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Showing posts from 2017

Show: Alice Underground @ Waterloo Vaults

The above poster sort of says all that needs to be said. A return of the show that had a successful run in 2014 and is back for, what appears to be, another.
It's 90 minutes long and there is some running, walking and a little climbing. Do get there early and listen out of your show starting (we managed to miss ours and fortunately jumped into a later slot) and just enjoy the experience...then go and see it again; I'm already planning my next visit.

Film: The Handmaiden

I caught this at the start of the year at a festival but it now it's fully released I thought I'd pop along to the cinema and see it again. It was certainly worth seeing a second time and I'm glad I did.  The original review is here but on a second viewing I was able to see how the storyline worked better than first time round and I was drawn much more to the cinematography which is stunning. The director of Delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, once said that the best films feature shooting where any frame could be a painting, and I saw that here. Park has framed his shots brilliantly.
The only other thing I can add on this viewing? I'll never see wind chimes in quite the same way again.

Film: Raw

A coming of age tale set around a freshman vegetarian vet student who discovers a craving for human flesh. That's basically the story but it is dragged out nicely for 90 or so minutes.
When shown at it's first festival this film supposedly made people pass out and throw up; those reviewers must have been lightweights. It wasn't as gory as I'd have liked. The epilogue is great though, and the party scene features a DØ track. Nice!

Film: Fast & Furious 8

Human thumb Vin Diesel searches for his lost alpha-male role and his "fam bro you get me" in an exciting quest involving very expensive cars, most of which get smashed up. Charlize The Ron plays a high-end hacker who does very little of the hacking leaving it to a little Asian nerd who wouldn't look as hot with blond dreadlocks. Impressive CGI including a scene where they manage to make Michelle Rodriguez smile. Hollywood's interpretation of what zero-day exploits and EMPS can do continues to miss the mark. It also contains the worst English accent committed to screen since Don Cheadle in Oceans 11, and it's not Statham that's responsible. Despite all that I still found it enjoyable, but it gets easier to say that as each one is released. The franchise benefits from having its audience having invested so much into it and should the Prince Charles run all 8 in a marathon, I'll be there.

Film: Memories of a Murder

An impromptu visit to the West End saw me seeing this Korean film originally released in 2003. I didn't know it was based on true events surrounding Korea's first serial killer so went in very blind. This was great and having no preconceptions made the film enjoyable. The performances are strong and I was pulled into the film such were the strength of the performances. There's some humour in the film, especially with one of the cops unable to control his urge to launch a flying kick at suspects; that made me laugh every time he did it.
That ending though, I hadn't expected it at all but it was quite clever. (intentionally vague so as not to spoil it). 

Film: Chopping Mall @ Crap Film Club

My second trip to Crap Film Club took us back to the 80s for Chopping Mall, a film about 8 teenagers who have a party in a shopping mall which is undergoing a trial of a new security system including shutter doors and three patrolling droids. A lightning storm causes the robots software to fail causing them to go into kill mode.
Initially called Killbots but changed so as not to be associated with Transformers which were popular at the time, the film is really poor but perfect for the Crap Film Club. The dialogue is cheesy, the effects bad, and the acting is atrocious. The teenagers are all well into their 20s and one seems to chew constantly, even when talking. 
I did recognise the mall as the same one as Commando, so I was quite chuffed with myself for spotting that. Oh, and it features one of the best exploding head sequences, almost up there with Scanners. 
Another fun night. 

Film: Ghost in the Shell

A live action remake of the 90's Anime original sees Scarlett Johansson in a role where the performance is not too dissimilar from her Black Widow persona in The Avengers films. Here she plays "Major" a cyborg sent to investigate the murder of scientists involved in a secret project. Along the way she learns of her past, which causes her to rethink who she is really working for.
The star of the show is the visuals, they're great and look like Blade Runner on Ecstasy with huge hologram adverts hanging off a complex Mega-City style cityscape. Performances are fine, Scarlett isn't challenged too much and Beat Takeshi is just Beat, I've no complaints ever with him. The Clint Mansell soundtrack is also really good.
Is it better than the original? I think so. The original will always be a classic but I think the director has done enough to stay true but also to put his own stamp on the story. I found it easier to follow. 

Exhibition: Wearing & Cahun @ National Portrait Gallery

A rather interesting if odd exhibition at the Portrait Gallery featuring two artists who made their careers by hiding behind masks. Wearing, the more recent of the two, was the more impressive. Without the room of Polaroids it'd be hard to know how exactly she looks such was her abundance in hiding her face.

Show: Found Footage Festival @ Soho Theatre

The Found Footage Festival is the crowning event of a scene I'm only just starting to get into. There are people out there who scour old video collections for amusing content and two of the best, Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett have managed to turn that obsession into an hour-long live shows that they're currently touring with. I saw them as part of a 3-day run in London.
Including content such as religious videos where Jesus is commenting on being touched, to news reel bloopers to some of the worst exercise videos the guys provided a hilarious show from start to finish. I was introduced to this scene through the Duke Mitchell Film Club. I 'll be keeping an eye on these two too. So impressed was I that I bought the entire back catalogue on the way out.

Film: Free Fire

Free Fire is the kind of film that'd materialise if you were asked to extend the final scene of Reservoir Dogs into a 90-minute film, and I've no complaints with that.
A Boston gun deal between some Irish and some international dealers go awry when two people on either side rekindle a private feud. A woman and physically large American arbitrating the deal are unable to prevent it becoming a mini-war. Throw in a double-cross and you've a film that continues to remain interesting despite the simple premise.
The film is funny, getting close to the level of the gunfights in Police Squad as the people throw things at each whenever the bullets ran dry. I also like that a lot of the quips the two sides throw at each other take place off-screen making great use of surround sound.

Show: Punel Show @ Museum of Comedy

A new show from Mark Simmon's joining up with PunRun regular Darren Walsh as they try a new panel show format based on puns. The format seems to intentionally not work adding to the humour, but the jokes really do as we were blessed with a couple of hours of inane puns and one-liners. As a fan of groaning and death-threat eliciting humour this was right up my street and being just a short walk from the office was literally that too!
Highlights for me were an R.Kelly joke,  and a joke that despite being a one-line took ages; they even managed a pun during the interval. I also enjoyed that the audience get to take part.
The show runs for a few more weeks and is highly recommended if puns are your thing.

Graffiti: Dank in East London

Here are a few photos of 2 Dank Kitchener pieces that can be found in East London.

The first is one of his more recent ones and it can be found a short drive from Stratford rail and bus station. It features some of his Future Tokyo creatives.

The second located not far from Plaistow station has been around for almost a year and is a collaboration with another artist I like, Otto Schade. 
Both are stunning pieces and Dan's work is improving with every piece he does.

Film: The Assignment

Michelle Rodriguez plays a bearded male hitman with an unnecessary big dick who is kidnapped by a Shakespeare-quoting surgeon, played by Sigourney Weaver, and turned into a woman. After shouting "nooooo" at realising the dick has gone and she now has breasts, the Hitwoman seeks her revenge. I watch too many shit movies. This is another but this could end up being a cult film like Showgirls it's so bad.

Sightseeing: Dubai Food

The obligatory supermarket visit
This sounds like the chaviest of girlie drinks. 
The UAE is a dry country which means you can drink wine but without the alcohol.
If you like your snacks inspired by Blackadder
Pocari is the refreshing Japanese drink. Badam is the wrongest drink, it's like drinking turkish delight flavoured milkshake with coconut lumps in. 
This sounds like something that would send you to sleep.

Pork has it's own section and staff to serve you but it's kept separate to the rest of the store. They really do make the most of the pigs they kill here: ears, and hearts? I like how the blood is also in here, I thought the rules only applied to the meat. I'm clearly wrong.
All of these products contain pork or pork derivatives. Even the Heinz ketchup!

Sightseeing: Dubai

Whilst in Dubai we didn't do too much sightseeing, partly due to the itinerary and me not being particularly bothered to go anywhere in the spare time we did have. I guess I'm getting old.
However we did have time to go up the Dubai tower.
We got there super early to get the jump on the public.

There's a moderately long pre-show and obligatory green-screen photo which I skipped straight through. The elevator is really quick in getting you up to the observation floor.

Despite being called "At the Top" it's clearly not. The view is impressive and on first impressions it seems like any other big building until you remember that you're looking down on other skyscrapers. 
There is still a long way up! I think the top is some way off still
Here's what it is really like at the top.
Elsewhere in the building there's a Bond exhibition that is there for a few more weeks yet.

Instead I made do with grabbing a ridiculously overpriced ice cream from the shop …

Park: Adventureland

The final park of the tour was back in Sharjah close to the airport. Adventureland is another large mall park run by a guy who used to work for ride maker Vekoma. 

The park has 3 coasters, which is pretty good for an indoor park, two of them are quite lengthy powered rides, which some picky people wouldn't count.
Kukulcan is the red one and Forest Train is the right. The stations are both beside each at the front of the park. A kukulcan is a feathered serpent from Mayan culture. A forest train is, well, a train that goes through a forest.

The best coaster and one of the surprises of the trip was their motocoaster which took us right up to the ceiling before coming back down with some nice twisting turns and close interactions with the rest of the park. I liked this a lot!

Elsewhere the park didn't really offer much to us. I was 40 years too late for the majority of the rides.

The park does have some really good unique theming around the park. It's not confirmed if the bir…