Movie Review: ‘Fisherman’s Friends’

By J.P. Devine

Director Chris Foggin’s “Fisherman’s Friends” is in town on Amazon Prime. It’s meat loaf and mashed potatoes with gravy. It’s fried chicken. It’s that comfortable, that evocative and heartwarming.

For film lovers, it brings to mind “Waking Ned Devine” and Bill Forsyth’s 1983’s “Local Hero.”

But they were fictitious. “Fisherman’s Friends” is, for the most part, a true story and here it is:

We meet Danny (Daniel Mays) who is a struggling mid-level promoter in a London music company.

At opening, Danny and his office buddies are on vacation in a tiny village in Cornwall. While strolling the waterfront, they come upon a group of fishermen, young, old and middle aged, entertaining visitors with an impromptu string of sea chanties.

Danny’s cynical buddies leave him behind in the village to try and sign the singers to a contract.

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‘Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind’ Review: A Troubadour Looks Back

The singer-songwriter, now 81, is frank about his own work and refreshingly open to today’s music.

If you haven’t laid eyes on the singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot in a while, you may be stunned at the beginning of this straightforward, engaging documentary about his life and work, directed by Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni. Now 81 years old, Lightfoot doesn’t resemble the curly-haired, oft-mustachioed, outdoorsy-looking troubadour of his 1970s heyday. Skinny, his clean-shaven face now long and almost gaunt, his hair straight and combed back, he looks like an aged underground rocker. Continue reading

Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace review – utterly magnetic

An intimate and quietly mesmerising livestream event revelled in the range of Cave’s rich back catalogue

Afew weeks ago, in the vast, empty expanse of the West Hall in London’s Alexandra Palace, Nick Cave sat alone at a piano and sang 21 songs from across his extensive back catalogue. Live-streamed globally last Thursday, Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace, a film of that performance, is the most elaborately creative response yet to the constrictions of the lockdown.

In April, the onset of the pandemic cost Cave and the Bad Seeds the European and American legs of their world tour, which was rumoured to have been a spectacular production that would include a full gospel choir. Compared to, say, Laura Marling’s recent show on the stage of an empty Union Chapel in London, Cave’s solo performance was an extravagantly grand event that called on the services of the renowned Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan (The FavouriteMarriage StoryAmerican Honey), a full film crew and an extensive production team. His wife, Susie, was creative director. Continue reading

Book review: Divine Images

JASON WHITTAKER | University of Chicago Press

Although relatively obscure during his lifetime, William Blake has become one of the most popular English artists and writers, through poems such as “The Tyger” and “Jerusalem,” and images including The Ancient of Days. Less well-known is Blake’s radical religious and political temperament and that his visionary art was created to express a personal mythology that sought to recreate an entirely new approach to philosophy and art. This book examines both Blake’s visual and poetic work over his long career, from early engravings and poems to his final illustrations, to Dante and the Book of Job. Divine Images further explores Blake’s immense popular appeal and influence after his death, offering an inspirational look at a pioneering figure.

Source: Divine Images

Review: In “After Life” Season 2, Ricky Gervais continues to not be as funny as in “The Office”

The second series of the dark comedy won’t win back those who left the comedian behind two or three sitcoms ago

I should probably preface this one by admitting that I think Ricky Gervais is funny. A weirdly divisive statement to make these days, and one I am about to caveat thoroughly, but I think that any review of Gervais’s work – and it is impossible to take Ricky Gervais (the concept) out of any show featuring Ricky Gervais (actor, writer, creator) – needs to state where you are, on him, as a person. So: The Office was a masterwork, I think his naughty-but-actually-not Golden Globes monologues are good and he tweets too much about rescuing dogs for my personal tastes but I know it comes from a place of sweetness. There.

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