HOLLYWOOD HAS NEVER BEEN WORSE. HERE’S WHAT’S WRONG Every summer since “Jaws,” which inaugurated the era of the event movie, people who love films have complained about the awfulness of Hollywood’s latest efforts. But this summer the movies were worse than ever by a huge margin – so much so that it’s hard not to wonder [Read more…]

WE history buffs are grateful when Hollywood makes movies set in the past. We hope they’ll be decently entertaining, and pray they don’t contain massive, ridiculous inaccuracies or errors. The good thing about “Pearl Harbor” – and it may be the only good thing you can say about the movie – is that it includes no [Read more…]

Hollywood does justice to Patrick O’Brian’s naval saga DEVOTEES OF PATRICK O’BRIAN’S celebrated series of historical novels are likely to be not just relieved but delighted by Peter Weir’s beautiful film “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” They had reason to be worried at the prospect of a Hollywood version of the beloved [Read more…]

Scorsese’s film portrays racist mass murderers as victims Martin Scorsese is rightly the most lauded living American film-maker – a beacon of integrity as well as a brilliant talent. But his bloody, visually gorgeous new epic, Gangs of New York, set in Civil War-era Manhattan, distorts history at least as egregiously as The Patriot, Braveheart or [Read more…]

Victorian virtues, Hollywood vices. BOTH THE NEW MOVIE “The Four Feathers” and the reaction to it exemplify contemporary attitudes to Anglo-Saxon imperialism and the Victorians who practiced it. The film itself–the sixth cinematic version of the A.E.W. Mason novel first published in 1902–is a failure as motion-picture entertainment: visually stunning but dramatically weak and thematically confused. [Read more…]

The savage soldiers in “The Patriot” act more like the Waffen SS than actual British troops. Does this movie have an ulterior motive? The week before “The Patriot” opened in the United States, the British press lit up with furious headlines. “Truth is first casualty in Hollywood’s War,” read one in the Daily Telegraph. Another story, [Read more…]

The British writer Howard Jacobson was so astonished when his latest novel The Finkler Question won the Man Booker Prize—the most prestigious award for fiction in the English language—that he asked the BBC interviewer who introduced her segment on the award if she could please repeat her opening phrase, “Howard Jacobson has won the Man Booker [Read more…]

Defusing the Iraqi Conflict.  November 7, 2007 Few Britons have any idea of what our troops actually do in Iraq. The media’s coverage is generally limited to casualty reports, abuse claims and the odd, ill-informed screed about soldiers having the wrong equipment. In four years no British media organisation, including the BBC, has bothered to establish [Read more…]

War vs

OCTOBER 30, 2007 MRAPs, A-10s, Personal Radios and How Genuinely “Supporting the Troops” would mean recognizing that Iraq is a real war. There is real war and then there is “war” — the politician’s overwrought metaphor. The best-known examples of the latter are the “war on drugs” and “war on poverty”: Campaigns that were inherently open-ended [Read more…]

Rethinking Relationships:  Time to get tough with Turkey?   The United States should radically rethink its relationship with Turkey. For the sad fact is that Ankara no longer seems to be an ally worthy of the name — indeed its threatened invasion of Iraq would be the act of an outright enemy. Nor has Turkey behaved [Read more…]