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The Red Turtle review – rapturous minimalism from Studio Ghibli

28 May, by Mark Kermode[ —]

This wordless animated fable follows the fortunes of a shipwrecked man on an island – and it’s a masterpiece

In the wake of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There, there were reports that Japan’s celebrated Studio Ghibli had run its creative course. But at the Cannes film festival last year, a new pearl was unveiled proudly bearing the world’s most respected animation imprimatur.

Directed by UK-based Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit, who won an Oscar for his 2000 short, Father and Daughter, The Red Turtle is an ambitious east-meets-west endeavour that had been gestating for a decade; a Japanese-French-Belgian co-production (a first for Ghibli) made at Prima Linea studios in Paris and Angoulême, under the long-distance supervision of Ghibli mainstays Takahata and Toshio Suzuki.

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The Other Side of Hope review – wry refugee comedy

28 May, by Simran Hans[ —]

A Syrian asylum seeker finds friendship with a hapless Finnish restaurateur in part two of Aki Kaurismäki’s migrant trilogy

The latest from Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki follows Syrian asylum seeker Khaled (Sherwan Haji) as he attempts to make a new life for himself in Helsinki. Emerging from a coal freighter covered in soot, Khaled maintains that crossing the border was easy, because “nobody wants to see me”.

The second in a loose trilogy that began with his 2011 film Le Havre, Kaurismäki’s wry comedy is a timely critique of an intolerant Europe, and a winking cheer to those who offer a handshake of solidarity to their new neighbours. One such individual is the cranky but generous Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), who wins a poker game and buys a decrepit restaurant (the delightfully rubbish Golden Pint, a single painting of Jimi Hendrix adorning its otherwise bare walls) with his prize money. “I’ve always been interested in restaurants, theoretically speaking,” he admits.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge review – plumbing the depths

https://www.theguardian.com/film/pirates-of-the-caribbean-dead-men-tell-no-talesplay episode download
28 May, by Simran Hans[ —]

Disney continues to milk its nautical cash cow with a dismal fifth outing for Johnny Depp and his crew

Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow in the fifth (fifth!) instalment of Disney’s swashbuckling series. The plot is nominal, and so are the film’s first 90 minutes (Paul McCartney cameo included). Boring and noisy, they parrot their predecessors – ugly, murky CGI visuals, and inane, sexist jokes alike. The introduction of astronomer and horologist Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) as the smart one is a thin attempt to excuse the quips about her knickers, of which there are several. Javier Bardem doesn’t even seem to be having any fun hamming it up as villainous Spaniard Salazar. The film’s final stretch very nearly redeems things, with an excursion to a glittering island and an almost exciting underwater battle, but its corny, sequel-baiting ending pushed me overboard.

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Kiki review – gay ballroom scene strictly life-affirming

28 May, by Simran Hans[ —]

An eye-opening documentary about New York’s underground LGBT ball culture

Sara Jordenö’s vivid documentary about New York’s underground ballroom scene glows with the heat of radical empathy. Jordenö casts her subjects – gay black and brown teens who find freedom in dance and drag – in warm reds and oranges, giving each individual their moment by fixing on their faces as they make direct eye contact with her camera.

The elephant in the room is Jennie Livingston’s 1990 vogueing documentary, Paris Is Burning, which casts a long shadow over the film. There are two main differences here: firstly, Kiki comes from the community it depicts (Twiggy Pucci Garçon, one of the film’s stars, has a co-writer credit). Secondly, while Paris Is Burning was mostly set against the backdrop of the Reagan era, Kiki takes place in Obama’s America. Inevitably, the dramatic stakes feel different; the urgency of the Aids crisis is not quite as close, though it’s noted that even today more than 50% of those making up the city’s ballroom scene are HIV positive. As one of the film’s main subjects, trans activist Gia Marie Love, explains, this community remains “on intimate terms with death”.

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul review – gross gags on a road to nowhere

28 May, by Simran Hans[ —]

This latest in the family comedy franchise will appeal more to children than their parents or guardians

The fourth film in the series subs in a new wimpy kid (Greg Heffley is now played by Jason Drucker), annoyed at the prospect of a family road trip in which mum (Alicia Silverstone, but with glasses) has banned “all electronic devices”. Kids may be able to relate to Greg’s plight (I know I did), and a silly joke about him becoming a meme called “Diaper Hands” induced a loud giggle, though parents may roll their eyes at the visceral, gross-out quality of the comedy.

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Toni Erdmann; The Salesman; Jackie; Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? and more

https://www.theguardian.com/film/bradpittplay episode download
28 May, by Guy Lodge[ —]
Maren Ade’s parent-child comedy is a triumph, while Asghar Farhadi’s domestic suspense film doesn’t match his best

I am writing this week’s column in the balmy rosé-and-Nurofen glow of the Cannes film festival, where Pedro Almodóvar’s jury is about to dish out its prizes. If things go as they usually do, critics will feel alternately vindicated and perplexed by the winners, and a masterpiece or two will go entirely ignored and be just fine anyway – just ask Toni Erdmann (Soda, 15). This time last year, Maren Ade’s ingenious, elastic twist on the parent-child comedy earned the most ecstatic reviews of the festival, while George Miller and his jurors gave it nada.

Trust the critics on this one. Running from dizzily absurd farce to laceratingly honest heartbreak across nearly three exhilarating hours, this story of a tightly wound businesswoman torn between severing and mending relations with her lonely, singularly eccentric father is wholly original in shape and tone. Yet the feelings it wrenches from its characters are achingly recognisable. Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller are interdependently extraordinary. The latter (pictured right), among other achievements, reaches an all-time summit in onscreen karaoke with an edge-of-the-abyss Whitney Houston number. “The greatest love of all is easy to achieve,” she belts; Ade’s lovely, weird, wise film knows otherwise.

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I Am Not Madame Bovary review – slow boat from China

https://www.theguardian.com/film/dramaplay episode download
28 May, by Simran Hans[ —]

An overlong Kafkaesque comedy drama about a woman’s bid to save her reputation runs out of steam

Based on the Chinese morality play about Pan Jinlian – an adulteress who conspires with her lover to kill her husband – Feng Xiaogang’s satirical drama tells the story of Li Xuelian (Fan Bingbing)’s battle with the government to clear her name of the charge of indecency. All of this is wrapped up in the rhetoric of a sticky divorce (and the court’s “wrong verdict”) that drags out for an entire decade, thanks to the ministry’s incompetence and their reluctance to take a marital case seriously (“If it were murder or arson, it wouldn’t be a problem,” one character deadpans).

There are flashes of dark humour here (in one scene, Li tries to convince her butcher to kill her ex-husband) – and plenty of gentle swipes at the Chinese government, but the film is uneven and lagging in pace. Still, it’s frequently beautiful, with Feng constraining most scenes within a circular aspect ratio – a nod to the literati paintings of the Song dynasty – with the frame occasionally opening out to a neat square. The effect is distracting at first, but there’s pleasure to be found in his controlled, geometric framing. At 2hrs 20mins, it’s also far too long, though Du Wei’s thundering, percussive score helps to push the narrative along.

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Baywatch review – not waving, but drowning

28 May, by Simran Hans[ —]

A big-screen action comedy revival of the TV lifeguards show flashes plenty of flesh but not much else

Seth Gordon’s remake of the 1990s TV series is little more than boobs and the beach (though admittedly, he throws in a couple of set pieces involving male genitalia to try to even the stakes). Priyanka Chopra draws the short straw as a Bond-style villainess with an empty cackle, but it’s fun to watch Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rib Zac Efron’s fallen swim champion (“Where are you from? One Direction?”). The pair have good chemistry, but the film falls apart when Gordon tries (too hard) to turn it into a crime caper.

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Cannes 2017 day 11: Eva Green and Joaquin Phoenix on the red carpet – in pictures

https://www.theguardian.com/film/lynne-ramsayplay episode download
27 May, by Guardian Staff[ —]

Cannes is nearly at an end: it’s the last two big premieres, Based on a True Story, directed by Roman Polanski, and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here

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Women-only Wonder Woman showings sell out despite outcry

27 May, by Associated Press in New York[ —]
  • Movie theaters in Austin, Texas and Brooklyn, New York say ‘no guys allowed’
  • Brooklyn Alamo promises to donate all proceeds to Planned Parenthood

Plans by US movie theaters to host women-only screenings of Wonder Woman have produced support and some grumbling about gender discrimination.

Related: Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins: ‘People really thought that only men loved action movies’

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