Attempting to visit all of the branches of burger chain Byron, I’ve kept a careful record of which restaurants I’ve been to, but which food I’ve tried from the menu is left largely up to my imperfect (Swiss-cheesed, if you will) memory.

With this in mind, I chose to cover my bases and order a cheeseburger with all of the six available cheese options.

What a beautiful behemoth of a burger! The slices of yellow-white cheese markedly thicker than the pink medium-rare patty.

Note that I had a Diet Coke as I’m trying to watch the calories.

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I was walking to Richmond train station behind an older gentlemen. The Rugby Sevens was on so thousands of boorish young people were pouring out of the station in fancy dress of varying quality in search of pre-game alcohol before they began their pilgrimage to Twickenham.

Two guys wearing masks and dressed in skeleton onesies were approaching us, holding cans of cheap lager. Crowds like this are generally harmless but the anonymity of and spirit can sometimes come across as threatening.

Once they became parallel with us, the senior citizen in front of me suddenly lunged to his right and let out a “Boo!”

The two skeletons turned their heads sharply in surprise, then both parties carried on about their business.

This was the West London equivalent of Harry Brown.

Logged on Letterboxd

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Either a lazy unambitious sequel to one of the worst movies ever made, or the inspired satirical work of someone who understands the cookie-cutter machinations of the Hollywood studio system all too well.

Whichever the case (and, to be honest, I’m leaning toward Option A), Birdemic 2 features the greatest write-off of a character who survived the horrors of the previous film:

Tony: I wish Susan could’ve been here to see this bird skeleton, but she got a disease from that fish that Rod cooked.

Logged on Letterboxd

The Voices (2014)

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It turns out that the perfect antidote to reading in depth about the inherent and growing inequalities present in the Hollywood studio system* was watching The Voices close out Sundance London 2014. A dark comedy thriller with talking animals directed by an Iranian-born French woman precisely sums up the benefits and importance of independent cinema.

A short Q&A session with the director and lead actors followed the screening. Ryan Reynolds, no stranger to independent film, was asked what drew him to the role of Jerry Hickfang.

 Ryan: “Well I wasn’t going to do Green Lantern 2, so…”

Gemma Arterton commented on the benefits of working outside of the studio system. One being the freedom to shoot the movie where they wanted.

Gemma: “We shot the film in Germany. German crews are the best.”
Ryan: “Well, lately. Not so much in the Forties.”

Unapologetically making no effort to educate public opinion on mental health issues, the director, Marjane Satrapi, said the script appealed simply because “[it was] so fucked up I had to do it.”

Which is awesome.

* Laremy Legel’s concisely subtitled See Change: How Studios Abandoned Women to Focus on Sequels and Superheroes - And Why It’s Ruining Cinema is equal parts informative and depressing.