sat 24/08/2019

Cold War

Summer of Rockets, BBC Two review - pride and prejudice in 1950s Britain

Hallelujah! At last the BBC have commissioned a Stephen Poliakoff series that makes you want to come back for episode two (and hopefully all six), thanks to a powerful cast making the most of some perceptively-written roles.His most recent efforts,...

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Chernobyl, Sky Atlantic review - a glimpse of Armageddon

“I take it the safety test was a failure,” remarked Viktor Bryukhanov, director of Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power station. You could say that again. The catastrophic explosions at the Vladimir I Lenin plant on 26 April 1986, caused by a safety...

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Blu-ray: One, Two, Three

Billy Wilder’s co-writing collaboration with IAL Diamond encompassed comedy masterpieces such as Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, Irma La Douce, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and several others, and One, Two, Three (1961) is just as polished a...

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Q&A special: The making of Local Hero

Local Hero, released in 1983, has been adapted into a musical, with a book by playwright David Greig and more songs from the soundtrack's original composer Mark Knopfler. After its premiere at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh, it will arrive at the Old...

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The White Crow review - gripping depiction of the brilliance of Nureyev

Genius is as genius does, and Rudolf Nureyev made sure nobody was left in any doubt about the scale of either his talents or his ambitions. Based on Julie Kavanagh's biography Rudolf Nureyev: The Life, The White Crow pairs director and actor...

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The Rubenstein Kiss, Southwark Playhouse review - slick spy drama doesn't quite come together

It's an ideal time to revive James Phillips's debut The Rubenstein Kiss. Since it won the John Whiting Award for new writing in 2005 its story, of ideological differences tearing a family apart, has only become more relevant. Joe Harmston directs a...

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Cold War review - a gorgeous and mesmerising romance

Can we ever really know the passion that brought our parents together? By the time we are old enough to hear the story of how they first met, that lovers’ narrative has frayed in the telling and faded in the daily light of domestic familiarity. But...

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Jazz Ambassadors, BBC Four review - the cool war

As the ice hardened in the Cold War of the mid-1950s, and the USSR mocked the USA for both its supposed barbarism and racial segregation, the representative from Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell Jr, had a bright idea. Instead of competing in the cultural...

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Chess, London Coliseum review - powerfully sung but still problematic

Its origins as a concept album cling stubbornly to Chess, the Tim Rice collaboration with the male members of ABBA first seen on the West End in 1986 and extensively retooled since then in an ongoing quest to hit the elusive jackpot. Following hot...

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The Shape of Water review - love in a Cold War climate

Guillermo del Toro has laid down markers as a wizard of the fantastical with such previous works as Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak (though we’ll skate nimbly around Pacific Rim), and now he has brought it all back home with The Shape of Water, as...

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DVD/Blu-ray: When the Wind Blows

Adapted by Raymond Briggs from his best-selling graphic novel, When the Wind Blows was released in 1986 and stands up so well that you’re inclined to forgive its flaws: namely David Bowie’s leaden theme song and an abundance of fairly flat black...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Miracle Mile - cult apocalyptic romance

To quote the genius sax player Dexter Gordon, "In nuclear war, all men are cremated equal" – or in this case, all adorable couples will burn as one. Anthony Edwards plays Harry, a not-so-genius trombone player who one sunny afternoon in Los...

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