'The Wolf of Wall Street' is, by many standards, a good film. Sure, it follows all of the predictable plot beats that any given "money and drugs in the Eighties" flick entails, but it makes up for its lack of narrative surprises with its strong central performances and highly stylised depictions of excess.
In the epoch of the twitterati - when culture is more and more served to us in palatable, postmodern, bite-sized fragments, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is pure old-school - providing the grand narrative of a life very much in the style of the epic film of yore - think Ghandi or Ben-Hur, for instance.
Premiered at Cannes 2013 and nominated for Outstanding British Picture at the BAFTA 2014 Awards,'The Selfish Giant' is moving, compassionate and with astonishing lead performances, is a should-see-must-see film that places Clio Barnard as a major talent in UK cinema.
I often get asked what Pakistan is like. There's a lot of interest in this country, for obvious reasons: Taliban terrorizing, drones blasting, Osama lurking, law and order dissipating, Malala emerging...etc.
This production of The Weir is so warm and intimate, it makes you feel as if you've just pulled up a bar stool in a rural Irish pub for the evening.
First up was Jamie Johnson, who had a very powerful soulful voice. But, it was a grower and I didn't turn my chair until the very end of his performance. Not one for my team though. Three coaches wanted Jamie and he joins Team Kylie. For the record, I didn't think you sounded like a girl Jamie.
The musical version of American Psycho is fantastic. Starring Matthew Smith, the show is on until February 1 at London's Almeida Theatre. If you've got tickets, or if you're hoping to somehow find some, here are a few fun facts that might make your viewing more enjoyable.
With the fanfare and build up to the Oscars, it seems timely to take a trip back to Hollywood's Golden Age. The release of the magnificent "I Used to be in Pictures", by twins Austin and Howard Mutti-Mewse, intoxicatingly takes us back to this sumptuous, glorious era.
Le Corsaire (the pirate) is a bright, upbeat ballet, unlike the more popular but tragic ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle and Romeo and Juliet. And this version of this rarely performed piece of work is packed full of talent and energy.
I don't think you could ever witness a better version of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts than this Richard Eyre-helmed production at the Trafalgar Studios. Genuinely moving but never melodramatic or overwrought, this story of a family trying to escape the ghosts of their past is an exceptional piece of theatre that will resonate long after the curtain falls.
Winner of the Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe Awards and nominated for the BAFTAs and the Oscars, Paolo Sorrentino's 'The Great Beauty' is mesmerising with a tour-de-force performance from Toni Servillo.
So here I am, on the great man's birthday, on an incredibly mild January night at the Jermyn Street Theatre, sitting next to a young actress, recently graduated from drama school (and I didn't even have to slip the box office lady any notes), and I in my late thirties, feeling all Trigorin with my projected gravestone reading: "not as good as Michael Billington."
Massenet's most famous opera, a moralistic story of love versus materialism, should be full of wit, passion and drama but this production at the Royal Opera House, whilst enjoyable, could do with more innovation and creativity.
By her own confession, philosopher Susan Bordo is obsessed with Anne Boleyn. The very cover of her new book alerts the reader to the fact they are about to experience something more than straightforward history.
The Royal Court starts 2014 with a very daring Samuel Beckett one-woman show. Whether this risk pays off is questionable but the boldness of the decision is admirable.
Excess is the driving force behind Martin Scorsese's energetic, entertaining but ultimately hollow epic. Leonardo Di Caprio bravely gives it his all as the amoral Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort who made a million dollars a week ''selling garbage to garbage men''.