I have to admit I've been curious about this film. As an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature, I thought to myself that it must drive these animators nuts to create something so precious, only to be trampled by the Goliath that is Disney. Nothing against Frozen, it’s a delightful film, but this is art.
As we near the end of Hollywood’s self-proclaimed dead time (why on earth one exists is a question for another day) movie goers approach the Cineplex with the caution of a squirrel. And much like that squirrel, you may discover that the treat is not where you left it. So if you aren’t interested in seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to convince everyone that he’s 45, or witnessing a lot of teen drama—both on screen and in the audience—you may want to wait a few more weeks before venturing back to the big screen. Here’s what’s new and interesting:
Story: A dark, brooding Irish musician is at an unpleasant crossroads in his life. His girlfriend left Dublin six months ago for New York City, and he’s been carrying the torch for her ever since.
Story: To paraphrase protagonist Clifford Bradshaw, “there was a place called The Kit Kat Klub in a city called Berlin in a country called Germany…and we were all fast asleep.” Bradshaw, an American novelist wannabe, has traveled to Europe in 1929 in search of his muse, first in London, then in Paris and now in Berlin.
I don’t want to give anything away. No matter your religious beliefs, you really can’t argue the fact that Bible stories make wonderful theatrical productions: The Ten Commandments, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Passion of the Christ. Frankly, it’s surprising no one has brought the story of Noah’s ark to the big screen before now. Well, actually, they have. There was a respectable feature film in the '20s—you can almost picture the stagehands throwing buckets of water from off-stage—and a somewhat embarrassing mini-series in 1999 starring Jon Voight and Mary Steenburgen that just about everyone seems to want to forget. This new movie version fares the flood waters with greater success.
Let’s face it: Tragic career spirals are as common in Hollywood as Botox and traffic jams. Nobody seriously asks the question, Whatever happened to (fill in the blank)? because the answer is obvious and unsurprising: He chose a couple of bad projects (Zac Efron); his ego got the better of him (Vin Diesel); drugs (Lindsay Lohan); bad reviews (Ryan Reynolds); people forgot about him (whatshisname). It’s the nature of the business. Did you know, for example, that the actor who portrayed the magnetic bad boy Kelly Leak form the original Bad News Bears movie, Jackie Earle Haley, is a renowned and busy character actor these days; or that Karate Kid nemesis William Zabka has been popping up in television shows of late?
Let me state for the record that I have never met Wes Anderson. Let me also state that I would very much like to. If I am ever stuck on an elevator with a stranger or stranded on a desert island with an unknown companion, or pinned next to someone on an international flight, I would like that person to be Wes Anderson. That being said, I don’t know where to begin with this movie. Like most of his films, it has the beaming charm of a French children’s book, but it also has a similar tendency to meander.
Story: Banker Sam Wheat and his girlfriend Molly Jenson, a potter, have moved into an old brownstone in Brooklyn to renovate it and make it their home. Meanwhile, at work Sam notices some major and troubling discrepancies in some accounts he’s managing, and confides the problem to his friend and colleague Carl.
And the Oscar goes to…Webster University alum Leah Latham! Latham, who graduated from Webster’s animation program in 2010, served as editorial production coordinator for Disney’s latest worldwide box-office smash, Frozen.
Since reopening in Chesterfield several years ago, Balaban’s has garnered plenty of accolades, including multiple awards of the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. It had been a while since our last visit and lots has happened in the interim, including an expansion of the space and the promotion of D. Scott Phillips from catering and banquet chef to executive chef last summer; so we recently dropped in to see what else is new.
It's time once again for the James Beard Foundation Awards. The annual ‘Oscars’ of the culinary world recently announced its list of semi-finalists, and St. Louis is represented in a big way. Chefs GERARD CRAFT (Niche); KEVIN WILLMANN (Farmhaus); KEVIN NASHAN (Sidney Street Cafe); JOSH GALLIANO (The Libertine); and BEN POREMBA (Elaia) all are in the running for the title of Best Chef: Midwest. Chef RICK LEWIS of Quincy Street Bistro has been tapped as a contender for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Taste in the CWE has been nominated for Outstanding Bar Program. Finalists for the awards will be announced on March 18, in Chicago, and the winners will be revealed in NYC in May. Congrats to all, good luck and thanks for representing St. Louis' culinary scene so well!
The weather may be warming, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything in theaters worth seeing. If you remain firmly planted to your couch, rightfully suspicious of the thaw, you have options. Here’s what’s new on DVD:
The weather has been teasing us lately; but at LN, we’re hoping a new spring look is just the thing to make the warm weather come a little more quickly. We asked tarte makeup artist Erin Griffin how to make the transition. Griffin is a 10-year industry veteran who has done makeup for Miami Swim Week and the Oscar de la Renta show. She also has worked behind the scenes for the likes of Lady Antebellum and The Voice winner Casadee Pope.
To get you in the mood for this Sunday's 86th Annual Academy Awards, we have LN's longtime movie critic, Debbie Baldwin, comparing notes with Brandon LaMew, who's been ranked No. 15 among Netflix's top film reviewers worldwide.
Considering the options at the megaplex, it may be wise to stay in this weekend and rent a movie. Here's a list of what's out:
To be perfectly honest, I’m a fan of young romance: I’m a fan of romantic comedies, I’m a fan of straight-up comedies, and I’m even a fan of Neanderthal male-bonding buddy movies. This is none of those.
Craig and Nancy Schnuck, Barbara and Oscar Horan
So Super Bowl weekend is upon us. As in years past, tradition at the Muyco-Tobin household dictates that the man of the house gets waited on hand and foot. (Before some of you ladies protest, rest assured that Mr. Tobin returns the favor come Oscar night.)
Well, we are mid-awards season—an underwhelming awards season at that—and we’re finally through January, notoriously the worst month of the year for movies. It’s gray outside and grim in the cineplex. Nevertheless, refusing to give up on a Hollywood that seems to have done nothing but disappoint over the past year, we look to the future. We cling to the hope that when the new buds appear, so will a new crop of movies--a bountiful harvest of action, comedy, drama and suspense. So, renew your Netflix account and Hulu Plus for the next couple of weeks, and then get excited to go to the movies.
Is it me? Maybe it’s me. Perhaps I’ve gotten jaded over the years. Then again, maybe it’s just a really crummy year for movies. Sure, there were a few bright spots; but overall, disappointing is the word that sums it up. Let’s take it from the top…
So, with all the Oscar hopefuls out, as well as some pretty decent mainstream movies, a big box-office opening went largely unnoticed: Well, largely unnoticed by the public, not the critics. The Legend of Hercules had high hopes the young male demographic would turn out in droves to see the mythological hero on the big screen—and even a few female fans of Twilight’s Kellan Lutz, who plays the title role. Hopes were dashed last weekend as the only thing legendary about the movie was its flop.
Well, the weather outside may still be frightful, so this weekend may be perfect for popping some popcorn and settling in with a good film. The list of recommendations is short, but there’s something for everyone. I’m skipping what’s popular and just going with what’s good.
There is no questioning the fact that Joel and Ethan Coen have secured their chapter in the annals of filmmaking. Their command of comedy, irony, satire, interpersonal relationships and character is staggering. They may strike out on occasion but they always swing for the fence; this film is no exception.