TV / DVD

Five Kids from Derry

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Review of 'Teenage Kicks - The Story of The Undertones'

Music lover and DJ extraordinaire John Peel, who died last year, had one pop song that he regarded above all others. At his personal request it was played at his funeral, and its opening line ('Teenage dreams, so hard to beat') is inscribed on his gravestone. The song is 'Teenage Kicks', the first single released by the Undertones.

Inner Turmoil Turns Outwards

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Review of 'Le Crime de Monsieur Lange', 'La Grande Illusion' and 'La Bête Humaine', director Jean Renoir

Considered individually, each of these three films is outstanding. Put into the historical context of the rise and fall of the Popular Front government, which existed in France from 1936 to 1938, they become a cinematic talisman for an era of hope and betrayal. Director Jean Renoir embraced the spirit of these times, adopting Communist sympathies and working with the radical left wing theatre company Le Groupe Octobre.

Unfair and Unbalanced

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Review of 'Outfoxed', director Robert Greenwald

Imagine the Daily Express has turned into a TV news station fronted by Sun columnist Richard Littlejohn, and you begin to get an inkling of how rabid Rupert Murdoch's Fox News TV is. Fox works very simply and repetitively both as a mouthpiece for Murdoch's own right wing views and as a rolling election broadcast for George W Bush and the Republican Party - hardly a surprise when you learn that the channel head is Roger Ailes, a former Bush Snr campaign strategist.

Hostage to Misfortune

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Review of 'Good Morning, Night', director Marco Bellochio

A film about the kidnapping of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978 sounded promising. Perhaps it would explore the politics of the kidnappers, the Red Brigades, or the possible complicity of the Italian state in Moro's assassination.

No such luck. Instead a horrid film that could easily have been produced by Washington to justify its 'war on terror'.

Getting the Angles Right

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Review of '1984', director Michael Radford

The opening scene: row after row of apathetic faces staring impassively at the despot before them. The speech delivered by the oblivious autocrat on the podium consists of vague threats regarding 'dark forces' and outside enemies... But this is not a review of Blair's speech to the Trades Union Congress - this is 1984.

Protest in the Belly of the Beast

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Review of 'Last Party 2000', directors Rebecca Chaiklin and Donovan Leitch

Why watch a documentary made three years ago about the last US presidential election? Surely the world has changed so much in the time since that it couldn't possibly teach us anything? But this documentary looks at the elections through the eyes of those excluded from the process - protesters, the poor, minorities and many other groups.

Holy Moses!

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Review of 'A Short Film about Killing' and 'A Short Film about Love', director Krzysztof Kieslowski

These films are extended theatrical versions of, respectively, 'Dekalog 5' and 'Dekalog 6'. Dekalog - ten one-hour television films loosely based on the ten commandments - was made in 1988, and with it Kieslowski's work started to be seen and recognised outside his native Poland.

Picture Perfect

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Review of 'Citizen Kane', director Orson Welles

This DVD release of Citizen Kane (1941) in a brand new print is a moment for celebration. Firstly, it is a dazzling story about power. Loosely based on the life story of William Hearst, the newspaper baron who was the Berlusconi or Murdoch of his day, the film sets out to provide a portrait of the vanity and excesses of a contradictory elusive personality.

City Lives

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Review of 'Metropolis: Special Edition', director Fritz Lang

During the first half of the 20th century many of the great milestones in world cinema were repeatedly censored, re-edited and generally mutilated beyond recognition. In particular, the most highly politically charged films were most liable to be either banned or bowdlerised and 'Metropolis', the classic German Expressionist film of 1926, was no exception.

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