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Ray – in the land of the blues – this blind man was king

Tweet Ray – Director Taylor Hackforth London. Astoria Theatre, Finsbury Park. 1960. A young, white, Suffolk teenager sits, front row circle, with a 20 year-old ‘chaperoning’ mate, having somehow wangled a couple of tickets from the promoters of Ray Charles’s first ever London gig before they even went on sale. Two white sore thumbs in […]

The Producers – slap-schtick

Tweet The Producers – Director Susan Stroman Make ’em laugh… make ’em laugh…The Producers was always a musical trying to get out. Both satirical farce and farcical satire, its broad, exuberant style and totally performance-dependent appeal is made for the immediacy of the stage and the vitality of live audience participation. Its intentionally tasteless premise […]

Happy Feet – these penguinpromorphised penguins rock!

Tweet Happy Feet – George Miller Cosmically kitsch. And a pure delight. This absurd, irresistible mixture of genres, movies, performers and most of all, great foot-tapping music, like any good cocktail, delivers a terrific punch, even if at times it is a tad too sweet. It’s farcical, surreal, witty exuberance will make you laugh out […]

The Phantom Of The Opera – Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s 1 trick pony

Tweet The Phantom of The Opera – Director Joel Schumacher You are on the edge your seat throughout the PTO: will the stupefying banality of the screenplay and lyrics, outstrip that of the music? It’s a close call, but after 142 interminable minutes I think the words won by a brass neck. There is after […]

The Page Turner – Precision, obsession, indignation, revenge

Tweet The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de pages) – Denis Dercourt Steve McQueen argued one should feel as much as possible and show as little as possible. Whatever may be the merits of this idea for individual self-control, it is an oppressively apt definition of the cardinal emotional value of the bourgeoisie. Melanie Prouvost is […]

Finding Neverland: sentiment 1 – sentimentality 0 – a good victory

Tweet Finding Neverland – Marc Foster The Peter Pan story can either rot the brain or lift the spirit. Decades of commercial exploitation have virtually sucked it dry of any true feeling. Yet it seems to touch something so deep in us that it is indestructible. It must be to have survived the aesthetically treacly […]

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – Michael Jackson – the ghost at his choclate feast

Tweet Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – Tim Burton Thirty million copies sold speaks for itself. But for my two kids, and me, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is not one of Roald Dahl’s best books. My kids were inseparable from The Giraffe the Pelly and Me, The Fantastic Mr Fox, James and the Giant […]

I’m Not There – he’s just everywhere, mostly in our heads

Tweet I’m Not There – Todd Haynes It may depend when you joined the train. Bob Dylan and I are the same age. When we hit our teens in 1954/5 young people all around the world started boarding the music trains, leaving home for ever. We left our parents standing on the platforms shaking their […]

Flags of Our Fathers – resonant as a brick

Tweet The Flags of Our Fathers – Clint Eastwood (BBC Prize Review) This film has the resonance of a brick. There is more evocative imagery of the pathos and tragedy of war in the stills shown over the final credits than in the whole 132 minutes of film that precedes them. It is hard to […]

Singin’ In The Rain – immortal, as long as there are movies…

Tweet Singin’ In The Rain – Stanley Donen and Gene kelly My wife has my funeral wishes. She will just need a movie-loving, liberal vicar. So to speak. At the end of what I expect to be at best, a modestly attended event: large screen, good sound, no popcorn – not that liberal a vicar; […]