fri 17/08/2018

Cold War

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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LFF 2017: The Shape of Water review – outsider s.f. and inter-species sex from del Toro

Fish out of water come in various guises in Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fable, shown at London Film Festival. The Shape of Water riffs on The Creature from the Black Lagoon with its amphibious man-god, captured in 1962 to be cattle-prodded and...

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The Reagan Show review - engaging but frustrating

The Reagan administration produced as much video content as the previous five administrations combined. That’s the claim early on in The Reagan Show, an engaging but ultimately frustrating documentary compiled entirely from archive footage by co-...

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John le Carré: A Legacy of Spies review - the master in twilight mood

Over his long career – 23 novels, memoirs, his painfully believable narratives adapted into extraordinary films (10 for the big screen) and for television – John le Carré has created a world that has gripped readers and viewers alike. He has...

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DVD: Culloden / The War Game

The most radical of the directors who forged a “cinema of resistance” at the BBC in the 1960s, Peter Watkins completed two groundbreaking docudramas there – Culloden (1964) and The War Game (1965) – before the suppression of the second prompted his...

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Miss Atomic Bomb, St James Theatre

As settings for musical comedy go, this one promised some boom for your buck. Las Vegas in the early 1950s was just emerging as a magnet not only for hedonists and gamblers, mobsters and showgirls, but also for the personnel of America’s Atomic...

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Churchill's Secret, ITV

When it comes to losing power, and powers failing, Michael Gambon has once again proved himself the ruler of choice. The actor who gave us his Lear when he was only just hitting his forties has had three decades of gurning and grouching to ready...

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The Propaganda Game

The set-up behind Spanish film-maker Álvaro Longoria’s intelligent documentary on North Korea is almost as bizarre and unlikely as the regime he’s attempting to probe.Having felt compelled for several years to make a film about the country, he’s...

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