Page last updated at 20:23 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Newsnight Review: 30 October 2009

This week on Newsnight Review, Martha Kearney is joined by columnist Johann Hari, scientist, philosopher and poet Raymond Tallis and the journalist Marina Hyde, to discuss celebrity culture and its relationship with the media, and to review Philip Roth's new book The Humbling.

BOOK - The Humbling
The Humbling

Fifty years have passed since prolific US writer Philip Roth published his first book, Goodbye Columbus.

Roth's distinguished career has seen him win the Pulitzer Prize - for his 1997 novel American Pastoral - and the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction.

The Humbling, his 30th novel, is about a fictitious stage actor, Simon Axler, who suddenly feels he has "lost his magic". Roth has said the book began "out of nothing" and was based on a story he heard many years ago about a well-known, but nameless, actor who felt he had forgotten how to act.

It follows Axler's descent into despair, his subsequent stay in a psychiatric hospital, and complicated affair with a woman 40 years his junior.

The Humbling will be published by Vintage on 5 November.

FILM - Starsuckers
Starsuckers poster

Starsuckers, from Bafta-award nominated director Chris Atkins, examines society's deep-rooted obsession with fame, and the techniques used by the media to fuel the fixation.

From pushy parents and wannabe child stars, to the murky methods employed by newspapers to land their celebrity scoops, Starsuckers uses real life stories, animation and undercover filming to weave together the strands of the argument.

The film, which was screened at the London Film Festival (LFF) this week, also shows how the production team fooled tabloid newspapers with fake celebrity stories - such as Amy Winehouse's burning Beehive - to demonstrate the extent to which the culture of celebrity has undermined journalistic standards.

Starsuckers opens on Friday 30 October at selected cinemas across the UK.

FILM - This Is It
Michael Jackso. This Is It

Compiled from hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage, This Is It documents the final weeks of Michael Jackson's life, as he prepared to put on the biggest shows of his career at London's O2 arena.

Jackson died in June, just two weeks before he was due to take the stage, triggering an outpouring of grief by his millions of fans.

AEG Live, promoters of the This Is It concerts, were quick to respond. They worked with Jackson's creative director Kenny Ortega to craft the two-hour film from the footage they recorded during rehearsals for the O2 show.

But what, if anything, does it tell us about Jackson - a star so surrounded by scandal, suspicion and myth throughout his life - and the months leading up to his untimely death?

This Is It is showing at cinemas nationwide until 13 November.

MUSIC - Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams is back in the singles chart - with his new single Bodies - after a couple of years away from the spotlight.

His new album, Reality Killed the Video Star, will be greeted with curiosity by critics and fans after his last effort, Rudebox, was widely panned when it was released three years ago.

Since then, Williams' former Take That band mates, who reformed in 2006, have enjoyed chart success and sell-out tours across the UK and Europe.

Will Reality Killed the Video Star, produced by Grammy Award-winning Trevor Horn, be a return to form for the once golden boy of British pop music?

Reality Killed the Video Star will be released by EMI on 9 November.



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