February 2015 archive

Coming Attractions in 2015


With Oscars airing this past Sunday, it marks the end of focusing and awarding the films of 2014. Now, it’s time to look ahead at the films of 2015. There are many questions we have to ask ourselves with the various pictures coming out. Does Cameron Crowe have one more good movie in him with his new release Aloha (arguably he really hasn’t made a good film since Almost Famous)? Can Mad Max: Fury Road make a movie star out of Tom Hardy? Is the new Star Wars film going to be help us forget the prequels? And how is Furious 7 going to deal with the real life death of one of its stars, Paul Walker? To celebrate the films that we are excited for in 2015, I’ve made my own awards simply based on the trailers for these upcoming films. (more…)

The Film You Might Be Surprised I’m Excited To See Award

Magic Mike XXL
Oh yes. I was convinced by my wife to see the first Magic Mike on opening weekend and walked out of theatre pleasantly surprised. The direction of Steven Soderbergh raised the level of the material in an unironic film that seemed more to be ode to a French new wave Flashdance. It also gave us perhaps the best Channing Tatum performance we’ve seen (maybe cause of his personal connection to the material). This leads us to the sequel, Magic Mike XXL, a movie that let’s you know from the title that we are here to have a good time. The stacks are low here, no villains looking to take over the world or destroy New York City for the 100th time. No, not here, just the simple pleasure of seeing this rag tag team of male strippers enjoying what they do. With that said, the noticeable draw back of the sequel, is two key components that made the first film so good…Soderbergh and Matthew McConaughey.

The Film That You Might Be Surprised I’m Not Excited To See Award

The Avengers: Age of Ultron
I should be excited for a sequel that involves several of my favorite comic book characters, yet I don’t feel anything when I see Hulk running toward the Iron Man Hulkbuster in a rage of fury. Usually, the second installment of comic book films are considered the best, they are void of origin stories that slow down the film. Yet with all the separate Marvel films that connect to this new The Avengers film, the world building (or in this case universe building) to get to this point has gotten tiresome. Nothing seems to matter in any of these films because all they are doing is setting up for the next Captain America/Iron Man/The Avengers film. With all that said, I can’t imagine not seeing this movie on opening day cause I love comic movies, so disregard everything I just said.

The Film That Twelve Year Old Version of Myself Is In Front of The Line For Award

Jurassic World
This one can be easily explained: I LOVE DINOSAURS! They are my film kryptonite, to the point that I saw Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. The original film in this series, Jurassic Park, was released in the summer I turned twelve. Its importance in how I see and appreciate film (oh I know Taxi Driver or Citizen Kane should be the answer for what film had the biggest impact on me but I would be lying if I said that) is never forgotten by me. I saw the possibilities in filmmaking with Jurassic Park, so naturally when they made the second Jurassic Park, I was going to be there (I gave it a pass up until we got the gymnastics scene from Jeff Goldblum’s daughter) and the dreadful Jurassic Park 3. So of course I’m there for what’s in store for this forth installment. Finally, we see what the park is like once it’s opened to the public, Chris Pratt now doing his Indiana Jones impression with that leather vest, and Raptors are the good guys (maybe). How can I not be excited about this?

And yes, if you were wondering I do cry every time I watch The Land Before Time and when Littlefoot’s mom dies.

The Chris Pratt Award

Oscar Isaac
This award is given to an actor or actress that breaks out to the point in which my mom knows his or her name. With Guardians of The Galaxy being a massive hit and Pratt’s terrific performance has Peter Quill, he had a breakout year, making him the next potential movie star guy. This year it looks like the next big thing could be Oscar Isaac, who in the past few years has gained popularity amongst critics and bloggers as someone with the appeal of a young Al Pacino. Seeing that there is no marketability in being considered a great actor but instead a movie star, Isaac will be seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Since I have lukewarm feelings on Star Wars altogether, I haven’t kept up on the secret details of the film so I have no clue if he is a good guy or bad guy in the film. He could be the Luke Skywalker or the Han Solo for all I know. What I do know is no matter what he plays in the film, you’ll take notice of him (cause he is a good looking guy) and you’ll remember his name.

The I Don’t Need a Trailer To Know This Film Is Going To Be Good (Hopefully) Award

Midnight Special
This is awarded to the film that has yet to have a trailer released, usually do to the fact that it won’t be out in theaters for another 7-9 months from now; so there is a lot risk involved with this award. But given that Jeff Nicholas, the director of Midnight Special, has directed one of my favorite films in the past 10 years (Take Shelter), I feel safe in knowing this will at least be worth seeing. Even with little that is known about the film, the cast should spark some interest for anybody, which includes, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver and Nichols’ most reliable actor Michael Shannon.

The Film That Will Most Likely Inspire My 2015 Halloween Costume

Charlize Theorn as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
This one is a no brainier. I mean just look at how much of a bad ass Theorn is with her shaved head and black make up covering her face. Every five years or so, we are privileged to see a woman playing with the ideas of female masculinity in an action film with the shaved head look. If Mad Max: Fury Road is has good as I hope it to be, I would love the chance to make her look part of my Halloween costume, I’ll just have to figure out what to do about her amputated/robot arm, but I look forward to the challenge.

And Lastly, The Ten Films I’m Looking Forward To See The Most in 2015:

In The Heart of The Sea
The Knight of Cups
The Revenant
Furious 7
Jurassic World
Midnight Special
Sisters
That’s What I’m Talking About
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max Fury Road

100 Films in a Year

Chris here. I wanted to clue you in on a New Years resolution of mine. As so many blog “think” pieces have stated in the past few years, this is the “golden age” of television and has pushed films (to a degree) into the background of the discussion of popular culture. The past year I’ve found myself having more conversations with friends on theories of The Yellow King or what was with the dance sequence at the end of Mad Men than about any film that may have warranted plenty of conversation (Obviously American Sniper has been an exception to this in the past few weeks but not for the merit of the ‘quality’ of the film but the politics behind it). Ash and I in the past few years have found it easier to commit to watching entire season of shows than commit to a two-hour movie. I’m not sure why that’s the case for us and many people these days, but I’ve missed the certain amount of commitment of taking a risk on films, whether they are old or new films. Inspired by that thought process, I wanted to catch up on some films from the past I’ve yet to see. (more…)

My initial plan was to only catch up on the Akira Kurosawa films I haven’t seen but than I realized there are some Ingmar Bergman films that I need to watch and oh, I need to finally see the original Solaris. Then I kept thinking of all these films that I’m shocked that I haven’t seen yet. Yes, it’s perfectly understandable to go your whole life without seeing the 1927 silent film Sunrise but how have I, a child of the 80’s not seen Sixteen Candles or Red Dawn? Then there’s Top Gun, a movie I’ve managed to avoid for my whole life that has dumbfounded the collection of my male friends who grew up wanting to be Maverick, while I wanted to be Prince from Purple Rain. When it was all said, I rounded the number of movies I needed to see to 100 (as if you didn’t know from the title of this piece). With a stipulation being that it had to be films that were released prior to 1994 (94’ was when my obsession with films really started, so it seemed to be the right point to look back at films that I’ve might missed out on). So with all that said, here’s my list of 100 films that I hope to watch before the end of 2015 and for your viewing pleasure, just in case you would like to follow along. Good luck.

100 Films in a year to watch:

Sixteen Candles

The General

Nashville

Brute Force

Ace in the Hole

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Becket

Lust For Life

Point Blank

Scanners

Django

Coming Home

Rocky II

The Panic in Needle Park

National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1

Repulsion

Amarcord

The Long, Hot Summer

Straw Dogs

A Man Escaped

Xanadu

The 39 Steps

Suspicion

Lifeboat

All That Jazz

The Secret of NIMH

Hoosiers

Dead Poets Society

Gandhi

Newsies

The Magnificent Ambersons

F for Fake

Valley Girl

Burden of Dreams

Red Dawn,

The Hunt for Red October

Metropolis

Bull Durham

Shampoo

Sophie’s Choice,

Sullivan’s Travels

Grey Gardens (1975)

The Friends of Eddie Coyle

A Fistful of Dollars

Superfly

The Last Picture Show

Murder on the Orient Express

Baby Doll, Blow Up

Thelma & Louise

Gentleman’s Agreement

Once Upon a Time in America

Sex, Lies and Videotape

My Dinner with Andre

Defending Your Life

Being There

Top Gun

Das Boot

Solaris (1972)

New York, New York

Brief Encounter

Pickpocket

The Great Dictator

Roman Holiday

Sunrise

His Girl Friday

West Side Story

The Gold Rush

Wings of Desire

Battleship Potemkin

The Passion of Joan Arc

Stranger than Paradise

Stagecoach

High and Low

Persona

The Virgin Spring

Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Zelig

A Woman Under the Influence

The Sugarland Express

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Jules and Jim

Gates of Heaven

A Woman is a Woman

Breathless

Le Doulos

I Vitelloni

Eraserhead

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Fitcarraldo

La Strada

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

The Passenger

Le Samourai

Stray Dog

Yojimbo

Sanjuro

Ikiru

Husbands and Wives

Rashomon

 

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

I think one of the most difficult aspects of Winter is the lack of “fresh.” My windows have to stay shut from the months of December to March so I desperately try to avoid that stale smell by using the air freshener plug-ins. Man, are they a life-saver! But they are nothing like the crisp, clean air that is found outside of my doorstep. I also miss the produce that is offered so abundantly in the warmer months. As much as I love cozy, hearty food, sometimes it makes me feel like I’m stuck in a box. Whenever I get into a cold weather funk in the kitchen, I try to incorporate fresh as much as I can. For me, this means herb overload! Herbs are a great way to add a burst of fresh to any dish so you aren’t gasping for air after eating your 100th bowl of chili this Winter season. (more…)

Chicken Parmesan will forever be one of my favorite dishes. I don’t know if it’s the crispy, crunchy crust, or the ooey, gooey cheesy goodness, or the tart, sharp tomato sauce. All components seem to work double time, satisfying all the things I crave in one bite. But even Chicken Parm can get old or outdated. Inspired by recent posts by other food bloggers, I decided to give the Chicken Parmesan a wonderfully fresh face lift. Also, I think there is something romantic about having Italian food for Valentine’s Day (just an idea). I’m not selling this as the best Chicken Parmesan you will ever have (there are plenty of legit Italian restaurants that could put me to shame) but it’s pretty delicious for a home-cooked meal. Pesto is added to the delicious toppings of this classic, enhancing the flavor by offering a burst of herby freshness. I also swap out regular Mozzarella (no hurt feelings) with a delightfully smoked Mozzarella (the obsession is real). Salty parmesan isn’t only added to finish this masterpiece off but it is combined with Panko breadcrumbs to give you the crunchiest, cheesiest, Chicken Parmesan you will ever cook! Did I mention this great classic is a one pan plan? We flour, dredge, and bake! It doesn’t get any easier, friends! Also, I think I used my monthly quota of the word “fresh” in this one post. Let’s do this thang!

Our ingredient line up! It doesn’t take much to enhance your pantry items. Here, it’s all about easily accessible ingredients and the seasonings in your spice drawer. We have eggs, flour, chicken cutlets, smoked Mozzarella, pesto, marinara (the jarred stuff), then a delectable mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper.

Our dredging station is complete with flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs! It’s as easy as 1,2,3!!!

After the chicken is breaded, we generously grease a baking pan to ensure the crust gets, well, crusty. We also turn over our cutlets half-way through cooking so both sides get crispy! I’m pretty proud of this crispiness if I do say so!

Once the chicken cutlets are done, we get the topping party started. Each cutlet gets a healthy dose of marinara and smoked Mozzarella. The sky is the limit here. Don’t stop until it feels right.

Next, the chicken is dotted with the lovely pesto. Not to go there but it totally looks like Christmas here! Again, you can add as much pesto as you want! Don’t hold back! This amount was definitely not enough for my pesto-loving husband.

The only thing standing between you and a yummy chicken dinner is Parmesan cheese. It IS Chicken Parmesan so now isn’t the time to be frugal with your Parmesan use. It’s as if these cutlets got a little snow dusting (ugh, it’s been Winter for way too long!). These guys get baked until everything is melted. You need to emotionally prepare for the next picture. Your mind is going to explode by all of the deliciousness about to be pictured.

BAM! Now, who wouldn’t be ecstatic to have this made for them for Valentine’s Day, let alone any other day of the week! Enjoy, friends! Happy Chicken Parm making!

What I’ve Been Up To

Hey guys! Anyone else feel like getting out of bed every day and braving the cold is too much to ask? I literally have been a zombie for the last month so much so my husband has been lucky enough just to have a warm dinner waiting for him every night. It doesn’t matter what I eat, where I eat, or how much I eat, I’m always so tired and wanting to take a nap! Spring can’t get here soon enough but I’m still holding out for a snowstorm! Here are some pictures to clue you in on what I’ve been up to and how my 2015 is going so far.

This girl celebrated her 1st birthday at the beginning of the month! So excited for what this year will bring for her! (more…)

I will never cause the fire alarm to go off again. Promise.

Have you ever tried to make the tallest nacho pile ever? Been there. Done that. Got the tummy ache.

Just the hubs chowing down on some Fancy Brussel Sprouts.

Remember that snowstorm we were supposed to get? Yea me neither.

Dodger on a Dodger blanket. Too redundant?

Newborn snuggles.