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The top 10 long-awaited films –  ranked! | Film

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Terry Gilliam began filming his twisted Cervantes adaptation in 2000, but the production was derailed by endless problems, chief among them a storm that destroyed sets, as well as the admission to hospital of its title-role actor, Jean Rochefort. Revived and finished in 2017 with Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce, the film’s troubles were not over: there were legal challenges to its premiere at Cannes (and health hiccups), and Gilliam weighed in unhelpfully on the topic of #MeToo while promoting the movie.

9. The Thief and the Cobbler (1993)

This charming, complex animation has the longest production history of any film on record. It was begun in 1964 by Richard Williams, who later received acclaim for his work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but financiers wrested it from his control in 1993. From there, two versions were released (The Princess and the Cobbler, followed in 1995 by Arabian Knight), neither of them complete or sanctioned by Williams, who died in 2019. Various fan edits (known as The Recobbled Cuts) have brought the film closer to his original vision.

Sixteen years elapsed between work starting on the screenplay of this Bollywood historical epic about Akbar the Great, emperor of India in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and the film’s release. The production itself lasted 12 years, on and off. When shooting was almost complete, the director, K Asif, wanted to junk the black-and-white footage and start all over again in the newly available Technicolor format. His producers were unenthusiastic; some colour scenes were added instead.

Barbara Hershey gave Martin Scorsese a copy of Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel about Christ’s human, fallible side when they worked together on the director’s second feature, Boxcar Bertha, released in 1972. A version he planned to shoot in 1983, with Aidan Quinn in the lead, was thwarted partly by a campaign by Christian fundamentalist groups. When it was released five years later with Willem Dafoe replacing Quinn, and Hershey as Mary Magdalene, its opponents rained fire and brimstone down on the project. Franco Zeffirelli called the film “truly horrible and completely deranged”, his opprobrium undiminished by the fact that he hadn’t seen it.

Richard Linklater set aside a month each year from 2001 to 2013 to shoot Boyhood piecemeal in between his other films, allowing the cast, including Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and newcomer Ellar Coltrane (who was six when shooting began), to age magically before our eyes thanks to that most special of effects: time. The director is now a year into an even more ambitious project: an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s counter-chronological musical Merrily We Roll Along, starring Beanie Feldstein, Ben Platt and Blake Jenner, which will be in cinemas – if they still exist – circa 2039.

It Happened Here.
What if … It Happened Here. Photograph: United Archives GmbH/Alamy

5. It Happened Here (1964)

Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo were in their teens when they started work on their groundbreaking pseudo-documentary, a chilling “what if?” that imagined Britain in the aftermath of its defeat in the second world war. During seven years of on-again, off-again production, they received moral and financial support from the director Tony Richardson, while Stanley Kubrick was so fascinated by the endeavour that he donated “short ends” from Dr Strangelove – rolls of film not completely exposed – for the pair to use.

Jack Nance in Eraserhead.
Industrial horror … Jack Nance in Eraserhead. Photograph: Allstar/Libra Films

It took five years for David Lynch to complete his unnerving and morbidly funny industrial-horror debut. Filming ground to a halt whenever the production ran out of money; family and friends (including Lynch’s art designer Jack Fisk and Fisk’s wife, the actor Sissy Spacek) chipped in to supplement the meagre income the director was earning from a paper round delivering the Wall Street Journal; Lynch also separated from his wife during the shoot, and slept in the disused stables where some of the film was made.

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut.
Posthumous piece … Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut. Photograph: Allstar/Warner Bros

Stanley Kubrick had the idea of adapting Arthur Schnitzler’s novel Traumnovelle in the late 1970s, when he considered casting Steve Martin in the role that would eventually go to Tom Cruise. By the time Eyes Wide Shut was released in 1999, 12 years after his previous film, Full Metal Jacket, it had shed several cast members during a shoot that lasted more than 15 months (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Harvey Keitel, unavailable for reshoots, were replaced by Marie Richardson and Sydney Pollack respectively) and Kubrick himself had died. It was fitting that audiences should endure a lengthy wait for a film that has delayed gratification baked into its bones, with Cruise’s character repeatedly on the verge of having sex but never quite getting down to it.

Meena Kumari and Raaj Kumar in Pakeezah.
Full-bodied Bollywood … Meena Kumari and Raaj Kumar in Pakeezah. Photograph: Dinodia Photos/Alamy

2. Pakeezah (1972)

This full-bodied Bollywood musical is uxoriousness in celluloid form. It was 1955 when the poet and director Kamal Amrohi conceived of a story in which his wife, Meena Kumari, would play the dual roles of a prostitute who dies in childbirth and the daughter who grows up to struggle, like her late mother, to escape her ignoble background. Shooting began in black-and-white in 1958 only to start all over again in colour and finally CinemaScope before hitting the ultimate speed bump: the couple’s separation in 1964. Five years later, Amrohi persuaded Kumari, who was by then suffering from liver cirrhosis, to complete the film in exchange for a divorce. She attended the premiere in February 1972 and died the following month.

Ben Chaplin and Woody Harrelson in The Thin Red Line.
Masterpiece … Ben Chaplin and Woody Harrelson in The Thin Red Line. Photograph: Allstar/20th Century Fox

You wait a decade or two for an awol director to return to the fray and then three turn up at once: Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas and Terrence Malick all reappeared at the end of the 1990s. Lucas took the longest (it had been 22 years since he directed the first Star Wars film) but loses points by dint of returning with The Phantom Menace. Malick at least had the decency to come back with this masterpiece. These days he pops out movies like Tic Tacs, but audiences had to wait two decades between Days of Heaven in 1978 and The Thin Red Line, his meditative follow-up about the battle of Guadalcanal in the second world war. It reduced stars such as John Travolta and George Clooney to walk-ons, left Mickey Rourke and Bill Pullman missing in action on the cutting-room floor and demoted Adrien Brody from leading man to near-wordless onlooker. All grist to the mill: the result was profound enough to be well worth the 20-year wait.

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Max Winslow and the House of Secrets review – lightweight Wonka-esque movie puzzle | Film

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Targeting the demographic intersection between geeky YA fiction readers, folks interested in psychology that doesn’t go much deeper than an internet quiz, and supermarket puzzle magazine fans, this sci-fi-inflected thriller is moderately satisfying as long as you don’t think about it too much.

In a bland Arkansas suburb that happens to have been the home town of tech billionaire inventor Atticus Virtue (Chad Michael Murray), five very different high-school kids are invited to take part in an exclusive competition at his secluded mansion. The prize is a lifetime supply of chocolate … oh, sorry, no … the prize is the mansion itself – but the Willy Wonka parallels are about as blatant as the nominative determinism of the mysterious benefactor’s surname. Only this time, given Mr Virtue has been detained, the role of maybe-malevolent host-guide is taken by the disembodied voice of the house’s sentient computer, Haven (voiced by Star Trek alumna Marina Sirtis), who sets the kids a series of problems to solve that may be more dangerous than just counting jelly beans.

The title character Max (Sydne Mikelle) is a shy-but-pretty-under-her-flannel-shirts coding champ with daddy issues; she pals up with Connor (Tanner Buchanan), the school star lacrosse player, who turns out to be a more sensitive soul than his jock reputation would suggest. A popular girl obsessed with her online image (Jade Chynoweth), a bully (Emery Kelly) and a gaming addict (Jason Genao) fill out the quintet. Before the night is over, all of them must confront their darkest fears, generated with simple effects and the magic wand that is a screenwriter’s “because tech” justification.

This is hardly profound stuff, although the most creepy and resonant aspect is arguably the plotline revolving around the popular girl who gets stuck in a bathroom staring into a mirror version of herself that’s much nastier than the real thing, a simple cinematic sleight-of-hand that depends entirely on Chynoweth’s skill in projecting bitchy malevolence. A darker, hipper version of this movie might have made her the protagonist and proved more amusing to watch than the simpering leads we have here.


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The Climb review – hilarious true-to-life bromance | Film

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I laughed hysterically during the first scene of The Climb, Michael Angelo Covino’s brilliantly original indie bromance. The setting is France, where two Americans – best friends since childhood – are on a cycling holiday. Mike (played by Covino) is head-to-toe in Lycra, obnoxiously spouting cycling terminology. His out-of-shape friend Kyle (co-writer Kyle Marvin), is trailing behind, puffing and panting. Mike waits for the start of a particularly tough climb to confess he’s been sleeping with Kyle’s fiancee. Kyle: “You’re like a real-life Judas!” Mike: “On the plus side, that makes you Jesus.” At one point, Kyle gets off his bike and carries it, running up the hill in pursuit of Mike. Tragedy and slapstick run through the film and it is very funny.

The Climb charts the ups and downs of Kyle and Mike’s toxic friendship over a dozen years or so – and I can’t think of a film about male friends told with such microscopic attention to detail.

It’s structured in seven chapters. Chapter two takes place at a funeral a few years later – the first time the men have clapped eyes on each other since the bike ride. The tables have turned. Mike is going to seed, drinking too much, disappointed by life – and it becomes apparent that he is a rampant narcissist. Meanwhile, nice-guy Kyle has lost weight and achieved minor success writing advert jingles. If he feels a flush of schadenfreude at seeing how ropey Mike looks, he’s disguising it. The chapter ends with a hilarious graveside altercation involving a shovel.

Co-writers Covino and Rankin are friends and observe their characters beautifully. They don’t ignore the female roles, either. Gayle Rankin is just as memorable as Kyle’s partner, Marissa – like everyone here, she feels like someone you might know. My only disappointment was that I had to watch it at home: I wanted to be in a cinema laughing at the inappropriately funny bits with other people.

The Climb is in cinemas from 23 October.


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Legally Blonde 3 Now Has A Release Date

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In these quarantined times, one delightful thing that’s emerged is movie and TV casts doing Zoom reunions. Legally Blonde is the latest one to get in on that action.

Tonight, Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Jennifer Coolidge, Ali Larter, Holland Taylor and more all got together to talk about the history and magic of Legally Blonde.

“Of all the movies that I’ve made, there is one that comes up more than any other and that is Legally Blonde,” Reese said. “And I think that’s because of Elle Woods. I think she just inspired people to believe in themselves. She just has a true sense of herself and she always wants to see the best in others.”

The film’s star went on to share that the iconic “Bend and Snap” scene was almost a “musical sequence,” but, in that version, it felt kind of “odd” so it ended up becoming what we know and love now.

“People always, always ask me to do the ‘Bend and Snap,'” Reese revealed. “That was a full musical sequence that we ended up cutting out of the movie. It was just so fun, but it felt so odd because it was only one sequence.”

For Reese, making Legally Blonde was her college experience. “This is where I went to college,” she said. “I didn’t finish college but I finished Legally Blonde and we all got together and made this movie together that has inspired so many young people and it’s just such a gift… Every time people come up to me and tell me they love this movie, I give it all to you. I share it all with you all.”

Thankfully, Reese and co. will be giving us all more Legally Blonde in the future. After the cast’s reunion, MGM Studios finally shared the Legally Blonde 3 release date. If only we could now fast forward to May 2022.

Elle Woods is back! Legally Blonde 3 coming May 2022. We rest our case.
#LegallyBlonde3
#ElleWoods
@ReeseW

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