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  • Issue of
  • Jul 30 - Aug 5, 2008
  • Vol. 28, No. 42

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Brideshead Revisited

    Handsomely mounted and beautifully shot, Jarrold’s film makes some brave changes to the story but miscasts the role of Lady Marchmain and neuters the protagonist’s homosexual underpinnings in favor of a predictable tale of hetro-romance thwarted. Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) is a middle-class Oxford student and aspiring painter who befriends the aristocratic but mercurial Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw), a closeted homosexual from a devoutly Catholic family. Desperate to hide his gay shame, Sebastion gets drunk a lot and pines for ambivalent Charles’ love. Invited to the family’s swish estate, Charles is smitten by both the grandeur of the place and (in a switch from the novel) Sebastian’s younger sister, Julia (Hayley Atwell). Asked by Lady Marchmain Flyte (Emma Thompson) to look after her son while traveling in Venice, Charles seizes the opportunity to make a play for Julia, leaving poor Sebastian to fall into a spiral of despair after he realizes he’s lost his special “friend.” Meanwhile atheist Charles’ blossoming romance struggles against the immovable force of Julia’s religion, jeopardizing his best chance at elevating his class and securing true love.
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  • The Scene
  • The Wackness

    Screenwriter-director Jonathan Levine’s film is a ’90s outsider teen flick that's smart, well-acted, emotionally genuine and boasts a soundtrack that deserves mad props. It’s the summer of 1994 and Rudy Giuliani is about to turn New York City into the biggest mall in America. High school grad Luke (Josh Peck) is raising money for college by dealing pot out of an old ice-cream cart. The “most popular of the unpopular,” he struggles with all the hallmarks of teen angst: drugs, girls, troubled parents and an inability to connect with peers. Trading pot for therapy, he strikes up a friendship with his pill-popping therapist, Jeff Squires (Ben Kingsley), who advises that he embrace his pain and live each moment to the fullest. Of course, he also offers brilliant nuggets like, “Try and fuck a black girl. I never got to.” When Luke develops eyes for Squires’ popular stepdaughter Stephanie (Juno’s Olivia Thirlby), things get complicated. Unfortunately, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, a mix of urban coming-of-age films that valiantly tries to avoid indie-movie clichés but just can’t seem to help itself.
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  • The Scene
  • Step Brothers

    Will Ferrell has crafted a monster career playing emotionally stunted, spastic child-men. Here he's joined by John C. Reily, and both actors play overgrown, petulant teenagers in lumpy adult bodies, and they do it with such a charged, reckless, side-splitting abandon that you’ll almost feel like you’ve never seen a ball-sack sight gag before. Eventually the gag wanes when the movie makes its third tired lap around the same premise, but by then you’ll likely be too laughed-out to notice.
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  • The Scene
  • Jellyfish

    On the evening after her boyfriend moves out of their apartment, taking most of the furniture with him, Batya (Sarah Adler) goes to her job as a waitress at a wedding hall, where her first distracted action is to drop a tray of crudités. Stumbling through her numbing routine seems all too familiar to the glum Batya, who casually admits that she doesn’t trust anyone. Recently arrived from the Philippines, wedding guest Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre) is almost grateful at times that she speaks only a few words of Hebrew. Hired as a caregiver for elderly women, Joy invariably finds herself in the midst of bitter family squabbles, even as her own young son angrily inquires about her location and wonders why she can’t be home for his upcoming birthday. After their impassioned spotlight dance at the wedding, the Russian-born groom Michael (Gera Sandler) downs any brightly colored liquid that might contain alcohol, while neglecting his new bride Keren (Noa Knoller). Prone more to quiet, passive-aggressive behavior than bridezilla screaming fits, Keren finds herself all alone on her big day, stuck in a bathroom stall with no one to help her out.
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Food & Drink

  • Table and Bar
  • Summer breeze

    The main reason to visit Portofino is the water, which looks inviting as you gaze at the wooded tip of Grosse Ile, watching the boats slip by. In fine weather, some of them even tie up at Portofino’s dock, which makes sense, considering that the real Portofino is an Italian resort town on the Mediterranean. Dinner starts with hot bread and a generous dish of olive oil loaded with Parmesan and cracked pepper. Appetizers are mostly from the sea, side salads are nicely composed, and the mix of mains is ambitious enough to range from ribs and lamb chops to po’ boy sandwiches to Italian or seafood mainstays. The pasta choices are consistently excellent.
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