Edible Cinema

One of the greatest things about living in London are all the interesting events that people put on. One of the latest concepts, put together by the Soho House Group combined food and entertainment in the form called Edible Cinema. The concept sounded amazing – watch a movie and then at times throughout the movie, consume a morsel paired to go perfectly with the movie at hand. And what better movie choice other than the dark movie, Pan’s Labyrinth.

I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and playfulness of the pairings such as the impressive “oak smoked popcorn“, a wonderful starter to consume as the opening scene drives through a woodland forest and the car pauses for a short break. Other morsels came in for of clever liquids all made with some form of Bombay Sapphire Gin (sponsoring the event).

Here are the eight morsels (above) waiting to be strategically consumed and the menu (below) of what they are.

I love the concept of this sort of cinematic experience although I think it takes a lot of time, effort and talent to get the right pairings to go with the right moments. For instance, the pipette of a highly intense cocktail mix super strong worked well with the syringe scene but the lump of orange flavoured, pure sugar cube at the end was a bit too sickly to finish off with. I look forward to the next ventures and can only think that the original Ghostbusters might make the next great experience.

Awesome video

Last weekend, there was the Picto Plasma festival focused on contemporary character design and exhibitions. I saw some pretty awesome art including paintings, sculptures and various motion-based exhibitions. Throughout the festival, there were some movie exhibitions and I went along highlighting some of the festival favourites. This is just one great video I really liked:

Onemoreproduction.com produced this awesome video, bringing back various memories and an entertaining sense of what might happen should pixels take over the world.

TRON: Legacy

My holiday in New York was pretty relaxed. I didn’t schedule too much because I was busy writing my chapters for a book I’m contributing to. I did get a chance to see the 3D Imax version of TRON: Legacy. I’d read some of the reviews from a number of people, “It’s a terrible movie” or “I can’t believe how they ruined the storyline”, or the best one yet, “What a fantastic music clip though a poor movie”. With reviews like that, I figured it’d be best to see it whilst on the big screen and with great audio at the same time, so off I went to see Tron on the big screen.

Just like in Avatar, the 3D effects strike you from the start, with a flying in movement that literally makes you feel like you’re floating through the air. After a while you adjust and the 3D effects start to become less noticeable.

Even though this latest incarnation apparently “ruined the original storyline”, I kind of liked the movie for what it was. The first fifteen minutes does a good job at creating excitement and wonder.

I had to really question the whole motorcycle chase scene and the breaking into the company but the “broken childhood” of the main character and how those skills are later put to use make a whole lot of sense. It really wouldn’t have been quite the same.

I also appreciated the use of a termail and the “kill -9” process by one of the sideline characters that doesn’t attempt to over-glamourise the techie side to it.

As expected, the movie spends most of its time in the “digital world”, where the club-like UV effects make their most impact on the dark backgrounds and where all the great action scenes come to life. Despite how easily the whole movie could have centred around the action fight scenes created by the light-cycles, I think they did a good job of the cool factor without over-doing it. In fact, I think this underuse made the point very well.

What really stood out for me was the fantastic soundtrack instrumented by French DJs, Daft Punk. Dark, moving, and bass-thumping tracks for once adding that extra dimension to feeling like you were really part of a club. It’d be nice to think that a digital world could be as club-like as they made it out to be 🙂

This isn’t a movie that will win any awards. I think it’s an ambitious project to try to replicate something that already exists. In fact, I remember watching the original as such a young kid I remember nothing to compare it to other than the name, so for me it works.

As far as entertainment it works for me. The story doesn’t take any unexpected twists but you know what? That’s fine with me.

Kick Ass

Over this Easter holiday period, I ventured down to Brixton (I’ve forgotten what it looks like during the day) to the very nice Ritzy cinema. Tickets are a bargain at this place charging only £7 for a ticket, and you can even pre-book allocated seats. Just like band venues like the Brixton Academy, and The Forum, the Ritzy still has it’s traditional theatrical decorations, making it a much more enjoyable experience watching the movie in such a great atmosphere. Anyway, back to the movie…

I had little expectations about this movie, other than what someone told me over a birthday bash at the start of the Easter break – be warned… it’s violent! Indeed. However, it’s almost violent in a black comedy sort of way. The story is simple, following the life of a high school kid who dares to dress up as a super hero without the lack of special powers. His act triggers a set of consequences that makes for a very laughable story. I’m amazed at hearing (post-movie) that this film was made with British money as well, apparently turned down by Hollywood – it certainly felt a lot more like an American movie than anything else. What an amazing production.

This movie won’t win any acting awards, but it’s a fun movie that has lots of laughs, enough squeamish parts and plenty of action. Great for the bank holiday weekend.

Up in the Air

Over the weekend, I managed to see the movie, Up in the Air. I remember this getting some really positive comments at the BFI Film Festival last year, and thought some of it would be quite appropriate, doing a lot of travelling as a consultant. It stars George Clooney, and Vera Farmiga, who looked stunningly different from her role in the thriller movie, Orphan and a very talented Anna Kendrick.

The movie focuses in the travelling lifestyle of Ryan Bingham (Clooney) who works for a firm that is brought in specifically to fire people. It reminds me of a scene out of Officespace or some movie like that. However his preferred lifestyle of not being attached to anything comes under threat when firm newbie, Natalie Keener (Kendrick) comes up with the idea of replacing this face-to-face lifestyle with video conferencing software.

There’s many great parts to the movie, including where Bingham teaches Keener some of the finer arts to travelling light. I can definitely relate to this, thinking of the many hours I spent last summer travelling to and from Copenhagen. Perhaps more typically represented is the life of the US-based travelling consultant where it’s all about racking up miles, status points and credit points. Overall the movie started off really well but then it started to drag its feet, pursuing too many different story lines to properly address in a single movie. This left the conclusion rushed and it felt like arriving at a banquet only to be told the kitchen was closed when dessert arrived. I’m puzzled as to why it’s had big screen success, as I think it’s place is definitely in a bit more of a niche crowd.

TheKua.com Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Avatar 3D

Before heading away for holidays, I managed to get a booking to see Avatar 3D at the BFI’s Imax. The last 3D movie I saw required the “special” 3D glasses during only certain parts of the movie unlike this one which required it for the entire duration. It’s definitely a strange experience, but just like most things, you seem to adjust to it after a while.

Being such a visually rich film, this was definitely worthwhile seeing at the Imax although you want to get some good seats. We were particularly lucky getting seats pretty much smack bang in the middle, enjoying all three stories of movie screen in all dimensions. It’s apparently sold out at the Imax until March and I’m happy to report it’s worthwhile paying for the experience.

You can read countless other reviews of the actual movie but I will say that although the story is a little bit predicatable, it’s still worth going to see on the big screen. I’m not so sure a TV set will do it as much justice, and watching it in 3D definitely adds a dimension worth seeing.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

As part of the Anime Season showing at the Curzon cinema, I went along to see the screening of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence a couple of weeks ago. The first Ghost in the Shell is a classic cul movie and although I don’t really remember what its story line was about, I do vaguely remember some of the characters.

As part of the festival, a lady told us a few points to focus on throughout the movie, and described some of the events and thinking that lead to the 2004 release of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Sure enough, many of the points she listed hit true to their mark. The movie is superbly visual, almost to the a point where it is cloying with its oversaturated colours and the soundtrack is unnervingly haunting, adding to the overall atmosphere of the movie.

The storyline follows the same robotic investigator from the first movie, although this time he is partnered with a new human investigator after the apparent demise of his first partner. Their investigations follow a set of related murder cases involving a specific type of robot model doing the murdering and then committing suicide afterwards, both apparently violating well known rules of robot law. I won’t go into any other detail because I think the movie does a much better job of uncovering the details behind the murders and their origin.

I’m glad to have seen this movie on the big screen. I can hardly imagine the sounds and rich pictures having as much impact on a much smaller TV, or in a home environment. I’m not sure the movie will be for everyone, particularly those not interested in watching anime movies but I still think it made a pretty good movie.

TheKua.com Rating: 7 out of 10

Secret Cinema meets Metal on Metal

Metal on MetalOn Sunday I ended up at Shepherd’s Bush Empire to participate in one of the Secret Cinema events, a themed evening out where the movie is secret right to the very end and the location disclosed just a few days earlier. When I signed up for the ticket, all I knew was that there were going to be “Rock Gods” and “Shady Promoters”. Later I find out the theme of the evening is 80s rock, so I end up buying a vintage leather jacket on the weekend to accommodate. I found a decent bargain at Rokit in Covent Garden too, so pretty stoked about that.

To be honest, I don’t remember that much about the 80s other than lots of curly hair and bright coloured slacks. After all, I hadn’t even hit my teens at the end of it. I had a much better understanding of 80s rock when I saw everyone else. Ripped shirts, brightly coloured, tight fitting trousers and tights, and lots and lots of messy hair apparently was the idea. The extras hired by (or from) Secret Cinema also came in complete theme and entertained us as we lined up in all of our different lines. We had bikes come through, rock papparazi, a skirmish between two rocked out blokes that made the line up in Fabric on a Friday night look super tame.

When we entered the empire we took to our second floor seats, complete with a bottle of Vitamin Water and a packet of crisps. Other attendents stood around in the aisles, handing out small buckets of popcorn as everyone else eventually made it to their seats. Complete with band kit, it wasn’t long before we witnessed a rock weding, watched a small film about a Heavy Metal Drummer in the middle east and began the session with Toronto based band, Cauldron.

It wasn’t long before the real movie was announced, apparently the premiere of Anvil! The Story of Anvil, though my sister had recently been to yet another “premiere” of it earlier in the week. It’s a great movie though be warned it’s a documentary and probably not for everyone. I’d seen it advertised and I can’t say it was one that I’d go to the cinemas for. It follows the tragic tale of a Canadian band who had a profound influence on the heavy metal music scene, yet never found the fame that they deserved. Throughtout it, we see them and their, almost, unwavering belief and passion for their music. What was surprising at the end of the movie was that Anvil the movie was suddently displaced by Anvil the band in real life. They played three songs before calling it a night, and what a night it was!