Daniel Radcliffe: why are the leaders of our political parties so uninspiring?

22 June 2013

Daniel Radcliffe is wearing the standard rehearsal outfit of T-shirt, black jeans and trainers. ‘Ah, this is for The Spectator. I probably shouldn’t have worn my fake Che Guevara T-shirt.’… Read more

A troubled conscience: Saoirse Ronan as Eleanor

Gemma Arterton's new vampire flick, Byzantium, is melancholia at its most trying

1 June 2013
Byzantium 15

Neil Jordan’s Byzantium may well be stylish and moody — so moody, in fact, I wanted to send it to its bedroom with the instruction it could only come down… Read more

'Seduced And Abandoned' star Alec Baldwin poses with wife Hilaria at this years Cannes Film Festival Photo: Getty

Taki: What's Cannes all about? Seducing someone important

25 May 2013

Cannes It’s raining, the stars are hiding, the hacks and paparazzi are waterlogged and frustrated, and the shimmering images of the beautiful people walking up the red carpet are just… Read more


The end of the affair?

10 March 2012
Secrets and Lies Christine Keeler with Douglas Thompson

John Blake, pp.290, 17.99

Of those caught up in the 1963 Profumo affair, the only winner seems to have been that blithe spirit Mandy Rice-Davies. Everyone else lost. Profumo’s family bore the brunt, of… Read more


Loves, hates and unfulfilled desires

18 February 2012
Zona Geoff Dyer

Canongate, pp.229, 16.99

Montaigne, who more or less invented the discursive essay, had a method which was highly unmethodical: ‘All arguments are alike fertile to me. I take them upon any trifle .… Read more


Stronger than fiction

21 January 2012
Warrior: The Amazing Story of a Real Warhorse General Sir Jack Seely, illustrated by Alfred Munnings

Racing Post Press, pp.176, 14.99

I think it was a Frenchman — it usually is — who observed that the English love their animals more than their children. At first glance, General Jack Seely’s Warrior:… Read more

Who’s the real monster?

31 December 2011
Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood and Invented Modern Horror Jason Zinoman

Duckworth, pp.274, 18.99

‘The first monster that an audience has to be scared of is the film-maker. They have to feel in the presence of someone not confined by the normal rules of… Read more


Scenes from the Mad Hatter’s tea party

2 July 2011
And God Created Burton Tom Rubython

The Myrtle Press, pp.812, 20

I only ever heard my mother admit twice to fancying other men. One, remarkably, was Saddam Hussein, the other was Richard Burton, and of each she said, ‘He’s a good-looking… Read more


The Midas touch

23 April 2011
Bill Gold: Poster Works introduction by Christopher Frayling, edited by Tony Nourmand, foreword by Clint Eastwood

Reel Art Press, pp.447, 400

Now that we can read on Kindle and some people fear that paper-and-ink books will become extinct, one’s first impulse might be to say hurrah for this mighty production. Now… Read more


Still life

12 February 2011

I didn’t go and see the Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit this week because I couldn’t get excited about it and don’t like westerns anyhow. I didn’t go and… Read more


Steps to destruction

22 January 2011

I have always suspected that, if you look for the black swan within yourself, it will end in tears, and now Darren Aronofsky has proved me right. It will end… Read more


Neither here nor there

15 January 2011

Conviction is yet another film based on ‘an inspirational true story’ because, I’m assuming, Hollywood has now run out of made-up stories. Conviction is yet another film based on ‘an… Read more


Film: Farewell to arm

8 January 2011

Unless you’ve been living under a rock — in which case, keep it to yourself; I’m done with rocks — you’ll have already heard about 127 Hours. Unless you’ve been… Read more


The wow factor

18 December 2010
Franco Zeffirelli: Complete Works edited by Caterina Napoleone

Thames & Hudson, pp.512, 95

‘Nothing succeeds like excess,’ quipped Oscar Wilde, and Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Aida at La Scala, Milan in 2006 bears him out: for sheer jaw-dropping, applause- garnering theatrical bling, I… Read more

Mastering the k-word

11 December 2010
The King's Speech Mark Logue and Peter Conradi

Quercus, pp.242

The film The King’s Speech, which is due to appear in the UK in January, tells the story of George VI’s struggle to overcome his stammer. The film The King’s… Read more


All the lonely people

11 December 2010

Whereas Sofia Coppola’s directorial breakthrough, Lost in Translation, featured two lonely souls rattling about in a Tokyo hotel, her latest film, Somewhere, features one lonely soul holed up in a… Read more


Catching up with Clooney

27 November 2010

There are quite a few reasons to like The American. It is an action film with almost no action, making it a non-action action film which, I now know, is… Read more


BOOKENDS: Flesh and blood

13 November 2010
The Art of Hammer Marcus Hearn

Titan, 24.99

Flesh. Lots of flesh. That was the simple promise of a Hammer horror film. In this collection of classic Hammer posters (The Art of Hammer by Marcus Hearn, Titan, £24.99)… Read more


Interview – Tomas Alfredson: outside the frame

Without warning, Tomas Alfredson jumps up and starts wading about the room like a water bird treading over lily pads. ‘There’s a famous sketch by a Swedish comedian,’ he explains… Read more


A certain look

7 April 2010
A Hundred or More Hidden Things Mark Griffin

Da Capo Press, pp.330, 9.99

Just as there are people who are their own worst enemies, so there are books that are their own worst reviews. Mark Griffin’s A Hundred or More Hidden Things, a… Read more


Cast a long shadow

24 February 2010
The Moment of Psycho David Thomson

Basic Books, pp.183, 13.99

Many years ago I invited a young student of mine to see Psycho, a film of which she had never heard, made by a director (Hitchcock) with whose name she… Read more


A dramatic streak

10 February 2010
John Armstrong: The Paintings Andrew Lambirth

Philip Wilson Publishers, pp.240, 35

Late in the 19th century, archaeologists digging in the Roman Forum discovered a lime kiln. It had been built to incinerate marble into an aggregate for the mortar for the… Read more

The face of a muffin

30 December 2009
Margaret Rutherford: Dreadnought with Good Manners Andy Merriman

Aurum, pp.296, 18.99

What was it about post-war British cinema? Our films were lit up by a collection of wonderfully idiosyncratic performers. Think Alistair Sim, Terry-Thomas and Robert Morley. Perhaps the most idiosyncratic… Read more

Moving swiftly on

20 May 2009
Chaplin’s Girl Miranda Seymour

Simon & Schuster, pp.369, 15.99

Love Child Allegra Huston

Bloomsbury, pp.289, 17.99

Chaplin’s Girl, by Miranda Seymour Love Child, by Allegra Huston Virginia Cherrill was an exceptionally pretty young woman when she turned up in Los Angeles in the late 1920s, looking… Read more

Perfectly unreliable

28 January 2009
Ticks and Crosses: Personal Terms 4 Frederic Raphael

Carcanet, pp.221, 18.95

Memoirs? No one writes them any more. If you wish to distinguish yourself from the sweaty masses, you are far better off publishing a diary, or notebook, call it what… Read more