Saturday, 31 January 2009

HOT: Wild Honey, 12 George St W1S 2FB

Another day, another Time Out Top 50 Restaurant. Wild Honey certainly lived up to its Top 50 rating, with its sedate wooden interior (reminiscent of an old courthouse) split up into private booths, large comfortable chairs, friendly service, good value dishes (including the 16.95 three course lunch menu which some of our party ordered) and Modern British food done very well. Make sure you don't miss the scrumptious white sourdough! I'm normally a good girl and choose brown bread, but I couldn't pass up the white bread this time - I don't know what butter or salt they used, but it was some of the best bread I've ever tasted. My venison pie was essentially a fancy shepherds pie, and perfect for a cold winter's day, while my chocolate soup was a very flat moulleux, again post-prandial-inducing. A lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and soooo much more enjoyable than its sister restaurant Arbutus.

Friday, 30 January 2009

NOT: L'Atelier de Joel Rubochon, 13-15 West Street, Soho

If a dining experience was purely about the food, then I can safely say the dishes coming out of this restaurant's colourful open-racked kitchen were delicious and deftly presented. However, we all know that dining out isn't just about the food (although I don't often make a rabbit terrine or lobster risotto at home) and several things failed me at L'Atelier de Joel Rubochon.
  • The decor. It immediately put me to mind of an expensive black patent leather Louboutin pump with a crimson sole. Quite disturbing to feel like I was eating inside a shoe.

  • The stilted layout. Lots of dark corridors, lots of stairs, lots of mysterious corners and doors and a lift. A bit claustrophic (see above re shoe).

  • The high chairs. The bar area is where all the action is at, but sitting high up on leather stools doesn't make a relaxing dining experience.

  • The recession-unfriendly prices. Vanessa and I had the pre-theatre 3 course menu for a reasonable 25 pounds. However, a peek at the a la carte revealed 15-20 pounds for entrees, and 25-30 for mains. The degustation was 105 pounds! For that price, there are many other restaurants I would recommend before this one.

  • The snooty service. We were offered the a la carte menu, and when we asked for the pre-theatre menu there was a marked difference in friendliness. Come on people, there's a recession on. And then when I asked for tap water? Just because it's not on the drinks menu doesn't mean it's not ok to drink!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

HOT: Bistrotheque, 23-27 Wadeson Street, Bethnal Green E2 9DR

It took me four trains to get there, I remained underground for almost half the time it would take me to get from London to Paris, and the restaurant's unforgiving white brick interior and naked light bulbs reminded me of a hospital ward.

Huy had been concerned that I would cut down his favourite restaurant with one slash of my biting critique, but he needn't have worried - I had a great dinner at Bistrotheque. The food in the good value Prix Fixe Menu (17.50) was uniformly excellent and well presented: fresh warm breadrolls with a brulee-crisp crustiness (worth breaking your no-carbs-after-6pm rule, Huy), succulent fried squid with aioli, white polenta piled with wild mushrooms, rocket and parmesan, and to finish off, a large slab of dark chocolate tart with my all-time favourite ice cream flavour, hazelnut.

Monday, 26 January 2009

HOT: Milk, Gate Picturehouse, 87 Notting Hill Gate W11 3JZ

Milk is my fourth Oscar Best Picture Nominee film, and I think it is a nomination well-deserved. Sean Penn (also a Best Actor nominee) dominates this biopic as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected public official in the US. It's hard to believe that just 35 years ago, homosexuals were being denied their civil rights in a supposedly progressive country, and that public figures could spout such incredibly bigoted views in national mainstream media. The film's pace is perfect, starting the timeline with Milk's 40th birthday and the first encounter with his great love, his move to San Francisco and battles with prejudice, his political activisim, rise to power and cowardly assassination. The film's presentation of Milk's dogged determination was incredibly inspiring, and his speeches moved me to tearfulness without ever being maudlin.

HOT: Topshop, 216 Oxford Circus London

The three pumping floors of Topshop at Oxford Circus make up the world's largest fashion store - you can shop, eat, powder your nose, get your nails done, blowdry your hairdo and consult a concierge all under one roof. Frankly I think it's too big, too flourescent and way too overwhelming to be an enjoyable shopping experience. I felt like I was in one of those science experiments where they give people too many options, and watch them become so perplexed that they're unable to make a decision. Therefore, I only focused on 0.5 square metres - the Sweetheart concession stand. This London label (the sister line to Lie Down I Think I Love You) makes limited edition retro-styled leather handbags, each threaded with a distinctive vintage scarf. With my Topshop vouchers (thank you salary sacrificing), I came away with the brown shoulder bag with a jaunty brown and blue flowered scarf.

HOT: Mr Jerk, 187 Wardour Street, Soho W1F 8ZB

I don't know why English pub food never developed down the chilli route over the centuries. If I had to choose between bland stodge and spicy stodge as a winter warmer, it would always be an easy decision. The signature dish from the Original Mr Jerk was an enormous plate of spicy jerk chicken served with salad and a choice of rice and peas, plain rice or hard food (boiled yam, banana, dumpling and sweet potato). Along with a sweet guanabana juice, it made for a stomach-stuffing and cheap meal (12 pounds). In fact, I think I'm going to track down a bottle of jerk sauce, as I believe any meat would taste better with it!

HOT: Greater London...Richard Bryant's Photographic Celebration of a City, Terrace Rooms, Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA

Richard Bryant's photography exhibition takes the viewer on a journey across London, from west to east. I really enjoyed his work - he has an eye for the softening romance of fog, has manage to pick out interesting shapes and perspectives from many well-known and oft-photographed landmarks, and really captured for me the beauty and excitement of this city of my heart. Look out for his heavy tome on my coffee table.

HOT: Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA

The Courtauld Gallery has been on my to-do list for a while, so I took the opportunity to don some disguise and explore it on an admission-free Monday. On the ground floor there were some dimly lit religious Renaissance works and the top floor contained some brilliantly dynamic Kandinsky and forgettable watercolours. So the main attraction (for me) were the light-filled Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries. I loved the colourful movement juxtaposed with a sad serenity in Manet's last great painting "Bar at the Folies-Bergère"; the interesting diagonal composition of the diaphanous ballerinas in Degas' "Two dancers on a stage", and most of all, the shimmering vibrancy of Monet's "Autumn effect at Argenteuil", perfectly displayed against a sunlit window.

HOT: Thomas Exchange Global, 402 Strand WC2R 0NE

When you travel as much as I do, then its inevitable that you become a forex rate tart. I've discovered that the best retail currency rates are often provided by Thomas Exchange Global, who have an office on the Strand and in Victoria station, as well as providing a delivery service for 5 pounds.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

HOT: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE

The Wellcome Collection is not one of London's blockbuster museums, like the National Gallery or Tate Modern, but it is unexpectedly interesting - and free. I arrived just in time for the 2:30pm tour, which is worthwhile taking because without any commentary you'll just find yourself staring at glass cases of amputation saws and obsterics forceps.

Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome was the founder of the pharmaceutical company that was the precursor to the megalith GlaxoSmithKline. He was also an obsessive collector, amassing around 24,000 medical related artefacts, ranging from Japanese sexual toys, Napolean's toothbrush, torture chairs and terracotta totems of hair (apparently used as an attempt to cure baldness). A part of his collection is on display permanently as 'Medicine Man'. The other permanent display is Medicine Now, which explores malaria, obesity, the body, living with medical science and the genome - including a wall-to-ceiling bookcase containing the 24 volumes of DNA data, one for each chromosome.
There is also a temporary exhibition at the moment which explores the relationship with war and medicine. The most moving aspect of that exhibition are the videos of people who have been through war, ranging from a soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the Falklands, civilian victims of the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima and Vietnam veterans testifying in the Winter Soldier investigations.
PS If you want to check out my face morphed against average facial features, click here. Ghastly!

HOT: York and Albany, 127-129 Parkway, Camden NW1 7PS

We heart Angela Hartnett, so despite sickness, freezing cold and gusting rain, we decided to make a Sunday lunch pilgrimage to her new restaurant at the Gordon Ramsay hotel, York and Albany.

In general, the experience was a HOT. The 3 course Sunday lunch was 20.55, the service was good and the food was of a high standard. My home smoked salmon with beetroot and horseradish was a delightful trompe d'oeil of red salmon, my juicy sea bass was perfectly cooked with shrimp sauce, and the rustic apple and blackberry crumble came with some lovely vanilla icecream.

However, to ensure that your experience remains a HOT, do not do the following things:

  • ask for lemon and water for your sore throat. It'll cost you 2.45 because it's considered 'tea' (and even if 3 pieces of lemon peel and hot water were considered tea on some other planet, that's exorbitant for a cup of tea).
  • order the cod with curry sauce. In fact, according to Huy, never order any curry flavoured fish dish, except if it's fish curry.
  • sit at a table downstairs, particularly facing the open kitchen. Upstairs is airy and light, whereas downstairs is like being inside a throbbing red velvet cauldron. If you sit directly across from the kitchen, you also experience the chef yelling at his staff - not a relaxing dining ambience.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

HOT: Orchestre des Champs Elysées/Herreweghe, Barbican Hall

I still remember when I first heard Mendelsshon's Hebrides Overture - Grade 11 music class, sticky and sweaty in my uniform, sitting in the hottest classroom in the school and over a tinny sound system. Nevertheless, I recall being overwhelmed by the drama and beauty of the crashing waves and calm seas, and it has become one of my favourite pieces of classical music.

I've never actually heard it played live, so I was very excited to find out that the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, a specialist Classical and Romantic period orchestra, was going to perform it in my favourite classical music venue, the Barbican. Sitting three rows from the front meant that I was able to see every facial expression and watch the orchestra sway as one with the phrasing of the melodies. It was such a moving and passionate performance, especially the liquid beauty of the clarinet solo, that I can't actually recall much of the program afterwards.

Friday, 23 January 2009

HOT: Hakkasan, 8 Hanway Place, London W1T 1HD

Dinner at Hakkasan was planned as a quasi-Chinese New Year celebration, but really more of an excuse to work my way down my (long) list of London 'must-eat' restaurants. In the beginning, the forbidding entrance had me on guard - there were a couple of black-clad bouncers and a snooty door bitch with a clipboard, blocking the door to undesirables ie those without a booking. But then I tottered down the steps of the former underground carpark into an impressively glamorous interior.

I think the restaurant is the best of West and East. From what I could tell, the clientele were mainly moneyed, glamorous Westerners, as probably no self-respecting Asian would pay double the price for food they could possibly get in Chinatown. The gently attentive service was definitely Western trained. On the other hand, the dim light, intricately wood-carved screens and overhead fans were reminiscent of the decadent opium dens of Shanghai, and the menu was authentically Chinese (with a few random Thai and Malaysian dishes??).

Martin and I shared deliciously delicate vegetarian dumplings, sticky tea-smoked ribs, a perfectly crispy flattened pi pa duck, the 'vegetarian' chicken stirfry (made of beancurd, but so convincing!) and a claypot of the silkiest tofu imaginable with aubergines and bitter melons stuffed with pork and prawn. We continued our conversation at the busy bar (and a special mention to the ultra friendly service from the bar staff) and tried some excellent cocktails - lemongrass for him, a non-alcoholic one called 'Washed Potatoes' (why?) for me. All in all, an immensely enjoyable experience, and this restaurant is well deserving of all its accolades.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

HOT: Dinner@Dana: Brain Man, The Science Museum's Dana Centre, 165 Queen's Gate, South Kensington SW7 5HD

I really like the fact that there is enough interest about science in London that there is a purpose-built building like the Dana Centre, where they regularly hold free seminars and events which discuss science, technology and culture. For one of their dinner events, they invited the savant Daniel Tamett to speak about his condition and his extreme numberical and language skills. I had read that he he could do complex sums in his head with lightening speed, and that he learnt Icelandic in a week, so I'm not sure why I was expecting a dribbling Steven Hawkins lookalike. Daniel was articulate and interesting, and his most interesting proposition was that as well as having a language instinct, we all have a counting and mathematical instinct.

Monday, 19 January 2009

HOT: La Bayadere, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

My last ever ROH ballet performance (sob)! In all ballet performances the costumes are beautiful, but in La Bayadere I thought the costumes took centre stage, with the lavishness of the beautifully intricate gold beading and the jewelled coloured swathes of chiffon. Once again, Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta and my new favourite ballerina, Marianela Nunez, did not disappoint in their stunning performances. Acosta leapt and turned like he had springs on his feet, Nunez was haughty and statuesquely regal and Rojo's delicate and supple frame, so full of expression in her passion and anguish, was enhanced by the midriff (and rib) baring costumes she was wearing as the temple dancer Nikiya.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

HOT: The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art, Saatchi Gallery, The Duke of York's HQ, Kings Road, Chelsea SW3 4SQ

The Saatchi Gallery has been rehoused in the brilliant exhibition space of the grand Duke of York's HQ, and its opening exhibition was a collection of modern Chinese art. A lot of the artwork was visually arresting - creepy old men wheeling around in automated wheelchairs, the realistic man lying prone and licking the ground, a messy oversized bed (a la Tracy Emin) and body casts hanging on the ceiling. However, I can't say I thought any of it was actually good art - and there were some shockingly bad, boring or ugly works, including a giant turd (which really said it all). Worth it for a free look, but the Tate Modern is much, much better.

NOT: Magnificence of the Tsars, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 2RL

I was expecting a lot more from this exhibition but it was a pokey, crowded and flourescently white space stuck in the middle of the permanent Fashion exhibition. The sumptuously decorated jackets, coats and capes were displayed without any real historical context (except for the names of the particular Tsars for whom they had been made) and it was basically a collection of lots of mens military jackets. We whipped through in about 45 minutes with Huy making snide comments the whole time.

HOT: Victoria and Albert Museum Cafe, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 2RL

The V&A Cafe is as far removed from the ladle-of-slop-from-bain-marie as you can get. The tempting food is displayed in bright white surroundings, but the most stunning aspect are the refreshment rooms decorated by the leading designers of the late 1800s - Morrs, Gamble and Poynter. These three tiled and ornately decorated rooms formed the first museum restaurant in the world and they are romantic and awe-inspiring. On a Sunday they even have a classical pianist on the grand piano, whose music sweeps above the chatter of raucous families and elevates you to appreciate the beauty above your head.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

HOT: Meryl Streep: A Life in Pictures, BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts regularly hosts events which celebrate the life and work of people in the film industry, from Cate Blanchett to Anthony Minghella. This time it was the turn of possibly the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep. She was a funny, intelligent and confident - certainly not self-deprecating and carefully dodged more difficult questions. Reading down her list of works it's clear that she's deliberately chosen to work in a wide range of genres in order to avoid being stereotyped - but the consistent thread through all her choices is her desire to undermine your assumptions or expectations about her character. This is what gives the depth and humanity in her roles. The selected clips from her filmography also impressed me with her mastery of accents (for which she's justly famous) - apparently to convince Alan J. Pakula that she was right for Sophie's Choice she read the director some poetry in Sophie's Polish voice, and to get Karen Blixen's accent she listened to tapes of Jeremy Irons' Danish nanny.

HOT: Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, Dalston E2 8EA

The Geffrye Museum is a well-planned museum featuring interiors of the English 'middling classes' from 1600 to present day. An Englishman's home is his castle, and displaying and discussing his choice of furnishings and designs uses an interesting perspective to teach about the social and cultural history of an era. There is currently a fascinating special exhibition called Choosing the Chintz, which explores the relationship between men and women when furnishing their home - I liked the video interviews of couples talking about their differences in tastes, their decision-making styles and learning to compromise.

HOT: La Vie en Rose, 2 Broadway Market, Hackney E8 4QG

I loved the eclectic and rustic decor of this French bistro/cafe (except for the bizarre anatomically incorrect French maid mural). That alone, plus the fantastic people-watching opportunities, pushes it to HOT, as the service was a definitely space cadet and the food (sliced white supermarket bread? canned pineapple?) wasn't all that special.

HOT: Cafe Gossip, Broadway Market E8 4QJ

This tiny cafe reminded me of the hole-in-the-wall places dotted throughout Melbourne. Deb and I casually stalked the picturesque window seat, but it seemed that the carrot cake was too good for the couple as they lingered in their prime position. Next time!

HOT: Off Broadway Gallery, 63-65 Broadway Market E8 4PH

A wander off Broadway and down some brick steps leads you to the fine art publishing house Off Broadway Gallery. It's a den filled with photographs of London (mostly printed on canvas) and manned by the personable Stephen, who told us that Hackney was the friendliest place that he'd ever been, anywhere in the world.

HOT: Sauce a part, 41 Broadway Market, Hackney E8 4PH

I've never had proper Creole food before and I was seduced by the smells and music coming from the basic street-side stovetops of Sauce a part. The super-friendly chef (and this was a noticeable feature of all the stallholders of Broadway Market) let us taste-test the tiger prawns, and as I couldn't choose between the prawns or the chicken, I decided to go for both.

NOT: R Cooke & Sons, 9 Broadway Market

I have to admit that I didn't actually taste-test any pies, mash or jellied eels from this quintessentially Cockney London pie and mash shop. However, I did get close enough to the window to glimpse the tureen of floating foam and eel bits, and catch a whiff of the awful smell. This is one local culinary experience I'm happy to do without.

HOT: Cicilcia, 1 Broadway Market, Hackney E8 4PH

On a cold day, the sunny conservatory of this bright Turkish restaurant was a welcome respite - and it seems to be very popular with families as there were lots of kids running underfoot. The 2 course lunch special had us dining on a filling selection of felafel, kofte and chicken betzi, moussaka - good, solid food for great value (7.95).

HOT: Fabrications, 7 Broadway Market, Hackney E8 4PH

Fabrications is a charming textiles and fabric shop which sells your standard wool and fabric, plus a selection of handcrafted products and accessories. It's a warm, tactile place that wants to inspire you to take up your knitting needles and glue gun.

HOT: Broadway Market, Hackney E8

I really like the motto of Broadway Market - Quality, Speciality Variety for the People by the People - and I really think it lives up to these words. On a cold Saturday a very local crowd of artfully dishevelled funksters strolled around the stalls and stores greeting friends, and it really seemed like a very social place. The varied food stalls (Ghanian, Indian vegetarian, felafel, Jewish) smelled delicious but unfortunately it was too cold for Deb and I to be eating outdoors.

HOT: V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, Hackney E2 9PA

The Museum of Childhood is housed in a Hansel and Gretel/Escher cubed pastel pink iron structure and it contains a large exhibition of toys, clothing and a fantastic Italian puppet theatre. As you'd expect from a childhood museum, it's a joyous and welcoming place, and the museum gift shop is adorable! Deb and I gushed over the novel toys, the picture books (Deb did a child literature course at uni) and Gentlemen pyjamas. I couldn't resist the Retro Robot Blackboard by Ivy Bespoke - a blackboard vinyl wall decal in the shape of a robot, which lets you chalk messages then wipe them off. More fun that post-its any day.

Friday, 16 January 2009

HOT: The Oak, 137 Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, W2 5QL

It was an intriguing idea - a joint 29.5 and 30.5 birthday party (cos summer birthdays are so underwhelming), but really just an excuse to dress up, eat out and meet people. The Oak is a decadently boudoir gastropub/bar dressed in high ceilings, vermillion feathered wallpaper, sleek low slung black lamps and frosted oval mirrors. Jutting off from the upstairs bar is a gorgeous private dining room featuring a long wooden table and long, low benches, perfect for our party of fifteen. Our well-executed set menu featured a course of extensive antipasto and charcuterie (I loooove cured meat), a choice of three mains (roast chicken breast with herbs and mushrooms) and a choice of three desserts (a dense thyme infused creme-brulee). There's no charge for booking the room, and it's only 35 pounds for 3 courses - so highly recommended for a private dining experience.

HOT: Comptoir des Cotonniers, 235 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill W11 2SE

Whenever I embark on my six-monthly pilgrimage to the Paris sales, my first stop is always the nearest Comptoir des Cotonniers. I love its use of muted colours with a punch of brights, beautifully cut coats, delicately draped and pleated crepe tops and general air of Frenchy chic insouance. While I wasn't able to make it to Paris this year, its biggest store in London is right on my doorstep. Twenty minutes before closing time, I managed a focused sweep of the raft of sales racks (better than Paris at the moment probably, what with the plunging exchange rate) and came away with a swing coat, puff-sleeved top, knitted camisole and subtle sailor-striped jersey cardigan, all for ridiculously cheap Topshop prices.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

HOT: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, National Theatre, Southbank

I didn't actually get the title of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour until I realised that one of the characters (a schizophrenic who thought he had an orchestra in his head) talked only in musical terms - and of course 'Every Good Boy Deserves Favour' is a pneumonic for remembering the lines of the treble clef. I can't say that the somewhat dated plotline about a Soviet dissident imprisoned in a mental hospital, or any of the characters, really had me emotionally engaged. Nevertheless, this play gets a HOT because of two reasons. Firstly, I very much enjoyed Tom Stoppard's witty and twisting prose for the schizophrenic character, which often had me turning over a line in my head well after it'd been delivered. Secondly, the production was of a very high quality. I liked the integration of Andre Previn's music played by the full orchestra on stage, the physical dance sequence (although some of it was a bit literal 'here is the KGB beating people up') and the revolving floor of the set - a combination of stark hospital white tiles and the dim light of an orchestra pit.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

HOT: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an F Scott Fitzgerald short story turned into a curious (yes really) fairy tale of life, mortality and enduring love. Brad Pitt is Benjamin, a baby abandoned on the steps of a New Orleans old folks home because he is born old. He is raised by the good-hearted matron of the home and one day meets Daisy (a luminous Cate Blanchett), who recognises a kindred childlikeness inside his old body. Over the years Daisy grows up and Benjamin grows young, until the day they meet in the middle and begin to live out the love that they have always had for each other. That's not the happily-ever-after though. As Benjamin grows younger and younger, he realises that he cannot raise his own daughter as she and Daisy get older, so he leaves them one day. Daisy finds him back at the old folks home and proceeds to take care of him in her old age, until he dies in her arms as a baby. A touching and distinctive film.

NOT: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

I haven't been a fan of Woody Allen's films for a while, and watching Scarlett Johansson 'act' is my worst cinematic nightmare, but hey, things we do for love.

Unfortunately, my fears were realised in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The dialogue was stiff and affected, particularly from sexually free-spirited artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). Woody, could you have picked a more stereotypical male Latin-lover's name, and what kind of ridiculous things were you making him say?? Scarlett Johansson's unchanging, open-mouthed vacancy and bouncing breasts was the sum of her representation of sexually free-spirited student Cristina (or Vicky? I can't even remember). Her presence in the film moved me from boredom to frustration to giggling at inappropriate times. Rebecca Hall, played her not-sexually free-spirited friend and while she was more believable than SJ, she was still not believable in her sudden passion for Juan Antonio. The only redeeming feature in the film was not the one joke that was supposedly in it (when?) - it was the sun-drenched scenery of Barcelona and Penelope Cruz's turn as madly erratic Maria Elena. I would rather have watched her act around the Casa Mia, La Rambla, Barceloneta and Parc Guell for two hours.

HOT: Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is a thrilling feel-good movie about an orphan child of the Mumbai slums who manages to win the ultimate prize on the tv show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, as well as finally winning the beautiful girl of his destiny. The colourful film switches constantly to flashback to explain how Jamal Malik's tumultous life has led him to knows the answer to every question. Throughout the film you are just rooting for him to succeed as he becomes an entrepeneur on the train tracks, escapes a life of blindness, finds work as a lowly chaiwallah and is released from prison to answer the final 20 million rupee question. Make sure you stay for the joyous closing dance sequence, in true Bollywood style.

Friday, 9 January 2009

HOT: Frost/Nixon

To paraphrase Billy Ocean - when the going gets hot, the hot go to the cinema. Hence, I've now seen every movie that I want to see at the local cinemas, and even one that I really didn't want to see.

I freely admit that I'm a political ignoramus so I didn't have any real background on Frost/Nixon except that somehow Richard Nixon was involved. As I sat through the film, I thought 'this is odd, I thought this was a true story....but it seems so improbable??'. Putting that thought aside until I could get hold of Wikipedia, I was engrossed by the story arc of louche, partying talk show host David Frost finally focusing on the job and nailing the consummate political operator Nixon to admit wrongdoing in Watergate. I thought the performances were consistently excellent from all the cast, especially Frank Lagella as the arrogant and bull-headed Nixon, and my only difficulty with Michael Sheen these days is that I will forever see him as Tony Blair (in The Queen) so I couldn't really accept him as Frost.

LDN: HOT OR NOT On Tour - Back soon!

Dear Mum, Dad and (any) other readers out there:

Happy New Year! Sorry for the uncharacteristic lapse in blogging activity. Jetsetting Joyce has been on tour for the past month and experiencing the emotional highs and lows of the existential human drama known as America's Next Top Model. I'll shortly be returning to town (and work - sob) for more decisive ratings on London's places and events. Until then, some non-location-specific movie reviews....