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Steven Soderbergh's new movie was shot entirely on iPhones

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh is usually known for making slick Hollywood fare like Erin Brockovich and Ocean’s Elevent, but for his latest movie, the horror-thriller Unsane, the acclaimed filmmaker has opted to shoot the entire thing using iPhones.

Now, the first official trailer for Unsane has arrived — and it looks just as professional as the director’s other recent films, like Side Effects and Haywire.

Having recently come out of retirement with comedic heist film Logan Lucky, Soderbergh’s experience making Unsane on iPhones seems to have reinvigorated the director. 

Speaking at the Berlin International Film Festival last week for the new film’s premiere, as reported by IndieWire[1], Soderbergh said “I look at this as potentially one of the most liberating experiences that I’ve ever had as a filmmaker, and that I continue having.”

“I think this is the future,” said Soderbergh about the process. “Anybody going to see this movie who has no idea of the backstory to the production will have no idea this was shot on the phone – that’s not part of the conceit.”   

On whether he would continue making future films using smartphones over high-end movie cameras, Soderbergh seemed pretty convinced by the virtues of the former.

“People forget, this is a 4K capture.” He continued, “I’ve seen it 40 feet tall. It looks like velvet. This is a game-changer to me.”

It isn’t the first important movie to be shot on iPhones, though – the award-winning indie Tangerine made waves in 2015 by being shot entirely on an iPhone 5S[3]. Director Sean Baker’s latest film, The Florida Project, which was partially shot using an iPhone 6S[4], just received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this year’s Oscars.

Unsane stars Claire Foy (The Crown) as a woman who escapes a troubled past only to be involuntarily committed to a mental institution and forced to confront her greatest fear. Has there been a huge mistake, or does she really belong there? Check out the trailer below.

[embedded content]

References

  1. ^ IndieWire (www.indiewire.com)
  2. ^ Best camera phone 2018: the top smartphone snappers around (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ iPhone 5S (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ iPhone 6S (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ 10 iPhone camera tips and tricks direct from Apple’s experts (www.techradar.com)

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Searing 'Sorry to Bother You' could be 2018's 'Get Out'

I make no apologies for saying that “Sorry to Bother You” could be the new “Get Out“. It’s not a horror film and it’s probably too out-there to achieve the mainstream box-office success of Jordan Peele‘s Oscar-nominated hit, but there are big similarities. It’s the work of a first-time director known for another medium, it’s got Lakeith Stanfield in it, and most notably it uses fantastical elements to throw a grenade under very real social issues.

Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, “Sorry to Bother You” is something of a Sundance success story. Rapper turned writer and director Boots Riley worked his way through the festival’s filmmaking mentorship schemes in previous years to become the toast of this year’s event. His film was one of the most buzzed-about on this year’s bill, and in a quiet year for distribution deals at the festival it’s been picked up by Annapurna Pictures.

Hopefully that means you’ll get to see it for yourself some time in the not-too-distant future, because this wildly ambitious and outrageous satire really needs to be seen to be believed. The film is headlined by a trio of the past year’s breakout stars: alongside Lakeith Stanfield are Tessa Thompson from “Thor: Ragnarok” and Armie Hammer from “Call Me By Your Name“. Also on board are Terry Crews, Danny Glover and Steven Yeun from “The Walking Dead“, as well as a couple of bonkers voiceover cameos.

Lanky, likeable Stanfield is Cassius “Cash” Green, who discovers a talent for telemarketing and finds himself torn between loyalty to his fellow workers and an opportunity to grasp the brass ring of workplace success. The film opens in a stylised world of harsh reds and sickly yellows and office grotesques, and slowly spirals into an increasing skewed parallel reality somewhere between the warped weirdness of Charlie Kaufman and the off-kilter visual flourishes of Michel Gondry — before making a final leap into the utterly surreal.

Enlarge Image

Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson make no apologies in “Sorry to Bother You”.

Sundance/Doug Emmett

It’s packed with incendiary moments and provocative satire, blasting away at all manner of targets including but not limited to: the inhumanity of late-stage capitalism, corporate greed, police brutality, racial division, the sharing economy and Silicon Valley’s headlong charge into the future. The film deftly skewers the euphemisms of exploitation, euphemisms that rebrand working until you drop as an achievement and selling out your peers as getting ahead.

The characters are tempted by signing away their lives to a corporation that owns them as essentially modern-day slaves, an indentured servitude euphemistically rebranded as becoming “Worry-Free”. In this scathing vision of modern free-market freebootery, each level of aspiration is revealed to be just another scam, whether it’s an overcrowded VIP room in a bar or a workplace promotion that requires unspeakable sacrifice. And no matter how hard you work, no matter how much of yourself you give, it’s never enough.

81 2018 sci-fi, fantasy and geek movies to get excited about

This searing assault on the world of work culminates in an increasingly barmy turn from Armie Hammer as a sociopathic Silicon Valley CEO.

He’s the sort of CEO who genuinely thinks he’s inventing a new world, a caricature of the sort of disruption-happy entrepreneur who gave us such ill-thought out ideas as Soylent, Juicero and Bodega. With so many targets, it’s inevitable that not all the scattershot satirical strikes find their mark. But there’s so much vigour and invention — and so many flat-out hilarious moments — that it’s hard not to be swept along by the demented ingenuity on display.

Whether “Sorry To Bother You” has anything like the impact of “Get Out” remains to be seen, but it’s easily going to stand up as one of the freshest and most unpredictable debuts of the year.

Weird and unapologetic, it’s very much worth the bother.

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Britain’s best fish and chip shop has been revealed

Everyone has their favourite when it comes to local fish and chip shops, but the UK’s finest has just been revealed at the 2018 National Fish & Chip Awards.

The top prize, the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award, went to family-run Millers Fish & Chips in Haxby, North Yorkshire. It beat around 10,500 other outlets to the title and went through a vigorous seven-month judging process to claim the prestigious award at a ceremony in London on Wednesday night.

To make the top 60 shortlist, which was announced in August last year, businesses from across the UK were judged on their frying skills, menu development, sustainable sourcing policies, staff training and marketing activity. Judges from the National Fish and Chip Shop Awards also made unannounced visits to the shops to report on customer service.

The 10 regional winners were put forward to the final stage of the judging process last September.

During the final stage of judging, held the day before the awards ceremony, the finalists were tested on their presentation, industry related topics and how to run a profitable business.

MORE: MAKE YOUR OWN FISH AND CHIPS

Commenting on their award win co-owner Nick Miller, who runs Millers Fish & Chips with his father David, said: “We entered the competition for the first time last year, and were so proud to get to the final, but to go all the way this time and scoop the ‘Oscar’ of the fish and chip world is truly amazing.

“At Millers, we wholeheartedly believe in making fish and chips accessible for everyone. We operate a separate frying area to cater for allergen-free diets, and offer a range of gluten-free, halal and vegetarian products, all cooked using only use the finest, locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients.

“As a fourth-generation family business with a 77-year history, we bring the tradition associated with great British fish and chips together with a new, innovative approach. This really does mean everything to us, and we’re so proud of our ourselves, our staff and our business.”

Also in the top three were Burton Road Chippy in Lincoln, and Harbourside Fish & Chips in Plymouth.

In the mood for a plate of perfectly battered fish?

See the top 10 regional winners below:

  • Cromars Classic Fish & Chips, St Andrews, Fife (Scotland)
  • Penaluna’s Famous Fish & Chips, Hirwaun, Rhonda Cynon Taff (Wales)
  • The Dolphin Takeaway, Dungannon, County Tyrone (Northern Ireland)
  • Millers Fish & Chips, Haxby, York, North Yorkshire (North East England)
  • Fylde Fish Bar, Marshside, Southport, Merseyside (North West England)
  • The Golden Carp Chippy, Redditch, Worcestershire (Midlands)
  • Burton Road Chippy, Lincoln, Lincolnshire (Eastern England)
  • Henley’s of Wivenhoe, Wivenhoe, Colchester, Essex (London & South East England)
  • Captain’s Fish and Chips, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire (Central & Southern England)
  • Harbourside Fish & Chips, Plymouth, Devon (South & West England)

MORE: VEGETARIANS CAN NOW HAVE FISH AND CHIPS

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2018 Oscar predictions: Who’s going to win, who should win, and who got snubbed

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony will be held March 4, but now that we know the list of 2018 Oscar nominees, there’s plenty of time to speculate about who will win, who should win, and who got passed over when The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out nominations. When it comes to the Oscar predictions, everyone’s a pundit — and we’re no exception. Here are our best guesses about the likely winners in the major categories, as well as our thoughts on who should win the category, and which actors, films, or filmmakers were snubbed this year.

We’ve also included some brief thoughts on some of the other Oscar categories on our minds, and what the final results are likely to be in those races.

Best Picture

Merrick Morton / Fox Searchlight / Associated Press

What’s going to win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has swept just about every category it’s been nominated in throughout awards season. At this point, it’s only competition appears to be merman romance film The Shape of Water, which actually has a significant lead in total nominations and wins this year, but has the distinct disadvantage of being a merman-romance fantasy film — not a particularly popular genre for Academy voters. What should win: There was no film even remotely like Get Out this year, blending dark, terrifying themes with a sense of levity that keeps the audience on edge, uncertain of where the story is ultimately headed until everything comes crashing down around its tortured protagonist.

While it’s true that Three Billboards is home to three of the best acting performances of the year, if the Academy really wants to honor the year’s most unique, groundbreaking movie, Get Out is the film that should take home the Oscar. Snubbed? The Academy traditionally appreciates romantic comedies almost as much as fantasy films, but The Big Sick is something truly special. Along with presenting a sincere, endearing story drawn from the real-life romance of star Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon (who co-wrote the film’s Oscar-nominated script together), it also explored the racism and culture clash of the immigrant experience — a theme that’s particularly salient in America right now.

Best Director

Fox Searchlight

Who’s going to win: Guillermo del Toro seemingly has this one wrapped up after winning just about every award possible up to this point for The Shape of Water, but the smart money is still on Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan.

A five-time nominee who’s never taken home an Oscar, Nolan is an uncompromising filmmaker who challenges audiences — and the art of making movies — without leaving the Academy’s comfort zone for genres or execution. If Nolan wins the Directors Guild Award in early February, bet on him taking home an Oscar, too. Who should win: Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Del Toro both make strong cases for the Oscar with the unique vision they showcased in their respective films, but Nolan is a master of his craft who would be a deserving recipient of the Oscar.

The fact that he went all out to shoot on 70mm for an epic film experience following Tarantino’s resurrection of the format is just icing on the cake. Snubbed? It’s always interesting when a movie is nominated in nearly every major category, but its director doesn’t get a nomination. That’s the case with Three Billboards filmmaker Martin McDonagh, who’s conspicuously absent from the nominees, despite all of the Oscar nods for his film, and a nomination in the Directors Guild Awards, too.

Best Actor

Jack English / Focus Features

Who’s going to win: Gary Oldman vanished into his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, and the long list of nominations and awards he’s already won for it are well-deserved recognition of that performance.

Considering he’s also been nominated multiple times without a win, Oldman just might be the most certain winner of this year’s nominees. Who should win: Oldman gave the most standout performance in a year that wasn’t particularly competitive in this category. He’s the best of the bunch by far.

Snubbed? While no one expected him to actually win, it was surprising to see The Disaster Artist star (and writer and director) James Franco omitted from the nominees this year. Whether it was a bias against comedy projects or the Academy’s aversion to celebrating one of the worst movies ever made (Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, the focus of Franco’s satirical film), the Academy wasn’t in Franco’s camp this year. The same can be said for The Post star Tom Hanks, who seems to have fallen out of favor with the Academy in recent years, despite no perceptible drop-off in his performances.

Looks like this year, Hanks will have to fall back to his two statues off five nominations.

Best Actress

Merrick Morton / Fox Searchlight

Who’s going to win: Second only to Oldman’s odds of winning, the likelihood of Three Billboards star Frances McDormand taking home this Oscar is ridiculously high. She has swept just about every acting award she could win so far in her tour de force for the snarky sob fest, and deservedly so. It would be a shock to see her go home empty-handed from the Oscars after such a powerful performance.

Who should win: McDormand will almost certainly win this one, and while the performances of Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) are both memorable in their own ways, neither actress reached the same seething, dramatic extremes McDormand seemed to reach so effortlessly in Three Billboards. Snubbed? The name that keeps getting mentioned is Molly’s Game star Jessica Chastain, but given the competition this year, it would be a tough call to remove any of the current nominees from the pool of contenders. Are you going to be the one to tell Meryl Streep she doesn’t get a nomination this year?

We didn’t think so.

Best Supporting Actor

Fox Searchlight

Who’s going to win: Sam Rockwell has won this category for his performance in Three Billboards at every opportunity leading up to the Oscars, so it appears that it’s his to lose. Who should win: The supporting actor nominees all gave exceptional performances this year, so there isn’t a standout underdog in this race. If forced to name one, however, we’d pick Woody Harrelson, who destroyed his own Three Billboards performance despite having less screen time.

Snubbed? The best supporting actor performances of the year are well represented this year, and no actor seems conspicuously absent from the nominees.

Best Supporting Actress

Who’s going to win: Allison Janney seems to be the leading contender for the Oscar in this category, having won a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics’ Choice Award for her portrayal of Tonya Harding’s domineering mother in I, Tonya. Ever since the film’s premiere, it’s been Janney’s performance that generated the most positive buzz of anyone in the cast, and that wave of critical praise appears to be carrying over to award season. Who should win: Janney’s performance was one of the most memorable of the year, so she deserves to bring home the gold.

Snubbed? Holly Hunter earned heaps of praise for her role in The Big Sick, and her performance as a protective mother dealing with her daughter’s sudden, inexplicable sickness and a marriage on the rocks was one of the best parts of a great film. She won an Oscar in 1994 for her performance in The Piano, but what she brought to The Big Sick showed her impressive range and ability to find the perfect balance of humor and drama.

Other categories

Disney Pixar

In the race for Best Animated Feature, Coco seems like a lock for the Oscar in a year when the entire pool of films isn’t all that strong. (Sorry, fans of The Boss Baby.) The award for Best Adapted Screenplay feels like it could go to Aaron Sorkin for Molly’s Game, a film that’s surprisingly unrepresented this year, but the Academy might choose this category to give James Franco’s work on The Disaster Artist a nod, too.

All five nominees for Best Original Screenplay are fantastic, but this might be where The Big Sick or Get Out are represented, given that the former film was largely snubbed, and the latter film might get passed over elsewhere. If the award for Best Cinematography goes to Blade Runner 2049 or Dunkirk, that would be well-deserved recognition for some of the most amazing work in that area this year. Both films should also be contenders for Best Production Design.

Although the Oscar for Best Visual Effects should probably go to Blade Runner 2049, there’s a good chance that it finally goes home with the Planet of the Apes team for their work on War for the Planet of the Apes. The two previous films in the trilogy were passed over for this award, despite showcasing some of the most groundbreaking performance-capture artistry ever achieved. The Academy likes to wait until the final film in a series to hand out the award it deserved all along, so this could finally be the year for the Planet of the Apes movies.

Given that The Shape of Water wasn’t nominated in the visual effects or makeup categories (which seems like a snub), it seems destined to win for Best Costume Design. Creature actor Doug Jones continues to offer a great reminder of the magic of practical effects, makeup, and costuming when you have a talented actor under it all. If there’s any justice in the world, the awards for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing will go to Baby Driver, but the Academy tends to move in mysterious ways when it comes to these two particular categories, so it’s anyone’s guess who the winners will be.

For a list of all the nominations, check out the full list here.

Editors’ Recommendations

Caveman caper 'Early Man' is a prehistoric pleasure

There’s nothing simple about stop-motion animation, that laborious filmmaking technique that requires tiny movements of intricate models to make even a few seconds of footage. Yet “Early Man“, the latest stop-motion confection from “Wallace and Gromit” producer Aardman, proves to be the simplest of pleasures. “Early Man” is a pure joy from start to finish.

The story of a tribe of simple cavemen threatened by the arrival of more advanced rivals is rendered in the signature style of Oscar-winning animator and director Nick Park. That includes both the instantly recognisable toothy plasticine character design and the dizzyingly joyous humour, all sight gags and shameless puns and weapons-grade whimsy. As always with Aardman, utterly charming characters anchor even the most surreal flights of fancy. Eddie Redmayne eagerly provides the voice of the youngest caveman, the irrepressible Dug.

He’s a whirlwind of energy and ambition among his dim-witted tribe, voiced by various British comedy stalwarts, before meeting his match in plucky Goona, played by Maisie Williams. They’re menaced by rapacious Bronze Age oligarch Lord Nooth, voiced by Tom Hiddleston with a French accent broader than a boulevard and riper than a month-old Brie. The film largely takes place in a verdant valley, a beautifully rendered prehistoric paradise in which every tree took weeks for the animators to sculpt.

This attention to detail is present in every part of the film — look out for comic newspaper headlines and other rich background detail. Another highlight is a set of dinosaurs deliberately designed to evoke the pioneering stop-motion of Ray Harryhausen.

81 2018 sci-fi, fantasy and geek movies to get excited about

The two tribes go to war by challenging each other to a football match. Yes, a football match.

If that sounds like a bit of a non-sequitur, you’re right. It’s an enormous left turn for a film about cavemen to become a sports movie. But “Early Man” gets away with its most unexpected contrivances thanks to a combination of unassailable charm and total commitment to the bit.

The sports movie element plays out exactly the way you think it will, but the film bowls along with such headlong joie de vivre that it just about works. The sporting theme of this British film is built on subtext that might be lost on American viewers, as the British-accented cavemen invent football but then find themselves overtaken by a variety of talented foreigners. It’s a metaphor for the way the UK has exported various sports to the world and spent the subsequent centuries being rubbish, although the emphasis on teamwork and unity among British and European voices has added significance in a post-Brexit world.

That’s probably over-thinking it, however.

The perfect all-ages family treat, “Early Man” hits cinemas in the UK on 26 January and US movie theatres on 16 February.

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