Lytro up their game with the new professional grade Illum light-field camera

Posted in Technology
By Sam Bathe on 22 Apr 2014

Breaking ground in 2011 with the revolutionary point-and-shoot Light Field Camera, Lytro allowed users to refocus their photos post-shot though the product never felt like much more than a (really) clever gimmick. Now back with a more professional camera, the Lytro Illum is reminiscent of a dSLR and captures the colour, intensity and direction of 40 million light rays compared with the original camera’s 11 million. Show the rest of this post…

Boasting an 8X zoom lens, constant f/2.0 aperture, 1/4000 shutter and a four-inch touchscreen display, the Illum is a serious piece of kit, with built-in WiFi, hot shoes for attaching a glash, SD storage and USB 3.0 connectivity. While Lytro’s smart desktop software can refocus pictures after the fact, generate 3-D images, adjust the depth of field and create tilt shifts, and works with traditional products like Photoshop and Lightroom. The Illum goes on sale 15th July but can be pre-ordered now for an introductory price of $1,499: www.preorder.lytro.com/lytro-illum-pre-order

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The London List Review: Plum + Spilt Milk RestaurantThe London List

Posted in Food, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 21 Apr 2014

They say with fine dining, that you eat with your eyes before you taste with your mouth, and at Plum + Spilt Milk that starts the second you walk into the elegant dining hall. A long rectangular room with a wonderful bespoke, curving structure running down the centre, oversized tables and comfy banked seating fill both sides give the restaurant that immediate wow factor. Show the rest of this post…

Plum + Spilt Milk is the restaurant of the recently reopened, and equally fantastic, Great Northern Hotel. Part of a £42m renovation of the iconic property, no expense was spared with the restaurant refit. From the big, comfy armchairs to the 120 hand-blown glass pendants that cascade from the ceiling, the interior is reminiscent of Bob Bob Ricard, chic, class and elegant, and it’s matched by the food.

The vision of Michelin-starred chef Mark Sergeant, the menu is not fussy, instead delivering excellence on a collection of enticing British dishes, with touches of extravagance and creativity that sets them apart. The dishes feel familiar and homely, yet there’s a cutting edge that makes Plum + Spilt Milk a real fine dining experience.

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With dinner we enjoyed cocktails that are also the brainchild of Mark Sergeant. With a manageable 10 drinks on the menu, all signature creations, the Lady Violet – pairing elderflower vodka with champagne and raspberry liqueur – and Northern Sour – pink grapefruit and lemon shaken with gin, cointreau and rhubarb bitters – both come highly recommended.

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Jumping straight into the mains, we had the Angus sirloin steak and loin of venison. Both were fantastic but the venison stood out in particular. Something most probably only eat while dining out, the cuts of loin were served with pancetta and sloe gin and ranks in the top 5 dishes I’ve ever enjoyed. The sides to share made a real difference too.

The chefs at Plum + Spilt Milk take real care in preparing the vegetables as well as the mains. We shared glorious buttered mash, steamed anya potatoes, winter greens and honey-roasted parsnips which were sensational.

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For desert, the restaurant offers its titular plum dish although we opted for the baked alaska, and while it didn’t quite match the brilliance of the main courses, it was delicious nonetheless. Doused in a healthy amount of alcohol before being set alight at your table, the baked alaska was a fitting finale to a fantastic meal, and big enough for three, never mind the two it suggests on the menu.

A suave and intimate setting, perfect for entertaining guests, catching up with friends or a effortlessly romantic date, the Plum + Spilt Milk floor plan allows for ample space between parties and you’ll feel like anything but sardines jam-packed alongside each other.

Little touches like the music in the room – modern rather than stuffy jazz – gorgeous menus and great crockery design really make all the difference and set restaurants like Plum + Spilt Milk apart from the nearly names across the capital. This restaurant is the real deal, and it won’t completely break the bank.

Plum + Spilt Milk is the star on the Great Northern Hotel’s lapel but deserves to be heralded as its own hugely successful venture. We’ll be coming back.

For reservations visit the Plum + Spilt Milk website here: www.plumandspiltmilk.com

Plum + Spilt Milk
Inside the Great Northern Hotel
King’s Cross Station
Pancras Road
London, N1C 4TB

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Lena Dunham directs the video for Jack Antonoff project Bleachers’ new single ‘I Wanna Get Better’

Posted in Music, Music Videos
By Sam Bathe on 21 Apr 2014

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Lena Dunham turns her hand to music videos, directing for boyfriend Jack Antonoff’s new musical project, Bleachers. In the video for new single I Wanna Get Better, Antonoff plays psychiatrist as his patients delve into their issues – or moreover, sing the song back to him – in his office. Baring all the hallmarks of Lena Dunham’s now iconic style on Girls, hopefully she continues to do more work away from the TV screen as well as on it.

There’s a story in every window in Vincent Mahé’s Parisian series ‘Neighbours’

Posted in Art, Illustration
By Sam Bathe on 18 Apr 2014

One big block plus a series of singles, Vincent Mahé‘s Neighbours series draws comparisons to Chris Ware’s Building Stories with characters in every window. Show the rest of this post…

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Check out more of Vincent’s work on his portfolio: www.mrbidon.blogspot.com

Love runs deep in the video for Lykke Li single ‘No Rest For The Wicked’

Posted in Music, Music Videos
By Sam Bathe on 18 Apr 2014

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Telling the story of a young couple whose love is frowned upon by their community, Lykke Li stars in the video herself, so powerfully shot by director Tarik Saleh. Lykke Li’s third album, I Never Learn, is released May 2nd.

David Cronenberg explores Hollywood culture through the twisted eyes of its inhabitants in ‘Maps To The Stars’

Posted in Film, Previews, Trailers
By Sam Bathe on 17 Apr 2014

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Expected to premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, David Cronenberg’s follow-up to the disappointing Cosmopolis looks like he’s back to his very best. Starring Mia Wasikowska as a young woman who goes to Hollywood and secures a job as personal assistant to an actress played by Julianne Moore, their misadventures take in Robert Pattinson and John Cusack along the way and a child star earning a fortune for his mother. Maps To The Stars is out in France May 21st and the US and UK later in the year.

David Fincher adapts Gillian Flynn‘s best-selling novel for enticing murder mystery thriller ‘Gone Girl’

Posted in Film, Previews, Trailers
By Sam Bathe on 17 Apr 2014

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Along similar thematic lines to our personal Fincher favourite, Zodiac, Gone Girl tells the story of a man (Ben Affleck) whose wife (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, but when the mystery surrounding her disappearance persists, the attention turns back towards Affleck. Also starring Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Missi Pyle, Casey Wilson and Emily Ratajkowski, Gone Girl hits theatres October 3rd.

Film Review: Magic Magic

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 16 Apr 2014

The promotional material for Magic Magic seems intent on portraying it as a horror film, in particular the slightly lazy trailer, but it isn’t. Chilean director Sebastián Silva’s second film in quick succession, after Crystal Fairy (also featuring Michael Cera), is actually a taut psychological thriller about a girl out of her comfort zone. Show the rest of this post…

That girl is Alicia (Juno Temple), who ventures out of the US for the first time to join her cousin Sarah on holiday in Chile. After briefly introducing Alicia to her friends, including an oddball manchild called Brink (Cera), Sarah is unexpectedly called away for school, leaving Alicia in a strange country with a group of strangers. We soon come to understand that she is a jittery, possibly psychologically damaged person at the best of times, even without the added pressures of dealing with unfamiliar situations.

Juno Temple is excellent in the central role, and gives a performance of real depth and heart. She portrays her character’s growing insomnia and ever-increasing list of eccentricities convincingly – a feat aided by Silva’s script, which is grounded and consistent (barring the ending – more on that later) in a way that most thrillers fail to achieve. The sense that the world is strange, but that it may be strange because of us, as opposed to intrinsically, is an idea that runs through the film, and Silva finds interesting ways to portray the disparity between reality and Alicia’s increasingly nerve-wracked perception of it – often involving animals.

Credit, too, to the supporting cast, who fall just on the right side of ‘weird’ when they need to, but never topple over into psycho-thriller clichés or shake too vigorously the foundations of credulity that Silva establishes. After all, any threat perceived in any of them may well be down to Alicia’s unstable condition. The exception to that rule perhaps comes in the form of Brink, who Michael Cera plays in a kind of darkly discombobulated subversion of the roles he’s well known (and typecast) for. Here, bi-lingual and thoroughly strange, he comes across as an antagonistic but not singularly ‘bad’ character. The fact that Alicia finds him so hard to read, and that he appears to have connection troubles of his own, creates a believable chasm between them. In that chasm there is dark humour, and Cera isn’t completely ‘playing against type’, but this is an interesting step away from his comfort zone.

Silva and his cinematographers Christopher Doyle and Glenn Kaplan shoot the Chilean countryside beautifully, creating a wholly convincing but understated backdrop for Alicia’s unfolding sanity, while the score (both original and licensed) from Daniel Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, combined with detailed sound effects work, compliments goings on nicely.

One of the film’s few major missteps is the ending, which feels like a bit of a cop out: an attempt to inject either ambiguity or finality (depending on how one reads it) into a screenplay that wasn’t sure where to go. It does at least conclude with an effective shot on a boat, but the ending strains the affection the film has been building up to that point, and sadly diminishes the effect of the whole thing.

But that can be forgiven because the performances and setup are strong. I n a world of cheap crash-bang jump scares and recycled found footage genre flicks, it’s refreshing to see something with a dramatic heart beating beneath its discomfiting exterior.

3/5

The ‘First Class’ generation team up with their older selves in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

Posted in Film, Previews, Trailers
By Sam Bathe on 16 Apr 2014

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With Bryan Singer back at the helm, Wolverine is sent back in time to get the gang together as X-Men of present and future team up in Day of Future Past. Alongside a bunch of characters making their film debut, the X-Men are drawn into an terrifying battle to change the past in order to save their future. With Wolverine coming over all Nick Fury, Day of Future Past feels a little like The Avengers meets Terminator, though as long as they maintain some of the indie spirit of First Class and not throw everything at the screen like they did with X-Men: Last Stand, the movie might just pull through. Then again, the cast list is as long as any film in recent memory. Here’s hoping it’s good when X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theatres May 23rd.

BWGH and Puma team up for a new 2014 spring/summer collection entitled ‘Joy’

Posted in Shoots, Style
By Sam Bathe on 15 Apr 2014

Following their successful Bluefield collaboration, BWGH and Puma are back working together with a new spring collection entitled Joy. From jackets and sweaters to polo shirts and slacks, the collection hits stores this summer. Show the rest of this post…

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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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