Matt Damon shrinks down to 2 inches so he can live more luxuriously on a small budget in new film

With films like The Descendants and Nebraska, director Alexander Payne has specialised in humble, human stories.

His next movie, Downsizing, is an entirely different prospect. Here’s the synopsis (as per Variety):

‘The film finds Damon and Kristen Wiig playing a lower middle class couple who buy into a plan to shrink themselves to the size of a Saltine cracker. It’s all part of a radical new surgery cooked up by a Norwegian scientist (presumably played by Christoph Waltz) to conserve resources and make people live luxuriously on a budget. With their $150,000 in savings, Damon and Wiig are told they can become suburban barons, if only they undergo the radical procedure.’

The sci-fi comedy, which also stars Christoph Waltz and Alec Baldwin, sounds like a more satirical version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids, offering a very sideways look at the world’s overconsumption/scarcity of resources problem.

Paramount Pictures showed 10 minutes of footage from it at CinemaCon on Tuesday, seeing a pint-size salesman played by Neil Patrick Harris selling the idea to potential customers. He is joined in the pitch by a tiny Laura Dern, who shows off the benefits of being small - sipping champagne in a bubble bath, wearing a string of pearls and waxing lyrical about her days spent playing tennis and getting massages.

Damon’s character’s operation was also shown, the man being shaved all over before being “drained”.

Downsizing apparently sees Payne working with a bigger budget than usual, and the film’s 22 December 2017 release date positions it nicely for award season. With laughs but also a timely message about the way we live, I could see it grabbing Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Globes.

‘Secure the futures of EU staff on front line in our hospitals’

Doctors today called on the Government to “act now” over fears London’s hospitals will lose thousands of health workers after Article 50 is triggered.

Up to 20,000 doctors, nurses and medical staff working at London’s health trusts hail from European Union countries - around 15 per cent of the capital’s entire NHS workforce.

At one of London’s best known hospitals, the Royal Brompton in Chelsea, around 30 percent of staff are from EU nations.

Dr Mark Porter, British Medical Association council chair, said: “These people are on the frontline in our hospitals and GP surgeries, they look after vulnerable patients in the community, and conduct vital medical research to help save lives.

“Yet since the EU referendum they have been left facing uncertainty as to whether they and their families will be allowed to continue living and working in the UK.”

His plea for the Government to intervene comes as Theresa May officially triggers Article 50 having decided not to write protections for EU citizens into the Brexit Bill.

A Labour amendment to the bill that would have guaranteed rights for EU citizens was defeated by Tory MPs earlier this month.

Dr Porter said: “The Government must act now to ensure long-term stability across the healthcare system by providing certainty to European medical professionals about their future in the UK.”

There are 19,589 staff from EU countries working in London’s hospitals out of a workforce of 130,000.

Figures uncovered by the Lib Dems show the St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Tooting and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, headquartered in Hampstead, have 22 percent of staff from EU nationals.

Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney said it was a “disgrace” that despite Article 50 being triggered these key workers have still not been given reassurance over their future.

The representative for Richmond said: “Those MPs in London who voted against the right of EU nationals to stay should be ashamed. Our city’s top hospitals rely on nurses and doctors from the EU working hard to save lives every day. It’s a disgrace that their rights were not guaranteed ahead of Theresa May triggering Article 50.”

New statistics show 698 nurses left NHS trusts in London in 2016, compared to 542 two years ago – an increase of 28 percent.

Croydon Health Services, King’s College Hospital, Royal Free London and Imperial College Healthcare all saw the largest number of staff leaving.

However London’s Tory MPs who blocked EU workers rights from being enshrined in the Brexit Bill said the Government will ensure they are a priority.

Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea & Fulham, said: “Nobody is keener than me on seeing a deal done for EU nationals, with 17 percent of my constituency being from other EU member states.

“We want, hope and expect to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, as well as UK nationals living in the EU, at an early stage of negotiations.”

A Department for Health spokesperson said: “Overseas workers form a crucial part of our NHS and we value their contribution immensely.

“The Prime Minister has been clear that she wants to protect the status of EU nationals already living here – that includes those working in the NHS.”

Doctor 'sent death threat in row with neighbours over pruning plants'

A retired doctor who was locked in a bitter dispute with his neighbours received a death threat after pruning roses hanging over his garden fence, a court heard.

Dr Mathiaparanam Sreetharan, 73, was told in a note: “Cut my plants again and you will die.”

He found the “shocking” threat posted on his fence last summer as relations with mother and daughter Rosa and Rebecca Rahman, 46, turned nasty.

Wimbledon magistrates’ court heard that the neighbours had fallen out over plants and branches hanging over their shared back fence in Balham Park Road, Balham.

Rebecca Rahman, a production manager, told the Sri Lankan-born doctor: “People in this country have a garden. Where you come from is just mud huts and no garden.”

Her 75-year-old mother, who believed the doctor had poured weedkiller over the fence, was convicted of assaulting Dr Sreetharan by pushing him in the shoulder while calling him a “nasty little man”.

Giving evidence, Rosa Rahman said: “My life is the garden. I spent a lot of money on it and he started cutting everything he could reach.

“It’s my life’s work and he’s ruined everything. He was ruining my garden… I was very angry, I just looked at my plants and cried.”

Dr Sreetharan told the court: “I was clearing plants that had come onto my side of the property. The neighbours were there shouting at me, very abusive language.”

He claimed to be scared for his life when he found the “death note”, and also captured Rebecca Rahman on tape as she made the “mud huts” comment.

She admitted racially aggravated threatening behaviour and harassment, and her mother was convicted of the assault which was witnessed by a third party.

District Judge Barbara Barnes cleared the women of arming themselves with bricks during the dispute.

She acquitted Rosa Rahman of harassment and making a racist remark, and dismissed Dr Sreetharan’s claim that he had been scared for his life.

“The complainant was not a credible or convincing witness… I don’t find his account of being scared for his life or that these ladies came at him with bricks as plausible.”

Spanish-born Rosa Rahman, who denied all the charges, was fined £75 for the assault on July 5 and ordered to pay £180 in costs and fees.

Rebecca Rahman admitted racially aggravated threatening behaviour on June 30 and harassing the doctor between June 26 and August 23.

She was put on probation for 12 months and must complete 100 hours of community service while paying a £200 fine and £170 in costs.

Dagenham attack: Teenager slashed in face for looking at man's girlfriend 'the wrong way'

Police have launched a manhunt after a teenager was slashed in the face for looking at a man’s girlfriend “the wrong way”.

Neighbours said the 17-year-old was attacked with a knife after he made eye-contact with the couple as they walked hand-in-hand in Dagenham.

The knifeman allegedly screamed ‘what are you looking at?’ and slashed the victim across the face.

The teenager fled to Becontree Tube station where TfL staff saw that he was bleeding and called paramedics to attend to his facial injuries.

Neighbour Susan Snow, 63, said: “All it takes these days is one wrong look and you can get stabbed, it’s pathetic really. It’s so lucky the poor boy wasn’t blinded or worse.

“The area is getting so bad I’m scared to walk my dogs out at night anymore.”

The attack happened in Sheppey Road, near to Gale Street, at about 4.30pm on Friday, March 10.

Detective Constable Sam Carey said: “This occurred at a busy time of day and I am appealing to anyone who was in or around the area, who may have seen anything they now think is suspicious to contact me.”

The suspect is a black male in his 20s, around 6ft 4ins tall. He fled the scene along Sheppey Road.

Any witnesses, or anyone with information, is urged to contact Detective Constable Samuel Carey on 020 8345 1626 or email him at

Richard Dawkins says England is becoming a 'nasty little backwater'

Prominent atheist and scientist Richard Dawkins has said England is becoming a “nasty little backwater,” as the government prepares begin the process of leaving the European Union.

The day before the UK government planned to trigger Article 50 and formally begin Brexit, the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of a second independence referendum.

Mr Dawkins has spoken out against Brexit since last summer’s referendum and once branded voters, including himself, “ignoramuses”.

“I opposed Scottish independence,” Mr Dawkins said on Twitter. “But if I were Scottish today I’d want to leave the nasty little backwater that England is becoming.”

The precise consequences of Brexit are currently unknown but critics have expressed fears that social, economic and environmental protections could be adversely affected.

A spike in racism in the months after the referendum also prompted concern about the climate towards migrants in the UK.

Earlier in March, Mr Dawkins further elaborated on his position against Brexit.

He told BBC Newsnight: “Constitutional amendments are – or should be – hard to achieve… Unlike ordinary law-making, constitutional changes are for keeps. Voters are fickle, opinions change.

“We have no right to condemn future generations to abide, irrevocably, by the transient whims of the present.”

Referencing the large number of votes needed in both houses of the US Congress to enact constitutional change, Mr Dawkins continued: “If ever a decision needed at least a two-thirds majority, it was Brexit. It has huge ramifications, complex consequences.”