The legend of King Arthur is a gift that keeps on giving

Although it may be a fabrication, the story has powerful resonance

The legend of King Arthur is a gift that keeps on givingKing Arthur is back in the news, thanks to an archeological dig in Herefordshire, England. The dig site in question is Arthur’s Stone, a Neolithic-era burial chamber that’s somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 years old. It’s technically a dolmen with a capstone resting on nine uprights. And with an estimated weight of around 25…

Hollywood icons and the Second World War

Some Hollywood legends actually participated in the reality of war, rather than merely on celluloid

Hollywood icons and the Second World WarIf you’re like me, the most vivid combat images you have of the Second World War come from Hollywood movies. Whether it was John Wayne on Iwo Jima or Errol Flynn in Burma, heroism was very much the order of the day. And Americans were invariably at the centre of the action. Naturally, the historical…

What the Oscar night slap says about comedy and free speech

The 'Slap Heard ’Round Tinseltown' could end up being the final nail in the coffin for televised awards ceremonies

What the Oscar night slap says about comedy and free speechThe 94th Academy Awards ceremony will always be known for one stunning incident that overshadowed the entire evening – the Slap Heard ’Round Tinseltown. Comedian Chris Rock came on stage to present the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. He’s well known for his sarcastic wit and biting humour. He briefly focused attention on actor Javier…

Maureen O’Hara, Ireland’s Queen of Technicolor

O’Hara made more than 50 films including the perennial Christmas favourite Miracle on 34th Street

Maureen O’Hara, Ireland’s Queen of TechnicolorWith St. Patrick’s Day upon us, an Irish theme seems appropriate. And a little frivolity wouldn’t go amiss in these troubled times. It’s fair to say that Ireland has generally punched above its weight on the silver screen. Back in the 1930s, Maureen O’Sullivan (from County Roscommon) played Jane in the popular Tarzan film series,…

Was Wyatt Earp a righteous lawman or career criminal?

The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was controversial. Murder accusations were levelled at Earp and Doc Holliday

Was Wyatt Earp a righteous lawman or career criminal?My first encounter with Wyatt Earp’s legend came via the 1957 movie Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Directed by John Sturges and starring Burt Lancaster as Earp, it was a dramatization built around the historical gunfight that took place in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, on Oct. 26, 1881. The picture it painted was heroic. You had…

A true story that inspired a classic western movie

Kidnapped by Commanches then rescued, Cynthia Ann Parker was a victim of cultural genocide twice over

A true story that inspired a classic western movieMovie enthusiasts invariably sing the praises of John Ford’s The Searchers. Released in 1956 and starring John Wayne, the film has been described as a masterpiece and shows prominently in critical lists of the best films ever made. It’s inspired by a true story. Or maybe that should be stories in the plural. The Searchers…

In search of the perfect Christmas? Good luck

How to avoid a Clark Griswold meltdown and having a SWAT team invade our home

In search of the perfect Christmas? Good luckNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has become a holiday season staple in many homes. The film, released in 1989, portrays the misadventures of the Griswold family as the main character Clark tries to create the perfect family Christmas. While the film is genuinely funny, there’s something more profound that appeals to us. Perhaps it’s the fact…

Doctor on a mission to help patients accept death as a part of life

Palliative care is not about giving up hope

Doctor on a mission to help patients accept death as a part of lifeIn the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the late bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley covered an old Appalachian folk song, Oh, Death. His Grammy-winning version included this haunting passage: “Oh, Death “Whoa, Death “Won’t you spare me over ’til another year?” This is how our society generally treats casual references to the inevitable passage…

ABBA-cadabra, make them disappear

It’s hard to escape ABBA’s sickeningly sweet embrace. Having induced several waves of nausea, they’re back

ABBA-cadabra, make them disappearOn Nov. 5, the Swedish pop group ABBA released its first album of new songs in 40 years, Voyage. It will likely rocket up the charts and sell in the millions. Voyage may even end up breaking the record held by Michael Jackson’s Thriller of around 70 million copies sold. Considering the fact that ABBA…

Streaming giant Netflix flexes its podcasting muscles

Podcast titles have doubled since April 2020, when Apple announced the one-millionth entry in its podcast directory

Streaming giant Netflix flexes its podcasting musclesThe phrase “video killed the radio star” is often used as a metaphor for the domination of video over audio. It’s also a song by British new-wave band and one-hit wonder, The Buggles, and was the first selection played by MTV 40 years ago, on Aug. 1, 1981, sparking the music video revolution. It was…

A fast and furious bit of grovelling from John Cena

The actor and wrestler has angered China

A fast and furious bit of grovelling from John CenaAre you familiar with John Cena? If not, good for you; he’s not really worth knowing about. For the uninitiated, John Cena is a former professional wrestler. According to the World Wrestling Entertainment website, he’s a 16-time WWE champion, author and ‘actor’ (quotes are mine). To quote directly from the website: “After gaining the respect…

Toxic masculinity or a beautiful release of frustration?

The new movie Nobody represents a fantasy people approaching middle-aged might have

Toxic masculinity or a beautiful release of frustration?“There’s a long-dormant piece of me that so very badly wants out.” That one line from the trailer for Nobody perfectly sums it up. I haven’t yet seen the movie, so let’s call this a trailer review. Or maybe an exploration. As a man in his 30s, I’m approaching an (admittedly unwarranted) midlife crisis. Is…

Digging deep into John Wayne’s western films to find gems

Digging deep into John Wayne’s western films to find gemsJohn Wayne (1907-1979) is best remembered for his western movies. And he made scads of them, ranging from mediocre to excellent. Indeed, three Wayne vehicles appear on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 10 westerns of all time. No other star has more than a single entry. So if any actor can be…

Father Brown is G.K. Chesterton’s most durable creation

He was an early and vocal critic of Nazism., an unapologetic opponent of eugenics and derisive towards the concept of racial purity

Father Brown is G.K. Chesterton’s most durable creationG.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton was born in 1874 and died in 1936, just two weeks into his 63rd year. During his lifetime, he was one of England’s most notable writers. His output was truly prodigious, including novels, poems, short stories, newspaper columns and such. Today, it’s probably fair to say that he’s best remembered for…

Three political dramas worth watching

Think of them as a form of therapy, a way of easing back to everyday life while still experiencing the atmospherics of the political arena

Three political dramas worth watchingIf you’re suffering withdrawal pangs from the wind down of the American election, here are three political dramas to assist your transition. Think of them as a form of therapy, a way of easing back to everyday life while still experiencing the atmospherics of the political arena. Subject matter aside, the films have two things…
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