Friday, August 29, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

So I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona last week sometime. I can't really remember when. It is all a haze. But my rapidly fading memory is another topic for another day. Back to the film at hand. So I have been trying to think of a hook or an angle to take when discussing Vicky Cristina Barcelona and I am not having any luck. I really wanted to write something about this movie though because I really enjoyed it. I liked the narrator's voice. His cadence and tone just sat really well with me. I loved the golden tones of many of the scenes. I have been a sucker for the gold tones ever since Bad Boys. I also really enjoyed the humor of the film. The caricature of the boring New York businessman cracked me up. The pleated khakis were just perfect. I laughed every time he said or did anything. I also found the music to be quite enjoyable. Musical choices for films seems to be something that has really been catching my attention lately. And I am liking what I am seeing/hearing.

I was going to write more but I got sidetracked and now I am going to go home. So I will just say that I really enjoyed Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I recommend that you see it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5 Days in Prague

My good friend Mr. K.E. Paugh, who most definitely does not suffer from the debilitating never-nude syndrome, sent me a link today to the J. Crew webpage where they are featuring a short film/advertisement for their Autumn line of clothing. The film is titled Autumn Album 5 Days in Prague and was produced by Tom Dey and Coliena Rentmeester. I wasn't able to embed the film on my blog but you can click this link to watch at the J. Crew website.

Make sure you watch the film with the sound enabled. The music combined with the various images are beautiful. The aforementioned Mr. Paugh said that this was a perfect example of the style of films he wants to make and I have to agree with him. If I were creative enough to make films, this is the kind I would want to make. I loved the mixture of black and white with color. I loved the vignetting on the shot of the subway car. The shots through the car window with the rain drops were perfect. And the car. Oh the car. Words don't do it justice. I really, really want that car.

So yeah, the tone of the film is absolutely perfect. If I was their target audience was me, then Mission Accompolished! is all I can say. Tom and Coliena definitley deserve a banner. If you haven't watched the film yet, make sure you click on the link now. For reals yo, click on the link now. You won't be disappointed. I promise.

PS I might kind of be in love with one of the models in the film. I'll leave it up to you to guess which one.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Man on Wire

I watched this great little documentary last week called Man on Wire. It is about this French guy named Phillipe Petit who was an accomplished high-wire walker with a flair for guerrilla style acts of grandiose. Quite the juxtaposition, I know. But that is part of why it was so appealing.

The story in and of itself is quite simple yet the storytelling employed by the film makers is top notch. I was immediately pulled in by the personalities of the various characters and was literally mesmerized by the archival footage and still photographs employed to bring the story to life. The footage of Phillipe practicing his craft in a field in France while hanging out with his friends was so interesting to me. It was like a strikingly poignant fairytale come to life. Watching him actually perform his act between the rooftops of the World Trade Center was truly a feat to behold. I was quite simply awestruck.

The biggest surprise of the film, for me personally, was the emotional impact of hearing Phillipe's best friend/co-conspirator and also his girlfriend (I want to make it clear that these are two different people) talk about the falling-out the group of friends had after Phillipe successfully completed his life-long goal. It was also quite interesting to see how his former girlfriend still idolized him. Even after all these years. Truly fascinating.

So yeah, if Man on Wire is in a theater near you, check it out. The characters are larger than life and the archival footage and still photos are amazing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Union Station

Considering my model limitations, lack of a bounce board, use of a remote, and once again my model limitations, I am very happy with the way this photo turned out. It is pretty much what I had envisioned when I was trying to place the camera and adjust all the different settings. The composition is almost exactly what I wanted and the light through the window in the background turned out great. I really wish I could have got a little more fill light on my face though. Regardless, I am pretty satisfied with the result.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Father's Office 2.0

You may want to sit down before you read my next sentence. There was a time when Father's Office had a few things working against it. The burger (cooked medium of course) and the sweet potato fries with the dipping sauce straight from the hands of God have always made all other tier 2 burger experiences cringe in shame. Kind of like me when I am forced to admit that I kind of like to watch Gossip Girl every once in a while. However, finding a table at Father's Office used to be about as easy as solving a rubix cube while blindfolded and with the threat of being punched in the wiener if you don't solve the cube within 3 minutes hanging over your head. Finding a table was so annoying that I always ordered my food in a to-go box.

But a couple of months ago this all changed. A second location for Father's Office was opened in the Helms Bakery District in Culver City. Ever since this momentous occasion, finding a table at the original Father's Office has been easy like Sunday morning.

So after many well meaning attempts to try out the new Father's Office location, which were always thwarted by my aversion to traveling east of the 405 (aka my laziness), I finally made the trek and am here to tell you that Father's Office 2.0 is fantastic.

The best part about the new location is the abundance of seating. There is a GIGANTIC patio with many tables as well as a spacious interior with plenty of tables. There are tables, chairs, and benches everywhere. Realistically, seating should never be an issue at the new location. Even on a rocking Friday or Saturday night. I also think they have way more cooks on hand to prepare the food. My burger and fries were delivered to my lovely little table on the patio in record time. And while my food was delivered in record time, none of the hallmarks of quality for which I hold Father's Office so dear to my heart were sacrificed. The only drawback for the new location is that the fries are served in a little silver basket instead of the cool silver shopping cart used at the original location.

All in all, the new Father's Office is really the bomb dot org. Yet I will forever remain loyal to the original. Especially now that seating is no longer an issue thanks to the second location. However, if I am ever in Culver City, whether it be for an art gallery or to see a movie at the Pacific Culver Theater, Father's Office will be the first place on my list when deciding where to dine.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Jump Off

So I read today that Georgia and Russia were on the brink of war and that Russia was moving troops and tanks into South Ossetia. I mentioned this to my co-worker and without missing a beat she responds with " I knew something was going to jump off today." My first thought was wow, she must be really plugged in to the world news scene and probably has some interesting insight into this topic. So I ask how she knew something was going to happen today. And her immediate response was "eight eight oh eight " (8/8/08). Pretty keen insight, yeah? I wonder if she can also guess my weight.

The whole episode from the jump off to the 8/8/08 just cracked me up. Then again, it might be one of those "you had to be there" type things.

Monday, August 4, 2008

25 Degrees

I have been really disappointed in the quality of my blog over the last couple of months. My jokes haven't been as funny. My insights haven't been nearly as profound. And maybe worst of all, my movie reviews have been incredibly shallow and lacking in regularity. I have been meaning to rectify this situation for the last couple of weeks but have been unable to come up with quality material. I ask myself why and am unable to come up with a quality reason for my lack of inspiration. In an effort to recapture my former glory I decided to revisit one of my favorite topics - The LA Burger Scene.

For the record, there are three tiers of the burger world as defined by me. These tiers are most easily defined by the price of the burger and are broken out as such:

Tier 1 - $0-$9.99
Tier 2 - $10-$19.99
Tier 3- $20 and above

Here are the reigning champs for each tier:

Tier 1 - In-n-Out Burger
Tier 2 - Fathers Office - And for all you contrarians who enjoy arguing simply for the sake of arguing, don't even bother mentioning The Counter in the comments. We all know that Fathers Office is by far the superior burger.
Tier 3- DB Burger. Yes, I know that technically this is a burger from the NYC but it is so amazing that it deserves top billing in this blog. Picture if you can braised short ribs and foie gras wrapped in top notch beef and sandwiched between two slices of heaven aka the bun of delight.

So now we have a new entrant in the contest - 25 Degrees. I have been meaning to go there ever since Joe Escalante of The Vandals and the 103.1 morning show declared it to be the best burger in LA.

25 Degrees (for some reason I kept calling it 28 Degrees. Maybe it was due to my affinity for a great little band called 98 Degrees. You may have heard of them. PS I totally stole this joke and am not ashamed of it.) is located on the ground level of The Roosevelt Hotel, which by the way is pretty awesome. It totally crushes The Chateau Marmont in every aspect ranging from architecture to ambiance. Oh yeah, and the burger is like 300 times better as well. If you haven't been to the Roosevelt you should totally stop by the next time you are in Hollywood. Hollywood, yuck. This is really the only drawback to 25 Degrees. You have to drive ALL THE WAY to Hollywood. I was reminded of the reality of ALL THE WAY to Hollywood on Saturday when I was distracted by this totally awesome story that I was telling and missed the La Brea exit and decided to take the 101 instead. I know that Mike swears the 101 is faster but it really isn't. I promise. So I got stuck in traffic on the 101 and it took forever to finally get to 25 Degrees. Luckily for me I didn't run out of totally awesome stories to tell and the time passed quickly.

I am really struggling right now with how best to summarize my 25 Degrees experience so I think I will just dive right in. The decor was fantastic. The deep burgundy booths combined with great wallpaper and cool light fixtures was perfect. As I side note, I learned that the wallpaper was velvet flocked wallpaper.

Now for the burger. I ordered the number one, the highlights of which were the caramelized onions and bacon. The beef was excellent. The bun was superb. After all was said and done, it ranked number two on my list of best tier 2 burgers. I don't think I would drive ALL THE WAY to Hollywood for the burger. However, if I was already at the ArcLight and in the mood for a burger, 25 Degrees is without a doubt the place I would go.

But wait, I am forgetting the best part. The sweet potato fries were undoubtedly the best sweet potato fries I have ever had. If I could combine the sweet potato fries from 25 Degrees with the special sweet potato fries dipping sauce from Fathers Office, I think I would literally be in heaven. They were really that good. But wait, there is more. I also was able to try the regular fries and they were undoubtedly the best fries I have ever had. Nice and thin. Perfectly cooked. And with great seasoning as well.

So overall I loved my trip to 25 Degrees. The solid burger combined with the great atmosphere and the best. fries. ever. combined to make a great burger eating experience. However, it is still no Fathers Office. And as I mentioned before I would probably not drive ALL THE WAY to Hollywood just for the burger. But I will definitely go back. Maybe next time I am at the ArcLight.