Stardust review: David Bowie biopic ‘fails to do justice to musical icon’ – Lewis Knight


It may not have been wanted by a number of David Bowie devotees – including the singer’s own son Duncan Jones – but is Stardust worth the controversy that came with it?

Set in 1971, David Bowie (EMMA. star Johnny Flynn) heads out on a US publicity tour where he lies on the brink of true greatness but is in need of some guidance and ironically for Bowie, being brought back down to earth.

Paired with Mercury Records’ Ron Oberman (Marc Maron), Bowie faces some soul searching as this odd couple travels and the musician performs some rather disappointing gigs.

Amidst this, Bowie recalls a troubled familial background as the tour and his past help him in his transformation to become his iconic alter-ego of Ziggy Stardust.

So, does this film – made a mere four years after Bowie’s death – do justice to the Hunky Dory star?



Johnny Flynn stars as David Bowie heading out on his 1971 US publicity tour

Among the many pitfalls in Stardust, the most glaring has to be the lack of Bowie’s iconic songs, which are such a true example of his genius and staying power and of which convince the audience of the character’s true artistry.

While the admirable work of Johnny Flynn convinces us that the actor and musician has got some good pipes on him, he fails to deliver Bowie’s signature stage presence and when lacking the legendary songs of the singer, fails to make an impact.

Additionally, while convincing enough in showing some of Bowie’s personal traumas, the writing provided fails to offer any psychological insight into its subject, proving the death knell in Flynn’s attempt at a portrait of Bowie.



Jena Malone stars as Angie Bowie in Stardust
Jena Malone stars as the musician’s first wife, Angie Bowie



Bowie heads out on a difficult journey across the US in Stardust
Bowie heads out on a difficult journey across the US

There is no convincing, detailed or well-drawn journey here and instead his character arc feels half-hearted. Also absent is an almost alien-like uniqueness to the Bowie we see on-screen and beyond fans recognising some occasional wardrobe choices, you probably wouldn’t know who this person was supposed to be.

Of the supporting performances, Maron is reliable enough in the sort of brutally honest and practical manner he usually delivers, while Jena Malone brings some welcome charisma and snark with her take on Angie Bowie.



Flynn's take on Bowie sees him grapple with some soul-searching in Stardust
Flynn’s take on Bowie sees him grapple with some soul-searching



Bowie emerges with his Ziggy Stardust persona in the film Stardust
Bowie emerges with his Ziggy Stardust persona

Sadly, none of the relationships, particularly the vital sibling relationship of Bowie’s past fail to resonate and feel well-drawn enough to latch onto. Again, this mostly feels down to the script from director Gabriel Range, whose directorial style fails to make an impression despite still keeping proceedings somewhat watchable.

Ultimately, Stardust is a disappointing biopic of a musical Titan that fails to capture either the art and – most importantly – the artist.

Verdict

Stardust fails to do justice to musical icon David Bowie, with the lack of his back catalogue feeling especially absent, along with an inability to capture his unique and otherworldly essence.

Stardust is available now on digital platforms in the UK.

What is your favourite biopic about a musician? Let us know in the comments below.



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Pippa Knight: Doctors can stop treating brain damaged girl, High Court rules | UK News


Doctors can stop providing life-support treatment to a five-year-old girl who is in a vegetative state, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Poole said it was not in Pippa Knight’s “best interests” to keep her on a ventilator.

The child’s mother, Paula Parfitt, is disappointed with the ruling and wants Court of Appeal judges to consider her daughter’s case, her lawyers said.

Image:
Pippa became unwell in December 2016

Pippa initially developed normally after being born in April 2015, but in December 2016 she became unwell and began to suffer seizures.

A rare condition was diagnosed – acute necrotising encephalopathy – which led to brain damage.

Specialists treating her at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London advised that life-support treatment should end.

Hospital bosses asked Mr Justice Poole to rule that allowing Pippa to die would be lawful and in her best interests.

Paula Parfitt disagreed, and wanted Pippa to be placed on a portable ventilator and taken home.

The judge, who heard evidence in the Family Division of the High Court in December, ruled on Friday that life-support treatment should end and Pippa be allowed to die.

She has no “no conscious awareness of her environment” or “interactions with others”, he said.

Paula Parfitt wants Pippa to be placed on a portable ventilator
Image:
Paula Parfitt wants Pippa to be placed on a portable ventilator

The judge added: “Therefore, there would be no benefit to her from being in a home bedroom as opposed to a hospital unit.

“Family members may be able to spend more time with her at home in a more peaceful and welcoming environment, but she would not be aware of their visits or of the benefit to others.”

Mr Justice Poole said Ms Parfitt, 41, from Strood in Kent, had “fought as hard for Pippa as any parent could”.

But he continued: “Responsibility for the decisions in this case lies with the court, not with her.

“My conclusion is that continued mechanical ventilation is contrary to Pippa’s best interests.”

He also said he could not “give weight to Ms Parfitt’s view that home care would improve Pippa’s condition, because it is at odds with the unanimous view of the clinicians and medical experts”.

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Heather Knight and Hannah Darlington deliver again as Sydney Thunder win final-ball thriller against Hobart Hurricanes


She is now just two sixes away from becoming the first WBBL player in history to reach the milestone of 1000.

The century effort was helped along by the partnership with Beth Mooney, who managed a half-century walking off with 60 off 43 deliveries.

“We bounce off each other really well which is important in any relationship,” Devine said. “It’s nice to finally come out and spend some time in the middle.”

Sixers duo Ellyse Perry and Ash Gardner were both trapped in front in single figures with a half-century from Marizanne Kapp proving powerless in the face of the 184 target.

The Sixers finished the match with 5/147 in response.

Knight and Darlington deliver as Thunder win final-ball thriller

In Sunday’s earlier match, England captain Heather Knight managed to show why she is considered one of the best recruits of the WBBL this year, leading the Sydney Thunder to a one-run victory in a final-ball nail-biter against her former club the Hobart Hurricanes at Hurstville Oval.

Knight scored 61 not out and took two wickets during Sunday morning’s match, shading a stellar performance from Hurricanes star Rachel Priest, who left the field unbeaten on 83 from 64.

Heather Knight continued her rich vein of form on Sunday with another half-century for Sydney Thunder.Credit:Getty

“It was stepping away from us a bit there,” Knight said. “You can start badly but finish really well … I’m really proud of the character the girls showed today.”

The effort marked Knight’s third-half century of the season.

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Another to shine for the Thunder was 18-year-old Hannah Darlington, who was handed the bowling for the final over with Hobart needing 11 runs to take the win.

The 18-year-old managed to hold her own even after a six from Priest, finishing the over with back-to-back yorkers to take the Thunder home by one run.

“She is a really mature kid and she knows the game really well,” Knight said. “It was great for Hannah to hold her nerve there at the end.”

Sunday morning’s game came just less than 24 hours after a two-run defeat for the Thunder against the Melbourne Renegades on Saturday.

Next week will see the 2020 condensed WBBL season head into full swing, with the Thunder playing six games across nine days.

“It’s a very quick turnover,” Knight said. “There was a few slightly tired eyes this morning at 6.30 at breakfast, so you’ve got to move on quite quickly and reassess and that is going to be the way of the tournament.

“It’s going to be quite full-on.”

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IPL 2020, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals, Pat Cummins vs Steve Smith


Pat Cummins claimed four wickets and skipper Eoin Morgan scored 68 as Kolkata Knight Riders knocked Rajasthan Royals out of the Indian Premier League with a 60-run win on Sunday.

Kolkata ended the league phase with their seventh win this season to have a chance of reaching the play-offs while Royals are set to finish bottom of the eight-team table.

Morgan hit his first half-century of the campaign to propel Kolkata to 191 for seven and Cummins then returned figures of 4-34 as Royals managed just 131 for nine in 20 overs in Dubai.

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Cummins bags four wickets

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Heather Knight blasts big score as Thunder defeat Strikers


Heather Knight put on a batting masterclass as the Sydney Thunder beat the Adelaide Strikers by 58 runs at Sydney Showground Stadium.

The England captain smashed 83 runs off just 39 balls – the highest total for a Thunder player in the history of the WBBL – as the Thunder set the Strikers an imposing target of 191 runs to win.

It was Knight’s first real knock for the Thunder after their opening two matches of the season were washed out.

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With the threat of rain around the ground again ever-present, the Thunder were sent into bat by the Strikers and they absolutely made the most of it.

Sammy-Jo Johnson, batting for the first time in lime green after moving across from the Brisbane Heat, set the tone with an explosive 30 runs off 13 balls. She was devastating in the seventh over, smashing four sixes off the bowling of Amanda-Jade Wellington as the Thunder took 25 runs from it.

But it was then the formidable partnership of Knight and captain Rachael Haynes that set the Thunder on track for a huge total. Some wonderful hitting of her own saw Haynes contribute 39 runs to the pair’s 122-run partnership as they rotated the strike to perfection. The Strikers just had no answers for the right-hand/left-hand combination and at times made it too easy for Knight and Haynes by bowling far too short.

So often on opposite sides when England and Australia face off, Knight was thrilled to be batting alongside Haynes for a change.

“It was quite nice to bat with her rather than set fields to her, obviously having played against her quite a lot,” Knight said.

“We were talking about 170, so to get to that 190 mark was really nice”

If the Strikers were going to get anywhere near to the target, they would need a telling contribution from the tournament’s leading run-scorer, Laura Wolvaardt. Unfortunately the talented South African couldn’t replicate her previous heroics, falling for just 10 runs.

Stafanie Taylor then managed just 18 runs as the Strikers quickly lost sight of the target, eventually falling 58 runs short.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

She might be in a different colours having left the Brisbane Heat for the Thunder, but Sammy-Jo Johnson picked up from where she left off last season. Johnson turned the game in the seventh over, when she hit four sixes off the bowling of Amanda-Jade Wellington to take a total of 25 runs from it.

KNOCK OF THE MATCH

With impeccable timing, Heather Knight was devastating as she smashed her way to 83 off just 39 balls. The English captain reached her half-century with three consecutive boundaries as she went on to reach the highest total for the Thunder player in the history of the WBBL.

BOWLING SPELL OF THE MATCH

Lauren Smith bowled beautifully for her first full game in the Thunder colours after she moved across from rivals the Sixers. She took the crucial wicket of Laura Wolvaardt, before ending with impressive figures of 3-26.

QUOTE OF THE MATCH

“It was a brilliant innings from her (Sammy-Jo Johnson) and I didn’t want her to have all the fun, so I tried to replicate what she did at the back end of that powerplay.” Heather Knight



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Cricket news 2020: Pat Cummins half century, IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians


Australian paceman Pat Cummins somewhat salvaged his horrific run of form in the Indian Premier League by scoring his maiden T20 half century against the Mumbai Indians on Saturday morning (AEDT).

Walking to the crease at 61/5, Cummins smacked 53 off 36 balls in a career-best performance, combining with England captain Eoin Morgan for an 87-run sixth-wicket partnership.

After a horror start to their innings, the duo guided the Kolkata Knight Riders to 148/5 from their 20 overs at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Cummins and Morgan hit 35 runs off the final 12 balls to give a semblance of respectability to the score.

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Knight charged for NRL crusher tackle


Newcastle’ Chris Randall could miss the first two games of the 2021 NRL season after becoming the second player charged with a crusher tackle from week one of the finals.

The Knights hooker was placed on report for a crusher tackle on South Sydney star Cody Walker in the second half of Sunday’s elimination final.

The 24-year-old has played just seven NRL games but is now facing a two-week suspension for the grade one charge.

An early guilty plea would ordinarily mean he would miss just one week.

However, with 45 carryover points Randall will miss two games unless he successfully appeals the charge at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.

He is the second player pinged for the dangerous tackling technique from the first week of the finals with Parramatta’s Marata Niukore facing a three-week ban.

The 24-year-old was charged for his tackle on Melbourne’s Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on Saturday night, and the Eels are set to lodge the second-rower’s plea on Monday.

An early guilty plea will mean he misses two games and will not play again this season unless the Eels make the NRL grand final.





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Heather Knight column: England captain on training, cooking & gardening


I never thought I would be so happy to have a blister on my hand, but it means one thing – cricket is back.

I went back to training on Monday, along with 23 other England players, and I am currently training three times a week at the Bristol County Ground.

It is still a bit strange. Before we leave for training, we have to do a temperature check, fill in a questionnaire on coronavirus symptoms and then drive to the ground.

Once we are at the ground, we have another temperature check, follow the one-way system and use hand gel at every stop point.

We can use the gym, but you have to wipe down everything once you have used it.

It feels pretty normal actually, apart from the coach sometimes having to wear a latex glove when they are touching the ball.

We also have our own set of balls. The one weird thing is if you are having a net and the coach is throwing at you, it is his ball, so you can’t pick it up and throw it back to him. I have had to stop myself a few times.

The stiffness the next morning has not been fun – and I got cramp in my hand from gripping the bat for so long.

The DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from bowling was not my favourite feeling, but it is quite nice to have them from cricket for a change, and not from any home fitness routine.

You can’t really replicate that feeling of having a bat in your hand. I have been like a kid at Christmas, waking up on Monday morning and being able to get back to a bit of normality.

Thinking about life after cricket

I have been trying to really have a break – which I am not the best at – and switch off from cricket, as this amount of time off is really rare.

I tried to use the time to think about a few things outside cricket and what I might do when I retire. But after a month of that, I was ready to get back to cricket.

I have been able to do a bit of work, fitness-wise, which will hopefully help to prolong my career, although I am not sure how well that has worked.

When you are going from game to game, you have to be in rhythm. You are thinking about scoring runs and you don’t always get a block of time to work on your game.

That is going to be quite interesting when all the players are together again, seeing how the break has affected people’s games and if it can lengthen a few careers.

A break sometimes reinvigorates a bit of love for cricket. When you are in the monotony of international game, you can sometimes forget how lucky you are.

Missing out on it for a few months makes you appreciate what you have got.

Heather Knight and Lauren Bell are training in Bristol

Big shops and cookery classes

You realise how strange being an athlete is in a situation like this – the novelty of doing a big shop, for example.

I never used to do one because I would be away at Loughborough during the week and I love going out and eating.

BBC presenter and former England player Isa Guha has been using lockdown to try and perfect her mum’s recipes. Her mum sadly died last year and Isa has been making loads of Bengali dishes that her mum taught her.

I joined her for the British Asian Trust Big Curry Night In and we cooked a prawn curry together.

It was really good. The only slight problem was I didn’t have all the ingredients and then I realised there was no coconut milk in the house, so the curry ended up being pretty hot.

I won’t lie, though – the rarity of cooking has worn off now and I am ready to eat out again.

Danni Wyatt has been sending me videos of her tomato plant. We are both growing one – hers has got some little green tomatoes on it and mine is absolutely pathetic.

It is just a little shrub. It’s nowhere near flowering! Any advice would be great…

A landmark in women’s cricket

Finally, I am absolutely chuffed for Clare Connor, who will become the first female president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) next year.

Clare has done so much in her career and had so many firsts, but this one – the first female president in the club’s 233-year history – is pretty cool.

She was very close to Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who was a pioneer in our game, and it is amazing for Clare to achieve such a huge landmark.

It is so important that different voices and female voices are involved in our game.

That is the only way women’s sport and equality is going to get a push – this is a great move for Clare and for women’s sport.



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Newcastle Knight Tex Hoy follows his own NRL path divergent from world-class surfing dad Matt


Surfing is in his blood, but rugby league is the sport that caught Tex Hoy’s heart.

The 20-year-old is the son of former professional surfer Matt Hoy and is creating his own path as a professional sportsman — but on dry land.

Two weeks ago Tex made his National Rugby League debut for the Newcastle Knights.

He was more interested in playing a team sport with his mates.

“To be honest you know surfing is more of an individual sport. You’ve got to focus on yourself,” he said. 

“You might make some mates along the way, but to be honest you’re versing them most of the time.

“I actually never thought that I would go to the NRL. I was just happy to play with some mates.”

For father Matt, there was a time when surfing was his whole world.

Former professional surfer Matt Hoy at home in Newcastle.(ABC Newcastle: Anthony Scully)

Two years after the world tour when he won the pro-surfing event at Bells, Matt became the father to Tex.

His dad certainly tried to get him into surfing.

“We went up for a holiday at Byron Bay, I pushed him on to like 10 waves,” Matt said.

“He got straight up and surfed for 100 metres or so and then came in and went ‘is that it dad?’ And I went ‘yep’. And he went ‘I’m not doing that again’.”

Tex said surfing was not for him.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, fans have been locked out of NRL games. So Matt had to watch his son’s debut from home.

“I reckon he killed it. I was stoked, proud of him,” he said.

Surfing may have been in Tex’s blood, but his father said he hoped he finds as much success on the field as he did in the surf.



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