Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wine Tasting and a Double Feature (The Fighter and Black Swan)

Been away wine tasting and dining in the Santa Ynez Valley with two of my siblings and my daughter (who is still here, escaping the NY cold) and catching up with the movies.    I know I should be posting on this blog, but life keeps calling me away and I keep answering the call.

It was beautiful and rainy and windy in the Danish town of Solvang and after our treks to the Wineries  (Rusak, Bridlewood, Demetria, Tres Hermanas,  Saarloos,  Riverbench, Rancho Sisquoc and a few others) I was 15 bottles of wine and one cookbook "Harvest to Heat" the richer.   I stocked up on some great Pinot Noirs and a few Cabs and Sangiovese.   I also enjoyed a long conversation with the photographer and co-author of the cookbook...fellow foodie Darryl Estrine....that lasted a little too long and made us unable  to picnic that day (to my brother's chagrin).

After two days, we drove home along the coast and decided to finally check out Cafe Habana in Malibu  (the sister of the one in Soho), where I bought dinner to make up for the missed picnic!   We had a wonderful time and it was nice way to end our trip and celebrate family.

Santa Barbara wine country is beautiful, with its soft, rolling hills and rows of perfectly aligned grape vines and it's only a mere two and half hours from Los Angeles.  It was also great stopping at Cold Creek Tavern (with all the bikers) for an early breakfast on the way up.

Another highlight of the trip was falling in love with one of the winery owner's chocolate Lab puppy.  There is nothing so cute as Lab puppies and he was leggy and so perfectly cuddly.    Now if they only stayed that size, I'd get one in a heartbeat!

Returning home brought a few family emergencies, but as they quieted down a little,  I started catching up with my "movies to see"  list.

My List

Black Swan
The Fighter
Blue Valentine
The King's Speech
127 Hours
Rabbit Hole

and possibly:
The Tourist (I love Venice)
Frankie and Alice
True Grit
Country Strong
Somewhere (familiar with subject)

I saw the first two on Tuesday and I have to say that they were both choreographed to perfection.   Whether it be the boxing scenes or the ballet,  they were artfully and masterfully done.

I have two things to say about The Fighter:  Christian Bale and Melissa Leo!   While the whole cast was excellent (especially Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg), Christian Bale's performance was astonishing!   Melissa Leo, portraying his mother, wasn't far behind.   And the fight scenes....I got so caught up in them  I was screaming and almost forgot they weren't real....and that is when I realized how much I loved this movie.  What a ride it was!   Whoever cast it deserves an award too.   The "trailer trash" sisters...were cast to perfection...but Bale and Leo stole every scene they were in, with Amy Adams not far behind.   Wahlberg's quiet Mickey, constantly surrounded by the loud, overbearingly boozy females in his life, was a wonderful study of a man used to having infinite patience and trying to please everyone.   He managed to hold his own with the powerhouse performances of his more flamboyant co-stars.   I think it will be a crime though to put Christian Bale in the "best supporting actor" category.   He deserves to be up there for best actor.  His Dicky is what real acting is all about...over the top, but in this case, so very effective!

As for Black Swan, I have to say it is a movie and performance that is going to be hard to beat come award season.  It is one of the most intense movies I have seen in a long time.   Natalie Portman was luminous and magnificent.   The whole of it was beautifully choreographed from start to finish.    Wow!   What a trip!  Mila Kunis and Barbara Hershey were wonderful and Darren Aronofsky has done it again.  The man knows his craft and he practices it to perfection.   It was such a change of pace from The Fighter, but between these two excellent works,  I was in movie heaven.  I recommend them both highly!

Now on to The King's Speech, Blue Valentine and Rabbit Hole!

If I'm not here, I'll be at the movies!  And drinking some wine, of course.  Not a bad way to start the new year!


Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

No comments:

Post a Comment