Nicholas Barber

  • A SHERLOCK PANTO A LA MODE

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, December 18th 2014

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  • JAR JAR STINKS

    Ever watched a film and felt you could have made it shorter, sharper or less irritating? Nicholas Barber on the rise of the fan edit

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT ArtsCinemaculturefilmJanuary/February 2015Nicholas Barber
  • FAN EDITS IN MINIATURE

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, December 5th 2014

    It’s been an exciting week for devotees of lightsabers, stormtroopers and the Millennium Falcon. Not only is this the first time in nine years that a new “Star Wars” trailer has been released, it’s also the first time that such a release has been followed, within hours, by a host of unofficial parodies and homages.

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  • THE MUHAMMAD ALI OF MOVIE CRITICS

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, November 18th 2014

    If you’re a boxer, a gangster, a soldier or a globetrotting super-spy, you must get used to seeing your own profession portrayed in films. Certain types of journalists—crime reporters, gossip columnists—must be accustomed to it, too. But I had never seen a film devoted to a film critic until I saw “Life Itself”, Steve James’s superb documentary about the late Roger Ebert.

    Admittedly, one reason why the film is so whirlingly entertaining is that Ebert wasn’t just a critic. He reviewed several new releases every week for the Chicago Sun-Times for over 40 years, but he was also a Falstaffian bon viveur who used to prop up the same bar as the author and radio broadcaster Studs Terkel and the rest of Chicago’s newspapermen. He was a motor-mouthed television star, with a long-running, sometimes hilariously fractious onscreen partnership with fellow critic Gene Siskel. He wrote a science-fiction novel, a screenplay for Russ Meyer’s “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”, and a political blog with a fervent following.

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  • DREAMING IN ANATOLIA

    Short Read: for his pick of the films, Nicholas Barber steps into the mysterious world of the Palme d'Or-winning "Winter Sleep"

    read more » COMMENTS: Comments | ADD NEW COMMENT ArtsfilmmoviesNicholas BarberNovember/December 2014THIS SEASONTurkey
  • AN ENIGMA BECOMES A BANALITY

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, November 13th 2014

    Early on in “The Imitation Game”, a new drama about Alan Turing and the Bletchley Park codebreakers, Turing tells his superior officer, Commander Denniston, that he has a plan to outsmart the Germans’ Enigma machine. However, he adds, it’s too technical for a layman to understand. When Denniston (Charles Dance) presses him, Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) explains that a person can’t beat Enigma: it will take a machine to defeat the machine. “That doesn’t sound very technical,” bristles Denniston. And he’s quite right. It doesn’t. Despite being a film about a clever, complicated man doing clever, complicated things, “The Imitation Game” is simplified to the point of banality, as if its producers were terrified of confusing the audience for a single moment.

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  • JUST DON'T CALL THEM PUPPETS

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, October 10th 2014

    Gerry Anderson hated puppets. He may be known as the Geppetto responsible for “Thunderbirds”, “Captain Scarlet”, “Stingray” and other such classics of televisual puppeteering, but in a new documentary about his 1960s work, “Filmed in Supermarionation”, Anderson admits that he would rather have been making grown-up feature films with flesh-and-blood actors. That’s why he coined the term “Supermarionation”: he thought it sounded more respectable and less childish than “puppetry”.

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  • "GONE GIRL" GONE WRONG

    ~ Posted by Nicholas Barber, September 30th 2014

    The best and worst thing about David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” is how funny it is. That’s not to say that Gillian Flynn’s source novel doesn’t have some laughs, but what separates it from the average crime bestseller is its ruthless dissection of a dysfunctional contemporary romance. Alternating between the testimonies of a thirtysomething husband and wife—Nick and Amy—the novel charts every stage of their courtship and marriage. We read about the initial elation, the high expectations, the differing priorities, the money worries, the family pressures, and so on, all of them set against a finely drawn backdrop of New York hipsterism and post-recession Midwestern decay. Even without the mystery of Amy’s disappearance, and the question of what her apparent murder has to do with Nick, “Gone Girl” would be a defining novel of today’s American middle class. It would also be an addictive page-turner, because the reader keeps learning a little more about why Amy and Nick loved each other, and how that love went sour.

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  • REINVENTING THE ROCK DOC

    Short Read: for his cinema highlight, Nicholas Barber picks a film featuring Nick Cave that coasts between fiction and fact

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  • 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 innovatorsmoviesNicholas Barberseptember/october 2014

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