wed 17/10/2018

America

Barbara Kingsolver: Unsheltered review - too many issues

“When men fear the loss of what they know, they will follow any tyrant who promises to restore the old order.” Mary Treat, the real-life 19th-century botanist who is one of the characters in Barbara Kingsolver’s eighth novel, could be talking about...

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LFF 2018: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs review - Wild West tales, and Redford and Jackman

The “portmanteau” form of film-making is almost guaranteed to deliver patchy results, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the Coen brothers’ six-pack of tall tales from the Old West (screened at London Film Festival), can’t quite avoid this age-old...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Rockin' in the USA - Hot 100 Hits of the 80s

One marker arrived on 1 August 1981, when MTV began broadcasting. With its format based around screening pop videos, American radio had a competitor and would lose the edge it once had. And due to the lack of local product, a significant proportion...

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First Man - Neil Armstrong's giant leap

Echoes of Phil Kaufman’s 1983 classic The Right Stuff resonate through Damien Chazelle’s new account of how Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. The Right Stuff ended with the conclusion of America’s Mercury space programme in...

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A Star is Born review - Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga make a compellingly combustible duo

"It's the same old story, told over and over forever": So remarks the redoubtable Sam Elliott late in the most recent reboot of A Star is Born, which itself manages to take an oft-told story and reinvent it very much afresh. As the grizzled sage who...

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Heathers The Musical, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - a sardonic take on teen angst

This London premiere of Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s 2010 musical (based on Daniel Waters’ oh-so-Eighties cult classic movie, starring Christian Slater and Winona Ryder) had a development period at The Other Palace – no critics allowed...

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Lucky review - fabled character actor stars in his own obituary

Harry Dean Stanton died in September last year aged 91, and will forever be remembered as the embodiment of the lean, lonely, laconic stranger, a man of few words but imbued with an enigmatic allure. This film, the directorial debut of character...

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Unexpected Joy, Southwark Playhouse review - fully predictable fun

There's a clear theme running through this year's autumn programme at the Southwark Playhouse: new musicals with strong feminist roots. Wasted, centred on the Bronte siblings, is landing later this month, but first there's ...

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Underground Railroad Game, Soho Theatre review - scratching the American wound

Underground Railroad Game is scabrous theatre – in every sense. To start with, Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R Sheppard’s two-hander is as down and dirty as anything you’ll find on the London stage at the moment, with one sex scene that’s belly laugh-...

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post review - learning the right way

This is Desiree Akhavan’s second film, following on from her rather ironically titled Appropriate Behaviour of 2014. That was a coming-out drama about a bisexual, Iranian-American woman, whose story closely reflected the director’s own – and Akhavan...

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The Humans, Hampstead Theatre review - a riveting family portrait

Transatlantic theatrical traffic is busier than ever, and now here at the Hampstead is not just Stephen Karam’s Tony-winning play, first seen in 2015, but director Joe Mantello and his full Broadway cast. It seems fitting that they should travel...

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Dance Nation, Almeida Theatre review - a tarantella through the convulsions of the teenage psyche

Lycra, jealousy and pubescent ambition are put under the spotlight in Clare Barron’s provocative probe into the American competitive dancing scene. Dance Nation is a tarantella through the convulsions of the teen psyche as its characters respond to...

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