thu 17/08/2017

America

Quest review - intimate documentary about a north Philly community

Christopher Rainey, aka "Quest" – his hip-hop name – lives with his wife Christine’a and their young daughter PJ in north Philadelphia. Jonathan Olshefski’s restrained, absorbing documentary follows this African-American family over almost a...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The 5000 Fingers of Dr T

There are lots of ideas bubbling away under the surface of The 5000 Fingers of Dr T. There would have been even more had the studio not panicked after a disastrous preview screening. Half the musical numbers were scrapped, subplots ditched and a new...

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Proms 34 & 35 review: Oklahoma!, John Wilson Orchestra - music triumphs, words and drama suffer

Only one thing could equal the "wow!" factor of seeing and hearing a youngish Hugh Jackman launch into “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’“ at the start of the National Theatre’s 1998 staging of Oklahoma!: John Wilson and his orchestra trilling and...

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A Ghost Story review - spellbinding vision of life, death and time

A Ghost Story must be the first film with a sheet – a very expressive one – in the leading role. Beneath it is C (Casey Affleck), with two holes for eyes. It’s funny at first, but the Halloween cliché is rapidly transcended. C, a musician, haunts...

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DVD/Blu-ray: American Gods

Neil Gaiman understood the country where he’d landed as an immigrant in the Nineties by writing American Gods. His first substantial novel after his crowning comics achievement, The Sandman, mined an idea of infinite plenitude: if every immigrant...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Wakefield

The story of the man (and it usually is a man) who voluntarily disappears has been told and told again. Wakefield is based on an EL Doctorow short story which is itself inspired by a short story by Hawthorne, so it’s a narrative with deep ancestral...

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Fargo, Series 3 Finale, Channel 4 review - the best drama of the year?

“This is a true story. This is a story…” The self-referential nature of Noah Hawley’s baroque narrative arc was one of the great joys of the third season of Fargo. Over the past 10 weeks its constant invention, cinematic tricks and award-worthy...

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The Handmaid's Tale, Series 1 finale, Channel 4 review - exquisite to look at but glacially slow

Come awards time, it’s inevitable that Elisabeth Moss will be collecting a few for her portrayal of Offred, the endlessly-suffering lead character in The Handmaid’s Tale (her real name is June). But I reckon the real stars of the show are...

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Girl from the North Country, Old Vic review – Dylan songs hit home, the rest is weirdness

Plays with songs in, or more precisely plays with famous songs in, can feel like the uncanny valley of theatre. They’re not quite musicals and not quite tribute shows. They deliver on familiar tunes and disconcert with fresh narrative. You’re...

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The Big Sick review - enchanting romcom about mixed marriages

The Big Sick is an enchanting film from the Judd Apatow comedy production line. Don’t be put off by the terrible title. There are two forms of sickness on display in the story of Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani American who plays himself in his own...

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Blu-ray: Terror in a Texas Town

Many of the best Westerns, that quintessentially American genre, are rooted in a Christian view of the world: the dark forces of Satan pitted against angels, saints and the figure of Christ the Redeemer. In Terror in a Texas Town, Joseph H Lewis's...

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Orange Is the New Black, Season 5, Netflix review - counterpoint in a three-day prison riot

Rippling outward from the initial story of a seemingly nice WASP woman who finds herself having to adapt in a women's prison, Orange Is the New Black quickly developed into the most multilayered, almost indigestibly rich of American TV dramas. By...

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