Friday, February 27, 2015

Khaled Hosseini and Marjane Satrapi

Natives of enemy lands 
show the truth beyond geopolitical 

     Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed (2013) moves from Afghanistan to California to Paris to Afghanistan and from the 1940s to the 2000s to the 1970s to the 2010s.  It’s epic yet feels intimate and it takes off from E.M. Forster’s mantra ‘Only Connect’ from Howard’s End (1910).  That work was a parable for the state of England.  Hosseini’s third novel is a parable of East-West relations during peace and war.  It’s a novel that feels European in structure – almost like Schnitzler’s La Ronde (1897) or the “Wandering Rocks” episode of Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) – because the inciting incident that involves six

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Creepy, smart, thrilling

     Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler is the most trenchant comment about TV culture since Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1983) or Lumet’s Network (1976).  A week ago I said that Jake Gyllenhaal should be up for the Oscar mainly because he was

Sunday, February 22, 2015

American Sniper

     Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, based on Chris Kyle’s memoir, happens to be the most widely seen movie up for the Oscar and, therefore, the one that may draw the most viewers.  It blends both the coming of age and the war genres to yield a highly suspenseful story, even for those who know the

Friday, February 20, 2015

York Street Café

Bohemian mainstay still nails it

The Victorian Dining Room
      York Street Café in Newport has been around for more than a couple of decades (rare for most restaurants), unique both for its menu and décor.  We used to go there for lunch or dinner or for later desserts.  Not only was there a gallery back

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Still Alice

Give Julianne Moore the Oscar already

     The major reason we went to Still Alice was to see Julianne Moore, who hasn’t won the Oscar, though she’s been nominated four times in the past.   She’s the leading contender this year because she delivers a heartbreaker of a

Monday, February 16, 2015

Award Shows Round Up

Snow between the Grammys 
and the Oscars (with our predictions)

30s Hollywood Glamour
Bette Midler's
45 rpm Hat at the
1975 Grammys
with Stevie Wonder
     What to do on a snowy day?  How about write up the biggie award shows?  The Grammys were set up to get people to buy LPs (yes, it was that long ago) and the Oscars were set up so that Hollywood moguls could try to class up a glamorous factory system (yes, it was even longer ago).

Rosanne Cash, the Big Americana Winner
     The Grammys are now about promoting current and upcoming A-list tours because it’s the only way to guarantee a big income, thanks to downloading. The show is about who wins the night, i.e. the performer who makes the biggest

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday Night Live at 40

It just keeps going, but maybe 
a new battery should be ordered

     OMG, I thought dinosaurs no longer walked the Earth, but boy was I wrong because they stumbled along in Studio 8H in 30 Rock.  Snooty Steve Martin (I think he really is that way and not just putting it on), squeaky Paul McCartney, the fossil Jack Nicholson, and the indefatigable and misguided Lorne Michaels led the way for a reunion of what started as a

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mr. Turner

Ah-(S)palling and Splendid

     Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner examines English genius painter J.M.W. Tuner and the Romantic movement. It shows what this artist sees and what led to his work, rather than focusing on him working.  Its counterpoint is the griminess of everyday life

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bella Luna

Italian through and through 
on a sidetrack from Columbia Parkway 

Dining on Fiorentina
Bella Luna Dining Room
      Bella Luna is a little off the beaten path, although in the same East End neighborhood as Terry's Turf Club.  Both are from another time, one could say.  I've always felt that Bella Luna was a theme restaurant from the 70s that opened in the 90s and hasn't changed much since.  The fact that it's on the bottom floor of a converted warehouse

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Georgia O’Keefe at The Indianapolis Museum of Art

An enlightening exhibition at an institution 
that’s a work of art inside and out

     Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwestern Still Life at The Indianapolis Museum of Art runs through February 15 and it’s well worth the trip.  Consisting of about 80 examples of those artists that worked in Taos and northern New Mexico from right after World War I through the 1950s, the exhibition is very well curated.  Walking into the

Monday, February 2, 2015


Smarts and Stings

     Damien Chazelle adapted his earlier short film into Whiplash, starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons.  It’s both a psychological thriller and bildungsroman in its exploration of the central character finding the courage to locate and