in a miserable loop until she can figure out who is trying to kill her and why.

An elegantly simple »

- Simran Hans

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Hollywood? It’s finished, claims Oscar-winning director who fled to New York

21 October 2017 2:05 PM, PDT

Paul Haggis, who depicted La’s racist underbelly in Crash, says Harvey Weinstein scandal is another sign of the film capital’s need for radical change

A change of the old order in Hollywood is long overdue, according to Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning film-maker behind the hit films Crash and Million Dollar Baby.

The Canadian screenwriter and director said many of the established rules of big-budget showbusiness should be re-examined in the light of falling box-office receipts and the recent scandalous claims and revelations about the enduring influence of the casting couch.

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- Vanessa Thorpe

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Weinstein accuser says she was scared to go public with harassment claim

21 October 2017 2:02 PM, PDT

Katherine Kendall, who starred in Swingers, says worries over being blackballed in Hollywood prevented her from speaking out earlier

The actor Katherine Kendall has revealed how the fear of being “blackballed” by Hollywood’s powerbrokers stopped her from making claims of sexual harassment.

Kendall, 48, publicly alleged earlier this month that Harvey Weinstein had harassed her in his apartment in 1993, claiming that the producer “literally chased me” and stopped her from getting past him to reach the door.

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- Mark Townsend

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Harvey Weinstein: a list of the women who have accused him

21 October 2017 7:45 AM, PDT

A growing number of actors and others in the film industry have made accusations against the Hollywood film producer

Léa Seydoux: the night Harvey Weinstein jumped on me

• Could Harvey Weinstein be jailed?

More than 50 women have made allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the number continues to grow each day. Among the Hollywood mogul’s accusers are household names who were still looking to establish themselves when the alleged offences took place. Below are some of the allegations made public so far.

Related: What Harvey Weinstein tells us about the liberal world | Thomas Frank

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- Caroline Davies and Nadia Khomami

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Sexism and the music doc: 'Grace Jones has had her 15 minutes'

21 October 2017 2:00 AM, PDT

Why Bloodlight and Bami bucks the cliched trend that’s haunted films about Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse

Related: Grace Jones and giant confetti cannons: the 20 biggest festival moments of 2017

The tragic downfall of a celebrity ingenue: a trusted, market-friendly formula for the big screen, especially where female recording artists are concerned. Documentaries about female stars tend to tread a similar narrative, involving a reductive look at personal histories, where the film-maker is less interested in the idea of accomplished musicians than of girls who supposedly dreamed too big and self-destructed through addiction and failed relationships. With this mythologising, you might say that Amy Winehouse (Asif Kapadia’s Amy), Whitney Houston (Nick Broomfield’s Whitney: Can I Be Me), Nina Simone ( Liz Garbus and Hal Tulchin’s What Happened Miss Simone?) and Janis Joplin (Amy Berg’s Janis: Little Girl Blue) have been made more alike in death than in life. »

- Carmen Gray

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Geostorm review – Gerard Butler's dull disaster movie is a washout

20 October 2017 1:54 PM, PDT

An ill-timed action thriller about a rogue weather-controlling system is as clunky as its premise and dumber than a street full of hailstones

When writer-director Dean Devlin titled his handsomely budgeted new action tentpole Geostorm, he entered into an unspoken pact with his prospective audience. He chose a goofy, make-believe word, and in doing so, promised a goofy, make-believe movie. Nobody’s walking into the auditorium looking for lofty insights on the complexities of the human condition, or even a commentary on how the timebomb that is climate change continues ticking away due to political gridlock. It ain’t Citizen Kane and it ain’t An Inconvenient Truth, and there’s no sport in expecting it to be. All parties involved should understand the terms of this tacit agreement, an “if you build it, they will come” proposition in which “it” refers to nothing short of a natural apocalypse. All »

- Charles Bramesco

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List of Harvey Weinstein's accusers grows as ripple of effects spread globally

20 October 2017 10:06 AM, PDT

Lupita Nyong’o claims Weinstein harassed her when she was a film student, as police in three cities continue investigations and #metoo gains momentum

A list of the accusations made against Harvey Weinstein

The Los Angeles police department has opened an investigation into sexual assault allegations made against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as famous victims continued to come forward, including 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong’o, who published a powerful personal essay detailing her alleged harassment in the New York Times.

An Italian actress and model, whose name has not been released, told the Lapd on Thursday that she was raped by Weinstein in a hotel near Beverly Hills in 2013, police confirmed on Thursday.

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- Jamiles Lartey in New York

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Rich pickings: how Hollywood rivals will profit from Weinstein's downfall

20 October 2017 6:20 AM, PDT

Competitors are moving to snap up the imploding independent studio’s back catalogue, but the assets cannot be fully valued until the scandal subsides

The death knell may have sounded over The Weinstein Company (TWC) name but Hollywood rivals believe the business has a secure future – without its disgraced co-founder – due to a legacy of hits including The King’s Speech and Silver Linings Playbook, as well as a strong slate of upcoming releases.

The independent studio, mired in the Harvey Weinstein abuse scandal, has put itself up for sale and this week TWC secured an emergency injection of cash from private equity firm Colony Capital, which is also in talks to buy all or part of the business. Last year, Weinstein said that the business, including its library, was worth up to $800m (£600m) and had no debt. What is certain now, however, is that the brand is worthless. »

- Mark Sweney

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Gerard Butler: I injected myself with bee venom and ended up in hospital

20 October 2017 5:26 AM, PDT

Scottish actor went into anaphylactic shock after using the traditional remedy after a 12-hour day of performing stunts

Gerard Butler has told how he went into anaphylactic shock after being injected with the venom of 23 bee stings.

The Scottish actor said he had been over-exuberant with the remedy, which some claim eases muscle ache, after a 12-hour day of performing stunts on set for his latest film, Geostorm.

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- Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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Sarah Solemani: 'The TV and film industries are toxic – and it starts in the audition room'

20 October 2017 5:00 AM, PDT

The Harvey Weinstein scandal puts us at a crossroads. Can we remake the industry?

My first experience of sexism in showbusiness came early, when I was 19. I was invited to the director’s house for dinner, just the two of us. He cooked. It was delicious. He’d had practice, to be fair, being in his 50s. After dinner he asked how I felt about nudity. Another role in the project we were working on had involved nudity, so it didn’t feel a strange question, being 19 and ever so keen.

“Oh, but your story needed it,” I gushed. “It was brilliantly done.”

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- Sarah Solemani

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I Remember You review – Nordic noir goes a step too far

20 October 2017 4:30 AM, PDT

This Icelandic horror has the knitwear, the frozen landscapes and the tortured detective, but the addition of a supernatural plot feels like a cop-out

Here’s what feels like a slightly unnecessary addition to the Nordic noir canon, tacking on an element of scary-kid horror to the genre’s usual ingredients – a tortured detective figure, distracting knitwear, frozen landscapes and the stench of corruption. It’s adapted from a bestselling novel by the queen of Icelandic crime fiction, Yrsa Sigurđardóttir, and opens with a grisly discovery – the body of a 71-year-old woman found hanged in a church with crosses burned into her back. The only doctor available to examine the corpse is a beardy psychiatrist (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson), whose eight-year-old son vanished a few years earlier. Meanwhile, a young couple renovate a creepy old house in the western fjords, planning to open it as a B&B.

But just when »

- Cath Clarke

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Catherine Deneuve questions anti-harassment campaign in wake of Weinstein scandal

20 October 2017 4:29 AM, PDT

While expressing sympathy for victims of harassment, the actor has expressed doubts about the usefulness of social media outpourings and hashtag activism

Catherine Deneuve has become a rare dissenting voice in the sexual harassment scandal that has convulsed the film industry in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations.

Arguably France’s most celebrated screen performer, with nearly 60 years of acting behind her, Deneuve questioned the point of the internet campaign against harassment, which in France is coalescing around the Twitter hashtag #balancetonporc (“expose your pig”).

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- Guardian film

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Sean Penn lawyers warn Netflix over El Chapo documentary

20 October 2017 2:37 AM, PDT

Hollywood actor believes The Day I Met El Chapo puts him in danger by implying he helped Us capture Mexican druglord

Lawyers for the actor Sean Penn have reportedly warned Netflix that a documentary about the Mexican druglord known as El Chapo places their client in danger.

In a letter seen by the New York Times, Theodore J Boutrous Jr, acting for Penn, tells the streaming service “blood will be on their hands if this film causes bodily harm”.

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- Jamie Grierson

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