Archive for the ‘Cultural issues’ Category


A review of the charming but poignant film “The Farewell”

October 20th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This mostly Mandarin-speaking film is billed as “based on a true lie”. since it is the lightly-fictionalised experience of writer and director Chinese-American Lulu Wang. The lie in question is the deceit perpetrated by the family of Chinese grandmother Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) when she is diagnosed with incurable lung cancer and given little time […]

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A review of the new Will Smith film “Gemini Man”

October 18th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Although this movie has had poor reviews, I wanted to see it, partly because I like Will Smith (and you get two of him here) and partly because there was location shooting in Cartagena, Colombia during my visit there last year (the other non-American location – Budapest, Hungary – is familiar to me too).  Taiwanese […]

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Women substantially underrepresented in the movies both before and behind the camera

October 1st, 2019 by Roger Darlington

The Gina Davis Institute on Gender in Media has analysed the 56 top-grossing films of 2018 in 20 countries in North America, Scandinavia, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Almost half of the characters across the films analysed, which collectively earned $21bn (£17bn) at the box office, were white. Only one of the 60 female […]

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What’s happening with the choice of baby names in England & Wales?

September 24th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Earlier this month, there Office of National Statistics (ONS) published its annual list for the choice of baby names last year. There are some interesting trends. First of all, astonishingly the most popular boys’ name and the most popular girls’ name are essentially the same (Oliver and Olivia) – what is technically known as cognates […]

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A review of the new science fiction movie “Ad Astra”

September 20th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

The technology of film-making is now so advanced that a good space movie can really put the viewer into the cosmos – think of “Gravity” for instance – and, if you can, you should should see “Ad Astra” in IMAX, as I did, because the visuals are simple stunning. An opening sequence on board an […]

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A review of “Born A Crime”, the childhood memoir of Trevor Noah

September 10th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I have been a massive fan of South African born Trevor Noah since in 2015 he took over the hosting of “The Daily Show”, an American satirical look at current affairs that I view religiously. This memoir covers the first two decades of his life before he became a professional comedian and it is written […]

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A review of the art house film “The Souvenir”

September 3rd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Art house films always have limited appeal and, even though this one had rave reviews from critics, some people walked out of the screening that I attended of this British work written and directed by Joanna Hogg. It is terribly slow and exceedingly opaque, yet oddly compelling, and it certainly provokes thought and discussion. It […]

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A review of the Spanish film “Pain And Glory”

August 30th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Described as the third part of an “unplanned trilogy” which began with “Law Of Desire” (1987) and continued through “Bad Education” (2004), it is not necessary to have seen the earlier films (I haven’t) to enjoy the final part of this triptych written and directed by the Spanish Pedro Almodóvar, but it helps if you’re […]

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A review of the novel “Fear Of Dying” by Erica Jong

August 29th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

American author Erica Jong wrote the mega best-selling novel “Fear Of Flying” in 1973 and the non-fiction “Fear Of Fifty” in 1994 and now she comes up with her 11th novel “Fear Of Dying” which was published in 2015. Although a novel, it is clearly inspired by the author’s loss of her two aged parents […]

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A review of the new Tarantino movie “Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood”

August 28th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Quentin Tarrantino’s ninth movie – while much lauded – is not my favourite (I think that would be “Kill Bill”), but it is classic material from the idiosyncratic director with all his usual quirks and playfulness that so delight us fans of his. A recurrent theme of his work is his wish to revisist and […]

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