Wednesday, March 21

Film: Tomb Raider Click for more info

Despite the rebooted games being brilliant, Tomb Raider (the film) fails to live up to the expectation and standards set. There are various pacing and plot issues, and the film suffers as a whole due to this lack of depth and balance. This all in spite of the valiant efforts by the sublime Alicia and co to fight through with their acting skills.

It remains to be seen whether the franchise as a whole will do any better, but for now Tomb Raider is one to avoid.

Saturday, March 17

BAHfest London 2018 Click for more info

I attended this year's BAHfest in during a period where I've actually been pretty hermit-like, thus is the allure of the nerdy fun event hosted by Imperial one a year. This is the third time it's been in London, and has cemented itself as a must-date in my diary. Today's show was of no disappointment.

Tonight we were told of how setting of a nuke might be the best way to combat global warming, how the black death is directly responsible for how bad we are at romantic relationships, why and how we should prevent attacks on sharks, why the moon is so obnoxious (and how to remedy that), the importance of thinning the atmosphere (via mass and gravity reduction) in order to reduce the greenhouse effect and finally why symmetry is so important in evolution (which is actually probably true but not in the way it was presented tonight). Oh and also why cuteness is a genealogical disease.

There were a few repeat presenters (no bad thing), and the quality of the laughs and presentations were clearly on an upward trend. I'm not sure how I feel about that - for me part of the charm of BAHfest is the grassroots amateurishness of it all - but so far there's no sign of any of the geekiness dumbing down.

On to next year then!

Friday, March 16

Food: Yard Sale Pizza Click for more info

The thing about pizza is that it's pretty easy to get right. That's both a good thing (it's hard to get it wrong) but also a bad thing (it's hard to make it special). And so is the case here at Yard Sale Pizza, where, although the food was great, there was no real apparent reason to visit them over any other pizza place. In fact I would cite not being halal as pretty criminal given the vicinity.

So yes, a recommendation of sorts, but only if you happen to be passing and crave pizza.

Thursday, March 8

Food: P.F. Chang's Click for more info

Although I always struggle to answer questions about my favourite cuisine, I generally have no problem saying what doesn't rock my boat. It's not that I dislike Chinese, but more that that I find it really difficult to get excited about it. And so that's how I felt tonight on approach to P.F. Chang's.

It turns out however that not all Chinese is made the same; I actually really enjoyed the food here. It was clean, flavourful and although we exclusively stuck to the chicken dishes (everything except, well, the pork is halal) everything was varied enough to keep us interested. The service was great in a familiar non-poncy sort of way, and there really wasn't much to complain about.

The bill came to £25 per head which I suppose fairly reflects the experience I had. P.F. Chang's definitely comes recommended, which for a Chinese is quite exciting for me after all.

Wednesday, March 7

Film: Red Sparrow Click for more info

For me, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy remains the epitome of the mind melting spy thriller sub genre - I still don't think I quite fully understand what the heck goes on in that film, and I'm always in two minds about whether its complexity works for (since it's a challenge) or against (since who wants to watch a film that makes them feel stupid?) it.

Whatever the case, TTSS makes for a decent benchmark against which other films of the genre can be positioned. So finally then to the point: if TTSS is a 10, Red Sparrow weighs in at around 5 or 6. It's certainly more accessible, easier to follow and ultimately... more enjoyable as a result. Jennifer Lawrence does a decent job as the torn spy who we can't quite figure out the allegiances of, and apart from the acting the film is really well put together.

The cost, however, of this accessibility is the sense of implausibility that comes with it. It's difficult to believe that a prima ballerina can so easily be turned into a master spy for instance. It was kind of like seeing a more serious version of Eggsy from Kingsman.

So yes, as long as you don't let the caricaturisation of the spy world bother you too much there's not much to dislike about Red Sparrow. Recommended.