Scientists invent a new dinosaur in Colin Trevorrow’s franchise reboot ‘Jurassic World’

Posted in Film, Trailers
By Sam Bathe on 26 Nov 2014

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Set 22 year years after the events of the original Jurassic Park, we return to Isla Nublar, now home to the fully functioning dinosaur theme park originally envisioned by Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond. But with the research team taking nature into their own hands and creating a genetically-modified dinosaur, when it escapes its enclosure, it’s left to the intrepid park staff to save the date. The invented dinosaur is certainly a worry, and this is a big step up for co-writer/director Colin Treverrow (Safety Not Guaranteed), but with Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio and Jake Johnson leading the cast, they have charisma in spades which will keep things chugging along. Steven Spielberg serves as executive producer too. Jurassic World hits cinemas June 12th, 2015.

Brooklyn-based illustrator Rebekka Dunlap used texture and colour to bring her work to life

Posted in Art, Illustration
By Sam Bathe on 25 Nov 2014

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After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, freelance illustrator Rebekka Dunlap now lives and works in Brooklyn, her vivid work featuring in publications from The New York Times to Lucky Peach and apps and online content like TinyBop and Frederator Studios. There is a charm and honesty to her illustration style, with Rebekka currently working on a Feminist video game with Nina Freeman and a collection of comics that will be published by Youth In Decline in 2015. Show the rest of this post…

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Check out more of Rebekka’s work on her site: www.rebekkadunlap.com

The London List Review: Shangri-La Hotel, at The ShardThe London List

Posted in Hotels, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 23 Nov 2014

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Since opening just last May, the five-star Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard has already become one of the most iconic and sought-after hotels in all of London. Show the rest of this post…

Location

Located in London Bridge, the Shangri-La Hotel is walking distance from Borough Market and the hip Bermondsey Street, and a stone’s throw from the Underground and National Rail stations. Connected to the Northern and Jubilee lines, reaching the rest of London is quick and easy, while if you arrive into London Bridge by train, hotel staff will greet you on the platform to help with any heavy bags.

But really it’s not about where you are in London, it’s how high up.

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The Shard is the highest building in Western Europe, standing at a remarkable 309.6m (1,016ft) tall. Shangri-La occupies the 35th to 52nd floors, but it takes just 26 seconds in the lift from ground level to the lobby. Taking in all of central London, from Whitehall, to St. Paul’s, to Canary Wharf, with glass panelling on every outer wall, the views of the city are something you’ll never get used to, and never get bored of.

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Rooms

We stayed in an Iconic City View room, on the north-west corner of the building. The rooms are sleek and luxurious, with an exceptional quality of finish and touches of Asian flair. It’s a seamless fusion between refined materials like marble and silk and more contemporary surfaces like wood.

After walking through the entry way which houses a huge two-person cupboard, much of the very generously sized room was an open plan sleeping space. With a sofa to settle in on, every guest is welcomed with a complementary exotic fruit bowl, while a desk at the far end provided the best out-of-office workspace you could ever dream of.

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The ginormous bed, however, was the centrepiece of the room, and makes the most of those amazing views. With binoculars on every desk room, guests are invited to take advantage of the floor-to-ceiling windows and enjoy some of London’s most iconic landmarks; you could spend hours enjoying the the 180-degree view.

But it’s the view in the morning that’s the real sight to behold. Worth the money alone, just lie back in bed, press the button that automatically opens the black-out curtains, and let the sunlight spill in. It’s a magnificent wake-up remedy as you sleepily acclimatise to the views over London.

All of the Shangri-La’s beds are fitted with Frette linen (300 thread count in rooms, 600 thread count in suites and 1,000 in the three Signature Suites) and our bed had one of the most comfortable mattresses I’ve ever slept on. The rooms aren’t left lacking for technology either. Guests can enjoy local or international television on the 46″ LED TVs, plus a JBL sound dock to play music and an iPad to browse the internet or read the free digital newspapers.

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As you might expect the minibar was well-stocked with some of the finest champagnes, spirits and snacks, while there’s also a Chinese tea set and Nespresso machine if you need an afternoon pick-me-up or after-dinner coffee.

One word of warning, if you’re in or next to a corner room, there are quite apparent views through your neighbours’ windows. It’s not the fault of the hotel, but it has led to the building being given the nickname, the “Eyeful Tower”. Every room has privacy blinds if you are worried the room over are seeing a little more than they should.

Bathroom

Our magnificent marble-clad bathroom was the epitome of luxury. Featuring heated floors and a big walk-in shower, the excellent level of finish made freshening up before dinner and showering in the morning a dream. With Acqua Di Parma bathroom products you can leave your shampoo at home, while a TV built into the bathroom mirror means you won’t miss a beat if you have to nip to the loo in the middle of a movie.

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The star of the bathroom, however, was the Toto Washlet toilet. With a heated seat and pop-out shower spray, if you’ve never used a washlet before it’s an unusual experience but you’ll quickly find yourself using it every time you have to visit the bathroom.

Some of the “eyeful” views do include bathrooms, so if you have a window bathroom, you might want to lower the privacy blinds before you de-robe.

Amenities

The Shangri-La Hotel makes great use of its unique views across London for its health and leisure facilities. Up on the 52nd floor, the infinity swimming pool might not run right up to the windows – which is probably a good thing – but you can still gaze down upon St. Paul’s, the London Eye and Westminster from the pool’s edge.

The 11m x 4m pool is a tranquil escape for guests, with staff bringing swimmers exotic fruits salads and cocktails to enjoy poolside; for a real workout you need to head next door into the gym.

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Open 24-hours, jogging in front of such a view was an amazing experience. The 52nd floor gym also offers a full range of cardiovascular equipment, resistance training machines and free weights.

For a little pampering, guests can indulge in spa treatments either in the comfort of their room or in one of the spa residences. The Shangri-La also offers free WiFi throughout the hotel, including in your room, photo processing service, house doctor on call and foreign exchange counter. For events, the Shangri-La Hotel offers three big river-facing rooms.

Restaurant and bars

The Shangri-La’s signature restaurant and lounge is situated on the 35th level. The elegant TĪNG dining hall spans half of the floor, with large tables for a dinner with friends or a romantic evening with your partner.

Subtle Asian influences complement Head Chef Emil Minev’s modern European menu. The dishes at TĪNG are very well executed, with attentive and friendly service from the restaurant staff. A special mention must go to Head Sommelier Anne Lomas, too, for a fantastic range of paired wines alongside each dish.

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We had the Chorizo and Langoustine Risotto and Hand Dived Scallops to start, both of which were delicious. The Fillet Steak and sides were exquisite for our mains too, before more delicate desserts rounded off a fantastic meal. For guests looking to try a number of dishes, TĪNG offers a four-course set menu for a very reasonable £49.

TĪNG is also home to breakfast every morning, putting on a lavish breakfast buffet and À La Carte menu. From an English Breakfast to a fantastic selection of breads and croissants, yogurts and fruits, the buffet also includes Oriental and Arabic options. Favourites like French Toast or Waffles can be ordered from the staff.

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GŎNG, the Shangri-La Hotel’s destination bar, is on the 52nd floor. The highest bar in London, GŎNG hosts a number of intimate chambers, including the main Cocktail Bar, Champagne Bar and Swimming Pool. The talented barmen and women will serve up a number of signature cocktails plus your favourite spirits and champagnes.

The last of the Shangri-La Hotel’s offerings is on the ground floor. An artisan deli and cafe, LÁNG offers a selection of Shangri-La’s renowned signature cakes, home-made chocolates and pastries, plus seasonal hampers and sandwiches to eat in or takeaway.

Verdict

The five-star Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is an opulent experience, mixing meticulous Asian hospitality with the local character of its all-South London staff.

The hotel’s stunning views over London are unique and the Shangri-La makes the most of them at every opportunity. From jogging overlooking Westminster, to a swim over St. Paul’s, the hotel is an unparalleled experience in all of London. Rooms start at £450 a night, but it’s well worth the money to spring for an Iconic City View room (£600) and enjoy the night looking over central London.

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But the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is much more than just a view. The hotel is every bit a five-star experience, with wonderfully helpful staff, an exceptional quality of finish in the rooms and a first-rate restaurant. The 52nd floor swimming pool is the icing on the cake.

The perfect hotel for a special weekend with your partner or a week’s getaway in London, Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is every bit the memorable experience you expect.

For reservations and more, please visit: www.shangri-la.com/london
Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9QU

Feit reinvents the desert boot with their gorgeous winter-ready Double Stitchdown shoe

Posted in Products, Style
By Sam Bathe on 21 Nov 2014

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A luxury handmade take on the classic desert boot, leather footwear label Feit have released a new Double Stitchdown shoe with a warming wool inner lining. Featuring a slim toe-line silhouette, raw edges and a Vibram Morflex outsole, the Double Stitchdown is built by hand from start to finish by a single master craftsman. The upper body of the shoe is made from one piece of leather, while a gusseted tongue reinforces the waterproof construction. The Double Stitchdown is available in two colourways (Cuoio and Black) for $580 from the FEIT online store: www.feitdirect.com

Film Review: Horrible Bosses 2

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 20 Nov 2014

When a film makes over $200m from a budget of under $40m, the industry eyes another. And though the plot of 2011′s Horrible Bosses had run dry long before the swift 98-minute running time came to a close, here we are, on the eve of the release of a sequel. Show the rest of this post…

To be honest, I quite liked the original. It had it’s faults, but there was humour, good chemistry between the three leads, and moments of snappy dialogue from writing team John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.

But on Horrible Bosses 2, it’s completely gone to pot. With director Seth Gordon unable to return, director/producer duo Sean Anders and John Morris stepped into the fore. Most recently working on calamities That’s My Boy and We’re The Millers, they also rewrote Daley and Goldstein’s early script before principal photography began late last year.

This time around Nick, Kurt and Dale are working for themselves. But it’s not long before they’re outfoxed by double-crossing investor, Burt Hanson (Waltz), leaving not only their business, but their livelihood, all at risk. The threesome are left with no option but to hatch another terrible plan, this time kidnapping Hanson’s son (Pine) in order to put up a ransom and take back their business. As you might expect, it doesn’t all go down quite as they had hoped.

In Horrible Bosses 2 there’s a feeling of deja vu. While the three leads are given a different silly plan to execute, there are the same high jinx, the same cameos playing the same joke, the same journey to redemption. I’m a big fan of Bateman, Sudeikis and Day, but they didn’t have much to go on here, falling into sensible one, fun one and stupid one cliches all too easily.

The original Horrible Bosses skirted the line with its humour. It wasn’t risqué in a clever way, instead it bordered on offensive but just about got away with it. Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t quite so lucky. After their last two crude efforts, Sean Anders and John Morris have managed to turn in something even more abhorrent with Horrible Bosses 2. The film is persistently misogynistic and degrading towards women, racist at times, and Jennifer Aniston’s character fantasying about two 14-year-old boys having sex is completely inappropriate. If the pair are trying to have a laugh with their carefree, “boys will be boys” attitude then this is the wrong way to show it. The jokes are dated and irresponsible, this sort of misogyny simply doesn’t have a place in cinema.

I did laugh a couple of times (literally twice) but that was overshadowed by the total distaste of the film. Horrible Bosses 2 is a wholly lazy and lacklustre production, of note for all the wrong reasons. Discrimination, ra cism and sexism should not be tolerated in cinema and its filmmakers should be called out for it, Horrible Bosses 2 is everything that is wrong with modern studios comedies.

1/5

Mahabis’ Larvik indoor slippers let you nip out in the rain thanks to their clever detachable soles

Posted in Products, Style
By Sam Bathe on 18 Nov 2014

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Combining a soft felt slipper and detachable TPU soles, Larvik Slippers from Mahabis are perfect when you have to quickly nip outside in the rain. Lined with faux sheepskin and a neoprene shock absorbent heel, the simple yet stylish slippers are perfect for lounging about the house, with extra grip provided by the EVA grip base. The detachable sole is the smart innovation though, fixing onto the slipper with a lip over your toes and button fastener at the back, made from high-end, abrasion-resistant TPU material. The Larvik Slippers come in in two colourways, with six coloured soles to mix and match, available now from the Mahabis online store: www.mahabis.com

The London List: Blind Pig transports guests back to a 1920s speakeasy to launch its ciders inspired by the eraThe London List

Posted in Food, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 17 Nov 2014

Stepping through the creaky doors of an unassuming London townhouse on Saturday night, guests were transported back to a boisterous 1920s speakeasy to celebrate the launch of Blind Pig. Show the rest of this post…

With a key in hand – one like you’ve never seen before, a pig’s face was cut out of the lock head – and a clue about the location, this was going to be one party we didn’t want to miss.

With the venue packed head-to-toe with 1920s imagery, the lucky attendees were quickly transported back to the Roaring Twenties. As the band took to the stage and effervescent dancers tore up the space in front, upstairs a mock casino room set guests hearts racing, while downstairs they could explore the apple store and relax in the vintage film room.

Inspired by the time, the Blind Pig cider range is blended with fruit and spirit flavours for three unique-tasting ciders including Bourbon & Blueberry, Rum & Poached Pear, and Whiskey, Honey & Apple. The ciders have an extra punch of flavour, something more complex than what’s available at the moment with each variety perfectly complementing the sweet yet sharp tones of the apple.

To launch the new cider, six young British talents have come together to form the Blind Pig Collective, producing a collection of original work inspired by the 1920s and the renowned speakeasies of the time (below). The Collective includes artists Laura Carlin, Shonagh Rae, Adam Simpson, filmmakers Joe Morris and Mark Donne, better known as Brass Moustache, and photographer Rebecca Scheinberg.

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Given the mission statement of expressing the intrigue, excitement and character of the time, Adam Simpson was inspired by the romanticised idea of the 1920s speakeasies. “I liked the idea that behind a seemingly anonymous building, there was a place that brought people from all walks of life, who collectively forgot their worries,” said Adam. “I wanted to create an intriguing scene with hidden layers.”

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Laura Carlin’s piece focuses on the sense of society and good times the speakeasies brought. “It was in fact a place where all parts of society could mingle and integrate with few problems between them. I wanted to portray the crazy, heightened atmosphere with the blurry assortment of different characters and eccentrics,” she said.

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Shonagh Rae’s clever blend of photography, stencil printing and illustration is just as striking. “I referenced daguerreotypes as I was interested in having a strong portrait or figurative element, however I was also keen to treat this with shadows, thinking of the subdued lighting of the 1920s era,” Shonagh explains. “When I was doing some research based on the brief I was interested in portraying some sense of the subversive spirit of the time and the idea of political heroes. Bearing in mind that the artwork was to be reproduced at a large scale, I wanted to create a poster artwork with strong graphic elements representative of the artistic movements of the time, such as Constructivism and Bauhaus design. I also included one of the coordinates that appears on one of the bottles, to Chicago Navy Pier which was a well-known port and area of entertainment venues in the early 1920s.”

It was only right that at the end of the night a faux police raid brought it all to a close. With guests spilling out onto the street and back to modern times. It was a fantastic night that really transported guests back to the spirit of the 1920s and the excitement of speakeasies of the era.

Transport yourself and try a Blind Pig Cider at one of the select bars across the UK. To discover more, follow BLINDPIGCIDER on Instagram: www.instagram.com/blindpigcider

JBL’s Horizon Speaker will wakes you up gradually with ambient light

Posted in Technology
By Sam Bathe on 14 Nov 2014

Known for their speakers rather than alarms clocks, JBL’s new Horizon Speaker has an interesting alarm clock feature. Rather than using sound to get you out of bed, the Horizon wakes you up gradually using LED ambient light. With a USB port to charge your phone or tablet over night, the Horizon Speaker will also connect to devices via Bluetooth to wirelessly stream music, plus a built in FM radio tuner. The JBL Horizon Speaker will be available soon for £79: http://uk.jbl.com/jbl_product_detail_uk/jbl-horizon-black.html

Hard Graft get cosy with their new Fit MacBook Pro Retina Sleeve

Posted in Products, Technology
By Sam Bathe on 13 Nov 2014

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Premium accessories brand Hard Graft have release a new sleeve that hugs the sleek profile of Apple’s super thin Macbook Air and Macbook Pro Retina laptops. Offers an all-around secure protection without being bulky, the body of the sleeve is made of 3mm pure German wool felt, with premium vegetable-tanned Italian leather accenting the top. Featuring a scratch-free nylon zipper closure, all of Hard Graft’s products are handmade and adorned with a signature red and white ribbon. The Fit MacBook Pro Retina Sleeve will set you back £117 and is available now from the Hard Graft online store: www.hardgraft.com/products/fit-sleeve

Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 12 Nov 2014

Arguably the most anticipated film of the year, after the success of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, the dystopian Hunger Games franchise has become an unparalleled hit for studio Lionsgate. Show the rest of this post…

Picking up soon after the riveting Catching Fire, Mockingjay – Part 1 continues the story of reluctant heroine Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), now the symbol of hope for the people of Panem. After breaking their way out of the Quarter Quell Hunger Games, Everdeen and a handful of her co-contestants wake up dazed at the underground headquarters of the rebellion, deep in the abandoned District 13.

Lead by President Coin (Moore) and her trusted advisor Plutarch (Hoffman), the rebellion need a new face, their Mockingjay, but it isn’t that simple. With Peeta (Hutcherson) left behind and now the hostage of the Capitol’s President Snow (Sutherland), Everdeen struggles with the responsibility of being the face of the rebellion and the guilt of not having Peeta by her side.

Following the lead of the Harry Potter and Twilight series, Mockingjay is the latest franchise finale to be split into two parts. Feeling a lot like another financial rather than creative decision, Mockingjay – Part 1 is arrested in its development and hamstrung by the two-parter restrictions. The action and adventure here is sporadic, and as such it doesn’t have the intensity of the prior movies. But while there is a definite focus on setting up the story for the finale, rather than telling a story itself, there’s still a lot that that will keep franchise fans happy enough.

With a tighter focus on the rebellion, in Mockingjay – Part 1 we spend a lot of time with Julianne Moore, the late and great Phillip Seymour Hoffman and a visually dulled-down Elizabeth Banks. Opposite the charismatic Jennifer Lawrence, the scenes they all share are captivating, and, in short bursts at least, the more dialogue-led narrative is a success, even if the film lacks excitement as a whole.

With the tropes of the franchise now firmly set, fans wouldn’t be surprised to hear the film called over-dramatic, but at times Mockingjay – Part 1 is overly-over-dramatic. Particularly at fault in the opening sequences of the film, Lawrence struggles to get back into the swing of leading the film, and though she does grow back into the role for the second and third acts, it leads to a troublesome opening half hour and exposes a more than patchy script.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is an enjoyable romp, but oddly devout of its signature action and adventure sequences. Mockingjay – Part 1 slows the franchise to a crawl before what will undoubtedly be a roller coaster finale next year. It feels like Lionsgate are killing time rather than driving forward, so hopefully the long-term success of the franchise isn’t harmed by a short-term money grab. For fans, however, a more emo tionally-charged narrative might make for a pleasant change of pace, as after all, there’s still a lot to enjoy spending time with Katniss, in this fascinating dystopian world.

3/5

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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