The Menu–Prix Fixe Squid Game Anyone?

“If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu” –a quote credited to Senator Elizabeth Warren in fighting for  her constituency before Congress.  But what about both–a seat at the table and on the menu too?  In the opening scene of The Menu, a group of nine wealthy foodies have paid $1250 per person to travel by yacht to a privately-owned island where celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes at his sinister best) will provide a rarified feast at his uber-exclusive restaurant, Hawthorne. The narrative starts out very slowly, with a delightful...

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Lunar New Year 2023–Year of the Water Rabbit

Lunar New Year 2023 starts today,  Sunday, January 22, 2023 in East Asia and marks the beginning of the Year of the Water Rabbit.  As the Year of the Tiger (yang) comes to an end on Saturday, Jan. 21,  and the Year of the Rabbit begins, we can expect an abrupt change of pace as we say goodbye to the roaring tiger and hello to the milder rabbit.  Both anatomically and behaviorally, tigers and rabbits could hardly be more different. The same is true for their corresponding zodiac years, according to astrologists.  According to the Buddhist sutras the rabbit...

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Three Pines–A Forest of Clues

Beloved Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (played perfectly by Alfred Molina), the star of the Louise Penny series of mysteries, investigates murders in Three Pines, outside Montreal.  In this eight-episode first season which debuted in December on Amazon Prime, five homicides occur. As in the novels, Gamache has a unique mindset for looking where others do not.  Three Pines relishes in the whodunit tradition:  it is not what you have seen but what you think you have seen.  And Gamache sees it all:  the light behind the darkness, the secrets and ghosts in a labyrinth shifting from moment...

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Magpie Murders–A Bird in the Hand?

Magpie Murders, based on the 2016 mystery by Anthony Horowitz, is the  first in the Susan Ryeland series. The story focuses on the murder of bestselling author Alan Conway (Conleth Hill), whose Atticus Pund mysteries have long been readers’ favorites. Using a mystery-within-a-mystery structure, Magpie Murders, has Atticus Pund (Tim McMullan), the fictional character in Conway’s latest mystery titled “Magpie Murders”, solve several murders while Susan Ryeland (the always worth-watching Lesley Manville), identifies clues for us to connect.  And the question she also raises:  Was...

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My Top 15 Movies and TV Series for 2022

Happy New Year 2023!! While we are all going into our third year of lockdown, many of us craved new content to watch, and feel like we are either running out of choices or there are too many to choose from.  Some are less well-known and under-the-radar.  Well, this year I have fifteen to recommend. Here are the reviews I wrote this past year with the criteria that they were available online since movie theaters were either shut down or offered very limited screenings. Of the 52 reviews I posted this year, here are my favorites.  Yet another difficult year to make...

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Where the Crawdads Sing—In Harmony with the Book

Any book-to-screen adaptation of a beloved best-seller has heightened risk of disappointing its audience. In the case of the blockbuster 2018 Delia Owens’ novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, Reese Witherspoon’s adaptation to film is not only a faithful adaptation but an original restructuring of the narrative without sacrificing the character arcs or the plots. Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones (from “Normal People”) as Kya, the abandoned little girl who survives in the North Carolina swamp as the “Marsh Girl”. She is taunted by the surrounding community.  Part coming-of-age story and...

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