My favourite film aged 12: Gold | Film | The Guardian

The quick answer is: “No.” The longer answer is that it depends on your expectations. If you feel certain you are about to watch an execrable film, you will be pleasantly surprised: Gold is a perfectly serviceable thriller, with some tense moments and a genuinely exciting climax in the flooded mine at Pinewood.

One of the reasons the film isn’t as shit as it should be is that it was made, in no small part, by members of the James Bond team. Peter Hunt directs – he was editor of the early Bonds and directed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. John Glen, later to direct five Bonds, edits and directs the second unit. The production designer is Syd Cain, who did From Russia With Love, OHMSS and Live and Let Die. Those guys are responsible for making two men and a dinghy floating around at Pinewood seem an exciting climax.

Then there’s Roger’s character, Rod Slater, a maverick, woman-chasing commitment-phobe ultimately prepared to die to save the mine (and its miners), which he almost does. There’s a suggestion a genuine relationship may be on the cards with Terry Steyner (York), whose evil husband has conveniently died a few minutes earlier and who is on hand to look after Rod in an ambulance.

It’s definitely one of Roger’s best non-007 performances. This was 1974, so he hadn’t established his Bond persona. Hunt pushes him to be as serious as possible. I certainly believe he’s a miner. And that he’s younger than his 46 years – he’s in good shape, the hair’s more tousled than usual and there’s a bit more sweat than Bond. And he gets quite badly injured at the end. Or at least his arms do.

My sense is that York fought hard to be more than just another Bond girl, making her character as strong as possible. There’s a great scene where she flies Moore back to the stricken mine in her plane (she’s rich) and he accuses her of being involved in the conspiracy. She’s outraged: she won’t take any shit from Roger. As it happens, she is involved in the conspiracy, but she doesn’t know that yet.

And the villain? We’re very much in the “speak quickly with a slight smile” stage of Sir John Gielgud’s film career but there’s a wonderful moment where one of the sub-villains tells him they’ve commissioned a survey that shows just how close the mine is to water but have cleverly replaced every mention of the word “water” with the word “gold”.

“Ingenious”, says Gielgud, without the smile.

There’s also the brilliantly intrusive score by Elmer Bernstein, a crucial reason the action sequences are so tense and exciting. The song Jimmy Helms belts at the start and the end is magnificently absurd too.

I truly think this is Roger’s best non-Bond. Others tout The Man Who Haunted Himself (1971), in which Roger does actually have to do a fair bit of acting, playing a good guy and his evil doppelganger. That probably is his best performance. At the end of his life, knighted, Sir Roger certainly thought so. But I think Gold is the better film. The bar isn’t high, but Gold is a perfectly enjoyable romp one could happily sit through, some warm self-isolated evening.

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Facebook deactivates accounts of Tunisian political bloggers and activists | Global development | The Guardian

The Facebook accounts of several high-profile bloggers and activists in Tunisia were among those deactivated without warning over the weekend.

Up to 60 accounts are understood to have been deactivated, including that of journalist and political commentator Haythem El Mekki.

At least 14 accounts have since been restored, but no explanation has been given for the action by the social media giant.

“They received no warning, no advance notice and still have no explanation,” said Emna Mizouni, an activist and journalist who campaigns for an open internet. “In the end we were able to get 14 restored by going to [the anti-corruption watchdog] IWatch … but know nothing about the rest.”

Facebook use is high in Tunisia, with many people crediting the platform for providing a rallying point for activists and bloggers during the country’s 2011 revolution that overthrew Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

“In Tunisia, the internet equals Facebook,” said Mizouni. “It was a really important tool during the revolution. We used it to organise events and share videos of what was happening across the country.”

After cementing itself at the centre of much of Tunisia’s public conversation, politicians and ministries use Facebook to communicate directly with the people. According to online advocacy group AccessNow, around 60% of Tunisian are Facebook users, one of the highest uptakes of the platform within the region.

El Mekki first became aware that his account had been deactivated last Friday. “It just said that my account had been deactivated and that was my final notice,” he said. “There wasn’t really any negotiation.”

Given his high profile and occasionally incendiary comments, El Mekki is not a stranger to controversy. However, having his account arbitrarily deactivated came as a surprise.

“I still don’t know what happened,” he said. “It would be flattering to believe that we had been targeted, but I think it’s just as likely that an algorithm got out of control.”

Whatever the causes, over the past nine years the country’s relationship with Facebook has changed. “I think one of the main dangers is that it’s not transparent to Tunisians,” said Mizouni. “For instance, during last year’s elections, we were unable to find out who was paying for what political adverts and why, despite several requests from NGOs to do so.”

Facebook did eventually respond to the NGOs’ requests some months later, although its letter failed to address the specific concerns raised. 

The Guardian contacted Facebook about the deactivated accounts and the company said it was investigating. 

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Matt Damon says 2011 film ‘Contagion’ predicted pandemic as he reveals stepdaughter had COVID-19

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Matt Damon revealed that his stepdaughter got the coronavirus while going to school in New York City at the onset of the worldwide pandemic.

The actor, 49, appeared for an interview on Ireland’s Spin 1038 “Fully Charged” radio show where he revealed the news of his kid’s illness. The actor has been stuck in Ireland, specifically the small Dublin suburb of Dalkey, for several weeks after travel restrictions took effect while he was there to shoot a movie.

Speaking to hosts Graham O’Toole and Nathan O’Reilly, Damon revealed that his stepdaughter Alexia, 21, was at school in New York City and had the coronavirus along with her roommates a few weeks ago. Alexia is the daughter of Damon’s wife, Luciana Barroso, from a previous relationship.

“Our oldest daughter is in college. Obviously that’s been shut down. But she’s in NYC and she had COVID really early on along with her roommates and got through it fine,” he revealed to the hosts. “So… I shouldn’t say our whole family is together. Of our four kids, we’ve got the three younger ones and our oldest one, we’ll reunite with her at the end of the month. But everybody’s OK.”

Matt Damon revealed that his stepdaughter had the coronavirus.
(Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

Damon’s stepdaughter appears to be out of the woods in terms of her battle with COVID-19. As a result, the actor noted that he’s relieved to be able to reunite with her in Los Angeles in an environment where people finally understand what they’re dealing with.

“Obviously for Luci’s mom and my mom, it’s scary for that generation,” he told the hosts. “I think we’ve all got the message now. Everybody is doing the isolation and social distancing and hand washing and kind of everything we can to mitigate this but it’s frightening, certainly, for our parents.”

The hosts couldn’t help but bring up the parallels of the coronavirus pandemic to a 2011 movie Damon starred in called “Contagion” in that depicted what turned out to be a surprisingly accurate response to a global pandemic. In the movie, Damon plays a father who loses his wife to the illness and must protect his only daughter from it at all costs.

“Anybody who said you couldn’t predict this, I mean, just look at ‘Contagion.’ Ten years ago we made a movie just talking to experts and asking them how this would look and kind of how this would go down,” Damon said.

The actor concluded by noting that he hopes the COVID-19 pandemic will prepare the world for similar outbreaks that may come in the future and be more severe.

“It’s upsetting, the whole thing is just… it’s tragic, you know? And sad,” he told the hosts. “I hope some good can come out of it. I hope that. Luckily, this isn’t as lethal as it might have been, so maybe this is a really good dry run for the big one that might come. Because these things do come along every few decades… best to be ready for it.”

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New Harry and Meghan film to show couple’s ‘escape’ from royal duties | London Evening Standard

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A new film is set to show how Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, left their royal duties behind and began a new life overseas.

The film, tentatively entitled “Harry and Meghan: Escaping the Palace”, is being developed by Lifetime and will be the studio’s third movie about the royal couple, TVLine reported.

It will show “the couple’s controversial conscious uncoupling from the crown, after the birth of their son Archie,” according to the official synopsis.

“The movie details the struggles of the new parents and unique challenges of being part of the royal family, which ultimately led Harry and Meghan to give up their royal ties to forge a new life on their own terms,” the synopsis continued.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Reuters)

No release date or budget has been confirmed.

The film will be released straight to television, like the first two films “Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” and “Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal”.

The first movie tracked the start of the couple’s relationship and the second showed the period before and after their wedding in 2018.

Harry and Meghan said that they would step back from royal duties in January 2020 and work to become financially independent.

Meghan Markle and baby Archie (PA)

Other members of the royal family were said to be “disappointed” and “hurt” by the news.

The royal couple first left the UK for Vancouver with their baby son Archie, who recently turned one. They then moved to Los Angeles, where the Duchess of Sussex was brought up.

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