Photographer Richard Gaston captures a world that is for exploring

Posted in Art, Photography, Travel
By Sam Bathe on 12 Sep 2014

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Documenting his adventures in the great outdoors, Glasgow-based Richard Gaston has a real energy and free spirit in his photography. Conquering great lands with his friends, the epic scale of the landscapes is a real sight to behold. Show the rest of this post…

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Check out more of Richard’s photography on his Tumblr: richardgaston.tumblr.com

Film Review: In Order of DisappearanceFan The Fire Recommends

Posted in Film, Recommended, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 8 Sep 2014

Stellan Skarsgård’s career has gone through many twists and turns. In recent years, he’s perhaps been most widely known for a supporting role in Marvel’s cinematic universe, and his collaborations with Danish director Lars von Trier. Show the rest of this post…

But his longest-running collaboration is with Norwegian filmmaker Hans Petter Moland, with whom he has collaborated for the fourth time on Kraftidioten, or, to give it its English title, In Order of Disappearance.

Skarsgård stars as Nils, a hardworking snowplough operator out in the frozen Norwegian countryside. We first see him driving his lumbering machine across the snow-covered vastness, and the cascading waterfalls of white that his operations produce will become a familiar and beautiful visual tick throughout the film. It isn’t long before Nils’ son turns up dead, apparently from a drugs overdose. Nils and his wife Gudrun (Hildegun Riise) drift apart, and while he turns to the path of violent retribution, she falls into silence and, later, absence.

The setup doesn’t last long, but it’s convincing and involving enough to invest us in what is to come. It starts to look like the film might turn into another of those well shot, stripped down thrillers in which a man of few words deals out vengeance, and it sort of does, but Moland takes an artistic risk by slipping into dark comic territory, and like Blue Ruin earlier in the year, mostly pulls it off.

The further Nils gets dragged into the workings of two rival gangs, the more blackly comic Moland allows his film to become. This has minor negative effects – as more gangsters are introduced, Nils begins to get lost in his own film, for example – but primarily positive ones, since the supporting cast are on good form, and are fun to spend time with. Indeed, by the end, the preening mob boss Greven (Pål Sverre Hagen) is almost as much the focus of Moland’s attention as Nils is.

It works because Nils and Greven work as opposites: the former taciturn and focused, the latter unhinged and erratic, and because there is enough interest and charisma in the gang members that Nils’ comparative absence isn’t felt too keenly.

The film isn’t afraid to dip into tougher territory when it needs to – there is a lot of face punching in this film – but it’s thankfully more concerned with the absurdity of the escalating cycle of violence than it is with the violence itself. It also nails the comic tone on quite a few occasions, summoning up some genuine laughs as well as the familiar ‘dark comedy smirk’. The ‘death cards’ that periodically appear on screen are a particularly nice touch. There are relatively few instances of the jarring shift of tone that some comic thrillers struggle with, meaning that by the time we’ve reached the ending, the film still has us under its spell. You could argue that the emotive hook and tension of the early scenes gets lost as the film lightens and expands – something I also found with Blue Ruin, as good as it was – but the tone is consistent enough that the enigmatic ending doesn’t jar.

The film is funny, stylish and involving. It’s lazy to call parts of the script ‘Tarantino-esque’ but I’m doing it anyway, and I mean that in a positive sense – it’s shar p. I’ve barely had time to mention how nice it looks, and how complementary the soundtrack is. Yes, it’s a little overlong and contrived, but a whole lot of fun at the same time.

4/5

Adventure game ‘Future Unfolding’ invites players to explore its infinite and eternally unique world

Posted in Games
By Sam Bathe on 4 Sep 2014

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From Spaces of Play, the studio of Berlin-based indie developers Mattias Ljungström and Marek Plichta, Future Unfolding lets gamers explore a mesmerising world filled with beautiful landscapes and dangerous creatures. Procedurally generated, each play-through produces a new and unique world for players to enjoy, observing and interacting with the wildlife to uncover clues and patterns and locate hidden secrets on the way to finding the game’s mysterious goal. Inspired by impressionist paintings, the aesthetic is described by Plichta as “an oil painting that is still wet”, allowing gamers to feel like they can still move the colour around on the canvas. Roughly halfway through developing the game, Future Unfolding is due for release sometime late next year. Stay tuned to the Future Unfolding site for more news: www.futureunfolding.com

Monaco’s $400m Odeon Tower five-storey penthouse will be the world’s most expensive apartment

Posted in Architecture
By Sam Bathe on 3 Sep 2014

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The first skyscraper built in Monaco for 30 years, when complete, the penthouse atop the Odeon Tower will be the world’s most expensive apartment. The $400m, 38,000-square-foot Sky Penthouse is split across five levels (each with its own kitchen), with stunning views of the coast through its floor-to-ceiling windows and from the rooftop remarkable terrace, infinity swimming pool and vertigo-defying water slide. The brochures along for the property cost the developer $1,000 each to produce, so its a good job nearly 30% of Monaco’s residents are millionaires. To find out more, head over to their site: www.odeon.mc

Bates + Masi Architects’ East Hamptons Elizabeth II home is as smart as it is stunning

Posted in Architecture
By Sam Bathe on 2 Sep 2014

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From the outside, Bates + Masi Architects‘ Elizabeth II development looks like your average modern home, but located in the East Hamptons, New York, the building’s simple frontage masks a very clever design. Show the rest of this post…

A bustling resort area, the windowless exterior masks a concrete walls nearly 20 inches thick, build to provide excellent sound insulation from the noise of nearby Amagansett. Inside, the home feels bright and spacious thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows facing the rear garden and swimming pool, particularly the open plan kitchen-living space where the entire wall can be folded back.

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Léo Verrier pays tribute to Jackson Pollock in beautiful animated short ‘Dripped’

Posted in Art, Film, Short Films
By Sam Bathe on 1 Sep 2014

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Inviting viewers back to 1950s New York, director Léo Verrier‘s animated short Dripped explores artist Jackson Pollock’s quest to find his creative voice. With frequently supernatural artistic powers, Pollock sneaks into the city’s museums to snatch the best art for inspiration, before growing frustrated at still life his discovers what will become his unique flair. Making smart use of colour, or there lack of, Verrier’s short is a visual feast, exploring creative inspiration, innovation and voice.

Delta Spirit explore love, loss and life in the country in the sweeping video for new single ‘From Now On’

Posted in Music, Music Videos
By Sam Bathe on 29 Aug 2014

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Ahead of their eagerly anticipated fourth album, Into The Wide, LA-Brooklyn-Austin five-piece Delta Spirit have released a beautiful video for hook-laden single, From Now On. Directed by Andrew Bruntel and Isaac Cole, the video follows a Colorado man as he looks over the land for his missing dog. With calls to the spirit and heart of America, it’s an absorbing video that’s so triumphant and yet sad, sumptuously shot by Drew Bienemann. Into The Wide is out September 9th on Dualtone Records.

Film Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 28 Aug 2014

The tropes of the grizzled detective drama just don’t get old, do they? As the ongoing proliferation of Scandinavian crime thrillers shows, audiences just aren’t tired of browbeaten alcoholic cops struggling against their demons to crack that elusive case. Show the rest of this post…

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Kvinden i buret in its native Danish), adapted from Jussi Adler-Olsen’s novel, features another one. And you know what? It still works.

That cop is Carl, played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas, a curmudgeonly detective whose decision in the opening scene of the film causes him to lose his detective’s badge and be consigned to the police station’s basement, where he’ll be tasked with closing and filing old cases. A lot of old cases. There he meets his new partner Assad (Fares Fares), who is well meaning and good natured. Naturally, they clash.

Carl’s job is supposed to entail simply tieing up and filing the cases, but his attention is drawn to the mysterious suicide case of a politician, Merete (Sonja Richter), which he believes was never adequately closed. He’s right, of course; there’s something amiss, and he and Assad get drawn deeper and deeper into finding out what happened, while their bosses aren’t best please with what they’re up to.

Kaas and Fares prove a likeable and believable pair of leads. The film is pretty dark for most of its runtime, but the two of them have an endearing odd couple act which works nicely. Nor does Carl’s drinking and unbelievably surly attitude – Assad points out about half way through that he’s never seen him smile – ever fall over into charicature. It’s in the performances of the two leads that the film really shines. The mystery itself is well staged and involving, but feels a little more run of the mill – more reminiscent of previous entries in the genre.

The film is directed by Mikkel Norgaard, who has worked on the Borgen TV series, but it’s pleasantly cinematic and avoids feeling like an extended TV special. A mention, too, for the soundtrack, which is effectively understated and adds weight to the plot.

There’s a gag in here about ex-cops writing crime novels – a playful nod to the explosion of interest in the genre, particularly stories of Scandinavian origin, though this author actually wasn’t a police officer. Norgaard’s adaptation brings to life the latest in a long line of embattled detectives with confidence and efficiency. There are one or two eleme nts that don’t quite work – in particular some of the flashback scenes, and the rushed ending – but overall it’s another compelling Nordic mystery to unravel.

3/5

The Russet Residence’s glass boxes jut out to make the most of Vancouver’s glorious natural landscapes

Posted in Architecture
By Sam Bathe on 27 Aug 2014

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With glorious floor to ceiling windows, Splyce Design‘s breathtaking Russet Residence serves up stunning views of the Vancouver landscape from wherever you look. With boxed rooms jutting out from the main structure, Splyce have created extra vantage points to immerse residents in the surrounding environment. Show the rest of this post…

Across three stories, the main entrance is on the middle level boasting a double-height atrium and big skylight, a media room, wine cellar, guest bedroom and two bathrooms are on the lower level with three main bedrooms, two bathrooms, a roof terrage and a garage on the top level.

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Check out more of Splyce Design’s work on their site: www.splyce.ca

Guillermo del Toro, Hideo Kojima and Norman Reedus team up for exciting franchise relaunch ‘Silent Hills’

Posted in Film, Games
By Sam Bathe on 26 Aug 2014

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Announced within interactive teaser, P.T., innocuously released on the PlayStation Store, Silent Hills is the coming together of Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Featuring Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) as the game’s protagonist, Silent Hills kick-starts the iconic survival-horror franchise, inviting gamers to explore the puzzles and scares of a looping freaky house in the teaser. Currently in the early stages of development, there isn’t currently a release date attached, but already fans are itching to get their hands on the title. In the meantime you can download P.T., but a warning, you will be scared: https://store.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com/#!/en-us/games/pt/cid=UP4511-CUSA01127_00-PPPPPPPPTTTTTTTT

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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