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

Film Review: Third Person

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Liam Nicholls on 11 Nov 2014

Directed by the award-winning hand of Paul Haggis, Third Person weaves the well-trodden, everything-is-connected story platform across three iconic cities. Show the rest of this post…

With a star-studded cast led by the broad and altogether looming shoulders of Liam Neeson, Third Person presents us with three very different stories that on the face of it, are bound together by an as-yet-unseen thread. With international boundaries blurred, the promise of a single catalyst acts as a very tantalising carrot as the stories unfold.

Neeson acts as the key pivot from his smoky, red-wine-fuelled Paris hotel room. As he works – hunched on his newest novel – his muse (Olivia Wilde) provides an alluring and slightly unhinged presence. Meanwhile in Rome, slick-haired business man (Adrien Brody) encounters a troubled woman (Moran Atias) by chance in a seedy dive bar. On the other side of the Atlantic in New York, a rich artist (James Franco) looks after a boy whose estranged mother (Mila Kunis) is struggling to come to terms with her life as a hotel maid.

From the outset, Haggis peppers a number of scenes with subtle crossover clues that keep you guessing as to what exactly might be tying these three narratives together. From motorcyclists and flowers through to hand-written notes, it’s easy to get lost in the game of trying to solve the mystery and subsequently lose track of three sprawling plot lines.

Each parallel narrative has its own merits, but also pitfalls. The relationship between Michael (Neeson) and Anna (Wilde) is cruel, callous and spiteful yet at its heart is a compelling and fractured reality. Likewise In New York, the battle between Rick (Franco) and Julia (Kunis) is framed in the context of a dark and distressing past that’s unveiled with genuine power. However, as events in Rome develop into a wildly clumsy, far-fetched plot involving Sean (Brody) and Monika (Atias), this third story feels like an afterthought when juxtaposed with two emotionally raw realities.

Third Person has a number of distinct themes at work, manifested through characters and plots that are a mixed bag of believable and baffling. The actors are due credit for keeping this film in the main watchable. But as the final act unravels one outrageous revelation after another, you cannot help but feel let down. Ultimately, I was left with the distinct feeling that focusi ng on one of the three stories may have proved a more credible result for Haggis. Instead, an anti-climax of fairly exasperating proportions is the sum of one-too-many dramatic arcs.

2/5

It’s all going right for Hannah and wrong for everyone else in Season 4 of HBO’s ‘Girls’

Posted in TV
By Sam Bathe on 7 Nov 2014

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Girls is back for a fourth season after a returning to form with season three earlier this year. Picking up as Hannah heads off to Iowa for a writing programme, things don’t seem to be going so well for the gang back in Brooklyn. As Adam faces a personal crisis, Marnie is still dating her bandmate who already has a girlfriend, Shoshanna can’t find a grown-up job and Jessa has yet to find a real purpose in life. Hopefully things get a little easier when Girls returns to HBO on Sunday 11th January.

Tanner Goods get ready for winter with their Deerskin Driver Gloves

Posted in Products, Style
By Sam Bathe on 6 Nov 2014

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Made from authentic deerskin leather, Tanner Goods‘ gorgeous Driver Gloves are available in three colourways, Saddle Tan, Black and Maple. Already supple at first touch, the gloves will soften and conform to your hands with every wear. The superior Maple gloves were made closely with the Horween Leather Company, constructed from the same leather that was tradionally used by paratroopers in World War II. The gloves take a slim silhouette for easy driving wear or out and about. Starting at $100, the Deerskin Driver Gloves are available from Tanner Goods’ online store: www.tannergoods.com

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.

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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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