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Showing posts from February, 2015

Oscars!: Selma

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Movie:Selma
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Original Song ("Glory")

Okay, so if you have't seen Selma? Go see it. Go see it now.

It is a shameful thing that the only nomination it got was Best Picture -- it deserved more, many more. Ava DuVernay should have gotten a directing nomination -- her work was incredible. David Oyelowo should have gotten a Best Actor nomination. Paul Webb should have gotten a screenplay nod. It deserved all of these things, as its nomination for Best Picture shows, but it got none of them. I am still and will continue to be incensed over this. It was not right. It is my vote for Best Picture even though I am afraid it will be ignored.

Tom Wilkinson and Tim Roth were brilliant as LBJ and George Wallace, respectively, but even more brilliant is the choice to relegate them both to the sidelines of the movie. It's not their story; it's the story of the people, and of MLK as one of the leaders of those people. (Also also, Nigel Thatch was ince…

Oscars!: Whiplash

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Movie:Whiplash
Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons), Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay

So, this film is intense. A kid who's really driven and not terribly socially adept gets into one of the best music schools out there because he wants to be a jazz drummer, and meets up with the hard-ass, brilliant, auteur prof (J.K. Simmons) who really just wants to make the next jazz great by pushing someone good until they excel (or break). Is that so much to ask?

Whiplash is a hell of a ride. It's the director's first film (he wrote and directed it) -- he couldn't get funding for it (and it was shot on a shoestring, basically) and so he made it into a short film and took it to Sundance, where it did very well and then he got the funding for the feature length version. This film is basically every indie filmmaker's dream process come true. J.K. Simmons is ferocious -- he is a musical predator that you never know whether he's going to…

Oscars!: The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Movie:The Grand Budapest Hotel
Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music, Production Design, Original Screenplay

Sorry I've fallen behind on these posts -- it's been a busy week. That said, let's get back to it, shall we?

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a Wes Anderson film -- arguably his crowning achievement in film, frankly, as seen by the nominations listed above. I don't mean to short any of the actors -- Ralph Fiennes as Mr. Gustave was frankly wonderful, and everyone did their caricatured, scene-stealing best. That said, Anderson's preferences for expressionless faces and scenes like still life paintings (because they're too improbable to be photographs) forcibly pulls the attention away from the performances and into the film as a whole. In this case that works, because the story and the setting and everything else are really captivating.

I am not a huge Wes Anderson fan, to be frank…

Oscars!: The Imitation Game

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Movie: The Imitation Game
Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actress (Kiera Knightly), Directing, Editing, Original Score, Production Design, and Best Adapted Screenplay

The Imitation Game is a movie about Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), largely during the war years when he was trying to build a machine to crack Enigma, but also going back to his childhood and forward to his eventual branding as a criminal (due to his homosexuality) and associated suicide at the age of 41.

The worst thing about Benedict Cumberbatch is how overused he's becoming in geek properties. The best thing is just how damn good an actor he is, as evidenced in this film. This is not to say that the rest of the cast weren't good -- they were, and I enjoyed Kiera Knightly as his primary foil and idea generator -- but honestly this was his vehicle and he plays it wonderfully. Well directed, well acted, well written... I really enjoyed it. It didn't give …

My birthday cake! or, Adventures in gateau de crepes

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So my birthday is on Wednesday, but we were going to have friends over tonight for gaming* so I decided I'd have my birthday cake today. I was trying to figure out what sort of cake I wanted this year, so I perused my new favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, and came up with this: gateau de crepes. Now, a gateau de crepes is just what it sounds like -- a cake made of crepes, layered with pastry cream. I have nothing against traditional cakes, but my birthday is an opportunity to try something new in desserts, and I like crepes, and I really like pastry cream, and so what the heck! Gateau de crepes it is.

So, the first thing I learned about gateau de crepe is that this is not a one day cake. Like many things in French cooking, nothing is hard, but there's a lot of little steps. In this case, I started on Saturday making the crepe batter and the pastry cream (as both have to sit overnight). On Sunday, with my friend Cheyenne's help, we moved to assembly.

So, the idea of this …