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  • Issue of
  • Apr 4-10, 2007
  • Vol. 27, No. 25

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • The Host

    South Korean director Bong Joon-ho has mixed inspired visual jokes and Spielbergian sentimentality into an unapologetic criticism of U.S. political arrogance and overreaction. Years after an American Army officer forces a Korean lab technician to dump dangerous chemicals down a drain that leads to the Han River, a horrifying mutant frog-fish-beast runs amok, swallowing and regurgitating victims with gusto. Amid the panic and carnage, schoolgirl Hyun-seo (Ko A-sung) is snatched up by the monster and dragged off in front of her irresponsible, dimwitted father, Gang-du (Song Kang-ho). Gang gets a desperate cell-phone call from Hyun-seo, who's trapped in the monster’s sewer lair. Teamed with his family, a clan of lovable losers, he sets out to rescue the beloved 7th-grader. Though the film runs a tad long, Bong tweaks genre conventions just enough to keep us on our toes. A delirious mix of political satire, family drama and genre scares, "The Host" is the perfect giant monster movie for our eco-damaged, terrorism-obsessed era.
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  • The Scene
  • The Earrings of Madame De…

    Director Max Ophuls’ graceful, deceptively tragic late-career masterpiece is an effortlessly plotted tale of lust, longing and avarice. It’s the kind of lush, dreamy tragedy that will satisfy the most die-hard romantics, even as it undercuts all the swooning desire with a scathing indictment of the upper class. The fickle Madame Louise (Danielle Derrieux) is eager to pawn off a pair of heart-designed diamond earrings, and the jeweler who sold them to her husband, General Andre (Charles Boyer), is more than happy to buy them back. When her white lie turns into a full-blown robbery accusation, however, the jeweler feels compelled to tell the General about his wife’s deception. The ensuing connect-the-dots game of possession, loss and reunion, is permeated with the commanding, natural manner of the director’s storytelling: Even as it leaves questions deliberately unanswered and emotions crushingly unresolved, it’s hard not to walk out of Earrings feeling strangely satisfied.
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  • The Scene
  • Blades of Glory

    Will Ferrell’s trademark mixture of dim-witted bravado, oblivious machismo and inappropriate sexual fervor can be relied upon for cheap yuks. This time out, he’s taken his cocky shtick to the ice of competitive figure skating, a venue so ridiculously stuffed with overinflated egos that it verges on self-parody already. Ferrell plays Chazz Michael Michaels, skating’s reigning alpha male bad boy, whose archrival is spoiled rich kid Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), a fastidious, blond-coiffed perfectionist decked out in peacock finery. After a winner’s podium fistfight debacle earns them both lifetime bans from solo competition, they re-emerge four years later as the first all-male pairs team in history. The film amounts to one prolonged orgy of frat-boy homophobia, albeit an occasionally hilarious one. Ferrell is still fun to watch, if somebody could please just make him keep his shirt on.
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  • The Scene
  • The Lookout

    Scott Frank has a steady and distinguished career as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished screenwriters. In his new film, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Chris Pratt, a golden-boy high school student whose life is upended by a tragic car accident. Consumed with guilt over the death of his friends and handicapped by an odd form of brain damage, Chris lives in a seedy apartment with his blind roommate, Lewis (a terrific Jeff Daniels), and works as a janitor at a podunk bank. When shady ex-schoolmate Gary (Matthew Goode) and cutie-pie fatale Luvlee (Isla Fisher) show up, it only makes sense that Chris would jump at the chance to become friends, so the pair can use Chris’s low self-esteem and frustration to manipulate him into joining their scheme to rob the bank where he mops the floor.
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Food & Drink

  • Table and Bar
  • Market basket

    The menu centers on soups and sandwiches thus far, though within a few weeks Bailey plans to add some steak and pork chop specials at dinnertime. Perhaps it’s the lack of transportation costs that keeps prices down — shopping is done on foot within the market, and virtually everything on the menu is bought within a two-block radius. A half-pound burger goes for $4.65, a bleu burger for just $5.25, and a bowl of soup for $3. Best buy: a cup of soup and half a deli sandwich for $5.
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Music

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