Review: The Shape of Water

We all know Guillermo del Toro likes his weird creatures. But in The Shape of Water, he takes fantasy to another level. I’m not one for plot-spoilers, so I’ll tread carefully here. The thing is, I’m really not sure what this film is trying to be – mainly because the ‘creature’ doesn’t have much to say. I mean to say philosophically, let alone character-wise: he’s just an unexplained amphibian, trapped in a top-secret Government lab somewhere in 1960’s USA.

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Review: Loveless

If a pleasant, uplifting trip to the pictures is what you’re after, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless is not the film for you. It’s there in the title: this is a tale of despair and – you’ve guessed it – lovelessness. Don’t let me put you off though. It’s a brilliant film, and has received high acclaim throughout the film industry, even if it was unlikely to please its country of origin. Cannes awarded it the Jury Prize, and it has been nominated as best foreign film in the Oscars, despite its lack of happy ending.

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Review: Alan Hollinghurst

To say that Alan Hollinghurst introduced me to homosexuality in 1988 may be a slightly overstated claim. As a student of a London Music Conservatoire, I thought I was pretty familiar with the gay scene. But on finding a discarded copy of The Swimming Pool Library on a tube train, my eyes were opened to a world well-beyond the camp milieu of my college Student Union. Hollinghurst’s first novel shocked and thrilled in equal measure, and despite the huge class differences between us, I felt this writer was saying something significant.

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Review: As You Like It

Edinburgh is full of hidden gems and secret locations. Tucked up along a covered, cobbled close off the Canongate, Dunbar’s Close Garden is a miniature manicured maze; the sort of treat that tourists only stumble across. It even takes some locals by surprise. The garden is separated into sections (‘parterres’ if you want to be pretentious) with shingle pathways eventually leading down stone steps into a wider section that feels like the Forest of Arden.

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Review: 404 Ink & Interrobang?-The War on Christmas

Question: what makes Interrobang? different from all the other many spoken-word events that adorn Edinburgh’s literary calendar? To answer, ‘well: not much’ might seem churlish, but that’s no criticism. The quest to find a unique selling point for spoken-word is past its sell-by date, since all purport a similar brand.

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