Category Archives: Showbiz

This year’s blockbusters? Just more of the same warmed up

imageBlockbuster season is here, and most of the films are relying on familiar formulas, says Tim Robey.

Oscars safely stashed on mantelpieces, it’s that time of year when Hollywood’s thoughts turn from bubbly and backslapping to what really matters: guaranteed bums on seats for the next six months. With this week’s John Carter, blockbuster season 2012 could be said to have sputtered, earlier than ever, into rude life.

What delights does it hold in store? Themes would appear to include superheroes, massive quantities of computer effects, threequels, fourquels, vampires, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, and, oh, superheroes.

New Order return to play in Ibiza

imageNew Order will join Kasabian, Tinie Tempah and Ed Sheeran at the Ibiza Rocks festival later this year – 20 years after the Manchester band played there.

Manchester legends New Order are heading to Ibiza to play their first gig on the island more than 20 years after they adopted its Balearic sound for one of their most successful records.

They will join acts including Kasabian, Tinie Tempah and Ed Sheeran at the Ibiza Rocks festival later this year.

War Horse – Movie Review

imageThe movie in limelight today is, War Horse, star casting Jeremy Irvine playing Albert along with his horse Joey in Steven Spielberg’s movie. The director, Steven Spielberg, has been doing his work in Britain for about as many as thirty years. This person has worked long enough to deserve an honorary knighthood. He has described his movie, War Horse, as a movie which is based on the children’s novel, which is written by Michael Morpurgo. This novel talks about the war’s madness in detail and this is Steven’s first ever truly British movie.

Michael Jackson – The King of Pop

imageThey say that it’s the people who bring the revolution and it proves to be true if we see the life of Michael Jackson who brought a revolution in the world of music by bring something that the world never experienced before.
The Beginnings

Michael Jackson started his career in 1971 and by the start of 80’s he was a heart-throb for millions of million around the globe. His look, style, voice, stage presence and sensational lifestyle became the most popular and hottest topic for many to discuss, relate to and love him even more. In 1983, Michael Jackson came up with his album “The Thriller” which is rated as the bestselling music album for all time. It is not just one generation who loves the creation of a whole new world of music by Michael Jackson, but Michael Jackson is a love for many generations today and many more to come tomorrow.
Success Story

Radiohead announce UK shows

imageRadiohead to play in London and Manchester with tickets on sale from Friday.

Radiohead have announced that they will play their first UK shows in four years this October.

The band, currently touring the United States, will play two nights at the O2 Arena in south east London and one night at the Manchester Arena.

Tickets go on general sale on Friday and the band have announced a series of measures to stop them being sold on by touts, including limiting the number of tickets that can be bought and insisting that the payment card holder shows photo ID to get into the gig.

Limitless Movie Review, Starring Bradley Cooper & Robert De Niro

imageI know how Eddie Morra feels. Like him, I know almost everything, but have forgotten most of it. We are told time and again that we use only a small portion of our brains and have enough left over to run nations in our down time. “Limitless” is about Eddie’s adventures after his ex-brother-in-law gives him a pill that suddenly puts his entire brain online.

He finishes his novel at typing speed. He wins at poker, invests in the market, and runs it up to millions. He fascinates a woman who had rejected him as a loser. He knows intuitively how to handle situations that used to baffle him. He is hailed as the Wall Street guru of the age.

Lang Lang at Latitude: should music festivals embrace classical?

imageAs the superstar piantist Lang Lang is added to the Latitude Festival lineup, Ivan Hewett looks at the pitfalls of open-air classical music.

Can an outdoor festival like Latitude embrace classical music?

Previous experience makes one doubt it. It’s true there are odd corners of classical music which can cope with the great outdoors.

Berlioz’s immense Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale was meant to be heard by a vast outdoor crowd, like the propaganda music of the French Revolution which inspired it. Janacek imagined his Glagolitic Mass played under the stars.

But these exceptions prove the rule that classical music is a quintessentially indoors thing. You need peace and quiet, and preferably a chair, to be open to its subtleties. And a decent acoustic, so those subtleties actually reach your ears rather than vanishing on the breeze.

Fox cancel Steven Spielberg drama Terra Nova

imageUS TV network Fox has ditched Steven Spielberg drama Terra Nova after just one season.

US TV network Fox has ditched Steven Spielberg drama Terra Nova after just one season.

The big budget prehistoric series averaged 7.5 million viewers in America but did not do as well as hoped.

It is reported that 20th Century Fox TV will now try to sell it to other networks.

After the premiere was delayed twice, the series made it to air in September but had mixed reviews. The final episode of the first series was shown on 19 December.

The drama starred Jason O’Mara, Stephen Lang, Christine Adams and Shelley Conn.

Black Gold, review

Black Gold is a punishingly tedious Arabian epic from the director of Seven Years in Tibet.

Dir: Jean-Jacques Annaud; starring Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim, Riz Ahmed, Freido Pinto

Like a cool oasis, the end credits shimmer tantalisingly on the horizon throughout this punishingly tedious Arabian epic from Jean-Jacques Annaud, director of Seven Years in Tibet.

Oscars 2012: The Artist’s win is a glorious fluke

Oscars 2012: Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist rightly won Best Picture at the Oscars, on a night the Academy celebrated world cinema, says Robbie Collin.

This year’s Academy Awards are a salutary lesson to anyone who has ever complained that Hollywood does not do enough to celebrate world cinema. Providing that piece of world cinema is an hour-and-a-half-long celebration of Hollywood, it might even win Best Picture.

It’s a mark of just how gloriously daft the Oscars has become when the ceremony can make a victory for a French film – and a silent, black and white one, come to that – feel like a predictable self-administered slap on the back for the American film industry.

Pink Floyd as you never imagined them


Here is a treat for Telegraph listeners, a chance to hear a Pink Floyd classic in the making with a live stream of classic tracks and exclusive demos from The Wall, says Neil McCormick.

Pink Floyd are releasing a massive seven-disc box set of their 1979 classic The Wall. Alongside the remastered original and live albums, it features two fascinating discs of demos, illustrating the music’s transformation from Roger Water’s weird and grizzly lo-fi demos via rough and ready band demos to the highly polished and stylized finished pieces.

Listening to the various strands of ideas coming together lends remarkable insight into the creative process of a band who were fracturing in the studio, with alternative track listings and more organic performances conveying an intriguing sense of different albums that may have emerged from this source material.

Martin Simpson, June Tabor

imageMartin Simpson, June Tabor and Dick Gaughan, Kings Place, London, review
Three titans of modern folk – Martin Simpson, June Tabor and Dick Gaughan – on one stage makes for a memorable concert.

There was bound to be some banter. June Tabor had swept the boards at the BBC folk awards and come down to London the following evening (Thursday 9th February) to be part of Martin Simpson’s Purpose + Grace events at Kings Place.

Whitney Houston back in top 40 charts

image200,000 Whitney Houston records bought in a week as I Will Always Love You reaches number 14 in the singles chart.

Three of Whitney Houston’s best-known hits are back in the UK’s top 40 following the star’s death.

I Will Always Love You hit number 14 in the official singles chart yesterday, while I Wanna Dance With Somebody went in at number 20 and One Moment In Time was in the number 40 spot.

The singer, who was yesterday buried in Newark, New Jersey, was found submerged in the bath in her hotel room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles last Saturday.

Oscars 2012: and the winner is?

imageThe triumph of ‘The Artist’ is almost certain at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. Our film critics look at who else is in the running.

It’s hard to know what the oddest thing about the Academy Awards is this year: the fact that a silent, black-and-white French film is the likeliest big winner, or the fact that that win now seems boringly predictable. But that’s the magic of the Oscars: in just one night, it can transform a cinema fan’s passion for an under‑appreciated gem into shoulder‑shrugging, told-you-so indifference.

Sir Paul McCartney ‘gives up cannabis for daughter Beatrice’

imageThe former Beatle said it was finally time to give up smoking the drug due to a “sense of responsibility” in caring for his daughter.

“I smoked my share. When you’re bringing up a youngster, your sense of responsibility does kick in, if you’re lucky, at some point,” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. “Enough’s enough – you just don’t seem to think it’s necessary.”

The 69-year-old rocker also revealed that the Fab Four had considered a reunion but had decided against it so they didn’t “spoil the idea of the Beatles”.

In the magazine interview Sir Paul admitted to smoking cannabis “a lot” and has previously declared a passion for “wacky baccy”. Heather Mills, the mother of Beatrice, claimed Sir Paul smoked marijuana as often as most people drink cups of tea during the couple’s divorce proceedings.

Bruce Springsteen: I enjoy artists who take on the world

imageBruce Springsteen’s 17th studio album is his most overtly political yet. At its launch in Paris, the blue-collar icon reveals why .

“You can never go wrong in rock’n’roll when you’re p—ed off,” according to Bruce Springsteen. In Paris yesterday to unveil his new album, Wrecking Ball, to the world’s media, Springsteen admitted it had been written in a spirit of political anger. “My work has always been about judging the distance between American reality and the American Dream.”

Emma Watson to star in Beauty and the Beast

imageHarry Potter star Emma Watson is in final negotiations to star in a period film adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

Guillermo del Toro, the director behind the darkly fantastical modern fairytale Pan’s Labyrinth, will direct Watson in a film version of the classic fairytale.

Last summer del Toro was reported to have said that Watson was “perfect” for the part of Belle. She is now steps away from confirming the role, Variety has reported.

Lady Gaga Takes Over Barneys New York

imageIf you’re in New York or planning to go to a visit soon, make sure you drop by Barneys to visit the Gaga Workshop everyone’s rambling about. The pop icon launched the opening of the Gaga workshop just yesterday in a custom Chanel ivory poufy dress, designed by Karl Lagerfeld specially for the occasion.

Barneys 5th floor (which is around 5,500 square feet) is entirely dedicated to Gaga fans until January 2nd, 2012, beautifully decorated with chocolate Alexander McQueen armadillo shoes, Gaga-ish diamond studded stick on nails, and Gaga candles that are made to look like her head and cry when lit.

Coldplay write in doll’s house

imageChris Martin has been writing songs in his daughter’s playhouse.

The Coldplay frontman found inspiration to pen the lyrics for their new album Mylo Xyloto in an unusual place. Chris has explained the British rockers spent time putting the track Charlie Brown together in seven-year-old Apple’s den.

‘This is the only song we ever wrote in a doll’s house. I turned it into a studio because my daughter didn’t like it,’ Chris is quoted as saying by British newspaper The Sun.

Contagion: movie review

imageA lethal bug spirals out of control in a chillingly authentic disaster movie from Steven Soderbergh.

What’s the story?
An encounter in Hong Kong transmits a virus that rapidly spreads. At the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff race to contain the disease before it destroys everyone.

Melancholia: movie review

imageIt’s the end of the world as we know it for Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland. But do they feel fine?

What’s the story?
On her wedding day, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) succumbs to a depression that ruins the best-laid plans of sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland). Might her mood be connected to the giant blue planet plunging towards Earth?

Robert Pattinson has textured Twilight cut

imageRobert Pattinson’s hair needs a ‘good texturised cut’ to achieve his signature Edward Cullen look.

The British actor is famed for his role as the mysterious vampire in the hugely successful Twilight franchise. Robert’s character Edward has a distinctive dishevelled look in the film, and the star’s hair stylist Beatrice De Alba has revealed the secrets to creating it.

‘For Edward’s look a good texturised haircut is very important,’ she explained in an interview with Beauty High.

‘When I styled Robert’s hair I started with my Pro Beauty Tools dryer and vent brush with a little volumising mousse to give his hair the direction and volume it needed for this look. Then I went in with my Ceramic Detailing Iron for the finishing touches. It is small enough to get close to the root for the lift and direction that gives that Edward signature look. I finished it off with some styling cream for definition.’

Jimi Hendrix ‘best guitarist ever’

imageJimi Hendrix named ‘greatest guitar player in history’
Legendary musician Jimi Hendrix has been named the greatest guitar player in history by Rolling Stone magazine in a list compiled by a panel of music experts and top guitar players.

“Jimi Hendrix exploded our idea of what rock music could be: He manipulated the guitar, the whammy bar, the studio and the stage,” said Grammy-winning guitarist Tom Morello in the magazine, citing Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as key tracks.

Hendrix is joined by the likes of Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend among the top 10, in a list laden with rock ‘n’ roll icons spanning decades.

Why Hollywood needs more women in charge

imageDenise Ream, producer of Pixar’s Cars 2, talks about the increasing number of female big hitters in the film industry.

How important is it that more women are in positions like yours? And do you feel a responsibility to promote role models for girls?

I do feel a responsibility. I was very pleased with Holly Shiftwell, the Emily Mortimer character in Cars 2, who originally had a much smaller role in the film. Due to Emily’s performance and the intelligence that she brought to the role, Holly ended up becoming a major character in the film.

Christina Applegate creates charity line

imageChristina Applegate has curated an exclusive sale for luxury brand website

The collection is to support Breast Cancer Awareness month and Christina’s own charity, Right Action for Women.

As a breast cancer survivor the actress is keen to help raise awareness for the illness.

‘For the sale, I selected items that I thought really celebrated women and their femininity and their power,’ Christina told Gilt.

Bieber and Usher record festive duet


Bieber and Usher record festive duet

Justin Bieber has recorded a song with Usher for his Christmas album.

The 17-year-old pop star revealed he has teamed up with his mentor for a festive track. Justin has been working hard on the new album, and took to his Twitter account to tell fans about his latest collaboration.

The Lion King, DVD review

imageOne of Disney’s most accomplished animations of recent times, The Lion King makes a swift leap to DVD.

Following last month’s theatrical re-release (in 3D), one of Disney’s most accomplished animations of recent times makes a swift leap to DVD (and 3D Blu-ray) – the first time it has been available in any form since 2004.

The story of lion cub Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick), heir to the kingdom who must overcome the treachery of his evil uncle Scar (voiced with malevolent relish by Jeremy Irons), blends echoes of Hamlet with knockabout larks from a supporting menagerie of creatures, particularly the meerkat/warthog double act of Timon and Pumbaa.

The spreading savannah and endless African skies are beautifully drawn, and, with Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata and the Oscar-winning Can You Feel the Love Tonight (by Tim Rice and Elton John), the soundtrack is one of Disney’s most memorable.

Little Feat are still kicking up a storm

imageThe band that Lowell George founded are thriving after 40 years – and have a new album, 40 Feat, which celebrates some hidden treasures from of one of America’s most original rock acts.

Little Feat made some of the finest, original rock music of the 1970s and they have endured and thrived despite losing their founder member and talisman Lowell George at the horribly young age of 34.

The musicians who have played with Little Feat, or recorded their music, would resemble a who’s who of music.

Their fans are passionate and among the Little Feat believers is author and TV maestro David Simon, of Homicide, The Wire and Treme fame.

Has Hollywood cracked China?

imageThe Chinese film industry is ‘opening up’, but how genuine it is about co-operation with US studios remains to be seen Here’s a business-lounge scary story. In 1994, Warner Bros was feeling very pleased with itself. It had just finalised a joint venture with the Chinese government to bring the splendours of multiplex cinema to the country. And the terms were good: a 70/30 profit split in favour of the Americans. Building began, but several months later, strange tidings arrived at Warner HQ. The arrangement had been reviewed: still favouring Warner, but now to the tune of 51/49. There was confusion and disbelief in California, but work continued. The eighth cinema was ready when the inevitable happened: the Chinese authorities decided that foreign companies could not own cinemas. The split was arbitrarily reversed 49/51, leaving Beijing with its hands on the curtain cords of several million dollars’ worth of chipper new multiplexes.

40 years of Queen: Brian May interview

imageAs a lavish new history of one of the world’s greatest rock bands is published, Queen’s guitarist Brian May grants a rare interview to tell Peter Stanford about his fight with depression, and the long shadow cast by Freddie Mercury’s death

‘It’s like looking through a family album,” Brian May muses softly as he turns the pages of 40 Years of Queen, the sumptuously illustrated new history of the legendary rock band. “But where’s Freddie on this one?” he puzzles, coming to double page photograph, taken from the back of the stage in a stadium in Ireland in the summer of 1986.

Joe Cornish on E.T.

imageThe director of Attack the Block and co-writer of the forthcoming Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn explains his devotion to Steven Spielberg’s science-fiction classic.

I saw ET for the first time in New York when I was 12. I had never been to America before, and I basically got off the plane, got on the subway and went straight to the cinema to watch it. I knew who Spielberg was because I’d seen Jaws: it had been given an A certificate [the equivalent of today’s PG], so lots of kids had.

The build-up to when you first see the alien in ET is done so beautifully – it’s just suggested by a light in the tall grass; you see its hand; you hear a noise or a shudder. Spielberg’s brilliant at the slow build, and it was both scary and entrancing. When I was a teenager, it seemed like the best thing that could ever happen – a little, friendly alien jumping out of your garden shed.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: MSN Review

imageJames Bond has a licence to kill. Jason Bourne has his amnesia. And Austin Powers… well, he has really dodgy teeth. Yet when it comes to George Smiley, the nondescript, withdrawn and unprepossessing hero of John le Carré’s spy fiction, there’s really just the one thing that defines him – the thick-rimmed, chunky set of spectacles that make him look more of a mole than any of the KGB infiltrators it is his job and sworn duty to uncover.

For many, those glasses will always perch on the nose of Alec Guinness, so indelible was his portrayal of Smiley in the BBC’s 1979 adaptation of le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Thanks to Tomas Alfredson’s gripping new film version of the author’s 1974 novel, though, there’s a new Smiley in town – and his name is Gary Oldman.

From PJ Harvey to Keith Richards: who deserves an award?


Are there just too many award ceremonies?

There were two in London last night, with some guests apparently bustling between both red carpets.

In the Grosvenor Hotel Ballroom, PJ Harvey was the deserving winner of the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize, an edgy yet esteemed artist being justifiably celebrated for creating a substantial career best work of poetry and power. Meanwhile over at the Royal Opera House, Model Lara Stone was being hailed as Woman Of The Year by GQ magazine for (as far as I can see) getting her kit off in fashion shoots for glossy magazines.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a pitch-perfect vision of 70s England


The endless smoking and whisky-drinking, the grim, floppy burgers at Wimpy, the bleached-out colours, the grey, wide-lapelled, three-piece suits, the beige filing cabinets, the all-round heroic squalor…

They are all caught perfectly in the new film version of John Le Carré’s 1974 novel, which is released on Friday. Even the theme music is spot on – the composer appears to have been inspired by the sympathetically mournful horn section from The Sweeney.

The acting, too, is nicely understated, with no one trying to hog the limelight. And, familiar as Le Carré’s plot is, it whirs along, slowly but grippingly, beneath the layers of correct surface detail. It’s a pleasingly complex plot, but never wilfully obscure; nor has it been dumbed down to patronise the cinema audience.

Halle Berry braves Scottish weather on set of Cloud Atlas

imageHollywood star Halle Berry braved cool showery weather as she filmed scenes for a new movie in Scotland.

The actress is on location in Glasgow working on Cloud Atlas, which comes out next year.

The city is standing in for 1970s San Francisco and vintage American cars and US sign posts can be seen in some streets in the centre.

Dressed in indigo flares, a beige jacket and brown high heeled boots, Halle shot scenes with actor Keith David today.

Between takes she wore a long puffy black coat to keep warm.

Cloud Atlas is based on British author David Mitchell’s best-selling 2004 novel, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The unconventionally-structured tale of interlinking narratives charts the story of one soul across the centuries.

Brian Wilson, Royal Festival Hall, review

imageBrian Wilson brings on the sunshine in his gig at the Royal Festival hall on the weekend.

Brian Wilson is the definition of a musician who should be heard and not seen. In his glory days, he created some of the most gorgeous, inventive and harmonically complex pop music ever heard, its colour and vibrancy in perfect sync with the golden sun-brushed youth of the Beach Boys. Whatever has assailed him, in terms of mental and physical health problems, his musical gifts remain intact enough for him to front a 15-piece band capable of recreating Wilson’s music in its full splendour.

Adele – De Montfort hall, Leicester: review

Having been forced into last minute postponements due to a bout of bronchitis, Adele finally opened her homecoming UK tour in Leicester’s De Montfort Hall.

Lovely as the elegant 3000 capacity venue is, it seems an odd spot to see the girl who has become the biggest singing star in the world, with ten million album sales this year. A brochure advertises forthcoming attractions including Engelbert Humperdink, “the world’s top Robbie Williams tribute” and an organ recital from “the ever popular Nigel Ogden”. With tout tickets selling out front for several hundred pounds, Adele should really have graduated to arenas by now but this is clearly not just an environment in which she is comfortable but to which she is perfectly suited.

Newsreel: protest in motion

Alex Reuben’s new documentary Newsreel is a strikingly contemporary journey through the streets of a London.


Back in 2008, I wrote about a rather good documentary called Routes in which its English director Alex Reuben took a road trip from North Carolina to New Orleans to document the many and varied forms of music and dance that flourished in the Deep South.

It was a riveting journey, parts of it filmed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, that highlighted the role rhythm played in countless communities, but also the continued existence of rich folk cultures in which music was still a very real expression of both affirmation and defiance. “Someone,” I concluded my short review, “should undertake a similar journey through Britain.”

New music: Clock Opera – Lesson No 7 (Tom Vek Tripping Mix)

imageWhen we last wrote about “chop pop” exponent Clock Opera he was reshaping Tracey Thorn’s You Are a Lover. This time it’s his turn to be remixed thanks to Tom Vek, who has decided his first remix – a Guardian exclusive – should be Clock Opera’s latest single, Lesson No 7. While the original gallops along over pounding drums and a wobbly bassline, Vek strips all that out, lowers the tempo and replaces the guitars with synths.

Around the three-and-a-half-minute mark those synths expand to create a huge wall of noise that steadily engulfs the song before it calmly returns to its equilibrium.

• Lesson No 7 is due 3 October on Moshi Moshi/Island. You can download Tom Vek’s remix for free (in exchange for an email address) from here.

Bono says he’ll be a proud American on 9/11

U2 singer Bono will be in New York on tenth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.


Bono, appearing for the gala opening of the Toronto International Film Festival, declared that he’s “a very proud American on 9/11”.

A documentary on Irish rock band U2’s rise to stardom opened the Canadian event and comes two day’s before the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. Bono said: “It’s just too big a moment in all our lives. Even if you’re not American, everyone became an American that day.”

The Irish-born singer will be in New York on Sunday with his wife Ali Hewson for a fashion event promoting a men’s collection for their EDUN line. The couple launched the not-for-profit fashion company in 2005 to raise awareness for business opportunities in Africa.

Green Lantern takes US box office top spot

Sci-fi blockbuster Green Lantern snatched the top spot at the US box office thanks to its $52.6 million debut this weekend.


The Marvel comic book adaptation starring Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds beat director J.J. Abrams’ well-received sci-fi movie Super 8 to the number one slot. Super 8 slipped to second place with takings of $21.2 million.

However, despite its stellar start, Green Lantern hasn’t managed to beat X-Men: First Class in the money stakes – with the latest X-Men movie taking $4 million more when it was released a few weeks ago.

‘Your Highness’ makes Benny Hill look tasteful. What’s happened to Hollywood’s creative elite?

By now, anybody who wanted to see Your Highness in cinemas has probably done so already, and realised how nightmarish the damn thing is. It’s unfunny, dull, and has an astonishingly regressive attitude towards women.


Decent actresses like Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel are reduced to trophies to either be won or stared at – and that’s leaving aside the gratuitous boobage, which reaches a degree even Benny Hill would find tedious.

Now, plenty of people have said this already – but there’s a lot more not to love. It’s not just that it took the fantastically beautiful landscape of Northern Ireland, where I’m from, and reduced it to the background for such grim and tawdry shenanigans. No, there’s a deeper and more worrying problem with Your Highness: just what does it say about today’s men? Co-writer and star Danny McBride is 36, as is director David Gordon Green, and co-star James Franco is 32. What do they do? Make a film revelling in the eighties fantasy movies of their youths, replete with the kind of penis jokes and gay panic that a 12-year-old would find immature.

Can Kill List breathe life into Britain’s film industry?

After years of gloom, the buzz around Ben Wheatley’s occult chiller suggests British audiences are finally developing a taste for British film


Few things can be as wince-inducing as the patriotic hubbub around British film in award season. Viewed from this side of the Atlantic, the Oscars often become a long obsessive fret about Kate Winslet’s prospects for best supporting actress, while the Baftas do away with even the chance of national disappointment by reserving two prizes for we plucky Brits alone. It’s enough to give you pause when you’re about to reach for the plastic Union Jack bowler hat and sing the praises of British cinema. But perhaps there comes a time you have to.

Today sees the release of Kill List, the much-discussed second film from Brighton director Ben Wheatley. By yesterday lunchtime, its weekend shows had already begun to sell out, the fervent whispers that greeted its first festival screenings having snowballed since into that most precious and unreliable commodity: buzz.

Top 5 spanks in the movies

Keira Knightley isn’t the only star to have her derrière tanned in the name of cinema.


Secretary (Steven Shainberg, 2002)

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s ingénue-with-a-screw-loose takes up a job as a typist with James Spader’s hotshot lawyer, only to find herself entering into an extravagantly sado-masochistic relationship with him. Cue more spanking than you can shake a stick at (as it were), in a film that’s surprisingly charming given how full-on a lot of the scenes are.

Kill Bill: Vol 1 (Quentin Tarantino, 2003)

In a comically bathetic close to a spectacular fight Uma Thurman’s indestructible killer scythes off a cowering assailant’s sword inch by inch, before flipping him (and gender norms) over and giving his rump a jolly good seeing-to with the side of her sabre. As she amusingly tells him, landing a spank with each word, “This! Is! What! You! Get! For! F***ing!! Around! With! Yakuzas!”

Apollo 18, review

Tim Robey wishes they’d made a proper movie out of “found footage” horror Apollo 18.


Billed as Blair Witch goes to the moon, this may be a bridge too far for “found footage” horror flicks, and certain isn’t a patch on this very week’s Troll Hunter. The fixed and multiple cameras create one hell of a headache, not least for the editors: sensory frazzling soon produces tedium, as three American astronauts, played by no one you recognise, go into orbit and kind of mill around waiting for the money shots.

Keep your eyes peeled on any stray moon rocks, which have a habit of sprouting legs and scuttling about the place like spiders from Mars – David Bowie may or may not be calling the shots in a crater. (He’s not.) There are some good, nervy images of the moon’s surface bubbling up with these things, and the last reel gains some tension when one of the ’nauts gets infected with psycho-itis, while the other two try to scarper. It’s not awful – you just wish they’d made a proper movie out of it.

Mercury Prize 2011: PJ Harvey wins for the second time

PJ Harvey has become the first artist to win the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize for a second time.


The 41-year-old musician – who had long been the bookies’ favourite – triumphed with her release Let England Shake, which was inspired by conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Polly Jean Harvey beat acts such as chart-topper Adele and Brit-winning star Tinie Tempah to the £20,000 prize.

She previously won the Mercury Prize a decade ago – on the day of the September 11 attacks.

Harvey wore a full-length white dress with a white leather bodice shaped like a strait-jacket – the design of which had been inspired by her album – to attend the ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Spotify takes on Apple’s iTunes with iPod syncing


Spotify has launched its own music download store and introduced iPod syncing, upping the ante against Apple, its biggest rival.

The digital music service has also opened up its mobile apps to Spotify free users for the first time, in a bid to become the default music player on the move.

N-Dubz, O2 Arena


Considering the group are new to arenas, this was a smooth affair, though after a while it dragged a bit. Rating: * * *

As the annual Camden Crawl festival sucked rock acts from around the world into the vortex of north London’s live music scene

Russell Watson, Albert Hall


Watson reckons his post-treatment voice is richer and fuller, though he was treading warily around the high notes during this gig. Rating: 

Monkees swing back into town


The original boy band is attracting a new generation of believers, says Helen Brown .

In September 1965, the Hollywood Reporter ran a wanted ad for “Four Insane Boys: 17-21”. Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider – the Hollwood producing team who would later make Easy Rider – were seeking “rock and folk musicians” for “acting roles in TV series”.

How Noah and the Whale resurfaced as guitar heroes


The band’s musical progress is proving refreshingly unpredictable says Neil McCormick.

Reviews for Noah and the Whale’s acclaimed, top-10 album Last Night On Earth have been peppered with references to Eighties pop.

This Arthur remake is one too many


No one has been asking for a remake of Arthur. The 1981 screwball comedy that starred Dudley Moore as a drunken English heir falling for a working-class New Yorker is fondly remembered – and is worth delaying going to bed for when it shows up on late-night television – but it’s hardly a comedy classic that demands revision or reinterpretation. Still! Russell Brand needs a vehicle to break America!



Arthur preens and yammers away like a spivvier Jim Carrey – it’s not at all charming. Rating:

12A cert, 109 min; Dir: Jason Winer; starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner.



A tenaciously observed and a quietly absorbing ethnography about a pair of shepherds. Rating: * * *

Sweetgrass – “recorded” rather than directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash – is a tenaciously observed and a quietly absorbing ethnography about a pair of shepherds leading some 3,000 sheep on a 150-mile journey up into Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains for summer pasture.



With ‘Thor’, director Kenneth Branagh forsakes Shakespeare to transform the hero of Norse legend into a space-travelling Viking . Rating:

Budgets soar, effects run rampant, but novelty is drying up in superhero flicks – the costumes must be starting to lose their elastic. When the next Spider-Man promises to return us to Peter Parker’s school days, thereby effectively remaking Sam Raimi’s “old” one from way back in the Jurassic mists of 2002, it’s hard not to feel a premature sense of déjà vu.



The masterminds behind Paranormal Activity and Saw have created this jumpy and ludicrous thriller. Rating:

The masterminds behind the first Saw and Paranormal Activity join forces on Insidious for a bump-in-the-night shocker, which plays out in such a high, trilling key of baroque anxiety it’s both jumpy and ludicrous.

The Veteran


Tobey Kebbell’s performance proves beyond doubt that he can carry a film. Rating: * *

Cedar Rapids


Miguel Arteta’s indie comedy starts sweetly enough but becomes paradoxically stuck-up. Rating:

It’s not much of a stretch for Ed Helms to go from his mild-mannered dentist in The Hangover to the resolutely dorky insurance salesman here,

Fast & Furious 5


Director Justin Lin has given the street-racing franchise legs.

Prepare to witness two bollards being clonked together, as Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson square off in a movie at last. It’s a cosmic event, like some freak planetary collision.

Kate Middleton Biography

Britain's Prince William smiles as he walks with his girlfriend Kate Middleton at RAF Cranwell, central England

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, 9 January 1982), popularly known as “Kate”, is the wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. William is second in line to the thrones of the sixteen Commonwealth realms.

Prince William Biography

Prince William 2

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge KG FRS (William Arthur Philip Louis; born 21 June 1982) is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and third eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Harry Biography


Prince Henry of Wales (Henry Charles Albert David; born 15 September 1984), commonly known as Prince Harry, is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales,

Nicole Richie Biography


Nicole Camille Richie (born Nicole Camille Escovedo; September 21, 1981) is an American fashion designer, author and television personality. Her father was Peter Michael Escovedo, a musician who played for a brief time with Lionel Richie,

Selena Gomez Biography


Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American actress, singer, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, best known for portraying Alex Russo in the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel television series Wizards of Waverly Place. She subsequently ventured into feature films and has starred in the television movies Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, and Princess Protection Program.

Jessica Alba Biography


Jessica Marie Alba (born April 28, 1981) is an American television and film actress. She began her television and movie appearances at age 13 in Camp Nowhere and The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994).

LeAnn Rimes Biography


LeAnn Rimes (born August 28, 1982) is an American country singer-songwriter, actress, and author. She is best known for her rich vocals similar to country music singer Patsy Cline,[1] and her rise to fame at the age of 13, becoming the youngest country music star since Tanya Tucker in 1972.

Taylor Swift Biography


Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American country pop[1] singer-songwriter, musician and actress.
In 2006, she released her debut single

Fergie Biography


Stacy Ann Ferguson (born March 27, 1975), better known by her stage name Fergie, is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, fashion designer and actress. She was a member of the children’s television series Kids Incorporated, and the girl group Wild Orchid.

Jennifer Lopez Biography


Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969[1]), also known by her nickname J.Lo, is an American actress, singer, record producer, dancer, television personality, fashion designer and television producer. Lopez began her career as a dancer on the television comedy program

Gisele Bundchen Biography


Gisele Caroline Bündchen[1] (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒiˈzɛli ˈbĩtʃẽ]; born 20 July 1980[2]) is a Brazilian model, occasional film actress and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme.

Mariah Carey Biography


Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970[2] or 1969;[3] sources vary) is an American R&B/pop singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. She made her recording debut in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, and became the first recording artist to have her first five singles top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Ronnie Barker’s biography


Ronald William George Barker, OBE (25 September 1929 – 3 October 2005) was a British actor, comedian, writer, broadcaster and businessman. He was known for his roles in various British comedy television series, such as The Frost Report, Porridge, The Two Ronnies and Open All Hours.

Aerosmith Steven Tyler biography


Steven Tyler (born Steven Victor Tallarico; March 26, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, and the frontman and lead singer of the Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, in which he also plays the harmonica, and occasional piano and percussion.

John Cleese


John Marwood Cleese (born 27 October 1939) is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and as a scriptwriter on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s he became a member of Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely Different, Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

Readers recommend: songs about weddings


For no particular reason, we’ve chosen weddings as our topic this week. So what are the best tunes about tying the knot?
As you put out the bunting and toast Britain’s future head of state and his missus/spend the day studiously avoiding the vulgar, anachronistic celebration of privilege (delete as applicable), what music springs to mind?

Big Boi Recording New Music With Modest Mouse


Big Boi released his first solo album last summer and now the OutKast rapper is focusing his energies on musical collaborations with unlikely artists, such as indie rock band Modest Mouse.

In a series of tweets this week, Big Boi announced that he has been recording new music with the Oregon-based group. “Me and @mouche1 in the studio workin with Modest Mouse on their new album Turnt up!” he wrote. “Shout out to Issac and the crew!” The initial news was followed by two shorter tweets, “Real Rock Star S—!” and “Modest Mousin’ it” before Big Boi revealed that he had already put in a few days work on the group’s upcoming album.

Chiddy Bang Breaks Guinness World Record for Longest Rap at O Music Awards


At the first-ever O Music Awards on Thursday night, Chiddy Bang performed but didn’t take home one of the newfangled cube awards, aimed at honoring online music accomplishments. However, Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege himself (pictured) was actually the night’s biggest winner, having won a much more impressive prize.

50 Cent launches comedy website and show


This is 50 will stream show of the same name US rapper 50 Cent will launch a new website to coincide with the debut of his new entertainment vehicle, This Is 50 Comedy Show, due to be filmed in New York and streamed live online.

According to the beta version of the website, which is already live, the new venture will “expose the world-wide web subscribers to the cutting-edge humour of the nations funniest comedians”.

Gerard Smith dies at the age of 34


TV on the Radio musician Gerard Smith dies after battle with lung cancer.

Gerard Smith, who has died of lung cancer at the age of 36, is performing here at T In The Park Festival in Scotland in 2009

Gerard Smith, the bass player with alternative rock band TV on the Radio, has died at the age of 34 after a battle with lung cancer.

Bernardo Bertolucci: ‘I thought my film-making was over’

‘For the last two or three years, I’d been thinking I wouldn’t be able to do any more movies,’ says Bernardo Bertolucci Photo: AGF s.r.l. / Rex Features
By David Gritten 5:00PM BST 14 Apr 2011

He is 71 now, and has received more than his share of critical and public praise since he shot his first film, The Grim Reaper, half a century ago. But the rush to honour the great Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci is currently more urgent than ever before.

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