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  • Issue of
  • Nov 22-28, 2006
  • Vol. 27, No. 6

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Casino Royal

    Daniel Craig, a sinewy blond, has been skulking around weird little British movies for years, but nothing about him says Bond — at least not the Bond stereotype we’ve come to know and mock. He’s the first-ever rough-trade Bond. And it turns out that’s exactly what this on-the-verge-of-irrelevant series needed. Where it might have been laughable to have Brosnan leaping from 100-foot-high scaffolding or using human hostages as bullet shields, the new film dumps Craig into one massive stunt sequence after another without him blinking an eye. Director Martin Campbell is a fantastic choreographer of controlled chaos, and the first three set pieces don’t give you a chance to catch your breath. But the ace up the film’s sleeve is Craig’s foil, Eva Green, playing Vesper Lynd, the British accountant assigned to bankroll Bond’s escapades.
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  • The Scene
  • Our Brand Is Crisis

    Once upon a time, democracy was defined as this: of the people, by the people and for the people. Watching James Carville and his political consulting firm — GCS (Greenville, Carville and Shrum) — in Rachel Boynton’s Our Brand Is Crisis, it quickly becomes clear that brand marketing and focus groups have turned our main political export into this: despite the people, by the polling data and for the wealthy. The film follows the candidacy of former Bolivian President Sanchez de Lozada (aka Goni). Privileged, arrogant, condescending and graceless, he was an American-raised ex-pat with little understanding or empathy for the 90 percent of Bolivia’s population crippled by poverty. Carville’s team signed on (for a tidy fee) to secure his re-election using American-style campaigning. Their rationale was Goni was a neoliberal, market-driven candidate who would right Bolivia’s sinking ship. In other words, he embraced the policies of globalization. Boyton’s straightforward documentary exposes the unseen world of political strategy, offering a fly-on-the-wall perspective of day-to-day campaigning. With unprecedented and uncensored access to the consultants, advisors and candidates, the director unmasks a political process that is as captivating as it is unsettling.
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  • The Scene
  • For Your Consideration

    Christopher Guest has been finding new and hilarious ways of gathering groups of master improvisers to play life’s not-so-beautiful losers for years. At his best, Guest can coax his actors into unscripted riffs that are funnier than anything a writer could dream up; you leave the theater feeling like you just witnessed lightning being captured in a bottle. So it’s a disappointment that his latest effort, the thin Oscar spoof For Your Consideration, is the least funny and the least inspired movie Guest has been involved with in years. This latest film takes as its subject the awards-hungry cast of an in-production nightmare titled Home for Purim. A would-be inspirational Jewish holiday picture, the movie within the movie is set in the 1940s, and comes complete with a musical number, a lesbian daughter (Parker Posey) and the most apple-pie war-veteran son ever (Christopher Moynihan). The movie may be sub-Lifetime trash, but the real drama is going on behind the scenes. Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara), the veteran actress who plays the dying matriarch of Purim’s clan, hears an Internet rumor that her performance is Oscar-worthy, which immediately sends her and her co-stars into an overacting fury. As Purim grows more ridiculous, everyone in Hollywood descends upon the production like vultures, ready to stake a claim in what they think will be the Little Movie That Could.
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  • The Scene
  • Fast Food Nation

    Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Eric Schlosser’s devastating Fast Food Nation corrals the book’s disturbing mountain of research into a fictional mosaic. Linklater follows in the footsteps of Steven Soderberg’s drug expose Traffic by threading together a trio of storylines that drive home the book’s muckraking facts about commercial meat processing and America’s obsession with fast food. Linklater’s trio of central storylines reveals the dark underbelly of corporate America. There’s the fast food marketing exec (Greg Kinnear) sent to a meat processing plant to investigate health problems — namely fecal contamination — only to find his conscience tested by the harsh realities of the business. Then there’s the illegal Mexican couple (Sandino Moreno and Wilmer Valderrama) that sneaks across the border, finds jobs at a massive meat packing plant and falls prey to an exploitative manager (Bobby Cannavale) and insidious corporate policies. Finally there’s the teenage burger cashier (Ashley Johnson) who, inspired by her idealistic uncle (Ethan Hawke), joins up with a group of student activists at the local college.
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Food & Drink

  • Quite a catch
  • Table and Bar
  • Quite a catch

    This sprawling establishment, which can seat 300 in its main dining areas, tavern and cozy private dining room, does not seem as large as it is because of the artful manner in which the space is broken up, and also because of the generous spacing between the New England-style bare wooden tables. Every night, the establishment offers about 10 fresh catches of the day that may range from Lake Superior whitefish ($17) or Idaho rainbow trout ($18) to Key West black grouper ($30). In addition, there are eight other seafood “house specialties” and seven landlubberly platters, with only one, a morel-mushroom risotto, appealing to vegetarians. Like all of the restaurants in the Prentice stable, Northern Lakes has a wonderful wine list full of relatively obscure and often reasonable bottles. The professional service is commendable, the surroundings are charming and the fresh seafood — ranging from the unadorned to the wildly fussy — make it a prime destination for fish in our metroplex.
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