And Yet I’m still left with the sense the best of Hitchens is missing

Christopher Hitchens Dies, December 2011 by Surian Soosay

For all the slating that Christopher Hitchens attracted in his lifetime, it’s the quiet criticism of Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman, that best captures the man’s flaws as a writer.

In an otherwise generous obituary in 2011, Cowley wrote that Hitchens’ “polemical denunciations and pamphlets on powerful individuals […] feel already dated, stranded in place and time, good journalism but not literature”.

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Is Matt Forde Britain’s answer to Jon Stewart?

Matt Forde, via his website

The berserk news anchor leering over his desk as he fulminates against the blunders and mischief of his government is a phenomenon better known to America than to Britain.

For the longest time Britons have been forbade from this kind of open partisanship practised by the likes of Fox News, our broadcasters being bound by Ofcom guidelines which confine them to a mostly centrist political stance.

It is with this in mind that one must assess Matt Forde, a former Labour staffer turned comedian (at a time when there was some distinction) currently piloting a show that satirises the week’s events in a chat show format.

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The Big Short, or why Margot Robbie explaining economics in a bathtub works

Margot Robbie in "The Big Short" via YouTube

Just how often does one leave the cinema these days having actually learnt something?

It’s a question The Big Short, a movie about the men who managed to profit off the 2008 financial crisis, seems badly poised to answer in the affirmative. Economics plus douchebags seldom, if ever, equals entertainment.

Yet somehow, The Big Short works. And why? Because you’ll leave the cinema both smarter and angrier.

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Could 2016 be the start of the end for Hollywood’s cinema days?

Hollywood Sign in disrepair, circa 1978 by Bob Beecher

Right now Star Wars: The Force Awakens is busy making box office history.

In only its third week of theatrical release the film is set to overtake the all-time US box office record of $760m set by Avatar over 34 weeks, and after its release in China the sci-fi epic may well be capable of beating the record for the world’s largest grossing film in the history of the box office – also set by Avatar at $2.8bn.

But this is an odd story for the cinema industry, which many artists predicted was on its way out due to the effect streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have had on the way we consume movies.

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