4 items from 2014
Marr's portrait of James Boswell is a pertinent exploration of Scottish identity, nationhood and the lust for adventure
Do we choose heroes who are similar to ourselves, I wonder? I'm thinking about mine Patrick Vieira, Ernest Shackleton, and Leonard Cohen, say without giving it too much thought. And yes, I do think I have that kind of inspirational leadership, bravery and towering strength, plus the ability to move people to tears and touch the soul.
Andrew Marr also seems to have much in common with his hero, James Boswell, the first of Andrew Marr's Great Scots: The Writers Who Shaped A Nation (BBC2, Saturday). I don't know if Andrew had a difficult relationship with his father (probably, he's male, after all), or if he was a lonely boy, haunted by fears of damnation and overprotected by his mother. But, if so, he too blossomed to become flamboyant, colourful and gregarious. »
- Sam Wollaston
Queen Elizabeth has historic new wheels. The beloved British monarch, 88, will ride to the state opening of parliament in her Diamond Jubilee stagecoach that has been called a "living time capsule," made with wood taken from the Tower of London, Henry VII's warship, Sir Isaac Newton's apple tree and the door of 10 Downing Street, the U.K.'s The Mirror reports. The new carriage, created over the course of a decade by Australian Jim Frecklington from his team's workshop in Sydney, is only the second one built for the royal family in 100 years. "I wanted to create something very special to mark the Queen's reign, »
- Andrea Billups
I remember the first time I saw Sherman’s March and realized how revealing autobiographical documentary could be. Filmmakers who turn the camera on themselves run a high risk of self-indulgence, but when done right their films can intimately show the resilience of the human spirit, especially when their challenges appear insurmountable, whether in situations as grandiose as in Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley’s South or as ostensibly mundane as Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan’s Troublesome Creek. The process of making autobiographical films can even be beneficial for the filmmakers, psychologically or otherwise, provided they place therapy on a backseat to […] »
- Randy Astle
After parallel successes on stage and screen, the Londoner is being lauded as one of the greatest actors of his generation
However good they are, actors always need a defining role to transform them into a film star, and as the kidnap victim Solomon Northup in the Steve McQueen-directed 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor has found his.
Always an impressive performer on screen – certainly since his breakthrough role as a refugee doctor opposite Audrey Tautou in 2002's Dirty Pretty Things – Ejiofor is now on the cusp of joining the global film-acting elite. He has already been the recipient of scores of year-end critics' awards for 12 Years a Slave, as well as Golden Globe and Bafta nominations – and the industry will view it a significant scandal if an Oscar nomination doesn't materialise on 16 January.
Northup is the central figure in McQueen's project to confront the Us with its slavery past. »
- Andrew Pulver
4 items from 2014
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