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The Last Days on Mars review – 'Elegantly crafted adventure'

25 October, by Peter Bradshaw[ —]
This smart thriller is a neo-zombie nightmare in space, set in the fascinatingly surrel landscape of the red planet

Some space scientists are about to finish a wearisome six-month stint checking for signs of life on the fiery surface of Mars. Exhausted after endless weeks of work, driving their tractor-wheeled vehicles across dusty terrain between the mother ship and the temporary outpost next to the dig site, and waiting for crackly video messages to come through from their nearest and dearest on earth, they're looking forward to getting home. Surely nothing absolutely terrifying can happen to them on the very last day, can it? Screenwriter Clive Dawson and director Ruairí Robinson have put together a smart thriller, based on the 1975 SF short story The Animators by Sydney J Bounds: a neo-zombie nightmare in space, with Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai and Olivia Williams among the jumpsuited crew. Their day-to-day working lives are banal and technocratic in the style of Ridley Scott's Alien or indeed Duncan Jones's Moon, and perhaps inevitably, the film is easily at its most exciting before anything scary happens. The opening act in the fascinatingly surreal landscape of Mars is great. This is the world they have called home. The finale is good, too, although the centre-section with its claustrophobic action-horror sags. Still: an elegantly crafted adventure in classical science-fiction.

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From Alien to Nosferatu: the most horrifying movie monsters of all time

25 October, by Ben Child[ —]

The news that Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant will feature a terrifying new ‘neomorph’ recalls a history of nightmarish on-screen creatures

Not everyone finds the same things scary. As a small child I was terrified into a quivering wreck, forced to hide behind the family sofa in a state of dread at the merest glimpse of Sam the Blue Eagle from The Muppets. Something about that beaky, austere countenance just gave me the heebie jeebies.

Related: Is Ridley Scott making up Alien: Covenant as he goes along?

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Treble top! The film that captures the party power of darts

25 October, by Alexis Petridis[ —]

The showmen, the drama, the mohicans, the maths … House of Flying Arrows is the documentary darts deserves

No one is ever going to accuse reigning PDC world darts champion Gary Anderson of hyping up the film he’s more or less the hero of. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” he says, when asked what he thinks of House of Flying Arrows, a documentary that follows his progress through the 2016 world championships. “I mean, I never watch myself play darts or anything. So, you know, it was bit strange to sit there, actually watching myself for a change. To sit and listen to myself talk. My God, no … ”

The voice of the man who the late Jocky Wilson nicknamed The Flying Scotsman trails off. Then he brightens. “But I quite enjoyed it. It turned out all right.” It certainly did. On the face of it, darts seems a fairly improbable subject for a feature-length documentary. This is, after all, a sport in which, as co-director Daniel Mendelle admits, “People essentially stand in the same position repeating the same action over and over again.”

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Jack O'Connell to play Alexander McQueen in biopic

25 October, by Alan Evans[ —]

Andrew Haigh to direct film about late British fashion designer and his infamous autumn 2009 collection

Jack O’Connell has been cast as Alexander McQueen in a film about the high-flying fashion designer.

Related: Why we’re all still mad about Alexander McQueen

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I, Daniel Blake scores impressive result at UK box office as Trolls takes top spot

25 October, by Charles Gant[ —]

DreamWorks animation scares up a £5.44m debut and forceful marketing delivers handsome opening for Ken Loach’s arthouse hit

It won the Palme d’Or in Cannes, comes from a beloved British auteur and has garnered critical acclaim, but would Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake prove too tough a sell for cinema audiences? If UK distributor eOne had any qualms, they have surely evaporated now that I, Daniel Blake has opened with an impressive £404,000 from 94 cinemas, and £445,000 including previews. Stripping out the previews, site average is a very robust £4,298.

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Saved by the bed? How not to die in horror films

25 October, by Stuart Heritage[ —]

A company in Cheshire has woken up to the real meaning of Halloween and provided a list of the deadliest furniture in horror films. At last

Chances are that Halloween has always felt a little hollow to you – an imported celebration so far removed from its original intention that it now exists solely as a delivery method for Cadbury’s Ghooost Eggs and sexy Ken Bone costumes. What we need is to go back to basics and remember what Halloween is really about: opportunistic press releases from furniture companies about the safest furniture to hide behind when there’s a murderer in your house.

Thankfully, that press release now exists. Yesterday, a company called The Furniture Market frantically emailed around a list of all the furniture that people have ever hidden behind in popular horror movies. Why? Because, according to The Furniture Market’s head of eCommerce, “Furniture is synonymous with the horror movie genre”.

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Warner Bros sues talent agency over alleged leaking of films

25 October, by Alan Evans[ —]

Studio claims Innovative Artists infringed copyright by making copies of advance DVDs of films including Creed and In the Heart of the Sea

Warner Bros is suing a talent agency for allegedly making copies of films from DVDs sent for Academy Award consideration and allowing them to be leaked on to the internet.

Related: Movie piracy: threat to the future of films intensifies

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Does Brie Larson's Captain Marvel signal a new era of superhero diversity?

play episode
25 October, by Ben Child[ —]

From an ageing Wolverine to Tilda Swinton’s turn in Doctor Strange, Hollywood’s superheroes are making progress – even if Wonder Woman isn’t quite ready for the UN

The decision to appoint Wonder Woman as an honorary United Nations’ ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls was never going to go down well with all parties. While Diana of Themyscira is ostensibly from a mysterious, magical island and is known for her kindness, decency and determination to protect the weak, the comic-book version of the superhero wears an outfit of US iconography and is usually depicted with a tiny waist and enormous breasts.

Related: Wonder Woman announced as UN ambassador amid staff protest

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Shaun the Sheep Movie sequel on way, says Wallace and Gromit maker Aardman

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25 October, by Andrew Pulver[ —]

Work on Shaun the Sheep Movie 2 will start in January, says Bristol-based animation producer

A sequel to the hit animated film Shaun the Sheep Movie has been announced.

Bristol-based producer Aardman Animations said that work on Shaun the Sheep Movie 2 would begin in January 2017, with Richard Starzak back on board as director (though Mark Burton, who co-directed the first film, will not return).

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Peter Jackson to produce film based on Mortal Engines books

25 October, by Alan Evans[ —]

Lord of the Rings director will write and produce, while his longtime protege Christian Rivers will direct adaptation of steampunk fantasy series

Peter Jackson has found his next project: a film adaptation of Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines books. The New Zealand director will write and produce the film adaptation of Philip Reeve’s tetralogy about a dystopian steampunk future, with his protege Christian Rivers making his debut in the director’s chair.

Related: Philip Reeve: 'It’s possible that machines might become conscious'

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