Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Accountant

possesses (as of this writing) a nearly perfect RottenTomatoes pairing:  51% of the critics liked it, but 87% of the audience liked it.  I'm solidly with the audience.

The movie delivered everything I wanted from it and then some.  The action was strong, the characters stayed true to who they were, the plot provided a fun ride, and the ending was both satisfying and open to a sequel.

Ben Affleck stayed within his character almost all the time and was generally a joy to watch.  All the supporting actors did fine jobs with their parts, but Jon Bernthal was particularly strong.

I don't want to spoil the plot for you, so I'll keep it to this:  if you want an action film that's both odder than most and possessed of more heart than most, check out The Accountant.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tonight, I need to play you this song

For a lot of reasons, for Sarah, for Ben, for Chris, for their friends, for a lot of reasons.

The video isn't what I would have chosen for the song, but it's the easiest way to play this one.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

You know it's time to get in the cage

when you watch this trailer.

Oh, yes it is.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Durham's restaurant disappoints

A while back, a group of us ate dinner at the restaurant inside the trendy hotel, The Durham.  With Beard-winning chef Andrea Reusing at the helm and this rare five-star review from the News & Observer's Greg Cox, the place certainly appeared promising.

Sadly, in this case appearances were most definitely deceiving.  Our meal at The Durham was deeply disappointing.

Six of us squeezed around a table that would have been comfortable for four.  Though a couple of bigger tables were in sight, they told us this was the standard size for a group of six.  Throughout the meal, we and our servers wrestled with space issues.

The women refilling the small water glasses did as good a job as the space allowed, but our primary server was one of the worst I've recently encountered.  Constantly inattentive--each time we ordered, I noticed him looking at other tables as he tried to take notes--he actually pulled the menu from one person who was in the middle of ordering and walked away from another who was still talking.  It's no surprise, then, that he missed two of our orders, nor that our mains sat so long under the heat lamp that several dishes dried out.

I'd forgive shoddy service, though, if the food was great.  It was not.  It was decidedly middle-of-the road.  The meat-and-cheese board was good but no more.  The chopped salad was also good--but no better.  The crab souffle was hardly a souffle and sufficiently boring that its high point was the bread in it.  The beef fat French fries might have been good had they not sat so long; we'll never know.  The steak was fine, but you can find better prepared pieces of meat all over the Triangle.  And so on.

The only two dishes that showed great promise were the chip & dip starter, which involved a sort of carrot hummus that we all quite liked, and the pot de creme dessert, which we all agreed hit the bittersweet chocolate target perfectly.

The baked Alaska, by contrast, used mediocre ice cream--Ben & Jerry's would have been way better--and a meringue that was so thick and viscous that after I scraped it off the top of the dish and pushed it to the side, stayed exactly the same for the next twenty minutes until we left.

I rarely write such negative reviews, but I felt compelled to do so for several reasons.  First, this chef has the talent and the pedigree to do dramatically better.  I like to believe that if she had been at our table, she would have been appalled.  Next, no restaurant aiming for the high end should provide this level of service or accept this quality from the kitchen.  Finally, I simply cannot let Greg Cox's review stand uncontested.

If someone from The Durham would like to invite me back on a night when they feel they have their game on--I would, of course, pay my own way--I'd give it another try, but otherwise, I won't return there for food, and I have to recommend that you, too, spend your dining money elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

drew me to the theater because I try to catch everything director Tim Burton does and because I have a fan-boy crush on Eva Green.  I was concerned, though, because some of Burton's more recent efforts have been disappointing, and I worried that the film would contain entirely too much of the children and too little of Green.

I'm happy to report that though the children are indeed (and properly) the stars, the film shows us Burton in fine form, and Green is a strong presence for much of it.  I never expected to like this movie anywhere near as much as I did.

The baseline story is completely familiar but always a worthy starting point:  a child--here, a teenager--who's always wanted to be special but is not discovers lots of special kids and in the process his own special gifts.  What makes this version so entertaining is Burton's visuals, which are beautiful and compelling.  The actors also turn in good performances even when voicing lines that are occasionally rather silly.

I feel obliged to warn you that the film plays with time streams and does so rather sloppily, so you have to accept its machinations in this area with a rather large helping of suspension of disbelief.  Once you do, though, the game is afoot.

Catch Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children in the theaters while you can, because the visuals deserve the big screen.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Another PT person doing good in the world

This time, it's Duvan, who tells his sabbatical story in this video.

I've said it before, and I will almost certainly repeat it again:  I am proud and fortunate to be able to work with such great people.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Oh, yes, I'm ready to see this movie

After the first John Wick flick, I decided I could happily watch a new one every year.  That schedule was a bit too aggressive, but now a second in the series is on the way.

I'm definitely there.


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