sun 09/08/2020

satire

The Kemps: All True, BBC Two review - more self-promotion than self-mockery

The spoof “rockumentary” always sounds like a great idea, but it’s hard to pull off. Largely this is because rock stars are so divorced from reality that an element of self-parody is already built in, albeit unwittingly (“everybody’s so different, I...

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Maria Reva: Good Citizens Need Not Fear review - tales of gloomy humour and absurdist charm

Maria Reva’s humorously gloomy debut collection, centring on the inhabitants of a block of stuffy apartments in Soviet (and post-Soviet) Ukraine, starts, predictably enough, with Lenin. Instead of an austere symbol of ideology, he’s a statue who “...

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The Platform review - timely, violent and effective

Horror has always been a good vehicle for satire, from John Carpenter’s They Live to Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Some metaphors opt for the subtle precision of a surgical knife, and others the hit you over the head. The Platform on Netflix is the latter...

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Greed review - so-so satire of the über rich

Steve Coogan’s long partnership with director Michael Winterbottom is probably best known for The Trip and its spin-offs, involving Coogan’s comic culinary excursions alongside Rob Brydon. But for its serious undercurrents and disreputable...

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Parasite review - a class war with grand designs

With the Oscars approaching, one film building momentum in the fight for best picture – and whose victory would delight all but the most blinkered – is the Korean Bong Joon Ho’s deliriously dark and entertaining black comedy, Parasite. It...

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Jojo Rabbit review - a risky balancing act

Just as Joker was the most divisive film of 2019, so Jojo Rabbit may take the mantle for the early months of 2020. The issue is not that director Taika Waititi is making a comedy about the Nazis – plenty of filmmakers have done that, from...

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Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Alexandra Palace Theatre review - JM Barrie's classic as you have never seen it before

Mischief Theatre is a wonder of modern commercial theatre. In 2008, a group of young actors who had met at drama school started the ensemble – writing, producing, directing and performing their own work. They had their big breakthrough with The Play...

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Mrs Peachum's Guide to Love and Marriage, Mid Wales Opera review - scaled down seediness, with a swing

The Beggar’s Opera: does any piece of music theatre promise more fun and deliver more tedium? Yes, it was the satirical smash of 1728; yes, it inspired Brecht and Weill; yes, with its combination of popular melodies and a topical script it was...

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The Day Shall Come review – Homeland Security satire lacks bite

A new film by Chris Morris ought to be an event. The agent provocateur of Brass Eye infamy has tended to rustle feathers and spark debate whatever he does. His last film, Four Lions, dared to find comedy in Islamic terrorism in 2010,...

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The Laundromat review – The Panama Papers as root canal

With The Laundromat Steven Soderbergh is trying to do for the Panama Papers what The Big Short did for the 2008 financial crash, namely offer an entertaining mix of explanation, exposé, black comedy and righteous anger. Sadly, it...

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DVD/Blu-ray: A Case for a Rookie Hangman

The excellent booklet essay by Michael Brooke that accompanies this Second Run release of Pavel Juráček’s second, and final feature (it’s presented in a fine 4K restoration) tells us much about the director’s importance for the Czech New Wave, that...

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The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Cheek by Jowl/Pushkin Theatre, Barbican review - theatre satire updated

Director Declan Donnellan has a rich record of working with Russian actors: his previous walk on the Slavic side, the darkly powerful Measure for Measure that came to the Barbican four years ago, was preceded by some magnificent versions of...

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