Tribeca Film Festival: Haute Cuisine, Dark Touch

Haute Cuisine: A fictionalized take on a real story, this film details the struggles of a “country” (but certainly not incompetent) chef tapped to cook for the French president.  It’s a lovely character sketch, with some really nice moments exhibiting the dignity and resourcefulness of the protagonist and tons and tons of food porn.  But the constant shunting of the politics off-screen removes some critical context for understanding her struggles.  I mean, why does a cabinet minister care enough to go through individual expense invoices for grocery trips?  Still, solid little vignette, if not quite a full-fledged film.

Dark Touch: You know, I love horror fiction.  I love even the pulpy, bad, melodramatic moralizing horror fiction.  But horror movies are just so…well, let’s just say it’s been a long time since a movie kept me guessing past the first fifteen minutes.  Here, which was basically a homage to Aerosmith’s Janie’s Got a Gun music video, and went downhill by way of Carrie from there, didn’t change that pattern.  It’s a well-crafted film, a cut better than the junk slasher films that pass for mainstream horror these days, but still.  I’m sitting there halfway through wondering where the hell the dog in the first scene (belonging to the family upon which this film focuses) went.  And them I’m wondering just how terrible the Irish child welfare system is, for a welfare worker to immediately peg a domestic abuse situation and then not warn the people directly interacting with the victim that, I don’t know, maybe you should not do certain things around them?  Style gets you part of the way (although that crapped out with the ending as well, some bizarre scene cuts and confusing timing), creative kill scenes help as well, but ultimately, if I’m picking out plot holes instead of flinching at murder, it’s not working.

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Boston-Salem Roadtrip: The In-betweens

Between Boston and Salem lies Malden, MA, where we stopped off for some tasty Szechuan at Fuloon.  The mapo tofu was definitely spicy, not for the faint-hearted, but also had a ton of flavor so it wasn’t just burning off the top few layers of your tongue.  Tea-smoked duck (not pictured) was meh, but the buffet had some neat tidbits like tiny steamed buns filled with pork.

Between Boston and NYC is New Haven.  We ended up on Wooster Square semi-randomly after just searching yelp for a lunch place, and had delicious, not-too-salty, just savory enough anchovy pizza at Anastasio’s.  Also appreciated the mini stromboli (?) tucked into the bread basket.