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Friday, May 22, 2015

Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild is categorized as a Fantasy Drama film.  It takes place in "The Bathtub" (a community of the Louisiana Bayou) and the primary characters are "Hushpuppy" and her father "Wink".

They live in a manner that most could probably not conceive of and many would not be able to understand.  Hushpuppy has a special relationship with animals and with listening to the "heartbeat" of the world around her.  Her father is ill, drinks heavily, and demands that they live separately on their property.  They interact with other community members but the movie centers on the two of them.  Hushpuppy's mother died sometime earlier.

With a flood threatening, they must decide whether to stay or leave, and how to do it.  Later, a forced evacuation causes even more turmoil for the community.

There are fantasy scenes with "Aurochs";  giant, prehistoric, boar-like creatures and they have metaphoric significance, but I'll be darned if I can pinpoint exactly what, or articulate it very well.  They seemed to represent fear, danger, and an idea that if you give in to fear you will be devoured by it.  That is about as close as I can get.

I am going to admit my biases and say that I struggled with watching this film because I cannot relate to the cultural context in which they live and I kept thinking it ought to be more aptly named "How not to parent a child".  There were glimmers here and there that Wink was trying to do the right thing.  If you saw Winter's Bone, there is a similarity and I similarly struggled with that film (while at the same time being caught up enough to continue to watch both).

The acting was impressive and Wink (played by inexperienced actor, Dwight Henry), and Hushpuppy (played by Quvenzhan√© Wallis) were notable stand-outs.  Quvenzhane ought to have received an Oscar.  She was the youngest to ever receive a nomination for Best Actress.

We watched the DVD via Netflix.  Let me just say, the trailer was much more promising than the film was (to me).  It promised more fantasy, more magic and more lightness than the film actually delivered.  Every smile the movie had is likely contained in the trailer.  Certainly not a movie for kids even though it is reated PG-13.  Often, the dialogue is narration by Hushpuppy and would move to slowly with too many metaphors for most kids to grasp or pay attention to.  Watch the trailer below or via this link.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Restaurant Review: Luna Sea Fish House and Market in Yachats Oregon

I stopped in for a quick bowl of clam chowder to go.  Hubby isn't a fish guy, so he went next door for some ice cream.  The place is tiny, and old and cramped and crowded and every table there was, was full.  There is more outside seating than there is inside...under a canopy with picnic tables...in the wind and cold.

There appeared to be about two wait staff on duty.  It took some time to get any attention, and I made my order and then waited...and waited, and waited.  To fill a little Styrofoam cup (and I say cup, because to call it a bowl would be a lie) with pre-made chowder and grill a piece of toast took nearly 20 minutes.  Time spent standing mostly in the way.  There wasn't room to turn around.  So I pretty much kept moving trying to dodge other customers and wait staff and trying not to stand and stare at people eating.  One would think, that even though I'm sure there were orders ahead of mine, dishing up some soup and making a piece of toast cold have been worked in sooner to get me out the door and out of their way.

The bowl of soup, the size of a cup of soup was $7.50.  And Yachats has a food tax so that made it
$7.88.  I went outside...hubby was nearly finished with his treat.  Sat at the outside tables to stay out of the way.  Chowder was NOT good.  I've had better from a can.  IF there were clams in it, I didn't see any.  They also topped it with a ton of paprika.  Ick.

The staff I dealt with were friendly and working hard.  But the prices were high, the product not good and the atmosphere, atrocious.  We come to Yachats as our favored beach location.  This will not be included in our return trips.

I like the name though.  Luna Sea.  Gotta love that!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Restaurant Review: Adobe Restaurant in Yachats Oregon

We have eaten here perhaps 3 times now.  We've been to the Christmas dinner which we enjoyed, and to regular dinner a time or two.  On this visit, we were celebrating our 10th anniversary, my birthday and Mother's Day.  So we splurged and got steaks.

We beat the dinner rush (it's a good idea to get a reservation, although we've tended to stop in early and haven't had a problem.  You can dress super casual...or at least we always have...windblown and fresh off the beach and starving.  Some people clean up a bit more than we do for sure, but nobody has ever made us feel like we were out of step.  I figure out money spends here whether we are fancy or not.

They have a decent salad bar which is an option with your meal (or soup).  Most of the tables offer an unobstructed view of the ocean and on this particular evening, we watched a few pods of whales moving north.  That was so exciting!

I ordered the pepper steak ($27) with no baked potato.  So it came with some steamed cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini and carrots.  It has a green peppercorn sauce with whole green peppercorns, deglazed with brandy and finished with heavy cream.  I ordered mine medium rare and it was more of a medium.  The cut was a New York and had quite a bit of fat on it.  By the time you cut all that off, it was a fairly thin, perhaps 6 oz steak.  I'm not sure I would order it again as I'm not so sure I loved the sauce but it was fun to try something different, I was STARVING from walking on the beach and the meat had good flavor.

Hubby ordered the New York Steak ($24).  He ordered his medium and it was quite a medium rare.  He managed.  It usually doesn't pay to send a steak back or it just comes back well done.  He had a baked potato with his.  He almost seemed to have more stuff cut off his steak than he had steak left over, so he maybe came away with about 5 ounces.

They brought a few small pieces of very good dark brown and white breads when we were seated.  I think we both could have eaten more.

Since we came early, things were quiet.  We've been there before when it is quite boisterous.  Tables are pretty close together.  It was a relaxing, albiet overpriced meal of average quality.  I think our server checked on us once during the meal and again at the end.  We ordered 5 layer chocolate cake to-go ($6.50 per piece).

It is an easy walk along the trail from the Fireside Inn and the Overleaf Lodge.  So whether you're staying at the Adobe, Fireside or Overleaf, it's an easy stroll to and from.

It was a special occasion for us, and it was a relaxing meal.  No, I wouldn't go there often because it is just too expensive, and they have small portions.

No drinks, no appetizers.  With tip, over $70.  We're more of a Burger King budget type of couple.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Restaurant Review: Bread and Roses Bakery in Yachats Oregon

I can only very marginally review this restaurant.  We didn't end up actually eating there. 

It is quaint and hip inside and out.  As near as I could tell, they only had one person on duty and many tables filled.  We were out for a quick bite.  Quick wasn't going to happen and when we realized that a simple sandwich would be $9.50, we decided not to stay. 

I realize that organic costs more, but to me, the prices were not worth staying for.  Yes, one can argue that all things are made fresh...but it's a bakery, and I would expect that at any bakery.  We arrived in the afternoon and the baked goodies were pretty well picked over.  I see that many have enjoyed it, so I'm glad it has a good product.  Just not for us, and not for people on a tight travel budget looking for good but simple food at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Live Show Review: Cirque Du Soleil's Varekai

In June of 2012, I reviewed the video of this show, Varekai by Cirque Du Soleil.  You can read the review of the video via this link.  This particular show was based loosely on the story of Icarus.  Truly, however, it is challenging to follow it as a story.  Primarily it is sound and color and movement.

May 8, 2015, my Sweet Baboo got tickets and we traveled to Portland, Oregon to watch the live show at the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum.  We went to the 4 p.m. matinee which as it turned out was not nearly full so it was less crowd overload than an evening show might tend to be.

There were both pluses and minuses to this experience.

On the minus side, it was LOUD...and I mean painfully loud.  I found some ear plugs in my purse and used them and still could have had less volume.

This particular creation is a little slower than some of the others I've seen on video.  It is higher on story creation and a little lower on the acrobatics.  The story is not obvious to the average viewer either.  Certainly, you don't see with nearly as much detail in a live performance as you do in a video where camera angles zoom in on every detail.  I would have to re-watch the video but it appeared that not all of the acts were represented in this performance as they were in the video.

On the plus side, it IS an experience and a cool adventure to see a live show.  We don't have such opportunities in a small town on a limited budget, so it was special to share that with the man.  The costumes and brilliant colors and set props are captivating.  Such creativity went into this (and other) shows by Cirque Du Soleil.  The caliber of the acrobatic skill is mind-boggling.  Sure, we saw a few little slip-ups, but overall, phenomenal performance ability.  It's hard to believe that the human body is capable of such amazing things.  The music was good as well...just way too loud.  The band is live, the singers are live...it's all there.  It was also fascinating to watch how they created visual distractions so they could set up and remove special equipment for transitional pieces.  Your eye was drawn away while they did their set changes.

Our seats were good...nobody in front of us on a balcony.  I'm almost thinking that the lower level, more expensive seats may not have been as good...you may have ended up slightly below stage level and the seats down there didn't appear to be on a slant, but level.  You might see a lot of backs of other people's heads.

All in all, it was a great experience, a fun treat, and a special memory.  Watch the trailer below or via this link.  It is available to rent from Netflix, on YouTube or for purchase on DVD.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Movie Review: Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy

I couldn't help myself.  I had to use this photo.  I laughed out loud in the movie when it showed this.  Doesn't everyone die like that when they've been strangled with a necktie?

Frenzy (1972) directed by Alfred Hitchcock is a murder thriller.  A serial killer is on the prowl.  He rapes each woman and then strangles her with his necktie.  Apparently, this is before any hint of DNA forensics was being widely used because he's not exactly careful.  And, as is often the case, another man is framed for the murders and we are along for the ride as we await who dies next and if the real killer will ever come to justice.

This is the first of the Hitchcock films I've seen that has nudity in it.  Even by older standards it was gratuitous and didn't add anything to the film.  Just there to be there.  Ya know, most of the films are dated by acting style and melodrama but it seemed more pronounced for some reason in this film.  It was just plain corny.  I didn't find the subject matter or storyline sophisticated or even all that entertaining.  Wasn't my cup of tea, I guess.  I think it was meant to be dark comedy as well but for me it fell flat.  It was named #33 of the top 50 grossing films of 1972, so it was apparently more popular then than it was with me now.

Watch for two glimpses of Hitchcock in his famous cameo appearances early in the film in the crowd during the press conference when the first victim of the film floats up on the Thames.  Watch the trailer below or via this link.  We rented the DVD from Netflix, but you can watch the entire film on YouTube.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Bruce Jenner & Diane Sawyer Interview Regarding Bruce's Gender Transition

Ya know, when I first heard about this interview, I wasn't going to watch it. I've been so off-put by the family's TV personas and the paparazzi hype that I couldn't imagine it would be anything but more of the same. I was wrong. Well done. Respectfully done. Lovingly done. I have hope that behind the crap commercialism, this is a family that loves deeply. I learned a lot. I have new-found respect. Worthy of an hour and 20 minutes of your time. Hate all the commercials, but still not as many as when it originally aired.

Open your mind and your heart and get a little education and a lot of humanity.

I can't post the video to play here, or at least not yet, so you'll have to go to ABC to watch the interview there.

I highly recommend it.  Best of everything to you Bruce.  Be you.  Live fully.