Monday, November 24, 2014

Toast, a film about food

This film, directed by S.J. Clarkson is somewhat based on the youth of Nigel Slater, food writer, who was born and raised in Wolverhampton, England.

Nigel is portrayed by two actors Oscar Kennedy as a boy and Freddie Highmore as a teen.

Ken Stott, who has recently been in The Hobbit films,  portrays his curmudgeonly father who scoffs at anything different. Victoria Hamilton is very sweet as Nigel’s mother who can’t cook. Whenever there was a failed dinner, there was always toast as an option. His mother couldn't ruin toast. 

There's one funny scene in which Nigel is getting excited over a cookbook and his father interrupts him!

Josh, (played by Matthew McNulty) a man who works in a garden nearby teaches Nigel about all kinds of things in addition to the wonders of composting and gardening.

After Nigel’s mother dies, his father hires Joan (portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter who I think is very good as this character) as a cleaner who starts to do cooking for them too. Unlike his mother, she’s a very good cook.

After his father moves them to a new home in the country, a  kind of food war starts between Joan and Nigel. I will never look at LemonMeringue Pie again in the same way after seeing this film.

A part-time job at a local pub leads Nigel to meet a young man who encourages him to change his life. 

Visually, this film is a wonderful journey in 1960's Britain with the food, fashion, cars and music (okay this is an audio part of the film journey, LOL!)

Some Quotes from this film:

“My mother was always averse to fresh produce. I’m Nigel. I’m 9 years old and I’ve never had a vegetable that didn’t come in a tin.”---Nigel

“It must have been the lack of nutrients that gave my father his fiery temper. He was not a sweet man despite a very sweet tooth.” ---Nigel

My mother’s sweet nature made up for her inability to cook or even make a sandwich.”---Nigel

“When you’re deprived of something, it makes you all the more hungry for it.”---Nigel

“She scrubbed, polished and bleached her way into our lives.”---Nigel about Mrs. Potter (Joan)

Here are some scenes from this film: 

Here's the trailer for this film:

Friday, October 31, 2014

Garibaldi's Lovers---Italian film with art and humor

Garibaldi's Lovers is a rather quirky Italian film with a number of eccentric characters directed by Silvio Soldini.  After getting caught shoplifting frozen frogs from the supermarket, Elia (played by  meets Amanzio, another older bearded shoplifter who was caught shoplifting stale-dated merchandise. Leo (played by Valerio Mastandero) has his own plumbing business with a Chinese assistant and finds it challenging raising his children Elia (Luca Dirodi) and Maddalena (Serena Pintucci). Diana (Alba Rohrwacher) is a struggling artist who just got stiffed for an art job and has to find a way to pay her rent. She finds an interesting new opportunity. Elia has a special friend --- a stork named Agostina. Maddalena finds herself notoriously online. Included in the cast of characters are a variety of historical statues.

Filled with quirky characters, beautiful scenes and unusual twists in its plot, it's an enjoyable Italian film with some interesting commentary on people and society.

Meantime, the city's monuments keep watch on the citizens and discuss the state of the nation and make comments on the things going on around them.

Some quotes from this film:

"True strength lies not in never falling but in rising every time you fall." Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
---quote shared by Amanzio

"What nations? We only see flags during the national soccer match!" --Cavalier Cazzaniga

"It is hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially when it is not there." Confucius ---quoted by Amanzio

"You can't be alone, you need a woman. You know what we say? A man without a woman is like a pond without a lotus flower."--Chinese man named Fiorenzio

It's a video of her playing Vito's skin flute. --Elia

Patience is a minor form of despair. ---Amanzio (quoting Vincent Van Gogh)

"Calmness is cowardice of the soul, "Lev Nicolayevich Tolstoy---quoted by Elia

"The wisest thing one can do be silent."Anonymous Persian proverb---Amanzio

Here's an interesting little conversation:

Do you consider these disciplinary methods effective?---Amanzio to woman with girl.

Mind your own business.--woman with girl to Amanzio.

As you wish. But don't complain when she chops you up with an ax and hides your remains in a trunk. Good day.--Amanzio

Another interesting little conversation:

Do you think birds know that we don't know how to fly or do they think we don't want to?---Elia

Depends on the bird. More intelligent birds know and thus loathe us, but the others don't even realize they know how to fly. Just like humans...they're stupid.---Amanzio

Dear sirs, raising awareness is in itself a job. ---Amanzio

Here are some scenes from this film:

Here's the trailer: