tue 28/06/2022

America

Elvis review - Austin Butler shines in patchy biopic

Strictly Ballroom aside, I’ve never been entirely persuaded by Baz Luhrmann. Once you rip open the plush packaging of his films, you often just find satin and tissue paper inside. Elvis isn’t his worst movie (they can’t take that accolade away from...

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Mad House, Ambassadors Theatre review - David Harbour is magnificent in Theresa Rebeck's family drama

For sheer extremes of family dysfunction Theresa Rebeck’s Mad House must be aiming to set new records in American drama. The latest in a line that stretches back to Eugene O’Neill, the plentiful other contenders that have appeared over the decades...

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Album: Damien Jurado - Reggae Film Star

American singer-songwriter Damien Jurado is both prolific and enigmatic. His latest album follows too many to count (OK, not really, I think this is his 20th). On his own label, it's as opaque as anything he’s done, and that’s saying something.There...

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George Fu, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - high intellect and visceral shocks

Semi-standing ovation at a lunchtime concert in a London church? Predictable, perhaps, from the first recital I heard George Xiaoyuan Fu give at the Two Moors Festival, an avian programme which made me long to hear him play Messiaen’s complete...

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Jitney, Old Vic review - a directorial delight

It’s great to see August Wilson’s early play – the first of his “Century Cycle”, that remarkable decalogy that explored a century of Black American experience through the prism of the playwright’s native Pittsburgh – back on the London stage. It’s...

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Swan Song review - the fabulous Udo Kier as a small-town hairdresser on his last legs

The piercing-eyed German actor Udo Kier is best known for his supporting roles in many high-profile films, including those of Lars von Trier, Gus Van Sant and Fassbinder. In Swan Song, he carries off his first starring role magnificently as wry ex-...

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Jurassic World Dominion review - extinction event

Franchise burnout continues apace, in this asteroid strike of a finale. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness showed the previously agile and humane Marvel machine weighed down by plot mechanics and fan service, and this Jurassic Park/World...

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We Own This City, Sky Atlantic review - 'The Wire' creator David Simon is back on the Baltimore beat

It has been 14 years since The Wire, David Simon’s labyrinthine epic about crime and policing in Baltimore, reached the end of the line. Yet it seems he couldn’t let it lie, because he’s back on the Baltimore beat with We Own This City (made by HBO...

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Album: Shearwater - The Great Awakening

The title The Great Awakening is a metaphor for America’s switch from its previous presidential administration to the current: the arrival of a new era and, with it, a fresh phase of life. Emblematic of this is the xenarthran, a type of armadillo,...

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Album: Wilco - Cruel Country

As the pandemic receded, Wilco huddled together in Jeff Tweedy’s Chicago studio and played country songs, an easefully naturally act as the world around them shook. Though famed for the experimental, eerily timely Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001) and the...

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Legally Blonde, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - a joyous Gen-Z musical makeover

The 2001 Reese Witherspoon-starring film Legally Blonde, upon which Heather Hach, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s peppy Broadway musical is based, was something of a Trojan horse: a bubblegum-pink comedy with a feminist spine.Now Lucy Moss, co-...

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Grease, Dominion Theatre review - a super night out, great songs well sung and spectacular dancing

Barry Gibb was at the considerable peak of his era-defining songwriting powers when he provided the song that played over the opening titles of the iconic 1978 film, so it's a wise decision by director, Nikolai Foster, to go straight into "Grease is...

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