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Mena Suvari and Queen Latifah in Beauty Shop

Beauty Shop

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 18 March Queen Latifah born, 1970 Today in 1970, Queen Latifah was born, as Dana Elaine Owens, in Newark, New Jersey. An outgoing girl with an interest in sport and acting, she sang in a baptist choir as a child, picked up the Latifah monicker aged eight, formed a rap group, Ladies Fresh, in her first year of high school. She was the beatbox. At the age of 18 Fab 5 Freddy was given a copy of her rap Princess of the Posse by DJ Mark the 45 King, which led to her being signed by Tommy Boy Music. Her first … Read more
Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Black Swan

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 17 March Rudolf Nureyev born, 1938 Today in 1938, Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was born, on a train near Irkutsk, Siberia, Soviet Union. The son of a Red Army political commissar, he grew up in a small village in Bashkortostan and first learnt to dance Bashkir folk dances. His teachers encouraged him to go to Leningrad. He auditioned for the Bolshoi but became a member of the Kirov Ballet, which allowed him to travel widely in the West. Realising that his freedom to travel was about to be curtailed, Nureyev defected to the West while on tour in Paris, in 1961. By … Read more
Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna in Rudo y Cursi

Rudo y Cursi

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 16 March The Wanderers FC win first FA Cup, 1872 Today in 1872, the London football club Wanderers won the first football association cup, the oldest football competition in the world. It was the first of three wins of the cup for the club. The FA Cup is a knockout cup open to all football clubs who are established enough, and with facilities enough, to take part. In 1871-72, being the first season of the cup, there was a piecemeal and eccentric series of regulations – Wanderers managed to get to the final having won only one of their four games … Read more
Michael Fassbender and Javier Bardem in The Counselor

17 March 2014-03-17

Out in the UK This Week The Counsellor (Fox, cert 18, Blu-ray/DVD/digital) A scene early on in Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy’s film about a high-flying attorney (Michael Fassbender) who decides to take a walk on the wild side has the counsellor locked in the office of an Amsterdam diamond trader (Bruno Ganz), where the two discuss gems and their flaws. They might as well have been discussing the film itself, a brilliant work of almost-arthouse thriller minimalism with a flaw that’s obvious without the aid of a jeweller’s loupe. But first the good stuff, and there’s tons of it – Fassbender smiling, swaggering as the attorney who’s had enough of simply serving … Read more
Jodie Foster in Contact

Contact

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 15 March World Contact Day Today is World Contact Day. It was declared as such by the International Flying Saucer Bureau in 1953. Since then it has used annually as an opportunity for all those interested in doing so to send a message telepathically to any extraterrestrial alien in space who might be interested in visiting earth. Not to be confused with World UFO Day (24 June or 2 July depending on who you talk to), it was originally intended by “contactees” as a way of establishing not just that entities from other worlds existed, but that they were friendly. The … Read more
Michael Emil and Theresa Russell in Insignificance

Insignificance

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 14 March Albert Einstein born, 1879 On this day in 1879, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany, to Hermann and Pauline Einstein. His father was an engineer who founded his own company selling electrical products which ran on DC current, and would eventually go bust when alternating current won the so-called “current wars”. The son, too, was interested in invisible motive forces, the first of his 300 scientific papers being titled On the Investigation of the Ether in a Magnetic Field, aged 15. At 17 he was a student of mathematics and physics in Zurich, after which he struggled to … Read more
Ben Foster, The Messenger

The Messenger

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 13 March Henry Shrapnel dies, 1842 On this day in 1842, Major General Henry Shrapnel, British army officer, died aged 80, at his home, Peartree House, Southampton, UK. It was he who is supposed to have invented the “spherical case” bomb, which exploded in mid-air (there is every likelihood that it was in fact a French engineer called Bernard Forst de Bélidor). A hollow cannonball filled with lead shot, it was designed to inflict massive damage on people. Until then cannonballs had been solid and had achieved maximum impact when used against ships – it was the massive splintering of oak … Read more
Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace in Lovelace

Lovelace

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 12 March Ron Jeremy born, 1953 On this day in 1953, the porn star Ronald Jeremy Hyatt was born, in Queens, New York, to a physicist father and a book editor mother. He studied acting and education at Queens College and City University, New York, and went on to become a teacher in special education. His heart lay in acting, so he left teaching to pursue his dream, working in several Off-Broadway productions before starting to supplement his income in porn movies after a girlfriend sent a photo of him to Playgirl. In the days before Viagra, Ron gained a renown … Read more
Adrien Brody as Wladislaw Szpilman in The Piano

The Pianist

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 11 March Roman Polanski charged with rape, 1977 On this day in 1977, the film director Roman Polanski was arrested on a charge of rape by use of drug. He was also charged with perversion, sodomy, a lewd and lascivious act on a child under 14 and with furnishing a controlled substance to a child under 14. Samantha Gailey was the victim, a 13-year-old he had been photographing as part of an assignment for French Vogue. The shoot took place at the actor Jack Nicholson’s house. Nicholson was away skiing. Polanski pleaded not guilty to all charges but later as part … Read more
Alice Englert and Iain De Caestecker in In Fear

10 March 2014-03-10

Out in the UK this week In Fear (StudioCanal, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) In Fear is a great little movie with a cast of two for most of it, Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert as a couple who barely know each other but are now off to a festival together in Ireland. He’s driving, she’s wondering, antennae flapping, why he’s booked the pair of them a preliminary night in an out-of-the-way hotel. Except that, no matter how often they follow the signs, they just don’t seem to be able to find the hotel. Taking this as its starting point, director Jeremy Lovering lashes together a titanic raft of increasing creepiness from the simplest … Read more
A computer simulation of one of the hijacked planes hitting the Pentagon

Zero: An Investigation Into 9/11

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 10 March Osama bin Laden born, 1957 On this day in 1957, Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to the construction billionaire Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden and his tenth wife, Hamida Alia Ghanem. Osama’s father disposed of wife number ten and her child to an associate, and Osama ended up growing up in the household of Mohammed al-Attas, with his three half brothers and one half sister. A devout Wahhabi Muslim, Osama was educated at Al-Thager Model School, the model it was based on being the British educational one, this being a school … Read more
Patrick Riester in Computer Chess

Computer Chess

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 9 March Bobby Fischer born, 1943 On this day in 1943, the future chess grandmaster Robert James Fischer was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The son of a communist teacher and of either the physicist Paul Nemenyi or the biophysicist Gerhardt Fischer (the FBI believed it was the former), Bobby learnt to play chess aged six and became immediately fascinated with the game. He played against his first master, Max Pavey, aged eight and though he lost it led to an introduction to the Manhattan Chess Club, where he was tutored by William Lombardy, and then the Hawthorne Chess Club, where … Read more

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