The Venice International Film Festival unveiled a starry lineup of world premieres for September — including Pablo Larrain’s “Spencer,” starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, and Ridley Scott’s medieval drama “The Last Duel,” featuring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver.
The oldest film festival in the world is kicking off its 78th edition September 1 on the Lido with the premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s “Madres paralelas,” starring Penelope Cruz. “Spencer” and “Madres paralelas” are among 21 features premiering as part of the official competition, which has often helped guide eventual Oscar best picture nominees and even winners.
Other films competing for the Golden Lion include Ana Lily Amirpour’s fantasy “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon,” with Kate Hudson and Craig Robinson; Maggie Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s “The Lost Daughter,” starring Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson; Paul Schrader’s crime drama “The Card Counter,” with Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish, and Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God.”
Edgar Wright’s stylish psychological thriller “Last Night in Soho,” with Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, will also have its premiere in Venice out of the competition before heading to the Toronto Film Festival.
Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” with Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons; Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of “Dune,” starring Timothée Chalamet, and “Halloween Kills” were all previously announced as part of the slate. Campion’s film, about brothers in 1920s Montana, is another competition title, and one of two Netflix films debuting at the festival.
The veteran Hollywood actor Harrison Ford is on the verge of entering the eighth decade of his life. He turns 79 today (July 13). The legend has been part of some of the most iconic film franchises and has left an impression on countless memorable characters due to his charisma, screen presence and talent.
Here we are going to list five of the best characters he has played in his career. The list is ordered.
While Ford was not the first to portray the role of Jack Ryan, he certainly made it more popular, cinematically speaking. His first Jack Ryan film, Patriot Games, was a so-so movie, it was in Clear And Present Danger that he really got the chance to shine. Several actors have played this iconic characters, but Ford’s take is arguably the best. Even now, every Jack Ryan performance is measured in relation to Ford’s.
The fifth and latest episode of Loki is now out. The pre-finale episode unravels a bag of secrets, and much to the delight of fans, reveals a crucial spoiler about a key character’s death. Here are some of the highlights of the newly released episode.
After being pruned, Loki lands into the void and finds that he has not one variant of Loki, but so many of them in this land beyond time. From an alligator to a kid Loki, to a classic Loki (who ends up sacrificing himself for a greater purpose), Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief comes to know that he is not so unique as he once thought himself to be. The other Lokis are just as boastful, just as big a backstabbing liar that he is.
At one point in the episode, Richard Grant’s Classic Loki states that they are all God of outcasts, who are forever punished by fate to merely survive time as it passes them by.
The audience will be happy to know that Loki’s one loyal, well-meaning friend is not only alive, but raring to aid the Lokis in the mission of bringing down the authoritative Time Variance Authority. Owen Wilson’s character teams up with Sylvie, Loki, Kid Loki and Classic Loki to unshackle other variants from the lie they have been living till now.
In the new episode, the Lokis face a new enemy — Alioth, a cloud entity which engulfs and destroys everything in its path. It is Alioth who stands guard to the abode of Time Keepers, and it is he who the Lokis and their friends must defeat to reach their destination.
Yes, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is a sorcerer, but he has never enchanted the way Sylvie has. However, in this new episode, apart from revealing his true feelings to Sylvie, he also learns to enchant! The episode ends as Sylvie and Loki together enchant Alioth, who in turn, slides back to reveal a castle-like structure, apparently the home of Time Keepers.
Will Sylvie and Loki finally rise up to the occasion and fulfill their glorious mission? Only time (pun intended) will tell.
A new Loki episode premieres every Wednesday on Disney Plus Hotstar.
PHILADELPHIA — Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction was thrown out Wednesday by Pennsylvania’s highest court in a ruling that swiftly freed the actor from prison more than three years after he was found guilty of drugging and molesting Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion.
Cosby, 83, was the first celebrity tried and convicted in the #MeToo era, and his conviction was seen as a turning point in the movement to hold powerful men accountable for sexual misconduct.
Here’s a look at the case against Cosby and the court’s decision:
WHY DID THE COURT TOSS HIS CONVICTION?
The split court found that Cosby was unfairly prosecuted because the previous district attorney had promised the comedian once known as “America’s Dad” that he wouldn’t be charged over Constand’s accusations. Cosby was charged by another prosecutor who claimed he wasn’t bound by that agreement.
The court said that’s not the case. The justices found that Cosby relied on that promise when he agreed to testify without invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a lawsuit brought against him by Constand.
The court concluded that prosecutor who later brought the charges was obligated to stick to the nonprosecution agreement, so the conviction cannot stand. The justices wrote that “denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade.”
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE NONPROSECUTION AGREEMENT?
During a court hearing weeks after Cosby’s 2015 arrest, Castor testified that he promised Cosby he wouldn’t be prosecuted in the hopes that it would persuade the actor to testify in a civil case brought by Constand and allow her to win damages. Castor acknowledged the only place the matter was put in writing was in the 2005 press release announcing his decision not to prosecute, but said his decision was meant to shield Cosby from prosecution “for all time.”
His successor noted, during the appeal arguments, that Castor went on to say in the press release that he could revisit the decision in the future.
Castor had said that Constand’s case would be difficult to prove in court because she waited a year to come forward and stayed in contact with Cosby.
The first jurors who heard the case may have agreed with him, as they could not reach a verdict in 2017. But a second jury empaneled after the #MeToo movement exploded found him guilty at his 2018 retrial. Constand settled her civil case against Cosby for more than $3 million.
Castor’s successor, District Attorney Kevin Steele, charged Cosby in 2015 after a federal judge, acting on a request from The Associated Press, unsealed documents from her 2005 lawsuit against Cosby, revealing his damaging testimony about sexual encounters with Constand and others. Castor has said Cosby “would’ve had to have been nuts to say those things if there was any chance he could’ve been prosecuted.”
HOW RARE IS THIS?
Wesley Oliver, a Pennsylvania law professor who has followed Cosby’s case closely over the years, said he has never heard of a high court in Pennsylvania or anywhere else grappling with a prosecutor’s informal promise not to prosecute.
“It breaks new ground entirely,” said Oliver, who teaches at Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh. “It sets precedent not just for Pennsylvania but probably other states.”
He said the ruling should drive home to prosecutors the risks of suggesting at news conferences, in press releases or verbally in private that they will not prosecute.
“They should at least add three words — ‘at this time,’” he said. “If you add that qualifier, which wasn’t done in Cosby’s case, you should be good to go,” Oliver said.
CAN COSBY BE TRIED AGAIN?
It’s highly unlikely. The decision on Wednesday bars Cosby from being tried again over Constand’s complaint, finding it to be the “only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.”
And the accusations raised by dozens of other women, including the five who testified at his 2018 trial, often go back decades and are most likely too remote to prosecute.
Cosby turns 84 next month. However, his lawyer said he remains in good health, except for vision problems that render him legally blind.
The trial judge deemed him a sexually violent predator who could still pose a danger to women given his wealth, power and fame, and ordered that he be on a lifetime sex offender registry and check in monthly with authorities. However, the decision negates that finding.
Vidya Balan shares not only the name of her character (Vidya Vincent) in the latest film, Sherni, but also her ability to unassumingly defy norms. “There is a Vidya Vincent in me for sure.” Yet, the actor says she found it difficult to understand her. Maybe because what Vidya Vincent does quietly, Vidya Balan does with a crackling laugh.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, the actor decodes playing a non-reactive character, the stereotypes of a strong woman and what makes her reject industry trends.
How does it feel, Vidya? It’s been a week and people can’t stop talking about Sherni.
I am thrilled obviously, thrilled to bits that people have loved the film and have sent me so much appreciation for my performance. I am really really so chuffed and thrilled.
Was there ever a pressure that how would people receive this subject, considering we don’t make a lot of films on environment? In fact, this subject, the way we have seen it in pop culture, people find it a little boring.
There was no such worry. But I have to also admit that I was prepared for people to not watch the film on release, as in immediately on Prime Video. I thought people will take their time and watch it at their own pace because it is not one of those masala, entertaining films that you look forward to.
So for example, for Shakuntala, everyone watched it the weekend it released and continued to watch it. But I thought that maybe this won’t happen with Sherni because it has a different pace, it is a different style of storytelling and like you said it is about conservation. I didn’t know how many people would warm up to it but I have been pleasantly surprised.
What was your understanding of Vidya Vincent when Amit (director Amit Masurkar) narrated you the script? What really spoke to you about her?
We are living in a reactive culture or rather ours is a reactive world today. You feel you need to react to everything and Vidya Vincent is not one of those people. So I think I took a while to get a grasp of her as a person because I kept feeling like am I underplaying it too much, am I conveying her angst or am I being too non reactive or passive. But Amit Masurkar was absolutely clear this is how he saw Vidya Vincent and I go by my director’s conviction.
Arjun Kapoor’s nine-year stint in Bollywood has been a roller-coaster ride of sorts. The actor has seen box-office success followed by films that failed to click. Arjun admits that he fumbled when he based his career choices on what he thought an actor is supposed to do, rather than follow his instinct. However, the release of his recent film made him look at his career path in a new light. In a conversation with BT, the actor talks about different kinds of cinema, and also highlights what he terms the ‘new commercial narrative’ that’s growing in the industry. Read on:
You have always said that you love all things typically Bollywood unabashedly, but you have also made interesting choices at regular intervals like Aurangzeb, Finding Fanny or Ki & Ka, and your new release Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar. Do you find yourself wondering how to strike the balancing act?
The endeavour is to try and do stuff that excites me at a personal level and also as a member of the audience. Sometimes, you have to be intimate about your selection, because as an actor these are the things you have craved that you would get an opportunity to do. Yes, it has been a tough act to balance because over a span of two-three years, you get masked as a mainstream commercial hero, so you aren’t given enough offers of this kind. Therefore, you have to go and seek that unique and different film rather than it coming your way organically. However, that doesn’t stop me from seeking it. Also, the lines have blurred from 2012 to 2021, where a film like Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar ( SAPF) is not looked at just as an interesting choice, or Aurangzeb and Ki & Ka aren’t looked at as offbeat films. They blend with the commercial, or rather, the new commercial narrative that’s growing, and that’s a heartening sign.
Theatres had reopened after seven months in November 2020, but had to down shutters once again during the second wave of coronavirus. The pandemic played havoc with film releases and business. How did you deal with the uncertainty around the release of your film? In my case, the release of SAPF was affected not once, but twice. First in March 2020, when we had the trailer out and had started the marketing, and then again in March 2021, when we were preparing once more and had to deal with the fact that there was a likelihood of another lockdown. At such a point, you just accept the fact that the film is not meant to connect with the audience in a broad spectrum and you feel it will be scattered — with the movie coming out mainly on satellite and digital. You accept that and detach yourself from the result, but continue to believe that the process was worth it. You can’t get emotional about these things because they are beyond your control… it’s not like everyone else’s films were releasing. We wanted to make sure that the film comes in theatres, and Dibakar sir (director Dibakar Banerjee) had made a film that I felt would get its due over the years to come. What I didn’t expect was this burst of love and genuine understanding of what the film speaks
about, and people catching the nuances to such a level. The rekindling of the magic of Ishaqzaade that had Parineeti and me… This time around our chemistry was appreciated despite being devoid of romance. And this is where the audience wins at the end of the day. You can’t predict the audience or know them beyond a point, you can just keep your head down and work honestly and hope that the film connects with them.
You recently said that you followed your instincts at the beginning of your career and you fumbled a bit when you tried to strategise after a certain point. How did you get into that phase?
People tell you that you should do films that are viable at the box office, and I have done that and enjoyed those. When I had said I fumbled, what I meant was that I got muddled in my thinking about what actors are supposed to do versus what I should do. When you look at it through the optics of what your stardom should have you doing versus what the audience or you as an actor or someone who watches films should do, sometimes you get confused. When I was offered my kind of cinema, I just grabbed it.
What are you planning to do differently when it comes to selecting your future projects?
The material that I am doing right now is selected with an attempt to make sure that you are looking at the pan-India audience, who likes to be entertained. When I do a film with Mohit Suri, I am aware that he connects with our entire country when it comes to romance, music and action, and there’s a certain way he presents actors. At the same time, when I am doing a horror-comedy with Saif Ali Khan, I know it appeals to the audience with certain sensibilities, and mine as well. I have always wanted to be a part of a comedy with Saif, and things just fell into place and Bhoot Police took shape.
Do you feel more confident now to make choices that don’t necessarily fall into the typical Bollywood hero trap?
Now, I have validation that I should follow my instinct and impulse, and not worry about the box-office implications… well, right now all of that exists on paper, so you can’t tell where the situation will be one year down the line. You just have to go with your instinct and know that the audience is sensible. Right now, they are consuming material on OTT, so when they come into the theatres — and believe me, they will — they should feel respected and not taken for granted. So, the material that I am selecting now, whether it’s more mainstream or as they call it a little off-centre, there is a certain regard that I am keeping in my mind for the audience, where I myself don’t want to be taken for granted when I go to watch a film, be spoon-fed and be made to feel silly about things. I want to enjoy cinema that stimulates while entertaining me. You realise that the audience is ready to use all their might to get involved in the journey of the characters, catch