Nicholas Barber

  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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