Film Review: The Intern

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 2 Oct 2015

This fluffy new concoction from Nancy Meyers, which stars Robert De Niro as a septuagenarian intern at a successful fashion startup run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), is a light, perfectly passable entertainment, lifted beyond mediocrity by its two leads. Show the rest of this post…

What does The Intern have to tell us about what might happen if a 70-year-old joined a burgeoning fashion startup? Not much, to be honest, but it isn’t really interested in that, despite the gimmicky setup. De Niro plays widower Ben, who needs something in his life to give him purpose, and joins Jules’ trendy fashion outfit as part of an “outreach” scheme. Jules is initially sceptical, of course, because she’s busy and doesn’t have time to coddle a bumbling old man; but, wouldn’t you know it, the wisdom of age and experience are actually useful commodities, even in today’s rush-rush tech world.

It took me a little while to warm to The Intern – it starts in a slightly obnoxious and cheesy fashion – but I did warm to it. De Niro brings class to what is, it has to be said, a pretty basic role. There’s a short speech in a hotel room near the end which gives him a chance to show what he can do, and it’s a welcome change of pace; for most of the film he’s simply required to be genial, which De Niro could play in his sleep. Credit too to Anne Hathaway, who rescues what initially appears to be a cloying, archetypal role into a rounded, even affecting, performance. Once Ben and Jules make friends and form a believable familial partnership, the film is pleasant enough company.

Meyers’ script is not laugh-out-loud funny, but does raise a few smiles, and possesses a willingness to treat its characters fairly. There’s also an agreeably feminist angle at play – Jules is a strong, independent character who is encouraged to be precisely that. The film is not patronising in its portrayal of this, although the script is a bit forthright on occasion.

The Intern doesn’t have a huge amount to say about the issues it touches on; it’s generally happy to let its two charismatic leads simply hang out together. It’s a li ttle cutesy at times, and overlong (there are also some fairly unremarkable supporting characters, including an outrageously flirtatious masseuse), but it’s not without its charms.


Julia Gabriel Studio’s new ‘Circular Series’ bag collection pairs sharp geometric shapes with bright, bold colour combinations

Posted in Products, Style
By Sam Bathe on 25 Sep 2015



Handmade by a “one woman production line”, Julia Gabriel Studio’s ‘Circular Series’ is colorful collection of handmade leather bags that includes clutches, totes, handbags, duffles and backpacks. The architecturally-minded designs feature sharp geometric shapes and bold colour combinations, with each bag made-to-order and the canvas dyed in a big pot in her bathtub. The end result is a mature third collection from the designer, wanting colours that would both stand out against a classic black winter coat and pair subtly with a camel sweater. The ‘Circular Series’ bags are available through Julia Gabriel Studio’s online store:

Matthieu Venot’s closely cropped photography captures the architectural details of his hometown Brest in Southern France

Posted in Art, Photography
By Sam Bathe on 24 Sep 2015


A sight of bright summer, self-taught photographer Matthieu Venot‘s composition perfectly captures the architectural details, and warm, pastel hues of Brest, in Southern France. The middle ground between art and architecture, Matthieu sets the bright blue sky against the strong lines of each man-made structure. Show the rest of this post…









You can follow Matthieu on Instagram here:

Director Adam McKay takes on more serious subject matter with financial drama ‘The Big Short’

Posted in Film, Previews, Trailers
By Sam Bathe on 23 Sep 2015




The first drama from long-time comedy director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) and based on a true story and the best-selling book by Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Blind Side), The Big Short follows an all-star cast take a bet against the banks in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis. Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling, the foursome look to profit from the bursting of the housing and credit bubble, navigating the dark underbelly of the banking industry for their own personal gain. The Big Short hits theatres December 11th, with eyes eager to see how McKay handles the more serious subject matter, and Gosling that bronze.

Object/Interface’s ingenious planter lamps let both light and greenery hang from the ceiling

Posted in Design
By Sam Bathe on 22 Sep 2015



Spun from alumunium into a sleek collection of planter lamps, Object/Interface’s minimal light fittings feature a bowl design to hold house plants and succulents as well as a light bulb. Finished with a powder coating to withstand the moisture from soil, the fittings hang from a stainless steel cable and are all made in Canada. Object/Interface’s planter lamp collection is available to buy from their online store, starting at $148:

Domenack Arquitectos let the spectacular natural surroundings take focus with the minimalist ‘House Poseidon’ in Peru

Posted in Architecture
By Sam Bathe on 21 Sep 2015



In the rugged Pucusana region of Peru and overlooking the South Pacific, Domenack Arquitectos‘ ‘House Poseidon’ is a minimalist and understated property that makes the most of the stunning ocean views. With an infinity pool and patio space facing out, the master bedroom, kitchen and living areas are all located in the main planked concrete building and a white cuboid structure sitting above. Show the rest of this post…




You can view more of Domenack Arquitectos’ work on their site:

The London List: Alex Chinneck unveils his latest surrealist sculpture for this year’s London Design FestivalThe London List

Posted in Art, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 18 Sep 2015


Best known for his gravity-defying installations, artist Alex Chinneck returns with another remarkable surrealist sculpture for the London Design Festival. Balancing a 35 metre-tall electricity pylon on its tip, A Bullet From A Shooting Star comprises 450 steel pieces, constructed from 1186 metres of steel weighing 15 tons. Taking residence on the Greenwich Penisula, the sculpture is one of the real highlights of this year’s festival and can be viewed from North Greenwich Station, the Emirates Airline cable car, the Thames Clipper service, Canary Wharf and all planes that fly to and from City Airport.

Alex Chinneck’s ‘A Bullet From A Shooting Star’ runs from September 19th-27th on the Greenwich Peninsula, London

Film Review: 45 YearsFan The Fire Recommends

Posted in Film, Recommended, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 9 Sep 2015

In 45 Years, the new film from Weekend director Matthew Haigh, we see an ostensibly loving relationship thrown suddenly into doubt by the arrival of a letter. Show the rest of this post…

The letter informs Geoff (Tom Courtenay) that the body of his past love Katya, who died on a walking trip before he met his current wife Kate (Charlotte Rampling), has been found in the Swiss mountains.

Kate initially responds to the news in a logical way: how can she be angry (or jealous, even) about something that happened before she was on the scene? But is there more to it than that? Geoff seems to be affected by the news a little too deeply, and the run-up to their 45th wedding anniversary, which is to be celebrated with a big party, begins to take on a sense of foreboding. The film considers the ideas of regret and missed opportunities, but it is happy to be ambiguous in these considerations. Has the letter caused a fissure in their relationship, or simply revealed the rickety foundations it has always stood on? The final scenes are painfully unyielding, and contain enough emotional curveballs to leave us frustrated in the most satisfying way.

Rampling and Courtenay are very good, conveying a mixture of affection and disaffection, though with the exception of one scene near the end, the film is not reliant on grandiose displays of emotion. 45 Years plays out in small moments that are purposefully symbolic and suggestive, such as when Kate raises her hand to the closed loft door, swirling her fingers to feel the movement of the air. There are also subtle hints in the dialogue, for example when Kate bemoans the ability of humans to forget the things that make them happy. This results in one of the film’s most clearly metaphorical scenes, in which Kate performs a beautiful melody on the piano – only it is pockmarked with mistakes and the creaks of the stool underneath her. The message is clear, but no less effective for it. Indeed, music plays a key role: all of it is diagetic and has some relevance for the characters, whether happy or sad.

The film builds quietly to its powerful conclusion, subtly play ing with our expectations. There are one or two moments where the script is a little too forthright, but this is well-acted double-header directed with poise and confidence by Haigh.


The London List Review: Secret Cinema take on Star Wars for a hugely ambitious, and expensive, night of funThe London List

Posted in Film, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 7 Sep 2015


Normally keeping the movie under wraps until you are through the door, Secret Cinema have recreated Star Wars much to the delight of fans across the country.

If you are not familiar with Secret Cinema, the ‘live cinema’ company curate events that fuse film and theatre, re-creating large-scale immersive experiences that blur the lines of fiction and reality. By now it probably sounds like a broken record, but yet again their latest production is their most ambitious yet. Show the rest of this post…

Taking on beloved cult franchise, Star Wars, for a remarkable four-month London run, the show is inspired by the A New Hope, with fans living the first of the original trilogy before watching sequel The Empire Strikes Back at the end of the night.

In line with the spirit of the event we can’t reveal much more about what happens on the night, but rest assured, the Secret Cinema team have meticulously recreated a world so treasured by fans across the globe.


With audience members taking real pleasure in dressing up as characters from the film, don’t miss the start of the event as things instantly kick into gear. With actors recreating story lines from A New Hope in a number of picture-perfect sets, it’s a great experience and you really feel part of the action. Though the sheer scale of the audience can make you feel lost in the production at times, if you explore and talk to the characters there’s plenty to do and you might even kick off some of the night’s big events.

Newcomers to Star Wars (yes, there are some out there) shouldn’t be put off, and it’s not a precursor that you be a huge franchise buff, but at £78 per ticket and £52 for children you probably need to a fan to justify the expense. You’ll easily spend another £30 on food and drinks on the night too.


Because of the price, Secret Cinema’s The Empire Strikes Back production is not an unmissable experience. Few nights out in London can justify a £100+ all-in price tag, and though this production does come close, I’d be lying if I thought it was totally worth it. That said, fans are still flocking to the event in their droves and there’s no doubt you’ll have a lot of fun, just here’s hoping the next production doesn’t jump in price again, with tickets costing almost double what they used to just three years ago.

Secret Cinema presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back runs until September 27th. Tickets are available from the Secret Cinema website:

Photography by Olivia Weetch, Marianne Chua, Al Overdrive and Mike Massaro, respectively.

Film Review: Vacation

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 19 Aug 2015

Watching Vacation, a remake of the first in the National Lampoons Vacation series, feels like watching an inexperienced comedian spitballing new material without any real idea where it’s going: every now and then, there’ll be a hit, but more often than not there are misses. He or she will often resort to crassness for lack of any stronger material – might even make meta-gags about the show itself. Show the rest of this post…

In other words, Vacation is a film without much holding it together. It’s earnest, and that’s to the credit of first-time directors (and co-screenwriters) John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (who co-wrote Horrible Bosses), but it’s also scattershot and, in its lowest ebbs, slightly cringeworthy. It’s a film that begs you to laugh at it, and sometimes you might – even if, as with a surprisingly funny Chris Hemsworth cameo, you feel a little embarrassed to have laughed at all.

Ed Helms stars as Rusty Griswold (playing the grown-up version of Antony Michael Hall’s character from the original film), who drags his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and two sons James and Kevin (Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins) across America on a road trip to Walley World, which was the plot of the Chevy Chase-starring original (Chase, incidentally, reprises that role briefly here).

The approach to humour in Vacation is pretty varied: Daley and Goldstein throw out everything they can, hoping that some of it sticks. Some of it does. There’s an amusing recurring gag about how James is bullied by his younger brother, and another about the weird Albanian-made car Rusty has rented for the drive. “There’s a Swastika button on there,” says Debbie, looking at the new car’s elaborate key fob. “We won’t use that,” says Rusty. There are also a couple of well played individual scenes, including a meeting of police officers from four states at the Four Corners Monument, a bizarre little scene in which James’ father pretends not to know him in order to act as his wingman, and a brief look at Clark Griswold’s cleaning skills.

But sadly there are at least as many bad jokes as there are good ones. Some of the more crass humour (an extended vomiting scene; James misunderstanding the meaning of ‘rim job’) is pretty laugh-free, and every time there’s a dud joke, the film has to work to rebuild its audience good will. There are set pieces throughout that feel undercooked, as though they could’ve been much better with more refined writing. It’s not that the performances are bad – the film just fails to blend them into something cohesive or consistent. It’s also quite happy to forget about most of its characterisation until right at the end, which I suppose is par for the course for a lot of comedy films, but it does feel a little cynical.


This road trip isn’t as bad as you might have heard, but it’s not a journey I can honestly recommend taking.

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

We’ve been featured on the front page of Reddit and produced off-shoot club night Friday Night Fist Fight, launched a Creative Agency and events column The London List.

FAN THE FIRE is edited by founder, Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief, Sam Bathe. Site by FAN THE FIRE Creative.

You can contact us on:

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Dribbble, Instagram and RSS.