A high proportion of the standout books of 2013 deal with dirty dealings of one kind or another. Then again, as Mike Rowbottom points out in Foul Play: The Dark Arts of Cheating in Sport (Bloomsbury, £12.99), athletes have sought an illegal edge since ancient Greece. His excursion into the grey areas of sport’s moral maze is illuminating and entertaining, if somewhat disheartening.
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Sunday 02 August 2009
Friday 24 July 2009
Sergio Leone's frontier parable is a landmark in Westerns, and features not only one of the greatest opening sequences ever made, but also the best use of a harmonica in cinema.As history it's quite possibly trash, but Leone instinctively grasps the romance of the West, and he uses actors' faces – Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson – almost as landscapes in themselves. Memory, desire, ruthlessness, revenge are all here, treated in the only way this director knew – incandescently.
Friday 12 June 2009
Next Tuesday marks the 105th anniversary of Bloomsday – the eventful day of 16 June 1904, on which a young aspiring writer called Stephen Dedalus, a Jewish advertising canvasser called Leopold Bloom and his adulterous songbird wife, Molly, played out a bonsai version of Homer's Odyssey in the streets of Dublin. Hundreds of Dubliners throng the streets each year, recreating the characters in costume, on stilts and in carnival floats, breakfasting near Bloom's (now demolished) home in Eccles Street, lunching on cheese sandwiches and Burgundy at Davy Byrne's pub, making the pilgrimage through the day to the cabman's shelter where Bloom and Dedalus converged after midnight.
Monday 30 March 2009
Oscar-winning French composer Maurice Jarre, who wrote the rich, lyrical scores for films including 'Doctor Zhivago' and 'Lawrence of Arabia', has died in Los Angeles at the age of 84.
Friday 13 February 2009
Steve Martin: the dream is over. The dream being that one day he might be funny again.
Thursday 31 July 2008
The one thing conspiracy theorists get right is that history is never quite as simple as it seems; there's always something – some happenstance, a hidden motive – rumbling under the surface. A couple of instances of this cropped up yesterday. Movie Outcasts: the Making of 'Easy Rider' (Radio 4) showed how Seventies counterculture and modern Hollywood were, in fact, by-products of the success of The Monkees, whose drummer, Mickey Dolenz, got to narrate.
Monday 31 March 2008
Wednesday 19 March 2008
Sunday 16 March 2008
Are American films any worse now than they used to be? It's tempting to name a year and suggest that, before this point, movies were better, but is the idea of Transformers being nominated for an Oscar any crazier than Dr Dolittle making the Best Picture list four decades earlier? There have been key periods, though, when Hollywood has experienced a sea change. In 1981, after Raiders of the Lost Ark won Best Picture, there was a shift away from films with a demanding European aesthetic, towards merchandisable matinee popcorn. In 1967, Mark Harris argues, there was another pivotal moment, as studio-generated epics gave way to smaller films that reflected the countercultural thirst for change.
Sunday 16 October 2005
Sunday 25 September 2005
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 1 Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 5 Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness