Reviews written by registered user
|7 reviews in total|
'The Habit of Art' is the fourth in the current National Theatre live
broadcast series, allowing those of us not in London to see the
performances direct from the theatre. This is the third and the best I
have seen. Apart from the unfortunate replacement of Michael Gambon
(through illness, I understand) with Richard Griffiths, who was
excellent but Gambon would have been better, there is absolutely
nothing to quibble about. The play itself is brilliant: a multi-layered
postmodern masterpiece, centred on a meeting between poet WH Auden and
composer Benjamin Britten (Alex Jennings) in 1972, some 30 years after
the failure of the opera they wrote together. But the play is not just
about this meeting; it is a rehearsal of the play, so includes the
stage manager - a brilliant Frances de la Tour - who steps in
occasionally to read the part for an absent actor, the writer, who must
field complaints about his play, and even a casual walk on from another
play being performed elsewhere in the theatre complex.
Because of the intimate nature of the production, it is easily accommodated to the cameras filming the stage - much better than the earlier productions - and indeed, much thought and work have clearly gone into the filming so it is seamless and unobtrusive.
This is a play about art - the art of poetry, the art of music, the art of theatre and playwriting, and of acting. It is incredibly funny and always engrossing. If these broadcasts are ever made available on DVD, don't hesitate.
It is truly marvellous. A triumph.
This is an excellent series, covering the main art movements of Europe;
it begins with the Greeks and Romans, moves through the medieval
development and on to the Renaissance. The material on the modern
movements is just as authoritative. Michael Wood is an enthusiastic and
engaging host, and there is a good selection of experts presenting
material in their areas of expertise.
The material is both accurate and comprehensive. Highly recommended. It is useful both as an introduction to the various periods and for more serious students; when I was teaching Art History, I used several episodes in the classroom.
Although there is no substitute for seeing the actual works of art, documentary series like this can be both useful and stimulating. It is available on VHS (try Amazon) but as far as I am aware not on DVD yet.
In spite of sterling work by the supporting actors, and an intelligent
script by Alan Plater, this film suffers from a fatal flaw - the lack
of charm of the central character/actor. One of the characters
describes Richard E Grant's character as "a whining little turd" and
unfortunately this sums him up perfectly. There is nothing about him or
his performance to make it credible that his girlfriend and upper-class
publisher/friend would spend so much time and emotional effort on him.
He is rude, arrogant, selfish, self-destructive and thoroughly
annoying. The part called for an actor who can make you love him even
when he is being a prate - a Ewan McGregor, for example.
All of the witty satire on the class system etc was wasted, thanks to this irritating and thoroughly unlikeable performance. All I wanted to do was shake him and tell him to get over himself.
Charters and Caldicott are characters who first appeared in Alfred
Hitchcock's 1938 film "The Lady Vanishes'. Now retired, by Jove, from
"doing something at the Foreign Office" for 40 years, they share a
passion for cricket - and then they find themselves caught up in
mystery, murder and mayhem. After discovering the body of a young woman
in Caldicott's London flat, they blithely bungle their way through
intrigue and more murder until they end up - inevitably - at a cricket
This is a total delight, from start to finish, not least because of the wonderful performances of all involved, and because of the absurd juxtaposition of two elderly and always courteous gentlemen and the world of corruption and violence they blunder into. Highly recommended.
Not only is this a wonderful and accessible production of Puccini's
great opera, it also suggests the origins of much that Baz Luhrmann has
done since, especially in "Moulin Rouge."
Luhrmann has set it in a more modern time than is usual, with many of his later trademarks in evidence, such as the 'L'amour' sign. It is a fresh, vigorous and youthful production, as Puccini no doubt intended it to be.
The leads are not only great singers, but are young and good looking, giving a visual credibility and beauty to match the sound.
I cannot recommend this film too highly to opera lovers. I love it.
I am unsure of the motivation behind the making of this film - if is to
promote Christianity, then it does a very poor job. The opposite, I
If it is to tell the "truth", then it fails.
I have serious concerns about the mental health of someone who can take half a dozen words - "when he had scourged him" (St Mark) and turn it into a 20-minute blood and violence fest. And again: "he was taken to the place of execution" - another 20 minutes of vicious brutality.
I thought the whole point of Christianity is that Christ was a man - and no man, no matter how stoic, could have survived a fraction of this.
Do not go and see this film - it is abhorrent in its gratuitous violence.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Anyone who thinks television is only for the brain-dead should see this drama. Written by Dennis Potter,the most exciting writer to ever work for television, it is a multi-layered story of a writer hospitalised with a disabling skin disease, who retells the story of his most famous book (which is coincidentally being read by another patient,)relives incidents from his childhood, imagines contemporary events and the people around him bursting into song. It is hard to describe, but it is sharp, funny, superbly intelligent and challenging - among the best six hours ever made for television.