Thursday, May 30, 2013

Liz and Dick, Together Again

My family loved Elizabeth Taylor when I was a kid. She was beautiful, sexy, and scandalous, stealing Eddie Fisher away from America’s sweetheart, Debbie Reynolds, in 1959 and then dumping Eddie a couple years later when she met Richard Burton on the set of Cleopatra. Some might say she was the Kim Kardashian of her day, except Liz had talent and a helluva a lot more style.

Despite near bankruptcy due to cost over-runs when the film was in production, 20th Century Fox has lovingly restored a director’s cut (4 hours!) of Cleopatra, which screened last week at this year’s Cannes film festival. The film, originally released in 1963, was also shown locally at selected theaters, last Wednesday. I wasn’t able to go, so we instead schlepped out to the Valley on Sunday, where it was playing one last time at a hole-in-wall theater on Victory Blvd. The movie screen was barely bigger than our TV! Still the restored footage was eye-popping, even if the acting was a bit ham-fisted. Liz and her costumes were absolutely gorgeous. No wonder Cleopatra received that year’s Oscar for best costume design. Not surprisingly, however, neither Liz nor Dick was nominated.

Coincidentally, the Aero theater, a 1940 movie-house located in the chi-chi outskirts of Santa Monica, is running a Shakespeare film festival this week, including Zeffirelli’s Taming of the Shrew (1967), widely considered the best of Taylor and Burton’s 11 movies together. I insisted we go.

Happily, the screen was much larger this time around, but the film had not been restored. Nevertheless, the movie was wonderful, with Liz and Dick both in their prime. Burton, in particular, was a delight, playing an over-the-top Petruchio in outlandish garb. As for Taylor, she was funny and as beautiful as ever. Who knew women looked so good in liquid eyeliner in the 15th century—a trick Liz must have picked up in ancient Egypt!

Summer BBQ

Smokin' pork!

As I’ve written elsewhere on this blog, Culver City was pretty much a ghost town when we moved here in 1998. Things really started to change, though, after chef Ben Ford opened his gastropub, Ford’s Filling Station. Suddenly we were hip! Not only did Ben, son of Harrison Ford, bring celebrity cred to our sleepy little town, but his food was fabulous. Soon lots of other high-end eateries were flocking here, making Culver City one of the culinary hubs of L.A. county.

Although we haven’t seen much of Ben lately, his restaurant remains an active part of the local scene. In fact, on Memorial Day his staff barbecued a whole pig on the front patio and served a prix fixe lunch, featuring a choice of two meats and two side dishes. As you can see, we couldn’t resist.

What a feast!

Between the two of us, we had enough ribs, chicken, brisket, tomatoes, potato salad, and beans to feed an army! Next year we’ll split an order, though we did make some outrageous tacos the next day out of our leftovers. Hmm hmm hmm!

P.S. I just found out that Ford’s is offering Big Daddy’s Summer BBQ the last Sunday of every month until Labor Day. Click here for details.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

The new movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, is (finally!) out in theaters today—a date that’s been circled on my calendar for at least 6 months. Normally I would have taken the day off and gone to the first showing; but work is crazy right now, so Tim and I are going tonight instead.

Waiting for this particular movie has been almost unbearable, especially since the first film in this series—which I absolutely love—was released 4 years ago. Luckily, the fanboys and girls at Yahoo have been keeping the rest of us entertained with articles and stories about all things Trek: yesterday it was the ten best Star Trek scenes; the day before, the ten best Star Trek quotes. Plus there have been lots of great videos. My favorites:

The Spock vs. Spock Audi car ad: an instant classic!

Restoring the Galileo shuttlecraft
from the original show: fascinating!

Tim sent me this one this morning: J.J. Abrams, director of the last 2 Trek movies and future director of Disney’s Star Wars reboot, on Jimmy Kimmel’s show last night. If you’re a Star Trek fan, be sure to watch it till the end. Very funny!

Come back tomorrow for my review of the movie.


We both LOVED the movie! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be surprised—or not! This is, after all, an alternate yet parallel version of the old Star Trek world we all know and love. . .

But enough with the potential spoilers. Go see it for yourself . . . Right now!