Without question, the book that has most influenced my life has been Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs. I was astonished by the outrageous pot-head humour: crazy ideas taken way beyond their normal limits. The book was a savage indictment of American racism and consumerism, it dealt with the corruption, graft and lies of politicians with Swiftian humour. I had never read anything like, then or since.
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Saturday 24 November 2012
Matthew McConaughey, after his louche turn in Killer Joe, once again excels as an ageing, preening stripper in Steven Soderbergh's lightweight drama.
Tuesday 20 November 2012
Tuesday 20 November 2012
End of Watch's gritty authenticity puts it on a par with The Wire
Wednesday 14 November 2012
Monday 12 November 2012
Captain Waters sinks the last $10,000 of his wife Marantha's income into a sheep farming concession on San Miguel, a tiny, uninhabited island off the Californian coast north of Los Angeles. On New Year's Day 1888, the steamer drops them on the beach along with Edith, Marantha's beautifully unruly adopted daughter. The escalating horror of both women at the punitive adversity of their new lives quickly sparks conflict with Waters's dogged idealism – bracing the first half of Boyle's absorbing narrative with a claustrophobic tension. Decades later, Herbie Lester takes up the tenancy with his not-so-young bride. They find their laughter and optimism not always easy to sustain under frontier conditions.
Sunday 11 November 2012
Crouching tiger, Booker-winner, festive hit film?
Thursday 01 November 2012
Charlie Bean, the deputy governor of the Bank of England and key interest rate setter, has poured cold water on the chances of an imminent expansion of the £375bn quantitative easing programme.
Saturday 20 October 2012
With such a voluminous library on the history of film, is there scope for anything new? Francine Stock, who presents The Film Programme on Radio 4, has made a brave attempt in this knowledgeable book that sets a century of movies in historical context and explores their influence in an unfusty, readable way. Tackling this ambitious task, she utilises a decade-by-decade approach including a detailed exploration of 30 "films that exert a particular power".
Friday 19 October 2012
Tim Burton's career, which seemed in tailspin with the Gothic resurrection comedy Dark Shadows earlier this year, has somehow righted itself with Frankenweenie, his most enjoyable film in ages. This too is a Gothic resurrection comedy, a monochrome stop-motion animation that revisits and extends a live-action short he made for Disney in 1984. On one level it pays affectionate homage to horror classics such as Bride of Frankenstein – Burton is an obsessive pasticheur – though more importantly it shows that he still has an instinct for a good yarn.
Friday 12 October 2012
Hollywood actor Tom Hanks will make his debut on Broadway playing a tabloid journalist in the play Lucky Guy.
Monday 01 October 2012
So why is the Governator back in the news?
Saturday 29 September 2012
Who knew that Roseanne Barr was brought up half as a Mormon, half as a Jew? Who knew, indeed, that since she is the Peace and Freedom Party's candidate for the White House, there are in fact one and a half Mormons running for president this year?
Friday 28 September 2012
Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes is planning to pen a prequel to hit ITV period drama Downton Abbey centred on a younger Lord Robert and Lady Cora Grantham.
Saturday 01 September 2012
Paul Torday’s satirical novel is more affecting and less upbeat, but Simon Beaufoy’s adaptation is single-handedly redeemed by an endearing Emily Blunt as Harriet, a well-heeled consultant who persuades Ewan McGregor’s uptight scientist in a sheikh’s loopy scheme to introduce salmon into the desert of Yemen.
Wednesday 22 August 2012
Remember the Furby, that squawking, animatronic toy of 1998? The one that looked like an Ewok, tweeted at its multi-coloured brethren (in the old-fashioned way) and caused thousands of children to keen at Christmas because their parents couldn't get one at Toys R Us?
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