There was a tremendously beautiful rainbow over Burrard Inlet last Thursday afternoon. It actually spanned from the downtown eastside across the Inlet to North Vancouver with that ominous grey in the background and gorgeous sunshine in the foreground.
1) what a beautiful rainbow
It was a two-fold kind of weekend for us. Firstly, we’re into the fabulousness that is NCAA College Basketball “March Madness” so I’ve been glued to the television. Secondly, we managed to use four of our outstanding Groupons – for a curling lesson at the Richmond Curling Club (loved it and we won!); for a chocolate tasting at Leonidas at Waterfront (stupid Americans tourists who took umteen hours to chose a freaking chocolate aside, this was grand. I mean, com’on, chocolate, how can you go wrong); for a Baskin Robin’s St Patrick’s Day ice cream cake (just a so-so experience for me); and for lunch at The Mac Shack which is a new place in Vancouver that serves an all macoroni and cheese all the time menu (loved it too!).
2) G shows fine curling form during our warm-up; 3) dark chocolates for moi, milk chocolates for G
At the Mac Shack we had their Royale Mac (bacon, bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, chicken, chorizo and shrimp with Mozzarella and Gruyere cheese in a rose sauce) and a Lobster Mac (Asiago & Canadian Cheddar, authentic Lobster meat, oyster mushrooms, lemon, dill and truffle oil in a cream sauce). The Royale is a real winner!
Next, onwards to some more film reviews:
Biutiful is anything but. Uxbal (a stunning performance by Javier Bardem) lives a life of petty crime and human smuggling in the underbelly of Barcelona. Trying to be a father to his two children, Ana (Hanaa Bouchaid) and Mateo (Guillermo Estrella) while simultaneously dealing with his divorced, abusive, bipolar wife (an amazing Maricel Alvarez) Uxbal learns he has terminal cancer. This reality understandably changes Uxbal and Mexican uber-director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (ex Babel fame) does a simply magnificent job showing us this. Biutiful is as bleak a film as you will see in sometime but the ‘humanness’ of it thanks to the marriage of Bardem’s performance and Inarritu’s skilled hands makes the journey through parenthood, love and guilt worth it. An exceedinly fine film. My rating of 8 out of 10.
Mao’s Last Dancer
Based on the autobiography of dancer Li Cunxin, Mao’s Last Dancer traces Li’s rise from obscurity during Madame Mao’s cultural revolution through to his role as the Australian Ballet’s principal dancer. Directed by Bruce Beresford with all the (yawn) usualness of a Sunday-Night-at-the-Movie romp, it stars a very wooden – yet endearing – Chi Cao as Li, Bruce Greenwood as Houston Ballet guru Ben Stevenon and Amanda Schull as Li’s girlfriend-then-wife-then-ex, Elizabeth. The dancing is pretty thanks to Cao’s full-time job as principal dancer of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the early years portrayal of Li in China are good, but the rest is – sadly – much a do about nothing and has all the excitement of a Days of Our Lives episode. My rating 4 out of 10.
Thor works primarily thanks to its director, the Shakespearean master Kenneth Branagh. His familiarity with gravitas and and skill in constructing scenes fraught with drama makes the film, but just. The warrior Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for his arrogance and sent to Earth to live among humans. Poor lad. There he but of course falls in love scientist Jane Poster (a ho-hum Natalie Portman). She teaches mighty Thor to be a man, and a human, and with this knowledge is able to defeat his brother Loki (Tim Hiddleston) as the machinations of gods behaving badly play out on earth. While not a great movie by any stretch, there is enough fabulous thundering fodder here – when the Gods are busy anviling each other – to make watching it bearable … on a big screen … preferrably drunk. The inevitable sequel is already in the works, Gods help us all. My rating 5 out 10.
If you like this reviewer was a movieholic teenager back in the summer of 1979 you’re going to love Super 8. The film works on two levels both as a sci-fi thriller and as a coming of age romance. Kudos rest squarely on the shoulders of its young and specatularly well versed cast who turn what could have been a blockbuster disaster into a thrilling, loving movie adventure ride. When a group of friends in small town Ohio witness a train crash while filming a super 8 movie, they become wrapped up in a sci-fi thriller as folks begin disappearing and strange occurrences start popping up. Directed by JJ Abrams, Super 8 stars an excellent Joel Courtney as young make-up artist Joe, who is infatuated with Alice (Elle Fanning), the female lead brought into the film by his friend Charles (Riley Griffiths). Charles has been busy making the movie to enter into the Cleveland film festival. With outstanding acting and action sequences that don’t overshadow the main story line or its characters, Super 8 hits all the right notes and captures the nostalgia of the time perfectly. My rating 9 out of 10.