Fantastic Beasts and where to find them

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Fantastic Beasts and where to find them is a good addition to the line of Harry Potter films.

It has a very strong cast and great special effects. The characters are well written and likeable. It has the added bonus of being a magical historical costume drama – set in 1920s New York City.

I particularly liked the supporting cast of characters. Kowalski and Queenie have a lovely interaction, Colin Farrell is smoothly unpleasant as Graves.

It had lots of wonderfully inventive ideas and many of the fantastic beast are really fantastic. If I were to pick a fault, it would be that some of the set pieces were too big and too monumental because they reminded you of what they were, tableaus to show off their, admittedly very good, special effects. The storyline is quite slight but, because everything else about the film is so satisfying, it hardly matters.

The 3D was the best I have seen, it was clever without being intrusive. It is worth going to see this film in a big movie theatre because of this and in order to get the full impact of those  special effects.

I have to say that I will be looking forward to the next one in this franchise.

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The Forest on the Roof, Selfridges, London

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I have just been to the winter incarnation of the forest on the roof, on the top floor of Selfridges. The entrance is beautiful and Christmassy, with glitterballs and tree branches sprayed silver.

The food is good quality but overpriced (e.g. £14 for a hamburger and another £4 for the chips to go with it). The choice of beers was limited, although there was a good selection of wines.

It was packed on a Monday afternoon as I guess it will be up to Christmas and through the sale season afterwards. The tables are far too close together making it difficult for the customers and the waiters to pass through.

The restaurant is set under a long, narrow awning with a roll down transparent screen to protect you from the elements. It was a sunny day and the sun streamed through into diners’ eyes and the staff had no way of preventing this.  It was noticeably chilly as the sun went down. The main view is the roof of Primark across the street.

All in all, I would say the experience was less “Forest on the Roof” and more “Lunch in a lean-to”.

It is certainly not up to Selfridges normally high standards, I can only imagine that this is a venue more suited to the summer.