Saturday night we offed to Le Meridien King Edward Hotel on King for a night away. We are always treated very nicely at the King Eddy, this time with complementary access to the Royal Club Lounge, a suite upgrade and a little tray of strawberries and personal note from Oscar, the hotel’s Senior Guest Services Manager. Thanks guys; another wonderful stay.
1 & 2) our suite at the King Eddy
3) a little welcome from the team; 4) G poses down the by the long hall to the bedroom
Last night G made a marvelous beef bourguignon with butter roasted potatoes and mushrooms, served on egg noddles. It was SO damn yummy!
If you can utterly suspend reality for two hours and try not to get all hung up in the gaping plot holes, the stereotypical cardboard characters, the lack of any interest whatsoever in what happens to these characters, and just sit back and enjoy poor Liam Neeson (as Bryan Mills) try to earn a few more dollars so he can avoid having to ‘act’ in movies of this ilk again, you’re going to like this film. If you can’t do that, avoid this film; you’re not going to like it. Directed by Pierre Morel and full of action, action, action, Taken follows former CIA-er Mills as he tries to rescue his dimwitted daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) from the clutches of the evil Albanian gangs that seem to own much of the seedier parts of Paris. Bottomline on this film is that anyone seeing it, or renting it, has indeed been taken. For the fact Liam manages to sustain it all, and for being filmed in Paris, my rating 3 out of 10.
My Dinner with Andre
The great Louie Malle directed this 2 hour conversation of two New York artists eating dinner. Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, two real life New York playwrights play versions of themselves. When the wildly successful Andre returns from years in the wilderness finding himself in all sorts of experimental art projects overseas, he invites his struggling-to-make-ends-meat friend, Wallace to dinner. The result is a philosophical journey on the meaning of life as Andre shares his story of living in the moment with his more conservative and cynical friend. My Dinner with Andre takes the commonplace activity of a dinner with a friend to new heights with a dialogue which is, if nothing else, engaging. The film is an art house piece through and through and while decidedly not for everyone, this reviewer – long a fan of Joseph Campbell and existentialism philosophy – was riveted to his core. My rating 8 out of 10.
Surprisingly, I preferred this silly film to Matthew McConaughey’s previous film of the same genre, Sahara. Interestingly, it suffers from the same problem inherent in that film too – a frustrating lack of identity, a film unsure of what it’s trying to be: comedy, adventure, historical thriller, romance. McConaughey stars as Benjamin Finnegan (Finn), a dumbass treasure seeker in hawk to a corrupt Caribbean rapper, Bigg Bunny (Kevin Hart) on the hunt for the secret treasure known as the Queen’s Dowry with his very smart ex-wife Tess (the always good Kate Hudson). Toss in Canada’s own Donald Sutherland as a rich publisher, Nigel Honeycutt, trying to bemuse his Valley-girl-esque daughter Gemma (Alexis Dziena) and you’ve quite a mess of a story. Director Andy Tennant manages to keep the pace going despite the silly script mind you. While the personae McConaughery has adopted of late is thoroughly aggravating, there’s enough lighthearted dumbness here to warrant a view on a cold winter’s night. My rating 5 out of 10.
Kathryn Bigelow directs Mark Boal’s great script (he spent time embedded with a team in Iraq) that follows the lives of three soldiers who work in Iraq defusing bombs. Starring, briefly, Guy Pearce (till he meets his maker in the first few minutes of the film); Jeremy Renner (as SFC William James); Anthony Mackie (as Sgt. Sanborn) and Brian Geraghty (as Private Owen Eldridge), Bigelow films the movie with shaky-camera syndrome (the current cinematographic shtick) in an attempt to approximate what it may feel like being there in the moment. But there is too much handheld action and the true visceral nature of what she’s communicating would do better with more stillness and slowness on screen. Bigelow hints at this – in particular the long scene when the Americans meet guerillas out in the desert and begin a game of sharpshooting. The Hurt Locker takes us deep into the damage war wreaks in a man’s mind; a very good film that could have been great. And kudos to Bigelow for showing us the conflict between Iraqis and Americans fairly without the need for blatant messaging. My rating 7 out of 10.