Tuesday, January 31

Book: Rhythm of War, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

The first, and possibly only, striking thing about Rhythm of War is just how big it is. The Stormlight Chronicles have always been the more grown up books of The Cosmere, but this was quite the slog.

And I feel that the book suffered for it, if only because it had the effect of diluting the significant plot developments and set pieces which would have otherwise stood out in a slimmer tome.

I'd like to say that the quality of the writing hadn't suffered either... but I noticed a significant change in flow here, a sense that a lot of the prose was just churned out. This made the book not as special as the others, and just normal.

Of course we don't read these books in isolation: finally it seems that the Cosmere has fully spilled over and even my amateur eyes spotted numerous crossing overs. This alone made the book exciting and compelling enough to bear with it's glacial pacing.

It's hard not to recommend RoW, essential as it is. I just hope it's the peak of Cosmere book word counts, and we return to the more pure and to the point approach enjoyed previously.

Film: Plane Click for more info

Yes, your first instinct is correct and you know exactly what there is to find in Gerard Butler's latest.

The only real surprise is how they manage to squeeze such a solid movie into the 100 minutes or so. That said, now that I think about it, not much actually happens in it's well delineated three act.

This may all sound like negative things, but the truth is that Plane is so unassuming, so straightforward, that it doesn't actually disappoint. It's like comfort food, or a well worn pair of jeans.

And of course Gerard is great in it too, so this definitely comes recommended... although perhaps you don't need to go to the cinema to watch it.

Wednesday, January 25

Film: Pathaan Click for more info

I guess it was too much to ask for. SRK and Padukone in the same film? A political spy thriller? Surely this would bring us back to the second (or was it the third?) golden age of Bollywood - these guys weren't about to put their names against a turkey now right?

Wrong. Pathaan stunk. Part of the YRF Spy Universe (which I hadn't had heard of till today which shows how out of touch I am) means that there are more of these, and I'm grateful to now know which films to avoid.

Bad plot, bad acting, bad CGI (including - get this - pasted on abs) are all well and present. Even the promise of Deepika playing a Pakistani spy wasn't enough for me - and that's something I am truly surprised about. Even the audience's whoops were deflated and deflating.

I dunno. Maybe it's not the film. Maybe it's me and I'm just too old for this now. Which is actually funny for those who bothered to stay after the credits for the stinger. I'd suggest not watching it in the first place.

Tuesday, January 17

Film: M3GAN Click for more info

First things first I guess: M3GAN is not the millennial's answer to Chucky, even though I admit that that is what I was expecting. No, M3GAN manages to make the creepy toy genre it's own, and amazingly manages to inject some new things into the mix.

That's not to say this was a great film. Neither was it bad. It was passable and although I don't regret spending the time to watch it, I don't think I'd watch it again, nor have missed anything if I didn't the first time.

I suppose really it was all very predictable and not as clever as its antagonist. In a world of AI and robotics it might be a bit of a reminder-slash-warning about the future to come but it's also slapstick enough for that message not to be taken seriously. That's actually a bit of a shame.

Otherwise it was well built, with props to M3GAN herself (and that dance). Not quite a recommendation though, unless you already know what you're getting yourself into.

Thursday, January 12

Buffy Revamped Click for more info

Any trepidation I had about booking this show blind quickly evaporated before the show had even begun. Wilton's Music Hall itself was a lovely venue - well, as lovely as a gentrified grade II listed music hall can be. The set was simple but told a lot - that this was going to be something simple, clever and very funny.

And that's pretty much what we got. As much as I love Buffy (and the TV show), there are tons of flaws, in jokes and observations my friends and I have made over the years, and this show was just about calling all these things out while still giving us the fan service we came from. And given the one man show format, this was as close to satirical Buffy stand up as we were going to get.

Brendan Murphy is a talent and a genius, and pulled off quite the feat - although, fine, he didn't cover all episodes in all seven seasons but the strokes were more than broad enough.

Simple, clever and funny, I very much recommend Buffy Revamped - although perhaps not to those who aren't familiar with the show. It truly was the compliment to the Buffy meetup late last year that I didn't think I needed.

Wednesday, January 4

Food: Laurel House Click for more info

It's not often I visit St Albans for... well anything let alone food. But given the location of the rest of the dinner party it made more sense to pick that as a dining spot than a more neutral midpoint like Harrow or the like. And so I went.

Now I'm not about to claim that Laurel House is worth leaving London for, but given the circumstances it was actually quite the solid choice. I went for the Classic Burger as the "Special Hunger Buster" seemed a little too much. It wasn't bad, but I already forget how it actually was which I suppose makes the food here a little unexciting. On the other hand it wasn't memorable for the wrong reasons either so there is that.

Laurel House is managed by a friendly Algerian chap who gave us the kind of care and attention you want from an small and intimate place like this - perhaps a little too intimate however as we only came across three other customers during our time there which we found odd.

Still at £15 per head including drinks (the meals all came with a side) there really was little to complain about with Laurel House. I'd definitely visit again given the chance... but then how often does one need to go to St Albans really?