Friday, October 28

Food: Burgista Bros Click for more info

Yes, I've already established Proper as my go-to gourmet burger place... so my drive to find alternatives has since diminished. That said, food standards do go up and down and geography (not many people like to come to East London for some reason) means it's always worth looking for other options too, and Burgista Bros happens to be a fine choice for food in the West End area.

The counter service was quick, the place clean and not too busy for a Friday night, although I can see the limited number of covers becoming a problem at popular times. Price wise it was pretty expensive overall - my burger meal cost over a tenner (with free soft drink refills), although the portion of four chicken wings were a definite bargain. If I have a complaint about the menu it's that it was pretty small - there were only a couple of precanned burgers over the plain one (we ordered the spicy one and a BBQ sauced one, the latter of which was great) and although I do sometimes appreciate a simple menu I did feel that a few more creative options would have been great.

Which brings us to the food itself. The meat was of a decent quality, cooked well and juicy to a tee. It was almost like a well done Sloppy Joe, which sounds odd on paper but worked wonders on the plate. The fries were okay - but it's a shame that they couldn't be switched out for something non-carby (which essentially meant I had to break the nutrition rules I've recently introduced to my diet).

But overall Burgista was a fine place and one I heartily recommend.

Tuesday, October 25

Film: Doctor Strange Click for more info

I went in to watching this film expecting to hate it. I've never really had any level of affinity with Doctor Strange as a comic book character - it all seemed a little hocus pocus in a world filled more with aliens and mutants. Still, it is part of the MCU so had to be watched regardless. Which turns out is a great rule to follow since Doctor Strange was actually really good.

Leaving aside the normal ingredients of fun, action and plot progression, what really surprised me is firstly how awesome a character Doctor Strange is and secondly (and perhaps even more surprisingly) that I can actually enjoy the acting of Benedict Cumberbatch, someone whom I previously considered to be pretty overrated.

But otherwise the film is a solid one, with some great visuals, good humour and a decent story to it. If you're an MCU nut then you'll watch this anyway, but even if not I thoroughly recommend it.

Thursday, October 20

Book: Knife Of Dreams, Robert Jordan Click for more info

Book eleven (2005) and things are finally getting back on track - by this I mean the actual real progress I found was desperately missing in the last volume is now back in spades, which is probably not surprising considering I only have three volumes left to read. It actually feels like a race to the finish now, or perhaps more accurately the beginning of the end, as plots are finally appearing to lead to their conclusions. Battles are raged, heroes are born and twists uncovered, leaving a pretty pacy book with not many slow bits within.

Having said that I found myself searching online for help while reading this part in order to figure out the nuance of what was going on - something which I alluded to in previous WOT reviews. Since I probably won't ever read the epic again I felt that using guides was acceptable - and valuable as what I did read did clear up a fair few plot lines and developments I didn't even realise existed. In hindsight I should have read explainers at the end of each part in order to compensate for the sheer size of the story as well as Jordan's habit of leaving a lot left unsaid. On a similar note, I can't stress how important it is to read books like these with a map handy - probably due to its popularity ASOIAF had a few searchable mobile apps available which made that series a joy to read but unfortunately WOT doesn't appear to have anything similar.

All in all I enjoyed the return to form seen in Knife Of Dreams and it has left me both hungry for more as well as a little aware that it's all coming to an end soon.

Wednesday, October 12

Film: The Girl on the Train Click for more info

It would be so easy to call this travesty of a film bad only for those who had read the book before watching it. But no, it was bad for reasons all of it's own, and those reasons were both internal and external to the film.

Although possibly superficial, the creative licence taken in the change of location pretty much destroyed the soul of the film for me. Although the main themes of the book could have played out anywhere, there were certain subtleties lost in its resetting in New York.

But geography aside, the film quite sucked for a host of other reasons, most of them which can be filed under "badly made". The production was bad, the acting dire, the presenting of the plot rushed and clumsy. There really wasn't much to enjoy about this film.

So yes, one to avoid - but I will take this opportunity to recommend the book again.

Tuesday, October 4

Film: Deepwater Horizon Click for more info

The film about the 2010 disaster is pretty much what you would expect from a dramatisation of a real life event. It's actually largely "middle" with not much of a beginning and certainly no end - but that is forgiven since what is presented turns out to be a pretty tight retelling of what went on during that day.

Everything else comes second - the production, the acting, the script. But the topic is gripping enough for the film to carry itself well and what we end with is something that keeps you gripped till the end. Oh and yes, they even manage to make the non British bad guy British.