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Wednesday, October 14, 2020
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14 Oct 4:00pm Portrait Artist of the Year review – Bake Off for painters is an hour-long cuddle
The Guardian
Stephen Mangan hosts as a mix of amateur and professional artists compete to produce the best portrait within four hours. It is gripping from start to finish The always lovely Portrait Artist of the Year is back for a seventh series, and it continues to be such a welcome addition to the schedules that I hope it returns for many more years to come. Stephen Mangan hosts what is in essence the Great British Paint Off, and while I believe there is some kind of saying about the levels of excitement involved in watching paint dry, this is gripping from initial sketch to finished product. Each week, a mix of amateur and professional artists produce, within four hours, portraits of three famous or well-known sitters, using a pleasing variety of techniques and approaches. Some are flamboyant, some are precise. Some do the squinty perspective thing with their fingers. Some use both hands at once. It is essentially that Bake Off showstopper challenge where they had to commemorate their heroes with cake busts, only with paint, talent and more dignity. In this opening episode, the sitters are Ncuti Gatwa (Eric in Sex Education), Cold Feet’s Fay Ripley and Lady Glenconner, a former lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. Each gets to choose their favourite portrait at the end, then the judges choose their favourite three portraits, and then an overall winner emerges from those favourites and is put through to the next round.
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14 Oct 1:48pm Hair, glasses, Santa puppy T-shirt: get the Glenn Close Hillbilly Elegy look
The Guardian
She might be best described as Jeremy Kyle Mrs Doubtfire, but I predict Glenn Close’s character will be your next style icon. Here are her looks from the trailer – ranked! On the surface, Hillbilly Elegy doesn’t appear to have a tremendous amount going for it. It’s the story of Amy Adams crying and smoking with a bad haircut, as if she’s run out of ways to convince people to give her an Oscar and is just trying anything now. It looks less like a film and more like a compilation tape of scenes where two wet-eyed people attempt to out-shout each other in different locations. Its trailer is soundtracked by the sort of faux-inspirational music that anonymous multinationals use to soundtrack shale gas hub commercials on news channels that are only ever watched in hotels. However, you will watch Hillbilly Elegy, and you will watch it for one reason.
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14 Oct 11:06am Million-pound question: why save Secret Cinema while real cinemas are in ruins? | Marc Burrows
The Guardian
As affordable arts venues fight to survive, the exorbitant events company got a huge bailout. And film fans will pay the price Film fans experienced a collective meltdown on Monday when it was revealed that Secret Group, the company behind immersive movie experience Secret Cinema, had received almost a million pounds in aid as part of the government’s
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14 Oct 11:00am Legacy of Lies review – sappy action thriller undone by lack of smarts
The Guardian
Scott Adkins plays a violence-prone former spy turned bouncer in this tale of shootouts with a young daughter in tow Acting talent is largely neither here nor there when it comes to low-budget action thrillers: what makes the difference is a script that’s smart enough to play to its cast’s strengths. Instead, Legacy of Lies prefers to fill its runtime with numerous scenes of sappy father-daughter bonding. Scott Adkins (The Expendables 2) stars as Martin Baxter, a former MI6 operative who quit 12 years ago, after a mission in Kiev went terribly, mysteriously wrong. Now he’s the single dad of an annoyingly precocious 12-year-old (Honor Kneafsey) and makes ends meet as a nightclub door-minder, with a spot of cage fighting on the side. A multidimensional character then, albeit with only one dimension of interest: a ’roid-ragey bouncer who unnecessarily escalates every situation to violence has the advantage of being both within Adkins’s dramatic skillset and conducive to action thrills. The rest? Not so much.
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14 Oct 10:33am Sprouts, skinheads, Sundays and supermarkets: Chris Killip – in pictures
The Guardian
From the punk club moshpit to the well-tended allotment, the hard-hitting yet profoundly humanist photographer, who has died aged 74, captured real life in England’s post-industrial north-east
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14 Oct 10:31am Idles v Fat White Family: what the indie showdown tells us about class
The Guardian
The two bands have variously clumsy and bracing things to say about class, race and Britain – but they are at least connecting to something bigger than themselves On the face of it, two British indie bands being locked in a war of words about class-consciousness might seem like egoistic farce. On deeper consideration – idly scrolling through Twitter, imbibing the day’s beefs and reading various blogposts – it was. But the rivalry that has emerged in recent months between London band Fat White Family and Bristol band
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14 Oct 9:08am The U-WHO: why Pete Townshend glued together his smashed guitars
The Guardian
It’s one of rock’n’roll’s defining images of excess. But breaking a guitar onstage is also expensive. Which is why the pop star came up with a clever plan to fix his instrument – and keep his reputation
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14 Oct 9:00am The Devil Has a Name review - fire-breathing thriller about a farmer taking on Big Oil
The Guardian
Kate Bosworth shines in a juicy role as a cigar-smoking oil matriarch in this drama directed by veteran actor Edward James Olmos Edward James Olmos is an actor-film-maker with a long history of advocating for Latino screen representation, and he has cast himself as something of what you might call a “magical Latino” stock character in this environmental courtroom drama. He plays Santiago, the right-hand man of Fred Stern (David Strathairn), a recently widowed California almond farmer, who is locked in a legal battle with a big bad oil firm. Santi always has some old-west wisdom to offer his old pal, such as “Don’t confuse fightin’ with livin’”; or “Who knows the true meaning of ‘covfefe’?” It’s a forgivable indulgence, since The Devil Has a Name is also providing juicy roles for several other character actors who have long been under-served and unappreciated. Former child star Haley Joel Osment and Pablo Schreiber (“Pornstache” from Orange Is the New Black) are both having a high old time as scenery-chewing grifters with nefarious motives, while Martin Sheen recycles some of that President Bartlet twinkle as Stern’s dragon-slaying lawyer. The real revelation, though, is Kate Bosworth, a rising star of the early noughties (Blue Crush, Superman Returns) who never quite rose. As Gigi Cutler, however, she’s a new woman; a swaggering, cigarillo-chomping, femme-fatale version of cinema’s great rapacious oil men, who’ll drink your milkshake and probably your whiskey, too.
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14 Oct 8:54am David Grossman calls on writers to bear witness to pandemic
The Guardian
Speaking at the launch for the Frankfurt book fair – this year focused online – the novelist said authors’ observations could ease the burden of the disease
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14 Oct 8:12am Les Misérables lyricist Herbert Kretzmer dies aged 95
The Guardian
Former journalist penned English lyrics to the megahit musical, and wrote songs including Aznavour’s She Herbert Kretzmer, the lyricist behind the English-language adaptation of Les Misérables, has died aged 95. Kretzmer also co-wrote Charles Aznavour’s 1974 UK number one hit
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14 Oct 7:30am Being a Human Person review – the Monty Pythonesque artistry of Roy Andersson
The Guardian
The Swedish director, known for his brilliant dreamlike visions and gags, is celebrated in this documentary set around his latest film, About Endlessness The amazing artistry of 77-year-old
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14 Oct 7:01am Gal Gadot as Cleopatra is a backwards step for Hollywood representation
The Guardian
Casting misses chance to give north African actors a higher profile, prolonging the debate over Hollywood’s colonisation of ethnicity C
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14 Oct 7:00am Haydn: where to start with his music
The Guardian
Humorous, earnest, prolific and always deeply humane, the Austrian composer is credited with inventing the symphony and the string quartet. Even if that’s not strictly true, his creativity shaped Western classical music Europe’s most celebrated composer in the late 18th century, Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was known for his brilliant synthesis of emerging styles, which helped set the course of western classical music as we know it. Famed as the father of the symphony and of the string quartet, in reality he invented neither – but he did consolidate new principles of musical form, based on balance and proportion, expectation and fulfilment. Haydn’s gift was in flexing the rules to ensure variety, creating tensions and dramatic effects. As humorous as he was earnest, Haydn always reveals his deep humanity in his music.
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14 Oct 6:00am ‘Aspirational – and aggressive’: are black reality shows peddling a problematic narrative?
The Guardian
Platforms like Zeus have cornered the market for ‘explosive’ black reality TV, but their content can have wider implications for communities already plagued by stereotypes While reality television is a guilty pleasure for many, it is something I indulge in with un-ironic pride. Even so, there is a type of reality show I watch with a quiet shame, buried under my duvet as if scoffing
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14 Oct 6:00am Top 10 books about creative writing
The Guardian
From linguistics to essays by Zadie Smith and Toni Morrison, poet Anthony Anaxagorou recommends some ‘lateral’ ways in to a demanding craft
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14 Oct 4:00am Reproduction by Ian Williams review – fallout of an unlikely affair
The Guardian
With subtlety and wit, this prizewinning debut explores a liaison across race and class divisions in Canada For decades novelists have mined the rich dramatic potential of pioneering black-and-white relationships, scarred by the collective memory of slavery, which normalised the subjugation of black women by white men. This brutal history lies just beneath the surface of
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14 Oct 2:30am My Life in Red and White by Arsène Wenger review – what was his secret?
The Guardian
You’d never seen anything like it at Highbury ... but the long-term Arsenal manager leaves plenty of questions unanswered In December 1997, Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal team were beaten 3-1 at home by Blackburn Rovers, and the players were booed off the pitch by the home fans, an expression of the frustration built up by watching extremely mediocre and unsuccessful football for half a decade. That afternoon, Arsenal looked years away from being able to challenge Manchester United, the then perennial champions. After the match, striker Ian Wright, hurt by the criticism, yelled obscenities out of the window at the departing crowd and was spoken to by the police. Highbury was an unhappy place. Wenger had been in charge of the club for 14 months. No Arsenal fan had heard of him before his arrival – he had been working in Japan, of all places – and none would have cared much if he’d been fired after the game. He had brought in a couple of promising players, but three of the four defenders that afternoon had played in the famous title-deciding game at Anfield eight years before, and the fourth had actually made his debut for Arsenal even earlier. Those who booed had been watching football long enough to know that this was a team going nowhere, in serious need of investment and ideas, and almost certainly yet another new manager.
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14 Oct 2:30am ‘This room’s not ready for me’: improv as a BAME comic
The Guardian
I’ve worked as the only person of colour on improv nights for years and found problems – and potential. Now diverse groups are finding laughs a more inclusive way In improv, when one comic decides another performer’s scene has run its course, they dart across the stage to start a new one. It’s known as editing and for minority comics in mostly white teams, it can be a telling moment.
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14 Oct 2:28am Death Row Exonerees: behind a powerful photo project on injustice
The Guardian
Martin Schoeller’s devastating new exhibition captures the faces and stories of Americans accused of crimes they didn’t commit
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14 Oct 2:00am Head-spinning talent: winners from the AOP awards – in pictures
The Guardian
Using fish to make ink prints? Soaking film rolls in sea water? The best images from this year’s Association of Photographers awards were truly inventive
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