In Guillermo del Toro's latest film The Shape of Water, a mute cleaning lady falls in love with a mysterious fishman. It's a weird premise, to be sure, but nothing about how it's handled feels weird. Instead, del Toro's film is poetic, sumptuous, emotionally complex, and yet almost strikingly simple in its narrative.
This review is about the Sonos Play:5 but it's a little more than that. I've had various bits of Sonos kit running in my home for several years so it's also about the user experience that comes from being a long-term user of Sonos' kit. While Sonos gear is priced at the premium end of the market, the quality it delivers in terms of sound quality and usability means any new entrants (this means you Apple with your HomePod) needs to be very good.
For three years now I've been using the Sony A7S as my primary camera. It's compact and it's incredible in low-light, but in certain regards the camera is starting to show its age and doesn't really fit all my needs: It's limited to 12-megapixel photos, and it can't shoot 4K video without an external recorder. As I've wanted to start printing photos and shooting higher-end video, I knew I would have to upgrade soon, but I've been waiting for the right camera to arrive. And I think I've found it
Fun fact: I worked in hospitality for 15 years. One of the many gigs I had in that time was making coffees in a Blue Mountains cafe under the expert guidance of a Gerhard, a perfectionist who made a killer pumpkin pie (he called it Russian Caramel Cake to increase sales - it worked) and never let me serve a coffee that was anything but perfection.
Safe to say, ever since, my standard for coffee had been pretty high. The last time I had a pod-style coffee machine I only used it when visitors dropped by. So I was keen to see how the $300 Nespresso Vertuo Plus stood on my scale of "at least it has caffeine" to "Gerhard would love this".
The first time I held Samsung's HMD Odyssey in my hands, there was only one thought in my head: this is not a toy. I didn't think that with other VR headsets. Acer's was clunky and cool, the PSVR was sleek and simple. But Samsung's HMD Odyssey is a class above, a full 645 grams of reality-altering gadget hanging from your face, with and AKG headphones, and a microphone built into its decidedly unattractive, front-loaded headset. It's more akin to heavy-duty, serious sets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The Samsung device has its own merits and flaws that stand out. Almost immediately I realised that it's a clumsy thing built for deep, immersive game experiences. It's not a toy -- it's the headset equivalent of the guy who brings a desktop computer to Starbucks to play League of Legends.
The fourth film in a horror franchise is just about the easiest movie to write off ever. And yet, you shouldn't do that with Insidious: The Last Key, despite it being just that. It's a creepy, unpredictable, and surprisingly heartfelt addition to the franchise - and easily the best film in the series since the first one.
Ever since I heard Netflix's Black Mirror was going to do a parody of Star Trek, with a focus on totalitarianism, a million ideas ran through my head. Was this going to be like Star Trek: Discovery, exploring the conflict between military might and scientific exploration - or, was it going to be the Mirror Universe brought to life, showing what a man like Captain Kirk would become if he'd been given more control? As it turns out, "USS Callister" was nothing like I expected, and it's an absolute must-see.
There was always something off about the Pixel Buds. Google released the smart, wireless headphones a full year after Apple released the AirPods. But the Pixel Buds aren't exactly wireless, and they're not exactly smart, either. In fact, after spending a few days with the product, I'm prepared to say it: the Pixel Buds suck.
The formula of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sounds like it can't miss. Put some big personalities in a gorgeous setting and have them tell funny jokes and perform a lot of action. When those big personalities are played by stars like Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black, the odds of success are even higher. Jumanji meets those expectations for sure, it just never exceeds them.
David Ayer's Bright is incredibly ambitious. Too ambitious, in fact. It's an avalanche of conflicting movie ideas all jammed into one. Some of them are fascinating, others familiar, and a few are downright awful. The result is a off-putting hodgepodge that never comes together, but isn't wholly without its merits.
If you're like me, lifting your hands above your head for extended periods is an activity solely reserved for roller coasters, really good concerts, or imitating the flailing arm man outside of car dealerships. If you're more like these assembly workers, building cars for a living, your hands are above your head for hours at a time. In fact, according to Ford, the average worker lifts their arms 4,600 times a day. Back, shoulder, and spine injuries are common, expensive, and can put assemblers out of work for days.
This time of year, scary-movie fans have many go-to favourites: Gremlins; Silent Night, Deadly Night; Christmas Evil. But there's one holiday horror classic that stands above the rest: Black Christmas, a hugely influential early slasher film that has a distinctive tone and unusually textured characters, both of which make it unique.
This year I joined the Squatty Potty ranks, investing in one for the sake of my aggrieved gastrointestinal tract. My digestive system is reminiscent of Moses' trek through the desert: nothing passes for 40 days and 40 nights. So I did what everybody does: I watched a unicorn defecate a rainbow ice cream cone of joy, and procured my Squatty Potty.
A couple months ago I reviewed MSI's GT75VR, and even though I respect how hard it is to cram desktop-level components, ridiculously loud speakers, and a custom mechanical keyboard in a laptop body, gigantic 17-inch systems like that don't really do it for me. That's because weighing in at almost 5kg and measuring 5cm thick, the GT75VR doesn't really deliver the portability I expect from a gaming laptops. With a starting price of $3799, it sure as hell ain't cheap either. But the GS63VR Stealth Pro is a whole 'nother story. It's slim, it's sleek, and it's got one of the most colourful RGB keyboards out there - all starting at $2,999.
I'm a longtime Bowers & Wilkins fan. The headphones are so good, I've always thought, they don't even need noise-cancelling. Well, Bowers & Wilkins didn't listen to my thoughts and recently released a set of noise-cancelling headphones. I was wrong. The Bowers & Wilkins PX are are the best wireless headphones the company's ever made.
It seems inevitable that one day your entire home will be wired so that smart assistants can hear your every request, no matter where you are. But if you mostly rely on a smart speaker, its built-in mic can only eavesdrop so far. Companies like Google would certainly love it if you bought a smart speaker for every room in your house, but a better solution is to just make your Google Home portable with a fancy pair of battery pants.
We humans have shockingly malleable tastes. Studies have shown that we are more likely to prefer something if we think it's expensive (even if it isn't). It stands to reason, then, that a cocktail costing $1,611 should be roughly 80 times more delicious to me than any I've ever purchased for myself. So, when Trader Vic's asked if I wanted to try their extremely limited-edition tipple, of course I jumped at the chance. Verdict?
"Go back to the time of your ancestors, and be still," meditation guru Deepak Chopra said as lights flashed onto my eyelids. "Journey back to the beach or a grassy knoll or the cool forest or the dessert oasis or the waterfall or mountain top or river bank or the campfire where your ancestors sat millennia ago as the sun rose or the sun set or the moon rose and stars twinkled. And then, be still."