Tuesday, August 29

Film: Logan Lucky Click for more info

As a heist movie, Logan Lucky did just about enough to get past the finish line. The plan is clever, the team sassy, the cause real. The characters are fun, and you do really end up rooting for most of them by the end, the movie offering plenty of twists and turns on the way there.

The problem was that these twists were largely manufactured, with the film trying to be too clever for it. Most of the apparently twists were of the protagonists own design; it was almost as if they wanted an excuse to pat themselves on the back. As the a result, the film loses a bit of the charm that most heist movies rely on to be truly great.

Overall then, Logan Lucky was a largely forgettable, fun-while-it-lasted flick that will perhaps leave you feeling a bit cheated. It wasn't a bad film though so just about gets a recommendation from me.

Wednesday, August 23

Food: BGR Click for more info

Topping the list of "most local generic gourmet burger places" is the 6 week old BGR, down in South Woodford.

I could claim that it was my ideal of supporting local business that made me want to try BGR, but in reality it was the offer of 10% off our bill if we mentioned our local mosque. Genius.

At this stage I don't really expect much from gourmet burger places - it's quite hard to get it wrong these days - so I generally frequent based on price and location. BGR isn't the cheapest, with only the 10% putting it on par with other local options.

That said the menu is pretty interesting, but what I really had to note was how rare the burger was when it arrived - quite possibly the rarest I've had from places in this category. It was so rare that I actually had concerns in eating it (even though it did taste fabulous); it remains to be seen if anything comes of it*.

The rarity aside BGR is a decent enough place, and one I'll try to go back to... as long as the 10% discount stays in effect. After that disappears well, unfortunately, I don't see any reason to pick BGR over the many many alternative options we are lucky enough to have.

*EDIT: I am pleased to confirm that I survived the few days after consuming the pinkest burger I have ever tried.

Isn't Thirteen Supposed To Be Unlucky?

I did try. I even went for the most obvious topic of, well, marriage, since that's what I was told was missed the most. But aside from the fact that it probably wasn't read in a world of status updates and retweets (I write for myself dammit), it was actually a bit difficult to write in the first place. The thoughts and arguments that were so easily spilled during those golden years seem to be having trouble leaving my older brain.

Having said all, my personal situation and lifestyle has changed a bit; whether this will make room for more posts or manifest at all here remains to be seen.

Other points of note: I've broken the 3000 post mark which is pretty cool. Also my film label count (not all of which are reviews) is 20 short of 500, while restaurants stand at a smidge over 200. If there's one thing I'm sure of with respect to this place it's that those two topics will continue to be covered. I guess that's a consolation of sorts.

Tuesday, August 15

Film: Atomic Blonde Click for more info

We went into Atomic Blonde expecting a somewhat dumbed down action butt kicking flick - a John Wick with a hotty, say. Boy were we wrong.

Atomic Blonde was a bit more cerebral than that, but still managed to capture a lot of the aforementioned butt kicking. The last spy film that had me in such a brainspin was Tinker Tailor, so maybe this is a kind of amalgamation of that and good ol' Wick?

This combination might have worked against it however, as the plot did end up being a bit confused, muddled and hole-ridden; the assumption being that a lot got left on the cutting room floor to make room of the kicking of butts. It definitely was not as satisfying to grok as Tinker Tailor was.

In conclusion the film was flawed for me overall. I just hope the sequel disposes of the mind games and sticks to the butt kicking.

Monday, August 14

A Northern Road Trip, Day Three: The Peak District

The second of the more popular Northern "districts", the Peak District offers more wonderful vistas and fun driving routes. The weather held today so we were able to do a bit more exploring - including a trip to Speedwell Cavern (you know, the one with the underground boat), as well as a nice afternoon tea at the Rose Cottage Cafe down in Castleton.

It was another successful day, cut short by us having to drive home. That kind of sums up the whole weekend really; a bit of a rush but with some ad-hoc serendipitous moments that made the whole trip. A quick win if you will.

Sunday, August 13

Food: eastZeast Click for more info

First of all: what's with the name? Is it a clever copyright avoiding rendition of "East is East"? Or something more hip for the youth? Maybe it's the only domain that was available? Who knows? Names aside, eastZeast was actually more than your typical Pakistani restaurant, and indeed was very good evidence of those up North claims of having the best Asian food.

We stuck to the usual: mixed grills, biryanis and kebabs and everything was tasty enough without being too heavy on the stomach. The bill came to around a tenner a head, which wasn't bad but also not unexpected as we were sat as a family of mixed ages as well as were very prudent while ordering.

Of course being situated in Bury means that I'll almost certainly never have the chance to go back, but I wouldn't be too upset if I did.

A Northern Road Trip, Day Two: Blackpool

Ah, Blackpool. I've been here a fair few times and if I'm honest haven't had too fond a memory of the place. But the weather was glorious and there was an excellent air show too, and along with the fish and chips lunch our time on the promenade was actually quite brilliant.

We then drove a bith further south to St Anne's Beach, a wonderfully sparse and sandy spot just made for whiling the afternoon away. Here's hoping it remains that way.

Today was fun, in a relaxing, carefree kind of way. It was just the ticket after yesterday.

Saturday, August 12

A Northern Road Trip, Day One: The Lake District

It was probably a good idea to travel up last night, a Friday. It allowed us to begin our Saturday relatively early with us reaching The Lake District in enough decent time. My memories of the Lake District are firmly rooted in the northern end of Lake Windermere, and as is always the case when visiting childhood locations the feeling of nostalgia was pretty compelling. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, we decided pretty on that we wouldn't spend too much time in the place we were all too familiar with.

Instead we headed west, toward Wast Water, braving the fun country roads in the not so fun rainy weather. We picnicked in relative isolation which was nice, but aside from that there was a lot of driving for not much outdoorsy stuff. We wanted to try a boat or something but found that the time and weather was against us.

Dinner at a friends house in Manchester meant a relatively early night and so we headed back. Perhaps tomorrow better whether will bring more fortune.

Thursday, August 3

Food: Pizza Toto Click for more info

I'm not quite sure how we ended up on Walthamstow High Street for a pizza, as poignant as that might be. The place was empty which wasn't the best sign. The service was lovely though, with what seemed like Authentic Italians™ welcoming us and making and serving our food.

Most of us went for the Calzone, substituting the pork for halal beef. We received some garlic bread too (and now that I think about it, I'm not sure if they charged us for that) on top of which was Scotch Bonnet oil. That alone was an experience all in itself. Luckily we were able to remove that ingredient from the calzones to come.

When they did arrive we were quite taken aback by the sheer size of them, although our fears turned out to be pretty unfounded by the end of our meals. They were perfectly weighted, if a little soggy, but ultimately satisfying enough for me.

Topping off the meal was a scoop of ice cream, promised to have been sourced by one of the best suppliers in Italy. It was decent, although I'm not sure if it was entirely worth the £2.80 it was listed at. Luckily we were given a decent discount on the bill (with the costing of the garlic bread remaining a mystery) which resulted in a relatively acceptable £7.50 charge per head.

Overall I'm not sure if I'd go out of my way to eat at Pizza Toto again. That's a bit of a shame since it was actually quite a nice experience having eaten there, and could possibly improve loads as time goes on. If you're on the High Street at the time then you could probably do much worse.

Tuesday, August 1

Film: Dunkirk Click for more info

I don't really have much of an affinity for war movies. I'm not entirely sure why this is; it's certainly nothing as lofty as finding war porno perverse, or a distaste of the glorification of killing or even a critical stance on certain perceptions of history. I guess I just simply find them boring, so it was with some trepidation that I approached Dunkirk (having primed myself on the relevant Wikipedia page beforehand).

Although I was aware that this was a Nolan film, a few things did take me by surprise. Tee shifting time spans had me puzzled for a while, but showed their effectiveness once they made sense. The acting was a bit mixed, with some terrific performances sat alongside... well Harry Styles (he wasn't that bad actually). The plot was simple and straightforward, with some subtlety if you chose to acknowledge it.

Overall the film was a good one, and less warlike than I was anticipating (not withstanding my lack of reference material, that is). Recommended.