The Remains of The Day (James Ivory – 1993) A+

One of the great movies of the fantastically interesting British aristocracy and it’s over the stairs/under the stairs culture. I love wathcing films like this and others (Gosfrod Park comes to mind) and cannot believe I have not seen it before. Stevens is such an unforgetable charcter in my mind that I cannot stop thinking about him, his mannerisms, his devotion to a fault to his masters. He literally wastes hislife, future and love in order to serve the people living in the Darlington house and Anthony Hopkins plays him with perfect precision that it is impossible to see anyone else in this role. The movie is filled with outstanding scenes like Stevens’ father death, the scene where Mrs. Kenton wants to know what book Stevens is reading, the small speech delivered by the American Mr. Lewis among many others. The rest of the cast is suprb as well, namely Emma Thompson of course and Christopher Reeve in a small but strong role.

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Blood Orange Negroni, a Bitter-Bitter Elixir

Blood Orange Negroni

How best to describe the taste of a Negroni? Let me see. Bitter comes to mind first, as well as “herby” and a bit spicy. Certainly there is no sweetness here. Sounds like an acquired taste? It sure does. Actually your first sip might send you to the nearest sink to spit that “vile” drink out. Sounds like a repulsive drink, doesn’t it?

Wait though and take another sip, then another. getting better, huh? Before you know it you will be hooked on this delicious Italian concoction and wanting to mix another. Be careful, this stuff is strong. After first learning about it from the man himself, the ambassador of all foods and drinks Italian, Mr. Mario Batali who claims this is his favorite cocktail, it’s been one of the few cocktails that I make at home on a regular basis. The recipe here is not the traditional Negroni, but rather a very tasty variation I came up with to use some blood oranges I have. Figured the taste of tart semi-sweet blood orange juice will work great with the rest of the stuff as well as make it look very sexy and attractive. I was right on both counts. For a traditional Negroni, just omit the blood orange juice.

Blood-Orange Negroni

  • 1.75 oz Gin (I like Broker’s)
  • 0.75 oz Campari
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.75 oz Fresh Blood Orange Juice

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and stir while counting to 40. Strain into an ice filled chilled glass and garnish with a blood orange twist (regular orange twist is the traditional garnish for a Negroni BTW). Sip and enjoy slowly. 

            

The Long Good Friday (John Mackenzie – 1980) A

From the opening scenes that seem confusing, disjointed and go on for about 10 minutes with no dialogue at all this movie caught my attention. Then comes the kick ass cool music. think 70s Disco crossed with 80s porn music. It really was the heart and soul of this quintessential Brit mob film, the likes of which Guy Ritchie would love to make but probably cannot. Now, we come to Bob Hoskins’ terrific performance as the no-nonesense, smart mob boss out to figure out who’s murdering his people on this long day (the film starts on Good Friday and ends the next day). In the closing shot that is worth seeing again and again Hoskins delivers one of the best facial expressions ever, in a long close up with no words being said he says so much. Also, look out for an early Pierce Brosnan role.

Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro – 2006) A

Captain Vidal here has to be one of the most evil and entriguing characters. He is so real and played with such conviction that it gives me chills just thinking of him sowing his ripped cheek! The rest of this fairytale is very well made too and the images and scenes just blend with such ease and beauty.

Jarhead (Sam Mendes – 2005) A

It reminded me very much of Buffalo Soldiers only the guys in this war are not having as much fun, making as much money or even killing anyone. Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job playing the young soldier who is both bored and way in over his head in Desert Storm. Jamie Foxx’s is also fantastic here. The real attraction here is some of the most amazing Desert Storm imagery I’ve seen (the shimmering desert, the burning oil fields) all set to a very good musical score. This is certainly not a war movie, not much killing or fighting is going on, but it is a movie about a group of young guys in a dessert waiting for their piece of the action.