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May 5, 2018

Lenovo Mirage Solo VR Headset review

Virtual reality has two places to go right now: go cheap, or push the boundaries. The Oculus Go was the former, getting in the door at $199 all-in. Lenovo’s Google-powered Mirage Solo is the latter.

The Mirage Solo, like the Oculus Go, is also a standalone VR headset, no phone or PC required. But it’s a little different. Its tech pushes more for where the future of VR will eventually be. But at $399, it also costs twice the price. And the Mirage Solo isn’t a full step to the future: it’s a half one. I’ll explain.

The Mirage Solo is now available, a year after it was announced at Google’s 2017 developer conference. After wearing it [...]

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October 30, 2017

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White, National Gallery, London, review: I was not bowled over by it

This is a perplexing show, taking us on a journey through seven centuries of art in monochrome. Some of its ideas don’t stand up to too much scrutiny, and the curatorial arguments are not always best served by the choice of National Gallery images and loans. I was not bowled over by the show but there are many intriguing works to enjoy along the route. The elephant in the room – or not in the room, in this case – is the greatest monochrome picture of them all, Picasso’s Guernica. Also missing are the Spanish artists who served as Picasso’s great sources of inspiration, notably Velázquez – that absolute master of black and white – and Goya, in whose hands a restricted palette of [...]

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October 23, 2017

Stranger Things 2 review [spoiler-free]: It’s a safe move, but a smart one

Stranger Things’ nostalgia fixation has reached a new extreme, intensified to the point of taking physical form in Sean Astin’s Bob Newby, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder)’s new boyfriend. There’s no doubting here: Astin’s essentially playing Mikey from 1985’s The Goonies all grown-up – just as plucky, just as naively heroic. 

Here he lives, amidst the nods to Cold War paranoia, The Terminator, Farrah Fawcett, and Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’. But Stranger Things is not The Goonies, and that makes all the difference. Bob’s unwavering optimism, inevitably, must come to face the veil of darkness descending upon Hawkins, Indiana; to those around him, it’s a weary business as [...]

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October 21, 2017

Geostorm review round-up: Is this the worst film of the year?

Ah, the icy expanse between summer’s blockbuster heat (not that this year’s been particularly fiery) and Oscar season – the dumping ground of many a tragic misfire. 

Which is precisely what Geostorm may be doomed to become, roping in Independence Day‘s producer Dean Devlin for a feature film debut that is predicted to flop hard at the box office. 

The film sees Gerard Butler star as the architect behind an elaborate natural disaster defense system, which sees a series of climate-controlling satellites surrounding Earth, centered around the International CIimate Space Station. 

But, is Geostorm truly the worst film of the year, especially [...]

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