Chelsea Flower Show review: Will Gompertz visits the pageant of plants ★★★★☆

Chelsea Flower Show

Last weekend the Duchess of Cambridge was splashed all over newspaper front pages swinging on a ball of rope like Mylie Cyrus on her infamous wrecking ball, albeit wearing more clothes but with a similar taste in footwear.

She wasn't doing it to sell a song but to promote her "Back to Nature" garden at this year's Chelsea Flower Show, a co-created "woodland wilderness" designed to promote the benefits of an outdoor life for mental and physical wellbeing.

It is a project she has put her heart and soul and back into (17 hours of hard labour according to the man in charge of helping realise her vision).

Image copyright Kensington Palace/PA
Image caption The Duchess of Cambridge enjoying her Back to Nature garden, which she co-designed

The future Queen is now something of an old hand, whereas I arrived for the press view on Monday as a Chelsea Flower Show virgin. My innocence was clearly obvious. I was barely in and still fumbling my way around when a smartly dressed middle-aged man with an impeccable side parting pulled me aside to tell me all about the birds and the bees.

I thought this was ground I had covered, what with four grown-up children and all, but I was wrong. I had no idea - for example - that shags were under threat, or of the problems associated with the common thrush. But I quickly learnt that both are on the RSPB's Red List of endangered bird species native to Britain.

Read full article Chelsea Flower Show review: Will Gompertz visits the pageant of plants ★★★★☆

Rocketman: Will Gompertz reviews 'disappointing' Elton John biopic ★★★☆☆

Rocketman

The team behind Rocketman have pulled off the most astonishing feat. Against all the odds, they have managed to produce a two-hour greatest hits musical that turns one of the most flamboyant, gifted and charismatic performing artists of the modern era into a bit of a bore.

A lot of words have been written and spoken about Sir Elton John over his 50 years in showbiz, but "dull" is not usually among them.

Read full article Rocketman: Will Gompertz reviews 'disappointing' Elton John biopic ★★★☆☆

Will Gompertz reviews the 2019 Venice Art Biennale ★★★☆☆

Will in Venice graphic

This week's invite only "Private View" of the Venice Biennale (which opens today) was one weird affair. It was like being dropped into the middle of a Wes Anderson movie.

The place was heaving with characters. Artists, posers, dealers, curators, billionaires, bureaucrats, fakes, freeloaders, snobs, journalists, pseuds, hustlers, and narcissists all cramming themselves into tiny spaces and noisy halls to get a glimpse of some box-fresh contemporary art.

Read full article Will Gompertz reviews the 2019 Venice Art Biennale ★★★☆☆

Will Gompertz reviews Chernobyl starring Emily Watson & Jared Harris on Sky Atlantic ★★★★★

Chernobyl on Sky Atlantic

To say Sky/HBO's new mini-series Chernobyl is thought-provoking would be like describing Usain Bolt as quite a fast runner, or the water under the Antarctic sea ice as a bit chilly.

This is TV that doesn't just get you thinking, it stops you sleeping.

Read full article Will Gompertz reviews Chernobyl starring Emily Watson & Jared Harris on Sky Atlantic ★★★★★

Will Gompertz reviews Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, at London's Design Museum ★★★★★

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

Serendipity is the unsung hero of creativity. Any entrepreneur, scientist or artist will testify to that. As will most film-makers.

Luck always has a part to play in the making of a movie, it just never gets a credit.

Read full article Will Gompertz reviews Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, at London's Design Museum ★★★★★

Will Gompertz reviews Sir David Attenborough’s Our Planet, on Netflix ★★★★☆

Our Planet

If there is an art to sugaring the pill, then Netflix and the production team at Silverback Films have perfected it with their 8x1-hour natural history TV series, Our Planet.

The world might be going to hell in a handcart as wildlife populations plummet, rain forests are decimated, and for the first time in human history we are told the "stability of nature can no longer be taken for granted". But somehow it doesn't seem so awful or imminent when one of the greatest broadcasters who has ever lived is giving you the bad news.

Read full article Will Gompertz reviews Sir David Attenborough’s Our Planet, on Netflix ★★★★☆

Will Gompertz reviews Van Gogh and Britain at Tate Britain in London ★★★★☆

Van Gogh and Britain

There's no point beating about the bush: if you possibly can, go and see this show at Tate Britain.

The time and ticket expense (a chunky £22 standard price) will be worth it simply to stand in front of Shoes (1886) for a few minutes.

Read full article Will Gompertz reviews Van Gogh and Britain at Tate Britain in London ★★★★☆

Will Gompertz on horror movie Us directed by Get Out's Jordan Peele ★★★☆☆

US

The jolly female film critic sitting one seat to my right in the cinema felt it only proper to manage expectations.

"I've seen the trailer," she said, "and it looks really frightening."

Read full article Will Gompertz on horror movie Us directed by Get Out's Jordan Peele ★★★☆☆

Will Gompertz on Daisy Jones & The Six which Reese Witherspoon's making into TV ★★★☆☆

Daisy Jones & The Six

The problem for any novelist choosing rock'n'roll as a subject for a book is how to make their fiction stranger - and more compelling - than the truth.

What can they say or reveal that hasn't been said and revealed in half-a-century of tell-all sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll memoirs, from Stephen Davis's snorts-and-all biography of Led Zeppelin, Hammer of the Gods, to Keith Richards' magnificent memoir, Life?

Read full article Will Gompertz on Daisy Jones & The Six which Reese Witherspoon's making into TV ★★★☆☆

Will Gompertz reviews Captain Marvel starring Oscar-winning Brie Larson ★★★☆☆

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel's backstory is about as straightforward as a Heston Blumenthal tasting menu.

Even the snippet of it explored in this latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) release, which barely scratches the surface of the character's 80-year old history, manages to be more opaque than a billionaire's tax return.

Read full article Will Gompertz reviews Captain Marvel starring Oscar-winning Brie Larson ★★★☆☆