There was an added surprise bonus for anyone who shelled out for the ultimate party of the season, the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party. Amid the champagne-swilling, the games of ping pong with championship players set up by the gallery, and the right to roam among a guest list that included Stella McCartney, Erin O'Connor, Peter Blake, Grace Jones, Rhys Ifans, Vivienne Westwood, Tracey Emin and the Chapman brothers, Dizzee Rascal turned up to perform a "surprise secret gig" under Jean Nouvel's newly erected, bright red pavilion. Dizzee's performance, which marked the gallery's 40th anniversary, was arranged by the manager and promoter Raye Cosbert. A lot of the exquisitely dressed European heiresses and billionaires were also seen having their heartbeats recorded in the French artist Christian Boltanski's interactive installation The Heart Archive.
I don't know when a mainstream film sparked off so much argument as The Killer Inside Me, the noir thriller by Michael Winterbottom. I've had so many heated conversations about it, my head is spinning. The film, as you must surely have read, features two scenes in which women (played by Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson) are viciously attacked out of the blue by the baby-faced, castrato-voiced, faux -charming cop, played by Casey Affleck, with whom they've become sexually involved. The violence is extremely graphic, relentless, shocking and hard to watch; but should we criticise Winterbottom for the extreme quality of his depiction? If he were depicting an earthquake, wouldn't we applaud him for making it as graphic and bone-rattling as he, and the sophisticated resources of a film studio, can make it? Isn't there a post-feminist case, that the more realistically you portray violence against women, the more you'll show complacent people how disgusting it is?
This well crafted, excessively violent story lacks irony – but largely stays true to the 'dime-store Dostoevsky' whose characters it reveals
Another week, another cinematic misogyny row. Last week the silt was stirred up – in a rather intriguing way – by Sex and the City 2, a franchise extension which seemed to unleash an informal contest amongst largely male critics to come up with the most scathing dismissal. I think Philip French probably took gold with his, perhaps debatable, suggestion that "most reasonable people would probably prefer to be stoned to death in Riyadh than see this film a second time". But it wasn't just men who hated the movie. Women writers also weighed in, to lament the way that the characters they loved had been reduced to air-headed clothes-horses capable of nothing more creative than swiping a credit card. The charge of misogyny was aimed squarely at the film itself, with some ingenious bloggers introducing an extra triangulation, pointing out that the writers of series and film are gay, and that this might have fed into less than enlightened views about what women really care about.
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Frank Miller's adaptation of Will Eisner's 1940s comic strip series is a stylised pulp fiction pastiche, much like Miller's previous film, Sin City.
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