Review: Tim Burton’s Dumbo

dumboAmong the countless Disney animated films scheduled for cynical live action remakes — this year alone sees both Aladdin and The Lion King crowding cinema screens — the studio’s 78-year-old flying elephant tale is one of the few that’s arguably ripe for reinvention. Continue reading “Review: Tim Burton’s Dumbo


A scar is born: Vox Lux

voxluxCast your mind back, if you dare, to the often-harrowing popular music landscape of 1999, for it’s now been 20 years since we bid farewell to the dying gasps of the last century. Slim Shady, “Mambo No. 5” and Smash Mouth’s future meme “All Star” mingled with pop punk, nu metal and other post-grunge horrors, as a generation of American man-children rose up to greet the new millennium with a regressive howl of baggy-shorted rage. In the charts, ex-Mouseketeer Britney Spears danced her way down a school corridor to rescue us with a hit that would define an incoming pop era, while in Columbine, two heavily armed teenage industrial-rock fans marched into their high school and murdered 12 of their peers, inaugurating the nation’s still-prevalent cycle of mass media–scrutinised school shootings. Continue reading “A scar is born: Vox Lux

Fake it so real: Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Colette


“It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit,” goes Noël Coward’s famous line from his 1941 play, and later film, Blithe Spirit. In real life, it was a paradox that the publicly guarded, privately homosexual bon vivant knew all too well. Perhaps fittingly, Coward was one of the cultural luminaries whose personal letters were embellished by the American writer-turned-literary-fraud Lee Israel, who, for a brief period in the early 1990s, successfully passed off forgeries purporting to be the letters of such noted artists. Israel was also queer, and developed a knack for performing to, and duly subverting, society’s expectations. Continue reading “Fake it so real: Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Colette

The Monthly music wrap: November 2018


November was all about breaking up, moving on and self-empowerment: three of the month’s brightest and best pop singles – Little Mix’s “Joan of Arc”, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Party for One” and Ariana Grande’s ubiquitous smash “thank u, next” – celebrated the power of newfound solitude, dancing with themselves into an irrepressible dawn. Or maybe they’re bracing for the encroaching festive season, with its glut of forced revelry, annual life stocktaking and attendant loneliness – not to mention all the repackaged greatest hits and Christmas cash-ins. Continue reading The Monthly music wrap: November 2018″