Posts from 2nd March 2006

Mar 06

The Seven Swords of Why?

Do You See1 comment • 327 views

It is great to see a new Tsui Hark film at the cinema. Seven Swords is nowhere near Hark at his best, but since I have only ever seen him on a TV, I relished seeing this in a cinema. Bigger budgets, digital effects and relentless editing though removes much of his trademark action directing to a muddle in places – with only one stand-out fight being worth the admission fee. What surprised me though was how much I engaged with the on-paper, really simple subplot dynamics of the piece.

Seven heroes would be too many to invest with anything more than cursory personalities, and this film also has a few sundry villagers plus the bad guys. But on subplot watch (main plot of good guys vs bad guys nary gets a look-in)
1-Timid pacifist girl learns to fight
2-Feisty fighty girl learns to be a hero – and master the most complex of the seven swords
3-Fighty boy learns that fighting isn’t all that great
4-Kids learn ropes can be swords too (not very good plot this)
5-Grumpy uber-fighter reveals his slave past in trying to help a free slave (trying to help via being grumpy revealed to be worst trying to help ploy ever)
6-Ban on fighting discovered to be a bad thing for the fighting community
7-Whiny, wheedly moaning character turns out to be a traitor

Okay, most of the subplots are tosh, but the first two are actually played with perfection, especially the “come a hero” plot 2 which redeems much of the rest of the film. Not one of Hark’s best, but it looks great and is still a mess of fun when it gets going. Seven is about four too many swords though…

A restau-rant

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 505 views

Every so often my local paper runs a ‘dine for £10’ collect the tokens style offer in association with selected restaurants. Having for once actually bothered to a) buy the paper and b) cut out three tokens, I went to Seven Dials in Brighton last night to redeem the offer. Now, admittedly, Seven Dials is several degrees posher than I would normally go, sans financial incentive. And I didn’t dislike my posh fishcake, posh lemon tart, and not particularly posh all-inclusive (small) glass of wine. But on the whole it was a bit of a old swizz.

Firstly and most heinously, the two courses offered for £10 were from the lunch menu, which is *already* £10 for two courses. So all our hard won tokens were entitling us to was the right to, erm, eat lunch at dinner time, while all around us more affluent diners were chowing down on the full dinner menu. Hardly calculated to make you feel special. And call me demanding, but when I go out to eat I like to be able to choose from more than two options, and for there to be at least one vegetarian choice. We did get an unexpected ‘complimentary appetiser’ – an espresso cupful of broccoli soup and a solitary slice of bread, but again where was our choice in the matter? It just felt slightly patronising.

Seven Dials is a converted bank, and the interior feels lofty and gloomy at the same time, with I’m sorry to say the residual stuffiness and formality of a million financial transactions. The waiting staff were friendly but quite keen to make us spend more than £10 each (noting that ‘the fishcake is quite small, you probably want a side dish of potatoes’ – no, I probably want DINNER not lunch grr – and bringing mineral instead of tap water. 12.5% service charge also not covered by increasingly rubbish-looking ‘£10’ offer. The final bill came to £30.)

The whole experience was dispiriting, in that for the same money we could have created a huge and delicious meal for the two of us and several friends at home, or gone to a nicer but more modestly priced restaurant, and not been made to feel like the plebs at the feast.

Pumpkin Publog lyric watch

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 706 views

Not, as it may seem at first, an attempt to rip off Tanya Headon’s excellent if rarely seen feature (possibly because she is apparently stuck in China). Rather a sad and shocking tale of central London pubs. On last nights evidence, it appears that The Lyric on Great Windmill Street has closed. Shutter down, an A4 piece of paper on it telling us where some of the staff had moved on to an a very final looking poem.

The Lyric has of late been a regular haunt of mine, despite its pokiness and general inability to get a seat when you first arrive. The jukebox, though overly stocked with Irish, could always provide ample entertainment. But basically it was a solid boozer in an area where the uncomplicated (non-Sam Smiths) pub is pretty short on the ground.

Who knows what will happen to the Lyric now. It was granted a midnight licence in the week, and a 2am licence at weekends, which since the law changed it has not used. I don’t believe it was a freehouse, though it had clearly been left alone by the vagaries of pub branding. I cannot imagine the spot staying empty for long, but will it still be the Lyric? Keep watching.