Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Arts Diary

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Arts Diary

Article excerpt

* Has Oliver Stone gone soft? There were some raised eyebrows among Bafta cognoscenti when the great director rolled in to town to promote his new film, World Trade Center, starring Nicolas Cage and Maggie Gyllenhaal (right), which opens here on 29 September. It's not bad--but it has none of the radicalism and fire of his previous work: Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, or even JFK. Stone is apparently hurt that some French and Italian cinephiles and distributors have also taken against the flick for being a "safe" American family drama.

In Britain the reception so far has been no warmer. "Bush would love it--it's a hymn to American values," one senior UK film director told me. The celebrated British TV producer Kenith Trodd said it was "like going to see the Stones and on comes Cliff Richard".

Even Stone himself admitted publicly that this film was a "beginning" and said that "there may be another film to be made about" 9/11--as close to an admission of failure as you'll ever get out of Hollywood during a promotional tour.

* Michiel Bakker has outed himself as the Margaret Beckett of the music industry. Rather than spend his holidays chilling on the beach with Beyonce, Bakker, MD of MTV Networks UK and Ireland, drags his family camping in rugged locations like the Shetland Islands. His dream for next year, as he said at the Mercury awards on 5 September, is to take his Winnebago to Glastonbury. Rock on.

* The man of the moment seems to be Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Not only has he been chosen as the subject of a pan-BBC celebration--heaps of programmes in January, with a whole week of Radio 3 devoted to him a month later--I also hear that Peter Shaffer (of Amadeus fame) has finished writing his play about the great man and his mysterious death in 1893. …

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