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Lars von Trier’s Cannes return proves festival is still in thrall to male privilege

https://www.theguardian.com/world/sexual-harassmentplay episode download
20 April, by Kate Muir[ —]

Cannes’ efforts to get von Trier back on board, along with its weak record on women directors, shows it has failed to get to grips with the era of Time’s Up

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Time heals, particularly at the Cannes film festival, which has welcomed Danish director Lars von Trier back into its circle of celebrated auteurs, seven years after his ban for saying he sympathised with Hitler at a press conference. Then he was declared “persona non grata” but now, miraculously, he has become grata again, with his new film The House That Jack Built.

Like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, Von Trier remains a favoured son of the most prestigious film festival in the world. The line that separates the art from the besmirched artist is never crossed at Cannes. The waves from the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, post-Harvey Weinstein, only seem to have caused minor ripples offshore while the party continues unabated on the Croisette.

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Shaking seats, water sprays, scented air: is 4DX the future of cinema?

20 April, by Steve Rose[ —]

It’s more ghost train than art house – the rollercoaster-like cinema technology has arrived in Leicester Square. Our film critic tries it out

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I didn’t just go to a movie the other night, I was “in the movie”. That’s what maker of new cinema technology 4DX claims happened, at least. If Imax and 3D were the beginning of a new multiplex arms race, 4DX is the nuclear option, supposedly “a revolutionary cinematic experience which stimulates all five senses”. What that means in practice is a more rollercoaster type of cinema experience: the seats move in all directions, fans blow wind through the auditorium, there are water sprays, scented air, smoke, strobes, snow effects and more. Developed in South Korea, 4DX has been gradually rolling out around the world: first in Asia and central and south America, reaching the US in 2014, and the UK (in Milton Keynes) in 2015. Now the Cineworld chain has opened a 136-seat 4DX auditorium in Leicester Square, central London.

Needless to say, the treatment favours a certain type of movie. Future 4DX releases include Avengers: Infinity War, Solo and Jurassic World. At my screening, it’s Rampage, in which Dwayne Johnson and a giant white gorilla save humanity from skyscraper-toppling mutant monsters.

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Natalie Portman pulls out of Israel award due to 'distressing recent events' there

https://www.theguardian.com/world/israelplay episode download
20 April, by Andrew Pulver[ —]

Jerusalem-born actor was due to receive 2018 Genesis prize but cancels saying she ‘cannot in good conscience’ attend ceremony

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Natalie Portman has pulled out of a major award ceremony due to take place in Israel, citing her “distress” at recent events in the country.

Portman, who was born in Jerusalem and holds dual Israeli and US citizenship, was named in November as the recipient of the 2018 Genesis award, a yearly prize for “outstanding achievement by individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields [who] embody the character of the Jewish people”. However, Portman informed the Genesis Prize Foundation she would not travel to Israel for the ceremony, which has been cancelled.

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Never Steady, Never Still review – tough sledding in the snows of Alberta

https://www.theguardian.com/film/dramaplay episode download
20 April, by Peter Bradshaw[ —]

This drama about a mother who has Parkinson’s and her teenage son who is struggling with his sexuality, is unsatisfying despite heartfelt moments

This is a sincerely intended drama from Canadian writer-director Kathleen Hepburn, and it was a prizewinner on its home turf, but I have to admit to finding it tough sledding. It is plaintive and subdued, with a dual narrative focus that is not as satisfyingly developed or resolved as it might be.

Judy, played by Shirley Henderson, lives near the oilfields of Alberta and has Parkinson’s. She has a supportive if withdrawn husband, Ed (Nicholas Campbell), though she seems also to have an emotional connection with her neighbour Lenny (Lorne Cardinal). Judy is worried and protective about her aimless teen son Jamie (Théodore Pellerin) who, quite aside from worrying about his mother, has his own issues with sexuality and identity, and who occupies half the film’s narrative space. (The feature was developed from an earlier short that was more centred on Jamie.) In the end, I got the feeling I hadn’t quite found out enough about either Jamie or Judy.

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Beyond the Clouds review – brash Bollywood in the Mumbai underworld

https://www.theguardian.com/film/dramaplay episode download
20 April, by Peter Bradshaw[ —]

A motorbike drug-runner and his sister face a storm of trouble in this uneven drama by the feted Iranian director Majid Majidi

Majid Majidi is the Iranian director who established himself most satisfyingly with the 1997 gem Children of Heaven, a very charming and sweet-natured tale about two children, a brother and sister. His latest movie is a departure: a slightly misfiring Hindi-language Bollywood-style melodrama set in the Mumbai underworld, with a forthright musical soundtrack from veteran composer AR Rahman. It, too, is about a brother and sister, but they are older and more disillusioned.

Amir (Ishaan Khattar) is a kid working for a sinister gang boss and sex-trafficker, couriering drugs around town on his motorbike under cover of making fast-food deliveries. On one occasion he is chased by cops and desperately implores his sister Tara (Malavika Mohanan) to hide him and the wrap of coke he has on him. Akshi (played by the actor and director Goutam Ghose), an acquaintance of Tara’s at the market where she works, bundles Amir into a pile of his clothes as the cops come through. Later, Akshi makes violent sexual demands on Tara in return for having helped, and she hits out at him. Soon Akshi is in hospital and Tara is in prison awaiting trial for attempted murder. If Akshi dies things will go badly for her.

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It was panned on release – so why are we hopelessly devoted to Grease 40 years later?

20 April, by Rebecca Nicholson[ —]

An endorsement of rape culture or a rejection of slut-shaming: the debate over the film continues, four decades on. How did it become arguably the most beloved movie musical of all time?

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When Grease was released in cinemas in 1978, a starry, bubblegum-bright adaptation of the 1971 Chicago-to-Broadway musical, the initial reviews were not kind. “A grave disappointment to anyone in search of style or substance,” wrote the Guardian’s Derek Malcolm that year – although, like many of his similarly unimpressed critical peers, he did concede that it was fun and likely to be a big hit. Such an assessment turned out to be as understated as Sandy’s pre-makeover twinset-and-pearls. According to Box Office Mojo, Grease is the second-most-successful musical movie ever, beaten only in the past 12 months by Disney’s mammoth Beauty and the Beast live-action reboot.

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Tom Courtenay: 'I've done my best work since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer'

https://www.theguardian.com/film/dramaplay episode download
20 April, by Jude Rogers[ —]

The veteran actor used to be so insecure about his work that he ‘couldn’t bear looking back’. Now, he says, everything has changed

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Over coffee and biscuits in a Soho hotel, the actor who played Billy Liar is showing me a picture of his dog on his iPhone. If this was not weird enough, Tom Courtenay then points out that Stanley, his seven-year-old pointer, is gazing longingly at Colin Firth on a Sunday supplement cover. “We did a film together … me and Colin, that is,” 81-year-old Courtenay explains with a wink. “Extremely unsuccessful but very enjoyable; we laughed all the time. So we now have a running joke on these things,” he says, wiggling his phone, “which is nice. I also sent him another where Stanley was deciding between him or Dustin Hoffman.”

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Geoffrey Rush: Daily Telegraph loses bid to bring theatre company into lawsuit

https://www.theguardian.com/media/australia-mediaplay episode download
20 April, by Australian Associated Press[ —]

Actor is suing News Corp paper over stories alleging inappropriate behaviour in Sydney Theatre Company play

The Daily Telegraph’s “zealous if not desperate” attempt to again amend its defence in the defamation lawsuit brought by actor Geoffrey Rush has been rejected by a federal court judge.

Justice Michael Wigney on Friday also dismissed a bid by the tabloid to launch a cross-claim against the Sydney Theatre Company, describing the proposal as “very weak if not tenuous”.

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society review – an outbreak of world war twee

https://www.theguardian.com/film/dramaplay episode download
20 April, by Peter Bradshaw[ —]

Populated by Downtown Abbey graduates, this glutinous postwar rom-dram is a load of cobblers

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Time for another outbreak of world war twee: a glutinous 40s-period exercise in British rom-dram solemnity, as if Downton Abbey were subject to a very polite Nazi occupation. (There are three graduates of that TV series in this film, and it might have been sufferable over four or five episodes at Sunday teatime.) Just reading the cutesy title made me lose the will to live halfway through.

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Javier Bardem defends Woody Allen: 'I am very shocked by this treatment'

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20 April, by Guardian staff[ —]

The actor, who worked with Allen on Vicky Cristina Barcelona, has defended him after other stars have decided to distance themselves

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Javier Bardem has come to the defense of Woody Allen in response to other actors distancing themselves from the film-maker.

The Oscar-winning actor, who worked with Allen on 2008’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, has said in a new interview that he is “absolutely not” ashamed of starring in the film.

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