Music

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Ricki and the Flash

August 29, 2015

It often seems Woody Allen can’t make up his mind whether he wants to make a feel-good film or a feel-bad one. No such indecision characterises Jonathan Demme who, in Ricki and the Flash, has created a movie to make middle-aged audiences believe all hope is not yet lost. It is a film that owes … More


Amy

July 4, 2015

There is a terrible sense of inevitability about Amy. We know where the story is going before it gets started but this doesn’t lessen the morbid fascination of Amy Winehouse’s descent into the abyss. Watching Asif Kapadia’s documentary is like watching a boxing match where the TKO should have been applied at round six or … More


David Lynch

April 11, 2015

For 35 years David Lynch has been an enthusiastic devotee of Transcendental Meditation. “This field within, this field of pure consciousness” he tells curator, José Da Silva, “has qualities and those qualities are: unbounded intelligence, unbounded creativity, unbounded happiness, unbounded love, unbounded energy and unbounded peace. It’s all positive there within – the big treasury!” … More


Paths to Stardom:

February 14, 2015

Birdman, the new film by Alejandro González Inárritu, tells us everything we need to know about the ever-changing path to stardom. Riggan, played by Michael Keaton, is an actor who has become famous for playing a comic book superhero, but craves the prestige and ‘authenticity’ conferred by the Broadway stage. In the twilight of his … More


Keep On Keepin’ On

January 17, 2015

Palace has found the perfect companion for Life Itself, in Alan Hicks’s Keep On Keepin’ On, a documentary about the great jazz trumpeter, Clark Terry. While Life Itself begins with Roger Ebert in his hospital bed, Keep On Keepin’ On introduces us to Terry on his 90th birthday. He may be old and sick with … More


Whiplash

November 1, 2014

A movie about a young man studying to be a jazz drummer may sound like an entirely resistible proposition, but Whiplash is no lame musical comedy. Rookie writer-director, Damien Chazelle, has said he wanted to make a film about music that was more like a horror or gangster movie. Without including a single ghoul or … More


We Are the Best!

September 20, 2014

It’s quite an adjustment to leave Frank Miller’s Sin City and arrive in Sweden, where three 13 year-old girls are trying to start a punk rock band. The only point of comparison is that Lukas Moodyson’s We Are the Best!, was based on a comic book produced by his wife, Coco. Moodyson is known for … More


20,000 Days on Earth

August 23, 2014

Perhaps the strangest fact one discovers about rock star, Nick Cave, in the documentary, 20,000 Days on Earth, is that he spends most of his time doing a good impersonation of a middle class accountant. It never seemed likely when I stood in the audience of those Birthday Party gigs in Sydney, where Cave would … More


The Broken Circle Breakdown

May 17, 2014

Belgians have a reputation for pursuing individualism to the point of eccentricity. The Broken Circle Breakdown will confirm that reputation, but the film has a lot more to offer than mere quirkiness. Viewers who enter the cinema in one piece may emerge trying to reassemble the fragments, having experienced alternating extremes of exhilaration and tragedy, … More


Elvis at 21

February 8, 2014

In 1956 the United States had plenty to think about. World War II lingered in popular memory; the Cold War was in full swing; and in Montgomery Alabama, black citizens were boycotting the local buses in one of the first great campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. But the subject causing consternation in the mass … More


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