In Review: The UNIQLO Ultra-Light Seamless Down Parka

UNIQLO Men’s Ultra Light Seamless Down Parka – $ 69.90 ($ 79.90)

About the Author: Ariel A. is a mechanical engineer and father of 2. He designs components for windows and door systems for high rise buildings and gets a kick out of seeing his projects stories high in major cities. He compulsively researches everything he buys and gets a lot of his daily enjoyment from using and wearing items that are thoughtfully designed and well made.

As residents of the great white north, us Canucks understand that cold isn’t just a phenomena, it’s a spectrum. It has sub-categories and classes, from the familiar “first day you know summer’s gone” to the extreme “I don’t think we bought a long enough thermometer” rating. There’s “going back home to get a third sweater” weather, and there’s “I’d really like to come over, but I’m rather attached to my extremities and prefer to stay that way” weather. There are a few ways to deal with this, but most agree that a graduated and layered approach works best. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a few people I know who use the same coat in all conditions as soon as the mercury drops (heck, I was once one of those), but as a general rule that tends to make things heavy and uncomfortable.

UNIQLO Men's Ultra Light Seamless Down Parka

UNIQLO’s Ultra Light Down Seamless Parka. More than a few colors to pick from.

Saying Goodbye

Until recently, my go-to fall/spring weather to zero-ish degree layer was a wonderful heavy Israeli army fleece from a surplus store. It performed impeccably for about 9 years until recently when I broke one of the zippers. Over my years using it, I noted a couple of issues with my treasured jacket, namely the lack of a hood (key for snowy weather), the fact that it was heavy, and that it was too bulky to fit over or under most other layers.

Fast forward about 4 months after the tragic zipper event to a Dappered-prompted trip to Uniqlo to peruse the Airism sale of the underwear that had been so well reviewed. Arms full, I headed over to the register, but was distracted by a display labeled ‘ultra-light down’ jackets. I’ve heard about the marvelous insulating power of down, but have never really experienced it myself because a) down outerwear tends to be a bit on the pricier side and b) I didn’t need yet another coat/sweater/jacket. This time however, I was down one treasured piece of outerwear, and the display showed a price of $ 90 (Canadian dollars, remember). I also noticed a number of variants, including a ‘parka’, which was basically the same jacket with a hood. Since it was still summer, I left it on the shelf. When it went on sale for $ 80 a few weeks ago, I caved.

In Review: The UNIQLO Ultra-Light Seamless Down Parka | Dappered.com

Size medium on 5’6″ 145 lbs.

The Jacket

This thing is light. I’m not sure of the actual weight, but it feels like wearing clouds held together with spider silk. There are lighter options out there, but I really can’t imagine it making a big difference to me. I don’t know how durable the nylon shell is, but it feels thin, and pretty fragile. This may just be a factor of it being ‘ultra-light’, but I worry about ripping the coat if I snag it on something.

The hood is a definite plus for me, as are the generously sized interior pockets, which I’ve used to carry around a book or iPad mini. The cut is slimmer than I expected, but generally fits me well, and can still fit a chunky sweater underneath for colder weather. Unlike some similar jackets , this one doesn’t look really puffy, which to me is nice from an aesthetic perspective. It’s also compact enough to fit under my leather jacket in freezing conditions. I could definitely see buying one of the vests to go under my topcoat (though this might be a somewhat strange fashion statement).

In Review: The UNIQLO Ultra-Light Seamless Down Parka | Dappered.com

Performance

Over the last month, I’ve been able to test the coat during the first real fall weather. It performs extremely well in chill weather, to the point of actually being too warm at around 12-15 degrees Celsius (50s in Fahrenheit). If the temperature warms at all, I have to take it off. I’m also happy to say it performed well during a light rainfall, easily keeping the water out. In all probability it won’t be the solution to heavy rain or snow, but I’m confident it can protect me in most weather.

One of the areas where this coat blows my old fleece out of the water is the fact that Uniqlo made it packable. Included with all of the ultra-light down products is a little drawstring bag that the item can squish into for travelling. This is really convenient, and will likely make a great airplane pillow when I travel with it.

In Review: The UNIQLO Ultra-Light Seamless Down Parka | Dappered.com

The jacket can be packed into the included sac for easy transport.

Conclusion

So far I’m really enjoying my ultra-light parka, and will definitely be keeping my eye on the sales of the other ULD products in the coming months. I have yet to test this jacket in the harsh Canada winter, but based on performance so far it’ll definitely see some use.

The UNIQLO Ultra Light Down Seamless Parka is on sale for ten bucks off through Wednesday 11/7.


Dappered Style Mail

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The Beverley Arms, East Yorkshire: hotel review

This revamped hotel’s heritage, comfort and biscuits appeal strongly to our writer, but his companion proves harder to please …

Driving into the leafy East Yorkshire town of Beverley, we clatter over a cattle grid, then past the racecourse into a smart Georgian market town. I am accompanied by Sophie, my partner, a woman who spent many years inspecting hotels, with clipboard in hand. She has never lost the skills. “Remember,” I hear myself say. “Try and enjoy yourself.” She gives me that look, the one that says, I’ll do what has to be done.

We both like Beverley, a cluster of architectural gems around a market square. When Henry V came to town after Agincourt, it took three days to get all the muck out of the market, but these days it is spotlessly neat and tidy. Almost uniquely in modern Britain there is only one empty shop, something of an achievement in itself, and the rest look satisfyingly prosperous. The medieval minster is the big draw, and a worthy one too, filled with grotesque carvings, soaring columns and ancient artefacts. Nearby stands the house where Mary Wollstonecraft spent some of her early teenage years, a fact only rediscovered in early 2018. There’s a plaque on the facade (it’s at 2 Highgate).

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Android’s dark horse champion

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro
$ 1,197
The Good

Amazingly versatile camera • Every feature under the sun • Great battery life • Fast performance

The Bad

Software needs polish • Pricey

The Bottom Line

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the most feature-packed phone you can currently buy.

Mashable Score4.25
Cool Factor4.0
Learning Curve4.0
Performance5.0
Bang for the Buck4.0

It took a while for Huawei to get here. 

Nothing about the company’s boring smartphone lineup in, say, 2013, indicated that Huawei might one day produce phones that can hold their own against the best flagships around.  Read more…

More about Android, Reviews, Review, Huawei, and Huawei Mate 20 Pro


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In Review: The Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer

Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Sportcoat – $ 328

NOTE: Ryan N. is 5’9”, 155 and is wearing a slim fit 36R in this post. These sportcoats / blazers are available in either a slim or contemporary fit.

You know the old joke. How do you get to good fall outerwear? Texture, texture, texture.

In Review: The Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer | Dappered.com

Okay, that’s enough of that. But if texture is what you’re looking for, meet your new best friend. The Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer (so named for the luxury fabric’s source) is Spier & Mackay’s first triple-patch-pocket sportcoat, and boy, is it a heck of a first swing. To quote the item’s description, “the texture creates great visual depth while the deep navy colour allows it to remain versatile with both denim and trousers.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, but why not expand on everything noted?

Under the Hood

While many fall-ready sportcoats end up a bit weighty, Spier & Mackay went for a three-season 320gsm weight that’s 99% merino wool with a 1% stretch. A 1/4-butterfly, Cupro lining pairs up with the usual list of great features comprising a Spier sportcoat: half-canvas construction, genuine horn buttons (as well as the always appreciated tailoring-ready sleeve buttons), and the unpadded Spalla Camicia “shirt-style” shoulders, which this reviewer found very comfortable. As a result, it feels light but far from flimsy when you put it on, and drapes wonderfully. They really like to nail the details.

In Review: The Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer | Dappered.com

Partially lined in the back. Half canvas construction. Natural shoulders.

Oooooh, That Texture

Can’t really say enough about it – this texture oozes autumn (I’m pretty sure “texture” is kind of the dapper version of “basic”) and feels great to the touch. Lots of visual interest, but without being loud and in-your-face. It’s chunky without being heavy, and they aren’t kidding when they say the navy color goes with denim as well as trousers.

In Review: The Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer | Dappered.com

99% Merino Wool/1% Stretch waffle fabric. Chunky and textured without being heavy.

Pairing It Up

Thankfully, it’s starting to look a bit more like fall around here, and I donned a few different styles for the shoot. Up top of the post is a mashup of more casual blues, and below is a more formal collar/sweater getup, as well one of my favorite pink button-down polos. This can handle a light layer like it’s nothing, while still feeling just fine with a thin polo.

In Review: The Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer | Dappered.com

Patch Pockets

Well, you don’t see this every day… these are some of the most flush-sewn patch pockets I’ve ever worn. I mean, usually patch pockets are popping off the jacket, making their presence very known. A subtle transition from pocket to jacket is a breath of fresh air, and an especially well-thought-out choice when dealing with an already chunky texture. It makes the jacket drape that much nicer. Kudos!

In Review: The Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer | Dappered.com

Fit, Feel, and Final Notes

No negatives to really speak of here. I mean, there’s the chance those little nooks and crannies can catch some crumbs, but maybe hold over your plate, eh?

Shoulders hug nicely, button stance is perfect, the 3.5” lapels are nice and balanced, and no collar gap – my biggest qualm with off-the-rack suiting. Waist tapers nicely with room for a light layer underneath, but doesn’t feel floaty without one, either. Arms were ever-so-slightly long on me, but the non-functional sleeve buttons make that an easy fix. Three inner pockets (one on each side, plus a pen pocket) join the three sewn-shut patch pockets on the outside.

In Review: The Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer | Dappered.com

Being new to Spier, I had obviously heard a lot of good things, but couldn’t know for sure until I had one in my hands. Once you have a feel for your size, you can often know whether a jacket will be too big, too small, or just right as soon as you put your first arm in. My first thought was, “Well, I know where I’m getting my next suit.”

About the Author: Ryan N. is a professional web developer for (and alum from) the University of Delaware, who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.

In Review: The Spier & Mackay Navy Luigi Botto Waffle Texture Blazer | Dappered.com


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Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS At Kennedy Center

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ semi-staged concert production of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s Little Shop of Horrors, helmed by director Mark Brokaw Rodgers Hammerstein’s Cinderella is now on stage.
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THEATER REVIEW: In ‘The Ferryman,’ actors, real animals and a Iive human baby fight their epic destiny

Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman,” which opened Sunday night at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, packs more juicy and prophetic Anglo-Irish storytelling into a fantastic single night than any cable drama upon which you might ever hope to binge.

For your tiny screens do not hold 21 live actors,…

/entertainment – New York Daily News

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Film Review: ‘Hunter Killer’

It’s no trick for even a ham-handed global action thriller to achieve a ripped-from-the-headlines “topicality.” Just throw in a terrorist from the right enemy nation, or an American president with the right haircut. So it’s a weird and musty Twilight Zone indeed that one enters to watch “Hunter Killer,” a grindingly ponderous and bombastic neo-Cold […]

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REVIEW: In ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’ on Broadway, Daniel Radcliffe rails against truthiness

“Truth isn’t truth,” Rudy Giuliani famously spluttered on “Meet the Press” last summer, trumping even presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway’s much-derided coinage of the phrase “alternative facts” to explain away a few big little lies about the size of the crowd at the 2017 presidential inauguration.

/entertainment – New York Daily News

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BWW Review: Mark Sonnenblick’s Superb MIDNIGHT AT THE NEVER GET Mixes Song, Romance and Resistance

While it would be easy to exit the York Theatre these days having been absolutely swept away by Mark Sonnenblick’s wonderfully engaging and ear-tingling score for his new musical, MIDNIGHT AT THE NEVER GET – a sumptuous collection mixing beautiful melodies framing lyrical poetics with jaunty numbers loaded with snazzy jokes and unexpected rhymes – it’s the superb storytelling of his book, exploring issues of the 1960s gays rights movement in a universal manner that can apply to other civil rights battles, that makes the musical truly soar.
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The East London Hotel: ‘Rooms from £85 a short walk from the tube’ – review

‘Throw a stone in any direction from this hotel and it’s likely to land in someone’s negroni’ … a great new base for exploring Bethnal Green

Mother Kelly would be surprised at what’s been happening on her famous doorstep. The Georgian terraced houses of Paradise Row are still there but the railway arches at its northern end – once workshops and mechanics’ garages – have been taken over by chic restaurants and cool bars, one of them named after the early-20th-century pie shop owner herself.

From last week – on the other side of the narrow cobbled street – the site of the former Balls Brothers wine warehouse has been turned, after planning wrangles, into the East London Hotel. In this modernist grey box (with interesting geometric window designs) property developers Irfan Hussain and Marin Jakisic have decided to go for quantity as well as quality. They’ve squeezed 161 rooms on to this small plot between Paradise Row and the V&A Museum of Childhood.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On Goodspeed’s THE DROWSY CHAPERONE

Goodspeed Musicals’ The Drowsy Chaperone is now on stage In this hilarious valentine to show tunes and show people, a forgotten Jazz Age musical comes to life in the living room of a diehard theatre fan. As he eagerly spins his favorite cast album, a fizzy vintage show suddenly appears, exploding with song, dance and pure entertainment. Our quirky narrator fills the plot holes, with laugh-out-loud results. Packed with show-stopping numbers and larger-than-life characters, here’s a Tony Award-winning spoof that will have everyone falling in love with zany musical comedy
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Pentagon says memo asking for Broadcom-CA deal review is likely fake

The U.S. Department of Defense said on Wednesday that a memo purporting to show the Pentagon asking for a national security review of chipmaker Broadcom Inc’s $ 19 billion deal to buy software company CA Technologies was likely fake.


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In Review: The Banana Republic Slim Traveler Pant

The Banana Republic Slim Traveler Pant – $ 98.50

About the Author: Stephen Knight is a photographer / videographer who founded Itsaknightslife. His mission is to tell the story of people through style, food, music, and dancing. Catch his stuff at itsaknightslife on Instagram and Youtube.

Over the last few years there has been an increasing desire for hybrid pants that not only look good in a smart casual/business casual office, but are also comfortable enough to be dressed down and worn on the weekend. Trousers that can do it all. And during that time, the BR Slim Traveler Pant has become a go-to for many guys in terms of filling that do-it-all category. These pants have racked up over 1,000 reviews on the BR site, with an average of 4.7 stars out of 5. And that solid reputation is well deserved. Here’s why.

The Banana Republic Slim Traveler Pant

Available in lots of colors. Lots.

The Look

What I love about these pants are that they’re flexible enough, stylistically speaking, to work in many environments. If you work in a space that allows business casual, then you’ll fit right in. If you’re at an airport traveling, then you’ll fit right in. If you’re on that special date with that special person, then… you get the message. I opted for the olive color, which was on the more muted side, and I loved this shade. I was able to match this with a blue/white checkered shirt, along with any neutral colors that make style matching easy. The overall look of the pants seems reserved which allowed me to wear these 5-pockets (read: a regular jean style, not a more conservative/dressy style) at the office without anyone really noticing. They’re versatile. And they also quite comfortable.

In Review: The Banana Republic Slim Traveler Pant | Dappered.com

The BR Slim Traveler Pant size 30 x 32 on 5’10” / 170 lbs

The Feel

The first time I put these pants on, I literally said “wow” to how comfortable these pants are. I wouldn’t go so far as to say these are as comfortable as sweats, but they are definitely pants you can move in. The “specially engineered” Italian cotton they use for these pants feels amazing on the skin. They don’t feel super light nor super heavy which makes them suitable and comfortable to wear all day. And you know those afternoon naps you take after work? Yes, that is definitely possible with these pants. If you’re doing some traveling you can wear these with ease, no matter how long your flight(s) and how many connections you’ve got to make.

In Review: The Banana Republic Slim Traveler Pant | Dappered.com

Shown above in the “bracken olive” 

The Fit

The look and the feel of a pant doesn’t mean anything if they don’t fit the way you expect. For the most part, these pants fit very well. The fabric does sit a little closer to the skin, however they’re pretty stretchy. But if you run even slimmer, or do lots of squats, BR has you covered with both Skinny and Athletic fits (colors are limited on athletic).

Something I noticed is the inseam of the pant seemed rather long. The 30 x 32 pair I ordered fit my waist very well, I’m assuming due to the nature of the stretchiness, but the length of the pant seemed excessive, to the point where I would have to roll up the pant every wear. Now I like to roll my pants, so it was no issue for me, however if you like the length to be exact out of the box, these might pose a problem for you. However a quick tailor job will fix any issues you may have. And the feel of these pants would be worth the additional fitting.

In Review: The Banana Republic Slim Traveler Pant | Dappered.com

Inseam seems to run a little long on these pants. At least for me?

In Conclusion

At $ 98 full retail and often excluded from BR’s codes and promos, these aren’t the cheapest pants available. But given how comfortable these are, and the ability for them to work in most situations, I believe these are well worth the price, especially if you DO get them on some sort of discount.  In today’s world where we’re constantly on the go, the introduction of super comfortable pants that can serve multiple purposes has been a huge plus to the style world. And BR’s Slim Traveler pant is a great iteration of this trend.

If you are a frequent traveler and always on the move, yet still want to look good in any situation, these pants should definitely be high on your list. Even just for all day style and comfort, you’ll have no regrets picking this pair up.


Dappered Style Mail

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Review: Tom Hardy Is One Good Reason to See Venom

In the grand scheme of all movies ever made—including, say, F.W. Murnau’s exquisite 1927 silent film Sunrise and the totally useless 2015 Entourage movie—the line between a super-awesome Marvel movie and a bad one is cellophane-thin. Venom, the latest Marvel entry—that is to say, the latest movie based on Marvel material—is neither the most super-awesome Marvel movie nor the worst. It exists in that micro-millimeter’s breadth of in-between. Venom has energy, style and Tom Hardy—all good things. But it doesn’t really make sense, a bad thing. It will earn some money at the box office and people will probably talk about it for a week, maybe two. This is as it should be: Expending more energy on it would be overkill.

You could do worse, though, than spend an hour or two with Hardy as, first, investigative journalist Eddie Brock and, later, as the human host of an extraterrestrial being known as Venom. Hardy’s Brock is an appealing, swaggering TV journalist who investigates homelessness, icky landfills and other injustices; he’s a regular guy who wears hoodies and lots of braided bracelets, and he has a smart, beautiful lawyer girlfriend, Anne (Michelle Williams). But Brock loses his job when he digs a little too deeply into the inner workings of the Life Foundation, a bioengineering company run by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), an affable genius who’s busy importing “symbiotes” from outer space, life forms that he hopes to meld with human beings for God-knows-what reason. Anne is implicated in Brock’s journalistic shenanigans and loses her job. The two break up. Brock falls apart.

But things perk up for Brock when his already pretty buff bod is overtaken by Venom, a crabby but somewhat principled symbiote who makes his wishes known in a subterranean growl. (Hardy also supplies Venom’s voice.) Sometimes Venom is inside Brock, but you can’t see him—you only hear him giving orders or making witty declarations: “Hungry!” “On my planet, I am a loser, just like you!” And sometimes Venom inhabits Brock fully, transforming him into a towering specimen of a man, with glistening obsidian skin and elongated eyes the color of egg whites. His permanent grin consists of multiple rows of very pointy teeth; now and then a long, slithery tongue pokes through. Venom isn’t really evil; he’s more like the id come to life. And he half-likes, half-pities his new host Brock, so he’s happy to help him do stuff—like get his girlfriend back.

If or when you see Venom, you will witness a messy, not very interesting battle between Venom and another, more malevolent symbiote. There’s also a sloppily photographed and edited car-and-motorcycle chase, with vehicles moving fast but also illogically. It’s supposed to be exciting but isn’t. There are some cool special effects: The symbiotes in search of hosts, encased in glass-walled medical-type containers, are glittery blue-gray blobs that look like an unholy alliance of slime mold and those toys where you use a magnet to move iron-shavings around to create facial hair on a bald cartoon gent. They’re kind of neat to look at. You will have to ignore the fact that sometimes the symbiotes kill their hosts, sometimes they just use them temporarily and then jump out, and sometimes they move in and stay for good. There’s no rhyme nor reason to any of it.

It should also be noted that Venom isn’t strictly part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but rather an MCU offshoot produced by Sony. So if that means anything to you, there’s that. It’s also worth pointing out that Venom’s director, Ruben Fleischer, has made better films before: His debut was the rather delightful 2009 Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Emma Stone, before she was superstar.

But Venom at least has a sense of humor about itself. And though the generally wonderful Michelle Williams has little to do (and the also wonderful Jenny Slate appears in a much smaller role, with almost nothing to do), Hardy, with his sensitive, everydude mug, is fun to watch. Brock staggers through the city in which the story is set, San Francisco, arguing with his inner demon Venom about what they should eat next (humans or Tater Tots?) or what, exactly, they should do about the troublesome Drake. On the Marvel scale of greatness, with 1 being the least pleasing and 10 the most amazing, Venom might be around a 3.5, a 4 if you’re in a really good mood. Which means it might not be nearly as bad as Entourage. But it’s nowhere close to Sunrise.


Entertainment – TIME

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BWW Album Review: From Hollywood Boulevard To The Beverly Wilshire, There Is Something About PRETTY WOMAN Cast Recording

Get ready for movie night on Broadway The latest flick to get the Broadway treatment is the 1990 hit rom-com PRETTY WOMAN. The musical is shaping up to be popular at the box office, seems to be the current standout for the 2018-2019 Broadway season so far. It joins the ranks of a bevy of musicals that have been adapted from films, like Mean Girls, Frozen, The Band’s Visit, the forthcoming KING KONG, to name a few. PRETTY WOMAN THE MUSICAL recently opened on at the Nederlander Theatre, and Atlantic Records just released the original Broadway cast recording last week. Give it a listen here
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‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Review: Good Time at the Movies

What is Bad Times at the El Royale?

In this star-studded thriller, seven strangers — each with a secret to hide — check into the titular Lake Tahoe hotel, which sits on the California-Nevada border. Over the course of a stormy night, their paths cross, their pasts are revealed, and the characters find themselves on a collision course that will either lead to redemption, or an early grave.

Tarantino-Esque

Drew Goddard — whose last film was meta horror gem The Cabin in the Woods some six years ago — is clearly a fan of the master of meta crime movies, Quentin Tarantino. Not only does Goddard’s new movie ape QT’s tone and style and approach to character, it also has much in common with his last release, The Hateful Eight.

Both films feature a bunch of disparate souls holing up in a single location overnight. Thanks to Biblical storms raging outside. In both stories nothing and no one is what they seem. In both movies, dialogue-heavy interactions reveal that some characters are there by coincidence, while others have more in common than it first appears. And in both instances, those conversations trigger intense bursts of violence that result in far fewer walking out than walked in.

Tahoe’s Best Kept Secret

And what a strange, mysterious space the El Royale is. A red line running down the middle of the lobby, it’s a “bi-state establishment” that divides the warmth and sunshine of California from the hope and opportunity of Nevada. With the beds in the ‘Golden State’ a buck more.

The El Royale is decked out like a 1960s Vegas lounge, though one that’s a few years past its heyday. The film takes place at the start of the ’70s, long after the hotel’s gambling license has been lost, and a time when the ‘Summer of Love’ has transformed into something more sinister, with Nixon in the White House, and murder on the news.

Following a brief prologue in which a murder occurs in one of the rooms some 10 years previous, we’re introduced to this den of iniquity’s newest clients.


Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, and Cynthia Erivo in Bad Times at the El Royale.

The Likeable Seven

Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm) is a southern, silver-tongued salesman obsessed with his “accoutrements,” and determined to lavish himself in the honeymoon suite. Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo) is a soul singer clearly struggling to make ends meet. Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson) looks like a hippie, but her attitude is anything but. And Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a charming priest with a serious sob story who seems out of place in such an establishment.

These first arrivals introduce themselves while waiting for the hotel’s staff, their interactions sparking tensions, setting the characters at odds with each other, and creating audience expectations that are cleverly defied as proceedings progress.

And progress they do, via a series of chapters that revolve around characters or events, some in the past to lend much needed context and stakes, and others in the present, as new guests are added to the mix (turning the four into seven), and the various storylines start to coalesce.

Excessive Run-Time

Trouble is — much like Hateful Eight — it takes an absolute age to get to the film’s finale, which itself is dragged out for longer than’s necessary. And while some of the tales that play out along the way are thrilling — most notably Father Flynn’s — others are less engaging, with one particular back-story dishwater dull. Meanwhile Chris Hemsworth’s role — which we won’t spoil here — is a little too on the nose, an issue that isn’t helped by his mugging for the camera.

But the dialogue is as sharp as it is smart. The film’s soundtrack is an all-timer that’s filled with pop, rock and soul from music’s greatest era. The politics that sneaks into the film is effective, making clever comment on the cult of celebrity and the behaviour of those in power. And there are some terrific performances, not only from Bridges and Hamm, but also via less familiar faces like Erivo — who sings like an angel — and Lewis Pullman, who might just steal the film as the El Royale’s mysterious desk clerk Miles.

Is Bad Times at the El Royale Good?

You could call Bad Times at the El Royale a Hateful Eight imitator (with a little Identity thrown in for good measure), but if you are going to crib, crib from the best. And to be fair to writer-director Drew Goddard, he’s pulled off a pretty impressive feat in his own right, effortlessly cross-cutting between multiple timelines and stories to craft a cohesive thriller that constantly pulls the rug out from under the audience.

So while it ultimately outstays its welcome, Bad Times is anything but for much of that run-time, making it both the best crime thriller that Quentin Tarantino never made, and a joint that’s well worth paying a visit.

Bad Times at the El Royale was reviewed at Fantastic Fest and hits Australian screens on October 11 and releases in UK/US cinemas on October 12.

‘Overlord’ Review: WWII Monster Movie That Plays Like a Celluloid ‘Wolfenstein’

The post ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Review: Good Time at the Movies appeared first on FANDOM.

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Review Roundup: Critics Weigh-In On GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY at the Public Theater

The Public Theaterpresents theNorth American premiere ofGirl from the North Country. Written and directed by Olivier Award winner and Tony Award nomineeConor McPhersonwith music and lyrics by music iconBob Dylan,Girl from the North Countryweaves the music of our greatest poet-singer-songwriter into a piercing drama about home, heart, and the searching determination of the American soul. This new musical has been extended three times and will now run through Sunday, December 23.
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Fear the Walking Dead: Season 4 Finale Review

Warning: Full spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 4 finale follow…

Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 4 finale had one job, basically. Regardless of who lived or died, of who survived to see the adventures ahead (spoiler: it was freakin’ everyone), none of these folks could ever step foot in Alexandria.

I know, I know. That’s crazy, right? This whole half season’s been solely about Morgan collecting his new compadres (even meeting some new ones) and taking them all to his friend Rick. To house them in a safe environment. To show them the king he’s always talking about. The king who – er – used to have a tiger. It’s been his directive from the get-go.

Now all of that had to unravel in 50 minutes. Or 80 minutes including commercials. Or really, the final five minutes because that’s how quickly the show had Morgan ditch his entire plan. Because The Walking Dead’s about to hit us with an eighteen month time jump. Yup, just as Fear caught up to Walking Dead, the original show’s like “Smell ya later!” and is skipping ahead a year and a half.

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