Gordon Ramsay playing Gordon Ramsay is a sight to behold,” declared film critic Mark Kermode, reviewing the overcooked chef drama Love’s Kitchen back in 2011. “It’s like he’s not actually human. It is quite the worst cameo acting I think I have ever seen.” Enter Ed Sheeran.The scruffy pop behemoth is rather woeful playing himself in Danny Boyle’s new film Yesterday, which stars Himesh Patel as a struggling musician who wakes up in a world in which The Beatles never existed. Even if you set aside the film’s suggestion that Sheeran is the greatest singer-songwriter of all time, and that he alone is capable of spotting a (fellow) genius, the fact remains that he is, frankly, not a very good actor. It’s not his fault. Granted, you’d think he’d have learnt from his equally disastrous cameos in Game of Thrones, People Just Do Nothing and Bridget Jones’s Baby, but the people truly to blame are those who decided to cast him. Sheeran tries his best, and is game for sending himself up – when his phone rings, “Shape of You” is his ringtone – but it is all just stilted and uncomfortable.To be fair to Sheeran – and to Gordon Ramsey, I suppose – it is surprisingly difficult to play yourself on screen. Many a celebrity has tried and failed to do so. Some are unbearably wooden (think Elton John’s bizarre, overlong cameo in Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle), some are gratuitous, dating the movie before it’s even got a DVD release (2016’s Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie was bafflingly swamped with C-list guest spots – Abbey Clancy, Nick Grimshaw… Perez Hilton?), and others show the celebrity in such a glowing light that it is feels akin to product placement.Celebrity cameos can even, at times, border on offensive. What was supposed to be funny, exactly, about Eminem coming out as gay in Seth Rogen’s catastrophic King Jong-un satire The Interview (2014)? Is the “joke” that the rapper is homophobic? Four years after that film came out, he was still using the word “faggot” in his music. Some people just haven’t earned the right to send themselves up.Occasionally, though, celebrities nail playing themselves. Ant and Dec – or should I say “Ant or Dec”? – did a good job playing themselves alongside Bill Nighy’s outrageous fictional popstar Billy Mack in Love Actually. But almost always, unsurprisingly, the best celebrities for the job are actually actors. Kate Winslet’s un-PC cameo in Extras was not only painfully funny, but strangely prescient. “Do a film about the Holocaust – guaranteed Oscar,” she announced glibly to Ricky Gervais’s struggling movie extra Andy. Three years later, she won an Oscar for doing just that. Michael Cera as a cocaine-fuelled nightmare version of himself in This Is the End was inspired, too, as was Bill Murray as one of the last survivors of a zombie apocalypse in the vastly underrated Zombieland (2009).More recently, Keanu Reeves’s extended cameo as himself on the Netflix comedy film Always Be My Maybe further cemented the cult of Keanu that is currently picking up speed (or should I say Speed?). As the unexpected lover of Ali Wong’s Sasha, Reeves manages to stay just the right side of self-parody. Arriving at an upscale restaurant to the melodramatic strains of Awolnation’s “Sail”, Reeves shakes hands with practically ever diner before greeting Sasha with a flurry of inappropriate kisses and declarations that he has “missed your soul, missed your spirit”. When Sasha’s friend professes to being starstruck, he tells her, “The only stars that matter are the ones you look at when you dream.” If you’ve watched an interview with Reeves, you’ll know that this is just a whisper away from something he would actually say – and yet it is delivered with enough self-awareness that the joke lands brilliantly.Surely the ultimate, though, is John Malkovich in Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s 1999 fantasy comedy-drama Being John Malkovich. To explain the plot would be to ruin the weird and wonderful (literal) rabbit hole through which the film takes you, but Malkovich is absolutely pitch-perfect. “Turn it up,” he told Jonze and Kaufman when they first started filming. “Who better to make fun of yourself – your impotence, your vanity, your ridiculousness – and say it’s OK? I am ridiculous – I mean, I am a celebrity. It’s sort of like human sacrifice. To offer yourself up as a subject of ridicule and scorn to make a point about the society we live in, which has this celebrity obsession.”That’s the best approach a celebrity can have to playing themselves – self-aware, undaunted, but without winking at the camera so blatantly that it all starts to feel a bit desperate. Oh, and being able to act helps.
Toy Story 4 has failed to meet financial expectations in the US and China, leading to further claims of a crisis in cinema attendance, despite the film breaking global records elsewhere.The latest entry in the long-running animated franchise dominated the US box office in its opening weekend, grossing a by-all-measures gargantuan sum of $118 million. But it fell far short of the figures that industry experts and the film’s backers at Disney had predicted, with early reports indicating that it could gross somewhere between $140 million to $150 million in its opening weekend.The gross pales in comparison to last year’s Disney/Pixar effort Incredibles 2, which grossed $182 million in its opening weekend, while 2010’s Toy Story 3 grossed $110 million in its opening – or $129 million when adjusted for inflation. In China, the film similarly underperformed, beaten into second place at the box office (by $13 million to $28 million) by Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki’s animated classic from 2002 that is only just receiving a Chinese theatrical release.Disney can rest easy when it comes to Toy Story 4’s global haul, with the film breaking box office records in the UK (where it had the biggest opening for an animated film in history) and Argentina (where it had the biggest opening weekend of all time), but observers have signalled it could speak to a newfound resistance to long-in-the-tooth franchises.In a series of viral tweets, journalist and film historian Mark Harris argued that “endless brand extensions… and milking of [intellectual properties]... are starting to bore people” and that “this summer is not going according to plan.”While Toy Story 4’s US performance isn’t outrageously concerning, it follows a number of summer blockbusters to underperform or outright flop in recent weeks, including Men in Black: International, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Bollywood actor Amrish Puri appeared in more than 200 films and was described by Steven Spielberg as his “favourite villain”. The Punjab-born actor, who would have been 87 today and is being honoured by a Google Doodle, is most widely-remembered for playing the menacing villain Mogambo in 1987 cult classic Mr India - where he got his signature line, “Mogambo khush hua” (Mogambo is pleased).His bad guy performance was widely touted as one of the best in Bollywood history. It was not until the age of 39 that Puri got his big break acting in the 1971 Bollywood film Reshma Aur Shera after decades spent working in theatre and doing voice-overs.Ten years later he made it into Hollywood with his role in the Oscar-winning film Gandhi. Director Steven Spielberg recruited Puri to play Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984, a role he initially turned it down.Spielberg said: “Amrish is my favourite villain. The best the world has ever produced and ever will”.In total, Puri appeared in more than 200 films in more than a dozen languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil and English. He was born on 22 June 1932 and died on 12 January 2005 after suffering a rare form of blood cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome. His two older brothers, Madan Puri and Chaman Puri, were also actors. The Google Doodle was done by Pune-based artist Debangshu Moulik. Moulik said: “I hope this Doodle encourages people to look into Amrish Puri’s entire career and life and to derive some inspiration from his hard-working nature and perseverance. “He came to be a prominent figure in the Bollywood scene even though he failed his initial screen tests.”
Mean Girls’ Regina George is the “meanest” high school film character of all time, according to research.Rachel McAdams’ breakout role as the “Queen of the Plastics” in the 2004 cult classic took the top spot thanks to her snappy quips and cunning manipulative tactics.She was closely followed in second place by the ever-scheming Kathryn Merteuil – played by Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions.Kathryn’s devious step-brother, Sebastian, crept in at third place on the list of nastiest high school characters from the big screen. The study of 2,000 UK film fans, commissioned by Sky Q, revealed three quarters have watched their favourite high school movie multiple times. Typically, Cruel Intentions, Never Been Kissed, The Princess Diaries, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off have been enjoyed three times.And Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You have been viewed four times while film fans have watched Mean Girls on an average of five occasions.But the 1970s classic Grease has been watched a whopping eight times on average. The study also found that Mean Girls, which is celebrating its 15 year anniversary this month, is still so popular that three in 10 are “shocked” when they meet someone who hasn’t seen the high-school comedy. More than half of fans enjoy Mean Girls for the way it pokes fun at popularity and high school cliques.And despite the fact Regina was named the nastiest movie personality, two fifths felt her character is flawed, but still human.One third felt the same about Regina’s arch-nemesis, Lindsay Lohan’s Cady Heron. Researchers also revealed the best-loved quotes from the film, which was hilariously adapted to screenplay by comic, Tina Fey.“On Wednesdays, we wear pink” came out on top, closely followed by “She doesn’t even go here!” and “Is butter a carb?”To celebrate the anniversary of the classic film, you can now say: “On Wednesdays we wear pink”, into your Sky Q remote’s voice search to find the film. Ian Lewis, director of Sky Cinema, said: “There’s something about a high school movie which makes us feel nostalgic. “Even 15 years since its release, Mean Girls still feels so relatable, so we wanted to mark the occasion through adding its most recognisable quote to Sky Q’s voice search. “To kick off the start of summer, we’re also launching a ‘School’s Out’ channel where fans can watch a collection of cult classics like American Pie, The Breakfast Club and Clueless.”The research also revealed nearly half of those polled, via OnePoll, agreed a “mean” character is integral to the structure of a good high school movie, closely tailed by snappy quips and an element of romance.And in looking at why we love “mean” characters on screen, almost half believe “they are more fun”, and that they create drama which progresses the plot. It also emerged one in five consider the noughties to be the best decade for high school films. And for more than two fifths, there is nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a funny high school film.Mean Girls is one of a selection of high school movies, from Grease to Pretty in Pink, being shown on Sky Cinema’s School’s Out channel from 20-28 July and On Demand. Top 10 ‘meanest’ teen villains in film:1\. Regina George, Mean Girls (Rachel McAdams) 2\. Kathryn Mertuil, Cruel Intentions (Sarah Michelle Gellar)3\. Sébastien de Valmont, Cruel Intentions (Ryan Phillipe)4\. Cady Heron, Mean Girls (Lindsay Lohan)5\. Amber Von Tussle, Hairspray (Brittany Snow)6\. Betty Rizzo, Grease (Stockard Channing)7\. Sharpay Evans, High School Musical (Ashley Tisdale)8\. Steve Stifler, American Pie (Seann William Scott)9\. Gretchen Wiener, Mean Girls (Lacey Chabert)10\. Lana Thomas, Princess Diaries (Mandy Moore) Top 10 best high school movies of all time:1\. Grease2\. Mean Girls3\. American Pie4\. Clueless5\. The Breakfast Club6\. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off7\. Cruel Intentions8\. Hairspray9\. The Princess Diaries10\. Bring It OnSWNS
Ellen Page has marked Pride Month by sharing a topless picture of herself with wife Emma Portner.The 32-year-old actor, best known for her role in 2007 film Juno, for which she won more than 20 awards, posted the intimate image, which depicts the pair having an intimate moment, on Sunday.She captioned it: "HAPPY PRIDE!!!," adding that she was "sending love". The post has since garnered almost half a million likes.> View this post on Instagram> > HAPPY PRIDE!!! Sending love ❤️🌈> > A post shared by @ ellenpage on Jun 2, 2019 at 5:08am PDTPage first came out as gay in 2014.During a speech at the Human Right Campaign's Time To Thrive conference, she said she was tired of "lying by omission"."I'm here today because I am gay and because maybe I can make a difference, to help others have an easier and more hopeful time," Page told the audience."Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility."> View this post on Instagram> > ❤️🏳️🌈> > A post shared by @ ellenpage on Apr 22, 2019 at 4:12am PDTShe added: "I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out [...] And I'm standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain."Page has since advocated for gay rights, most notably in a viral appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert where she was critical US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their perceived anti-gay rhetoric.> View this post on Instagram> > HappyPride> > A post shared by Emma Portner (@emmaportner) on Jun 3, 2019 at 7:15pm PDTPage married Portner, a 24-year-old Canadian professional dancer and choreographer whom she met through Instagram, in January last year.Earlier today, Portner also shared a picture of the pair, which was taken at the premiere of Netflix's Tales of the City, in which Page stars.\- This article first appeared on Yahoo
The happiest place on Earth is about to make Star Wars fans downright ecstatic. On Friday, 31 May, Disneyland opens the gate to Star Wars : Galaxy's Edge, an immersive world where followers of the Resistance or First Order can experience their own galactic adventures. Both locations of the park (Disney World's counterpart opens 29 August) will boast two major new attractions, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run and Star Wars : Rise of the Resistance. Unfortunately for early guests, only the first ride is ready for the grand opening. (Rise of the Resistance should be available later this year.) Then again, visitors will be so busy piloting the Falcon, getting up close with an X-Wing, meeting Kylo Ren and gawking at the marketplace that they may not miss it. Here are some new images of the streets of Galaxy's Edge, including its star attraction. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be accessible at Disneyland Resort on May 31. By Gwynne Watkins, Yahoo Entertainment
The funeral for Oscar-nominated director John Singleton will be held in Los Angeles on Monday, his representative has said.Singleton, best known for making 1991 drama Boyz N The Hood, died on April 29 almost two weeks after suffering a stroke.The 51-year-old will be laid to rest in his home city of Los Angeles in a ceremony for family and close friends, his spokeswoman said.The funeral will be a “very small, intimate goodbye” to the filmmaker, a representative said, and will not be open to the press or public.However, his family is planning a larger memorial “in a few weeks” to celebrate his life.Singleton, a father of seven, died after being taken off life support. He suffered a stroke almost two weeks earlier.Barack Obama was among those to pay tribute, saying he “opened doors for filmmakers of colour to tell powerful stories that have been too often ignored”.Boyz N The Hood was based on Singleton’s upbringing and shot in his old neighbourhood.It starred Cuba Gooding Jr as a rebellious teen whose single mother sends him to live with his father in South Central Los Angeles.Singleton became the first black director to receive an Academy Award nomination, and the youngest to do so, and also received a screenplay nomination.His other films included Poetic Justice, Rosewood and Shaft.Additional reporting by agencies
Avengers: Endgame is officially in theatres, which means fans of the superhero movies are finally finding out whether their favourite characters live or die. At three hours and 58 seconds, Endgame is the longest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), meaning moviegoers will likely have to take a quick break or two.
This year, the biggest event in cinema will be a CGI smackdown starring Josh Brolin as a huge purple head and one-time Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr as an annoying billionaire bunged inside a flying tin suit. It would be that a serious box office contender had anything to do with Marvel Comics. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most potent brand in cinema, the $18bn jewel in Disney’s mouse-eared tiara.
Avengers: Endgame has vastly outsold its predecessor Infinity War during its first week of online presales in the US. Fandango, one of the main American platforms selling tickets online, announced on Wednesday that the forthcoming Marvel film has sold five times as many tickets as Infinity War did in the same period. According to Fandango, “thousands” of Endgame showings have already sold out across the US, 16 days ahead of the blockbuster’s release.
On 7 April 1939, Samuel Goldwyn’s production of Emily Bronte’s famous novel Wuthering Heights was released, just one of 365 films produced in Hollywood alone in the year that many film scholars consider the greatest ever for cinema. It was certainly the peak for Hollywood’s Golden Age and the much maligned studio system ruled over by autocrats such as Louis B Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn. Perhaps it was just serendipity that so many classics were released in 1939 or just the inevitable culmination of great art.
Liam Neeson has issued a lengthy apology to his fans for his "hurtful and divisive" comments, weeks after describing how he had attempted to indiscriminately kill a black man in revenge for the rape of someone close to him. Neeson claimed his actions would have been the same regardless of race, he would have felt the same towards "a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian".
Gwyneth Paltrow shared a photo on Instagram of daughter Apple Martin without her daughter’s consent. Photograph: Suzanne Cordeiro/REX/ShutterstockGwyneth Paltrow’s teenage daughter has criticised her mother for posting a picture of her online without her consent, a reaction one expert says will become more common as a generation that has been snapped since their birth grows up.Paltrow posted a photo to Instagram earlier in the week of herself with Apple Martin, her 14-year-old daughter with Coldplay singer Chris Martin, at a ski field. Apple’s face is largely covered by ski goggles.Apple commented on the post: “Mom we have discussed this. You may not post anything without my consent.”Paltrow replied: “You can’t even see your face!”Apple’s comment, which was later deleted, sparking debate about how much parents should share about their children’s lives on social media.Some criticised the teenager for publicly calling out her mother, others backed her up, saying the teenager had a right not to have her image shared with her mother’s 5.3 million followers.This is a discussion we will be hearing more often in the coming years, said Joanne Orlando, researcher in technology and learning at the Western Sydney University, as children who have had their entire childhoods documented online by their parents reach an age where they can articulate their preferences for how much they want to share.“I think we will see a pushback,” said Orlando, who called Apple’s reaction to her mother’s post: “not unusual and not uncalled for”. “For these kids, often the first time they hit social media is the ultrasound photo and then from day one when they’re born.“So they don’t have any control over what their parents are putting up, or what comments their parents are adding to photos or videos, but we all know our digital lives are increasingly important. So they want to gain control over it when they’re able to.”Orlando said while she had not yet seen cases of children taking legal action against their parents for what is posted online, this could come in the future, and noted the example of France, which introduced strict laws that could see parents face fines and even a jail sentence if they post photos online that are deemed to violate the child’s privacy.
A film “trailer” for The Wind In The Willows calling for action to help nature has been unveiled by environmental campaigners. Sir David Attenborough and Stephen Fry are among the talents featured in the film, which shows the animal characters facing 21st century threats such as road building and plastic pollution. It marks the launch of a new celebrity-backed campaign by the Wildlife Trusts for a “wilder future”, which is calling on people to help UK wildlife recover from current declines.
Not for the reasons reeled off by some of 007’s most ardent fans – the kind of fans who felt affronted when Daniel Craig took over in 2005, because it meant the spy had turned blond. Certainly not because if we “give Bond breasts, we lose the magic behind the character”, as one particularly crude Telegraph op-ed put it. No – a woman shouldn’t play James Bond, because women deserve better.
Neo-noir is a term that is now so widely used to describe almost any stylish modern crime thriller that the lines that separate the genre from its’ film noir roots have become increasingly blurred. When for example, did film noir evolve into neo-noir, and what exactly constitutes neo-noir?
Netflix has changed the ending of popular romance film The Notebook, causing outrage among fans. The 2004 romance movie, which is based on the 1996 novel by Nicolas Sparks, stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as teenagers Noah Calhoun and Alison "Allie" Hamilton, who fall in love in the 1940s. On social media, people have criticised the streaming service for cutting out what is considered a crucial part of the film – and a key reason many people decide to watch The Notebook.
One of the many viewers of Sunday’s Oscars was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - which spent the night live-tweeting about Black Panther. As the superhero film took home three awards, the CIA dedicated a Twitter thread to exploring the technology depicted in the film - and how fictional aspects of the film such as vibranium could be used in real life. The thread was part of the agency’s Reel vs Real series, which compares technology seen on film to technology “available to real-world intelligence officers today,” and began by asking the agency’s followers if they knew what vibranium was.
Olivia Colman has confirmed her status as national treasure thanks to her Oscar win for The Favourite – and endlessly endearing acceptance speech – but her journey to Hollywood deity began in an iconic AA advert almost 15 years ago. In the ad, Colman can be seen with her screen partner Kev – Mark Burdis from Grange Hill – pulling up in a pristine car alongside their former selves in an old banger. The pair stare at each other, calling out “Bev” and “Kev”, with the scruffier versions unable to believe their alter egos have been able to afford such an expensive vehicle (all thanks to AA insurance, new Bev and Kev explain).
Just last year, Chloé Zhao released her standout rodeo film The Rider, while in 2016, western heads had to contend with Antoine Fuqua's remake of The Magnificent Seven. John Sturges’ ever-popular original was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic, Seven Samurai. Below is a reminder of some of the greatest entries in the western canon.
Oscar nominated British actor Albert Finney – best known for his roles in Annie, Murder on the Orient Express and Scrooge – has died following a short illness at the age of 82, his family has announced. A statement from his family reads: “Albert Finney, aged 82, passed away peacefully after a short illness with those closest to him by his side. Finney, who was born in Salford in 1936, was one of Britain’s premiere Shakespearean actors and was nominated for five Oscars across almost four decades – for Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), Under the Volcano (1984) and Erin Brockovich (2000).
When Anne Hathaway was first approached to host the Oscars in 2011, she turned the offer down, convinced that it was a “no-win situation”. It was James Franco, her eventual co-host, who changed her mind. “He didn’t give me anything,” Hathaway told People magazine recently.
A short film shot entirely from a pig’s point of view has been released to mark the start of the Chinese Year of the Pig.