Tuesday, 4 May 2010

At The Pictures: A Single Man & Iron Man 2

Had 2 slightly underwhelming trips to the pictures last week, let's hope whatever I see next restores my faith in cinema.

First up was A Single Man, the lauded debut from fashion man Tom Ford. The direction was a bit OTT for my tastes, lots of slow lingering arty shots. It was a bit like those perfume adverts you get at Christmas time, only a bit depressing. The performances were great though, Tony From Skins did particularly well to overcome his weird mega-tan and the worst jumper ever created. Ultimately it felt empty though, and the ending was a bit of cop-out.

Iron Man 2 is the imaginatively titled sequel to Iron Man, the surprise hit of whenever it was that it first came out. Like A Single Man, it has some cracking performances - Downey Jr is perfect in the lead roll, but it's Sam Rockwell that steals the thunder with his fantastic turn as a business rival desperate to cash in on the Iron Man arms race. Unfortunately the film really does fall apart around them. The plot is really unengaging and doesn't really do anything beyond moving us from point A to point B. Mickey Rourke has a great intro but isn't really given much to do after that. Scarlett Johansen is utterly pointless. Samuel Jackon turns up for a confusing cameo that probably means nothing to non 'fanboy' types, and the director Jon Favreau vainly inserts himself into as many scenes as possible. On top of this you've also got Gwyneth Paltrow in a will-they-won't-they roll that's hard to get excited about, and Don Cheadle gets to be War Machine for a bit. Even though there's already way too much going on, they then shoe horn in a load of 'world building' stuff to supposedly wet our appetites for the other Marvel films in production - Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers. It's not a bad film in any way, but it's not a good film either. It's a bit of a shame really.

The Pizza Slice: Cafe Citta

Cafe Citta's biggest boast is that they have Cardiff's only wood burning pizza oven, countering the claims made by the gas burning 0 Degrees and Prezzo. So obviously I've been itching to go since I noticed it opening a few months ago. I wasn't sat close enough to the oven to see it exactly, but there was definitely wood smoke in the air as I ordered a ham and mushroom. Unfortunately it wasn't a stone oven, but some kind of metal one, so the oven can't sustain the fierce 400 degree heat of a proper pizza oven - no 90 second pizzas here, but it was still one of the best pizzas I've had in Cardiff. Nice base, slightly charred (though not blistered), and crisp at the edge. What really sang though was the quality of the ham. Not sure exactly what sort of pig it came from, but it was really tasty. The service was a bit slow as the oven isn't big enough to cope with the demand of a full restaurant in which everyone wants pizza. Which was a shame, but the pizza we were presented with was worth the wait I suppose. The side salad that came with it wasn't particularly great, and I've had better coffee as well, but I'd still be happy to return.