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Christopher Fowler
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Film
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ABC, Odeon, Regal, Gaumont, Roxy, Biograph - the names feel resolutely British, attached to a time when we had a separate national cinema keeping smoky houses filled every night of the week. But the films inside them slowly shifted from London to Hollywood and we no longer saw our own island lives represented on film. That task went to television, first with milk-bottle-on-the-table realism and…
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Christopher Fowler
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Film
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As part of my life laundry, I'm attempting to be more selective in my viewing/ reading and therefore getting rid of anything that has dated badly. Or in the case of Spike Milligan's 'Q' shows (a very long-running anarchic comedy sketch series), very badly indeed, with its comedy blackface and sexism not really making up for its rampant peculiarity. In many cases I'm opening boxes filled with DVDs…
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Christopher Fowler
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'The absence of love is the most abject pain...' Last night I attended a centenary screening of a masterpiece of German expressionist cinema, Murnau's 'Nosferatu', with live orchestral accompaniment. There's nothing new in this; many scores have been written for the film, one of the best being by James Bernard, Hammer's greatest composer. It's easy to believe that the film is 100 years old; it…
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Christopher Fowler
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Books, Film & Media
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Slow Horses - Mick Herron A confession; I struggled with the first of Herron's Slough House books, thrown by its jocular tone, and decided to wait for the televised version instead. I'm glad I did, because the series seems different to what I read. Herron's natural joviality and quirkily dark sense of humour shone from the pages but - for me at least - left the plot a tad exposed as a reshuffle of…
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Christopher Fowler
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I have only my geekiness to blame. I should never have compared the three versions of Agatha Christie's 'Death on the Nile'. The novel was vintage Christie, combining the whodunnit with the author's love of Egyptian antiquities to good effect. It's also a key example of Christie misdirection, a classically constructed prestige concealed by shifting your loyalties to the wrong characters. John…
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Christopher Fowler
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Film
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The 2022 Academy Awards mark the close of an era - not because of slappable Will Smith's career imploding but for an entirely different reason. It's the first time a streaming service has won Best Picture, erasing the line between TV and film for good. The passable 'Coda' ticked the indie/disability boxes this year while failing to point out to the viewers at home that it was cut and pasted from…
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Christopher Fowler
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Film
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Journalists ran a popularity check on this year's British Academy nominations, and found that the films least popular with the public were most popular with film critics; it was ever thus. What's different this year is the depth of conservatism expressed by the award wins. A very Home Counties cowboy film to lead the pack. Something for Will Smith (who didn't turn up). Gongs for the cosily…
35 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Film
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It started out as a rather good European graphic novel, Sandcastle, written by Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters. It's uncomfortable and unnerving, and was taken by an American director to make as a film. Unfortunately that director was M Night Shyamalan, whose career, with the best will in the world, can be called 'patchy'. Too bad - it was an interesting idea. Holidaymakers end up on a…
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Christopher Fowler
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Film
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The lineup for the Oscars and Bafta is not especially interesting, with the choices falling between the toxic masculinity of Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Power of the Dog' and the polished sentiment of 'Belfast'. One problem seems to be a crisis of identity; the Oscars ceremony seems quaintly old-fashioned on TV when its natural home should be online, and can't decide whether to honour art or…
28 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Books & Film
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So, the tingle. It doesn't happen very often - less and less these days, if I'm honest, but occasionally I still get the tingle, a prickling of the senses that comes from reading, hearing or seeing something entirely unexpected. It happened when I read 'Less' by Andrew Sean Greer and again with Edward St Auban's earlier books. The curse of British writing is that it's too often locked into class.…
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