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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Big Short’

18 February 2016
The Big Short 
directed by Adam McKay.
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... and the ones who don’t know seem more ignorant than anyone can be. This is not a difficulty for Adam McKay in The Big Short, it’s his opportunity, his way of turning a film about the financial crash of 2008 into a very funny, if ultimately desperate screwball comedy. His heroes are socially dysfunctional but honest in their contorted way, and the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Vice’

21 February 2019
... We may​ think all biopics are biofantasies, in which case the opening title card of Adam McKay’s new film Vice will have us laughing already. After all, he is the former Saturday Night Live writer who made The Big Short, a very funny movie about the 2008 financial crisis. The card says: ‘The following is a true story ...
27 September 2018
How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... yet?’ How​ should we write the story of Aids? Where should we start? David France and Richard McKay’s books are both in dialogue with Randy Shilts’s bestselling And the Band Played On, published in 1987, when an end to the story was impossible to imagine. France is closer to Shilts in his ambition to provide something resembling a total history of the ...

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