DVD Review: An Inconvenient SequelFan The Fire Recommends

Posted in DVDs, Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 11 Dec 2017

In a way, the most prescient thing about the sequel to Al Gore’s 2006 zeitgeist-hitting documentary An Inconvenient Truth, is that 11 years after the first one came out, the issues at its core are more prominent than ever before. While this sequel may not have hit the box office as hard as its predecessor, the message is no less important. Show the rest of this post…

As former US Vice President Al Gore continues his global climate change training programme, around which much of this documentary is built, his overriding feeling is clear: frustration. And that frustration comes through in the film, and is its strongest asset. Much like in the first film, Gore comes across in An Inconvenient Sequel: A Truth to Power as someone who simply cares, and believes what he is doing is the right thing. In fact there’s a speech near the end that attests to this, which is genuinely moving in its sincerity.

It’s the sincerity at the heart of the film that makes it work. As a documentary, you could argue its construction is somewhat perfunctory, and its cinematic qualities relatively sparse (barring some impressive footage of ice floes at the beginning) but it is nonetheless filled with interesting information that illustrates the struggle Gore is fighting. Home media is perhaps its natural home.

The film is a polemic, not designed to be balanced, but thought-provoking. Your enjoyment of it may depend on what side of the argument you come down on, although climate change deniers are hardly likely to be watching this in the first place.

For the rest of us, Gore’s message is a handy reminder that this is a subject we as a collective cannot afford to forget. The presence of Donald Tru mp in the final stages casts a grim shadow over much of the optimism that powers Gore’s efforts, but that shadow will hopefully help what came before to linger in people’s minds.

4/5

Film Review: Stronger

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 8 Dec 2017

In 2013, Jeff Bauman lost both of his legs below the knee in the Boston Marathon bombings. David Gordon Green’s film Stronger is an adaptation of Bauman’s memoir of the same name, and depicts Bauman’s struggles coming to terms with his new life dealing with disability and living in an area of Boston that is not exactly conducive to his needs. Show the rest of this post…

In the opening scenes we see Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) hanging around with his friends and trying to reignite his relationship with on-again-off-again girlfriend Erin (Tatiana Maslany). That seems to be going moderately well until Bauman attends the marathon as a spectator to cheer Erin on. In the aftermath of the bombing, their relationship will be tested again, but in wholly different and more stressful circumstances.

Green’s film is, of course, a story of triumph over adversity, but for the majority of its runtime it tries to sidestep most of the clichés that can creep into the genre, and in general avoids the kind of mawkishness that can derail emotional impact.

Although Stronger depicts people admiring Bauman as a hero, the film wisely doesn’t elevate him as such. In general, the focus stays on at ground level, and doesn’t try to deal with the political side of the story. Gyllenhaal plays Bauman as a likeable but flawed character, and the film wisely doesn’t shy away from either of those traits after the accident. In the first act there are some jarring tonal shifts that prevented me from really settling into the film, and some scenes with Bauman’s family and friends that felt like they were trying a little too hard, but once I relaxed into the characters I discovered a well made, if not exceptional, film.

If some of the scenes involving the supporting cast aren’t always as solid as they could be – despite the presence of Miranda Richardson as Bauman’s alcoholic mother – the leads are capable of carrying most of it by themselves. Gyllenhaal’s is a strong performance – there are moments when he’s called upon to emote in a fairly visceral way, but in general it’s a performance not afraid of subtlety. The real star of the film for me, though, is Tatiana Maslany, who is really impressive as Erin, a woman who gives up her time and emotions to a man who, prior to the bombing, she wasn’t technically attached to. Maslany convinces as a woman offering a lot but not necessarily receiving much in return, and makes the character of Tatiana as vital to the narrative as Bauman himself. She also gets the film’s last and best-delivered line of dialogue, which rounds things off on a powerful note.

Stronger is the second film in just four years to deal with the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon, after Peter Berg’s Patriots Day last year, although they approach the subject matter from very  different perspectives. Stronger takes a stripped-down approach and focuses in on the way that day affected the lives of just a few people, and is generally successful in doing so. It doesn’t stray too far from the conventions of the genre in which it sits, but there are a couple of scenes where it takes risks – most notably one in which Bauman has his legs bandaged – and is successful in doing so.

It treats its subject matter seriously and apolitically and makes the admirable decision to stay grounded. Even if not all of its elements are entirely successful – the supporting cast didn’t add a huge amount for me, beyond  one scene in a cafe, and the script is tonally a little inconsistent – Stronger is nevertheless a well-acted double header and worth a look for Gyllenhaal and Maslany alone.

3/5

OK Go make printers their new medium with a technicolour video for single ‘Obsession’

Posted in Music, Music Videos
By Sam Bathe on 24 Nov 2017

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Shooting their last music video in under 5 seconds then it playing back in super slow motion, and the time before that jetting into space, OK Go’s new single Obsession sees 567 printers rigged together to form a two-sided, kaleidoscopic wall. Synchronising printouts to create a series of amazing geometric patterns, the band dart around infront to create enough geometric chaos to break YouTube’s compression settings. Directed by front Damian Kulash, Jr. and Yusuke Tanaka, watch the video at 1440p or 2160p – not just ‘Auto HD’ – to experience the full impact.

The London List Abroad: New West Hollywood cocktail spot, Bibo Ergo Sum, has a three-part menu inspired by ‘the prestige’The London List

By Sam Bathe on 21 Nov 2017

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Described by designer Oliver Haslegrave as “Memphis meets Secession”, Bibo Ergo Sum is the coolest new spot in West Hollywood. Literally translated “I drink, therefore I am”, Bibo Ergo Sum opened just last week and is the second collaboration between Arclight Cinemas’ Tait Forman and cocktail specialists, Proprietors (The Walker Inn, Honeycut). The menu is split into three parts, each corresponding to the three acts in every magic trick, and includes both clever takes on the classics and Proprietors’ own spectacular creations. Open 5pm-2am daily, Bibo Ergo Sum is worth the trip just to see stunning Art Deco interior alone, though you’d be a fool to not try out the cocktails too.

Bibo Ergo Sum, Robertson Plaza, 116-120 N. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048
www.biboergosumla.com

Mica Warren’s fun illustrations use bloated forms and chunky outlines to create each hectic scene

Posted in Art, Illustration
By Sam Bathe on 17 Nov 2017

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With a stylised, almost Morph-like human form, Mica Warren‘s illustrations combine block colours and thick linework. Originally from Wicklow in Ireland but now based in London, there’s a sense of joy and energy in Mica’s work, creating almost cluttered scenes with so much absorb and take in. Show the rest of this post…

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Singer Vehicle Design give a vintage Porsche 964 the F1 treatment under the hood and on the surface

Posted in Cars
By Sam Bathe on 15 Nov 2017

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Approached by owner Scott Blattner to rejuvenate his stunning 1990 Porsche 964, Singer Vehicle Design worked with Williams Advanced Engineering to fine-tune the vintage car. Part of the Williams Grand Prix Engineering Group, Williams Advanced Engineering ran a Dynamics and Lightweighting Study “DLS” before Singer’s remarkable restoration and performance modification expertise did the rest. Show the rest of this post…

Fitting a new four-valve, four-camshaft, 500-horsepower flat-six engine, the underbody and surface aero performance was optimised by Williams Advanced Engineering, with improve suspension and weight reduction through the use of magnesium, titanium and carbon fibre to bring a vehicle weight of 990kg. In addition Michelin provide bespoke Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, there are lightweight 18” forged magnesium, monobloc, centre-lock wheels from BBS Motorsport and a Hewland magnesium 6-speed transmission. This custom Porsche 964 is undoubtedly one of Singer’s finest performance projects.

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Netflix channel Scandi murder mysteries with new supernatural detective series ‘Dark’

Posted in Trailers, TV
By Sam Bathe on 13 Nov 2017

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With all the overtones of a Scandi detective thriller, Dark is a tense new 10-parter from Netflix. Set in the small German town of Winden, Dark follows the investigation into the disappearance of two local children, only the series takes a supernatural twist when the question shifts to not whom kidnapped the children, but when. Shot on location in the beautiful yet thoroughly eerie German woodland, Netflix’s run of hit shows looks like its set to continue. Created by Baran bo Odar and co-written by Jantje Friese, all 10 episodes of Dark premiere Friday 1st December.

Arlo Skye team up with blog Sight Unseen to create the ultimate design-conscious traveller’s suitcase

Posted in Design, Products, Travel
By Sam Bathe on 10 Nov 2017

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In collaboration with design blog Sight Unseen, hip luggage company Arlo Skye are releasing their Carry-On and Check-In cases in a limited-edition Sage colourway. Founded by alums from Tumi and Louis Vuitton, Arlo Skye’s cases are made of a lightweight makrolon polycarbonate shell, with micro-textured surface, aluminum-alloy trim and a removable USB charger built-in. Remarkably the design actually involves no outer zippers, instead the cases are held shut by two TSA-approved combination locks and an interlocking seal along each edge. Inside you’ll find more of Sight Unseen’s influence, commissioning Finnish illustrator Antti Kekki to design a print for the lining and dividers. The Carry-On is $375, while the Check-In is just $20 more at $395, shipping at the end of November from Arlo Skye’s online store: www.arloskye.com/collections/arlo-skye-x-sight-unseen-edition

LA footwear label release their minimalist Bravo Trainer in a luxe, Autumn-friendly hue

Posted in Products, Style
By Sam Bathe on 8 Nov 2017

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A luxe and minimalist take on their Bravo Trainer, LA-based footwear label, No.One, is releasing the sleek Baby Bull Bravo to match the autumnal palette. Inspired by the classic tennis shoe design, No.One’s latest line is produced in collaboration with leather supplier Remy Carriat for the full grain, all-in-one upper. A utilitarian silhouette with refined details that elevate the design, the tongue is embossed Vachetta leather with a French plongé lambskin lining. The Baby Bull Bravo is $675, available through No.One’s online store: www.no-one.la

Design mainstays Muji reimagine micro-living with their remarkable, multipurpose one-room Hut

Posted in Architecture, Design
By Sam Bathe on 6 Nov 2017

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After wowing the design community back in 2015 with prototypes of their minimalist micro-home, the Muji Hut is now on sale in Japan. With a compact 9 square-metre interior, double-pane glass front and covered porch, the Hut is just about big enough for 3-4 people to relax in and sleeps a single. Using traditional materials to blend into its surroundings, the Hut is built from wood entirely sourced in Japan. The outer walls are constructed of burnt cedar for its enhanced antiseptic properties and treated with an oil stain, while the interior has a minimalist finish to let the owner stamp their own style. The Muji Hut is on sale now for ¥3,000,000 (£20,150) including materials and construction, though they are currently only available inside Japan, hopefully an international service is soon to follow: www.muji.com/jp/mujihut

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.

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