Peter Hoskin

Weekend Culture | 25 January 2008

Weekend Culture | 25 January 2008
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This weekend, the title of must-see cultural monolith belongs to the From Russia exhibition at the Royal Academy.  After much political wrangling, artworks from the the leading galleries of Moscow and St Petersburg have finally been made available to a London audience.  And, oh, how it's been the worth wait. The Matisse's are electric; the Kandinsky's are challenging; but, for me, the unexpected highlight has to be the work of the Lithuanian artist Isaac Levitan - capturing, as it does, both the drudgery and beauty of everyday life.  From Russia, as Adrian Searle puts it, is "Great, ghastly, revolutionary and hilarious" - just as all exhibitions should be.

The Spectator's Deborah Ross has already reviewed the best film release of the weekend - Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd.  For myself, it's Burton's second greatest film (behind the 1994 effort, Ed Wood); saturated with the gothicism and dark humour which makes his work both redolent of the 1930s Universal horror films and also - somehow - thrillingly distinctive.

Over in the City of Culture (Liverpool, that is), the Rejects Revenge production of Here be Monsters sounds like a fun mish-mash of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, pop culture references and leftfield humour.  I must admit, I haven't seen this particular production - but I've enjoyed the work of the Rejects team in the past - so head here if you'd like a bit more insight.

On television, the continuing Channel 4 series City of Vice - which delves into the early years of the Bow Street Runners - is trashily appealing (repeat of episode 2: Ch4, Sat, 23:35; episode 3: Ch4, Mon, 21:00).  And also appealing - although perhaps less trashy - is Sir Menzies Campbell's "first television interview about his time as Liberal Democrat Leader, and the way it ended" on Sunday's Andrew Marr show (BBC 2, Sun, 09:00).