Friday Film News Update


A round-up of today’s biggest movie stories in the UK newspapers.

The Guardian

The great awards whitewash – whatever happened to diversity on the red carpet?
Lanre Bakare looks at why ethnic minority talent seems to have been passed over by this year’s awards season.

And there’s more…

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Read all about it…movies in the news (8 May 2013)


Ray Harryhausen, the master of stop motion animation and a pioneer of cinematic special effects, sadly passed away yesterday a few weeks short of his 93rd birthday. Read The Guardian’s obituary here.

Google have run a few banners on their homepage inspired by the quirky, design-sleek film titles and posters of Saul Bass. Here, The Guardian show his 10 best title sequences.



Read all about it…movies in the news (4 May 2013)


The Catholic Online site reports here that Netflix is suffering a dip in popularity following new fee levels and losing streaming rights to 2,000 titles. Interesting to find out how streaming rights works.

The Guardian reports here that 5 members of the British film industry have been charged over an alleged movie tax relief fraud.

The Guardian always comes up with the better film articles. Here, in this regrettably short piece, Charlie Lyne looks at how American studios are bending over backwards to accommodate the censorship demands of Chinese cinema. But with upwards of $2bn of box office takings in China, it’s money well spent.

The Daily Telegraph’s Anne Billson has a good, long whinge about poor manners in the cinema here. Billson makes some smart observations and points out one cinema in the states, the Alamo Drafthouse, that has a zero tolerance policy toward people who talk during movies.

I highlight this because she annoyed the hell out of me on the Graham Norton Show two weeks back. The Independent’s Ellen E Jones wields a mighty stick. Here, she gives Gwyneth Paltrow a good battering with it. More please!


Read all about it…movies in the news (26 April 2013)



Judy Davis is very probably Australia’s finest actor. She’s also one of the prickliest as this Guardian interview with Ryan Gilbey can attest. She has famously fallen out with many a director, including cinema titan David Lean and George Sluizer. A great glimpse into the method behind the star who doesn’t want to be a star…and any interview that gets the word ‘discombobulated’ into the first sentence.


Disney has often been slated for making animals in cinema too human. But how does this propensity to anthropomorphise animals affect our understanding of them? What’s the real truth and how does Hollywood make sure this doesn’t affect telling a good story? The Guardian’s Steve Rose looks at the implications here. And Disney are quoted saying many scientists are all for this view of animals. Well, obviously.

Read all about it…movies in the news (16 April 2013)


Been a while since I had a good read through the papers for movie articles, so here’s a quick run-down of some tasty movie related stories from the newspapers…

Ever thought there are too many film festivals? The Independent‘s Francesca Steele looks here at the forthcoming Sundance Festival London and asks why another festival, and one that originated in the states, could be beneficial to the UK.

Talking about film festivals, the Bradford Festival has honoured veteran actor Tom Courtney with a lifetime achievement award, on the 50th anniversary of the release of his film Billy Liar. The Telegraph’s Ben Lawrence looks at this here.

Given the slating (or should that be mauling?) that Emperor, I mean Tom, Cruise’s just released sci-fi blockbuster Oblivion received in the press, it’s a surprise to find out it had a good weekend at the UK box office. Good surmising in The Guardian of what quantifies a movie’s success, including The Croods, Beyond the Pines and other recent releases.

Read all about it…movies in the news (30 Oct 2012)


Just in time for Halloween tomorrow, the Calgary Sun helpfully categorises the main types of horror movies and the top movies within these sub-genres, including notable Canadian products.

The Den of Geek site also has it’s own, top 15 Halloween themed movies you might want to check out. Some of the choices are distinctly odd, as one would expect from this distinctly individual site (Mean Girls? Although Lindsay Lohan’s career is pretty scary these days).

And continuing the subject of scary movies, horror films can shock you thin! This Guardian article reports on a study that has shown people who watch horror movies burn more calories than when watching other genres (and you thought Ben Hur was gruelling). Forget the science (not all that ground-shaking, it seems) and check out the top 10 list.

Interesting feature in The Metro about how a community in Manchester have set up their own cinema in an abandoned working men’s club…and seen it thrive.

Saw this and thought it definitely worth airing as this local cinema in Walthamstow is very near to where I live. A big local campaign has been generated to help save an old cinema. The work continues. For more information about the trust and it’s work, visit their site here.

The Guardian (again!) talks to Nigerian director Kunle Afolayan about his career and ‘The New Nollywood’ that is emerging in African cinema. As well as just profiling this director, the article takes in how Nigerian cinema, faced with a lack of native outlets (only 10 mainstream cinemas are in the whole country!), has to think outside the box for success.

And the ultimate Halloween movie story – Tom Cruise hints at more Mission: Impossible films. The horror, the horror…

Read all about it…movies in the news (Oct 25 2012)


I caught the reconstructed silent comedy The Spanish Dancer (1923) at the London Film Festival on Sunday. According to the Chicago Tribune figures show that attendance at the festival’s screenings this year across London topped 149,000. The BFi’s box office tills must have rung until meltdown. Read the summation of the festival, which closed with Mike Newell’s adaptation of Great Expectations here.

A clever idea from the people who gave you Secret Cinema – The Secret Hotel. Instead of just turning up and seeing a randomn movie in a mystery location, you can now stay on at a hotel that screens it (also kept secret), themed to tie in with the film and with staff in character. The Guardian has more information here; the Secret Cinema website is here.

The movie awards season is off to a very early start. The Hollywood Awards (the what? It’s been going for 16 years people, keep up!), held last week, is by dint of date the first in a long season of international award events. Among the winners, veteran actor Dustin Hoffman scooped best breakthrough director for his directorial debut Quartet.

Incisive, politico-cinematic critique of American cinema’s continued demonisation of Iran and Iranian people, in order to prop up the safe and secure ideology of Uncle Sam? Or slightly repetitive, quasi-intellectual rant with an impenetrable vocabulary that serves only to underline the author’s ‘higher’ intellect? You decide, in this none the less interesting and well referenced piece from Middle East online.

Read all about it…movies in the news (17 Oct 2012)


I love the ‘Den of Geek’ website, always coming up with the best ‘Top 10…’ lists. You know, the type that shows someone has really watched and remembered their movies, i.e. a movie geek. This latest lists the author’s views on the creepiest towns in cinema.

Dame Maggie Smith is riding high on TV in Downton Abbey, for which most of the awards seem to go to her as the Dowager Countess and also in movie theatres, where she stars in Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet. At the BFI recently, she spoke about the need for more films about mature citizens aimed at mature citizens. The Daily Mail picks it up here.

Liam Neeson action film fans turn away now – the ‘What Culture’ website turns a critical eye on his recent blockbusters.

Read all about it…movies in the news (Oct 16 2012)


In Saudi Arabia, films have hardly been shown publicly for more than 30 years, as they (and TV) are considered immoral. But attitudes are slowly changing. A full round of applause then to the 60 or so “very nervous” attendees of the first ‘secret cinema’ in the country. The Guardian looks at this fascinating, clandestine operation.

For those of you interested in animation, this Filmonic article will no doubt whet your appetite – it lists Disney/Pixar’s movie release schedule for 2013. This is sooo early, most of the movies only have a working title.



Read all about…movies in the news (9 Oct 2012)


Trust the Daily Mail to come up with the more spurious, superficial movie-related pieces. This is a pretty odd collection of schematics drawn by designers to show the floor plans of famous movie moments. No, forget the massive sets of ancient Babylon in Griffith’s Intolerance or one of the legendary Ken Adams production feats for a James Bond finale, they went for a boxing ring in Raging Bull and a bed in Lost in Translation. As ever with online DM articles, the comments from readers are the best bit.

The second is a little more interesting, and just as brief, as Indian cinema prepares to celebrate its centennial next year, with screenings across the world of the first film produced in the country.