Though it lacked a clear favourite in the official competition selection, and offered some weaker entries in the rival Critics Week and Directors Fortnight sections, this year's Cannes Film Festival still delivered some interesting movies.

Nothing blew anyone away, mind -- which would have been tricky after last year's amazing 60th anniversary celebrations. But there was confirmation that the newer wave of Cannes discoveries were following up on early promise (Belgium's Dardenne brothers and Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan both scored on awards night, with script and directing gongs respectively). Indeed, the field was so wide open that even the favourite to win, the Israeli animated doc Waltz With Bashir, didn't drop too many jaws when it not only failed to win the Palme D'Or but anything at all. Instead, top-dog honours went to The Class by Laurence Cantet, a superb fly-on-the-wall drama about a teacher coming to terms with his downtrodden students.


Read More >>

There is, of course, plenty that's wonderful about The Apprentice. Let's start with how a bunch of jumped-up estate agents, regional sales reps and “risk managers” stab each other in the back and bicker while displaying the level of intelligence usually associated with lesser Crustaceans. It’s the same reason you might watch Big Brother, so you can hoot cynically as the worst specimens that a few million years of evolution has to offer parade their tawdry, desperate dreams across the screen.


Read More >>

Welcome to our first report from this year's Cannes Film Festival, featuring Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and Roman Polanski...

Cannes, this year as ever, is about reputations. Some live up, others don't, but in 2008 the big directors are hanging onto their mantle while the arthouse darlings are slipping. Towering over the festival this year, Clint Eastwood is easily in the former camp, bringing a fantastic new film, Changeling (or is it The Exchange? The title keeps, ahem, changing), that proves that, at 78, Eastwood is effortlessly maintaining the rich twilight of an already magnificent career.


Read More >>

This gig is being recorded for BBC Four and, as with this kind of thing, there’s something slightly odd about tonight’s proceedings. We’re in the splendid hall of a restored 18th century church, sitting around tables, mindful of the cameras and lengths of cables snaking across the floor, practising clapping for the Assistant Stage Manager. If “live” is a spontaneous celebration of the power of rock’n’roll, then we’re a long way from Kansas, Toto.

It is, arguably, a somewhat incongruous environment to see Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds play, anyway.


Read More >>

I am the proud owner of my late grandmother's radio. It's a Ferranti, bought, so my mother tells me, around 1950/1, from an electrical shop in Tattenham Corner in Surrey, where my grandparents lived at the time. Radio enthusiasts note, it's a 215 model, with a walnut-finish cabinet and, according to a quick Google, would have cost £27 back in the day, very expensive in a post war world of rationing. It carries Long, Medium and Short Wave and, sometimes, there's a rather eerie whistle running underneath the programme when it's on, like the ghost of electricity moping around in the ether.


Read More >>

About three songs in to her set, Jana Hunter peers over the rims of her glasses, squints at the audience and asks: "Is there someone here called Neil that I know from Panama?"


Read More >>

Leafing through last week's edition of Entertainment Weekly during a quiet moment in the office, I came across a three-quarter page spread devoted to a new band called She & Him. The "Him" here is M Ward while -- and this is what piqued my curiousity -- the "She" is Zooey Deschanel, the American indie actress who made her rep in David Gordon Green's brilliant All The Real Girls.

It struck me, following on from Scarlett Johannson's album of Tom Waits' covers, that this is the second time in as many months an alt-Hollywood "It" Girl has made a record. Which, inevitably, led me to wonder why exactly the good ladies and gentlemen of the movie industry feel the need to divert their talents out of their immediate comfort zone and into the world of music.


Read More >>

After the sad news of Charlton Heston's death yesterday morning, I had hoped that the rest of my Sunday would pan out in a more genteel manner -- The Archers omnibus, a mooch round Borders, maybe a pint, that kind of thing. That was until an email from our web queen, Farah, pinged into my inbox.


Read More >>

This morning's edition of Radio 4's Broadcasting House chose to mark the death of Charlton Heston with a montage of scenes from his three most iconic films: The Ten Commandments (1956), Ben-Hur (1959) and Planet Of The Apes (1967). These were huge films in every sense, made during the golden age of Hollywood and Charlton Heston was a monolithic presence at their centre -- competing in chariot races, or parting the Red Sea, or cursing humanity in front of what's left of the Statue of Liberty.


Read More >>

Excuse me for hijacking my own film blog to write about TV, but the first episode of Series 4 of the rebooted Doctor Who, "Partners In Crime", has just aired on BBC1.


Read More >>

Newsletter


Editor's Letter

Reviewed: Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo, August 27, 2014


There is a song on "Aerial", Kate Bush's eighth and possibly best album, called "Bertie". "Here comes the sunshine," it begins, "Here comes that son of mine/Here comes the everything/Here's a song and a song for him." Nine years later, here, perhaps is a show for him: an unexpected comeback; a...