Archive for September 2015

I DID SOMETHING STUPID! YES! ME!   1 comment


(YES, THIS IS A RESTAURANT REVIEW BUT KEEP ON READING!)

I really don’t like being hard on a brand new restaurant that isn’t even finished but from what I experienced I don’t think I will go back.

The shopping plaza that the new Buenos Aires Café has opened in has recently been renovated and this particular storefront is a little hard to find especially since they haven’t any signs outside. They do have outside seating which sort of helped us find the door.

We were greeted immediately by the server Alexa who did a good job, except for one slight mistake, with a positive attitude and a bubbly personality but not overdoing it. The Café is pleasantly decorated with a green theme and an interesting ceiling.

The placemat is the menu and after looking it over Allen and I decided to split two dishes. We ordered the salmon ($15) served on a bed of spinach top of a thick slice of broiled tomato and the spinach ravioli ($14) with a creamy mushroom sauce. He had a 8.5 oz bottle of diet coke ($2.50) and I had ($2). We told Alexa that we were going to share and she immediately put a clean plate in front of each of us.

The salmon was cooked a bit too long though it did have a good taste while the ravioli  was the better of the two dishes. Planned or not the salmon was served first and the ravioli after. This is where Alexa made that slight mistake by not bringing us fresh plates so we had to split the ravioli on the already used fish plates along with using the same utensils. I did suggest, because the sauce was excellent, serving some bread with the pasta and Alexa immediately said she would relay that to the chef.

My biggest disappointment with the Buenos Aires Café was that the portions were small enough that I, or Allen, could have eaten both dishes and still have left hungry. Most of my experiences in Buenos Aires cafes in Argentina, and other Argentina restaurants in our area, didn’t leave me feeling I had a snack instead of a lunch. I sort of rationalized that maybe they were buying into the whole ‘healthy living’ stores they are surrounded by.

The check, with tax and tip, came to $33.50 We had a groupon so saved $13 BUT I just now noticed looking at the check that a gratuity was put on the check which I wouldn’t even think of looking for at the Buenos Aires Café. At the bottom of the check it says “We are happy to add a gratuity to your bill. Kindly select from above” where they give 4 choices. We were never asked to select a tip, we were never told it was put on the check. Yes, that was/is MY fault but be careful.

The bottom line is that the lunch cost us $47 and, consequently, my fault or not, won’t go back.

Buenos Aires Café slideshow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-wJb2dVGSA

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Posted September 12, 2015 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS

“GRANDMA”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


“Grandma” is a movie for every woman, grandmother, mother, daughter, any man who has been involved with the aforementioned, and definitely any fan of Lily Tomlin. She has been a force of nature from her early days in “Laugh-In” from 1970-1973 to winning a Grammy for her comedy album in 1972  to an Oscar nomination for her film debut in 1974 in “Nashville” and winning a Tony Award in 1985 for the brilliant one woman show her partner of 42 years, Jane Wagner, wrote for her “The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe” up to and including a 2015 Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a TV comedy for “Grace and Frankie”. If there is any justice in the movie business Tomlin should have an Oscar nomination for her role in “Grandma”.

Though her role of Elle is a tour de force for Lily Tomlin she has a strong supporting cast especially Sam Elliot in a scene that is the highlight of the film. Judy Greer, her girlfriend of 4 months, “Just a footnote”, Elle tells her breaking up with her, Julia Garner as Sage , Elle’s granddaughter, Marcia Gay Harden  as Elle’s daughter, and Sage’s boyfriend, Nat Wolff, who is responsible for Sage’s pregnancy which puts the story into motion. Laverne Cox as a tattoo artist friend of Elle’s, Elizabeth Pena as the owner of a small book store not to forget John Cho as the owner of a coffee shop all have what are basically cameos but each impresses as being chosen for their scenes by the director and screenwriter, Paul Weitz, who wanted the best from each actor and got it.

Is Lily Tomlin Elle or is Elle Lily Tomlin? From the public persona of the entertainer we all know, it is hard to decipher if they are separate or combined into one. We see Tomlin’s highly skilled comic talents and in her scene with Sam Elliot plus an earlier scene where she grieves for her lover of 38 years, who died a year and a half before the movie starts, we feel the emotional range she can and does show as an actress or is it Lily Tomlin, the woman we think we know?  

“Grandma” is a short film, about 80 minutes including the end credits, that shows Lily Tomlin as an actress who can turn on a dime going from sarcasm to laugh out loud jokes to putting a tear in our eye with, seemingly, little effort. It touches on pregnancy, abortion, independent women, loneliness, growing/being old and what that entails, fleeting fame, how we can hurt people unknowingly, how we hurt each other mostly in short but effective scenes. One scene alone with Elle taking a shower, brushing her teeth, is more than worth the price of admission. 

Grandma Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0hJ7NHDglU

Posted September 11, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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“MISTRESS AMERICA”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


Have you ever sat through a movie asking yourself, “Why am I watching this?” Has an 86 minute movie seemed like 6 hours without any of the embellishments of being an epic film? I know the answer to the first question as I always hope the movie will redeem itself before it is over. “Mistress America” doesn’t do that!

With a screenplay by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig that seems to use every word they know and saying nothing plus being directed by Baumback and starring Gerwig this seems to be a hate letter to New York. It shows New Yorkers as aimless, not knowing anything, being full of hot air, ideas that don’t go anywhere unless stolen and even the crazies aren’t individuals.

The story is simple, with a ridiculous setup, of 18 year old Tracy (Lola Kirke) seeking out her 30 year old sister-to-be Brooke (Greta Gerwig)–the former’s mother is going to marry the latter’s father–having come to New York to attend college to become a writer after finding out it wasn’t the way she thought it would be and is lonely. (If you think that is a long sentence you will go bonkers hearing some of the talk in the movie!)

Brooke is the do it all girl from running a spin class to being an interior decorator  and many jobs in-between. Her latest project is to open “Mom’s” a combination restaurant, hair salon, convenience store, cooking classes, exercise center and more, basically being a community center, and a home away from home.

Naïve Tracy is  taken over by city-wise Brooke who never really finishes a project and is jealous of those who do like all those around her.  Tracy wants to be a writer so you should know where this is going, if it ever gets there. 

The only one who made an impression on me from this (too large) cast was Lola Kirke who comes across more grounded than the others, seems more natural and is the only one with an arc that shows growth. Considering that Gerwig is a co-writer of the film it is surprising how negative, destructive and lethal the women are towards each other. Though she is a beautiful woman most of the lines either she or Baumbach put in Brooke’s mouth make her an ugly person.

“Mistress America” is all over the place, neither here nor there, and really doesn’t say anything with all its rapid, spit it out, get it said helter-skelter lines.

“Mistress America” Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0M2R17KHoI

Posted September 9, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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JOHN, THE ARTIST, AMONG OTHER THINGS   Leave a comment


In talking about Bill’s garden I briefly mentioned the artwork, the wood carvings, the birdhouse, that John contributed to the garden. Though it may be hard to see there is a lot of detail in his work. Did you notice the actual bird house is in the shape of a bird’s head? With the exception of the first piece which is in his apartment, and that someone recently bought, John’s work can be seen all over Gateway, not necessarily in the form of wood carvings but in the fact that he is very handy and has done a lot of work for residents to make their life easier from putting up shelves to even making a bed. I don’t know whether it is recent or he has been doing it for awhile but a lot of his art is African oriented.

Before I put the dresser in front of the east window in my living room with a ‘door’ on top to display my plants he had extended the two window sills by putting a wider shelf on each. When I decided to stop using my oven/stove top he had the idea of using an old cupboard shelf so I could put my blender, crockpot, electric can opener and coffee ingredients on top of it. Along with that he put up my blackout drapes in the bedroom.

He has made shelves for people to put their microwaves on and right now is working on an open floor cabinet, like I have in my kitchen, for someone else. I know he has done a lot of work for others here and he basically just charges for the materials he has to get and throw the labor in for free.

Along with the many art talents he has such as doing all the set decorations every year for the world famous nativity show at his church John is one of the very few true Christians I have met. He does not look to convert anyone but to live his life as close as he can to what G-d asks of him. I have never heard him be negative about anyone and he helps anyone he can, just recently helping me through the whole 6 weeks with my broken knee

John is a man who everyone should have and needs to have as a friend. Add his natural artistic ability to his persona and the fact that he also has a very talented twin and you have a winner BUT don’t tell him I said so! LOL

SLIDESHOW

https://youtu.be/jcarnz1ggrc


Posted September 7, 2015 by greatmartin in ARTIST

“LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


In “Learning To Drive” Wendi (Patricia Clarkson) is a successful writer and book critic who we meet as her husband (Jake Weber) is leaving for another woman. Darwan (Ben Kingsley) is a driving instructor who is an American citizen after looking for political asylum having been a prisoner in India. In addition he is working a second job as a taxi driver and is about to embark in an arranged marriage with an older woman (Sarita Choudhury) from his previous country.

Wendi, being a New Yorker–“Queens is not New York” –has never learned, never needed to learn how to drive–”With buses, cabs and trains you don’t have to learn to drive in New York (Manhattan)–consequently you know these two people will be thrown together especially with Darwan a straight ahead, sage, correct way of thinking, metaphor spouting wise man and Wendi a writer with imagination, no discipline, who only in her writing is focused and otherwise not too smart about other people. 

Darwan, as a cab driver, witnesses the break up between Wendi and her husband as they are his fares after the two storm out of a restaurant.  Wendi’s daughter, Tasher (Grace Gummer) goes to school in Vermont, and works on a farm, so in order to see her daughter–”My husband always did the driving”–which is not near any accessible transportation, she  decides to take driving lessons and the two people of different temperaments, cultures, different thoughts on marriage are brought together for this ‘small’ independent movie. No, it doesn’t go where you think it will but only by a near miss.

Ben Kingsley, having a thicker accent than he did as Ghandi, brings more to the role than the script gives him in scenes as when he is harassed for his race or talks about what happened to him in India while Patricia Clarkson is luminous and at the same time, within the same scene, uncomprehending what is happening to her. There is a funny sex scene with a blind date and Samantha Bee has the best, and funniest line, in the movie playing Wendi’s sister.

The two leads, as expected give excellent performances, Jake Weber is strong in his scenes with Clarkson and this is the first time I have been impressed with Grace Gummer though her role is woefully underwritten. Sarita Choudhury introduces an interesting aspect to the film which could have added another dimension if the screenplay by Sarah Kernochan and the direction by Isabel Coixet had followed through.

“Learning How To Drive” is a 90 minute movie that holds your attention with the acting, what the film could have been and what it does and doesn’t do in the short running time.

LEARNING TO DRIVE TRAILER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IThfFYmEGEs

Posted September 4, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

SUMMERTIME 2015 PART 4   Leave a comment


(WILD PARROTS)

There is no doubting that August in Fort Lauderdale is HOT! HOT! HOT! And let’s not forget the humidity but I love it all. I especially love walking around and just enjoying all that is around me whichever way I turn.

1 & 2 Some residents make gardens out of the property in front of their apartments while others make patios and this is just two of them–all paid for and made by the residents!

3 Say hello to Lenny the Lizard–he (or is it his brother?) greet me every day near the elevator when I reach the ground floor.

4 & 5 Here it is 6 months after I bought the seeds from The Dollar Tree and planted them still blooming and still putting a smile on my face!

6 The hibiscus that was trained into a tree–stunning.

7 to 9 We have a flock of wild parrots that visit every day. Yes they are loud but look at their colors! It always amazes me that they can perch on branches or twigs without bending them a bit and these are heavy birds!

10 One of the old trees in the park near the football filed.

11. Lenny’s friend–do you know HIS name???

AND IN A FEW WEEKS AUTUMN WILL COME AND OUR HIGH TEMPERATURES WILL DROP TO THE MID 80S {#basic-frown.gif}

SUMMERTIME 2015 PART 4 SLIDESHOW

https://youtu.be/YiyzA0G4UMY

Posted September 2, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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