Monthly Archives: September 2010

THEATRE REVIEW: Rachel Wagstaff’s ‘Birdsong’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – A vibrant love story and the searing experience of World War I in the trenches are combined successfully in British novelist Sebastian Faulks’ bestseller “Birdsong.” It has thwarted filmmakers so far but young playwright Rachel … Continue reading

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Don Black, sitting at home writing songs

By Ray Bennett London’s leafy Green Park means many things to many people, but to lyricist Don Black it will always be the place where he wrote the hit song “Tell Me on a Sunday” to the music of Andrew … Continue reading

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THEATRE REVIEW: Elena Roger in Sondheim’s ‘Passion’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – That love never fails is a simple concept made rich and complex in Stephen Sondheim’s ardent 1994 Tony Award-winning musical “Passion” in a memorable new production at the Donmar Warehouse. From the sizzling opening bedroom … Continue reading

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TIFF FILM REVIEW: John Gray’s ‘White Irish Drinkers’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – A movie with the unprepossessing title “White Irish Drinkers’ about two brothers living in the Brooklyn docklands in 1975 could easily be filled with clichés but in the hands of filmmaker John Gray it’s a … Continue reading

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TIFF FILM REVIEW: Keanu Reeves in ‘Henry’s Crime’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – Combining a back-stage theatrical romance and a drama about a bank robbery into one spoof might have seemed a good idea at the time but while Malcolm Venville’s “Henry’s Crime” is billed as a comedy … Continue reading

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TIFF FILM REVIEW: David M. Rosenthal’s ‘Janie Jones’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – An earnest tale about a faded rock star who discovers he has a teenaged daughter and takes her on the road, “Janie Jones” follows a predictable path and despite decent performances it does not catch … Continue reading

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TIFF FILM REVIEW: John Sayles’s ‘Amigo’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – John Sayles’s “Amigo” is set during the U.S. incursion in the Philippines in 1900 but the parallels with Afghanistan and Iraq today are clear. It’s an impressive film, but the indie filmmaker has little to … Continue reading

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TIFF FILM REVIEW: Max Winkler’s ‘Ceremony’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – Max Winkler’s humorless “Ceremony” falls into the category of would-be comedies in which a hapless young man scores with a gorgeous woman completely out of his league. As Sam Davis, the young man in question, … Continue reading

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TIFF FILM REVIEW: Pierre Thorreton’s ‘L’amour fou’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – When the late couturier Yves Saint Laurent’s longtime companion and business partner Pierre Bergé decided to sell their vast and unique collection of artwork, it was called the auction of the century. Pierre Thorreton’s painstaking … Continue reading

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TIFF FILM REVIEW: Michael Winterbottom’s ‘The Trip’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – Michael Winterbottom’s listless foody travelogue “The Trip” is made up of highlights from a six-part BBC-TV series that has yet to air but if these are the best bits then no one will mind waiting. … Continue reading

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