A little blog you've probably never heard of

  1. Breakfast at Kopapa

    I had every intention of writing about breakfast at the Tapa Room, a Marylebone restaurant with an unusual breakfast menu, but my plan’s been scuppered by the fact that I can never get in the place. Awkward to reach, doesn’t take bookings, and popular with the sort of people who can afford to live in Marylebone and don’t mind queueing for 45 minutes; every time I’ve tried to visit I’ve found what looks like a Banana Republic window display come to life, queuing out of the door for a cramped spot at one of those hateful shared galley tables.

  2. My annual Christmas film marathon

    For a long time I always tried to spend Christmas with people, because society says that’s what you do at Christmas and if you’re not doing this then you must be a sad, lonely bachelor eating beans on toast for Christmas lunch and wishing your life was a bit less depressing than the Eastenders Christmas Special.

  3. Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner

    I’m increasingly impatient with long films; 90 minutes feels just right, but anything over two hours has to really try hard to justify itself. The Great Beauty, weighing in at 142 minutes, never felt long to me, with its superb visuals, soundtrack, characters and performances all working together to carry its lazily-meandering story along; when this film ended I could have watched it from the beginning again straight away, because it easily earns its length. On the other side you have Peter Jackson’s gruelling Hobbit films, masterpieces in padding; of the 161 minutes of The Desolation of Smaug, you could probably cut out about 150.

  4. Final Fantasy VII and replaying games

    I re-watch films frequently, I re-read books occasionally, and I re-play games almost never unless it’s a three-to-five hour indie game like Journey that’s over after one or two sessions. When a game demands a minimum investment of 40 hours from start to finish, excluding side-quests, it’s tricky to favour that over playing something new. Re-playing a game of that length is like re-watching two whole seasons of a TV show without the ability to skip the weaker episodes, or, I don’t know, watching a whole game of football again instead of just the two goals that happened at the end. People might do that, actually, I have no idea.

  5. Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida

    Ida, a starkly-presented, brief, almost minimalist piece, is one of the most subtle, compelling and smartly-handled films I've seen this year, at times feeling more like a fable than the gritty realist drama it is.

  6. The cinema at the end of the world

    Welcome news this week that the Shaftesbury Avenue Cineworld, a cinema that looked and felt like it had only narrowly survived the apocalypse, is to close and be refurbished into a seven-screen Picturehouse, the only other option being to take off and nuke the site from orbit, just to be sure.