mon 19/02/2018

history

Darkest Hour review - Winston airbrushed for the 21st century

The Great Man theory of history is applied by Darkest Hour director Joe Wright to his star Gary Oldman as much as their subject Winston Churchill. Oldman’s performance is the sole, sufficient reason to see a film in which little else finally lingers...

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Roma Agrawal: Built review - solid love

"I've been known to stroke concrete," writes self-professed geek Roma Agrawal – and from the very beginning of her memoir-cum-introduction to structural engineering, Built, where she describes her awe as a toddler at the glass and steel canyon of...

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Great American Railway Journeys, Series 3, BBC Two review - edutainment despite shortage of trains

Michael Portillo has barely been off a train since leaving politics, taking journeys blending scenery and history: it must be a relief receiving plaudits for edutainment instead of the abuse habitually heaped on politicians.Herewith the third...

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Britannia, Sky Atlantic review - Druids, sex and sorcery

What did the Romans do for us? On the evidence of new drama Britannia, they pillaged, murdered and tortured, but also found themselves mesmerised by the psychedelic Druid magic that hovered over our ancient land like fairy dust.Creator Jez...

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Hamilton, Victoria Palace review - rich, radical and ridiculously exciting

“Are you aware that we’re making history?” demands Alexander Hamilton in the show that has finally made the lesser-known Founding Father an international household name. And whether its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, knew it when he wrote that line or...

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Nicholas Blincoe: Bethlehem - Biography of a Town review - too few wise men but remarkable women

Suitably enough, Nicholas Blincoe begins his personal history of the birthplace of Jesus with a Christmas pudding. He carries not gold, frankincense and myrrh but this “dark cannonball” of spices, fruit and stodge as a festive gift to his girlfriend...

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The Farthest: Voyager's Interstellar Journey, BBC Four review - awe-inspiring and life-affirming space odyssey

Long before Barack Obama spoke about the audacity of hope, the Voyager mission left the Earth driven by something else: the audacity of curiosity. What do the outer planets look like? What are they comprised of? And what’s beyond that?Storyville:...

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DVD: The Death of Louis XIV

Albert Serra has earned himself the directorial moniker “the Catalan king of stasis”, and nothing in The Death of Louis XIV is going to dispel such a reputation – if anything, he has honed that characteristic approach further, concentrating this...

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Storyville: Toffs, Queers and Traitors, BBC Four review - the spy who was a scamp

“There is something odd, I suppose, about anyone who betrays their country.” It’s an excellent opening line, particularly when delivered in director George Carey’s nicely querulous narrative voice, for Toffs, Queers and Traitors (BBC Four). He...

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Oliver Sacks: The River of Consciousness review - a luminous final collection of essays

Oliver Sacks was the neurologist – and historian of science, and naturalist – whose exceptionally elegant, clear and accessible prose has captivated that almost mythical creature, the general audience, through more than a dozen books as well as many...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Frantz Fanon - Black Face White Mask

The much-respected visual artist Isaac Julien made his name as one of the first great black British filmmakers, not least with Looking for Langston (1989) and Young Soul Rebels (1991). While Steve McQueen moved from gallery art and installations to...

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Gunpowder, BBC One review – death, horror, treason and a hint of farce

Much is being made of the fact that Kit Harington is not only playing the Gunpowder Plot mastermind Robert Catesby, but is genuinely descended from him (and his middle name is Catesby). However, despite its factual underpinnings and screenwriter...

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