A daily bulletin of news & opinion

28 December 2011

If you run out of ideas for the last days of 2011, our selection includes Woody Allen comedy screenings in London, a sunny resort destination in Thailand and an end-of-year gig in LA.


—Wise Cracks: The Comedies of Woody Allen

The director best known for awkward tales of 1970s New York hipsterdom actually has a hugely diverse canon of past work that includes musicals, dramas and even sci-fi. Woody Allen’s trick is to shoehorn comedy into genres ranging from everything from song to tragedy. Or in the case of Sleeper, showing this Sunday, maybe even a futuristic “Orgasmatron” machine. The rest of the month-long season won’t be short on laughs either. See the BFI’s website for full listings.

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London. Until 31 January


—Christina Vantzou: No1

Born in Kansas, Brussels-based animator and video-artist Christina Vantzou also likes to produce otherworldly soundtracks. No1, named after her 45 minute film of the same name, is full of swooning, seismic symphonies in which, to be honest, not a lot happens. But luckily Vantzou has had 10 of her favourite dance music specialists remix the tracks. Meaning the filmic quality her music so richly evokes is given an extra head-nodding dimension. The CD comes with a DVD of the film too, making No1 a slow burner worthy of quality listening time and repeat viewing.

Christina Vantzou: No1 is now out


—The Surin Phuket, Thailand

After six months of extensive renovations, the Surin Phuket hotel (formerly the Chedi Phuket) re-opened its doors on 21 December, just in time for the holiday season. Set on Pansea beach (locally know to have the best sand on the island), the 108-cottage seafront hotel was redesigned by Edward Tuttle, the resort’s original architect. He included a new beachfront bar, a gym with a sea-view and a refurbished lounge and restaurant in his overhaul plans. Fortunately for sun-seeking travellers, the wait has paid off.

Surin Phuket, Pansea Beach, 118 Moo 3, Choengtalay, Talang, Phuket, + 66 76 621 580


—Wanda Jackson and Best Coast

Out with the old and in with the new this New Year. Except the old seems to be friends with the new and they’re playing a show together. Wanda Jackson is a rockabilly legend whose Jack White-produced latest album found her a new fan base in 2011. In support are Los Angeles garage poppers Best Coast, who will be seeing out a massively successful 12 months. Club Nokia is conveniently located in downtown Los Angeles, making the move to a top party spot afterwards almost too easy.

Club Nokia, 800 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite A335, Los Angeles. 31 December, 21.00


—The Artist (dir: Michel Hazanavicius)

The Artist pays homage to 1920s silent-era Hollywood – and to cinematography itself. Shot in black-and-white and nearly completely silent, this pic by French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius manages to charm without the aid of special effects. Starring Bérénice Bejo and Jean Dujardin (whose role won him a best actor award at Cannes), the story traces the transition between silent-era film and the talkies.

The Artist is at UK cinemas from 30 December


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