Friday, December 28, 2012

New Class Tickets Now Available: Once - February 23

Time: Saturday February 23, 2013 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

For my 17th Chef du Cinema class, I will be presenting a 4-course “Irish meet Czech” meal paired with the Oscar winning musical-romance Once. Singer/songwriter Glen Hansard plays a street musician in Dublin who meets a young Czech immigrant flower peddler (Markéta Irglová), who is also a talented musician. As their musical and emotional sensibilities converge, as one critic noted, Once “reinvents what a movie musical can be.”

The Menu:
Potato & Scallion Soup
Šopský salát (Tomato-Cucumber Salad)
Beef & Guinness Guláš (Goulash) w/Buttered Noodles
Ovocné Knedliky (Czech Fruit Dumplings) w/Irish Whiskey Butter Sauce

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Great Review @ Slackerwood

I just got a very nice review from Kaliska Ross of the Austin Film Society at their online magazine Slackerwood of the Amélie class. Thanks!

A Delicious Evening With 'Amelie' and Chef du Cinema

By Kaliska Ross, December 14, 2012


Walking into the Central Market Cooking School for a Chef du Cinema class felt like walking into a French café. Well, sort of. There was wine and French bistro music was playing. I guess the similarities end there.

Unlike a French café, the cooking class had bright lights, a televised demonstration table, and an effervescent instructor who was very personable and greeted us when we walked in. You certainly won't find that in a French café. He made small talk while the participants trickled in. I took that time to look over the menu. Tonight we'd be making Artichoke and Tomato Tartlets, Warm French Green Lentil Salad, French Style Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Endives au Gratin, and Maple-Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. Naturally, I was starting to get excited.

Next came a brief introduction of the chef, Ron Deutsch, and his assistants. He then went on to explain the dishes being prepared and how they related to the evening's movie, Amélie. The appetizer (Tartelette d'artichauts et tomates) appeared on the menu because a line in the movie is "At least you'll never be a vegetable -- even artichokes have hearts." The dish was a puff pastry topped with artichoke hearts, sun-dried cherry tomatoes, shallots and melted Gruyère. Let me tell you, those little pastries were good!

Read the rest of the article here......

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Class: Amélie

THE MEAL:
Tartelettes d'artichauts et tomates (Artichoke & Tomato Tartlets)
Chaud Salade de Lentilles Vertes Françaises (Warm French Green Lentil Salad)
Poulet Roti avec pommes de terre (French Style Roast Chicken with Potatoes)
Endives au Gratin façon Café des Deux Moulins
Maple-Pumpkin Crème Brûlée


Okay, so if you've been following this blog at all, you'll know I recently spent 10 days in Paris. (Here are a couple of pictures I took of locations from Amélie.)

I had a great time, meeting with writer Claire Dixsaut who has written several food/movie cookbooks, including one on James Bond and food. So we went to see Skyfall together - she also took me out for some fabulous food and drinks. I also met up with a friend's cousin, the darling French-Moroccan documentary filmmaker Izza Génini, who recently had a retrospective of her films in Tel Aviv.

In addition to eating some wonderful food, hearing some real Manouche music, seeing art, I just enjoyed walking everywhere and meeting some wonderful folks who have become good friends.

So this is part one of a Paris, France film double bill; the next will be first be posted over at the Criterion website.

I have to say tonight's class was awesome. Great crowd. Everyone raved about the dessert, which is the featured recipe below. As always, I couldn't do it without the great staff at Central Market.

As you can see in the box above, the next class will be February 23rd, and I'll be covering the Oscar-winning film Once with a four-course Irish/Czech menu. Tickets will go on sale in a couple of weeks, please check back. Hope you can make it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A little taste of Amélie.....

For those of you coming to my next class (which I hope means ALL of you...), I just went all the way to Paris to do some research.

Here's a photo of the corner market in Montemarte where Amélie shops....


And of course, here's where Amélie worked.


See you December 1st, I hope! Tickets and class info available HERE.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

TV Bites: Bride of Frankenstein

THE SNACK:
Elsa Lanchester's Deviled Pork Chops


Happy Halloween from Paris!! And it's part two of the Frankenstein double bill!!

You could say I'm on vacation, but you could also say I'm doing deep research for my December class (see above). I went to the cafe where Amelie worked and the little fruit/vegetable stand down the block from "her" house. Oh yeah, I'm eating a lot, and tomorrow taking a class on making croissants.

But let's get to it.... My favorite quote I discovered while researching this post is from Carl Laemmle Jr., studio production chief of Universal Pictures at the time. Announcing their new line up of horror films in 1933, he said they would have "a decidedly novel and shocking appeal.... We have found that the theater-going public like the unreal, the weird, and the uncanny, and we are preparing to cater to this great audience with colorful, imaginative stories." I like that. Go Junior! Where's a studio head like that today?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Class: Young Frankenstein

THE MENU:
Peter Boyle's Hungarian Tofutti Cheese Spread with Herring on Bagel Chips
Supa de conopida (Romanian Cauliflower Soup)
Cotlete de porc cu bere (Romanian Pork Chops with Beer)
“Reanimated Vermicelli” Latkes (Romanian Pasta Latkes)
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake)


I'm just going to make an admission right off the bat here.

I had the biggest crush on Teri Garr. I fell in love with her in 1968, when she was on a Star Trek episode. I even watched The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Show just to see her. Sigh.... I hate Tootsie, and the reason is because the whole premise that a man would choose anyone, even Jessica Lange, over Teri Garr, is absurd and stupid, unbelievable and I can't watch the thing. Seriously. (Garr was diagnosed with Multiple Sclorosis in 1999 and has done much to raise awareness of the disease and helping those with it to cope. So she remains awesome.)

Tonight's class was awesome too... Everything went very smoothly, thankfully we had some great volunteers to help with the prep and serving (Central Market Cooking School has a program where you can volunteer and work with real chefs, not like me, but sometimes with me too). We tried a new class set up and I think that went very well too (I have a picture up on the Facebook page - if you haven't "liked" it yet, whatcha waitin' for???).

So this is actually part one of a Frankenstein double bill. So stay turned for the 2nd half of it coming Halloween eve. I'll be in Paris. I don't even know if they celebrate Halloween there. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Class Tickets Now Available: Amélie - Sat, Dec. 1

Time: Saturday December 1, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

For my 16th Chef du Cinema class I will be sharing stories from my recent adventure in Paris with a 4-course French Bistro menu paired with the 2001 Oscar-nominated film Amélie. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou, it's a magical tale of a painfully shy waitress working at a tiny Paris café, who decides to help the lives of those around her... and along the way, discovers love.

The Menu:
Tartelettes d'artichauts et tomates (Artichoke & Tomato Tartlets)
Chaud Salade de Lentilles Vertes Françaises (Warm French Green Lentil Salad)
Poulet Roti avec pommes de terre (French Style Roast Chicken with Potatoes)
Endives au Gratin façon Café des Deux Moulins
Maple-Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Saturday, September 29, 2012

TV Bites: Quadrophenia

THE SNACK:
Beef Pie & Mash w/Liquor


A version of this post appears on the Criterion Collection site

On June 10, 1974, I was standing on a platform with some friends waiting for the Long Island Railroad train to arrive to take us to see The Who live at Madison Square Garden. I was a high school drop out, my father had just died, my mother's second husband had just run out on her, and nothing much made sense. In the outside world, there was Watergate, Patty Hearst, the Oil Crisis, and terrorists had recently bombed a building in New York. When the train, which may well have been the 5:15 (or close to it), pulled into the station, the trainman stepped out and announced: “Who train! Get on The Who train!” And we eagerly jumped aboard.

Just four years earlier, I had been unwillingly replanted from Manhattan to a small suburb on the southwestern tip of Long Island. We lived a block from the ocean, and since I was a stranger in that strange land, it was there on the beach where I spent much of my time.

I'm sure we could find a more perfect poster boy for teenage angst and alienation, but if we could all go back in time and observe me in my shoddy parka, standing on the edge of a jetty, alone, on a cold and misty twilight, asking big questions to the sea and sand, wondering why nothing ever went as planned, I would definitely be a likely candidate.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Here's an Article/Interview with me at a French Food/Movie site

A few months ago, I connected with a woman in France who writes about film and food, Claire Dixsaut. Claire has written several cookbooks (unfortunately, not available in English) pairing food and movies, including ones on James Bond movies, Mafia movies, and her new book on Chaplain films!


So Claire asked if she could interview me and that I should pick a handful of films, offer a food connection, and why I chose the film. She has translated what I wrote into French and it is now posted on her website, CineMiam. So, if you parlez francais, do check it out!

Mes films préférés: Ron Deutsch, “Chef du Cinéma”
10 Septembre 2012

CinéMiam inaugure aujourd’hui une série d’entretiens exclusifs. À des personnalités du cinéma, des chefs, des cinéphiles gastronomes, nous avons posé une seule question : quels sont vos films gourmands préférés ?

Notre première victime se nomme Ron Deutsch. Il anime depuis deux ans les cours de cuisine ”Chef du Cinéma” où les apprentis cuisiniers planchent sur un menu inspiré d’un film. En ce moment, par exemple, si l’on réside du côté d’Austin (Texas), on peut s’inscrire pour un menu roumain tiré de Frankenstein Junior....

en savoir plus....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

TV Bites: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

THE SNACK:
The Formosa Cafe Sticky Ribs


One more Chinese food recipe! Who knew?

First off, let me get this off my chest.... This was going to be part one of the "Hollywood Celebrity in a Fictional Story" double bill with the second feature to be JCVD. I had seen JCVD at Fantastic Fest before it opened and really, really liked it. But I hadn't seen it since. When I rented to view, I discovered that when it was theatrically released (and on the DVD) they had "Tarantino-ed" it, i.e., they jumbled the timeline of the movie in such a rotten way that I think they completely ruined it. The version I saw was linear, beginning to end. So I decided to pass. It's a real shame. I kind of understand why they probably did it - some idiot told them to move the action sequences forward. But they should have trusted their initial instincts. Sorry, Claude. And what really pisses me off is that I really wanted to make Mussels in Belgian Ale to pair with it. You can do it, but I ain't.

Alright then. Let's move on.... When I was like 10 years old, there was only one thing I wanted to be when I grew up.... a secret agent. I was obsessed with James Bond, Derek Flint, (all one day coming to Chef du Cinema!) and The Man from UNCLE. A life of intrigue, danger, espionage, and mysterious women. Sign me up. I guess that's why I relate to this movie so much.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TV Bites: Peking Opera Blues (刀馬旦 - Dao Ma Dan)

THE SNACK:
Yam Dumplings (芋頭角 - Wu Gok)


Okay, this is part two of the Chinese dim sum double bill. (Actually, it's a quasi-triple bill as the next movie, even though not a Chinese-themed film, is paired with another Chinese dish. So stay tuned!)

Back in 1988, Film Comment magazine published an article on Hong Kong Cinema. Up until then, the only thing I knew about movies from there were the chop-socky and Bruce Lee films my friends into martial arts dug. I knew a little about Jackie Chan, but of the other films I'd seen, I didn't care too much for. But this article got me excited. There was a lot about John Woo, Tsui Hark (pronounced Choy Hok), and Ringo Lam. I jotted down some of the titles of films they mentioned, like A Better Tomorrow, A Chinese Ghost Story, and Peking Opera Blues.

The problem was no "regular" video store had any of these films. So what's a fella to do? I headed down to LA's Chinatown and found a little hole-in-the-wall video store there. I bought a membership and just started from one end of their stack and worked my way through them all, renting five titles at a time. Some were certainly better than others, but I was getting an education in what was happening over there. I also started to go regularly to the movie theater in Chinatown once a week and watch whatever was there.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tickets Available NOW!!! - Young Frankenstein, Sat. October 20th!

Time: Saturday October 20, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

For my 15th Chef du Cinema class we'll be celebrating Halloween with a 4-course Eastern European meal paired with the Mel Brooks' hilarious comedy Young Frankenstein. The Oscar-nominated parody of classic horror films stars Gene Wilder attempting to correct the mistakes of his great-grandfather, the infamous Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced =“Frahn-ken-steen!”) and successfully reanimating a corpse. The film costars Peter Boyle as the Monster, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, and Terry Garr.

(9/6/12) NOTE: REVISED MENU!!

The Menu:
Peter Boyle's Hungarian Tofutti Cheese Spread with Herring on Bagel Chips
Supa de conopida (Romanian Cauliflower Soup)
Cotlete de porc cu bere (Romanian Pork Chops with Beer)
“Reanimated Vermicelli” Latkes (Romanian Pasta Latkes)
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Class: Chinatown

THE MENU:
Shrimp & Watercress Steamed Wontons w/Orange-Soy Dipping Sauce
Chinese Seaweed & Pork Soup
Soy, Honey & Coriander Grilled Tuna w/Jasmine Rice
Orange-Ginger Chinese Broccoli
Chinese Toffee Apples w/Ice Cream



Well, I'm back from Montreal and having a great time with my 4-month old kitten, Miles. And this is part one of a Chinese dim sum double bill.

When I was living in Los Angeles - over 15 years ago now - almost any wannabe or successful screenwriter (and more significantly any screenwriting teacher) would say without hesitation that Chinatown was the perfect screenplay. In fact, the Writers Guild of America named it the third greatest screenplay ever in a survey in 2005 of its members. (And two of those top three - Chinatown and The Godfather were produced by Robert Evans And, just to keep it all connected, Chinatown scribe Robert Towne also did some polishing on the script of The Godfather.) Even today, almost 35 years since its release, Chinatown is still considered to be one of the great screenplays ever.

But what usually isn't mentioned in these praises is that the screenplay went through a very difficult birth process. Even though Towne gets full credit as the author of the script, director Roman Polanski's incredible input is rarely considered by writers and their teachers. Yes, it suits our writers' egos (which is the butt of many jokes - "How many screenwriters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" Answer: "Why does it 'have' to be changed?"), but I wish they'd teach this to writers on the first day of school. That's just the way it is, kids. Hopefully I'll not mangle this quote too much (because it was in one of several Charlie Rose interviews he did and I'm not going to listen to all of them to find it), but I once heard writer Richard Price describe what being a Hollywood screenwriter is like: "Screenwriting is like the Pony Express and the screenwriter is the horse. If the horse goes lame, you shoot it and get another one. Because the idea is to get the thing out to Los Angeles." Even Towne himself, who has script doctored many others' work, has said, "'Doctoring' is kind of misleading because all scripts are rewritten. Every script has to be rewritten;, it's just a question of whether or not it's going to be rewritten well."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

(shameless self-promotion time again).... Two New Interviews @ Documentary Magazine

Yes, I've been busy....

Here we have two new articles over at Documentary magazine.

First up, is my interview with Keanu Reeves & Chris Kenneally about Side by Side, a documentary about "the end of film," they made.


Next is my interview with Mads Brugger, the director/star of The Ambassador.


Enjoy!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

TV Bites: My Man Godfrey

THE SNACK:
William Powell's Vatrouskis (Vatrushki)


A version of this post appears at the Criterion Collection website


The first thing I want to mention is that this post marks the 2nd Anniversary of this adventure. I've been writing and teaching classes now two years as Chef du Cinema. Unbelievable. All I can say is that I've been really enjoying myself doing this and I hope you have enjoyed at least some of it and, hopefully, you've discovered some new movies, and have made some good food from the recipes you've found here. So thanks for dropping by. (Feel free to drop me a line and tell me about it.)

Let's get to it, then.... Why, you ask, have I paired this film and His Girl Friday back to back? Well, they are both screwball comedies and both have three words in the title.

Okay, that's weak.

Let's try this instead.... This film never grows old for me. I fall in love with it again every time I see it. It's everything I love about movies. And like His Girl Friday, I would definitely say the two of them are on my top 10 list of favorite movies and have been for decades. Unequivocally.

But, as always, there are other connections. Morrie Ryskind, who wrote the script for My Man Godfrey, was brought in to polish His Girl Friday. And there's more.... See, Howard Hawks really wanted to give the role of Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday to his second cousin but she turned him down. Yup. his second cousin (again, as mentioned in the previous post) - was Carole Lombard.

Friday, July 13, 2012

(shameless self-promotion time again....) National Geographic World Music

Here's links to these articles/interviews I just did on assignment for National Geographic while up here in Montreal.



The first is just an overview of the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, followed by a series of interviews with some of the world music artists that played there.

Algerian singer/songwriter Souad Massi;
Venezuelan group Los Amigos Invisibles;
Sidi Touré from Mali;
and the lovely Lila Downs.

Enjoy....

Saturday, July 7, 2012

TV Bites: His Girl Friday

THE SNACK:
Hot Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich w/Roasted Shallot Brown Gravy



So, I'd say it's hot here in Montreal, but considering how horrible it is elsewhere I won't. Working hard on assignment for National Geographic (links here) and seeing some great music here at JazzFest. But I've got some good films and good food as this here's part one of a two part classic romantic/screwball comedy double bill.

Wow. Back to Howard Hawks. I had no idea when I started this adventure I would be covering so many of Hawks' films so soon. I always thought I loved his work, but it certainly seems as if it's more than I thought. Hitchcock, of course. But this was a surprise for me. (The previous picks were Rio Bravo and To Have and Have Not.) I mean, I have yet to write about one Stanley Kubrick film, you know? It's also my fourth film to feature Cary Grant - and that's no surprise to me.

Also, there's Ben Hecht. He was the first screenwriter I think I recognized. I started reading up about him, reading his essays, novels, nonfiction, articles - whatever I could get my little hands on. Actually, I'm gonna say it started when I first saw Gaily, Gaily (based on Hecht's life) which I saw as a young man. I wanted to live the exciting life of a writer. (Ah, the sweet naivety of youth.) Seriously, if you want to know about screenwriting, he's the man to study. Jean-Luc Godard once said Hecht "invented 80 percent of what is used in American movies today."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tickets Available NOW!!!! Chinatown - August 18th!

Time: Saturday August 18, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

For my 14th Chef du Cinema class, I will be presenting a 4-course meal inspired by and paired with the 1974 Academy Award winning film Chinatown. Considered one of the greatest films ever made, Chinatown spins a mystery of both political and moral corruption in 1930's Los Angeles. The stylish neo-noir film made Jack Nicholson a star, and features timeless performances from both Faye Dunaway and John Huston.

The Menu:
Shrimp & Watercress Steamed Wontons w/Orange-Soy Dipping Sauce
Chinese Seaweed & Minced Pork Soup
Soy, Honey & Coriander Grilled Tuna w/Jasmine Rice
Orange-Ginger Chinese Broccoli
Chinese Toffee Apples w/Ice Cream

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Got A Little Write Up in this week's Austin Chronicle......

Got a nice little write-up on Chef du Cinema in my hometown weekly this week.... Unfortunately I won't be around to bask in the notoriety as I'm up in Montreal covering JazzFest for National Geographic. I may be missing the love, but I sure ain't missing the heat, thank you.

Chew on This:
Meet Ron Deutsch, the Chef du Cinema

By Marc Savlov, Fri., June 29, 2012



Photo by John Anderson


Food and film – the two most delectable and (when directed and consumed properly) the two most sumptuous and soulfully enriching art forms a person can indulge in – have always been deeply intertwined. Long before the Alamo Drafthouse and chef John Bullington forever challenged and changed Austin's expectations of what "dinner and a movie" could truly mean, there were the iffy snack bars and wonderfully greasy drive-in kitchens of yore. Junk food for junk culture, as it was viewed at the time. I remember gorging myself on drive-in fare so unappetizing that it had to be served, inevitably, impaled on a wooden dowel – as though it were some sort of revenant in a Hammer horror picture, or a forlorn bit of The Blob, necessitating rapid consumption lest it consume the unwary audience member. As a little kid, I loved it anyway. These days, not so much.

Thankfully, local food and film artisan Ron Deutsch is aiming to both elevate the filmic art form and elucidate for the audience the joy of cooking with both class and gas in his role as Austin's "Chef du Cinema." Deutsch is a longtime fixture in Austin's film and food communities, and a well-travelled scholar of both. (West of Zanzibar? He's not only seen the film, he's been there.) Since 2010, he's been pairing classic movies with four courses of obscurely delicious comestibles prepared, explained, and cooked in a classroom setting that doubles as a theatre when the stove is extinguished and the lights go down. His mission? You can do this too, at home, and you don't have to be Julia Child (or Roger Corman) to pull it off.

For the rest of the article, click here....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

TV Bites: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

THE SNACK:
Boiled Edamame (枝豆 - Soybeans in the Pod)



It's part deux of the "of the" double bill!

So, it's been up and down this last month or so. First, my cat Rocky came down with skin cancer in mid-April and I had to put him down about two weeks ago. It was initially a blow as with Chazz (my cat who died last year) gone, me & Rocky really started to develop a strong relationship. Originally he was my neighbor's cat across the street where I used to live. His owner was a very sweet little old lady who was so gracious my first year in Austin that she invited me over to spend Thanksgiving dinner as I really didn't know anyone much there then. Her name was Ophelia. Rocky and Chazz hated each other. But when she passed away and there was no one to really take him in, I did. He wouldn't come inside unless it was below 65*F or raining, otherwise he wanted to stay outside. So when I moved I took Rocky with me and he and Chazz operated under these very complicated rules of détente they had formally agreed upon. So for the last year, Rocky and I have been pretty chummy and I was expecting that to continue for a time. But so it goes. We did it here at the house. Actually outside. On this tree that has a big dip in it which he used to hang out on.

And now I'm looking forward to getting me some new kittens. 'Cause everyone loves kittens. Especially, on the Internet. My dear friend Tony recently found a kitten which became an Internet sensation. What a strange little world we live in. For those brief 15 minutes, Mercedes the cat was in millions of people's minds, trending higher than probably some reality TV stars. Who knows? But there's lots of things to concern ourselves with on this here planet we be spinnin' on. And yet, the 24-hour news cycle makes time for a story about a rescued cat. Perhaps we're not 100-percent pod people yet. Some of our emotional responses are still operative (and can be manipulated...beware!)

Obviously, of course, I'm merely setting up today's movie. Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a movie that was not supposed to be what it was. It was supposed to be just another B horror/sci-fi flick. But it wasn't. It did and continues to warn us of the dangers of what happens if we stop using our critical thinking abilities.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Class: Raiders of the Lost Ark

THE MENU:
(Nepalese) Shrimp Curry
(Peruvian) Warm Wheat Berry, Quinoa, & Mango Salad
(North African) Lamb Stew w/ Cauliflower "Couscous"
(American) Strawberry Shortcake



First off, this is part one of my "of the" double bill. And by that I mean the next film is also titled "Something of the Something." So try to guess what that'll be.

Class went extremely well, though we were a bit rushed. I had a lot of food and movie to discuss before serving and eating. But everyone seemed quite pleased. Also, always glad to see how many return attendees I had. We even had one person who hadn't seen Raiders of the Lost Ark before. It's always a treat for me to see a movie with someone who's never seen it before.

You know when I began this adventure I was just sort of randomly picking movies I love and seeing what I could do food-wise with them. But I also avoided some movies I love mostly because I wanted to get this all figured out before I tackled them, and also because they tend to have an abundance of material written about them already (and that means hours and hours of research!) While some films don't have much written about them at all - either in print or online - others have enough material to fill a skyscraper with... like this one. But that doesn't mean Raiders of the Lost Ark is a "better" or more "important" movie than say The Lady Vanishes, for example. I just want to make that clear. The Lady Vanishes was made at a time when entertainment was not as dissected nor studied even in universities the way it is now.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TV Bites: The Hit

THE SNACK:
Terence Stamp's Scotch Pancakes w/Bramble Jelly


A version of this post appears at the Criterion Collection website


This is the fourth movie I've featured that was released in 1984, which like previous multi-film posts, I have no idea why this year is rearing its head so often. And it's my second Criterion post of films from 1984. The four are: Broadway Danny Rose, Paris, Texas, Blood Simple, and now The Hit. I'll leave this to my biographers to work out someday.

I have enjoyed this movie so much over the years. It not only grows, but continues to blossom, with every viewing. It's all so very Zen.

Since I first saw The Hit, I have been convinced that it was a third version of Ernest Hemingway's The Killers. (The first two versions - are availabe in a lovely box set by Criterion, hint hint.) In the first version (starring Burt Lancaster), the killers are in and out, and the story of why the man died without a fight is left to an investigator. In the second (starring Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes & Ronald Reagan), the killers go on an adventure to figure out why the man they just shot didn't put up a fight. This would be the third, in which the killers explore the subject with the victim before they kill him. In researching the film for this post, I found several other folks who feel the same way. (One fellow noted: "If Jean-Paul Sartre had adapted Hemingway’s The Killers, [such a movie] might play like this."

Now, about a decade ago, a dear friend of mine in London happened to mention to me he was going to interview Stephen Frears the following day. I begged him to ask Frears the one question I'd always wanted answered - was The Hit inspired by The Killers? The next day, I got my answer. Frears told my friend "Absolutely not." But, I still don't believe it and you won't convince me otherwise. But even if it wasn't conscious, even if Frears and Prince were unaware of, nor seen either version of the The Killers, it is still in my mind a further exploration of that story.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

For the Love of Film: The Film Preservation Blogathon III


What is this?

I am proud to take part in this year's For the Love of Film: The Film Preservation Blogathon. What that means is they=we=you are gonna be raising funds for the National Film Preservation Foundation's (NFPF) project, The White Shadow this week.

The White Shadow is a 1923 film "officially" directed by Graham Cutts but was the first film to be written and assistant-directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Long considered lost, the first three reels were discovered in a collection of unidentified American nitrate prints that had been safeguarded at a New Zealand archive since 1989. You can read more about the discovery of the film here.

From Ferdy on Film: "The good people at NFPF are committed to making many of the films they have rescued available for cost-free viewing by streaming them on their website. But online hosting ain’t cheap. NFPF estimates that it will cost $15,000 to stream The White Shadow for four months and record the score. It is the mission of this year’s For the Love of Film Blogathon to raise that money so that anyone with access to a computer can watch this amazing early film that offered Hitchcock a chance to learn his craft, with a score that does it justice."

The goal, as mentioned, is to raise $15,000 to stream this three-reel fragment online, free to all... and to record the score by composer Michael Mortilla.

Just click the image above and you can donate. Thanks!

Now.... As part of the Blogathon, all the participants (over 100 film blogs!) are offering posts on Sir Alfred. So, if you CLICK HERE, you'll be offered a choice of not one, but THREE! Hitchcock posts I've done (The Lady Vanishes, North by Northwest & The Birds), each with a tantalizing recipe to cook which will enhance your viewing pleasure. (Actually, you can read all three - it's more of a buffet than a single prix fixe thang.)

As Sir Alfred once said: “I'm not a heavy eater. I'm just heavy, and I eat.”

For other bloggers involved in the Blogathon this week - for those added Monday & Tuesday visit HERE, for those added today & tomorrow - click here.

As always, cook, watch, eat & enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TV Bites: Citizen Kane

THE SNACK:
Hearst Castle Rich Biscuits w/Pear Honey



This is the third movie I've written about released in 1941. The first being The Lady Eve, then The Maltese Falcon, and now Citizen Kane. What an amazing year for movies, no?

And this is part one of my breakfast double bill. Not because you should watch these films in the morning, but that I've paired them both with two breakfast dishes. Though, feel free to snack on them at any time of day.

When I was at vocational film school (what we used to call it - not much on theory, but a lot of practicality), my film history teacher used to do "Citizen Kane Day." What that entailed was coming in at 10am watching the film from beginning to end. Take a lunch break. Watch the film again as she paused during each sequence, pointing out and discussing details, then take a dinner break, come back and watch the whole thing again with no pauses. A very memorable and educating experience it was.

So, let's just dive into it. I'm not trying to be lazy or anything here, but as has been remarked by many - there is probably no other film which has had so much written about it, analyzed, dissected, deconstructed, poured through, and poured over, no more so than Citizen Kane. You want analysis? Here you go.... pages and pages of it!

Maybe you want to hear from experts? Martin Scorsese? Steven Spielberg? Peter Bogdanovich? Francois Truffaut? How about Eric von Stroheim ranting?

Maybe you want to hear from some big time film critics? Pauline Kael? Andrew Sarris's rebuttal to Pauline Kael? Would you prefer Roger Ebert? AO Scott? How about Bowsley Crowther's original 1941 NY Times review?

Is that not enough? How about ex-presidential candidate Donald Trump (interviewed by Errol Morris!) speaking about the film?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tickets Available NOW!!! Raiders of the Lost Ark - June 9th!!

Time: Saturday June 9, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

For my “Lucky” 13th Chef du Cinema class, I'll be presenting a 4-course meal paired with Steven Spielberg's classic action-adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film tells the tale of archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones who is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis in the 1940's.

The menu features recipes originally created by Harrison Ford's son Chef Ben Ford (of Ford's Filling Station restaurant in Los Angeles) and chosen by me as so each dish represents a location in the film.

THE MENU:
(Nepalese) Shrimp Curry
(Peruvian) Warm Wheat Berry, Quinoa, & Mango Salad
(North African) Lamb Stew w/ Cauliflower Couscous
(American) Strawberry Shortcake

Friday, April 20, 2012

TV Bites: Roma, città aperta (Rome: Open City)

THE SNACK:
Minestra di cavolo (Italian Cabbage Soup)


A shorter version of this post appears at the Criterion Collection Website


So, welcome to la seconda parte of my Italian double bill. Part one, Cinema Paradiso, was set in Sicily where I concluded by trip back in January. And now we are in Rome, where I began my trip. The idea for these came in planning the trip when I decided to rewatch some classic Italian films.

While in Rome I rewarded myself by stopping at the spot where Federico Fellini used to set up his little caricature drawing booth - and where Rossellini first met with him and invited him to co-write Rome: Open City. I also took a tour of Cinecittà studio (where they have on display Anita Ekberg's outfit from La Dolce Vita amongst other items). But I did not get a chance to go to the street and see the apartment building used in Rome: Open City. (Gotta have an excuse to return, don't I?).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Class: Cinema Paradiso

THE MEAL:
Polpette di Melanzane (Eggplant, Mint & Cheese Fritters)
Pesce Spada Marinato Agli Agrumi (Citrus Marinated Swordfish w/ Arugula & Orange Segments)
Quick French Bread
Cozze Marinara (Steamed Mussels w/Tomato, Garlic, Shallot & Basil) with Linguine
Torta Arancione dell'Olio di Oliva (Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake) w/Amaretto Gelato



If you read this blog regularly, you'll know I was in Italy over the Xmas/New Year holiday. While the entire trip was quite wonderful, Sicily especially got to me, especially because of the wonderful couple I was staying with. I really want to go back and spend some serious time visiting the rest of the island. And, of course, I ate really well the whole trip. So, even before I left, I was planning this class and thinking about what amazing meals I would eat there and serve in the class here.

But I couldn't just do one movie/meal, so this is part one of an Italian double feature. So stay tuned for more....

Meanwhile, class went really well tonight - and I have to say this might have been the best meal yet! Anyways, as usual, thanks to the wonderful staff and volunteers at Central Market Cooking School for making it all smooth and fun for me.

This is my second film to feature the great Phillipe Noiret, and I promise you it won't the last.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

(shameless self-promotion time again).... Here's my interview with director Kevin MacDonald on his Bob Marley documentary

Catch a Legend: Marley on Screen
By Ron Deutsch

Documentary.org, April 2012

Since Bob Marley's untimely death at the age of 36 from cancer in 1981, there have been numerous film projects announced. They have included unproduced narrative films--one to star Jamie Foxx, and another written by Lizzie Borden (Working Girls)--as well as several documentaries that ran in theaters and aired on television. The history of the upcoming Marley began in 2008 when Martin Scorsese announced he would be working with the Marley family; the film was originally slated to be released in February 2010 to coincide with Marley's 65th birthday. Scorsese bowed out shortly thereafter and Jonathan Demme was then in the director's chair, with the same announced release date. Demme apparently came very close to completing his film, but told Spinner in September 2009, "Profound creative differences emerged in the course of the editing. I ended up with a film I adore but unfortunately my love is not shared by the people who paid for it. So we have all got our heads together to find the most positive way to deal with that impasse. I hope we do because I loved making it."

But that impasse was never passed. Fast forward to February 2011, when it was announced that director Kevin Macdonald had started over with a new documentary on the life of the Reggae star. In addition to his Academy Award-winning films One Day in September and The Last King of Scotland, Macdonald has made documentaries on the famous, the infamous and the obscure--from silent film villain Eric Campbell to real life Nazi villain Klaus Barbie; and from British documentary filmmaker Humphrey Jennings to American documentarian Errol Morris.

Read the rest of the article here....

Monday, April 2, 2012

TV Bites: The Station Agent

THE SNACK:
Chuletas con Cebolla (Cuban Pork Chops & Onion)



Howdy. Hope all is well by you. Not too much going on here, though I'm in New York this week and so we have a movie made by a group of New York actors and set just over the river in New Jersey.

If you're in Austin and have been thinking of taking my upcoming Cinema Paradiso class, if you buy your tickets before April 6th and use the code "BLOOM" you'll save 10 dollars. Not a bad deal at all. Hope to see you there!

I'm not sure where to start with this film. I feel strangely at a loss for words. Perhaps it's because this is a film whose characters seem to often have a loss for words themselves. I know this for sure: The Station Agent is nearly a perfect movie. It's not a kid's movie. It's a movie for grown-ups. It's about trying to negotiate your way through life, struggling to get out of your comfort zone, struggling to be a grown-up, and struggling to create friendships while you're struggling to be a grown-up. It's almost never about what people are saying but rather revealed through subtext and what's not said. And none of that would work if not for its amazing, fantastic cast. And it makes you smile. You get to spend some time with some people, watch them bounce off each other like electrons through a microscope, and in the end they come together to form something greater than their individual properties. And it does all that in only 88 minutes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

TV Bites: The Maltese Falcon

THE SNACK:
Sam Spade's Lamb Chops



Hey, it's part two of my Humphrey Bogart double bill. Now while To Have and Have Not was filmed after The Maltese Falcon, I wound up doing this one second. No real reason other than the John Huston books were checked out of the library last month, but not the ones on Hawks. Does that clear up that mystery for you?

This was the big transition role for Bogart. He was no longer a bad guy, he was the hero. And he even got to kiss a girl, albeit a psychopathic one, but still. Strangely, I wound up not talking much about Bogart below and instead wound up focusing more on Huston and all of Mary Astor's stories. I hope you won't hold that against me.

Now please indulge me as I rant a bit. You'll read a lot online that people consider this to be the first Film Noir film. I don't particularly think so. It is clearly an antecedent, but I wouldn't call it the first Noir. I mean, you might as well say Fritz Lang's M is the first, no? Some people say it was Stranger on the Third Floor. (Note: M, Stranger, and The Falcon all feature Peter Lorre, if you didn't notice that.) Others might even say it was Citizen Kane. But this is just cinemagraphic masturbation as far as I'm concerned. Film Noir is a style that evolved and to pick the first film which incorporated all of its elements.... well, friends.... you'll first have to decide what exactly are those elements, which are always up for discussion and disagreement, as well. So there.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tickets Available NOW!!! Cinema Paradiso, April 14th!!

Time: Saturday April 14, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

For my 12th Chef du Cinema class, I'll be pairing a 4-course Sicilian menu with the Italian film classic Cinema Paradiso. The 1988 film is partially the autobiography of its writer/director Giuseppe Tornatore of his childhood at the end of WWII in a small Sicilian town. Obsessed with movies, the boy befriends the world-weary projectionist at the local theater, portrayed by Philippe Noiret. The film won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.

Note: WE WILL BE SCREENING THE ORIGINAL RELEASE VERSION, NOT the 173 minute extended director's cut re-release.

Still rapturous after all these years, Cinema Paradiso stands as one of the great films about movie love,” – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

THE MENU:
Polpette di Melanzane (Eggplant, Mint & Cheese Fritters)
Pesce Spada Marinato Agli Agrumi (Citrus Marinated Swordfish w/ Arugula & Orange Segment Salad)
Quick French Bread
Cozze Marinara (Steamed Mussels w/Tomato, Garlic, Onion & Basil) with Linguine
Torta Arancione dell'Olio di Oliva (Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake) w/Amaretto Gelato

After recipe demonstration, we'll take a break, then sit back, EAT and enjoy a screening of the film!

Friday, March 2, 2012

TV Bites: A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin)

THE SNACK:
Ash-e Reshteh (Persian Noodle Soup w/Meatballs)



So, I'm pushing back the Bogart double bill and bumping what was to be the mid-March post up because of A Separation's Oscar win on Sunday. The second Bogart film will appear in its place later this month.

As you know if you've been following this adventure, I typically don't do films currently in the theaters. But occasionally I find myself wanting to share something new I really like. (The last time was for the Vik Muniz documentary Waste Land.) Plus, in this case, it's an opportunity to make some Persian food. And it seemed perfect timing in that March 20th is Norouz, the Persian New Year.

I had heard about this film back in November and I was interested in it, but I thought, "Oh, a family drama. It could be kind of boring." But then I watched it in December and I was just so taken by it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Class: Singin' in the Rain

THE MEAL:
Parma Ham, Apricot Preserves and Dijon Mustard Finger Sandwiches
Tossed Green Salad w/ Donald O'Connor's French Dressing
Gene Kelly's Real Irish Lamb Stew
The Hollywood Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake



Well, it's still winter, I suppose, though we didn't get anything close to winter weather here in OSP (oh, so precious) Austin. But there's a little chill in the air, having given us a tease of rain last night, and the sky is currently all cloudy and gray. I mention this because I'm going to be nursing leftovers of Mr. Kelly's lamb stew this afternoon as I snuggle up to work on the next Chef du Cinema blog post (I'm always working for you, friends).

Class went very well again tonight. Good audience, good crew. No complaints.

Singin' in the Rain is one of those movies that just fills you with that feeling you can only get from the movies. Just pure cinematic joy. Seriously, if you are depressed and your meds aren't doing it, just watch Donald O'Connor's Make 'em Laugh sequence, and I promise you that dark mood will be gone by the time he finishes flying through the wall.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chef du Cinema on TV... Again!!!

No, I didn't get arrested. Apparently, they put people on television for other reasons as well.



So as you'll see I'm on promoting this weekend's class on Singin' in the Rain... and all I had to do was cook, not sing nor dance, thank you.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

TV Bites: To Have and Have Not

THE SNACK:
Blaff de Poisson (Martinican Lime-Poached Fish)



Well, this is part one of a Humphrey Bogart double bill, though next week I'll be posting the Singin' in the Rain class notes in between.

I know I've been kind of quiet about upcoming posts, but I wound up going pretty deep into researching this film: (a) as I mention below, there were many versions of stories (as there were many versions of the screenplay); and (b) there's just a lot of story to tell here. Legends about Hollywood legends.

I've also been busy figuring out films I want to do for the next few classes I'll be teaching, and the next few posts for the blog and the Criterion Collection site.

And all that is related to the big project. I'm starting to put together a proposal for the Chef du Cinema book. The book will have a different format, much shorter bits of info (only the pearls) and, of course, a recipe. More on this in the months to come.

Anyways, let's get to it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

the story so far..... (updated)

A year ago, because I was getting a little attention thanks to an article in USA Today, I decided that six months into this adventure I should write something for people coming to this site for the first time. And now I've decided to update that post.

If you walk up to a stranger, pretty much anywhere in the world, and ask them two questions: “Do you like food?” and “Do you like movies?” The majority of them would answer yes to both. Eating and watching movies have a lot in common. Maybe that’s why they go so well together. No matter where in the world you find a movie theater, there's someone selling some kind of food to munch on when the lights go down. And there's nothing like snuggling up with a good movie and a home-cooked meal. This is the basic concept of Chef du Cinema – pairing great movies with great food.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

(shameless self-promotion time again....) New Article I wrote for Documentary Magazine

Here's a new article I did you might enjoy. You might also enjoy the film, it's worth watching for sure.

'Undefeated' Puts Producer Ed Cunningham Back in the Game
by Ron Deutsch

http://www.documentary.org/node/25946

If you typically spend your leisure time watching documentaries, you might know Ed Cunningham as the producer of films such as King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. But if you typically watch ESPN, you might know Ed Cunningham as a former offensive lineman with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, and for several years one of ESPN's on-air college football analysts.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Class: The Royal Tenenbaums

THE MEAL:
Anjelica Huston's Rustic Irish Soda Bread w/Smoked Salmon & Crème Fraiche
Mixed Green Salad w/Gwyneth Paltrow's Vinaigrette
Gwyneth Paltrow's Sea Bass w/Salsa Verde
Alec Baldwin's Red Beans & Garlic (& Rice)
Danny Glover's Sweet Potato Pie


A version of this post appears at the Criterion Collection website.


Class went really smoothly tonight. I don't like to make judgments, but I think this may have been the best class yet. Over half the attendees had been to a previous class and I was really happy to see people making this something to look forward to on their calendars.

But let's get to it. This is the seventh movie I've written about here that is set in New York, and for sure not the last. But is it because I grew up in New York? If I had grown up in Oklahoma, would I be writing about Midwestern movies? I don't know.