‘Dad described the plot of Psycho at the dinner table’: how my parents taught me to love film

The Guardian film critic on how his mother and father shaped his relationship with cinema My parents are dead now, and I think about them both every day. They loved the cinema, and would go all the time as a young couple. My mum had a crush on the young Marlon Brando after seeing him in On The Waterfront and as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar. But it was my dad who was the more voluble about film, if not necessarily the more opinionated. Albert Desmond Bradshaw came to London from Belfast in the 1950s to be a photographer. That was where he met my mum, Mollie, who was working as a secretary. They lived in Highgate, north London and …

‘I got the guy!’ My 17-year manhunt for a $50m art criminal

For years, documentary-maker Vanessa Engle has been on the trail of a notorious swindler who escaped from prison and disappeared into thin air. Then one day, the phone rang … You probably havent heard of Michel Cohen. Do a search and you get The Funeral Murders, a small story in the US press. Cohen had been arrested, by Interpol, in Rio de Janeiro; he was in jail in Brazil. I thought OK, nows my chance, maybe the Brazilian authorities will let me into the prison, I can get the whole story, its going to happen, says Engle, reliving the excitement. She was on another project, but there was no hurry because he would be in prison for a long time. …

The Two Popes: Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce divine in papal faceoff

Hopkinss Benedict XVI and Pryces Francis I make for a winning Vatican odd couple in this succession drama whose careful script ends not with a bang but a wimple Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce find some tremendous actorly form in this humorous, indulgent, lop-sidedly sentimental Pope-off which becomes a Pontiff bromance adapted by Frank Cottrell-Boyce from Anthony McCartens stage-play and directed by Fernando Meirelles. Its an entertaining if preposterous imagining of private meetings supposedly taking place a decade ago between Pope Benedict XVI, formerly the Austrian Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Hopkins) and the Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Pryce) as the Pope was pondering his sensational decision to retire, and before Bergoglio the supposed liberal and critic of the incumbents conservative views …

Hitler comedy Jojo Rabbit primed for Oscars after winning top Toronto award

Taika Waititis whimsical second world war film has won the peoples choice award at this years Toronto film festival, following in the footsteps of Green Book Second world war comedy Jojo Rabbit has won this years peoples choice award at the Toronto film festival, a prize thats seen by many as a major predictor of Oscar success. The film, which follows a young German boy who turns his idol Adolf Hitler into an imaginary friend, is written and directed by Taika Waititi, who also stars in the film. Its described as an anti-hate satire based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens and also stars Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell. Waititis previous films include What We Do in the …

The stars of The Kitchen on on-screen equality

Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy and Elisabeth Moss talk all-female casts, box-office hopes and Kool-Aid pickles Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss and Tiffany Haddish are kicking back in the Warner Bros commissary, discussing an American delicacy that, strangely, does not appear on the menu: I taught them about pickles and Kool-Aid, says Haddish proudly, as her two castmates erupt in squeals of revolted laughter. That shows the true love I have for you, says McCarthy. Because I kept saying no and she kept saying: You have to try it! I was like: I. Dont. Want. To. Do. This. And then the next thing I know, I was eating it and Here, McCarthy, a Saturday Night Live regular and veteran of several blockbuster …

Farmed out to a white family, I became a skinhead: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje on his first film

The actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje talks about growing up in Essex and joining a racist gang a story now told in his directing debut, Farming There are some stories that, though they wait half a lifetime, must get told. Seven years ago, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje gave an Lost. Farming, which he had then already been writing and developing for nearly a decade, explored a real-life mystery: it was the incredible story of how he, a young Nigerian boy raised by white foster parents in 1970s Tilbury, Essex, had forged an identity for himself in a violently racist local skinhead gang, and lived to tell the tale. The film, which eventually premiered at the wider release this month. It both dramatises a brutal …

How we made Quadrophenia, by Phil Daniels and Leslie Ash

Riding the scooter along the clifftop at Beachy Head, I got too close and fell off Phil Daniels, played Jimmy I wasnt well when I went for the auditions at Shepperton Studios in Surrey. Id been in South Africa filming Beachy Head. Riding along the clifftop, I got a lot closer to the edge than I was meant to and fell off the scooter a couple of times. I remember the first assistant director, Ray Corbett, telling me: Listen, its the third day. If you fell off that cliff, dyou know what would have happened? They would have recast you tomorrow. Jimmys not a hero, hes just a normal boy next door, and thats what makes him work. He ultimately …

I dont regret being messy and imperfect Constance Wu on Crazy Rich Asians, Twitter storms and acting with J-Lo

Constance Wu stars in new heist movie Hustlers. Martha Hayes hears how she made it to the top and why shes not seeking approval from anyone Like many struggling actors, in her early 20s Constance Wu waited tables and toyed with the idea of getting a proper job. In her case, retraining to be a speech therapist. Wu is visibly embarrassed when I bring it up, which has less to do with her chosen field, and more with her motivation behind it. Its really the most pathetic reason of all, she says, rolling her eyes. I had a boyfriend I was in love with, who wasnt too psyched with the idea of being with an actress, because it wasnt stable. …

Israeli TV show puts wall between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews

This is the reality that currently exists in Israel, says the creator of Autonomies War rages in the heart of the Middle East. Jerusalem is captured. Concrete walls go up, and a deep distrust spreads across the holy land. The well-worn tale is used as the backdrop to multiple Israeli television dramas. Yet for one show, it is not Arabs and Jews who are doing the fighting, but Jews and Jews. Currently touring film festivals across the world, the six-part series Autonomies envisions a clash between secular Jews and the deeply religious ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, Jews. In this vision, set in the near future, civil war has cut the land into two countries. The coastal State of Israel is nonreligious, …

The Goldfinch review Donna Tartt adaptation settles for silver

An elegantly made attempt to transport the Pulitzer prize-winning novel to the screen boasts a strong cast but a confused emotional focus Is Donna Tartts Pulitzer prize-wining novel The Goldfinch unadaptable? Is it possible to condense 784 globetrotting pages of romance, terrorism, grief, drug addiction and art world espionage into a coherent and dramatically satisfying movie? After 149 minutes of Brooklyn director John Crowleys much-anticipated, and much-feared, attempt, the answer appears to be shrug emoji? Because its neither a rousing success nor an embarrassing failure, falling somewhere in between, closer to admirable attempt. Most importantly, its nowhere near the ungainly mess some had expected, its many, many moving parts stitched together with an elegant hand and unlike some weighty adaptations, …

Send in the crowns: in trumping Venice competition, Joker begins grand slam | Xan Brooks

The victory for Todd Phillipss revisionist comic book blockbuster is a credit to a festival in touch with crazed politics, contemporary paranoia and superb cinema Todd Phillips Joker spins the tale of a pathetic loser who ends up a winner, the low-class upstart who upsets the applecart and explodes the establishment. Nobody least of all Joaquin Phoenixs snivelling party entertainer believed he stood a snowballs chance in hell. But his message hit home and the voters clamoured change and we live in interesting times where the old rules dont apply. As with the man, so with the film. Since its incel vigilantes. Its been seen as left-wing; its been seen as right-wing. Its politics are so turbulent, so unrefined – …

Streaming: Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell not to be sniffed at

Elisabeth Moss thrills as a strung-out rock star in Alex Ross Perrys tremendous, terribly titled new film A bad title can be a debilitating handicap to even the best of films: if it makes you wince even to say the thing, its that much harder to get invested in watching it. This is a truth that has been learned the hard way by the new film from American independent writer-director Alex Ross Perry: a daring, grungily immersive and quite brilliantly acted character study that has been saddled, for reasons best known to Perry himself, with the buzz-killing moniker Her Smell. Try telling people, as I have for several months now, that they should be looking out for a terrific film …

Muscle Shoals co-founder Jimmy Johnson dies aged 76

The musician and producer worked on recordings by Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and George Michael Jimmy Johnson, co-founder of the celebrated Aretha Franklins Respect, has died age 76. His son Jay Johnson said he died on Thursday; the cause of death was not disclosed. Johnson and his bandmates in the Swampers founded the studio in Sheffield, Alabama, in 1969, after leaving the employ of Rick Hall and his nearby Fame studios. They were the first group of musicians to own a studio and later run their own publishing and production arms. As the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, guitarist Johnson, keyboard player Barry Beckett, drummer Roger Hawkins and bassist David Hood performed on hundreds of recordings, including albums by Franklin, …

The Spy review Sacha Baron Cohen goes undercover in middling Mossad drama

The star of Borat and Bruno goes straight as an Israeli spy in a plodding period espionage saga that mainly manages to remind viewers of better, smarter shows Its a long way from Grimsby to Tel Aviv. But The Brothers Grimsby, he played alcoholic buffoon and putative Grimbarian Nobby, who, despite being disguised as Liam Gallagher, managed to assist his MI6 officer brother to foil a eugenicist plot to rid the world of the working classes. But only after the pair, ostensibly hilariously, were obliged to hide in an elephants vagina. Three years later, Baron Cohen stars in The Spy, Netflixs new six-part series written and directed by Gideon Raff, who was responsible for went deep cover for Mossad in …

A Batman v Joker movie could make Marvel’s Avengers look like the Powerpuff Girls

Could Warner Bros finally match Marvels box office might with a mini-verse featuring Robert Pattinsons caped crusader and Joaquin Phoenixs Arthur Fleck? Where DisneyDC seems hellbent on going in the opposite direction. After 2017s Suicide Squad slumped languidly into the shadows, Wonder Woman, Shazam! all managed to engage audiences without cramming dozens of costumed crime fighters into the same movie. Freed from the need to maintain thematic integrity across multiple episodes, Warners superhero movies have finally found their feet. So much so that it is tempting to wonder if the long-mooted DC Extended Universe, always planned as a Marvel-aping excuse to cross-pollinate the publishers entire back catalogue, has already met an untimely demise. James Gunns upcoming Suicide Squad 2 may …

‘I love Woody and I believe him’: Scarlett Johansson defends Allen

Actor says she has spoken extensively to the director about claims of sexual abuse and would work with him any time Scarlett Johansson has come out strongly in defence of Woody Allen, saying she loved the film-maker and believed he is innocent of the abuse accusations made by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. Match Point, Scoop and Timothe Chalamet, Greta Gerwig and Colin Firth, all of whom expressed regret at working with Allen after the re-emergence of Farrows allegation of sexual abuse against him. Allen has always denied the allegations, which have been investigated twice by authorities and no charges brought. Other actors such as Javier Bardem and Anjelica Huston terminated a four-film agreement with him, citing his comments about …