Category Archives: Movies

Panettone French Toast

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Originally posted December, 14, 2009/December 23, 2011
/Dec 20, 2012 @ 8:00 Some new text has been added.
Fourth posting December 14-23, 2014
Fifth posting December 5, 2016

Preparing Panettone for Italian French Toast
Preparing Panettone for “Italian French Toast”
photo LasVegasBuffetClub

When the Christmas season rolls around one sees so many of those red and gold boxes in the food stores, it’s the Italian Christmas-bread, Panettone.

I doubt that it’s a coincidence that this regal loaf is shaped like a crown and embedded with jewel-like bits of fruit. Continue reading

Teen in revealing yearbook photo flap: ‘It’s artistic’

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This story is from MSNBC

Sydney Spies - Today People
Sydney Spies - Today People

By Michael Inbar
TODAY.com contributor
updated 1/9/2012 9:25:33 AM ET

Teen in revealing yearbook photo flap: ‘It’s artistic’
Aspiring model, 18, objects to fellow students’ decision to reject the photo she submitted

18-year-old Sydney Spies wants a future in modeling, and she figured she would make that clear with her senior picture in her high school yearbook.

But the Durango, Colo., prospective graduate found herself embroiled in controversy when her school’s yearbook editors put the kibosh on running a photo of Sydney posing provocatively in a black shawl and short yellow skirt that exposed plenty of skin.

Sydney and her mother Miki Spies are butting heads with the yearbook staff and school administration over a case they believe smacks of censorship, and they appeared live on TODAY Monday to make their case that Sydney should be able to represent herself the way she wants in the annals of her school’s history.

“I honestly think (the picture) describes who I am,” Sydney told Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview. “I’m an outgoing person and I really do think it’s artistic.” read more from Today.com...
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This is from LasVegasBuffetClub

Wow, tough call. The school has standards. The girl’s trying to bust out because she know’s she might have it. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, so I’ve heard. Good luck girl. WOW!

second photo Spies submitted
'second photo Spies submitted'

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Midnight in Paris

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Spaniard Luis Buñuel collaborated with Salvador Dali in the 1920s making one of my all-time favorite films, “Un Chien Andalou.” Teen boys will love the eyeball scene in which an apparent human eyeball is slit with a straight-edge razor.

 Un chien andalou
Un chien andalou

Both Buñuel and Dali show up again in one of my new favorite films: Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” this time as themselves. This is perhaps the best film of it’s type since “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.” They show up in the clubs and salons drinking with Earnest Hemmingway, F Scott & Zelda, Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Joséphine Baker, T.S. Elliot, Gertrude Stein and many of the names you’ve read about in art/literature history classes – about Paris in the 20s.

Owen Wilson is perfect as a Hollywood writer on holiday in Paris with his soon-to-be and her parents. Like Alice through the Looking Glass, Wilson somehow steps through time and finds himself – not in modern Paris but Paris in The Golden Age, 1920s – 30s. A Grand-automobile stops to pick him up after a night of drinking and motors him to a club where he meets those great artists and writers.

Adrian Brody kills as Dali and Marian Cotillard is beautifully magnetic and believable as Adriana, Picasso’s lover. The gangs all here: Gertrude Stein (No one but Kathy Bates could have been cast for the role of Gertrude Stein,) Alice B. Toklas, Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, Matisse, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, TS Elliot, Gauguin, Man Ray, Degas on and on. Olivier Rabourdin as Paul Gauguin and Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway bring a sense of vintage-style and richness to the film. What in the hell does that mean?

The night scenes are also rich and luscious like the afore-mentioned, “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.”
Some of the daylight clips seem to be washed-out. Can’t imagine the woodster effing-up. Maybe he had a reason. The only other negative thing about this movie is that it’s too short – 100 minutes.

Here’s a YouTube of THE SCENE from Un Chien Andalou – The original “shock” movie.

Here’s the IMDb link for Midnight in Paris

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Thanks TCM, Metropolis might be the best movie I’ve ever seen.

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Originally posted November 9, 2010

Original 1927 Metropolis theatrical release poster
Original 1927 Metropolis theatrical release poster

The 1927 silent German film Metropolis had me spellbound the other night while watching a screening on the Turner Classic movie channel. Directed by maybe the best film director ever, Fritz Lang, almost every other scene in the movie is so well composed they could be used as framed pictures or paintings.

Although Metropolis is first and foremost a political film, it’s also a prelude to all the horror movies of the 40s-60s. Frankenstein would have been frightened by some of the scenes in Metropolis. Dracula’s blood would run cold. There is a scene with The Angel of Death holding the razor sharp sickle that could be the scariest clip of all time. Don’t believe me, see for yourself. The Sci-Fi aspect of the movie is so cutting-edge prophetic that there’s a scene showing two guys using (what would later become) a video-phone type interface system in a two-way, face-to-face, live conversation; This is in 1927, before talking movies were mainstream.

I’m posting this so I won’t ever forget it.

“Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist film in the science-fiction genre directed by Fritz Lang. Produced in Germany during a stable period of the Weimar Republic, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and makes use of this context to explore the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism. The film was produced in the Babelsberg Studios by Universum Film A.G. (UFA). The most expensive silent film ever made, it cost approximately 5 million Reichsmark.”[] read more from WIKI

“The film is set in the massive, sprawling futuristic mega-city Metropolis, whose society is divided into two classes: one of planners and management, who live high above the Earth in luxurious skyscrapers; and one of workers, who live and toil underground. The city was founded, built, and is run by the autocratic Joh Fredersen.”

“Like all the other sons of the managers of Metropolis, Fredersen’s son Freder lives a life of luxury in the theatres and stadiums of the skyscraper buildings. One day, as he is playing in the Eternal Gardens, he notices that a beautiful girl has appeared with many children of the workers. She is quickly shooed away, but Freder becomes infatuated with her and follows her down to the workers’ underworld. There, he experiences firsthand the horrors of the workers’ life, and is horrified and disgusted when he sees an enormous machine, known as the M-Machine, violently explode and kill dozens of workers. In the smoke, Freder envisions the M-Machine as Moloch, a monstrous deity to which the hapless workers are sacrificed.
Disgusted, Freder returns to the New Tower of Babel, a massive skyscraper owned by his father. There, he confronts his father and starts crying about the accident at the M-Machine, but Fredersen is more annoyed about hearing about the accident from his son and not from his clerk Josephat. Grot, foreman of the Heart Machine, informs him of papers resembling plans or maps, which have been found in the dead workers’ pockets. Again, because he had not heard the news from Josephat first, Fredersen fires him, and also charges his spy, a slim man, to keep an eye on his son.” read more from WIKI

Rediscovery
“On July 1, 2008, film experts in Berlin announced that a 16 mm reduction negative of the original premiere cut of the film, including almost all the lost scenes, had been discovered in the archives of the Museo del Cine (film museum) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The find was authenticated by film experts working for Die Zeit. Passed around since 1928 from film distributor to private collector to an art foundation, the Metropolis copy arrived at the Museo del Cine, where it stayed undiscovered in their archives. After hearing an anecdote by the cinema club manager — who years before had been surprised by the length when this copy was screened — the museum’s curator and the director of the film department of the Museum of Latin American Art reviewed the film and discovered the missing scenes. The print was in poor condition and required considerable restoration before it was re-premiered in February 2010.”[] readmore from WIKI

If there is a down-side it would be that there are some very long scenes in the last third of the movie.

I’m going to throw out a few phrases here just for the hell of it: THIS IS THE MOTHERLOAD; THIS IS THE GENESIS OF HORROR FILMS; THIS IS THE GENESIS OF SCIENCE FICTION FILMS; This film is the original pattern from which many motion pictures were cut. -carbone

A Google search turned up these photos from the movie.

Metropolis on IMDB
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AL PACINO TO STAR IN FILM AS PRODUCER PHIL SPECTOR

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The Associated Press, October 8, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) — HBO says Al Pacino is set to star as legendary record producer Phil Spector in a TV film to be written and directed by David Mamet (MAM’-eht).
The film will tell the story of Spector, who long ago recorded such acts as the Beatles, Cher and the Ramones. Now, at age 70, he’s serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life for murder. He was convicted for the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.

Phil Spector
Phil Spector
Al Pacino
Al Pacino

The 70-year-old Pacino starred in the HBO film “You Don’t Know Jack” earlier this year as Jack Kevorkian, who served time in prison for assisting in the suicide of a terminally ill man.

The as-yet-untitled Spector film is in the early stages of development, HBO said. The project was first reported by The New York Times.

The Phil Spector story-ending is a terrible tragedy for all concerned.

Walt Disney Meets Salvador Dali: “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus”

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First published January 21, 2010 – revised 1/25/10, 11:00 pm

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus - Flixter.com
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus - Flixter.com

Director/Writer Terry Gilliam must have channeled both Salvador Dali and Walt Disney to create this film.

I don’t know if it’s partly because I know one of the players, but I say “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” is one of the best movies I’ve seen.

Plot synopsis from IMDb: “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present day. It tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary ‘Imaginarium’, a travelling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr Nick, in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday he or she would become the property of Mr Nick. Valentina is now rapidly approaching this ‘coming of age’ milestone and Dr Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr Parnassus promises his daughter’s hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles – and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all… ”

From the opening scenes and throughout most of the movie there’s a “dream-imagery” which evokes the inner-fantasy part of a cozy opium-den (not that I would know) or a Daliesque landscape with bright blue-skies, rowboats and a bovine carcass floating in the water. The water scene reminds one – of the clips in Dali’s Un Chien Andalou when “the woman’s left eyeball is sliced-open with a straight-edge razor,” or “the piano/horse scene.”

The warm reds, golds, maroons, purples and whatevers of the living-quarters of Dr. Parnassus’ horse-drawn wagon A.K.A. *The Imaginarium are so soothing that I wanted those scenes to go on and on without end. Another memorable scene reveals artistic excellence when a “wall of reality” is peeled open.”

This is a streeetch, however there is a little coffee-house, in one of my favorite cities, Santa Ana, California called The Gypsy Den. I first discovered it when I was living in Santa Ana – Right, just like Columbus.

The Gypsy Den is on First Avenue and Broadway, if I recall correctly. It is anchoring a corner in the Hispanic area of Santa Ana. For me that is part of its charm. The interior is authentic Gypsy: old stuffed divans, couches and sofa-chairs, old oil-paintings, posters, old pictures and books. I recall scarves, candles, brass, a coffee-bar with pastry cases, giant coffee cups and California girls pouring coffee and serving cinnamon roles A.K.A. rolls.

There’s an old cigarette-burned piano in a stage-like area, and tables near windows which let in California sunshine. There’s a garden-of-eden patio on the North, in a bit of heaven – an old Santa Ana coblestoned town-square. Three blocks north on Broadway, you’re in Mexico, USA.

There is a point to all this, The Gypsy Den is a bit of Dr. Parnassus’ Imaginarium.

Paloma Faith - Flicker.Com
Paloma Faith - Flicker.Com

All of the actors shine: Christopher Plummer’s Dr. Parnassus is as powerful as a Star Wars character. The team effort of Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Jude Law and Colin Farrell (listed in order of appearance,) all playing the character named Tony is interesting and seamless.
Tom Waits as Mr. Nick, the devil should get top kudos for best performance of a devil. Lily Cole’s (Kewpie-Doll) Valentina, the good Doctor’s daughter-in-peril is sexy-sweet-charming, and Paloma Faith is stop-cold stunning [see photo.] She is Mr. Nick’s flashy, diamond-girlfriend, Sally. Verne Troyer is magnificent as Dr. Parnassus’s diminutive assistant.

If I were giving out awards I’d give Christopher Plummer an award for best actor; I’d give an award to Tom Waits for best supporting actor, or to Verne Troyer for best supporting actor. I’d give out awards for set design, art design/direction, costumes, music and more. Lily Cole is very believable as Valentina. Andrew Garfield deserves a mention. His character, Anton is the Imaginarium’s barker and Valentina’s love interest. Tony (The late Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell) should get an award for being able to wear the same suit.

*Yeah, I realize that the phenomenon of the Imaginarium extends far beyond the boundaries of the wagon.

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Tom Waits is the devil

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Following is a IMDb synopsis of the movie “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” with a steller cast including: the late Heath Ledger, most women’s heartthrob Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Colin Farrell and the aforementioned Tom Waits.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present day. It tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary ‘Imaginarium’, a travelling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr Nick, in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday he or she would become the property of Mr Nick. Valentina is now rapidly approaching this ‘coming of age’ milestone and Dr Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr Parnassus promises his daughter’s hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles – and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all” more information from IMDb

In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Tom Waits is the devil. I’m just guessing, however, I imagine Waits will slip into this role as easily as a stinky foot settling into an old house slipper. I’m also guessing that this film is high art. The muses must have been working overtime.

I am really looking forward to devouring this film. “The film’s world premiere was during the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, out of competition.[] The UK release of the film was scheduled for 6 June 2009 but pushed back to 16 October 2009 due to its successful premiere at Cannes. The film was given a limited release in the US on Christmas Day 2009 and a wide release on 8 January 2010” more from Wiki

Tom Waits from Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Tom Waits
Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

I imagine that Waits (Mr. Nick, the devil) will show off the same Tom Waits’ flash-bang acting style that I expierienced in a room at the Tropicana Motor Hotel in Hollywood in the mid 70s. Picking up my Martin D-28, Waits manhandled that sweet guitar as though it were a weapon, snapping the strings with ice-cold defience and a laser focused energy producing sounds that stung like hot bullets through the ego. If that guitar were a gun, I’d be long-dead under the rubble of the long-gone Tropicana Motor Hotel.

My good friend CEW would accuse me of parasitical journalism for posting this article.

Access IMDb pages for this film

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Mickey Rourke is “THE WRESTLER”

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The Wrestler
The Wrestler

On some far off planet called New Jersey, where the men are as hard as grey sky and the women are as attractive as Marisa Tomei, the film “THE WRESTLER” was crafted.   

At least the movie was supposedly filmed in New Jersey.  Wait a minute, it has to be from a planet called New Jersey,  I’ve never seen human beings like that on this planet.  At least not as many in one place, not as many who have gone astray, not as many who are so far from the PTA, and the FTA, and the CIA.  But then again, that’s a Western perspective…   

Mickey Rourke as Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson is a fading professional wrestler who’s holding on to his career and his life, as both are slipping away.  He is proud of his trade and accepts the trade-off of having “small change” and a broken body for having self-respect;  it’s just part of the deal.   The fix is in, Randy feels, and the fat cats who ride in limos have the limos but no real skills.  Randy has skills and talent, and long hair, and Marisa Tomei (as Cassidy – a striptease artist with a heart of gold.)  He is his own boss (most of the time) and lives in a single family dwelling (a trailer in a seedy trailer park,) and fans sometime ask him for an autograph.

When times get tough-er, Randy takes a job behind a deli counter.  He slices and dices – until smacked with the undeniable reality that living his true destiny – and loosing, is better than success in living a life without passion .  He goes back to “take it to the limit – one more time.”

Bruce Springsteen soulfully garbles the theme to “THE WRESTLER” (Written by Bruce Springsteen) in another haunting, distant Springsteenian tune, also named “THE WRESTLER.”

Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei

“Goowrgish” Marisa Tomei’s dual performance as Cassidy, and the mother, may win her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Mickey Rourke is also a top contender – for Best Actor – if you havn’t heard.
Access the IMDB pages for “THE WRESTLER.”
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