Netflix channel Scandi murder mysteries with new supernatural detective series ‘Dark’

Posted in Trailers, TV
By Sam Bathe on 13 Nov 2017

Dark-Netflix-2

Dark-Netflix-4

With all the overtones of a Scandi detective thriller, Dark is a tense new 10-parter from Netflix. Set in the small German town of Winden, Dark follows the investigation into the disappearance of two local children, only the series takes a supernatural twist when the question shifts to not whom kidnapped the children, but when. Shot on location in the beautiful yet thoroughly eerie German woodland, Netflix’s run of hit shows looks like its set to continue. Created by Baran bo Odar and co-written by Jantje Friese, all 10 episodes of Dark premiere Friday 1st December.

Arlo Skye team up with blog Sight Unseen to create the ultimate design-conscious traveller’s suitcase

Posted in Design, Products, Travel
By Sam Bathe on 10 Nov 2017

Arlo-Skye-Sight-Unseen-Case-2

Arlo-Skye-Sight-Unseen-Case-4

In collaboration with design blog Sight Unseen, hip luggage company Arlo Skye are releasing their Carry-On and Check-In cases in a limited-edition Sage colourway. Founded by alums from Tumi and Louis Vuitton, Arlo Skye’s cases are made of a lightweight makrolon polycarbonate shell, with micro-textured surface, aluminum-alloy trim and a removable USB charger built-in. Remarkably the design actually involves no outer zippers, instead the cases are held shut by two TSA-approved combination locks and an interlocking seal along each edge. Inside you’ll find more of Sight Unseen’s influence, commissioning Finnish illustrator Antti Kekki to design a print for the lining and dividers. The Carry-On is $375, while the Check-In is just $20 more at $395, shipping at the end of November from Arlo Skye’s online store: www.arloskye.com/collections/arlo-skye-x-sight-unseen-edition

LA footwear label release their minimalist Bravo Trainer in a luxe, Autumn-friendly hue

Posted in Products, Style
By Sam Bathe on 8 Nov 2017

no-one-baby-bull-bravo-amber-2

no-one-baby-bull-bravo-amber-6

A luxe and minimalist take on their Bravo Trainer, LA-based footwear label, No.One, is releasing the sleek Baby Bull Bravo to match the autumnal palette. Inspired by the classic tennis shoe design, No.One’s latest line is produced in collaboration with leather supplier Remy Carriat for the full grain, all-in-one upper. A utilitarian silhouette with refined details that elevate the design, the tongue is embossed Vachetta leather with a French plongé lambskin lining. The Baby Bull Bravo is $675, available through No.One’s online store: www.no-one.la

Design mainstays Muji reimagine micro-living with their remarkable, multipurpose one-room Hut

Posted in Architecture, Design
By Sam Bathe on 6 Nov 2017

hut2017_img03

hut2017_mainimg03

hut2017_mainimg01

After wowing the design community back in 2015 with prototypes of their minimalist micro-home, the Muji Hut is now on sale in Japan. With a compact 9 square-metre interior, double-pane glass front and covered porch, the Hut is just about big enough for 3-4 people to relax in and sleeps a single. Using traditional materials to blend into its surroundings, the Hut is built from wood entirely sourced in Japan. The outer walls are constructed of burnt cedar for its enhanced antiseptic properties and treated with an oil stain, while the interior has a minimalist finish to let the owner stamp their own style. The Muji Hut is on sale now for ¥3,000,000 (£20,150) including materials and construction, though they are currently only available inside Japan, hopefully an international service is soon to follow: www.muji.com/jp/mujihut

Rodrigo Bravo’s Monolith Series showcases the extraordinary materials and production methods taken from Chilean geography

Posted in Art
By Sam Bathe on 3 Nov 2017

bravo-ceramics-3

bravo-ceramics-10

All carved from single chunks of combarbalita, a stone native to northern Chile, Rodrigo Bravo‘s Monolith Series wanted to find a way to highlight the “production methods, technologies, and materials taken from Chilean geography.” Working with a local stone-turning craftsman, Bravo sketched countless designs for vessels, ultimately collaborating to create a collection of 80 pieces. Show the rest of this post…

From small bowls and vases, to lidded boxes and cups, no two objects in the series are the same, in no small part thanks to the remarkable combarbalita Made from volcanic processes, the material integrates diverse compositions of kaolinite, natroalunite, silica, and hemanite, plus some of the minerals represented in copper and silver oxides.

bravo-ceramics-4

bravo-ceramics-5

bravo-ceramics-6

bravo-ceramics-7

bravo-ceramics-8

bravo-ceramics-9

bravo-ceramics-2

Graduate artist Morgan Ward shows a talent for colour, space and form that belies his relative youth

Posted in Art, Illustration
By Sam Bathe on 1 Nov 2017

Morgan-Ward-2

Graduating this year from the University of Chichester, artist Morgan Ward has an eye well beyond his years. Inspired by a phrase from one of his lecturers that always stuck; ‘Don’t create work that gives answers, create work that asks questions,’ Ward’s work is the product of a continual battle into his personal development. Mixing hard lines with rough brush strokes, Morgan’s pieces are collision of bright, neon colour that pulls your eye back and forth. Show the rest of this post…

“My work has seen drastic change over the three years at university but I have always kept to a constant theme of research into how a canvas can be filled as an object of illusion, as after all a painting is a 2 dimensional plane depicting a tree dimensional space,” Morgan explains, to see where he could go over the next three years will be a very exciting wait.

Morgan-Ward-1

Morgan-Ward-4

Morgan-Ward-5

Morgan-Ward-7

Morgan-Ward-8

Check out more of Morgan’s work on his site: www.morganwardartist.com

Film Review: Revolution: New Art for a New World

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 23 Oct 2017

Margy Kinmonth’s documentary Revolution: New Art for a New World aims to elucidate the connection between political events in Russia in the early 20th century and the art that its citizens produced in response, much of which is little known in the wider world.
Show the rest of this post…

The documentary focuses primarily on the October Revolution in 1917, during which the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government of the country, which itself had been installed not long before as the result of another political upheaval. Kinmonth’s film, which she also wrote and narrates, attempts to paint the connections between a tumultuous time period and the art that it spawned.

For art enthusiasts, the greatest draw of the film will be the revealing of many significant works that have, to date, been little seen outside of Russia. Even for an art novice like me, the film did a good job of explaining the significance of these pieces and, crucially, how they relate to the events that, at least in part, inspired their creation. There are also some interesting interviews with contemporaries of the artists discussed, in some cases with their actual descendants, and seeing the physical similarities between them and the old photos is a treat in itself.

The film is ultimately a little televisual and perhaps did not require a cinematic release, but even so there is an interesting discourse in here not just how this art related to its period, but how any art can do so, and the importance of that relationship. The music is a little distracting at times, and some of the dramatic voiceovers – recreating speeches from historical figures such as Lenin (Matthew Macfadyen), for  example – don’t really add much, but for those with an interest in the period, or indeed in the relationship between art and politics more generally, it’s an interesting watch.

3/5

Film Review: The Death of StalinFan The Fire Recommends

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 18 Oct 2017

As anyone who has seen The Thick of It, its feature length spin off In the Loop, or the US series Veep, will know, writer Armando Iannucci has a certain unique flair for political satire. Show the rest of this post…

The thought of him tackling La Mort de Staline, a graphic novel by Fabien Nury dealing with the aftermath of the death of Joseph Stalin, was a promising one.

When Stalin died in 1953, he left behind a power vacuum at the head of the Soviet Union. Iannucci’s film depicts the ensuing struggle for power among the political elite, from Stalin’s son to his heads of state, choosing to approach what in real life was a tremendously fraught and dangerous era with his usual lightness of touch.

It’s not perhaps an obvious period to play for laughs, but the result, for the most part, lives up to the billing. Iannucci extracts humour from potential darkness, and at times plays wonderfully on the idea of political paranoia and infighting.

The film boasts a large and talented ensemble cast playing a roster of real life characters, most of whom Iannucci depicts as either bumbling, bickering fools or, in the case of Simon Russell Beale’s secret police chief Beria, in particular, tyrants desperate for power. Their interactions are the heart of the film, indeed the very point of the film, and there is much enjoyment to be had therein. If there’s a criticism to be levelled at the casting, it’s simply that there are too many talented performers here to feel that we’re getting the most out of them. As a result, some of the supporting characters feel a little undersold, and unable to leave the impression they might have done.

Alongside Beria, the chief conspirators are Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor) and Nikita Kruschchev (Steve Buscemi), names which will be familiar to anyone with a vague knowledge of Russian history. Malenkov, upon whom the responsibility of stepping into Stalin’s shoes initially falls, is played by Tambor as a man desperately wanting to appear stately and responsible, but in fact displaying neither of these traits, and perennially trapped under the imposing Beria’s finger.

Lingering around behind them is an amusingly pitched performance from Michael Palin as Vyascheslav Molotov, who over the years has been so indoctrinated into Stalin’s regime that he has trouble remembering who he is meant to be fawning over, and what his opinions actually are. There’s also an amusing introduction featuring Paddy Considine that gets things off to a strong start, and a scene-stealing turn from a belligerent Jason Isaacs. Andrea Riseborough, meanwhile, brings an all-too-brief feminine presence to what is otherwise very much a boys club.

Although there’s some great stuff in here poking fun at the inner workings of the government,the film coasts a little towards its final act, which, though still funny, is a bit rushed and dramatically uneven. It feels as if the film is enjoying itself much more when its ensemble is bickering and fighting than when it has to tell the story, which isn’t a criticism as such, but leaves the narrative element of the film feeling a little lukewarm.

Generally, though, The Death of Stalin is an entertaining and often funny film, the  tone of which will be familiar, if not wholly so, to fans of Iannucci’s excellent previous work. It’s not as consistently funny as some of his best output, but well worth a look.

4/5

Film Review: The Glass Castle

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Liam Nicholls on 22 Sep 2017

Based on the bestselling memoir of Jeanette Walls’ childhood, The Glass Castle explores the fraught and fractured relationship between a father and daughter, played superbly by Woody Harrelson and Brie Larson. Show the rest of this post…

The story follows Jeanette (Brie Larson), one of four flame-haired siblings living a nomadic, poverty-stricken life, dragged from shack to hovel by their free-spirited and eccentric parents Rex (Woody Harrelson) and Rose Mary (Naomi Watts). Cutting back and forth in time between her younger years and her life as a a successful gossip columnist in New York, her emotions unravel in the midst of a manicured existence with Wall Street fiancé David (Max Greenfield).

The first we see of her wild-eyed parents is scavenging in bins on the Lower East Side as Jeanette drives past in a taxi, setting the tone for the disconnected relationship she has with them, born from years of reckless abandon. Her mother is an artist, more interested in her work than the welfare of her children, brought into sharp focus early on when a young Jeanette badly burns herself cooking hotdogs on the stove. Rescued from the hospital by her family before she has properly healed, she bears the physical and emotional scars for the rest of her life as she becomes protector to her brother and sisters in the absence of conscientious parents.

The beating heart of the film is the relationship between Rex and his “Mountain Goat” Jeanette, who is played as a child with brilliant poise by Ella Anderson. Rex is the film’s force of nature; a poetic soul battling with an undercurrent of darkness and repression. A Jekyll and Hyde character, he’s charismatic, warm and wise when sober but volatile and vicious when drunk, suffocating his children while living in fear of them leaving him. His grand design of building a solar-powered glass house, which gives the film its title, connects him and Jeanette to a shared hope of a better future.

Whether it’s throwing her repeatedly into a swimming pool to teach her how to swim, or begging her for alcohol when chained to a bed while going cold turkey, Rex certainly lives up to his mantra of “You learn from living”. As Jeanette grapples with rising anger and despair as her life plays out, the film is a depiction of her journey in coming to terms with the suffering she endured and accepting the pain that has ultimately shaped who she is.

Both Harrelson, Larson and Anderson carry the story magnificently with powerful performances, but they’re held back by the jarring movements in time which hinder the development of the narrative, rather than building  it. A film full of poignant symbolism and several emotionally-charged moments, its story is one that deserves to be seen on screen, despite losing some of its power in translation.

3/5

Film Review: Wind River

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 15 Sep 2017

Wind River is the final part of what director Taylor Sheridan has called his “frontier trilogy”, which began with Sicario and continued with Hell or High Water. Although Sheridan wrote all three films, it’s the first he has directed, and his first directorial credit since a little-seen horror called Vile in 2011. Show the rest of this post…

Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen star as Cory Lambert and Jane Banner, who become unlikely partners in a crime investigation. She works for the FBI and has been summoned to freezing Wyoming to run an investigation into a body that Cory discovered in the snow. Cory is a hunter/tracker and proves useful in assisting Jane who, while competent as an investigator, is not used to the extreme wintry conditions in the area.

The body is discovered on an Indian reservation – the titular Wind River – which causes jurisdictional issues for the investigation, while the harsh nature of the landscape becomes a driving factor in the narrative. Wind River is home to many disenchanted people, for whom the difficulties presented by the environment have either broken their spirits, or made them cynical. The world-weary inhabitants of the area, combined with the excellent sense of place established by Sheridan and his cinematographer, Ben Richardson, lift some of the film’s more generic elements into thoroughly watchable territory.

It also helps that Renner gives one his strongest performances to date as Cory, who clearly has an attachment to the area, but is nevertheless challenged by the toughness of the environment, which has not been altogether kind to him. Opposite him, Olsen is reliably strong as Jane, who despite playing more of a supporting role than we might initially expect, adds both vulnerability and strength to proceedings, albeit in different ways to Renner.

The film has a gritty edge to it, as we might expect from this loose trilogy, and is adept at establishing a scenario in which the vastness of the landscape serves to heighten the events being depicted. There are visual compositions that at times reminded me of the establishing shots in Sicario, and some of the recurring motifs in the soundtrack called to mind the whispered poetics of Andrew Dominik’s excellent WesternThe Proposition.

As things unfold and we being to learn where the narrative is going, it’s perhaps a little disappointingly straightforward, and the final movement of the film feels a little less sure of itself than the rest, but the interest is held throughout, and the film doesn’t lose sight of the characters at its heart. There’s one late scene on top of a mountain that is a little too broadly played, but in general the film conveys a sense of realism and believability. There’s also an almighty Mexican standoff in the final act that is beautifully choreographed.

Wind River is a compelling watch, with a strong sense of place, convincing performances and a welcome, if subtle, undercurrent o f political awareness. It’s not perfect, and perhaps a little generic at times, but well worth a watch, particularly if you enjoyed Sicario and Hell or High Water.

4/5

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.

You can contact us on: mail@fanthefiremagazine.com

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Dribbble, Instagram and RSS.