On Friday night, I offed to the wilds of Scarberia to attend the annual get together of the SRC girls at China Buffet King (cheap beer, mediocre food). We are one less this year due to the sad passing of Anne from breast cancer. We miss you Anne and talked up a storm of our times together.
Saturday night we escaped again to the King Edward Hotel which is rather becoming our home away from home. We chilled up in the Royal Club Lounge then headed down to what remains my favourite bar in the City – The Consort Bar. This delightful bar sits inside the King Eddy and looks out onto King Street. It has a quiet, classy feel which I adore and it was great handing out there with a platter of food and drinks.
2) me relaxing at the Consort Bar, as; 3) the streetcars rolls past on King Str
Last weekend G prepared us some stuffed chicken breasts that were fabulous – packed with speck ham; spinach, halloumi cheese (which is a great cheese that you can actually barbecue).
6) slice chicken thin and season; 7) prepare stuffing
Quentin Tarantino steps away from his usual self-indulgent – granted great – film-making to give us a masterpiece. Inglourious Basterds is a perfectly scripted fantasy complete with over-the-top characters that are so close to the edge, they border on farcical. But that’s the point. In QT’s version of World War II, the good guys embodied by a pack of Jewish Nazi killers called ‘The Basterds’, headed by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), work behind the German lines to scalp Nazis and plot – with the help of a beautiful theater owner Shosanna (Melanie Laurent) – to blow up the entire German High Command at a movie premier in Paris. Much has been writ about the violence in Inglourious Basterds and there is plenty of grisly bits believe me, but the story in all its richness and humour and gorgeous filming, makes it worth the ride. QT has worked magic out of every actor in this film and even he-who-cannot-act, Brad Pitt, gives us a damn decent performance (killing me though it does to admit). Christoph Waltz is the film’s star, evoking a performance as SS Officer Col. Hans Landa, that is so cold and odd and brilliant it surely crosses the line and in doing so becomes, iconic. In this reviewer’s humble opinion, no director yet has manufactured so perfect an opening act of any film as QT gives us in Chapter One: “Once Upon a Time ………. In Nazi Occupied France (1941)”. It is utterly mesmerising, and the finest example of the film-maker’s art ever captured. A film not to be missed warrants my rating of 10 out of 10.
Love Laughs at Andy Hardy
Often considered to be the most popular group of films every made by MGM, the Andy Hardy series (sixteen films spanning 10 years) starred Mickey Rooney as the lad with a never-ending series of romantic escapades from which his father Judge Hardy (initially Lionel Barrymore; later Lewis Stone) – wise, understanding and kind long before the arrival of Mr. Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver – rescued him. Directed by Willis Goldbeck in 1946, Love Laughs at Andy Hardy was the final film of the series (save a reunion film made in 1953). What is striking in these films is the pure simplicity of a way of life in America long since gone. In this romp, Andy’s heart is severely wounded when his girlfriend Kay Wilson (Bonita Granville) announces she is marrying her guardian. As the head of Wainright College’s Ball, Andy must find another date and is hooked up with the very tall, Coffy Smith (Dorothy Ford). You can imagine the comedy of highs and lows that ensues. While formulamatic to its core, Love Laughs at Andy Hardy still resonates 60 years on in its representation of the pain unrequited love can wield and the lengths young men will go to regain their footing when snubbed. My rating 8 out of 10.
Ridley Scott directed what surely is, along with The Thing, the quintessential alien film. Starring an oh-so-young Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, one of a motley crew of deep space miners returning to earth on the Nostramo when they are woken from hypersleep to investigate a mysterious beckon on an alien planet. Course the beckon is no SOS but a warning to steer clear. But it’s too late and the crew land and end up bringing back the alien incubating inside Kane (John Hurt). After its famous birth on the dinner table, the little feller systematically begins offing the crew – Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Bret (Harry Dean Stanton), the whiny Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) and Parker (Yaphet Kotto) – as Ash (Ian Holm), the company’s artificial intelligence doctor plots to save it. Alien works so perfectly thanks to the atmosphere of base fear Scott creates through his handling of the film, and the fact you never really see the vicious alien bogeyman coming. A landmark in film-making for this genre, Alien gets my rating 10 out of 10.
ps. For my dinner with Alien star, John Hurt, see here.