Babette’s Feast

Babettes-Feast-7943_5

I had a roommate in college who, every day like clockwork, ate dry toast for lunch while watching The Food Network. While he never explained this routine to me no matter how many times I asked/poked fun, I always assumed he was engaging in some ritual of transference: that the act of eating what is categorically the most bland of meals somehow tasted better while experiencing a feast for the eyes; that some modicum of what was impossible to taste onscreen somehow made it into the liminal space between his brain and his mouth. The phenomenon of television cooking in the United States is an unusual one. In a country that has virtually no unique culinary history in contrast to its European counterparts, viewing the act of cooking grew as popular entertainment, and made celebrities of cooks, at the same time that Americans were turning off their ovens in favor of microwave dinners. Cooking’s aesthetic qualities have only gone on to become further elaborated in its media representation as meals can be experienced in glorious HD, while feeding into earth-conscious food trends like specialized diets, farmer’s markets, home gardening, organic shopping, and locavorism. The visual art of cuisine has a far scarcer history in American movies than it does in American television, perhaps because TV, like the consumption of food, is more invested in the domestic and the ephemeral (but for my money, the very best American food movie is Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci’s Big Night). Perhaps this notable […]

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discs graceland

Welcome back to a slightly revamped version of This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Graceland Marlon Villar (Arnold Reyes) is chauffeur to Manuel Chango (Menggie Cobarrubias), a salaciously corrupt politician in the Philippines who expects obedience and loyalty regardless of his actions. The two men have daughters the same age, and one day while Marlon drives the girls to school they’re stopped in an attempt to kidnap the politician’s daughter. Things go terribly awry, and the confused kidnappers take Marlon’s daughter instead having mistaken her for Chango’s child. Now Marlon’s only hope is for the politician to pay the ransom in the belief that his daughter is in peril, but maintaining the lie may lead to an even bigger tragedy. Writer/director Ron Morales‘ fast-moving and vicious little film is a fantastically economical thriller that wastes no time diving into a sleazy world where children are little more than a commodity and money beats morals nearly every time. It’s a dark and nasty world indeed, but one of the joys of the film is seeing Marlon act as well as we can expect given the situation. He never frustrates or annoys even as his self dug grave gets deeper and deeper. Read my full review here. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurette, deleted scenes, booklet]

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