We watched this semi-staged performance on DVD; the music, as always, is stunning. Kristin Chenoweth was outstanding!

Music of the Heart

Music of the Heart was a heart-warming film about how music can change kids' lives. A bunch of famous musicians participated, but the most surprising thing was that the director was Wes Craven! Meryl Streep was enjoyable to watch, as always.

Notes on a Scandal

Dame Judi Dench and Kate Blanchett are great, but I felt let down by the writing. The plot seemed way too predictable, and the Judi Dench character seemed too psychotic to be believable. Plus, none of the presumed marital tension between Bill Nighy and Kate Blanchett was really visible, except in the voiceover from Judi Dench. Maybe worth watching, but not highly recommended.

The Homecoming

Wow. This revival of Harold Pinter's play was stunning. I didn't like the play (in the sense that it was highly disturbing and dark), but I was impressed by the visceral intensity generated by the play and cast. Ian McShane was great (we got to know him by watching Deadwood), as was Raul Esparza (we saw him in Company last season). If you're into theatre, it's certainly worth watching; see it soon, though, because the theater was not close to full on a Friday night---this revival might not last that long.

Bon Chon

We had Korean fried chicken at this interesting restaurant. From the outside of the building, we thought it would be a hole in the wall, but it turned out to be a fancy club-like atmosphere. The chicken was really good (for fried chicken), and the sushi rolls were very well done. The loud music was a bit much, though, and the service was OK at best. Mildly recommended.

3:10 to Yuma

This remake was entertaining, and well done. A little focused on machismo and honor as a motivation, but that's the nature of Westerns. Similarly, there weren't any interesting female roles in the film. Christian Bale was convincing, and Russell Crowe was a perfect fit for his part. If you like Westerns, it's worth a few hours.

Discover Your Inner Economist

Casablanca Cafe

Flagler Museum

We visited Whitehall, the building that is now the Flagler Museum. It was built during the Gilded Age by Henry Flagler, one of the founders of Standard Oil. Apparently Flagler was single-handedly responsible for much of modern Florida: he built the railroads in Florida, and did much to encourage agricultural development in the state. Definitely worth seeing!


We had a big seafod crepe at a restaurant in downtown Fort Lauderdale during our brief vacation. Pretty decent food, and we managed to hit the end of the dinner rush. If we're ever back there, I'd go back.

Le Tub

We had lunch at this "hole-in-the-wall" local joint in Hollywood, Florida. Apparently GQ called the burgers the best in the country. I don't know about that, but certainly the burger we had was pretty good. We also had an excellent seafood salad. We went after the lunch rush, which was fortunate; the people at the table next to ours had been waiting for their food for 45 minutes! Apparently they have only one grill to serve a place that seats around 100. If it weren't for the long wait, I'd recommend this restaurant highly.

Bombay Talkie

Fancy Indian food. A bit pricey, and you're paying for atmosphere rather than food. But the food was still pretty good; I'd go back.

The Lives of Others

Wow. A wonderful film. Clearly a deserving winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar last year. In fact, I would argue that it was a better film than The Departed, which won Best Picture. But we can't do much about the US-centric Oscars; after all, each country has its own awards ceremony. We watched the various special features on the DVD, and the interview with the director was fascinating. I just wish we had watched it sooner!

Alex Ross

I went to hear Alex Ross, the classical-music critic for the New Yorker, give an interview at the Strand. The interview was sponsored by WQXR. The occasion was the publication of his first book, The Rest Is Noise
, a history of classical music in the 20th century. The book got rave reviews everywhere, so I've reserved it at the library. The interview was interesting, but I would have preferred a lecture by Alex Ross. The interviewer was Jeff Spurgeon, who is the morning announcer on WQXR. There's always something going on in New York!


A friend lent me this book, and it is a must-read. Beautiful, compelling prose, and a moving story about a small-town college professor around the turn of the 20th century. I loved the book, and found hilarious the mildly barbed comment about academia that one of the jaded graduate students makes early on in the novel. You must read this gem!

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

A silly, although entertaining movie. We usually watch blockbuster action movies in the theatre, just for the better sound and huge picture. This movie wasn't a great action movie in that sense; we could just as easily watched it at home. The plot itself was absurd, and made me laugh out loud several times. It is worth a rental when you want a bit of light entertainment; the only reason that it dominated the box office for several weeks is that there was nothing better to watch.

Thank You For Smoking

I'd seen this before, but it was definitely worth watching a second time. Wonderful cast, hilarious writing (Rob Lowe's character was a hoot)---what else could one want? If you haven't seen this, you should.


Once is a delightful movie about and around music. The star is apparently an Irish rock star (acting in his first rock movie). The plot revolves around a non-simple love story, which makes it interesting; it shows how love can manifest in unexpected ways, and how it can enrich one's life. Definitely worth watching (and listening to for the great soundtrack)!


We ate at this "hole-in-the-wall" Japanese restaurant, which has great Japanese noodles. Highly recommended, and at pretty reasonable prices too. Yum!


We watched Michael Moore's movie about the brokenness of the health-care system. It points out many flaws in our system, but unfortunately doesn't try to grapple any of the real complexity underlying the issues. He makes simplistic comparisons with the UK and Cuba, and makes the argument that "we could just be like them". Of course we could be, but it's not that simple to just change everything.

Also, he encourages the perception that everyone should be able to get all of the health care that they need. Of course that's not true: someone has to pay for it!