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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.
Once again, we have a movie where the bar has been set high, very high. Not only does the film star Hollywood’s newly arrived A-list, the project is helmed by three-time Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell. It already has garnered seven Golden Globe nominations and is without doubt on the Academy’s short list. With that kind of pre-press, a movie really has to deliver…
Right out of the chute, there’s a problem--and as usual, it’s a problem of expectation. When taken for what it is, Mitty is a sweet, wholesome family film and a clever rethinking of the James Thurber story: The movie is a winner, well worth the price of a ticket. However, when a studio starts murmuring Oscar under its breath, the game changes. Expectations change. And what was once a funny, feel-good movie becomes something else: It becomes a disappointment.
Well, it has been a strange year in cinema. We’ve had movies without plots, without dialogue and without acting—although I guess as long as Vin Diesel is in the business, that’s always a possibility. We’ve had Oscar winners churn out stinkers and first-time actors deliver award-worthy performances. Without further ado…
Well, if the Golden Globe nominations are any indication—and they usually are—it's shaping up to be a strange awards season. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has announced their picks for the best films, made-for-TV movies, television series and mini-series of 2013. Everyone seems to agree there were a few surprises, a few shocks, and more than a few snubs.
Jorge Riopedre, Oscar and Stephanie Martinez, Shera Dalin
Seeing this film's premise, one can’t help but wonder what would have happened had filmmakers cast Christian Bale as the protagonist in every Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson movie. On its face, the movie's plot doesn’t stray too far from your basic vengeance action flick: a wrong man goes up against a seemingly unstoppable force of evil to rescue/ avenge his loved ones. This movie is a true testament to what an incredible cast can do for a script.
Vince Vaughn stars in yet another mediocre sell-out; this time, playing an average Joe, who, through sperm donations, has fathered hundreds of children. It’s a 5.
I’m confused. This movie has received a ton of award buzz, particularly for the lead acting performance of Oscar favorite Bruce Dern and the breakout dramatic performance of SNL alum Will Forte. Suffice it to say, the bar was set high. To say the movie failed to live up to expectations is an understatement.