When eleven-year-old Zachary Cowan, armed with a stick – I’m sorry, carrying a stick (armed is a bit of a strong word, don’t you think?) – strikes his classmate Ethan Longstreet’s face one day in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the boys’ parents meet up to discuss the situation responsibly, as adults do. Naturally, Zachary’s parents, Nancy … Continue reading

Lana Del Rey: Born To Die

When Lana Del Rey emerged last year with “Video Games”, looking and sounding like a 1960s singer – one critic called her ‘a self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra’ – it was as though out of nowhere. It must have been the illusion of her beautiful song; the melancholic church chimes, tender trickles of harp, the looming, grey-cloud … Continue reading

The Purple Rose of Cairo

Hollywood greats like Casablanca, An American in Paris and An Affair to Remember have a lot to answer for. They have misled us to believe loving someone is letting them go, in love at first sight and that love can withstand even the greatest measures of distance and time. But real life and love isn’t … Continue reading


  September 2011 at the Cambridge Film Festival. In between sentences about his latest film, Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn wolfs down handfuls of popcorn. A director scoffing popcorn is a strange sight to behold. It’s a bit like a priest throwing back communion wine on his day off; an act so banal, you don’t expect … Continue reading

The Artist

1927. Life screens in silence. A cinema auditorium full of gleaming faces and clapping hands. A sombre shadow cast on a vacant film screen in an empty room. Film reels burn in an inferno of increasing self-pity. A man slumps over a flat mirror, peering at his reflection as though a stranger’s. Pours his drink … Continue reading

The Sense of an Ending

‘I remember, in no particular order’. It is with these provocative words that The Sense of an Ending begins and, in many ways, ends. From here, we are launched into the past of Tony Webster, the novel’s unexceptional, peaceable protagonist. Like any history, The Sense of an Ending repeats itself – or rather, Tony Webster … Continue reading

New Girl

Girl moves out of her ex-boyfriend’s apartment and New Girl moves in with three boys she met on Craig’s List. Such is the delightful primer for the pilot of “New Girl”, a zesty sitcom, starring Zooey Deschanel and created by Elizabeth Meriwether, that aired last night on Channel 4. On paper, “New Girl” comes off … Continue reading

Drake: Take Care

Henry James wrote in The Portrait of a Lady, ‘Live as you like best, and your character will take care of itself.’ With sophomore LP, Take Care, it’s clear that Drake – drink in hand, chips on the table and eye on the girl over there (or, maybe that girl over there) – is doing just … Continue reading

Lykke Li at Camden Roundhouse, 01/11/11

Before Lykke Li’s grand entrance, bouts of smoke fill the Roundhouse stage to the tranquil close of “I Know Places”, its swelled pangs of guitar fading out against the syncopated drum beat that is the pulse of Wounded Rhymes. This is the calm before the storm as Li surges onto stage with “Jerome”, performed with … Continue reading

Into the Woods: Dreileben

In the darkness of the vast Thuringia forest in Dreileben, Germany, a killer flees from the hospital where he is detained. Dreileben, a trilogy of films with the surtitles, Beats Being Dead, Don’t Follow Me Around and One Minute of Darkness, uses Frank Molesch’s escape not so much as its starting point but rather as its locus, from which the … Continue reading