Thursday, 19th October 2017
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ALLIED

There was a big brouhaha about this film as it came out around the time that it's star Brad Pitt was divorcing Angelina Jolie.

After watching the movie you'll probably be thinking that this is the sort of film that needs all the publicity that it needs, good, bad or indifferent. From the very beginning the movie is weighed down with cinematic history. If you are going to set a Second World War love story in any place on earth then setting it in Casablanca has to be one of the most audacious moves that a screen writer can make. It is in this city that Brad Pitt, a Canadian who has signed up to fight for the British, meets up with a French resistance fighter, played by Marion Cotillard, to plan and carry out the killing of a top German official in the city. They have to play the part of husband and wife, but not any old husband and wife but a Parisian husband and wife. We are expected to believe that Brad Pitt is a fluent French speaker, a Quebecois, and with a bit of spit and polish from Cotillard he will soon become the image of a native Parisian. If you shouted 'timber' in a crowded room Brad Pitt would fall over and at times in quite a lot of his movies he has difficultly convincing the viewer that he is an American so the idea of him passing himself off as a Parisian amongst other Parisians is quite hard to believe. But this movie is all about suspension of disbelief and Pitt and Cotillard do carry out their mission, kill the German and manage to get out of the country alive. By this time they have fallen in love and Pitt takes his new bride to London. Here he encounters a bit of a problem. It turns out that his wife may not be the woman that he took her to be. The British secret services have information that she may be a double agent working for the Germans and that the man that they killed in Casablanca was someone that Hitler wanted dead all along. Now that Cotillard is in London and has access to sensitive war material through her husband she is very well placed to help the Germans further. Understandably Pitt is left reeling. But he and his superiors need proof so a plan is hatched to find out whether Cotillard is the person that she says she is. The plan doesn't work and Pitt is left with no other option but to fly to France to track down a certain man who knew the woman that Cotillard is or claims to be. Naturally enough this isn't as easy as all that but in the end he does find the man, in a prison, who says that Cotillard is the woman she claims to be. Then he makes an off hand comment that changes everything and the roof crashes in on Pitt's life. He makes it back to London, confronts his wife, kills a few German agents and makes for an air field only to be thwarted at the last minute and for his wife to take her own life. There is probably a good movie here somewhere but unfortunately this particular film has Brad Pitt in it and while Cotillard is amazing to watch even she cannot distract the viewer from his lumbering, ridiculous presence.

THE VOICE

Now that The Voice has decamped to ITV and rearranged it's line up of Judges you might have the impression that things have dramatically changed. Things have changed but the main change is the fact that there are now quite a lot of ads interrupting the flow of singers trying to make their big break happen. Then again why anyone would go onto this programme in an attempt to make it big in the music business when it hasn't managed to make a star out of even one of the people from all the years it has been on is quite mind boggling. It's an alternative to The X-Factor, but then again that is not really much of an accomplishment considering that that music competition has taken somewhat of a nose dive during the last couple of years.

PORTRAIT ARTIST OF THE YEAR

If you literally would like to watch paint dry then this is the show for you. It is interesting to see that there are other painting competitions on at the moment as well, BBC 4 is running one, but in this particular show the big draw are the names of the people that they get to sit for them. Obviously the people, actors in the main, are paid but they also get to take home the painting of themselves that they like the most and are given three to choose from. Not a bad return for sitting in front of some people for a few hours. What is interesting as well about this show is that quite a lot of the artists that enter are professionals. The reason why so many professionals as well as amateurs enter is because not only does it represent a break for their career there is also the chance of a big commission at the end of it. This year it's a £10,000 commission to paint Graham Norton and the work will go to the National Gallery of Ireland which is quite prestigious. Nice to see other creatives at work than just the usual warblers.

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