Monthly Archives: December 2002

The Grill Room at the Sheraton

Unquestionably one of the finest restaurants in Edinburgh. The food was exquisite, inventive (monkfish and lamb), and immaculately presented. The service was flawless. The only reason I’m not giving it five stars is because the place was lacking in atmosphere. We were only one of three tables dining, while the Terrace restaurant on the other side of the windows was hopping with Christmas parties.

Mulholland Drive

Certainly one of the most challenging films I have watched in a long time. Bizarre and confusing, but also beautiful, elegant and circular. The uneasy tension it builds in the first two acts is pierced in the third, and the story is re-told in the mental unravelling of the main character. Or is it? Don’t watch this unless you’re willing to pay close attention for the whole two-and-a-bit hours, otherwise you’ll just go “huh?”

Robert B. Parker – Widow’s Walk

It’s got all the usual Spenser banter and wisecracks, but no character development for any of the regulars this time. A rich man is murdered, and Spenser is hired to clear his wife. As soon as he starts nosing around in their backgrounds, more people start getting killed. A well-plotted, quick read.

Robert Ludlum – The Bourne Identity

The only thing the recent film has in common with this book is the name “Jason Bourne”, and the fact that he has lost his memory. Everything else is completely different. The book deals with an intricate and highly secret plot to catch an assassin called “Carlos,” and how Bourne comes to learn of the part he has to play in it. Good action thriller.

Hard Boiled (Lashou Shentan)

The plot is paper-thin, and the acting is wooden, but John Woo shows just why he is considered a master of the action genre. The gun fights are beautifully staged and choreographed, and shot in such a way that turns their extreme violence into a lethal dance of balletic grace. Shame about the rest of the film, though.

Die Another Day

Hmm. This started off quite well, with a nice title sequence. It was interesting to see Bond out on his ear and left to his own devices. Unfortunately it gets worse from there. Too much reliance on ridiculous gadgets, rather than on Bond’s wits and a half-decent plot. Even the set pieces and stunts use more CGI (and bad CGI, at that) than one has come to expect from the franchise. A disappointment, overall.

The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography

An invaluable reference, this book discusses the history of typography and of various font types. It covers issues like composition, paper, and book design, all in easy to understand terminology. We bought it because its companion volume, the Thames and Hudson Manual of Bookbinding, by Arthur W. Johnson, is one of my invaluable bookbinding sources. It does not disappoint.