Sunday, September 13, 2009

Catching up: Julia, Basterds, and more

Been a busy couple weeks what with Young Master starting school and various other goings-on, so I'm going to do a big catch-up post.

Julie and Julia: Saw this a little while ago and I know that's going to come as a surprise to most of my readers who are used to me watching things that have blood and mayhem and explosions (haven't forsaken that of course, as you'll learn as you read on). But as a foodie I had to see this, and it was quite the enjoyable evening, once I got over my surprise at being in a movie theater almost entirely filled with women.

Meryl Streep should definitely get an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Julia Child; she's not an imitation or a caricature but a woman both talented and modest, who leads an incredibly rich, fulfilling life and helps inspire others yet never lets that go to her head.

The movie also celebrates food and the pleasure it brings - not just to the palate but to the people we gather around us to share in a meal. Unfortunately this seems lost on many of the people who've been buying Mastering the Art of French Cooking and are dismayed to learn that (gasp!) many of these recipes can't be banged out in 20 minutes or that (quelle horreur!) you actually have to use butter or pork fat! As Charlotte Freeman of Bookslut points out in her excellent column about the Child's classic cookbook, America has been made to fear food or to view preparation of it as tedious. Forget that. I've made Child's French onion soup and yes it took me several hours but it was not nearly as difficult as I would have imagined, and it tasted divine.

The Julie segments are much less successful (see the review at Cinema de Merde, which sums it up nicely), and it's to Amy Adams' credit that she makes these sequences work as well as they do. My favorite "Julie" scene is when she comes home from a bad day at work and says that the great thing about cooking is that no matter what else is going on in life, you know that if you put the pieces of a recipe together, you'll have something very tasty at the end of it.

Amen to that! It's why I made one of my favorite comforting meals tonight - spaghetti carbonara and bruschetta (made with roasted garlic and red, yellow, and orange tomatoes for extra visual appeal). Yum.

Inglorious Basterds: For once I'm glad that another Horrorview reviewer beat me to the punch and reviewed this movie before I could (good review, A.J.!). Because two days later I'm still not sure I could summon the right words. It's Tarantino's most mature work (bear in mind I haven't seen Jackie Brown) yet it's still so recognizably his - no one else could have made this movie. It is one that I will long to re-experience for the first time. I can't recall the last time a film put me through the wringer of suspense so much, and so well. Bravura acting all around, especially Christoph Waltz, whose SS officer is such a believably human monster.

No comments:

Post a Comment