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Story: Lampooning the hallowed Arthurian legend, Monty Python’s Spamalot details in irreverent fashion the story of England’s King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and how they might have come to be.
Story: Lukas and Vendulka have loved each other since childhood, but his parents wanted him to marry another woman. Years later, wealthy farmer Lukas, now a widower with an infant, renews his affection for Vendulka, even smiling at her at his late wife’s wake.
Story: Charley Wykeham, an undergraduate at Oxford, is in love with Amy Spettigue, niece of the officious Stephen Spettigue. Jack Chesney, Charley’s pal and another Oxford undergraduate, is in love with Spettigue’s ward, KittyVerdun. The young men long to express their feelings to their respective heart-throbs, and use the excuse of a visit by Charley’s aunt, Donna Lucia D’Alvadorez, a wealthy widow in Brazil who plans to see her nephew for the first time, so that Donna Lucia can serve as the young ladies’ chaperone.
Story: Ruby has decided to live her life by experimenting with polyphasic sleep, a term coined by early 20th century psychologist J.S. Szymanski. Instead of sleeping eight hours straight, otherwise known as monophasic sleep, she is determined to sleep just 20 minutes at a time, six times per day.
Two of our favorite things in the restaurant world are fine cuts of meat and a comfortable, low-key atmosphere to enjoy them in. Citizen Kane's Steak House has plenty of both, as we were reminded on our most recent visit.
If you’re looking for a rewarding way to spend an evening, might I suggest avoiding the cineplex. There are a few worth seeing that you can watch from the comfort of your home. Here’s what’s out:
Vince Vaughn, I will tell you what: After Neighborhood Watch, Sullivan and Son (his atrocious executive-produced TBS sitcom) and now this pedestrian effort, I am about ready to break it off with you.
Story: Bishop Alfred Bridgenorth and his wife, Alice, are preparing for the marriage of still another of their many daughters, this time the nuptials of young Edith. This morning, their Chelsea home is overflowing with guests, including the bishop’s military bachelor brother Boxer and Alice’s friend, Lesbia Grantham.
Story: Novelist George Schneider has recently returned from a vacation to Europe, which he had taken to help ease the grief he experienced at the death of his wife. George hasn’t yet come to terms with that death, which followed what he considered an idyllic 12-year marriage.
Story: Lear, the elderly king of Britain, has decided to retire and to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. Goneril, the eldest, and middle daughter Regan are overly effusive in expressing their love for Lear, but young Cordelia simply says that she dutifully loves him as a daughter should love a father. Angered by Cordelia’s low-key approach, Lear disinherits her. When his faithful lord Kent tries to reason with him, Lear banishes Kent from the kingdom.
Story: Five intrepid sisters from Iowa, driven by youngest sibling Effie’s desire to write, produce and star in her own shows, decide to take their self-made act on the road following the death of their widower father, “Pops.” Effie, her slow-thinking sister Ella (kicked in the head by a mule at age 5), the ‘beautiful one’ Lizzie, the ‘matronly’ eldest Jessie and the would-be comedienne Addie soon are performing around Iowa in the 1890s, hopeful of breaking into vaudeville.
Story: Wealthy art dealers Flanders and Ouisa Kittredge have invited an important contact named Geoffrey to their swank New York City apartment to hopefully make a tidy $2 million profit on a Cezanne they’re selling. While the three of them converse, a young black man knocks at the door. He tells Flan and Ouisa that he is a classmate of their children at Harvard and that he’s in town awaiting the arrival of his dad, noted actor Sidney Poitier, who will be directing the film version of Cats.
Story: Louise Seger, a Houston homemaker with a husband and two children, becomes an instant fan of rising young country singer Patsy Cline when she hears the latter perform on The Arthur Godfrey Talent Show on CBS in 1957. She soon pesters the local disk jockey regularly with requests for tunes by Cline. In 1961, when she learns that Cline will be performing at Houston’s Esquire Ballroom, she and her husband and boss arrive 90 minutes early for the concert.
St. Louis restaurants were well represented on the Opinionated About Dining's Top 25 Midwest Restaurants list that was recently released. Niche took the No. 2 slot; Sidney Street Cafe was No. 8; Stone Soup Cottage was No. 11; Brasserie by Niche came in at No. 12; Farmhaus garnered No. 13; and Tony's landed at No. 20; and Harvest rounded out the list at 22. Well done!
Alas, I am once again forced to do what I have been doing each time M. Night Shyamalan releases a film: document the staggering downward spiral of a man once thought of as the next Steven Spielberg. This time, it’s After Earth, a witless, banal, tedious, melodramatic special-effects fest that is disappointing from the opening sequence until the credits role, thankfully just 100 minutes later.
This is a film that falls into a very difficult category of movies I call ‘jackpot films.’ They are movies with a cat and a mouse, a criminal and a cop. You may be rooting for the criminals or you may want them to get caught, but either way, you know there is—or better be—a spectacular payoff in the end. So the inherent problem lies in the formula itself: Audiences are so eager to have their questions answered—the final ta-da revealed—that they have no patience for the stage-setting interaction and necessary plot that precedes it. The trick is to have characters and a story compelling enough to keep the audience in the moment, and this heist movie about four bank-robbing magicians, it would seem, has pulled off the ultimate trick.
Stories: In Il Tabarro, barge owner Michele works his small crew hard but also shows compassion. He could get by with one fewer stevedore, but doesn’t want to put Luigi out of work. Michele deeply loves his wife Giorgetta, but feels that a distance has grown between them since the death of their child a year earlier. He suspects that Giorgetta is taking comfort in the arms of another man, and vows revenge when he finds out who that alleged lover is.
Story: Dorothy, an impressionable and idealistic girl growing up with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on a farm in Kansas, finds her life turned upside down, literally, when she is swept away by a tornado. She ends up in a magical kingdom where her house has landed on and killed the Wicked Witch of the East.
Story: Writer Charles Bukowski (1920-94) lived most of his life in Los Angeles, and derived inspiration for many of his works from the City of Angels. He wrote during the same period as many of the Beat Generation writers, including poet Allen Ginsberg and novelists Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.
Story: A poet enters the theater and ascends to the stage. He walks over and introduces himself to a musician seated off stage left. He returns to center stage, turns around and views a triptych of sorts that has an ancient look to it. There’s also a chalkboard that the poet uses to drive home certain points, a simple table and chair, a briefcase and a trunk that contains the tools of his trade.
Story: Fledgling Wall Street stockbroker Billy Crocker is entrusted by his boss, Yale man Elisha Whitney, to sell Whitney’s vast number of shares in a company he’s been tipped is going to tank. When Whitney boards the S.S. American for a luxury cruise to London, Billy decides to stow away aboard the vessel in order to be near the woman he loves, Hope Harcourt, even though Hope is engaged to be married to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.
If you find yourself packing for points more temperate, and find yourself—as I invariably do—looking for that perfect read, I have a few suggestions.
Paul Manno's is one of those restaurants that has been quietly serving up quality food with little fanfare, while at the same time, attracting lots of diners. The eatery recently surfaced on our radar, thanks to some recommendations from fans, and we headed west to give it a try.
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