Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Bitter and the Sweet - Dreamgirls Review

Today (December 15th, 2006)was a great day and a sad day for me. It started with a trip down to Los Angeles to see a preview screening of Dreamgirls - can I just say Wow, and I'll say that backwards as well, "Wow!"
First off - Eddie Murphy as James Thunder Early was dynamite - I was mesmerised and captivated from the minute he appeared on the screen. He's back, ya'all! If he doesn't get an Oscar nom then he will have been robbed, he is THAT good.
Jennifer Hudson is breathtakingly Oscar worthy as Effie. I cannot believe that Hudson came into this film as a novice - she more than holds her own with the likes of Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, Eddie Murphy and Beyonce and simply tears up the screen. You WILL go to see her performance more than once - she is just that good.

She also is a testament to the brilliant directing of Bill Condon (who kindly signed my numbered Dreamgirls lithograph before the lights dimmed). Really - how could the HFPA have snubbed him for a Golden Globe nomination? This girl did not come off the street as a brilliant actress - somebody had to play a part in getting that performance out of her. He stood behind me watching as we, the first paying audience to see Dreamgirls took it all in. This was a little distracting for me at first but as the story unfolded I assure you, you will be as captivated as I was.
I was surprised by the lackluster performance by Jamie Foxx - he was supposed to be the villain in the story and I expected him to be more menacing and "black godfatherish" in his role but he fades to the background in scenes with Hudson and Murphy. I was suprised by this but it is true.
It was nice to see the original Lorell Robinson, Loretta Devine as a Jazz Singer toward the end of the movie, proving that she is still an original Dream girl. All I can say is please go see this movie - the performances are legendary and deserve to be seen and savored. The cinematographer Toby Schliessler and theatrical lighting designers Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer made the visuals on the screen look like a work of art. The costumes are true to the period and beautiful. I was not familiar with the work of Eddie nominated Avid editor Virginia Katz, but I will do a follow up interview with her soon - she is a talent to watch. Let me know what you think about the movie, add your comments below.

The sad note to this story was that after we saw this movie, we heard that a close family member had passed away and that I will be travelling again as a result. Life is fleeting my friends so give your flowers to the living while you can. I love you all and wish I could be with you in person.
A bientot,


Friday, November 17, 2006

Bring Your Best Dish...

A friend of mine invited me for Thanksgiving dinner and I offered to bring a dish. I asked her what her preference was - meat/fish entree, dessert, or sides and she said - "I always tell people, bring your best dish." Now there was a dilemma, what is my "best dish?" First of all, you all know I LOVE to cook and since I've been on my weight loss journey I love to cook for others all the things I can't eat myself. But what would I choose as the best representation of Doreen and her love of food? I have to admit this has caused me to pause and think. I love to cook with shrimp, - bite size, delicate succulent pieces of meat drenched in coconut milk, marsala curry, garlic, onions, nutmeg and thyme served with a coconut basmati rice. Yummy! But I know there will be vegans at the dinner - perhaps I should do my eggplant with garlic/tomato wild rice stuffing covered with a parmigiana/asiago cheese topping? Or dainty vanilla cinnamon shortbread cookies (it is impossible to eat just one, they are soooo buttery and melt in your mouth good!)

Well, as you can see, I have alot of thinking to do now. Because, I love my friends and my mission with every bite of food that I prepare is to make the guests feel the love in each bite of the dish. I always want to make food that is so good the body almost feels healed just by ingesting each bite. I know this is a tall order but it is my desire. As individuals we can only touch so many people before we check out of the planet. But I do have many sensual memories of things I've seen, touched, smelled and eaten - memories that last for years. My mom's west indian fish dinners, the Welland canal with seagulls circling and boats docking, my dad's homemade pepper sauce, kettle popcorn at the Exhibition, mom's oven roasted potatoes, (to this day mine are not quite as good). I remember these scents and aromas like it was yesterday and they comfort me today as they did when I was growing up.

I want this Thanksgiving offering to be good, so I will have to think about this some more. I will keep you posted.


The Thanksgiving weekend begins

The holidays have come so quickly this year, in fact the whole year has whipped on by. Moving from Washington DC to Bakersfield CA has been an Alice in Wonderland adventure. To go from working constantly and 16 hour days to the slower pace of a stay at home homemaker is a real mindblower.
I'm getting used to the fact that I now have a new world to explore and a new direction to seek. First the selfish phase kicked in where I just slept, ate , swam in the pool, exercised and thought about doing good for me. That officially lasted 3 months and now I'm anxious to get back to work.
So I'm launching this blog to force myself to write every day or at least every week. I will include some general family updates, fun facts and my take on the everyday. So welcome to The Blunt Instrument. I'm hoping it evolves into a conversation and a dialogue between friends.