A really nice new product was released by Turner Classic Movies TCM.com yesterday (Reuters coverage here) – the Media Room. Very slick product with lots of classic movie material for your viewing pleasure. And see below – you can embed content off their site as well, like this intro by Otto Preminger for his film ‘In Harms Way’ starring John Wayne.
Let’s face it – David Cronenberg is a sick puppy. From the ear-piercing with a hatpin as foreplay in Videodrome, to the various ‘Acts of Violence’ in this flick, each with more and more blood bubbling, spraying and dripping, Cronenberg has shown that he always wants to press boundaries to their limit. That’s not to say that A History of Violence (IMDB, Netflix, Official Site) is overly gratuitous. There is a message in the madness. This is a memorable film, with themes of violence, family and sexuality all intertwined to hold a mirror up to the violence that permeates society today. Viggo Mortensen is great in the lead role, as is Maria Bello. I’m going to call this a ‘social action flick’ – if that is possible – and is best described as intense, sparse, and highlighted by sudden moments of emotion – classic Cronenberg fare.
You have to appreciate a restaurant where one of the servers suggests that by the end of their eight-course blind tasting menu that you certainly would not have room for a ‘wafer-thin mint’, recalling the seminal scene from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life involving a particularly rotund man in a fine dining establishment who (a) throws up for roughly five minutes of screen time and finally (b) explodes after eating a mint petit-four.
Amy treated me to a wonderful meal last night at The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton last night to celebrate my 40th, and it was quite honestly one of the most amazing meals I’ve had in a very long time. Chef Arnaud Berthelier is a star – having only been here in Atlanta for 9 months or so, the food is just stellar, comparing favorably with the very best New York has to offer. I had the seven-course tasting menu with paired wines (by their rising star 24-year old sommelier Chantelle Grilhot), and won’t soon forget the meal. Highlight for me – the ‘Fruit Soup’ – a warm compote of fruits and fresh herbs in a translucent bag, snipped open dramatically at the table, allowing the infusion to waft around the table. The wait staff then placed a scoop of lemon verbena ice cream in the warm fruit, allowing it all to meld. Amazing! Update: Didn’t want to forget to mention this. Also very cool was the so-called ‘molecular cuisine’ technique used in the course pictured above. The egg-like object at left was the sauce for the filet of daurade, using calcium chloride and sodium alginate.
Based on the Walter Kirn novel of the same name, Thumbsucker is an interesting little film by first-time director Mike Mills (no relation to the R.E.M. bass player). The film captures well the strained relationships between a teen boy who still sucks his thumb and his screwed up parents, classmates and teachers. Tilda Swinton is great as the mom neither the audience or her son really understand until late in the film, and Benjamin Bratt has a nice cameo as a cocaine-addicted TV star. Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio and Keanu Reeves also put in good performances – especially Reeve’s Zen-master orthodontist. The story is bittersweet, and full of very authentic moments – a nice little indie flick worth checking out. Two-and-a-half stars.