SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Will Gore

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March 15, 2018
Mary Magdalene (★★, 12A, 120 mins) is a film on a mission: it wants to rehabilitate the reputation of its title character. The Magdalene presented here is not the reformed prostitute of legend, but a determined young woman, played by Rooney Mara, who not only leaves her domineering family behind to follow Jesus, but is
March 08, 2018
Don’t Skip Out On Me by Willy Vlautin, Faber, 304pp, £14.99 Willy Vlautin first made a name for himself as a cult singer-songwriter with the band Richmond Fontaine. His songs, in that Springsteen-like way, are short stories set to music. So his emergence as a novelist in 2006 marked a logical progression. His books to
March 08, 2018
When the first series of American Crime Story came out a couple of years ago, I immediately took against it. The dramatisation of the infamous murder of Nicole Brown and the subsequent trial of her ex-husband, OJ Simpson, seemed in the initial episodes to be ridiculous. The depiction of the well-known players in the case,
March 01, 2018
'Civilisations' sacrifices the unity of voice, argument and chronology that made its predecessor so good
March 01, 2018
Civilisations has arrived. The Beeb’s “landmark” documentary series is billed as a sequel (of sorts) to Kenneth Clark’s seminal series Civilisation, which aired in the late 1960s. With a presenting team of Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga, this nine-parter sees each episode offer up a globetrotting essay on art history. Schama has been
February 22, 2018
Television comedy is a fine art that is very hard to get right. The Mash Report, the BBC’s weak stab at satire, is a particularly egregious current example. There is, however, a positive to take from this general mirthlessness: it has become easy to spot genuinely hilarious programmes on the odd occasion they do come
February 15, 2018
David Hare’s new four-part drama Collateral arrived on the BBC this week, the kind of prestige production that it’s a critic’s non-negotiable duty to pass judgment on. Hare made his name, of course, writing big state-of-the-nation dramas for the stage, and he’s clearly attempting to pull off something similar. I’m sorry to say that he
February 08, 2018
My name is Will Gore and I’m an addict. My addiction is one that it’s hard for me to admit in public, but here goes. I can’t stop watching Andrew Graham-Dixon art documentaries. Perhaps my embarrassment is misplaced, but I’ve always assumed that serious art lovers must scoff at Graham-Dixon, with his David Ginola hair
February 01, 2018
The pre-publicity campaign for Sky Atlantic’s Britannia was long and loud. The trailers – full of snapshots of ancient battles and bloodletting – suggested that this “Romans invading Britain” saga was going to be little more than a Game of Thrones knock-off, so I was planning on skipping it. I love GoT and don’t need
January 25, 2018
Over the past decade, the Royal Family has increasingly opened itself up to the public – and television has been the main means of doing so. We’ve had Princes William and Harry enjoying a banterous natter with Ant and Dec, while the Duke of Edinburgh agreed to a chinwag with that doyen of daytime telly,
December 14, 2017
My round-up of the best cinema of 2017 starts right back where my movie-watching year began. Manchester by the Sea, written and directed by the extraordinary American film-maker Kenneth Lonergan, came out in January and set a standard that only a handful films that I saw after it were able to match. Casey Affleck plays
December 14, 2017
I’ve recently finished working my way through The Vietnam War, Ken Burns’s 10-part documentary that tells the story of that disastrous conflict in mesmerising fashion. After finishing a series as overwhelming as that one, it’s easy to sink back into the sofa and feel a little bereft. What on earth do you watch next to
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