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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’, 30 August 2018

... Rogue Nation, 2015) by Christopher McQuarrie, takes up pieces of an earlier story. Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the leader of the so-called Syndicate, is in American custody, and has been interrogated, we are told, in 12 countries. The bad guys’ plot is to kidnap him and exchange him for three plutonium bombs that will be released in Rome, Jerusalem ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘It Follows’, 9 April 2015

... of actual anticlimax awaits, and Mitchell gives us a series of brilliant answers and evasions. Anthony Lane thinks the film belongs to a ‘distinct genre: slacker-horror’. But then his criticism of ‘its dazed and aimless air’ comes off as a sort of baffled praise, and I certainly incline to the praise. How can an apparently casual and ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Arkansas’, 4 June 2020

... and cinemas keep reminding us to watch at home the films they can’t show. ‘The olden days,’ Anthony Lane said in a recent, very funny New Yorker piece, ‘ended a few months ago.’ Those were the days when ‘humans went to the movies’. It’s also true that the olden days had long been invaded by other habits. We did still go to a crowded ...

Mad Monk

Jenny Diski: Not going to the movies, 6 February 2003

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 963 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 316 85905 2
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Nobody’s Perfect: Writings from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Anthony Lane.
Picador, 752 pp., £15.99, November 2002, 0 330 49182 2
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Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film 
by Peter Wollen.
Verso, 314 pp., £13, December 2002, 1 85984 391 3
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... and therefore suffering from the same nostalgia syndrome). In a review (in the New Republic) of Anthony Lane’s book Nobody’s Perfect, Thomson, aged sixtyish, compares a non-exhaustive list of the movies available for Pauline Kael to review in the 1970s with those reviewed in the New Yorker by Lane, aged ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The International’, ‘Duplicity’, 9 April 2009

The International 
directed by Tom Twyker.
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Duplicity 
directed by Tony Gilroy.
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... has taken off for Europe, ostensibly to check out the Louvre, but really to follow a U2 tour. As Anthony Lane says, she is picked up so quickly by the bad guys that her parents might just as well have FedExed her to them. Neeson can redeem any movie, and he doesn’t fail here, but it is a close call, for two reasons: because the plot often feels like ...

Looking for Imperfection

Gilberto Perez: John Cassavetes, 23 August 2001

John Cassavetes: Lifeworks 
by Tom Charity.
Omnibus, 257 pp., £10.95, March 2001, 0 7119 7544 2
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Cassavetes on Cassavetes 
edited by Ray Carney.
Faber, 526 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 571 20157 1
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... do documentaries.’ Quoting this bit of wit and wisdom in a recent New Yorker piece on Roberts, Anthony Lane wrote: ‘it shows … how remote she is from any European visions of cinema – not just from the relaxed, Old World attitude toward sex but from the European assumption (found lingering in the work of Americans like Robert Altman) that the ...

Wolfish

John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry, 5 May 2005

Publisher 
by Tom Maschler.
Picador, 294 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 330 48420 6
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British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s 
by Eric de Bellaigue.
British Library, 238 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 7123 4836 0
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Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Viking, 484 pp., £25, May 2005, 0 670 91485 1
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... Smith, John Blackwood, George Routledge, Frederick Macmillan, David Garnett, Ian Parsons, Allen Lane. It was one of the most highly regarded of today’s younger publishers, Peter Straus (now an agent), who commissioned the book. None of these coat-brushers of genius is a household name: most publishers remain invisible. And many of Maschler’s authors ...

Large and Rolling

Penelope Fitzgerald, 31 July 1997

The Scholar Gypsy: The Quest for a Family Secret 
by Anthony Sampson.
Murray, 229 pp., £16, May 1997, 0 7195 5708 9
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... Anthony Sampson begins and ends his book with an account of his grandfather’s funeral, held, as requested in his will, at the top of a Welsh mountain, Foel Goch. Among the mourners were Gypsy harpers and fiddlers, scholars, civic officials and ‘the painter Mr Augustus John’. ‘Hundreds of spectators,’ it was reported, ‘waited for the coming of the mortal remains of Dr John Sampson, the well-known philologist and librarian of Liverpool University ...

A Common Playhouse

Charles Nicholl: The Globe Theatre, 8 January 2015

Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle That Gave Birth to the Globe 
by Chris Laoutaris.
Fig Tree, 528 pp., £20, April 2015, 978 1 905490 96 7
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... Shakespearean associations, invisible but well attested. Down an alleyway running south off Carter Lane lies New Bell Yard. Now dominated by the glass-fronted atrium of the Grange St Paul’s Hotel, this was formerly the site of the Bell Inn. In the 1590s its landlady was a Mistress Greffine or Griffin, and among its frequent guests was a Stratford businessman ...

Let Us Pay

John Lanchester: Can newspapers survive?, 16 December 2010

... what amounts to an individualised newspaper. I would be entirely happy to pay to subscribe to Anthony Lane on movies in the New Yorker, and Patricia Wells on restaurants in the Herald Tribune, and Larry Elliott on economics in the Guardian, and David Pogue on technology in the New York Times, and I also want to feel free to read anything else which ...

Travelling Text

Marina Warner: ‘The Arabian Nights’, 18 December 2008

The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights 
translated by Malcolm Lyons, with Ursula Lyons.
Penguin, 2715 pp., £125, November 2008, 978 0 14 091166 4
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‘The Arabian Nights’ in Historical Context: Between East and West 
edited by Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum.
Oxford, 337 pp., £55, November 2008, 978 0 19 955415 7
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... but he does scathe some of its scholars and translators, notably the English Arabist Edward Lane, whose three-volume edition, illustrated with William Harvey’s fine steel engravings, was published between 1838 and 1841. I have a copy of this translation, which came from my great-grandfather’s library, and it’s one of the few books I owned as a ...

At the V&A

Peter Campbell: Penguin’s 70th birthday, 2 June 2005

... of orange, green or blue by full-colour free dressing. Baines’s first sections show how Allen Lane set about producing a branded product. Seeing Tschichold tidy up the original grid without changing the arrangement of the essential elements or the typeface is like hearing a professional orchestra take over from an amateur band in mid-performance. But ...

What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann, 7 January 1999

John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... the Liberal cause at the Punch table. John himself had been at Eton with Alan Pryce-Jones, Anthony Powell, Eric Blair and Cyril Connolly, who, we are told, stood at the door of his room in the Sixth Form Passage asking, ‘Well, Johnny Lehmann, how are you this afternoon?’ While he was at Trinity his sister Rosamond published her first novel, Dusty ...

The Vicar of Chippenham

Christopher Haigh: Religion and the life-cycle, 15 October 1998

Birth, Marriage and Death: Ritual, Religion and the Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Oxford, 641 pp., £25, May 1998, 0 19 820168 0
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... for her pregnancy in 1569 and claimed to have given birth to a cat. The champion cad was Francis Lane, who in 1608 promised to marry Rose Arnold, got her pregnant, tried to push her down a well and claimed another man was the father. Rose ‘wandered up and down in Northamptonshire until I was delivered of childbirth’: she lost the baby, but still wanted ...

Fatalism, Extenuation and Despair

Peter Clarke: John Major, 5 March 1998

Major: A Political Life 
by Anthony Seldon.
Weidenfeld, 856 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 297 81607 1
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... is still fresh in our memories. Indeed, it was only six months after Major’s demise that Anthony Seldon published this substantial book, and looking at it now provokes mixed reactions. First to marvel that even the prodigiously industrious Dr Seldon – a busy headmaster whose name appeared on five dustjackets in the 1996 season – did it so ...

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