Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Five-Minute Window

Image of "Drive" - FilmDistrict


Nicolas Winding Refn’s entangled disarray of manslaughter mistaken for love and passion is, visually, a superlative trainwreak to witness unraveled.  With trancelike perspectives, dramatic framing, and slow motion effects during either tender or brutal moments, one must question whether they are seeing a presentation of truth or an elaborate representation of what the character believes to be their reality. After mulling over this film, I am still astounded by the fact that the director managed to present a film that utilizes nostalgic elements from preceding motion pictures, however it felt fresh and original. He bestowed something that was raw, real and yet dreamlike and cinematic.  Through the use of music, costume and cinematography, I felt I was transported in a convoluted timeline of the present to the 80s/70s/60s eras. Genres snarled behind a mask of a cheap pulp fiction magazine. It’s homage to pastiche while steering in the current.
“… action films, sexy stuff – one critic called them European” 
- Bernie Rose, Drive.            
Drive contains a simple plot about a man who is a stunt-driver by day and a getaway driver for robbers by night. (Refer to: The Driver feat. Ryan O’Neal). Jean-Luc Godard proclaimed that all a film needs is a gun and girl. Refn’s swaps such formula with a man and his car. The main character is a minimalist man who falls in love with a pretty girl who becomes his very own damsel in distress. For a man who acts so little, his reactions become extreme therefore this man comes across as incredibly mysterious and complex. We know nothing about his past or even his name. (Refer to: Man With No Name feat. Clint Eastwood). The protagonist, played by Ryan Gosling, either goes by “Driver”, “Kid” or “Him”. Refn is stripping down to the bare bone and only wants us to pay attention to what could be the driver’s intentions. How can we understand what’s going on and the purpose of his actions if we do not have any background information? This is where the other cinematic elements become vital key players. So, knowing that this movie is paying homage to other neo-noir films, we can gather that Driver is a man who’s misunderstood, a loner if you will. If he’s not eating at a diner by himself, then he’s either tinkering with car parts secluded in his hotel room or voyaging the city in his safe haven, Chevy Impala, contemplating what the world has to offer.
“Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere; In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonelyman” 
– Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver.
Silently, he is always observing everything and everyone around him. A dark and brooding presence. He is a champion of holding a sever pokerface, much like classic action heroes of the 60s/70s: Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen and counter-culture’s leader, James Dean. Ryan Gosling made a bold decision to perform this character with little dialog for most intense instances doesn’t always entail contrived actions. During particular moments when Driver was in his hero mode, he’d wear a satin bomber jacket with a striking scorpion sawn on with gold thread, a replica of the same jacket in Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising, paired along with a single toothpick. A humorous jab against the “bad guy” stereotypes depicted in motion pictures. Driver dressed this way for he didn’t have an identity of his own. He only knew what was presented in film, hence his association with film production as a Hollywood stunt driver. The introduction to his daytime job was illustrated in a form of slick trickery, much like his style as a getaway driver; A textbook presentation of a devious cat and mouse chase against the LA police. Do not believe everything you see until you receive all information. Whenever the initial state of equilibrium is provoked into disequilibrium, by some complication or crisis, then the equilibrium is restored. We are invited into the vivid continuous dream and are to dream through the narrative. One must question – what is reality? The effects of cultural hegemony.
With the symphonic blend of steady synthetic pulse rate soundtrack, Michael Mann’s infamous neo-lit neo-noir crime mythology and Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo bubble gum pink typography, Drive is an orgy of images and sounds that invoke the nostalgic past for those who encountered the 1980s. As we ride in this violent modern Grimm fairytale, it is recommended to relish in the quiet moments for the bumps in the road are hair-raising. Let your instinctual level kick into second gear for there isn’t any barefaced dialog to assist in explaining every situation that may arise. Be alert to the surroundings and more importantly, the subtle facial expressions. Once you buckle in, you’re embarking on a gripping thriller and there are no break peddles to stop. Besides, how can you say no to such a gentle face like Gosling? You can't.
On a final note, the question that everyone ponders over is – did he die? I won’t give a yes or no answer, however I will express that as “Driver” rides into the proverbial sunset, he finally accepts what kind of hero he can be. 
“… a real human being and a real hero” 
- College feat. Electronic Youth.

Restaurant Recommendation: Pizzeria Classico
Sitting on the main corner of Sutter Street in Folsom, Pizzeria Classico's casual ambiance is the perfect place to get the dirty job done – feed your starving stomach. Always start the duty with a mountain high of crisp salad in a chilled bowl that's recommended to share with a least three or more people. From there on, do not burglarize yourself from their mouthwatering garlic chips. The blend of gooey cheese, sweet, hot butter and garlic smothered on a round dough that’s combines both textures of soft and crispy is a murderous combination that you’ll gladly welcome your way. As for the pizza, you truly cannot make a wrong decision. My personal favorite: Stromboli. Your taste buds will definitely jump into fast lane! This is when a toothpick will come in handy. After a satisfying travel to “delicious town”, be sure to saunter around Sutter Street and enjoy the laidback mood Historic Folsom has to offer. A calming experience that you’ll guiltlessly steal.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dear Suzy, Dear Sam

Image of "Moonrise Kingdom" - Focus Features

At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced a forbidden love towards another that couldn’t be ours. In our youth, such rebellious love affair is seen as an adventure, however as we cross the path of harsh adulthood, it becomes more of a heartbreaking saunter of pain and confusion. In Wes Anderson’s newest eccentric voyage, Moonrise Kingdom, we empathetically observe such transformation between two pre-teens entering their last stage of innocence. The magical simplicity of childhood is a part of a past that all adults yearn for; Anderson expertly prods at this stifled emotion thus causing us viewers to cheer on the young lovers’ great escape.
The film is set in a fabricated “one-cop town” called New Penzance, near Summer’s End, in New England. It may be the year 1965, however the era is painted in such a light that it could be set in both the present and past. In the Wes Anderson fashion, the town is illustrated as dysfunctional, quirky, kitschy, handmade, homemade, but more importantly, inviting. Humanity set in a whimsical vision. The warm buttery yellow tinge throughout the film presents the story like an old, beloved photograph that had been improperly stored away in a dusty attic.  Each building looks like large-scale versions of miniature sets and dollhouses illuminated by theatrical lighting. It’s humorous without overstepping the boundary into cartoonish. This is a common theme that spreads even into the actors’ performances. The whole production is like one grand theatrical play at a local summer camp.
The opening sequence of the film begins with three young boys listening to Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”. It goes without saying that much like the orchestra, each individual in the town will encounter a force of separation before being put back together again. In order to interact with others, one has to understand their role and purpose. The only person, other than the narrator, to acknowledge our presence is a young girl in a pink dress fiercely watching us at the top of a lighthouse with her midnight black binoculars. Much like a deer in the woods, she signals that she knows that we are within observing range, watching every move each character makes.
Sam Schakowsky, a loner orphan, flees the Khaki Scouts at Camp Ivanhoe to reunite with Suzy Bishop, a misunderstood schoolgirl with a poignant personality due to her overbearing parents. The two met at a church performance of “Noye’s Fludde” (Noah’s Ark) a year earlier. “What kind of bird are you?”, Sam inquired. “I’m a raven”, Suzy replied. A biblical allegory that these two wild animals were destined to fly away and seek refuge from social order together. A brilliant nod to French New Wave’s Jean-Luc Godard’s “Le Pierrot Fou”; a common reverence seen in Anderson’s former films such as, “The Royal Tenenbaums”. Their getaway certainly stirs up a storm. Frantically, Suzy’s lawyer parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), the town’s lone officer (Bruce Willis), Camp Ivanhoe’s Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) and “Social Services” (Tilda Swinton) hunt down the two lovebirds. While the adults embark on their own journey, we learn that they too are sad, lonely people who have desires to be loved. Such journey reminded them about their forgotten inner youth that pushed them to capture the one they loved. It’s a moving tale that certainly has a beat of its own. “Poems don’t always have to rhyme, you know. They’re just suppose to be creative”.
While Anderson transports you in this capricious, yet life-affirming saga, be sure to take note on the actors’ shortened pants (a la Anderson’s personal wardrobe style), the unique use of vehicle pov shots as well as the fun, obscure soundtrack. I challenge you to not get Hank Williams “Kaw Liga” stuck in your head.

Restaurant Recommendation: The Melting Pot's "Campfire S'mores Martini"
Though this specialty drink is only served at The Melting Pot during the winter season, lucky for us all, I found the recipe that will surely go into your First Aid survival kit. Find your favorite book, turn on your portable record player and relax by the camp fire with this delectable treat. 

Campfire S'mores Martini
  • 2oz SKYY Vodka or Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka
  • 1oz Monin Toasted Marshmallow Syrup (4pumps)
  • 1oz Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
  • 1oz Half & Half
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Ice
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Large Marshmallows
- Dip rim of glass into Monin Toasted Marshmallow, then into graham cracker crumbs.
- Fill cocktail shaker with ice, vodka, Monin Toasted Marshmallow, Hershey's syrup and half & half. 
- Cap and shake, shake, shake!
- Drizzle chocolate syrup in glass, then strain cocktail into glass.
- Garnish with chocolate shavings and marshmallow. 
- Drink and say "Yum!"

*As for the young ones, replace Vodka with vanilla ice cream.*

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Schoolyard Brawl

Image of "Carnage" - Sony Pictures Classics


With the current uprising awareness on bullying, I became increasingly intrigued by Roman Polanski’s return with his latest motion picture, Carnage, based on Yasmina Reza’s Tony-award winning play, God of Carnage. Since this film was relatively brief, I will attempt to keep my review in the same vain.
In current cinematic presentations, Mtv inspired editing and mind-boggling cinematography has been placed on a high pedestal. This is all good and well, however we seem to have forgotten about well-written screenplays as in addition to acting. With a bold move, Roman Polanski strips away all shiny objects in order to focus solely on the actors’ brilliant performances. No need for neither multiple locations nor groundbreaking wardrobe for the here and now is what is important. For those who do not know much about the play, the story is about two young boys who partake in an argument. About what, we don’t know, however the end of their personal dispute becomes public information when it becomes known that one hits the other with a stick. From this point on, the audience follows a conflict that quickly arises between the boys’ parents. Adversaries are Mr. and Mrs. Longstreets (John C. Reily and Jodi Foster) versus the opponents, Mr. and Mrs. Cowans (Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet). In short, Cowans’ son, Ethan, refused to be involved with the Longstreets’ son, Zach, scheme. Zach bullied Ethan and in return, Ethan expressed his annoyance by using physical contact. Being responsible adults, they follow societies “law” that grown-ups are to handle such occasion with a mature attitude by using reasonable conflict resolution. The Longstreets welcome the Cowans in their apartment to conduct such affair civilly. Funny thing is, being an adult just means knowing bigger words, but the verbal affray is just as catty as a schoolyard brawl.  While attempting to leave on more than one occasion, the Cowans are harassed, first kindly then maliciously, back into the Longstreets’ home. Polite sharing or courteous small talk is just one big expose of bourgeois hypocrisy. Big tree branch sticks are replaced with high-tech cell phones and 18-year-old scotch. Even cute nicknames, like Darjeeling and Doodles, become tools for callous mocking.  Inner securities that are born from childhood are still alive, however adults tend to cleverly cover such flaws with self-righteousness. Sticks and stones make break bones, but words will always be emotionally hurtful.
In order to round up viewers into the mess, Roman Polanski keeps the action in two locations – inside the apartment and the hallway to the elevators. This develops a claustrophobic sensation. All emotions plus egos are deeply entrapped, therefore, quickly boils into childish bickering about unnecessary laden topics such as misogyny, Darfur and animal cruelty.  Unfortunately, I have not seen the play, but doing a bit of research on it, it appears Polanski missed the mark. The live play pushes the audience to participate in the madness by occupying the same space as the actors. The audience is part of the gang of spectators circulating around the two couples whereas with the film version, the connection isn’t given. Nevertheless, what kept this film from being a huge disaster was the outstanding battle of the wits between Foster, Reily, Waltz and Winslet.  If you have 80 minutes to spare to witness the English language sharply utilized in illustrating modern relationships, I recommend checking out Carnage. Even if you are not a fan of Polanski and his personal past, it is still fun just to observe his direction in having four highly acclaimed actors insult each other. Any civil pretentiousness and superficial bigotry towards others beliefs calls for detention. Forewarning: Verbal vomit isn’t the only spew that’s brought forth to the table.

Recommendation: Apple-Pear Cobbler Recipe
In the beginning of the film, as a peace offering, the Longstreets serves apple-pear cobbler to the Cowans. My goal is whip up such treat hopefully by this weekend. The recipe comes from Ms. Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. If any of you make this crisp, please let me know!
FYI, Mrs. Longstreets’ secret ingredient is Gingerbread crumbs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

After Midnight, We're Gonna Let It All Hang Down.

Image of "Midnight in Paris" - Sony Pictures Classics

Walking down the bustling roads of Paris, the sound of a jazzy clarinet envelopes all visitors with a loving hug as they explore eminent points in the city; Our eyes become stimulated with various subjects of beauty that range from twinkling lights to fellow passersby casually perusing around town. Though I personally have never been to France, I was able to experience such visual pleasures through Woody Allen’s latest cinematic escapade. Midnight in Paris is sincerely a beautiful billet-doux to France, specifically to the charming streets in Paris. The film begins with a heartfelt statement -- “Paris in the morning is beautiful … Paris in the afternoon is charming … Paris in the evening is enchanting”.  A declaration that could not have been more truthful. In a three minute long opening montage, shot by Darius Khondji, the first establishing image is a wide shot of Pont Alexandre iii along with the Effile Tower proudly positioned in the background. Even though the tower isn’t the main attraction, it certainly isn’t forgotten for it is too powerful of an icon to do so. For most films, a drawn out opening montage would be considered a bit much, however for Midnight in Paris, it is Allen’s narration for us society to stop for a moment to take in such a magical place. Each cut transports to various locals around Paris’ breezy atmosphere surrounded by lush foliage; architecture swathed in rich, creamy color tones that are blanket under a cloudy sky. Paris is a living work of art under Allen’s paintbrush, the camera lens.
This statement may deeply upset many cinema enthusiasts, so take hold, power through this and then let me explain myself – I don't consider myself a Woody Allen fan. Okay, take a deep breath, it’s all going to be just fine for here’s the positive – Midnight in Paris may have converted me. I’ll agree that Woody Allen is a vital player in cinema’s history. He is certainly a brilliant mastermind in illustrating taboo topics such as sex, religion and politics, however most of his films had never truly spoken to me. I couldn’t relate …until now. With Midnight in Paris, anyone who yearns for the nostalgic past, can easily connect with the main character, Gil, played by Owen Wilson. Gil is a disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter who’s ardent to become a world-renowned novelist. His fiancé, Inez (Rachel McAdams), on the other hand, only cares about the frivolous, materialistic possessions, rather than the small romantic gestures such as walking in the rain. After an exasperating day with Inez and her friend, Professor “If I’m not mistaken” Paul, Gil finds himself drunkenly wondering to Rue de la Montague St. Generieve. As the clock stroked midnight, an antique Peugeot Landaulet, filled with champagne-swinging revelers, chauffeurs Gil to the following destination -- the times of yore. Sacre bleu!

Back to the opening sequence, the first track was the song “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere (If You See My Mother)”. It became clear to me that “the mother”, this song was referring to, was actually the motherland to arts and literature. In the 1920s, Paris, France was the place to be for artists and writers to receive coddling as well as vast encouragement with their unique craft. France was the supporting nourishment that bloomed distinctive genres such as Cubism, Surrealism and vigorous narrative prose. During his first late night expedition, Gil comes in contact with the Golden Age greats such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda , Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter plus Alice B. Toklas, to name a few. This is a dream come true for a literature admire. But wait for each trip gets better when he meets other artistic icons, specifically in the film category. –nudge, nudge, wink, wink- Though we, Americans, may have a heated grudge against the people of France, we must not take for granted what the land has supported before WWII. Witnessing Gil experience such an privileged adventures reminds us to never forget the past, yet we must keep in the foreground that staying in the past has its price. I won’t give away too much to the ending; however keep in mind that falling in love with someone who no longer exists is a tough relationship to keep.

Sure, Allen’s newest film is highlighting the difference between modern day luxury-tourist driven Paris versus Bohemian Paris, however the moral of the story is: by respecting the past, we have the ability to reanimate the present. Retreating completely from today is ill-advised. “Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present … it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.” Ad-libbing the old clique saying - seize the day today for tomorrow is just the future of yesterday.

Restaurant Recommendation: ANY SUGGESTIONS?
I’ve never dined on French cuisine. Any suggestions would be helpful. Please come back later for a review.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Silence is Golden

Image of "The Artist" - The Weinstein Company/Warner Bros.


Ever since talkies began in late-1920’s, we had been aggressively striving in developing the best euphonic audio presentation including state of the art surround sound systems plus high-fidelity sound mixing formats. Overstuffed on technology, who knew we’re subconsciously starving for a silent film? With huge gravitas, Michel Hazanavicius takes whopping leaps backwards into the nostalgic period when the idea of synchronized recorded sound was considered absurd. In this charming tale, about the rise of spoken dialog along with A Star Is Born type plot, Hazanavicius peacefully paints a motion picture displaying actions that speak louder than words. Masterful cinematography and syuzhet narrative allowed The Artist to arrive with big noise here in America.
The opening credit sequence presents a playful illustration of Michel Foucault’s theory, Panoptican, towards the Classical Hollywood Narrative structure. Enveloping our mental state with open arms, the movie begins by provoking disequilibrium. As we sit in a movie theatre, we immediately become engaged of the “central” tower: the movie screen. We, as a viewing audience, see what we think is the beginning of The Artist, however to much to our surprise, the establishing shot comes from a scene in A Russian Affair. “I will not talk!”, stubbornly declares a swashbuckling gentleman. Our journey embarks into a film within a film layout; the intro of our movie forces us to watch an audience watching a film. This is also known as “voyeurism”.  The ideology in viewing habits is instantly discombobulated. As A Russian Affair came to a histrionic end, I found myself leaning forward with anticipation as the audience onscreen took a moment to react. With lighthearted deceitfulness, my ears were given a peppy soundtrack rather than audio feedback of the audiences’ uproarious applause. Off with a witty pun, the main actor of the film, both The Artist and A Russian Affair, is found waiting behind the screen along with a sign announcing, “Please Be Silent”. This certainly sets the mood of what is to be expected in this film. It’s funny, distressing, clever, yet more importantly, a fulfilling tour of pure entertainment.  
On more than one occasion, the cinematic forth wall is smashed. It becomes disorientating in figuring out what moments are suppose to be reality, dream or a film. It’s absurdism at its purest form. For example, George communicates with himself in various appearances – his shadow and a miniature scale of himself. You have to question what is real in life. In order to find clarification, one must see within to find one’s self. With that said, mirrors and windows play a vital role throughout the movie. It not only represents one’s one personal reflections, but also déjà vu of the former society. The Artist is so much more than just toe-tapping musical numbers or heartwarming chemistry between George and Peppy. The Artist reminds us that we can take what once was considered old and use it as an advantage in order to reinvent ourselves.
Part of the movie’s charm is the use of old Hollywood cliques. Cinematography wise, it uses the outdated boxy aspect ratio of 4:3, Panchromatic film stock and intertitle cards. This is united with bygone mise-en-scene such as: Art Deco set designs, surrealism fashion, and melodramatic performances. By referencing iconic moments in former films, we cannot help gain the feeling of adoration. For example, the use of “legs dialog” that was made popular in many American romantic-comedy musicals. Case in point, a jolly tap dance test between George and Peppy. Dance sequences like this hark back to rhythmic banter between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  According to Hazanavicius, “dance in a way is like a love scene, they’re flirting”. Other memorable moments to look for are: a certain scene emulating Citizen Kane’s famous mealtime montage in addition to the use of scores from Vertigo, Pennies From Heaven and After the Thin Man. Hazanavicius employs such iconic expressions to remind us that we must respect the past in order to invent the future.
To me, what ultimately makes this film charming are the actors’ performances and their physical presentation. Jean Dujardin, as George Valentin, inhabits various characteristics seen in most popular actors from both the Silent and Golden Era. Case in point, he has a gentle smile like Gene Kelly with light-footed swagger like Fred Astaire. His onscreen persona has melodramatic flare in the vain of Douglas Fairbanks. He is lovable as Charlie Chaplin while subtle like Buster Keaton, but debonair comparable to Valentino and a broad built resembling to Vincent Price. He is a true man’s man that women can fall deeply in love with. Valentin was the perfect silent film actor. Once the silent film era came to an end, his career too came to a crashing halt. This was the same unfortunate tale that happened to many silent film actors, specifically those with heavy accents. I.e. Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, John Gilbert, Clara Bow, etc. George’s failures is forecast in his latest flop, Tears of Love. As we watch his character dramatically swallowed under quicksand, the same catastrophe happens to his sinking career. To be called an artist, one must ride a rollercoaster of pride, pleasure, and pain and back. George does just so in a matter of an 1hr 40mins.
Though the film is set in the past, the moral of the tale is embracing the future. The Artist is the perfect film to understand what makes you happy. If anything, when life gets you down, just dance. I guarantee that at the end you will be left speechless.

Restaurant Recommendation: Shady Lady Saloon

As you passage through the double doors, shielded by two burly guards, be prepared to be magically transported into an age before prohibition laws and the birth of Jazz. If you’re tired of the same ol’ mug of beer and inferior rated spirits, come to Shady Lady for memorable, artfully crafted cocktails. Every recipe honors the classics while using nothing, but high-quality ingredients. As you sit in one of their red velvet booths, you’ll notice that the atmosphere is lively yet comforting. The streamline interior is accented with dark, rich mahogany, a U-shaped bar and chandelier lighting that is sure to set the mood for a secret rendezvous. For these current bitter cold evenings, I recommend sipping on an affectionate Hot Toddy. This libation is smooth, cozy and will give your soul a hardy hug. As for victuals, they have all kinds of dishes that will make any tummy happy. I personally recommend trying their ham and cheddar hush puppies, duck confit tots or house cured salmon lox to go along with your fancy mixed beverage. Any combination you choose to trek on is a victory. Yum’s the word! Fortunate for us, Shady Lady isn’t an underground speakeasy. You can find this friendly saloon located on 14th & R Street in Downtown Sacramento.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Excellent!", I cried. "Elementary", said he.

Image of "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" - Warner Brothers Studios

"It's so overt, it's covert."
Guy Richtie willingly returns back for another whirlwind round to waltz with the English literary classic, Detective Sherlock Holmes. Once again, the story follows the guideline - “crippled war veteran teams with eccentric drug addict, become inseparable friends and together fight against evil in the British Isles”.1 You know, the same old typical Hollywood story. This modern take of Sherlock is not like your grandfather’s version of the character. No more of the sophisticated, high-brow, stiff-upper-lipped Sherlock whom best portrayed by the likes of Basil Rathbone and Peter Cushing. With Robert Downey Jr. wearing the metaphorical deerstalker cap, Sherlock has become a sexy, pompous, spoiled playboy who rejoices his barefaced masculinity, but more importantly, is a Jack-of-all-trades in self-defense. Almost like another celebrated English superhero, James Bond. This version of the man is more how Watson describes his partner, rather than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mature illustration. His physical attributes, though, are Guy Richtie’s own cinematic liberties. Surrounded by lustrous and voluminous costumes that mark the Late Victorian society, Downey’s rendering of the protagonist is more of a modern, “Steampunk”, 21st century man with his 5 o’clock shadow and bohemian outfits. Yes, Guy Richtie has visually sexualized Holmes with moments like fist-fighting sans shirt or donning a skin tight body suit as a disguise, however he stills keeps his witty traits of cunningly using chemistry, forensics and elaborate analytical skills to solve a problem. Walking into Richtie’s adaptation doesn’t need high expectations of being an intellectual picture, but more of a fun, Blockbuster adventure to openly voyage on for a few hours.
The entertaining part of the film for me was having my own opportunity to play Detective. While Sherlock is playing a cerebral chess game against Professor Moriart, it is best to keep one step ahead in order to crack Sherlock’s outrageous strategies. You never know what is up Sherlock's sleeves ... or under his hat, in pockets and gloves too. Other moments that make Sherlock Holmes: A Games of Shadows a thrill ride goes to the gut-punching editing. For example, the Matrix-like slow motion FX during pain inflicting brawls and exploding warfare. With the use of blue filters plus slick camera movement for cinematography, it reminds us viewers how bleak and assailant it was in England circa late-1800's. In order to survive, you must stay on your wits and toes.
You can’t have action without a dash of comedy. Some of the best “bromance”, to use modern slag, are moments that involve outlandish situations between Doctor Watson (Jude Law) and Holmes. I.e. Train attack scene plus Sherlock's disguises - Peter Sellers inspired. In this sequel, it should be noted that Watson is no longer Holmes’ subservient “Igor”. Don't fret for he’s still very much Holmes valuable sidekick, to the point of being a bickering old married couple, nevertheless, he has his own estimations that matter just as much as Holmes'. Watson is very much Holmes better half therefore Holmes cannot properly function without him. This is amplified by the fact that Watson finally marries his fiance thus leading Holmes to drastic behavioral habits such as drinking embalming fluid. Women or no women in their personal lives, these two are two peas in a zany pod.
To conclude this review bluntly, without panache or flare, I’d say go see Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows when you want to escape from any madness in your life. It’s silly, upbeat, sly, action packed, mysterious and unusual. I could rant about how women are treated unfairly throughout the film and are punished for having their own strong characteristics, but I’ll keep it light and say that Noomi Rapace as Madame Sizma Heron is someone to keep an eye on. If anything, enjoy Sherlock’s flamboyantly shameless brother, Mycraft Holmes, and his gaudy personality. A certain scene is certainly a nod towards Austin Powers. In the end, I would investigate that this film will lead to a good time had by all.

Restaurant Recommendation: Fox and Goose Public House

Though they do serve traditional British fare such as fish and chips, pasty and Cornish beef hash for lunch and dinner, however my favorite grub to nosh at Fox and Goose is their breakfast. There is nothing like the comforts of a full plate, gluttonously displaying treats such as: eggs, bangers, English country potatoes and your choice of an English muffin, crumpet or scone smothered in Welsh rarebit cheese sauce. An Englishman would joyfully declare, "it’s bloody good!" A few months ago, dining on Fox and Goose's morning nourishment substance, was my first experience with a scrumptious crumpet smeared with the sweet Devonshire cream, also known as clotted cream. It may clot arteries, but I am willing to take such delicious fatality. This ace pub, located on 1001 R Street in Sacramento, offers various live musical performances as well as a wild Pub Quiz on Tuesday evenings. One day, I would love to go back, sit back with a pint of Guinness and inspect attending patrons. I'd like to think that Sherlock Holmes with approve Fox and Goose's kookiness and buoyant lifestyle. Pip-pip!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome, Bienvenue, Gesundheit

So, you've found my wee little blog about my two favorite passions: Cinema and Cuisines! Now you're probably wondering who I am! Allow myself .... to introduce myself:
My name is Stefanie and I am a recent college graduate who studied Digital Film Production as well as Graphic Design. In my spare time, I love to research various recipes and make a brave attempt to whip up thus food item. Yes, I count snacking as a favorite pastime. With that said, this blog will be a documentation of the two. With each film I have reviewed, I will punctuate it with a dish recommendation and/or a hidden restaurant gem that shares a common ground with thus film. Sit back, relax and join along with me at the table in savoring delicious motion pictures morsals found in the cinematic timeline.  Bon appetite! Now that you know a bit about me, I'd love to have the chance to, as Deborah Kerr would belt with a vibrato plow, "getting to know you, getting to know all about you".