sun 17/12/2017

World War Two

Call of Duty: WWII review - war is an unpleasant business

Like an incoming artillery shell, nothing screams “Christmas is coming!” like another Call of Duty game crash landing on the shelves. The mega-budget war franchise makes more money than Santa at this time of year and just to add to the annual...

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The Slaves of Solitude, Hampstead Theatre review - crude, over-dramatic and under-motivated

The Second World War is central to our national imagination, yet it has been oddly absent from our stages recently. Not any more. Nicholas Wright’s new play, an adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s 1947 novel about lonely English women and American...

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DVD/Blu-ray review: Land of Mine

Danish director Martin Zandvliet brilliantly explores a little-known episode in 1945 when more than 2,000 German POWs were forced to clear almost two million land mines that had been buried on the beaches of the west coast of Denmark in anticipation...

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'The kaleidoscope of an entire lifetime of memories'

When director Bruce Guthrie first gave me the script for Man to Man by Manfred Karge, I was immediately mesmerised by the language, each of the 27 scenes leapt off the page. Some are a few short sentences, other pages long; every one a...

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Dunkirk review - old-fashioned filmmaking on the grandest scale

What is the Dunkirk spirit? It has been so thoroughly internalised by the national psyche that, 77 years on, it’s as much a brand, a meme or a slogan as the product of a historical fact: that at the start of World War Two 330,000 soldiers of the...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Sorrow and the Pity

All the accolades heaped onto this documentary in the near 50 years since it was made are wholly deserved. Over 251 minutes, Marcel Ophuls weaves together an extraordinary collection of interviews and archive to tell the story of France during the...

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Churchill review - Winston has smallness thrust upon him

He may often be voted Greatest Briton in the History of Everything, but are we approaching peak Winston? Scroll down Churchill’s IMDb entry and you’ll find that he’s been played by every Tom, Dick and Harry in all manner of cockamamie entertainments...

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CD: Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?

Roger Waters described The Final Cut, the last Pink Floyd album he appeared on, as “a requiem for the post-war dream”. Funnily enough, he could say much the same for Is This the Life We Really Want?, his fourth solo album. (The answer the title...

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All Our Children review - shameful historical period horrifies anew

How do you tell a story as complex as the eugenics movement, which is pursued afresh in writer-director Stephen Unwin's new play All Our Children? Its idealistic origins lie in Britain with Francis Galton in 1883, before leading to forced...

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DVD/Blu-ray: German Concentration Camps Factual Survey

This is an impeccably restored presentation of the 1945 feature-length documentary that was intended to be shown in German cinemas in order to counter any remaining support for Nazism. Backed by the British Ministry of Information, it was overseen...

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Their Finest review - undone by feeble female characterisation

Yet another excuse to snuggle down with some cosy wartime nostalgia, Their Finest is purportedly a tribute to women’s undervalued role in the British film industry. Unfortunately it comes over more blah than Blitz. Gemma Arterton plays Catrin Cole,...

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DVD: Slaughterhouse-Five

“I never saw anything like it,” declares Billy Pilgrim in wonderment. “It’s the Land of Oz.” He has just seen Dresden’s splendour from the train carriage into which he and other American prisoners of war are crammed en route to the city. They’ve...

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