There’s lots of “trashy fun” to be had in Halston, says Anita Singh in the Telegraph. Ewan McGregor has a blast as “the coke-snorting, rent boy-humping” 1970s superstar designer Roy Halston, hamming up every bitchy putdown for laughs. “I know that Max Factor used to be something back in the day, when the Earth was still cooling,” he says to one hapless fashionista. An engineer called in to fix a faulty phone reveals that so much cocaine has been dropped down the receiver, “it oxidised the wires”.
But it doesn’t feel half as daring “as the actual world Halston created”, says Rachel Syme in The New Yorker. Halston’s big break was designing the pillbox that Jacqueline Kennedy wore to the presidential inauguration in 1961. His muse, Liza Minnelli (Krysta Rodriguez), still wears vintage Halston outfits. Andy Warhol was a regular at his Madison Avenue workshop. The dramatic plot points are all here, but “the soul of Halston’s work” – the way his creations shaped the lives of the women who lived in them – comes through faintly.
Still, as the credits rolled on the fifth and final episode, “I found that I had been won over”, says Rebecca Nicholson in The Guardian. Yes, it’s draped in haughtier glitz than The Pursuit of Love, but its charm sneaks up on you. “Orchids are part of my process. You can’t put a budget on inspiration,” the designer says when his $40,000 flower bill is cut. Quite.
Halston is on Netflix. Watch the trailer here.
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Spiral doesn’t take place “in a postcard Paris”, says Mike Hale in The New York Times. At the beginning of series eight, the dead body of a homeless Moroccan teenager is found inside a laundrette washing machine. The gritty police officers, Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust), Gilou (Thierry Godard) and Tintin (Fred Bianconi), are cut from rough cloth: “Their toolbox includes blackmail, intimidation and a disingenuousness so routine it’s like breathing.” Stakeouts and high-speed chases dovetail with “shades of noir”. It’s often compared to The Wire, but it’s knottier, funnier and, frankly, “that show’s equal, or better”.
Engrenages, as we call it, is “surely the most beautiful thing ever constructed for French television”, says Benjamin Fau in Le Point. Fifteen years and eight “nail-biting” seasons of our country’s best detective drama passed “in the blink of an eye” – it ended in January. Look under the hood. The way the different plots are woven together, and the interplay of sequences, places and points of view, are “key to its addiction”. Once you start it’s impossible to stop.
When Spiral began in 2005, critics were stunned, says Adam Sage in The Times. Before, French police series inevitably featured “immaculate detectives”. Laure “looked as though she barely ever washed” and her team’s “clothes frayed as often as their tempers” as they tracked down vicious drug dealers and killers, mostly from Paris’s crime-ridden suburbs. It’s an honest look at an “underfunded force overwhelmed by the criminality of a decaying society”. The French – and the rest of us – couldn’t get enough.
Spiral is on the BBC iPlayer.