Nicholas Barber

  • ONE MAN'S VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY

    Inspiring Innovators: Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is awed by J.J. Abrams' boundless creativityand the joy it brings

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT filmIdeasinspiring innovatorsNicholas Barberseptember/october 2014
  • NICOLE KIDMAN'S MISSING YEARS

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, July 16th 2014The ageism of the film industry is legendary—particularly where actresses are concerned—but it’s never been demonstrated more blatantly or weirdly than in “Before I Go To Sleep”, a British thriller which is released in September. The film stars Nicole Kidman (above) as Christine, a woman suffering from the same form of amnesia as Drew Barrymore had in “50 First Dates”, ie, when she wakes up in the morning, she can’t remember anything that has happened to her since her mid-20s. She can store up new memories as the day goes on, but when she falls asleep, those memories are erased, and she’s back to square one the following morning.

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  • THE FILM CRITIC WHO BOUGHT A TICKET

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, July 9th 2014

    Being a film journalist, I hardly ever go to the cinema. That is, I go to the cinema all the time, but only for press screenings, which means I’m always surrounded by fellow critics with takeaway coffees, rather than paying customers with popcorn. This week, though, I had to catch up with a film I’d missed, “22 Jump Street” (below), so I handed over actual money in an actual cinema for the first time in more than a decade. I was quite excited. For once, I was going to descend from my ivory tower and savour the authentic movie-going experience once again.

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT CriticismFilmsmoviesNicholas Barber
  • THE BOY WHO GREW UP IN PUBLIC

    Short Read: for his pick of the best film, Nicholas Barber chooses a coming-of-age story that was 12 years in the making

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT Artsfilmjuly/august 2014Nicholas BarberTHIS SEASON
  • THE DIRECTOR OF "AMELIE" LETS RIP

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, June 12th 2014

    In Anthony Lane’s introduction to his anthology of New Yorker film reviews, “Nobody’s Perfect”, he sets out five rules for prospective movie critics. Rule One: “Never read the publicity material.” He’s talking about the sheaves of photocopied notes which are handed to reviewers at press screenings. Notoriously bland, these notes tend to declare that everyone on the production adored everyone else, and that the making of the film was a joy from start to finish. Even if the director was sacked and the stars threw their skinny lattes at each other, the discord is never, ever mentioned.

    All of which explains my delight at reading the press bumf for Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s new film, “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet”. There is an interview with Jeunet in it, and while his most famous film, “Amelie”, might suggest that he’s all sweetness and light, he turns out to have a wonderfully bracing French frankness when he’s venting his frustrations.

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  • THE UN-GLITZY SIDE OF CANNES

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, May 22nd 2014

    When Marion Cotillard is sashaying up the red-carpeted staircase at the Palais des Festivals for the premiere of a potential Palme d’Or winner, it’s easy to forget that the Cannes Film Festival isn’t just about megawatt glamour and art-house masterpieces. It’s also about business. All around the city, cinemas are screening hundreds of films to potential buyers. Some of those films are big-budget vehicles for the likes of Tom Hanks and Bill Murray. Some of them, on the other hand, are not. Just a staircase away from the auditorium where the premieres are held, the Palais also houses a distinctly un-glitzy trade fair, Le Marché du Film, where introductions are made and negotiations get under way. It’s here that you realise just how many films never make it beyond the borders of their home countries.

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  • THE BEST OF JULIETTE BINOCHE

    The Visual CV: art-house queen in “Godzilla” shock. Nicholas Barber picks the star turns of a fearless actress

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT ArtsfilmsFranceJuliette Binochemay/June 2014Nicholas BarberThe Visual CV
  • ENCHANTED BY HARD GRAFT

    Short Read: for his cinema highlight, Nicholas Barber picks Hayao Miyazaki's "backward-looking fable about innovation" 

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT ArtsfilmJapanmay/June 2014Nicholas BarberTHIS SEASON
  • THE TONY HANCOCK SOUNDALIKE

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, April 25th 2014

    As far as students of British situation comedy are concerned, nothing beats Tony Hancock’s sparkling 1950s radio show, “Hancock’s Half Hour”. Written by the peerless Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, it was a bold departure from the tuxedoed variety-show comedy which was the norm at the time, weaving instead the “frustrated, down-at-heel, male flatmates” thread which has run through the British sitcom ever since, from “Steptoe And Son” (also written by Galton and Simpson) to “Only Fools And Horses” to “Men Behaving Badly” to “Peep Show”.

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT BBCCOMEDYNicholas BarberRADIOTony Hancock
  • "REV" SHOULD BE REQUIRED VIEWING

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, April 2nd 2014

    BBC2’s delightful sitcom, “Rev”, has just taken one of the biggest risks a sitcom can take. In its third series, it still focuses on an East London vicar’s struggles to fill his empty pews, but it has given the vicar and his wife a baby. What’s risky about this is that sitcom babies are so infuriatingly unconvincing. They tend to be magical beings, who, like Jeeves, materialise when they’re needed and vanish when they’re not. Their parents have as much free time as ever. Anyone who’s ever had, or met, or heard of a baby will know how unlike real life this is.

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