Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Book review: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES (Suzanne Collins)

Set 64 years before The Hunger Games, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is Suzanne Collins' prequel to her dystopian YA trilogy, a book series whose film adaptations launched the Hollywood career of that awful over-actor and recipient of the most undeserved Oscar win ever, Jennifer Lawrence.


For that reason, then, you'd think that I would dislike The Hunger Games books. But I actually really enjoyed them (I even enjoyed some facets of the films). The world-building exhibited in the books was extremely inventive, and, whilst it may have been a tad derivative of Battle Royale and various Roman and Greek myths, I maintain that most good art contains inflections of other artists that preceded it.

Central to the books was the first-person narrative of Katniss Everdeen, the tribute from District 12. Throughout the trilogy she displayed courage, resilience and resourcefulness beyond her 16 years, and her actions were underscored with familial loyalty to her younger, more fragile younger sister, Prim. Collins shrewdly avoided painting her heroine as a Mary Sue, however, as Katniss was also stubborn, unforgiving, whiny and often downright unlikeable.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

My 10 favourite acting performances of 2018

In terms of my affinity for the films represented here, it's quite a mixed bag, with 60% of the films present being in my top 10 of 2018, but 2 of them being movies I actively disliked (Hereditary and Thoroughbreds). 

But, when watching a film, even if I'm not enjoying the experience, I try to focus on the redeeming qualities in it, which is why two films I didn't like are making appearances: because they contained eye-catching and impressive performances from their talented stars.

10. Jesse Plemons, Game Night


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dress review: ADELA DRESS (Hobbs)

The work aesthetic that I aim for with my sartorial choices is demure and classy. Whether or not I realise those objectives are another matter, but, to help achieve this aim, I have few, but not inexpensive pieces from three retailers which I think exude elegance: Hobbs, Ted Baker and Hawes and Curtis.



In terms of Hobbs dresses worn at work, I rotate between three: the previously-reviewed Harper dress, the Mariatta dress, and the Adela dress.


Saturday, June 06, 2020

You love to sea it

As I discussed in April, working from home, and the various video-conferences I partake in on a daily basis has made me more conscious of the film posters I had on the wall facing the camera. I had bought a Parasite film poster from Geeky Illustrator to join the Shawshank Redemption one I already had.

The Shawshank Redemption poster was on the wall opposite the Parasite one, and I realised it made sense to put the two side by side, seeing as they were from the same artist. And then in late May, I purchased a Finding Nemo poster to flank the Parasite poster on the other side (from another artist).


What I now have is a very colourful display of three films to face my Webcam for when I'm in a meeting, that perfectly represents three facets of my love of cinema: Disney, foreign film and character-driven dramas!

Guarding them all is my boy Gary Cahill, because, obvs.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

My 10 favourite films of 2018 [2-1]

I've been dragging my feet something awful; it's been six months since the last instalment of my favourite films of 2018 rundown! But, as I will be wanting to do the 'favourite films of 2019' blog at some point, it seems only logical to clear the backlog now!

Should you be curious, part 1 of the blog was here.

02. Stan and Ollie



Jon S. Baird's biographical drama follows Laurel and Hardy, in the twilight of their careers, as they tour the UK, doing live-action recreations of their greatest hits. The gig is a bit beneath the two erstwhile Hollywood stars, but the enterprising Stan Laurel is trying to use it as a springboard for them to make a Robin Hood film. 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Restaurant review: SANTA MARIA (Fitzrovia)

Earlier in the lockdown, I'd tried my hand at making a pizza from scratch. It was a solid effort given my complete lack of experience in the department, but it wasn't a patch on the pizzas from Santa Maria, a restaurant which I had had the good fortune to visit at the tail end of 2019.

Santa Maria is a small restaurant, who's aim is to bring the charm and flavour of Napoli to London. The staff are very welcoming - when I asked about what types of cheese I could add to my pizza, the waiter actually took the time to give me a thoughtful, detailed, response. This is a far cry from the eye rolls that I am usually met with in most central London restaurants when I ask the waiters for help ordering.

The recommendations he made were astute as well: