Film & TV

Why the Prince of Egypt should be admired as a great biblical film

I think that this film is more important than ever, and Dreamworks never seems to promote it. In this time political correctness, there is a lot of reluctance towards these films and censoring anything that seems to promote a certain religion or other. Especially with films like Noah and Exodus, the Prince of Egypt should be praised because it presents a more honest and neutral portray of the Book of Exodus. (Read More)

Arts & Culture

The Return To Morrowind

“Morrowind has a rich atmosphere stuffed with cultural diversity, history and a sense of place. An often alien world, unlike many other RPGs since; the foreign strangeness of the land is palpable. Wizards live in giant mushrooms that they have magically nurtured and have carved homes from. Middle Eastern, Japanese, and nomadic cultures are also prominent in the visuals, ranging from the architecture to the armour design” (Read More)

Books

Is Captain Corelli’s Mandolin deserving of canonical status?

However, the portrayal of Mandras as the “…savage/brute”, from the perspective of the third-person, is disingenuous and not as impartial as we would think. The portrayal of Mandras here reflects not an example of authorial ‘craftsmanship’, but rather a symbol of De Bernières’ anti-Communist sentiment. This is arguably where Captain Corelli’s Mandolin falls short of deserving canonical status.

(Read More)

Arts & Culture

Review | Winter Solstice | The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

“Yet it doesn’t seem to accomplish that here; in fact, it’s a struggle to see what the staging brings to the play other than a few cheap laughs. The cast gamely try to bring their characters to life, and Kirsty Besterman’s Bettina alongside Davin Beames’ Rudolph are particular standouts, skilfully evoking a bitter, wry frustration and an insidious, polite extremism respectively. But the staging is effectively working against them. As the narration describes the house or a character in great detail, all we want to do is see it, to watch it unfold instead of constantly being told what it is. The characters are neither truly believable as individuals or as symbols of some wider concept.” (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Ravan Kiani: The Ex-Muslim Poet

“Ravan Kiani encourages people of multifaith and non-faith to explore the intricacies of what it means to lose everything when you reject god. Having attracted more than 400 followers, the account requires much more support in its message of inclusivity, love, human rights and civil liberty.” (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Is Brighton Rock a true ‘detective’ novel?

It can be said that Greene’s Brighton Rock subverts more than it does conform to the essence of a detective novel. After all, by its nature as a ‘howdunnit’, there is very little in the way of conventional detection, and in many respects, it is the reader rather than a protagonist who is invited to investigate through the act of ‘reading’. (Read More)

Books

Review | ‘The Case for Impeachment’

Distinguished Professor of History at the American University in Washington DC, Allan J. Lichtman has produced my favourite book of 2017. Renowned as the man who predicted Donald Trump’s election to the White House, Lichtman turns his attention to how and why President Trump should be impeached. (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Richard Thieriot | Things I have learned – Week One of the Fringe

“In the US we use Cheeky, Naughty and Dirty as synonyms and almost exclusively when doing our best British impersonations. They have all come to mean “slightly provocative behavior from someone who is usually quite tame”. So it is not surprising that as I approached the gleaming counter at Nando’s, my American-sized smile on my face, I chose the wrong adjective.” (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Sandra Hale | A letter to Edinburgh

“My second bit of advice is this. Don’t stay in Edinburgh after you’ve seen my show on my first performance date, August 3rd. Rent out your house/flat for quadruple the amount you would get normally. Believe me there are loads of comedians and actors who as I speak, are doing all manner of things to get some cash together to pay for accommodation in Edinburgh, so why shouldn’t it be you that reaps the benefit?”
(Read More)

Arts & Culture

Your body on vacation: how to be chill

“As Edinburgh Fringe gets underway, thousands of performers will binge drink, pick up smoking and eat cheap crappy food. At least, that will probably be the case for me. I have a strategy for this. My fitness goals are to drink a pint of water for every beer after the third and aim for eight hours of sleep a night. I think that is about all any performer could handle.” (Read More)

Film & TV

Review | ‘Dunkirk’

“There are several leading characters in the film but there is nobody around which the entire story revolves. Not even Kenneth Branagh’s Commander who stands on the pier attempting to direct the evacuation is master of his own fate. All rely on the other interlinking perspectives of the story. The perspective of Mark Rylance’s retired veteran’s pleasure boat crossing the channel to a war zone is fuelled by the duty to do his bit.  As is Tom Hardy’s endless dogfights in the air knowing he might lack the fuel to get himself home.” (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Why Inception is the greatest movie ever made

“The best anyone can hope for is an acknowledgement of a film’s status even if they have a distaste for it. Is there a secret to achieving even that? Movies are in the eye of the beholder, but ‘great’ pieces, whether small or large budget productions, enjoy the Shakespeare effect: if the themes explore human nature and exist on an emotive level as much as an intellectual one, they’ll grab the crown.” (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Does Othello epitomise the tragic hero?

“However, it is clear that Othello really must be the epitome of the tragic hero through his death at the end of the play, generating anagnorisis and reinforcing the noble nature the hero’s status, all defining features of Aristotle’s conventions. As a result of murdering Desdemona, the revealed truth consolidates the emotions of both Othello and the audience, with his character left a state of anguish.” (Read More)

Reviews

Review | ‘The Broken Journey: A Life of Scotland 1976-99’ by Kenneth Roy

That’s extremely important given today’s politics. So much of Scotland’s past is used as a resource to fuel arguments, on both sides, of the constitutional debate that it’s rare to find a rhizomatic reading of history concerned with how well the system worked. How the Scottish justice, health, education systems operated with and through the Scotland Office; its ministers and its instruments and scope of its power in Scotland make for a fascinating read and serves an accessible index of political parties and policies still asking for your vote today. (Read More)

'The Grand Tour' / Amazon Prime Video
Arts & Culture

Review | ‘The Grand Tour’

“The problem here is that the mystery of Top Gear has evaporated. Part of the magical charm of Clarkson, Hammond and May was that no one knew how close they were. By resigning to be with a disgraced comrade, the audience got exposed to either a gratuitously mercantile vein or genuine affection that runs counter to the on-screen tension that was so funny.” (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Donald Trump and Theresa May’s ‘special relationship’ has been turned into NSFW street art

“Young people have never even more isolated, and some are lashing out. Street art represents an immutable reaction against a political class that doesn’t want to listen, a voting system that is flawed and a society that feels angrier than ever in a generation. It is no coincidence that these montages are so often graphic in their depiction and so publicly displayed.”
(Read More)

Arts & Culture

Review | ‘Logan’

“The result is an astonishing swansong and something of an unexpected triumph for a genre most thought was in decline. Yet this is where the film succeeds: it knows that at their best, superhero films have to be a timeless tale and less contingent on effects and dated context. It’s an obvious lesson, but given the immortal quality of the comic source material, it’s remarkable that most filmmakers eclipse this point in favour of utilising the latest technologies to produce something that will, eventually, age beyond relevance. ” (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Review | ‘Sikunder Burnes’ by Craig Murray

“Does he vent, passive aggressively, about a subject not dissimilar to himself? No, but even in the expose which made his name, ‘Murder in Samarkand’, there was never frothing bile save for an honest representation of the facts. To the contrary, Murray’s prose is self-aware enough to do justice beyond hagiography and he never lets any slight against him prejudice his assessment, both critical and admiring, of his subject.” (Read More)

Books

‘It Can Happen Here’ is as relevant as ever

Michael Meyer’s wonderfully acute, succinct and thought-provoking introduction describes the book’s protagonist, Doremus Jessup, as ‘a mild, rather indolent and somewhat sentimental liberal’. If only the world today was full of indolent sentimental Liberals. Similar to those in It Can’t Happen Here, with the exception of Jessup, today’s Liberals seem on the one hand content to hold together a world that is evidently not working for the majority of people, while also to their credit are able to identify a truly dangerous, hapless president who poses a threat not just to their world but to the ideals of the whole population. (Read More)

Arts & Culture

The problem with the 8th generation

This article discusses the issues that have beset the 8th generation of computer gaming. The lack of console hard drive space, large mandatory game patches and a perceptible lack of innovation, have all led to an insipid generation of consoles and games, not drastically different from the generation before. (Read More)

'Clown' / CC
Theatre

London Clown Festival – no nose is good nose

But just as there are more and more new clowns creeping into the arena so it becomes apparent that they need a somewhere to meet and exchange ideas, a common ground, and I’m not talking about the annual Bognor Clown Convention, bless it, these are the new clowns, clowns without faces. So Henry and Dan decided to give all these clowns a space to come together by holding a festival. Brilliant. In London. Excellent! In a tent by a car park in Manor House! Weird! And then onto Edinburgh for the fringe…. wonderful! (Read More)

Theatre

Review | Kraken

A mime talks! Owie! This was a scandalously good show and mime is definitely the new rock n roll, move over clown, this man is leading a silent revolution. I defy anyone to see this and not be converted. (Read More)

Fiction Corner

Short Story | The Catapult of Christ

“The elastic was not really elastic at all but the rubber ring which fitted to an old press machine put together by her Uncle Stefan long years before she was born and now lying rusted in the store room with the tricycle and the broken skis.” (Read More)

Fiction Corner

Short Story | Does, Doesn’t

“The duel of Does and Doesn’t rose up before me as both a monstrous waste of life and energy, and also an incredible achievement, a triumph of perseverance, a work of Art in the highest sense, an accomplishment which, even as I forked up another lump of chocolate sponge, was continuing its development in the castle high on the hill above lazy Piran.” (Read More)

Fiction Corner

Short Story | The Tale of the Fox

“He retrieves his game, thrusting it safely in his jacket pocket and quickens his pace out of this place, though, try as he might to fear, he feels only welcome and kindness on this moonwashed winter night. He pauses a moment and is sure he can see a pair of eyes staring at him through the trees. But a wisp of a moment it is there, and then it is gone.” (Read More)

Fiction Corner

Short Story | The Flyer

One who had sworn never to patronise this particular establishment in her life time; one who proudly hadn’t done McDonald’s for over four years; one who boycotted Nestle, here I stood. I was madly in need of a double espresso and a biscotti, and every other cafe on and off the Royal Mile was packed with tourists, performers and the occasional indigenous Edinburger. It had taken me the best part of half an hour to negotiate the desperate performers and the crowds of watchers of street magic and unicycled knife jugglers, not to mention bagpipers and mini kite sellers. I needed to sit down. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Arts & Culture

Fall @ [email protected] Infirmary Street

Edinburgh Fringe Festival is never short of Shakespeare adaptations however finding one as captivating and inventive as Fall is rare. Written by Katie Dunstan and Alex Doble, and directed by Jamie Woods, Entita Theatre present a physical theatre production closely based on Macbeth that makes you forget it is based on Shakespeare at all which is highly impressive, especially given how young the cast are. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Film & TV

Review: The Salvation

With his wonderfully restrained style of acting, Mads Mikkelson stars in The Salvation, a western that incorporates all the traditions of old-school westerns while giving the genre a wonderful boost of vitality. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Arts & Culture

Revisiting The Man Who Would Be King

When I first met a man, who is now one of my closest friends, he told me I would love three things: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Withnail and I and The Man Who Would Be King. He recommended a fourth, eight years later, but I’ll tell you that at the end. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Edinburgh Festival

Review: The James Plays

The stories that a nation tells to itself begin with gods and kings and heroes. As James I says, ‘I am Scotland’. And if we live in a time of no gods and precious few heroes, perhaps that’s exactly the time to start finding out where we came from. Hence the need for, and grand occasion of, the James Plays. (Read More)

Theatre

Review: Dylan Moran ‘Off The Hook’

Dylan Moran brings his unique brand of optimistic pessimism to Glasgow’s Clyde auditorium for a night of serious laughter, and an impressive array of artwork, with Off The Hook. Everyone’s favourite hater of things returns to rail against politics, technology, golf, religion and the current trend of British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing TV programmes. (Read More)

'Our fiction writing' / CC
Books

Gore Vidal’s Afterlives: A Few False Starts

For this reason, passive selling carries its own quiet satisfaction: getting a title you personally cherish into stock, knowing no-one else will bother, sticking a blurb on it and watching it sell itself reliably month after month. My first choice was always Gore Vidal’s essay collection United States. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Arts & Culture

Cut @ Underbelly, George Square

Site specific show Cut brings something a little bit different to Edinburgh Fringe this year, taken into an airplane style set-up the air hostess gives instructions and provides a safe-word for those who may need to leave creating a foreboding atmosphere before plunging the room into absolute darkness. (Read More)

'Our fiction writing' / CC
Arts & Culture

Looking back at the rack #2 – Civil War

So last month, we talked about Planet Hulk, in all its green-rage, monster-fuelled (and sword and planet styled) glory! This month, we’re going to look a little closer to home.

When people ask me, “I’m looking to get into comic books, what do you recommend?” I almost never suggest Marvel’s cross-title Civil War. It’s not because it’s bad (far from it!), but because you need to know a little bit about the Marvel universe beforehand so you can truly understand the grand scale of this all-out Marvel event. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Arts & Culture

Review: Clown Macbeth @ C

While it is not difficult to find an incarnation of a Shakespeare classic at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it is often difficult to find a new way of performing it. Using mime, dance, music, and sound, Clown Macbeth by Ryukyu Cirque have certainly achieved this. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Film & TV

Review: The Martian

Based on Andy Weir’s 2011 novel, The Martian tells the story of Mark Watney (Matt Damon), a botanist on a manned mission to Mars who, through a freak accident, is presumed dead and left behind by the rest of his crew as they escape a storm on the planet’s surface. Watney, alive and well, is now marooned on Mars without enough food to last him until the next manned mission from Earth arrives. He must put all of his training and knowledge into action in order to survive and make contact with Earth while at the same time NASA scientists and Watney’s crew try to figure out a way to bring the stranded astronaut home. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Film & TV

Review: Legend

Brian Helgeland’s Legend seems like an almost tailor-made vehicle for its star Tom Hardy. The films hook, of Hardy playing both male leads, allows him to display his immense talent for portraying both subtle, nuanced, dark characters and wild, over-the-top eccentrics at the same time. Hardy has, for a while now, been one of the best actors to come out of Britain but Legend really showcases his talents perfectly. (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Limbo @ Underbelly Circus Hub

The circus comes to town in spectacular fashion with Limbo at the new Underbelly Circus Hub. Bringing danger and darkness to the Fringe Limbo serves up a wide selection of acts including live music, dance acts, fire eating, sword swallowing, and contortion. (Read More)

'Our fiction writing' / CC
Books

Book Trailers: Friend or Foe?

I am in turmoil over the recent popularity of book trailers, I despise the use of technology where literature is concerned. I was forced to get a Kindle to allow authors to send me their books for me to review as that is the route most authors prefer. But reading on a device is not the same as holding a book in your hand, the feel, smell, and intimacy can not transcend to an e-reader. I understand it has made literature more widely available to the masses which is not a bad thing however I can only hope they in no way serve to eradicate actual books. I will never understand anyone preferring a kindle to an actual book, it is beyond my comprehension. (Read More)

Theatre

Review: Waiting for Godot

So, that was the effect of seeing Waiting for Godot at the Lyceum in Edinburgh. Life became Beckettized. Works of genius will do that. They reach out beyond their medium. (I picked up Naked Lunch for the first time in years, only to be accosted on the bus the same day by a total stranger, who it turned out had been a dealer: ‘What’s it about? Drugs? Oh-ho…let me tell you about drugs, man.’ And he did.) (Read More)

'Books are power' / CC
Books

Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Those familiar with Haruki Murakami will know of the fantasy elements that run through most of his books; parallel universes, taking cats, and mysterious wells being just a few. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage is a break away from that. Like his 1987 novel Norwegian Wood, this focuses purely on the people and the relationships between them. Being an ardent admirer of Murakami I spent the whole novel seeing foreboding where there wasn’t any and seeing potential supernatural within the story. This did not lead to disappointment however. As always the writing holds such a magical quality to it that attention is captivated without the need for magic in the plot. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Film & TV

Review: Solace

Originally intended to be a sequel to 1995 film Se7en, Solace is a typical FBI-hunts-serial killer with a psychic twist plot. Haruki Murakami fans, such as myself, will be surprised to learn that the killers method of choice is a sharp implement directly into the base of the neck. For a moment I confused my fictions and thought Aomame from 1Q84 was the murderer. It turns out she is not in this case. (Read More)

'Our fiction writing' / CC
Books

Review: The First Bad Man: A Novel by Miranda July

Cheryl Glickman is not a typical protagonist; middle aged, not a conventional beauty, neurotic, and extremely weird. Cheryl Glickman is a human being. A refreshing change compared to a lot of women within fiction. Her quirkiness is endearing and almost overwhelming as her personality slaps you in the face from every page. Her main concern to begin with is being a strong career woman and capturing the attentions of colleague Phillip. this all begins to fall apart, however, when another colleagues daughter becomes her supposedly temporary room-mate. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Edinburgh Festival

The Glenn Miller Story @ The Kings Theatre Glasgow

Directed by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright The Glenn Miller Story swings into Glasgow bringing back an era that is often much forgotten. The legendary british entertainer Tommy Steele brings his uniqueness to the role of composer, arranger, musician, and band-leader Glenn Miller, aiding a wonderfully old-fashioned stye of entertainment. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Arts & Culture

Review: ‘Die Welle’ (The Wave)

Is the threat of dictatorship and oppression but a distant memory? Is it something only found in developing countries half a world away? Has democracy and its subliminal values been entrenched in the West? These are all issues that Dennis Gansel’s film Die Welle (The Wave in English) seeks to deal with. Based on true events, this story seeks to explore the human psyche and the very society that we are taking for granted when it is put under pressure and its ‘basic truths’ are questioned. (Read More)

Moyan Brenn, Edinburgh Festival / CC
Books

Johann Hari @ Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015

Drugs policy is a controversial topic and may not seem like an interesting topic to use for a book however Johann Hari has done just that. Chasing the Scream uses human tales to advocate the legalization of drugs. Hari has travelled to many countries to speak with many people on their experiences of personal drug abuse or those associated with it. (Read More)

Moyan Brenn, Edinburgh Festival / CC
Arts & Culture

The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the Truth @ C Nova

Directed by Park YeonJoo The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the truth is based on the Chekhov classic though this performance focuses on three of the original list of characters. This physical theatre performance is highly inventive, conveying a lot within the intense physicality in a much more interesting way that dialogue ever could. The dialogue that is used flits between english and korean however it is not necessary to understand both languages to understand the piece. This bilingual aspect brings an added cultural flavour which is important for international companies to retain. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Arts & Culture

The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy: The Deliverance @ Assembly Roxy

Stellar Quines Theatre Company present The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy as part of Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Each show can be viewed as stand alone pieces but they are interlinked to create a powerful trilogy. Written by Jennifer Tremblay, translated by Stellar Quines, and performed by Maureen Beattie The Deliverance follows the woman trying to fulfill her mothers dying wish of seeing her son one last time. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Arts & Culture

Perceptual Landscape @ [email protected] Square

Comuna De Pedra present a physical theatre piece that explores the meaning of reality and illusion. Inspired by children with autism, Perceptual Landscapes uses light and sound to great effect creating a rich sensory experience and pushing the boundaries on how light and sound can be used within a performance. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Arts & Culture

Fiction @ Pleasance Dome

Fiction is a brilliantly unique theatre experience. After a disjointed start of seemingly random scenes on the screen the audience, each wearing their headphones, are plunged into absolute darkness and stay that way for the duration. (Read More)

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Arts & Culture

The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy: The Carousel @ Assembly Roxy

Stellar Quines Theatre Company present The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy as part of Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Each show can be viewed as stand alone pieces but they are interlinked to create a powerful trilogy. Written by Jennifer Tremblay, translated by Stellar Quines, and performed by Maureen Beattie the second installment of the trilogy, The Carousel, follows a woman as she travels across the Canadian landscape to her dying mother’s bedside and through a series of memories as she attempts to better understand her family and herself. (Read More)