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The Phantom of the Open

2021, Comedy/Drama, 1h 46m

What to know

Critics Consensus

Led by a stellar performance from Mark Rylance, The Phantom of the Open turns a stranger-than-fiction true story into crowd-pleasing entertainment. Read critic reviews

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THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN tells the heartwarming true story of Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance), a dreamer and unrelenting optimist. This humble crane operator from Barrow-in-Furness managed to gain entry to The British Open Golf Championship qualifying in 1976, despite never playing a round of golf before. He shot the worst round in Open history and drew the ire of the golfing elite, but became a folk hero in the process and, more importantly, showed his family the importance of pursuing your dreams.

Rating: PG-13 (Some Strong Language|Smoking)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Original Language: English (United Kingdom)

Director: Craig Roberts

Producer: Kate Glover , Nichola Martin , Tom Miller

Writer: Simon Farnaby

Release Date (Theaters): Jun 3, 2022  limited

Box Office (Gross USA): $748.3K

Runtime: 1h 46m

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Production Co: Water & Power Productions, Ingenious Media, BBC Films, British Film Institute, Baby Cow Productions, Spartiate Films

Cast & Crew

Mark Rylance

Maurice Flitcroft

Sally Hawkins

Jean Flitcroft

Keith Mackenzie

Jake Davies

Michael Flitcroft

Christian Lees

Gene Flitcroft

James Flitcroft

Mark Lewis Jones

Johann Myers

Lloyd Donovan

Gerard Hopkins

Craig Roberts

Simon Farnaby

Screenwriter

Kate Glover

Nichola Martin

Executive Producer

Christelle Conan

Rose Garnett

Cinematographer

Jonathan Amos

Film Editor

Isobel Waller-Bridge

Original Music

Sarah Finlay

Production Design

Cathy Featherstone

Set Decoration

Sian Jenkins

Costume Designer

Shaheen Baig

Christine Langan

James Swarbrick

Alison Thompson

Mark Gooder

Critic Reviews for The Phantom of the Open

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Abdul Naushad is a Contributing SEO Writer for ComingSoon. A Mass Comm graduate from Symbiosis University with a specialization in Audio-Visual communication, he finds himself rooting for Spider-Man or Batman in every battle. When he's not writing about SEO content, Abdul can be seen watching movies, aimlessly browsing YouTube and playing single player, story-driven video games.

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Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins star in a comic drama based on the true story of a British man who made sports history as the world’s worst golfer.

By Sheri Linden

Sheri Linden

Senior Copy Editor/Film Critic

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The Phantom of the Open

Maurice Flitcroft might not have explicitly endorsed George Carlin’s pronouncement that “golf is an arrogant, elitist game,” but, in their goofy way, his late-’70s exploits made the same point. A shipyard crane operator from northern England, he breached the barricades of one of the sporting world’s most snobbish realms, the British Open, with blunt-force naïveté and more than a bit of chutzpah, passing himself off as a pro golfer when he barely knew how to play. He earned a place in the annals of the prestigious championship with the worst score in its history, a whopping 121. After the initial reactions of raised eyebrows and WTF snickers subsided, Flitcroft’s fearless ineptitude on the fairway struck a chord among the non-country-club rank and file and captured the imagination of sports page editors.

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As told in The Phantom of the Open , Flitcroft’s nose-thumbing heroics are inseparable from the story of a family’s love. It’s a mix that doesn’t always hit the green, but it’s never far off the mark. The movie’s wry hijinks and spirited affection for its characters prove gratifying. In its pairing of ace British actors — Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins — and in its strange-but-true tale of working-class Brits breaking the rules, Phantom recalls The Duke (also a Sony Pictures Classics release), although that recent Jim Broadbent–Helen Mirren starrer has a heavier undercurrent. Working from Simon Farnaby’s adaptation of the 2010 book he wrote with Scott Murray, director Craig Roberts has made an uneven but endearing film that honors Flitcroft with an eye toward workaday realities as well as slapstick absurdity.

The Phantom of the Open

Release date: Friday, June 3

Cast: Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins, Rhys Ifans

Director: Craig Roberts

Screenwriter: Simon Farnaby; based on the book by Farnaby and Scott Murray

In the helmer’s previous feature, Eternal Beauty , starring Hawkins as a woman diagnosed with schizophrenia, self-acceptance was inextricable from rebellion against convention. Roberts’ interest in that equation, and in the wide world of neurodiversity, carries into the new film, with Rylance’s performance a fluctuating mix of earnest transparency and harebrained tricksterism that just skirts wise-fool twee-ness.

When we first see Maurice, after he’s become “a legend,” his innocuous eccentricity is signaled in a preference for six sugars in his tea, that taste for sweetness matched by a childlike sense of wonder. A key factor in Maurice’s biography is revealed in the capsule backstory delivered over the opening credits: Like many children in English cities during World War II, he was sent away, to a place where the risk of bombing wasn’t as great. During his time in Scotland, his young eyes were opened to the idea of possibilities beyond the shipbuilding industry that dominated his hometown, the Cumbrian port of Barrow-in Furness, where all good boys were expected to follow their fathers into the business.

But as the main action begins, Maurice is in his late 40s and a long-timer at the Vickers Shipyard, his dreams of a more creative life shelved while he raised three boys with Jean (Hawkins). An opportunity to rekindle the fire of inspiration arrives in the form of bad news, courtesy of eldest son Mike (Jake Davies), a suit-and-tie man in the management tier at Vickers: The company is about to be nationalized, with massive layoffs in store. Jean, a no-fuss woman of enormous warmth and humility — played to perfection by Hawkins, who has made an art form of positivity — urges Maurice to seize the moment: “It’s your turn now,” she tells her husband.

Having been introduced to the newfangled wonder of a television remote, Maurice finds his new calling while channel surfing: He sees American golfer Tom Watson winning the first of his British Open titles. Triumph, fame, prize money and fresh air — seems like a good way to go to Maurice, and a lucky putt in the living room seems like a sign. This is his destiny. With the wholehearted support of Jean and their teenage twins, disco-dancing enthusiasts Gene and James (Christian Lees and Jonah Lees), and to the exasperation of status-conscious Mike, Maurice pursues his quest to play in the 1976 Open. His guileless letter to a TV sportscaster asking how to sign up for the tournament is mistaken for a note from a kid.

And when his scrawled entry form for the qualifying competition of the Open arrives at the organizers’ offices, a female assistant senses something odd, but it’s beyond the reckoning of her male bosses, led by Rhys Ifans ’ Keith McKenzie, that anyone would call themselves a professional golfer if they’re not. Maurice, meanwhile, learns the sport’s lingo and buys whatever gear he can afford. “So shiny, aren’t they?” he enthuses about his newly purchased clubs. He adds an argyle vest to his wardrobe, wearing it beneath his work clothes like a secret superhero costume.

At the Open, Maurice quickly proves himself an unintentional affront to professionalism, tradition and propriety, leaving the other players baffled while a sympathetic reporter (Ash Tandon) sparks to a juicy story. Ifans’ atypical turn as the punctilious walkie-talkie-wielding McKenzie is just the right counterpoint to the relentless optimism Rylance channels, even after Maurice gleans that “open” is not a literal description. Determined to keep this embarrassing transgression secret, McKenzie urges Maurice to “quietly gather up your things.” But word gets out, and a PR battle ensues between the two men, with McKenzie intent on banning the gleeful culprit from all clubs across the U.K.

In working people’s pubs, Maurice is cause for celebration. Among Mike’s wheeling-and-dealing business colleagues, he’s a laughingstock. Unfolding in the years when Margaret Thatcher was ascending the political ranks and the Sex Pistols were scandalizing the nation, Maurice’s escapades offer a middle-aged, salt-of-the-earth version of punk protest. He’s utterly sincere and charmingly ridiculous. That he would pull off return appearances at the British Open in various guises — once using the name Arnold Palmtree — is one of the delights of his story.

With strong performers holding the center, the constant nudging assurance of the score is unnecessary. But such upbeat period songs on the soundtrack as “Build Me Up Buttercup,” “Nothing From Nothing” and “Ride Like the Wind” — the latter during the inevitable golf cart chase — are perfectly in tune with the movie’s feel-good bounce, as are the twins’ sprightly dance moves.

A closing chapter that finds Maurice being honored stateside pulls together the feature’s core threads in winning fashion: his longing for recognition in the world, the strained relations with Mike, and the love story between Maurice and Jean. His words of tribute to his wife are lovely, but it’s in the way Hawkins’ Jean takes them in that the sequence achieves its heartwarming zing.

That’s one of the more subtle moments in Phantom of the Open , which otherwise wears its crowd-pleasing movie heart on its sleeve. Roberts’ approach is not quite heavy-handed, but it can be obvious. Still, he never condescends to the Flitcrofts, and it’s impossible not to root for Maurice and his faux professionalism. Forty-odd years after his push for golf glory, we face an accolades glut that could use a few genial gate-crashers like him.

Full credits

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics Production companies: BFI, BBC Film, Ingenious Media, Water & Power Productions, Baby Cow Productions Cast: Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins, Rhys Ifans, Mark Lewis Jones, Christian Lees, Jonah Lees, Jake Davies, Johann Myers, Steve Oram, Tim Steed, Ash Tandon Director: Craig Roberts Screenwriter: Simon Farnaby Based on the book The Phantom of the Open: Maurice Flitcroft, The World's Worst Golfer by Simon Farnaby and Scott Murray Producers: Tom Miller, Nichola Martin, Kate Glover Executive producers: Mark Rylance, Simon Farnaby, Craig Roberts, Mark Gooder, Alison Thompson, Peter Touche, Christelle Conan, Mary Burke, Emma Duffy, Rose Garnett, Christine Langan, James Swarbrick Director of photography: Kit Fraser Production designer: Sarah Finlay Costume designer: Siân Jenkins Editor: Jonathan Amos Music: Isobel Waller-Bridge Casting: Shaheen Baig

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“The Phantom of the Open” belongs to a very particular brand of British comedy: twee, true tales of plucky underdogs accomplishing outrageous acts against the odds. Think “ Calendar Girls ,” “ Eddie the Eagle ,” or “ Military Wives .” The humorless naysayers of society doubt them and mock them to mask their own insecurities, but still, these true believers trudge on toward their unlikely destiny. The tone is usually dryly cheeky, and maybe even a bit naughty, but ultimately these films give in to their easiest and most crowd-pleasing instincts before dissolving in a pile of sentimental goo.

This is that, but with golf.

Mark Rylance dons a colorful argyle vest and jaunty red bucket hat to play Maurice Flitcroft , who infamously shot the worst round in British Open history in 1976. You see, he didn’t belong there. He was a crane operator at a shipyard in working-class Barrow-in-Furness. He faked his way into the prestigious tournament by fudging the paperwork, albeit in good-natured fashion. His sweetly adoring wife, Jean ( Sally Hawkins ), even helped him with this task, benignly making up answers to questions about his handicap and such. He didn’t know it was wrong, the film suggests. He just wanted to play golf—something he’d never actually done in his life. And he became a celebrated figure in the process.

But director Craig Roberts —working from a script by Simon Farnaby , based on Farnaby and Scott Murray ’s biography of Flitcroft—never really gets to the heart of Flitcroft’s pursuit. Why does golf, of all activities, become his sudden obsession? We see him witness Tom Watson winning the Open on television in 1975. But what was it about this victory in this sport that was so transfixing? That crucial piece to understanding him feels missing; without this nugget of character development, “The Phantom of the Open” is just an airy, formulaic lark, with an especially mannered Rylance performance at the center. His thick accent does much of the acting for him, with a healthy sprinkling of quirks and tics. He’s just super sunny and adorable in every circumstance. Could Flitcroft really have been so irrepressibly optimistic? A suspension of disbelief in his childlike innocence only goes so far.

There’s even less to Hawkins’ character. Aside from a few tender moments between her and Rylance, she’s frustratingly stuck functioning as the doting, supportive wife, and not much else. The fact that she knows even less about golf is played for simple laughs. Meanwhile, Rhys Ifans is singularly smug and villainous as the head of the British Open who’s constantly chasing Flitcroft out; he’s the Wile E. Coyote to Rylance’s Roadrunner.

Flitcroft’s story was wild, but there’s a much crazier movie in here that “The Phantom of the Open” hints at but never fully embraces. Roberts dabbles in magical realism, such as when Flitcroft imagines the Earth is a golf ball he’s orbiting. He also tries to jazz up the story with muscular filmmaking techniques like whip pans and bold needle drops, which feels like he’s doing Craig Gillespie doing Paul Thomas Anderson doing Martin Scorsese . (Some of them are distractingly anachronistic, such as when Flitcroft and his buddy/caddy steal a golf cart and try to escape a tournament they’ve sneaked into with Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like the Wind” blaring in the background. This happens in 1978; the song wouldn’t come out until two years later. Nitpicky? Maybe a little, but in theory, they’re trying to invoke a specific time period.)

No, the fact that Flitcroft would put on wigs and mustaches and enter various tournaments under hilariously terribly pseudonyms like Gene Paycheki, Arnold Palmtree, and Count Manfred von Hoffmanstel is a far more interesting story. And he did this for years! There’s a sly, playful caper lying in wait here—something along the lines of “ Catch Me If You Can ,” perhaps. Instead, “The Phantom of the Open” takes the safe route and turns feel-good. Flitcroft became a cult hero to struggling golfers everywhere, the film shows us, culminating in a heart-tugging scene of tearful family reconciliation.

With its amusing training montages, colorful supporting characters, and uplifting message of perseverance, “The Phantom of the Open” does exactly what you expect it will in the most familiar, comforting manner imaginable. It earns the politest of golf claps.

Now playing in theaters.

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire is a longtime film critic who has written for RogerEbert.com since 2013. Before that, she was the film critic for The Associated Press for nearly 15 years and co-hosted the public television series "Ebert Presents At the Movies" opposite Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with Roger Ebert serving as managing editor. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .

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The Phantom of the Open movie poster

The Phantom of the Open (2022)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and smoking.

102 minutes

Mark Rylance as Maurice Flitcroft

Sally Hawkins as Jean Flitcroft

Rhys Ifans as Keith Mackenzie

Simon Farnaby as Laurent Lambert

Mark Lewis Jones as Cliff

Jonah Lees as James Flitcroft

Christian Lees as Gene Flitcroft

Ash Tandon as Lloyd Donovan

Ian Porter as Dick Nelson

Jake Davies as Michael Flitcroft

  • Craig Roberts

Writer (book)

  • Simon Farnaby
  • Scott Murray

Cinematographer

  • Jonathan Amos
  • Isobel Waller-Bridge

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Then and Now: Revisiting the Sopranos’ New Jersey 25 Years Later

On the anniversary of the show’s premiere, its creator and location manager reflect on some of its iconic settings and why they were chosen.

A man in a black shirt and beige pants stands next to a man in a black jacket and blue shirt, who is sitting at a counter.

By Anna Kodé

To report this story, Anna Kodé interviewed cast members, the location manager and the creator behind “The Sopranos.”

As much as it was a show about Italian American mobsters, “The Sopranos” was a show about New Jersey. From scenes of domestic life in a North Caldwell McMansion to after-hours debauchery at a strip club in Lodi, the show captured a snapshot of the Garden State in the late 1990s and 2000s, beguiling viewers with its regional authenticity.

“The reality factor for ‘Sopranos’ is what’s so important and so effective,” said Mark Kamine, the show’s location manager and author of the upcoming memoir “On Locations,” which details his time working on the show. “If you’re shooting suburban houses, you can go to Long Island, you can go to Westchester.” But David Chase, the show’s creator, was insistent that his Jersey characters were depicted in the real Jersey.

“I just didn’t think there was any other way,” Mr. Chase, 78, said in an interview. “It was part of the whole thing of hiring only Italian American actors from the tristate area.”

It was a costly decision. When the team first started making “The Sopranos,” which premiered 25 years ago this week , New Jersey didn’t offer tax breaks for productions filming there. But much of the pilot episode and many of the show’s exterior shots were filmed around local homes, businesses and streets.

“Obviously, it paid off,” said Mr. Kamine, 66.

Eventually, some of the interiors — including Tony’s house and the backroom of the Bada Bing — were built out in sets in Queens, New York.

Here’s a look back at some of the show’s iconic Jersey locations, why they were chosen and what’s there today.

Tony Soprano’s House

Built in 1987 at the end of a cul-de-sac in leafy North Caldwell, this 5,600-square-foot McMansion was decadent compared with the home Tony grew up in — fitting for a character who had become wealthier than his parents but felt he was losing touch with their values.

Its placement atop a hill was crucial. Comparing it to the cliché of “the mob guy who goes into the restaurant and wants to sit with his back to the wall,” Mr. Kamine said that the elevation added a protective element to Tony’s house. “No one’s gonna surprise him there.”

The first episode was filmed in the home, though its owner was hesitant about hosting a film crew. “After the pilot, he said, ‘We’re not doing it again. That was a disaster,’” Mr. Kamine said.

He convinced the owner to allow the show to film just the exteriors there, and eventually his attitude shifted. “The fees would go up as the years went by and the show became successful, and he put an addition on his house probably partially thanks to us,” Mr. Kamine said.

Mr. Chase remembered touring several McMansions in preproduction, some of which were “almost comical” in how gaudy they were. One main prerequisite: It had to have a pool, Mr. Chase noted, “for the ducks to land in.”

Over the years, Mr. Chase, who grew up not far from Tony’s house, couldn’t help but notice New Jersey’s evolving landscape — woods being cleared for housing developments, natural beauty becoming commercial streets. Tony’s fascination with the ducks is, in part, his feeling that “something was not right in our capitalist society, that we were destroying nature,” Mr. Chase said.

In 2019, Tony’s home went on the market with a listing price of $3.4 million.

Livia Soprano’s House

A roughly 10-minute drive from Tony’s home, his mother, Livia, lives on a quiet street in Verona, N.J. Built in 1926, her house is smaller, older and lacking the grandiosity that Tony and his younger cohort aim to project. The house becomes a wedge between mother and son when Tony moves Livia into a retirement community.

“That palace you live in, up there on that hill,” Livia tells Tony in Season 2. “Ugh.”

The chain-link fence caging the property symbolized Livia’s chilly, repellent nature. Mr. Kamine said the team would often install the fence when they shot there, only to remove it afterward.

Logistically, the location was ideal. “That house was in the right place for us, production wise,” said Mr. Chase. “It was close to other places we were shooting.”

The Bada Bing strip club, where Tony and crew partied in the front and did business in the back, is a real-life club called Satin Dolls, on Route 17 in Lodi, N.J. The owner was, fittingly, a man named Tony with mob connections.

“I never feel fully at ease in his office, wondering if it’s bugged,” Mr. Kamine writes in his book. The owner initially gave the show permission to film there while the business was closed, but that proved difficult — the club was open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. At first, they’d buy out his lunches on Mondays and Tuesdays, and as the show became more popular, “he would just rub his hands when he saw me coming and be like, ‘how much money are you going to give me this time?’” Mr. Kamine said.

Over the years, Satin Dolls has drawn hordes of fans — even ones that normally wouldn’t find themselves at an adult entertainment club. Vincent Pastore, 77, who played Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero, recalled that at one point the club even offered a “Big Pussy cocktail.”

“That guy was cleaning up,” he said.

Satriale’s Pork Store

Satriale’s — the pork store and sandwich shop that Tony’s father took over when its owner couldn’t pay a gambling debt — wasn’t always Satriale’s. In the pilot episode, the hangout was Centanni’s, a real-life butcher shop in Elizabeth, N.J. But the store’s owners told producers that filming was too disruptive to the already thriving business. (It’s still open today.)

In need of a new location, Mr. Kamine found a vacant storefront on a commercial street in Kearny, N.J., that he thought could work. He tracked down the owner, who had bought the place to open up a cleaning company.

“He was like, ‘I’m just starting my business, why would I do this?’” Mr. Kamine recalled. “But it ended being a great deal for him, because we said, ‘we’ll pay you a nice rent to take over the store, and we’ll pay your rent for your office somewhere else.’”

The production designer transformed the storefront into a pork store resembling what was seen in the pilot — including the pig mounted to the roof. The building was demolished in 2007 and is now a parking lot.

Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby Baccalieri, was disappointed when he learned it had been knocked down. “I would have liked to go to Satriale’s one more time, because I’m looking at it, this time, with different set of eyes,” said Mr. Schirripa, 66.

Bucco’s Vesuvio

“It was a great home away from home,” said Mr. Pastore of the restaurant where Tony would regularly sit down with both of his families. “It wasn’t a place where the wiseguys would take their girlfriends. It was a place where Carmela and Tony would go. It was a family restaurant.”

A family restaurant that got blown up. The original Vesuvio, located on the ground floor of a building on the corner of South First Street and Elizabeth Avenue in Elizabeth, N.J., erupted during Season 1. To film the scene, Mr. Chase said, “we added a wing that got blown up that we destroyed,” Mr. Chase explained. “The real restaurant wasn’t touched.”

The name was inspired by Vesuvius, a restaurant Mr. Chase went to growing up. “My parents used to go there on special occasions, and I was there as a kid and it had really good food.”

Today, the location is home to Del Porto Ristorante.

Each week in the mood-setting opening credits, Tony would drive past this tiny pizza shack in North Arlington, N.J., making it one of the most recognized facades in Sopranos lore — even though no scenes ever took place there. At one point, its previous owner said , they’d ship pies, shrink-wrapped and on dry ice, to fans around the country.

Its current owner, Eddie Twdroos, said he still gets plenty of visitors who want to take pictures — and maybe eat the pizza. After the store’s previous owner died in 2010, Mr. Twdroos was passing by when he saw Pizza Land was shut down. He’d run a few pizza shops before, and he recalled thinking, “This is like a perfect location, and a nice little store with a lot of story behind it.” So he decided to rescue it.

“You want to keep everything the way it is from the show — the same front, the same sign at the top of the store, everything was left the same,” said Mr. Twdroos, 53. “It’s a landmark.”

Anna Kodé writes about design and culture for the Real Estate section of The Times. More about Anna Kodé

Inside the World of ‘The Sopranos’

The show, starring James Gandolfini as the mafia boss Tony Soprano, beguiled viewers over the course of six seasons with its depictions of New Jersey mobsters.

25 Years Later: On the anniversary of the show’s premiere, its creator and location manager reflect on some of its iconic settings .

Episode Guide: Want to re-immerse yourself into “The Sopranos”? Here are some suggestions , for both a short dip and a deeper dive.

1999 Review: “Combining dark comedy and psychological drama, the show achieves a fresh tone to match its irresistibly winning concept,” our critic wrote after the series’s debut .

A New Audience: “The Sopranos” experienced a resurgence during the pandemic. Somewhat atypically for a TV fandom, there was an openly left-wing subcurrent within it .

‘The Many Saints of Newark’: The 2021 movie prequel  follows, among other characters , a young Tony Soprano, played by Gandolfini’s son, Michael. Here is what the actor said about  inhabiting the role after his father , who died in 2013.

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What to stream this week: Jason Momoa roaming, Green Day rocking and ‘Fast X’ exploding

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Vin Diesel, left, and Daniela Melchior in a scene from “Fast X.” (Peter Mountain/Universal Pictures via AP)

This image released by MUBI shows Alma Pöysti in a scene from “Fallen Leaves.” (MUBI via AP)

This combination of images shows album art for “Saviors” by Green Day, left, “Little Rope” by Sleater-Kinney and “My Stupid Life” by Brittney Spencer. (Reprise Records/Loma Vista Recordings/Elektra via AP)

This image released by MUBI shows Alma Pöysti, left, and Jussi Vatanen in a scene from “Fallen Leaves.” (MUBI via AP)

This image released by Universal Pictures shows, clockwise from left, Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Nathalie Emmanuel, Vin Diesel, Leo Abelo Perry, Rita Morena, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson in a scene from “Fast X.” (Peter Mountain/Universal Pictures via AP)

This image released by MUBI shows Alma Pöysti, right, and Jussi Vatanen in a scene from “Fallen Leaves.” (MUBI via AP)

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Jason Momoa hosting a new travel docuseries for Max called “On the Roam” and the Finnish romantic comedy “Fallen Leaves” are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you.

Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as selected by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists are Mandy Patinkin starring in a whodunit aboard an ocean liner in Hulu’s “Death and Other Details,” the big and fun action movie “Fast X” and a Paramount+ documentary on June Carter Cash.

NEW MOVIES TO STREAM

— The best romantic comedy of the year was an 81-minute Finnish film called “Fallen Leaves,” which will be streaming on MUBI on Jan. 19. Director Aki Kaurismäki points his lens towards an alcoholic construction worker, Holappa (Jussi Vatanen) and a supermarket employee, Ansa (Alma Pöysti) who has just been sacked. Their surroundings are bleak, but their awkward courtship is anything but. AP film writer Jake Coyle named “Fallen Leaves” his No. 1 of 2023 and wrote in his review that “short, sweet and utterly delightful, (‘Fallen Leaves’) is the kind of movie that’s so charming, you want to run it back the moment it’s over.”

This image released by MUBI shows Alma Pöysti, right, and Jussi Vatanen in a scene from "Fallen Leaves." (MUBI via AP)

— Fashion model Bethann Hardison, now 81, looks back at her five decades as a Black woman in the industry in a documentary she co-directed with Frédéric Tcheng, “Invisible Beauty,” which begins streaming on Hulu on Jan. 18. Hardison famously participated in the 1973 “Battle of Versailles” fashion show and later founded coalitions to encourage more diversity in high fashion. “Bethann’s legacy is undeniable,” Tcheng told the AP in an interview last year. “She’s really changed the way fashion looks. She singlehandedly led the industry to really change the way they thought about racial diversity and integrated the modeling industry. And she went way beyond that. Now she’s working with designers and just creating community at every stage of her life.”

— Or if you just want some big, dumb, fun action “Fast X” is racing to Prime Video on Jan. 16. AP’s Mark Kennedy wrote in his review that “Fast X” is monstrously silly and stupidly entertaining — just Wile E. Coyote stuff, ridiculous stunts employing insane G-forces and everything seemingly on fire. There are elements of ‘Mission: Impossible,’ 007 and ‘John Wick,’ as if all the action franchises were somehow merging. But here’s a warning: It careens to an end without a payoff, a more dangerous stunt than any in the movies themselves.” Kennedy singled out Jason Momoa’s bad guy as one of the main reasons to watch and called the film “pure popcorn lunacy.”

— AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr

NEW MUSIC TO STREAM

— In some ways, 2024 began with Green Day. The pop-punk trio performed “American Idiot,” the title track from their 2004 rock opera, during “ Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve ” special on ABC. It was innocuous enough, save for a slight change in lyrics that drew ire from certain political parties. “I’m not a part of the MAGA agenda,” frontman Billie Joe Armstrong sang, a reference to President Donald Trump’s political campaign. It is necessary context for the band’s 14th studio album, “Saviors,” which maintains Green Day’s no-nonsense criticism of power players delivered atop ascendent power chords. For the part-time punks who have work in the morning, and the full-time ones, too.

Alan Ruck, from left, Sarah Snook, Alexander Skarsgard, Brian Cox, Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfayden, and J. Smith-Cameron, winners of the award for outstanding drama series for "Succession," pose in the press room during the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

— In 2023, country music listenership grew 23.7% — one of the biggest jumps across any genre. There are many reasons for the increased curiosity — among them, country music has diversified its approach to the music, weaving in new sounds into traditional instrumentation and narrative lyricism. It also means there’s a up-and-coming generation of performers changing the game, including Brittney Spencer. Her debut album, “My Stupid Life,” gives credence to her position one very “artist to watch” list: from her soulful piano ballads (“Bigger Than the Song”) to her anthemic crowd-stompers (“Night In”), Spencer defies categorization, an artist raised on R&B and the Chicks in equal measure.

— The greatest music documentaries reveal underexplored truths, shining light on those influential, larger-than-life figures. The best ones offer course-correcting history lessons that go down like water. That is the case of “June,” Paramount+’s new documentary on June Carter Cash . Featuring interviews with everyone from Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves and Reese Witherspoon (who won an Oscar for her role as Carter Cash in the 2005 film “Walk the Line”), and stacked with previously unreleased archival material, “June” recontextualizes the country icon’s place in music canon. She’s so much more than Johnny Cash’s wife – lest we forget she wrote “Ring of Fire,” after all.

This combination of images shows album art for "Saviors" by Green Day, left, "Little Rope” by Sleater-Kinney and “My Stupid Life” by Brittney Spencer. (Reprise Records/Loma Vista Recordings/Elektra via AP)

— “Little Rope,” the latest album from indie rock heroes Sleater-Kinney, the duo of Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker, was written in a place of mourning and meditation — of personal loss and political unease. In the fall of 2022, Brownstein’s mom and stepfather were killed in a car accident while vacationing in Italy. In the months that followed, Brownstein found comfort playing guitar for hours on end. “I just needed to feel my fingers on something that was solid,” she told The Associated Press . “When people leave this Earth, you are aware of what is still here, and what is tactile versus what you’ll never touch again.” The result is a ferocious and frustrated album — easily one of their most essential.

— AP Music Writer Maria Sherman

NEW SHOWS TO STREAM

— Mandy Patinkin and Violette Beane star in a whodunit aboard an ocean liner in the Mediterranean in Hulu’s “Death and Other Details.” The pitch for the series may have described it as “The White Lotus” meets “Knives Out” meets “Murder on the Orient Express.” Beane’s character, Imogene Scott, becomes the prime suspect of a murder aboard the cruise ship and she must rely on detective extraordinaire, Rufus Cotesworth, (Patinkin)to clear her name. The 10-episode series premieres Tuesday on Hulu.

— It’s time to head back to the Windy City with the return of Chicago Wednesday, otherwise known as One Chicago, also known as “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.,” returning for new seasons on Wednesday on NBC. Then, sound the gong! “Law & Order” premieres season 23 on Thursday. The “Chicago” shows, and “Law & Order” were delayed eight months because of the Hollywood actors and writers strikes. They also can be found on Peacock.

— Momoa gets a second entry this week as the host of a new travel docuseries for Max called “On the Roam.” Cameras follow the actor as he travels across the U.S. in search of creative artisans who inspire him including a Hollywood prop maker, a photographer, and motorbike builder. Momoa says he’s “a roamer” by nature so the show is an accurate picture into his world. It premieres Thursday on Max.

— Ruth Wilson stars in a new mystery series called “The Woman in the Wall” for Paramount+ with Showtime. Wilson stars as Lorna, a woman who wakes up one morning to discover a dead body in her home and she doesn’t know what happened. Lorna is immediately under suspicion by a local investigator played by Daryl McCormack (“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”) because she’s got a reputation in town for her strange behavior. Lorna suffers from trauma after becoming pregnant as a teen and being sent to a religious home, where her newborn baby was taken from her. “The Woman in the Wall” premieres on Paramount+ on Jan. 19 before its broadcast debut on Paramount+ with Showtime (the cable channel formerly known as Showtime), on Sunday, Jan. 21.

— A new dating show on TLC finds out whether love really is a universal language. In “Love & Translation,” premiering Sunday Jan. 21, three American men and 12 international women mingle on a remote island. The problem — besides the ratio of men to women — is that the women don’t speak English and the men don’t speak their languages. “Love & Translation” will also stream on Discovery+ and Max.

— Alicia Rancilio

NEW VIDEO GAMES TO PLAY

— The Prince of Persia has been through a lot since he first scampered across Apple II screens in 1989. He started off in two dimensions, went 3D in a spectacular 2003 reboot, and even made it to the big screen in a 2010 movie. He’s back after too long an absence, returning to his 2D roots in Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown . Alas, the Prince himself has been kidnapped, and it’s up to a young warrior named Sargon to rescue him. Not to worry, though: Sargon is just as slick a swordsman, with the ability to swing two blades at once, pull off superhuman acrobatics and even stop and rewind time. And he has a cool haircut. The swashbuckling begins anew Thursday on PlayStation 5/4, Xbox X/S/One, Nintendo Switch and PC.

— Lou Kesten

Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/entertainment.

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Live-Action ‘Danny Phantom’ Film Reportedly In Development

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Danny Phantom

An iconic animated series may soon be making its way to the big screen in a new form. According to insider Daniel Richtman , a live-action  Danny Phantom film is in development at Paramount.

Created by Butch Hartman, Danny Phantom was an animated series that aired on Nickelodeon from 2004-2007. The show followed Danny Fenton, a teenage boy who became half ghost after an accident with a portal created by his ghost-hunting parents. The accident granted Danny ghost-like powers, which he used to fight off evil ghosts from the Ghost Zone that made their way into the real world. Together with his friends Tucker Foley and Sam Manson, the three protect their city and the world.

READ : ‘Top Gun 3’ Officially In The Works At Paramount

Ricthman did not reveal any further information about the film, such as a creative team or potential timeline. It seems the project is still in very early development; it may be some time before any additional news regarding the movie is announced. It remains to be seen if the film will receive a theatrical release or premiere on Parmount+.

Since its release, Danny Phantom spawned a number of video games, spin-off books, and other merchandise. There has also been a renewed interest in the series from fans calling for it to be revived. So it will be interesting to see if this potential film can live up to the expectations of long-time fans.

Would you like to see a live-action  Danny Phantom film? Who would you like to see star in the movie? Let us know in the comments below!

Did you enjoy this article? If so, consider visiting our  YouTube channel , where we discuss the latest and greatest in pop culture news.

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The Cinemaholic

Where to Watch The Phantom of the Open?

Mirza Aaqib Beg of Where to Watch The Phantom of the Open?

Featuring stand-out performances by Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins, Rhys Ifans, and Jake Davies, ‘The Phantom of the Open’ is a biographical comedy-drama film that recounts the story of a dreamer who manages to achieve the unthinkable. The movie follows Maurice Flitcroft, who had never played the game of golf in his life before participating in the British Open tournament in 1976 with the support of his friends and family. Suddenly finding himself at the pinnacle of professional golf, he now had to compete against elite high achievers of the game who had decades of experience.

The heartwarming and hilarious story of a relentless adventurer is sure to bring a smile to your face. The film has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, and most critics have praised the brilliant performance of the Academy Award-winning actor, Mark Rylance.

What is The Phantom of the Open About?

Maurice Flitcroft is an ordinary crane operator whose relentless and infectious optimism inspires everyone around him. He had always wanted to participate in the British Open tournament, but there was just one issue with his wild dream- Maurice had never played the game professionally before. However, with sheer luck and the support of his loved ones, he manages to qualify for the tournament in 1976, only to find himself surrounded by a bunch of ace golfers. But instead of running away from the challenge in front of him, Maurice decides to give his best on the field, which eventually ends up making him a British folk hero.

Is The Phantom of the Open on Netflix?

People with a subscription to the streaming giant will have to look for the movie on some other platform as it is not part of its otherwise extensive catalog. We recommend our readers alternatively stream another biographical comedy-drama movie titled ‘ The Dirt .’

Is The Phantom of the Open on Hulu?

No, the Mark Rylance-starrer is unavailable on Hulu. However, subscribers can stream other movies on the platform like ‘I, Tonya .’

The film is accessible for rent or purchase here .

Is The Phantom of the Open on Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime’s current offering does not include the biographical comedy-drama film. In case you wish to watch a somewhat similar film, then you will probably enjoy watching ‘ The Jackie Robinson Story .’

Is The Phantom of the Open on HBO Max?

Since ‘The Phantom of the Open’ is not accessible on HBO Max, people with a subscription can watch other films like ‘ Private Parts ‘ or ‘ Borg vs. McEnroe .’

Where to Watch The Phantom of the Open Online?

‘The Phantom of the Open’ is accessible for rent or purchase on  platforms like Google Play , Microsoft Store , YouTube , Spectrum , and Vudu .

How to Stream The Phantom of the Open for Free?

Since the biographical comedy-drama film will only premiere in theaters as of now, it is not possible to stream the movie for free. However, we encourage our readers to refrain from using illegal means and watch their favorite content online only after paying for them.

Read More: Best Biopics on Netflix

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Daniel Day-Lewis breaks from retirement to fete Martin Scorsese at National Board of Review Awards

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Daniel Day-Lewis

NEW YORK (AP) — Daniel Day-Lewis took a break from retirement to present Martin Scorsese the award for best director at the National Board of Review Awards in midtown Manhattan on Thursday night.

Scorsese’s Osage epic, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” was the top honoree at the 95th NBR Awards. In awards announced earlier but handed out Thursday, “Killers of the Flower Moon” was the group’s pick for best film, along with best director for Scorsese and best actress for Lily Gladstone.

The night’s biggest surprise guest was Day-Lewis, who quit acting after Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2017 film “Phantom Thread” and has since largely avoided public life . Day-Lewis sat next to Scorsese throughout the gala at Cipriani’s 42nd Street before presenting the directing award.

“I was a teenager when I discovered Martin’s work,” Day-Lewis said. “With a light of his own making he illuminated unknown worlds that pulsed with a dangerous, irresistible energy — worlds that were mysterious to me and utterly enthralling. He illuminated the vast beautiful landscape of what is possible in film and he clarified for me what it is that one must ask of one self to work in faith.”

Martin Scorsese and Daniel Day-Lewis

Day-Lewis, who starred in Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” (2002) and “The Age of Innocence” (1993), called working with the director “one of the greatest joys and unexpected privileges of my life.”

When Scorsese took the stage and accepted the award, he returned the compliment, calling working with Day-Lewis “one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

“Maybe there’s time for one more,” added Scorsese with a grin as the crowd gasped at the possibility. Day-Lewis, standing to the side of the stage, smiled and held out his hands.

Martin Scorsese

Much of the appeal of the NBRs is the pairing of presenters and honorees. Laura Linney introduced best supporting actor Mark Ruffalo, a reunion of the “You Can Count on Me” stars. Patti Smith presented Lily Gladstone with the best-actress award.

“Of course this is not a dream to be sitting in between Patti Smith and Daniel Day-Lewis,” joked a staggered Gladstone.

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The night’s most moving moment came earlier in the evening when Michael J. Fox took the stage with Davis Guggenheim, the director of the documentary winner “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.” The crowd gave Fox a rousing standing ovation before the actor reflected on how Parkinson’s disease has changed his life for the better.

“Parkinson’s has been a gift. It’s been a gift that keeps on taking,” Fox said. “It’s been a gift because it’s given me an audience to talk about what’s possible.”

Daniel Lupi and Daniel Day-Lewis

Fox worked in jokes throughout his speech but returned to that theme, noting Parkinson’s has been more meaningful to him than his success in entertainment.

“It just opened my eyes in a way I didn’t expect,” Fox said.

Bradley Cooper, recipient of the Icon Award for “Maestro,” also paid tribute to Fox as he recalled watching “Secret of My Success” and “Family Ties” while growing up.

“I felt like he was my friend,” Cooper said.

Martin Scorsese and Daniel Day-Lewis

While there was little suspense to the ceremony, given that the awards had been announced earlier, a clue was dropped to one of awards season’s biggest mysteries.

French director Justine Triet, whose “Anatomy of a Fall” was honored for best international film, provided a hint for moviegoers debating whether the film’s protagonist, played by Sandra Hüller, was guilty of the murder she is tried for in the film.

“I have one advice: Watch the dog,” Triet said. “He’s an animal. He has instincts. Maybe he knows.”

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Phantom of The Open review: Rylance shines as ‘world’s worst golfer’

Published: 14 March 2022

The Phantom of The Open tells the story of Maurice Flitcroft.

As Maurice Flitcroft’s extraordinary story hits the big screen, we review The Phantom of the Open , starring Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins.

Golf has always had a chequered history on the big screen. If it wasn’t for the connection with golf, we probably wouldn’t bother watching Tin Cup, Caddyshack or Happy Gilmore again… and they’re the good ones.

But The Phantom of the Open is different. The story of ‘the world’s worst golfer’ is effortlessly charming with broad appeal. Yes, from a golfer’s perspective it is flawed (what golf movie hasn’t been), but it is heart-warmingly funny.

RELATED:  Maurice Flitcroft’s incredible story

Mark Rylance (centre), plays Maurice Flitcroft in The Phantom of The Open, which was written by Simon Farnaby (left), and directed by Craig Roberts (right).

It is about so much more than just golf or celebrating a sporting underdog. BAFTA-winning writer Simon Farnaby, a keen golfer whose father was a greenkeeper at Ganton, has created a script that is amiably daft, but draws you in with a strong British cast, unseen archived footage, and a miraculous true story which is as farcical as it is heart-warming.

This cosy, sweet-natured comedy is based on the 2010 book of the same name, co-written by Farnaby and Scott Murray. Directed by Craig Roberts, it stars Oscar winner Mark Rylance as the mischievous Flitcroft, a chain-smoking crane operator from Barrow-in-Furness. He is inspired to take up golf and ‘win The Open’ having caught the end of Tom Watson’s 1975 victory at Carnoustie on television, but there’s a couple of small issues… Flitcroft has never played the game before and he’s already 46.

Mark Rylance (centre), plays Maurice Flitcroft in The Phantom of The Open, which was written by Simon Farnaby (left), and directed by Craig Roberts (right).

His age and working class background see him treated as a joke when he attempts to join his local golf club, but Flitcroft isn’t perturbed and decides to go one better. Armed with a cheap set of mail-order golf clubs and making the most of a loophole in The Open’s admissions rules, he cheekily enters Open Qualifying as a self-declared professional.

When you see him hit his opening tee shot with his eyes closed it’s no surprise to discover that he goes on to shoot the highest round in the tournament’s history (a 49-over-par 121), much to the chagrin of the pompous R&A secretary Keith MacKenzie, brilliantly played by Rhys Ifans.

Mark Rylance plays Maurice Flitcroft in The Phantom of The Open.

Flitcroft is banned from every Open course for life, but he keeps on gate-crashing competitions by donning disguises and fake names like Arnold Palmtree and Gene Pacecki (as in pay cheque).

RELATED:  Most Forgiving Drivers

There are obvious thematic parallels with  Eddie The Eagle  but, while there is a strong story to be told, the book does a far better job at telling it – at least from a golfing standpoint.

Nonetheless, the film still bounces through its 102 minutes thanks to a brilliant 70s soundtrack and is at its best in examining how Maurice’s eccentricity and lovably awkward can-do-attitude affects his long-suffering wife Jean, played by BAFTA winner Sally Hawkins, and their three sons.

Rhys Ifans plays Keith MacKenzie, Flitcroft's nemesis from the R&A, in the film.

Unsurprisingly, Rylance does a great job as Flitcroft, providing some laugh-out-loud slapstick comedy moments and winning you over by defying the snobbery of other golfers while maintaining his charming optimism, just as the real Maurice had.

But at times, especially towards the end, the film veers into the realms of silliness with fantastical dream sequences and a golf-buggy police chase. We even see a golfer (clearly meant to be Tiger Woods) giving a speech and revealing that he was about to give up on the game until he saw Maurice playing on TV.

Maurice Flitcroft became a folk hero.

Regular golfers will spot some other small flaws (like golf clubs being grounded in the bunker), but if you can look past those things, our hero actually provides a pertinent lesson in morality and how you do not need to win at golf or life to find happiness. We can all learn something from that.

TG verdict: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Phantom of The Open  is a 12A and hits cinemas on Friday (March 18). Book your tickets, here .

READ NEXT: Mark Rylance on playing Maurice Flitcroft

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved Bitcoin ETFs in the US.

The SEC has approved bitcoin ETFs. What are they and what does it mean for investors?

The SEC has given the green light to 11 exchange traded funds for bitcoin, opening the door to cryptocurrencies for many new investors

The US securities regulator has approved the first US-listed exchange traded funds (ETF) to track bitcoin, in a watershed moment for the world’s largest cryptocurrency and the broader crypto industry.

The announcement came at the end of a tumultuous 24 hours for the popular cryptocurrency, which saw a tweet sent from the account of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announcing the approval of the long-awaited ETFs on Tuesday, leading the price of bitcoin to spike by more than $1,000. Soon after, the SEC said its account had been “compromised” and that the tweet was “unauthorised”.

By Wednesday however, the SEC had approved the ETFs – this time for real – adding that it remained sceptical about cryptocurrencies.

What has been approved?

The SEC has given the green light to 11 ETFs for bitcoin in the US, opening the door to cryptocurrencies to many new investors who don’t want to take the extra steps involved in buying actual bitcoin.

An ETF is an easy way to invest in assets or a group of assets without having to directly buy the assets themselves. For example, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF allows anyone to invest in gold without having to find a place to store a bar or protect it.

ETFs can also be easily traded on stock exchanges.

Since bitcoin’s inception, anyone wanting to own one would either have to adopt a digital wallet or open an account at a crypto trading platform like Coinbase or Binance. Cryptocurrency advocates say the development will thrust the once niche and nerdy corner of the internet even further into the financial mainstream.

The decision to approve the ETFs is a major win for huge fund managers like BlackRock, Fidelity Investments and Invesco who will manage the funds – and have pushed hard to get the SEC to approve them.

Some products are expected to begin trading as early as Thursday, kicking off a fierce competition for market share.

What has the SEC said?

Despite approving the new ETFs, the SEC said it was still deeply skeptical about cryptocurrencies and that its decision did not mean it approves or endorses bitcoin.

“Investors should remain cautious about the myriad risks associated with bitcoin and products whose value is tied to crypto,” said Gary Gensler, the agency’s chairman.

Other commissioners expressed alarm that the SEC agreed to approve the funds.

“I am concerned that these products will flood the markets and land squarely in the retirement accounts of US households who can least afford to lose their savings to the fraud and manipulation that appears prevalent in the spot bitcoin markets,” Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw said in her dissent.

What does this mean for the price of bitcoin?

After nearly two years of turmoil that has seen the price of bitcoin plummet and the failure of several crypto firms, Wednesday’s announcement will come as good news to many investors in the crypto market.

The greenlight from regulators had been anticipated for several months and the price of bitcoin has jumped about 70% since October as crypto investors speculated the broad use of bitcoin ETFs would drive up demand for the cryptocurrency.

The price had sunk as low as $16,000 in November 2022 after the bankruptcy of the crypto exchange FTX. It was trading at $46,500 in the hours after the SEC announcement.

Standard Chartered analysts this week said the ETFs could draw $50bn to $100bn this year alone, potentially driving the price of bitcoin as high as $100,000. Others have said inflows will be closer to $55bn over five years.

Other analysts have been more cautious in their predictions, saying that ETFs may actually help stabilise crypto prices by broadening their use and potential audience.

Most, however, remain concerned that the broad use of crypto ETFs could put too much risk and volatility into Americans’ retirement accounts – the price of bitcoin is known to fluctuate wildly, often without warning or explanation.

“The notorious price volatility of bitcoin … could expose mainstream investors to a less familiar spectrum of investment risks,” said Yiannis Giokas, senior director of Moody’s Analytics.

The price of ethereum, the second-most popular cryptocurrency, has also risen on speculation that fund managers will create ETFs around it.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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‘The Phantom of the Open’ Review: Mark Rylance Drives a Feel-Good Sports Movie About a Terrible Golfer

David ehrlich.

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A light and lyrical feel-good tale about Mancunian golf legend Maurice G. Flitcroft — the shipyard crane operator who improbably managed to enter himself into the 1976 British Open and then, even more improbably, became an international folk hero for his resilience in the face of humiliating scores — “ The Phantom of the Open ” is exactly what you might expect from an underdog sports film scripted by “Paddington 2” writer Simon Farnaby (and based on the book that he and Scott Murray published about Flintcroft in 2010). It’s charming as hell, it has precious little patience for English classism, and it hinges on a child-like outsider whose supernatural guilelessness has a tendency to steamroll over the cynics and gits who get in his way. It even co-stars Sally Hawkins , as all “Paddington” movies have, and all other movies should.

If “The Phantom of the Open” lacks the same magic that Farnaby helped sprinkle over the masterful comedies he co-wrote about the world’s sweetest bear, well, what doesn’t? It’s enough that this heartfelt delight makes par on its premise; there’s a birdie here and a bogey there, but director Craig Roberts (“Eternal Beauty”) keeps a firm grip on the film’s whimsical tone from start to finish, the former “Red Oaks” star finding a way to have fun with his shots without risking his straightforward approach to the pin.

Mark Rylance , whose post-“Bridge of Spies” performances in films like “Ready Player One” and “Don’t Look Up” have suffered from putting far too much sugar in a small cup of tea, embodies Maurice Flitcroft with such fidgety sweetness that he seems to be simpering toward self-parody by the end of the very first scene, and yet with “The Phantom of the Open” he’s found a movie that’s willing to meet the actor on his wavelength — a movie in which everything is so gently over-cranked that Rylance’s character feels more like a natural response to the world around him than he does an aberration from it.

Indeed, “The Phantom of the Open” works so well because Rylance’s all too legible affectations make it that much harder to parse Maurice’s heart. Does this doddering, workaday layman from the coal-gray shores of Barrow-in-Furness — a 47-year-old father of three who may have been totally oblivious to the mere existence of golf before catching a brain-snapping glimpse of a tournament on his family’s posh new three-channel TV — really believe that he can compete with the best players on Earth, or is he just having some kind of mid-life crisis prompted by Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power?

The film’s playful, almost fable-esque introduction to Maurice would suggest the former. It tells us of a young boy who was sent to Scotland during the war for his safety, and then returned to his dead-end town with a head so full of stars that not even several decades of blue-collar drudgery could dull its shine. To this day, his dreams still resemble deleted scenes from “A Matter of Life and Death.” And while Maurice’s cartoonish naiveté is a caricature of industrial simplicity, that exaggerated innocence is offset by the palpable hopes of a man who’s worked so hard for his sons to believe their dreams might actually come true — a man who’s proud that his teenage twins want to become professional disco dancers, and perhaps even prouder that his eldest, Michael (Jake Davies) has already climbed so high on the corporate ladder that his dad looks small from his perspective.

However you slice it, there’s more than a little eccentricity at play when Maurice decides to “have a crack at the British Open.” Sure, it’s a bit misleading when he checks the box labeled “professional” on the application, but it’s not his fault that the tournament administrators let him on the links ( Rhys Ifans plays the stuffed shirt elitist who runs the Royal & Ancient Golf Course, and — despite being unfamiliar with anyone named Maurice Flitcroft, simply assumes that no one would be stupid enough to lie about their status).

And Maurice is, indeed, quite bad at golf. He’s able to make contact with the ball, which is a bit surprising given Rylance’s eyes-closed swing, but it doesn’t tend to go very far, and Farnaby’s script has zero interest in pretending that it ever did in real life. On the contrary, “The Phantom of the Open” delights in how unbothered Maurice is by his play; one of the film’s best scenes sets him up for a dramatic putt, adopting the rhythms and grammar of every inspirational sports movie ever made… and then sticking with it as Maurice duffs the putt four times in a row.

Whip-pans, dance interludes, and a killer period soundtrack highlighted by the likes of Billy Preston and Christopher Cross apply winning energy to a losing streak that doesn’t skip a beat even after Maurice is kicked out of the tournament and forced to sneak onto the course in disguise. The simple joy of this story isn’t found in Maurice’s imagined victory, but rather through his refusal of defeat — his refusal to wallow in the gutter and cede the stars to the people born just shy of heaven. This world is what we make of it, and everyone is capable of having their say.

In a moment so wry and affecting that it could single-handedly power this movie through its misshapen structure and the sweet but labored subplots that hold it together with scotch tape (the most important of which being the embarrassment that Michael develops in response to his father’s overnight fame), Maurice walks out of the shipyard at the end of a shift and tears off his dull work coat to reveal the argyle golf sweater below. His willingness to step out of line and grab his clubs by the handle is enough to make him a bonafide superhero, even in spite of his handicap(s).

“The Phantom of the Open” isn’t always able to dramatize Maurice’s self-determination — the trajectory of his career isn’t especially well-suited to a three-act feature, and a greater emphasis on the deception required to keep playing might have unbalanced a movie that can’t afford its wide-eyed hero to become a full-blown trickster — but Roberts and Farnaby celebrate Maurice’s accomplishments with such a sincere degree of fun that it’s easy to keep golf-clapping along even after the film runs out of story to tell. Kit Fraser’s textured cinematography and Sarah Finlay’s loving production design lend the whole thing an almost Kaurismäki-dry winsomeness that Hawkins’ performance is able to capitalize upon with even the smallest of gestures.

It all comes together into an affable movie that, like its affable subject, doesn’t have any measurable ambition beyond getting the ball in the hole. And yet it could still make hardened souls cry a few tears in the back of an airplane, pick the rest of us up on a gray Sunday afternoon, and remind anyone struggling through stubbornly existential feelings of helplessness — which is another way of saying everyone — that the world is their oyster, even when it looks a lot more like a barnacle.

“The Phantom of the Open” is now playing in select theaters.

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'The Phantom of the Open' Trailer Reveals a Charming Look at the World's Worst Golfer

The inspiring yet wacky sports tale hits theaters on June 3.

There have been an endless amount of inspiring sports movies based on true stories over the years, and another to keep an eye on is The Phantom of the Open . The new golf-centric tale is directed by Craig Roberts and written by Simon Farnaby, based on Farnaby’s book of the same name that he co-wrote with Scott Murray , about the true story of Maurice Flitcroft ( Mark Rylance ), a crane operator and "unrelenting optimist" who decides to have a crack at the British Open Gold Championship qualifiers in 1976...without ever having played a round of golf in his life.

The trailer begins by humorously reminding audiences that this story “actually happened”, before showing a brief history of Flitcroft’s life leading up to the events of him taking up professional golf. We see him marry the love of his life, Jean ( Sally Hawkins ), and a glimpse of the couple raising their two sons together. We then see Flitcroft talk to his friends about the age-old question, “if you could do anything, what would you do?” They do not know, but this is where we see Flitcroft discover his love for golf. He tells his friends that he is going to pursue a spot in The British Open, and they look at him like he is crazy.

This is where the comedy of the film really starts to show, as we see Flitcroft prepare for his dream event. He shoots the worst round in the history of the Open, but refuses to give up, even after admitting he'd never played before. Through Roberts' colorfully blissful direction and Rylance's carefree spirit, we get the sense that, while the media attention may be putting pressure on Flitcroft and his family, he refuses to give up — not to spite those who doubt him, but simply because he believes in himself.

RELATED: From 'Don't Look Up' to 'Bridge of Spies': 7 Best Mark Rylance Film Performances Ranked

From the trailer alone, this appears to be a whimsically funny, gleefully optimistic, and heartfelt sports movie that combines the absurdity of Happy Gilmore with the emotional weight of The Way Back or McFarland, USA . This seems like the perfect average Joe, rags to riches story that has enough style and substance to keep the avid sports movie watcher engaged. Rylance has proven himself countless times, with great performances in Bridge of Spies , Dunkirk , and The Trial of the Chicago 7 . He also has an underrated sense of comedic timing shown in films like Ready Player One and Don't Look Up , so he is sure to bring a well-balanced performance that will inspire as much as he makes us laugh. Pair that with Hawkins, who also has a great resume of films like The Shape of Water , and this film’s cast has its fair share of heavy hitters.

There is arguably nothing better than a well-made sports movie. The Phantom of the Open looks to be the next story that sports fans should have ready in their trolley bag when the film hits the green and theaters on June 3. Check out the full trailer below:

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The Phantom of the Open

The Phantom of the Open

  • Maurice Flitcroft, a dreamer and unrelenting optimist, manages to gain entry to the 1976 British Open Golf Championship qualification round despite being a complete novice.
  • The heart-warming true story of Maurice Flitcroft, who entered the 1976 Open despite never playing a round of golf before. The extraordinary story of an ordinary man, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN is an uplifting and moving comedy drama about pursuing your dreams and shooting for the stars, no matter what hand you're dealt.
  • THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN tells the remarkable true story of Maurice Flitcroft, a crane operator and optimistic dreamer from Barrow-in-Furness who, with the support of his family and friends, managed to gain entry to the 1976 British Open qualifying, despite never playing a round of golf before. With pluckiness and unwavering self-belief, Maurice pulls off a series of stunning, hilarious and heartwarming attempts to compete at the highest level of professional golf, drawing the ire of the golfing elite but becoming a British folk hero in the process. Starring Academy Award® Winner Mark Rylance as Maurice, Academy Award® Nominee Sally Hawkins as his wife Jean and BAFTA nominee [link=nm0406975 as his nemesis Mackenzie. The extraordinary story of an ordinary man, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN is an uplifting and moving comedy drama about pursuing your dreams and shooting for the stars, no matter what hand you're dealt.
  • Maurice Flitcroft is a crane operator at a shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, England. After never having played a round of golf in his life and with an estimation of his golf abilities that far exceeded them, he applies to play in the 1976 British Open. To his surprise, his application is accepted. In the opening round he shoots 121, the highest round of golf at a major tournament. This is his (largely true) story. — grantss

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Rhys Ifans, Mark Rylance, and Sally Hawkins in The Phantom of the Open (2021)

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  1. The Phantom of the Open

    Movie Info THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN tells the heartwarming true story of Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance), a dreamer and unrelenting optimist. This humble crane operator from Barrow-in-Furness...

  2. The Phantom of the Open (2021)

    PG-13 1h 46m IMDb RATING 7.0 /10 6.9K YOUR RATING Rate Play trailer 2:42 10 Videos 40 Photos Comedy Drama Sport Maurice Flitcroft, a dreamer and unrelenting optimist, manages to gain entry to the 1976 British Open Golf Championship qualification round despite being a complete novice. Director Craig Roberts Writers Scott Murray Simon Farnaby Stars

  3. The Phantom of the Open

    The Phantom of the Open is a 2021 British biographical comedy-drama film directed by Craig Roberts, about the exploits of Maurice Flitcroft. The screenplay by Simon Farnaby was based upon the biography The Phantom of the Open: Maurice Flitcroft, The World's Worst Golfer by Farnaby and Scott Murray.

  4. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN

    Directed By: Craig RobertsScreenplay By: Simon Farnaby from his own book The Phantom of the Open, co-authored by Scott MurrayStarring: Mark Rylance, Sally Ha...

  5. The Phantom of the Open Trailer #1 (2022)

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    The Seven Deadly Sins: Four Knights of the Apocalypse. As a prophecy of doom unfolds on the peaceful land of Britannia, a purehearted boy sets out on a journey of discovery — and revenge. The Bequeathed. After the death of an unknown uncle, a woman inherits a burial ground and finds herself in the center of a string of murders and dark secrets.

  10. The Phantom of the Open

    A heart-warming comedy telling the true story of Maurice Flitcroft, the worst golfer to ever the play the British Open. Open all Credits and release information Released 18 March 2022

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    The Phantom of the Open 2022 | Maturity Rating: 13+ | Comedies In this biopic, a golf novice uses disguise and subterfuge to compete in the 1976 British Open — despite having never played a game of golf in his life.

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    Updated June 2, 2022. Featuring stand-out performances by Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins, Rhys Ifans, and Jake Davies, 'The Phantom of the Open' is a biographical comedy-drama film that recounts the story of a dreamer who manages to achieve the unthinkable. The movie follows Maurice Flitcroft, who had never played the game of golf in his life ...

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  29. The Phantom of the Open (2021)

    Maurice Flitcroft is a crane operator at a shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, England. After never having played a round of golf in his life and with an estimation of his golf abilities that far exceeded them, he applies to play in the 1976 British Open. To his surprise, his application is accepted.