sat 22/01/2022

biography

Long Promised Road review - another attempt to probe the fragile genius of Brian Wilson

There has been no shortage of documentaries about king Beach Boy Brian Wilson, not to mention the 2014 bio-drama Love & Mercy, so the purpose of this new effort by director Brent Wilson (no relation) isn’t altogether clear. Certainly Wilson (the...

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Ananyo Bhattacharya: The Man from the Future review - the man, the maths, the brain

Suppose I’m a novelist plotting a panoramic narrative through world-shaping moments of the first half of the 20th century. I’ll need a character who can visit a bunch of key sites. Göttingen in the 1920s, where the essentials of quantum mechanics...

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Oliver Sacks: His Own Life review - a complex portrait of a complex man

It’s well worth tracking down one of the September 29 special cinema screenings of Ric Burns' lovingly made documentary portrait of the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, or seeking it out online. Famous for his vivid, insightful descriptions of...

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Frances Larson: Undreamed Shores review - journeys without maps

Beatrice Blackwood had lived in a clifftop village between surf and jungle on Bougainville Island, part of the Solomon archipelago in the South Pacific. She hunted, fished and grew crops with local people as she studied their social and sexual lives...

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Jackie Kay: Bessie Smith review – vivid writing about the Empress of the Blues

Blues singer Bessie Smith (1894-1937) had much more than an astonishingly powerful voice. It may already be almost a hundred years since she made her most significant recordings – she is from an era before amplification –  and yet her unfailing...

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One Night in Miami review - black history come alive

In 1964, Cassius Clay, NFL superstar Jim Nathaniel Brown, soul legend Sam Cooke and political firebrand Malcolm X gathered for one night in a dingy room at the Hampton Motel. It was a meeting that became a symbol of hope for black Americans. A photo...

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Mank review – David Fincher’s brilliant, bitter-sweet paean to Hollywood’s Golden Age

For so much of the year, Tenet was cited as the film that was going to save cinema – the tentpole extravaganza that would draw virus-conscious punters back to the big screen. The assertion was always fanciful, the pandemic being too long a...

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William Feaver: The Lives of Lucian Freud: Fame 1968-2011 review - mesmerising, exhaustive and obsessively detailed

This is a biography like no other, more or less dictated by Lucian Freud. William Feaver spoke with the artist perhaps almost daily for nearly 40 years, visiting frequently, taking notes, recording, and being shown work in progress. The second...

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Vincent van Gogh: the reader and the writer

A life in art, a life in looking; a life in writing, a life in reading; a life fuelled by passionate emotions, personal attachments and religious turmoil. There are a few artists whose lives are so intertwined with their work that their biography as...

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Hamilton, Disney+ review - puts us all in the room where it happened

The movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights was meant to hit cinemas this summer, but, in response to Covid-19, has been put back to 2021. Instead, we get the early release on Disney+ of Miranda’s Hamilton – filmed, NT Live style,...

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It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, Breach Theatre online review – a riveting watch

Artemisia Gentileschi has definitely had a hard time. Although she was an outstanding Renaissance painter in the style of Caravaggio, and the first woman to become a member of Florence’s Accademia di Arte del Disegno, her work was attributed to her...

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Director Marjane Satrapi: ‘The real question is do you like everyone? No? So, why should everyone like you?’

Marjane Satrapi, the Iranian-born French filmmaker, has a reputation that precedes her. Her upbringing was the subject of the acclaimed films Persepolis (2007) and Chicken With Plums (2011). Persepolis won the Cannes Jury Prize, two César awards and...

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