Category Archives: Drama

The Leisure Seeker review – Mirren and Sutherland in syrupy heart-sinker

Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland play lovable oldsters on a road trip, with soppy, insufferable results

Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland take to the road in this soppy bittersweet heart-sinker – depressing in various intentional and unintentional ways. Lovably impulsive oldsters Ella and John infuriate their uptight children (played by Christian McKay and Janel Moloney) by heading off in their cranky old Winnebago for a last road trip in the sunset of their lives, despite their frailties. They are cheerful, gutsy, secretly scared of the future and by imminent revelations about their shared past.

It is an Italian production, directed by Paolo Virzì and co-written by Stephen Amidon, adapting the novel by Michael Zadoorian. (Virzì’s last film was the considerably more astringent, Italian-set Human Capital, an adaptation of Amidon’s novel.)

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The Split: Abi Morgan on how she blew the wig off the British legal drama

They wear sharp suits and power-walk to meetings with scandalous celebrity clients. But the solicitor sisters in this glamorous new divorce drama are not what they seem

‘The idea for the show came from three things,” says Abi Morgan. “I was coming up to 50 and, having spent two decades with the same man, was starting to think about 21st-century marriage and relationships. Then I met a mother who was a divorce lawyer and got talking to her about family law.”

The third angle derives from the fact that Morgan, the acclaimed writer behind The Hour and River, is herself a child of divorce, her parents having split when she was 11. “I was really interested in that legacy, how it can affect people in different ways.”

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From Hidden to In the Mood for Love: why the 2000s are my favourite film decade | Peter Bradshaw

Featuring Coen brothers masterpieces and an astonishing run by Michael Haneke, this was the decade in which film rediscovered its history – and explored its future – thanks to digital technology

For the next fortnight, Guardian film writers will present personal guides to their favourite decade in the movies – subjective and of course arbitrarily conceived eras which, like much criticism, tell you as much about the author as the topic. I have chosen the noughties, the era in which I first started writing about cinema for a living.

Breaking down film history into decades is seductive, if reductive. The 1920s, the silents; the 30s, the talkies and growth of studio pictures, the Hollywood golden age and the Hays code morality; the 40s, the postwar age and the growth of noir; the 50s, the response to TV and the new epics and spectaculars; the 60s, the European new waves, the new independent and underground cinema; the 70s, the decline of the studio system, America’s own auteurist new wave and the arrival of George Lucas; the 80s, the blockbusters, the explosion of VHS and the coming of the franchise movie – III, IV etc; the 90s, the glossy new indie-mainstream films, the rise of Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax and Tarantino, and then the digital and web explosions of the new century …

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Tomb Raider review – Alicia Vikander's Lara Croft is a badass bore

The rebooted action heroine channels the spirit of Indiana Jones – and creepy daddy issues – in a dull, derivative romp

Dave Allen once said that men know they’re getting older when they watch Sunset Boulevard and realise they find Gloria Swanson quite attractive. Similarly, a certain generation will sense the grim reaper’s presence now that Angelina Jolie is no longer the screen face of Lara Croft, because the mantle has passed to Alicia Vikander.

This Lara is notably more serious and sensitive, and unlike Jolie, or the figure in the 90s video game – or indeed Karen Gillan in the new Jumanji movie – she doesn’t have to wear cute shorts or revealing clothes, which is fair enough. But she does an awful lot of very pathetic and borderline creepy daddy-daughter pining for that all-important man in her life. It’s a fantastically lacklustre appearance from Dominic West as the stately parent from a stately home, the daring anthropologist “Lord Richard Croft” (the son of a duke or earl, perhaps?).

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Ruben Östlund: ‘All my films are about people trying to avoid losing face’

The Swedish director of Force Majeure and Palme d’Or winner The Square, starring Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West, on the folly of screen violence and finding drama in the oddities of human behaviour

Ruben Östlund is the rugged adventurer of Swedish film, the man who came down from the mountain to sun himself by the Med. I first meet the director on a posh restaurant terrace at the Cannes film festival. He’s easy to spot among the immaculate diners, perched at a corner table and clasping a mug of coffee as though to keep his hands warm. Östlund is bearded and rumpled and reeks of the outdoors – a child of nature come to gatecrash high society. He says he loves the Alps; he loves to ski. He spent most of his 20s shooting extreme sport videos. “Then I got bored of resorts. Too many lift queues.”

I think the ski slope’s loss might be cinema’s gain. Or possibly he’s just swapped one extreme sport for another. Östlund’s latest film, The Square, crash-landed on the festival as a last-minute addition, still warm from the editing suite (and would later make off with the all-important Palme d’Or). It’s a lovely, freewheeling piece of work – a comedy that starts out as a satire on modern art and then jumps the fence to embrace the whole world, riffing on themes of public space and personal responsibility. The film’s title refers to a utopian free zone that is marked out on the street outside a Stockholm museum. “The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring,” the accompanying brass plaque explains. “Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.”

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David Chase to make Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark

The Emmy-winning creator of the hit crime drama series will revive the franchise with a 60s-set film featuring some familiar characters

David Chase is set to return to the universe of The Sopranos with a big screen-prequel.

The script, with the working title of The Many Saints of Newark, has been purchased by New Line and will be set against the backdrop of the Newark riots of the 1960s. It was written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, who has previously written for The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.

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The Wire, 10 years on: ‘We tore the cover off a city and showed the American dream was dead’

David Simon’s ‘anti-cop show’ struggled to find an audience before being lauded as a classic and making stars of Idris Elba, Michael B Jordan and others. Here, some of its writers and stars look back at a series that changed TV for ever

When, in 2001, the actor Frankie Faison accepted the role of deputy commissioner Ervin Burrell in a new HBO drama called The Wire, he thought he was signing up for a cop show. “I was expecting it to be more about wiretapping,” he remembers with amusement. “It evolved into something much more fascinating.”

HBO laboured under a similar misapprehension because The Wire’s creator, David Simon, had pitched the show to them as an unusually thoughtful police procedural, not an anatomy lesson in US dysfunction that he really had in mind. “I sold it as a cop show, but they don’t know it’s not really a cop show,” he told the novelist George Pelecanos when he invited him to join the writing team. In fact, he said, it was something audaciously new: “A novel for television.”

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We female screenwriters need TV to change. That’s why we wrote our open letter | Debbie Moon

The dominance of men means a lack of opportunities for all writers. That’s why 70 of us are taking action

The landscape of television is changing rapidly – and so are the faces in front of the camera. We have a female Doctor Who. Undercover and Guerrilla placed black protagonists front and centre in prime-time drama, while Chinese Burn explores the lives of young East Asians in London. Streaming services bring us subtitled drama not only from Europe, but from Asia and South America. And yet, check the writers who are considered important and reliable enough for a 9pm prime-time slot “from the writer of …”, and you’ll find the vast majority are men.

Female screenwriters have been aware of this for a long time. We all have our war stories. The exec who said “We already have a show written by a woman”, or the commissioner who felt that a female lead wouldn’t appeal to a wide audience. The times we’ve been the only woman in the writing team, routinely talked over and ignored.

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Why Phantom Thread should win the 2018 best picture Oscar

Paul Thomas Anderson’s romantic comedy is a dark and horribly well-observed ode to the importance of compromise

  • Warning: this article contains major spoilers for Phantom Thread

One of the most grindingly difficult obstacles to being in a functional and happy relationship is also one that appears to be deceptively simple: figuring out how to share your life with someone you love. Once the initial, doe-eyed stages of courtship are over, there’s a subtle choreography required to interlink two disparate lives. When you’re intoxicated with romance, this can feel like a thrilling process, laying the groundwork for a life of intimacy, saying goodbye to the loneliness that came before. But then the daily, unexpected micro-negotiations begin, an intricately challenging procession of compromises, and suddenly the shared road ahead can feel intimidatingly steep.

Related: Why Call Me By Your Name should win the 2018 best picture Oscar

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The Looming Tower review – thorough, thrilling drama retells the road to 9/11

In the small screen adaptation of Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-winning book, bureaucratic breakdowns and government infighting are dramatized in compelling fashion

Despite the fact that they don’t have a proven track record creating narrative television, the trio behind Hulu’s new pre-9/11 miniseries, The Looming Tower, are in their own way perfectly equipped to tell the story of the US government’s ill-fated attempts to prevent the attacks, a tale of interagency discord and unheeded warnings.

Related: Seven Seconds review – provocative Netflix drama series takes too much time

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