American Hustle

I fell in love with David O. Russell over Silver Linings Playbook (they did an awesome job using social media to promote the movie, too!), and so when I heard he was banding Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, and Christian Bale together for a new film called American Hustle, I was beyond geeked.

This movie had everything I was hoping for. Christian Bale (Irving) played a lovable conman, caught in a dysfunctional marriage with the wildly talented — and in the film, wildly delusional — Jennifer Lawrence. He meets Amy Adams’ character, and falls in love, and into a whole lot of trouble. Bradley Cooper was pretty good, but Bale and Lawrence really stole the show.

I really feel that Jennifer Lawrence is the modern Meryl Streep. She was so committed to her role as Rosalyn, the nail polish-sniffing Long Island housewife whose husband, a conman with a comb-over, spent his days making money with his mistress.

The movie had pieces of romance, adventure, and grit…enough of each to make it a great choice for date night with my non-moviegoer fiancé.

Cameos by Louis CK and Robert (I want to call him Bob…) De Niro were great, and while the movie did feel a bit long — longer than it actually was — the plot twists were well worth it.

See, there, I told you how I felt about the movie, without really saying very much about it. Even if you really want to see Anchorman 2, go see American Hustle first.


The Sixth Borough

Since seeing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close a few weeks back, I’ve heard this “sixth borough” saying from many a non-New Yorker. And while I feel that, for most the part, LA is the antithesis of New York, there were elements of my less-than-24-hour trip that made me feel comfortable, and almost connected to the city. Everyone I encountered had some New York experience worth sharing, and in the same way that I feel I dispel the myth that everyone in New York is uptight and overly aggressive, my LA contacts did the same for my unwarranted stereotypes of the City of Angels.  And, to my only-slight surprise, the waitress at Cafe Gratitude — excellent vegan and raw restaurant in Beverly Hills — used the sixth borough expression to describe her feelings toward LA.

Though incredibly short, my trip was lovely overall, and was preceded with a jaunt to Seattle. In less than 72 hours and my first-ever trip further west than Chicago, IL, I’ve tried Vietnamese food (highly recommend the Lemon Grass Tofu Rice dish at Tamarind Tree in Seattle), walked through Pikes Place Market, met my adorable baby cousin Ben, had my first-ever vegan taco and raw dessert at Cafe Gratitude (see link above), and had the best-ever inflight experience with Virgin America.

While my layover in Denver during the blizzard wasn’t ideal, and I encountered a minor snafu on my way west via Frontier, I’m overall thrilled with my first West Coast trip, especially my stint in the supposed sixth borough.

Gold, but not solid . . . [The Golden Globes in Review]

Signs for the Golden Globe Awards.

Image via Wikipedia

I may work in book publicity, but good film and television are two things about which I’m equally passionate. In line with that interest, I live for Awards Season. I was supposed to go to a movie with my mom last night, but instead stayed in to catch the Golden Globes on NBC as opposed to later via DVR.

Before the show started, I kicked myself for not yet having seen Hugo, The Descendents, or The Artist, and as a result, I feel limited on my ability to fully comment on the worthiness of each award. I can, however, share my happiness in the winners whom I did feel deserved every ounce of their solid Golden Globe wins.

Best Actress, Drama: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady.”

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo.”

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help.”

Best Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Kate Winslet, “Mildred Pierce.”

Don’t be surprised that Woody Allen’s win for Midnight in Paris didn’t make my cut. I wasn’t a huge fan, because it felt like a complete and total departure — in the wrong direction — from his other work. That’s not say that it was bad, but I suppose I was so seriously unprepared for the course the film took, that I felt disappointed.

As for the others, I feel that Meryl totally owned her performance of Margaret Thatcher, as I think I made clear from my review of the film. While I didn’t see Hugo, I’m a huge Scorsese fan and have hard only amazing things about his take on Brian Selznick‘s book. Octavia Spencer was outstanding in The Help. She brought the character from the novel to life, and was sassy, sensational, and soulful. Lastly, but certainly not least excellent, was Kate Winslet’s command of her role in Mildred Pierce. Her range grows more and more evident with each piece she appears in, and her role in Mildred Pierce was not necessarily flattering, but she did not let it hold her back. She embraced the role, as she seems to embrace everything that comes her way.

I look forward to giving the other films a gander, most notably The Artist and Hugo. Next stop: The BAFTAs.

Giving Thanks to Premium TV

Dear HBO and Showtime Execs,

Television is important to me. I spend my days reading, and my nights, too, and so when I actually find time to watch TV shows on their original air dates and not via DVR recording, it’s your shows, on your networks, that I make time for.

Good television, with entertainment value carried throughout an entire season is tough to come by these days.

In the age of The Sopranos and Sex and the City, I experienced New York and New Jersey two ways: through the gangster underworld and the glitz and glammed Upper East Side. Through shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage, I get satirical insight into Hollywood, be it through Larry David’s self-loathing lens, or Adrian Grenier’s portrayal of a Hollywood “It” guy gone wild.

On Showtime, I’m treated to mothers gone mad — a quirky view of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) with the United States of Tara, and a drug-dealing, suburban ex-pat Nancy Botwin on Weeds. Add in sweet and disturbed Dexter Morgan, and you have successful programming for the summer.

Thank you for supplying me with quality entertainment. I’m excited to see what this summer in television has to offer.


A. Kirsch


The Namesake – Top Chef Season 7

I was not at all surprised tonight when Alex was kicked off after tonight’s elimination challenge. Now that he is gone, I feel that I can resume being impressed with Tiffany and Kelly.

I thought the way Tiffany chose to deconstruct the gyro was really smart and simple enough where she could really work the classic flavors more powerfully. I would also give $1 million Monopoly dollars to hear Eric Ripert say “gyro” again.

Innovation, cooking, and taste aside, I was most pleased with this episode’s guest judges. I love Wiley Dufresne and Eric Ripert. Molecular Gastronomy is meshes cooking together as an art, a game, and a science. Eric Ripert, on the other hand, is just plain old adorable, and has been a great judge in past seasons. He’s most known for seafood, so I’m not sure that I’ll ever taste his food, but he sure is aesthetically pleasing.

Final three prediction? Simple. Ed, Tiffany, and Kelly.

What the fork?

According to an article I came across on my Google Reader from, AMC is trying to start a new trend in the movie-going experience by offering dinner-style concessions as opposed to (or possibly in addition — the article was not clear) to the traditional theater noshes of popcorn, candy, and soda pop. The actual auditoriums where movies are screened will be complete with tables and recliner-style chairs. I do not agree with, nor will I partake in the fork and film venture.

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