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LONDON (Reuters) - Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly knows that Milan's legendary La Scala opera house, where he takes over as principal conductor in January, is a political and cultural pressure cooker. So he's going to give the public what it wants: Italian opera.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, led a rally outside the Metropolitan Opera on Monday to protest the company's production of "The Death of Klinghoffer," which some have called anti-Semitic and sympathetic to terrorism.

PARIS (Reuters) - Vandals attacked a giant green inflatable sculpture in one of the most famous squares in Paris in the early hours of Saturday after its resemblance to a sex toy sparked an outcry.

PARIS (Reuters) - Billowing sails of glass join the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur as permanent fixtures of the Paris skyline this month, when the new Fondation Louis Vuitton contemporary art museum designed by Frank Gehry opens to the public.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "On The Town" is back on Broadway, 70 years after its debut, in a revival that critics hail as "fizzy and frisky" and a "helluva show."

Sports News

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Simona Halep handed an out-of-sorts Serena Williams the joint heaviest defeat of her long and illustrious career as the Romanian beat the world number one 6-0 6-2 at the WTA Finals on Wednesday.

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister George Osborne has held talks with NFL officials and pledged government support for a London-based American Football team, the Evening Standard newspaper reported on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Ana Ivanovic recovered from her opening loss to race to a 6-1 6-3 victory over an out-of-sorts Eugenie Bouchard on Wednesday, putting the world number seven back into the mix for a WTA Finals last-four berth.

(Reuters) - Punishment for NFL players implicated in domestic violence will not be imposed upon arrest but at some point "farther down the process," said a key figure charged with overhauling the league's handling of such cases.

LONDON (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin must demand an end to the racism plaguing Russian soccer and the country should stop denying it has a problem, the executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe told Reuters on Wednesday.

Science News

(Reuters) - Two Russian cosmonauts floated outside the International Space Station on Wednesday for a six-hour space walk to replace science experiments and jettison two unneeded antennas.

ATHENS (Reuters) - Archaeologists unearthed the missing head of one of the two sphinxes found guarding the entrance of an ancient tomb in Greece's northeast, as the diggers made their way into the monument's inner chambers, the culture ministry said on Tuesday.

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Personal genetics company 23andMe and Israel's MyHeritage said on Tuesday they would collaborate to enable people to discover their heritage based on genetic ancestry and documented family history.

LONDON (Reuters) - A Bulgarian man who was paralyzed from the chest down in a knife attack can now walk with the aid of a frame after receiving pioneering transplant treatment using cells from his nose.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars where a fleet of robotic science probes were poised for studies.

Movie Reviews

Who would be a cop during the Easy Rider era? All the hippies hate him, but diminutive highway patrolman John Wintergreen (Robert Blake) just wants to do a good job. James William Guercio’s cult hit straddles the fine line between straight-up procedural thriller and comedic character study as surely as ‘Big’ John rides his Electra Glide motorbike. It looks and feels like typical drive-in fare with its chases and slo-mo violence, but this is an altogether richer, stranger film. Subversively shooting in John Ford’s Monument Valley, Guercio pokes fun at Dirty Harry-style cops as Wintergreen transforms into one of Hollywood’s unlikeliest cult heroes.

There are some films that don’t just stimulate your eyes and ears. Take Fury, David Ayer’s grim, grimy but utterly gripping movie, set in April 1945 at the fag-end of WW2. You can feel the mud squelching in your toes. You can taste the blood in your mouth. And, boy, can you smell the stench of rotting corpses, burning flesh and unwashed men. This is a film that puts its boot on the back of your neck, and pushes you face-down into the shit and the scum of wartime conflict. A former member of the US Navy, Ayer has always seasoned his scripts with real-life grit. Corrupt-cop dramas Training Day and Dark Blue and last year’s vérité-style LAPD drama End Of Watch, which he also directed, all boast a lived-in authenticity. Same goes for Fury, a film that captures the ragged, desperate hysteria at the end of WW2 – not to mention the “fanatical resistance” faced by the Allies as the troops push for victory across a war-torn Germany. The vehicle, as it were, for Ayer’s film is a battle-scarred Sherman tank – nicknamed ‘Fury’. In charge of this beast is a US Army Sergeant named ‘Wardaddy’ (Brad Pitt), a veteran who has already fought his way through North Africa. From the moment he knifes a Nazi in the eye, you realize why he’s survived this far; he immediately recalls Robert Duvall’s Lt. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now – the sort who knows he’s not going to get so much as a scratch out there. Forget that Nazi-scalping, swastika-carving Lt. Aldo Raine Pitt played in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. With an attitude as severe as his sides-shaved haircut, the star’s never been so brutal. Ayer reinforces this from the outset, in a shocking scene where the tank’s rookie recruit Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) is given a baptism by fire(arms), when he’s handed a pistol and told by the Sarge to “put a big fat hole” in the back of a captured German, who otherwise would’ve done the same to him. Never having killed before, Norman, a former pencil-pusher who has been thrown into the maelstrom, refuses to bloody his hands, only for Pitt’s character to practically force him to pull the trigger. Such is the sheer gale-force of this it’ll leave you trembling almost as much as Norman (finely acted by Noah star Lerman). But in the words of Wardaddy, “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent” – a phrase that haunts Fury as the blood and guts of war spill out onto the screen. Much of this is left for Norman to witness; it’s his gradual transition from innocence to experience that powers the film, acting as our way into the conflict, and Ayer doesn’t spare him (or us). One sequence sees a soldier set on fire right in front of Norman; rather than burn, the luckless grunt takes a gun and shoots himself in the head – the sort of sight that will scar a man for life. Yet it would be easy for Ayer to simply slather this story with violence and flag-waving patriotism – something he carefully avoids. As much as Wardaddy is a fighter, he’s not a monster. Witness the crucial scene where he shows kindness to two German girls he and Norman encounter (even if Ayer shamefully squeezes in a blatant shirt-off scene for Pitt, as he washes up in time for eggs and tea). Certainly, there’s humanity under the bravado – even as ‘Bible’ (Shia LaBeouf), ‘Gordo’ (Ayer’s End Of Watch star Michael Peña) and Travis (Jon Bernthal), their fellow operators in the tank, show their baser instincts. Really, Fury recalls Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot: like that submarine classic, it shows how being in such a confined wartime space can generate both camaraderie and claustrophobia. The film rolls along at a thundering pace, danger hangs in the air like the shrouds of mist that DP Roman Vasyanov beautifully captures. Credit also the work of production designer Andrew Menzies, evocatively recreating wartime Germany in the English countryside of Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire. In a way, there isn’t much more to Fury – stripped of subplots and intrigue, it offers a grunt’s-eye view of the war, with Pitt only occasionally stopping off to talk tactics with Jason Isaacs’ captain. Detractors may claim that, emotionally, Ayer never really brings out the heavy artillery, but there’s enough here for audiences to get thoroughly involved with these spit’n’sawdust characters. Like Norman, Ayer straps us into the front seat and doesn’t let up until the last shell is fired of the final act – a breathless all-guns-blazing sequence that gives Pitt one of the most heroic moments he’s ever played on film. In the end, though, it’s Lerman who leaves the most lasting impression. It’s his film, really, and he grabs his chance with both hands. The result is highly memorable.

Between Satyricon and Roma, Fellini made this rather more modest curio for Italian TV, a mix of narrative, documentary and mockumentary that explores his childhood obsession – part joy, plenty fear – with circus clowns. It begins with a recreated memory of the Big Top coming to town, and ends with painted jesters coming out of retirement to stage an outlandish funeral for one of their fallen brethren. In between, Fellini and crew investigate the great European clowns of yore, and film themselves doing it. By turns magical and ponderous, this minor work spotlights the life-is-a-circus theme glimpsed in many of his other films.

In David Cronenberg’s recent Maps To The Stars, Mia Wasikowska arrives in Hollywood, where glittering surfaces play host to seething desires. In 1975’s Shivers, a young couple arrive at Canada’s luxury Starliner Towers, where an aphrodisiacal parasite will unleash orgiastic outbreaks of lust. Re-watched 40 years after it outraged moral guardians (and his landlady), Cronenberg’s film breakthrough reminds us what a singular slug-trail of sex, suggestion and psychoanalytic subversion he has left behind him. It’s almost as if he had his route to auteur fame mapped out, so clear is his imprint. Of course, it isn’t that simple. Interviews on decent archival extras (no new DC input, alas) suggest Cronenberg almost didn’t even get to direct his own script: the production company pencilled Jonathan Demme in. When Cronenberg did begin directing, he was winging it so much he worried he wasn’t cut out for film. But Cronenberg’s control and vision resonate. The opening sales pitch for the Ballard-ian apartment-block setting is a droll masterstroke of scene-setting and tone-pitching: it lays out the land and the sting of this satire on repression. Once we’re inside, Cronenberg’s boundary-blurring sensibility kicks in. The sense of outward paranoia while hell erupts inside is set by the contrast between the door-man armed to defend against invaders and scenes of a doctor murdering someone inside. Said Dr Hobbes invented a sex parasite to cure society’s rationality; now he wants to kill it. He fails, it spreads, and residents become lusty zombies in an ingenious psychosexual inversion of attack-from-outside narratives (‘They Came From Within’ was an alt-title). Elsewhere, there are bathroom violations, muddy hygiene and infection divisions, while Cronenberg assiduously rejects good/evil binaries. The slug, he’d say, is just doing its job. Seen from its eyes, critic Jason Anderson joshes on the extras, “It’s actually quite a nice story.” But Cronenberg isn’t afraid to max the nasty. If “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”, as one on-screen poster declares, then Cronenberg’s wisdom inspires his slugs’ work. Taboos are uproariously bust: equal-ops sex is rampant, the gore generous. Add Joe Blasco’s gooey FX work and it’s easy to see why Shivers inspired genre fans and French cineastes alike. It isn’t perfect: the acting (mostly amateur, Barbara Steele aside) and sound mix lurch and wobble erratically. But it was an intelli-punk declaration of intent for Cronenberg’s cinema of sexual symbiosis and visceral smarts, where mind/body and art/horror sensibilities shared fluids. As the parasite is spread city-wide in a cavalcade of cars, you half expect to see a bespectacled, softly spoken, fiercely articulate Canadian behind the wheel: ready to spread his seed across cinema.

Can best friends ever be anything more? Of course they can – romcoms have been proving that for decades – but that doesn’t stop Lily Collins and Sam Claflin proving it again in a soapy heartstring fiddler that follows their torch-holding through 10 ageless years, two continents and a couple of failed marriages. Like a Richard Curtis movie with an Instagram filter, director Christian Ditter makes everything look pretty – including Collins and Claflin, both just winsome enough to rise above a froth of amateur models, a hen-friendly soundtrack and a script as sickly sweet as it is sickeningly posh.

CD Reviews

- Andrew Clements

(Delphian)

Olivier Messiaens greatest achievement of the 1950s was the Catalogue dOiseaux, seven books of piano pieces based on birdsong hed transcribed in the wild. Apart from one further large-scale piece in 1970, La Fauvette des Jardins (The Garden Warbler), those pieces were his last significant works for the piano though he continued to make extensive use of birdsong in all his orchestral and ensemble works for the rest of his life. But while working on Messiaens sketches in 2012, Peter Hill came upon what appeared to be several pages of a draft of a previously unknown piano work, dating from the summer of 1961.

La Fauvette Passerinette (The Subalpine Warbler) is virtually complete: the pencil manuscript includes the composers own reminder to write out a fair copy, and most of it already has pedalling and fingering indications. Messiaen had an otherwise barren year in 1961: this piece seems to have been intended as the start of a new piano cycle, in which he would treat birdsong in a very different way, with the transcriptions generating the harmonies rather than being imposed on harmonic backgrounds that evoked the birds habitat (a technique used in the Catalogue dOiseaux).

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- Ian Gittins

Alexandra Palace, LondonThe 20-year-old Nottingham singer-songwriter barely acknowledged the crowd, but so hypnotic were his tumbling rhythms and wrong-side-of-the-tracks observations that it didnt matter

Jake Buggs ascent to fame may have been precipitous, but his idea of showmanship remains remarkably minimalist. At this most prestigious gig of his career to date, he could only have made fewer concessions to his audience had he chosen to lock the venue doors and not let them in.

A precocious talent, the Nottingham singer-songwriter released two albums before he was out of his teens. His self-titled debut topped the UK charts on its way to going double platinum, while last years Rick Rubin-produced followup, Shangri-La, made impressive inroads in the US. None of that appears to matter a tinkers cuss to the callow, black-clad 20-year-old with a bowl cut who strolls on stage with the insouciant cool of a young Lennon, plugs in, and fires through 20 songs in a mere 75 minutes. His backing band is utterly unobtrusive; his rare between-song comments are largely inaudible asides.

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- Tim Ashley

GlyndebourneJonathan Kents production of Brittens ghost story is revived to haunting effect, with standout central performances from the children

Jonathan Kents 2006 Glyndebourne production of Brittens Henry James adaptation is now on its third revival as part of this autumns tour. Musically, its strong, and in some ways strikingly different to what weve heard before. Britten wrote the role of the Governess for Jennifer Vyvyan, a noted Mozartian, and the first of a long sequence of fine lyric sopranos to be associated with the work. Here, however, we have the altogether more dramatic Natalya Romaniw, whose repertoire embraces Puccini and Wagner, and whose vocal weight, together with flashes of self-righteous anger as well as fear, provide novel and challenging insights into Brittens depiction of the erosion of his heroines soul.

Theres admirably taut conducting from Leo McFall. Anthony Gregorys Quint, younger and handsomer than most, sounds disquietingly beautiful, which makes him very creepy indeed. Anne Mason is the slightly obsequious, tellingly unimaginative Mrs Grose, Miranda Keys the self-dramatising, if occasionally melodramatic Miss Jessel. The children, Thomas Delgado-Little as Miles and Louise Moseley as Flora, are utterly convincing, and rarely, I suspect, have been bettered.

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- Priya Elan

Electric Ballroom, LondonThe duos confrontational chaos of yore has been traded for something more nuanced, but the crowd still went ballistic

Im sorry Im so fucking boring, says Sebastien Grainger from behind his drumkit halfway through Death from Above 1979s barnstorming gig. I should have had a kit like Tommy Lees that turns around like a rollercoaster.

Its true that the duos sparse stage set is significantly less razzle dazzle than Mötley Crües: the only thing that can be likened to a prop are the matching facial hair of Grainger and bassist Jesse F Keeler. But you could never say this band were boring. The oft-cited line about DFA, whose 2004 debut Youre a Woman, Im a Machine planted its seed of serrated riffology in modern rock, is that they were a one-trick pony ... but what a trick it was.

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- Caroline Sullivan

Heaven, LondonKarma Chameleon twangs far harder than the original on Culture Clubs first tour in 12 years

The first time Culture Club played this basement nightclub, Smash Hits reviewer Neil Tennant didnt see much of a future for them. They didnt appear until 1am; moreover, he was unimpressed by the bands white, reggaeish rhythms. Months later, in October 1982, the single Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? hit No 1 and Culture Club were on the way to becoming one of the most significant pop groups of the 80s.

Unequivocal warmth greets the reunited band tonight. This show, a warm-up for their first tour in 12 years, was an instant sell-out, and fans are celebratory. Despite a handwritten Cash only notice, the merchandise stand is doing a steady trade in £20 T-shirts, and a few fearless punters have recreated the spirit of 1982 with tinsel neckerchiefs and Hassidic hats. Theyre a good deal flashier than the band themselves, for whom black T-shirts, and a sober black suit for Boy George, suffice.

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Book Reviews

Top 5 at a Glance1. THE CONFESSION, by John Grisham2. WORTH DYING FOR, by Lee Child3. AMERICAN ASSASSIN, by Vince Flynn4. THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, by Stieg Larsson5. SIDE JOBS, by Jim Butcher

Top 5 at a Glance1. LIFE, by Keith Richards with James Fox2. BROKE, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe3. EARTH (THE BOOK), by Jon Stewart and others4. THE LAST BOY, by Jane Leavy5. AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN, VOL. 1, by Mark Twain

Top 5 at a Glance1. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson2. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson3. THE FINKLER QUESTION, by Howard Jacobson4. LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave5. CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese

Top 5 at a Glance1. THE LOST SYMBOL, by Dan Brown2. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson3. THE RECKLESS BRIDE, by Stephanie Laurens4. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson5. 61 HOURS, by Lee Child

Top 5 at a Glance1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert2. INSIDE OF A DOG, by Alexandra Horowitz3. STONES INTO SCHOOLS, by Greg Mortenson4. THE GLASS CASTLE, by Jeannette Walls5. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

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