Mini Reviews

Film review: Personal Shopper

Personal Shopper, set in contemporary Paris is written and directed by Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria). Kristen Stewart plays Maureen, a personal assistant to her glamourous and demanding celebrity boss Kyra, and grieving for the loss of her twin brother Lewis who has recently died of a heart condition.

From the outset the film appears to be a ghost story. Maureen has psychic abilities…

Film review: Lion

The film Lion, an adoption drama, is based on Saroo Brierley’s real-life memoir, A Long Way Home. It looks at Saroo’s experience of being adopted and his search for his real family in India, exploring universal themes of childhood, family and dislocation. Lion is directed by Garth Davis and adapted for the screen by Luke Davies. It takes place in three stages. The first…

Exhibition review: Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016

The 2016 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize exhibition has been whittled down to 57 contemporary portrait photographs selected from 4,303 entries submitted anonymously by 1,842 photographers from a total of 61 countries. Established in 1993, the competition is open to both amateur and professional photographers. The exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery presents a diverse collection…

Film review: Queen of Katwe-London Film Festival 2016

In amongst the extensive selection on offer at this year’s London Film Festival is the Queen of Katwe, a heart-warming film based on a true story of a young girl Phiona Mutesi who escapes the slums of Uganda, by learning to play chess. It's directed by Mira Nair, produced by Disney and has an all African cast. 10 year old Phiona, played by newcomer Madina Nalwanga, lives with her widowed…

Green Rooms Hotel: Open House weekend, September 2016

An Arts Hotel, the first of its kind in the UK, has opened in The Green Rooms on Station Road, two minutes’ walk from Wood Green Station. Visitors were invited to an Open House Weekend (17-18 September 2016) to see its latest transformation.

The Green Rooms, a four-storey art deco building, was originally built in 1925 by the North Metropolitan Power and Electricity Company as a show room…

We studied journalism at Birkbeck and meet regularly to share our writing and ideas. Inspired by London’s 4th Plinth we set up our blog as a cultural exchange with reviews, stories, analysis and viewpoints.

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The 5th Plinthers

Tonkotsu in Hackney - A cool Ramen Bar comes to Mare Street

An unlikely opening in Mare Street - a very cool Ramen Bar materialises. Steve is transported from east end life to planet Zen.

Stoke Newington Literary Festival, 6-8 June

The fifth Stoke Newington Literary Festival kicks off this weekend, 6-8 June.  Now established as one of the most eclectic and popular programmes in the literary festival calendar, there’s something for everyone – and it’s in London. Hay is so last week! 

Firmly rooted in the vibrant community of Stoke Newington and drawing on the wellspring…

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar Warehouse

The Donmar’s new production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, adapted by Bruce Norris, sets out to engage us from the start. We enter a 1930s Chicago speakeasy filled with gangsters and their flunkeys, drinking, dancing, piano-playing, fighting, snogging.  We take a drink to our table and find a menu with information about the theatrical delicacies to follow.  An actor…

Exhibition review: ‘Basquiat: Boom for Real' at the Barbican

A painting of a skull by African American artist Jean Michel Basquiat sold for US $110.5 million at Sotheby’s New York in May 2017. His work is highly sought after on the contemporary art market. ‘Basquiat: Boom for Real’ at the Barbican is an opportunity for us to find out what all the fuss is about.

This is the first major UK retrospective of his work. Spread over 2 floors the overall…

Film review: Anomalisa by Charlie Kaufman

Charlie Kaufman’s latest film brings us Michael Stone, a motivational speaker and writer, who has been suffering a midlife crisis for at least a decade. The story follows Michael over one day as he flies to Cincinnati to speak about customer service. Alienated from his wife, Michael tries to take up with an ex-girlfriend and failing that in spectacular fashion, tries again with Lisa, a lonely saleswoman who has come to his talk.

Articles by J Bloggs

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