Mandy, review: Horrible and ludicrous, this is an all-time-great Nicolas Cage wig-out


Nicholas Cage is an interesting actor. When you least expect of him, he comes up with a winner.

Equal parts supernatural splatter horror and hypnotic gallery installation, Mandy unfolds in a doom-laden narcosis that is not quite like anything else around, although there are cinematic reference points everywhere, including musky top notes of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, and the fluorescing giallo horror of Dario Argento. It often looks like an Iron Maiden album cover cartoon come to life – and there are three brief animated dream sequences which owe a stylistic debt to Heavy Metal, the science fiction magazine.

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Robbie Collin — The Telegraph

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The cult of The Handmaid’s Tale


A new series on Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale has started airing. As per Wiki – “Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy that has overthrown the United States government, the novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain individualism and independence.”

It is the feminist bible that transcends gender. It was actually a young man who first turned me onto the novel – the tattered copy I still own was a gift from my teenage boyfriend (I forgave him so much because of his love for the book). I didn’t so much read through the night as travel through time and space, and I closed it awestruck and as furious as if it had been a news report. I am impatiently waiting for my daughters – currently aged eight and four – to reach an age where I can share it with them.

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Erin Kelly – The Telegraph

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When Breath Becomes Air


Paul Kalanithi died at the age of 37 but not before penning down his book – When Breath Becomes Air. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Vintage) is shortlisted for the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize. The book talks about life in the face of near imminent death and has been a huge success.

But, today’s needull talks about his wife, Lucy Kalanithi and how has she been dealing with Paul’s loss.

Paul’s memoir ends with a particularly poignant message to Cady that is now framed in her bedroom at home: “When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”

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Radhika Sanghani — The Telegraph

The New York Times book review of When Breath Becomes Air

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John Hurt: an unsettled life


One of the most sensitive portrayal that I can think of in cinema is that of The Elephant Man played by John Hurt. John Hurt is no more, but he will be remembered fondly for his body of great work.

Hurt on…

The Naked Civil Servant. ‘Half the stuff I have done which has been successful would never have been made if it had been shown to focus groups. ”Elephant Man” would never have been made. Imagine the pitch for ”Naked Civil Servant”. A self-confessed homosexual who crusades for gay rights. They’d say f— off. You have to be brave’.

The Elephant Man. ‘Mel Brooks [producer] had the vision, actually. When I read the script it made me cry. I was cast because David Lynch had seen me in ”I, Claudius” and ”Naked Civil Servant”. He encouraged me not to do the same thing, to try something different, so I worked on the sweet voice and demeanour. Nowadays directors want you to do what you’ve done before’.

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Nigel Farndale — The Telegraph

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Who was John Titor, the ‘time traveller’ who came from 2036 to warn us of a nuclear war?


Time travel has always been a source of great fascination. Today’s needull is about a self-professed time traveller from 2036 – John Titor.

And then there was his reason for travelling. Titor claimed he had been sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer, which was needed to debug ageing machines still used in 2036. That in itself isn’t too wacky: in 2002, NASA had to buy outdated medical equipment on eBay just so it could scavenge their obsolete Intel 8086 chips for their booster testing machines, and even the Orion spacecraft, whose first manned flight is scheduled for the 2020s, uses computers from 2002.

But here’s the kicker. Titor claimed the 5100 was needed in the future due to a special feature which IBM did not publicly announce. Sure enough, Bob Dubke, an engineer who helped design it, confirmed that such a feature existed. The 5100 had the rare ability to emulate programs in older languages used by IBM mainframes, but the company was worried about how its competition might use it, and told nobody. So Titor was at least a very well-informed hoaxer – a computer scientist or enthusiast who used his knowledge well.

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Laurence Dodds – The Telegraph

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What happens if Bob Dylan keeps ignoring his Nobel Prize?


Just the other day, I had posted a needull on how Bob Dylan was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Seems like The Swedish Academy has been unable to contact Bob Dylan about his receipt of the honor. So, what happens now?

So, Bob Dylan can ignore the academy all he likes, but the award is still listed in his name. Whether or not he makes an appearance at the ceremony, and at which we will be invited to give a lecture, he will always be known as the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature.

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Charlotte Runcie — The Telegraph

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