Light Fare: Hitchcock Movie 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to see both North By Northwest and Vertigo on the big screen.  Each of those posts started with talk of being weaned on Hitchcock from about the age of 12 and into my 20's. So you can imagine, I was truly looking forward to this biopic about the life of Alfred Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins as the Master of Suspense.

It's easy for me to be taken in by movies that recreate the old Hollywood film studios; where everyone was on contract, and many writers and directors had offices on the premises where they came to work everyday, even when they weren't currently doing a picture; and the guard at the gate addressed executive, director and star by name as they drove their convertibles into the lot.

Growing up loving celebrities that were big way before my time, allowed me to get a little thrill when Scarlett Johansson, who plays a credible Janet Leigh, refers to "Tony and the kids" and you know she's talking about matinee idol Tony Curtis and at least one of the kids being Jamie Lee Curtis.

Most audiences are going to want to see this movie for "the making of " Hitchcock's classic thriller Psycho; particularly the filming of the shower scene - in which Hitch dismisses the ineffectual stunt killer, grabs the famous knife and begins to torment poor Janet Leigh with violent stabbing motions that come far too close for her to have to "act" terrorized. Also supposedly it was Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) who insisted the screeching violins, violas, and cellos by composer Bernard Herrmann be used as the sound to accompany this iconic killing.

Unfortunately, although the structure of the story centers around this time period (filming Psycho) in Alfred Hitchcock's life, it's not actually what this movie is about.

Director Sacha Gervasi was chosen to direct Hitchcock, even though his only claim to fame is some doc about a heavy metal band called Anvil: The Story of Anvil. In an interview (click for video interview on Shock Til You Drop) Gervasi says they did base some of the movie on Stephen Rebello's book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho (in my opinion not enough), but ultimately he wanted to focus in on Hitch's mischievous, tongue in cheek side, and the relationship he had with his talented wife, who was never paid or credited for her enormous creative contribution to each of his films. 

The result is a very dissatisfying light and frothy rom/com of sorts.  The movie centers around the romantic jealously of Alma over Hitch's obsessions with his cool blonds, and in turn, Hitch's jealousy over Alma's friendship and working relationship with a struggling writer, Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), which all rings false and cheap.  Anyone could have written much of the often trite dialogue (screenplay by John J. McLaughlin) there is no real insight into the actual inner workings of what I'm sure was a very layered marriage.

The only part of the movie that hits a more Hitchcockian note are the scenes with Ed Gein (Michael Wincott) the real life killer the Anthony Perkins character is based upon. He's only a figment of Hitchcock's mind, but the dark creepiness of these scenes are more in keeping with the tone I had envisioned for the film.

I will say this movie awakened in me a renewed interest in seeing Psycho again; it was never one of the Hitchcock movies I watched frequently, probably been almost 20 years since last I saw it. Hopefully it's streaming on Netflix.

Food Footnote: In this movie we get to see why Hitchcock's famous silhouette was so rounded.  He tended to be a binge eater, who gulped wine as if drinking water on a hot day.  It would seem that Alma's only failure in her life with Hitch was never managing to keep her husband on a diet and exercise regime.


Holiday Treat: Rise of the Guardians

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I do enjoy the concept of the TV show Once Upon A Time, which expands the personalities and back-story's of fairytale and legendary characters. This season even goes so far as to have Snow White and Sir Lancelot be old friends and Mulan is quite familiar with Rumpelstiltskin.  What I don't like about "Once" is simple - it's poorly written.  The plots never really grab you or make very good use of these fabled, beloved heroes, heroines, villains and creatures.

Going into Rise of the Guardians I expected to feel pretty much the same, as this story brings together Santa Claus/North (Alec Baldwin), The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), The Sandman (who doesn't speak, but communicates through sand images that he conjures above his head) The Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Jack Frost (Chris Pine) and the Bogeyman (Jude Law).  Impressive cast, but the trailer features all those gnome like elves running around looking very commercial. And never having read "The Guardians Of Childhood" series by William Joyce, the books from which this latest DreamWorks feature is based - the whole concept seemed cutesy at best.

Boy was I wrong!  Rise of the Guardians is absolutely engaging, interesting, spiritual, mature yet child-like and exquisitely beautiful.  The film deals with concepts of finding one's center; the insidiousness of fear and the higher consciousness and knowledge that each one of us possesses the power to bring light into the world and defeat the evil grip of dark thoughts. At the same time, the movie is never preachy, or esoteric, it's completely kid friendly and there's plenty of action and humor for all!

Does anyone really know much about Jack Frost? We all know the saying "Jack Frost is nipping at your nose" but we don't really have a concept of who Jack Frost really is. Well, in the movie, neither does he, and that's our hook into the plot, discovering who Jack Frost is, how he came to be, and why is he being called to join "The Guardians".

Santa Claus is not your typical St. Nick, he's a Russian Cossack warrior:
"We looked at Russian architecture such as the Kremlin," art director Max Boas says. "His home in the North Pole is a giant wooden fortress. He's a gung-ho, untamable wild guy, so we wanted his architecture to be very masculine and strong. His home is built by interlocking wood pieces, a bit like the game Tetris"

The Easter Bunny is a bad tempered, bad-ass, nature loving Australian:
"Easter Bunny's garden home is an underground oasis where all life originates. Bunny lives there with giant sentinel eggs, ancient stone sculptures that come to life when invaders intrude...Since his home is the birthplace of nature, we designed a shrine environment after doing a lot of research on old temples, forest spirits, hieroglyphs and ancient carvings."

The most lovable character is The Sandman:
"He lives on a Dream Cloud right between night and day and travels with the sunset."Think of him as navigating an ocean of clouds," Hanenberger says. "If you're on a red-eye flight to the East Coast at sunset and you see that last little bit of sunlight hitting the clouds, you should look outside for Sandman, because that's where he would be."

The Tooth Fairy has a bird-like appearance, but I think her coloring should have been yellow and orange tones, rather than the greens and blues of the sea:
“For the Tooth Fairy's palace, located in Southeast Asia, the team turned to Thai architecture. It's very bird-based and has a lot of wing and beak motifs," Boas says. Since she stores the baby teeth of all mankind, she's basically a librarian, so there's tons of detail everywhere: carvings, mosaics and wall murals, it's all about communication and visual information.”

Rise of the Guardians is Peter Ramsey's, directorial debut, having begun as a storyboard artist working for David Fincher on Fight Club and Steven Spielberg on A.I., He has the distinction of being the first African-American filmmaker to direct a major, big budget CG-animated motion picture. Yet for Ramsey, himself, the milestone feels more like a necessary progression of sorts than an executed plan.

“It’s just like any other part of the industry, or any other part of the working world,” Ramsey told theGrio. “It’s just part of the evolution. Why’d it take so long to have a black president? Same kind of thing, but I think it’s one of the those things – there were a lot of people’s shoulders that I stood on…It was all based on work, and being ready when the right opportunity came along...
Me being an African-American filmmaker – [I] didn’t necessarily bring anything about that experience to this [film], but [that] a black filmmaker can make movies that anybody can enjoy,” he adds. “That we’re universal people too. I think that’s just as important as literally being represented on screen in that way.”  READ MORE

Philly Film Blog


The Bicycle Chef Meets Ukee Washington over Thanksgiving Leftovers

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My friend and fellow blogger Denine Gorniak aka The Bicycle Chef (see previous guest post: Diner en Blanc) did an excellent after Thanksgiving segment on CBS Philly with Ukee Washington, where she presented creative recipe ideas for holiday left overs.

 Here's the video:

For more information on Denine Gorniak, visit:
Check out some of Denine’s recipes: Turkey Enchilada, Sweet Potato Pancake with Cranberry Maple Syrup

Great job D!

Philly Food Blog


The Art of Presentation: Anna Karenina

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

 As the theater darkened, I thought - I can't wait to be swept up in a romantic, dramatic, grand scale period piece.

And then Anna Karenina began with lighthearted hustle and bustle both on and behind a theater stage. The underlying music had comedic tones, the whole thing was choreographed as if it were the opening to a high stepping, rousing musical theater piece.  WTF!  What does any of this have to do with what I've known of Leo Tolstoy's immortal classic "Anna Karenina"?

Romance ebooks from

Tom Stoppard's screenplay holds no poetry. It's deliberately streamlined. Certainly not written for anyone looking to get caught up in romantic, elegant dialogue or narration.  Director Joe Wright's decision to create an avant-garde fringe festival type showcase, instead of a sweeping, BBC-like epic drama, was quite disappointing to me. Seemingly the film's main objective was to light striking visuals and artistic camera angles.

Yet, the intricate dance at the ball was apropos choreography and an all together gorgeous scene. And after a time, I became accustomed and even impressed with the imaginative, dramatic shifts and movements as characters walk thru doors or out of frame and instantaneously find themselves in another scene.  And every once in a while, the sets do appear as you imagine the movie would be - rich and aristocratic; still, I never stopped being off put by the scenes taking place on stage.  At least the footlights were gas lighted, no Broadway klieg lights.

I suppose Wright and the producers felt they could take such liberties as they knew they had a perfectly cast actress in the lead role.  Keira Knightley is made for characters such as this. Her lithe frame allows her to wear beautiful clothing so elegantly.  Her unhinged jaw juts out at just the right angle to play a woman of means and spirit.  Her body language is so believable when portraying a fit of temper or slight madness.  Most importantly, you can imagine men falling helplessly in love with her in an instant. And she in turn, being a fool for love.

Jude Law is almost unrecognizable as the much abused Aleksei Aleksandrovich Karenin, his balding countenance and respectable, dignified bearing, left no room for the usual twinkle we associate with Law.  Even his role as the straight man against the gregarious Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes, did not prepare me for a truly unassuming Jude Law.

The other romance, between Anna's sister Kitty (Alicia Vikander) and her aristocratic farmer, Konstantin (Domhnall Gleeson) is delightful.  I recently saw Alicia Vikander in a beautiful period piece (currently in theaters) called A Royal Affair where she plays the Queen of Denmark.

Having never actually read the novel, I don't know if we are supposed to be rooting for Anna (Knightley) and her lover Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). I wasn't.  For me, their love story didn't feel like an all or nothing proposition.   I felt she could have easily had a brief dalliance with Vronsky and then dropped the affair before their relationship threatened her security, her son and standing in society.  After all, her husband, although dismayed, doesn't forbid Anna from seeing Vronsky, he only asks that she be discreet.  That to me sounds like an "I get to eat my cake and have it too" proposition - sweet! 

As I was leaving the theater, I thought this type of dilemma wouldn't work in a modern day story - and then immediately was put in mind of the General Petraeus / Paula Broadwell sex scandal playing out before us and thought... hmmm... maybe some things never change.


Highlight: LIFE of PI

Monday, November 19, 2012

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

I wasn't able to attend the press screening for Life of PI which opens on Wednesday (11/21). This looks to be the type of spiritual tale I tend to gravitate too; not to mention the incredible visuals (Director Ang Lee & James Cameron 3D collaboration) make it a must see on the big screen. So this is one of the movies I'll make a point to see over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Now is that time of year when it's a challenge to keep up! A lot of likely to be Oscar nominated films are being released. I saw Anna Karenina, Lincoln and the surprisingly philosophical and perfectly executed Rise of the Guardians last week. I'm currently working on posts for all three films. (stay tuned!) and  then of course I'm living to see Les Miserable come Christmas!

This Tinsel & Tine film highlight is a non-paid sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Philly Film Blog


Candi's Corner: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I was hoping before posting Candace's review of Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel, that I would have a chance to see the film/doc and add in my own two cents.  But it's two weeks later and I still didn't get to see it.   Not a problem, as Candi's Corner once again did such an in depth review, my two cents aren't necessary.

I couldn’t quite remember how I came to hear about Diana Vreeland until two days after seeing her granddaughter in law’s film based on Vreeland’s life story. It was through Andre Leon Talley, who for the Millennial Generation knows him from his appearances on MTV’s The City and America’s Next Top Model. Talley had Ms. Vreeland for a mentor in the 1970’s, as he continued to strengthen his eye and knowledge for fashion within the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute in New York City. When I first read about this early part of Talley’s fashion career, I figured that Diana Vreeland was an ambitious woman. I just didn’t realize how marvelous and inspiring she also was until watching DianaVreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. 

 Lisa Immordino-Vreeland’s documentary weaves the type of story that seems so decadent, yet universal. In the first twenty minutes of the film, at least one viewer will immediately feel pangs of jealousy, as it highlights the luck bestowed on Diana Vreeland having been born in Paris, during the romantic Belle Époque age. Even as a child, she could see that her life was surrounded by beauty and wealth. She was born in 1903, a few years after the invention of the telephone and the world had only begun to see what the movies could do to the human imagination. Diana was blossoming right with the phenomenon of ‘the city/’The City’; she was literally growing into herself, just as the world was doing the same, especially in Europe and New York City, where she moved to as a young child. 

Diana was encouraged not to rely on her looks. Her mother often compared her supposed unsatisfactory outward appearance to her sister’s attractive features. So, she learned to observe and express herself through dance. If she wanted to be seen, it would be for the movement of her limbs and her style above all.

Two of the most fascinating facts exposed in this documentary - finding out that Vreeland was not Ivy League educated. And that her first paying job, which was as a columnist for her famous “Why Don’t You…” column in Harper’s Bazaar in America, came to her at the age of 34 (!). 

Vreeland lived life to the fullest extent in the Roaring 20’s, witnessing another rising, Josephine Baker, in the clubs, before becoming a celebrity. This status was one she earned through hard work and a genuine passion for art and beauty, not consciously thrust upon her by a studio head or music mogul. She was discovered by Carmel Snow, the editor of the American version of Harper’s Bazaar from 1887-1961, because of her great fashion sense. However, Vreeland took this divine intervention in her life and turned it into a raison d’être for people who didn’t even know the type of beauty that could exist between the pages of a fashion magazine. 

If you anticipate on seeing this documentary and aren’t the most fashion-obsessed person, you will be in awe of the still pictures and history behind the first moments when Vreeland’s progressive vision introduced the world to a different type of beauty. Unknown models then, such as Veruschka, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, Lauren “Betty” Bacall, Mick Jagger, Cher, and Barbra Streisand became the cultural icons that they are now, thanks to Diana Vreeland - atypical beauty became celebrated. 

This tale doesn't show Vreeland as an all omnipotent being, as the film interviews her two sons, Fredrick and Tim, who remember how unconventional and sometimes emotionally and physically distant their mom was. The film continues to show how even someone like Diana could be seen as weak, as attention is drawn to her husband’s infidelities, of which she knows, yet dares not mention nor spend too much consideration on those incidences.

With thoughts of a dour world economy hovering over many of our heads, Diana Vreeland’s decadent life story immortalized on the silver screen could seem offensive. 

But it can also be a testament to those who continue to “think outside the box”, utilize common sense, wits, and intellect, and are brave enough to inform an understanding of their world in order to imagine new ones for others to enjoy and dream. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is a stimulating story about a woman who rejoiced in her work and imperfect beauty.

Through her prosperous life and vibrant persona, this documentary reminds us living today that the eyes must travel not just all over the pages of fashion magazines, but beyond the surface of what or who is in front of us to ultimately find truth in ourselves.

Candace Smith is a native Philadelphian and graduate of Syracuse University (BA) and City University of London (MA). After spending a few years living in London, Candace returned to Philadelphia and continues to forge a career as a freelance journalist, writer, blogger, actress, and host. Besides interviewing intriguing personalities for Urban/Suburban Magazine, she is also currently contributing her knowledge and skills to various artistic movements, publications, websites, and podcasts such as REP Radio, AFFRM, and Hipolitics. It's hard for her to pin down her favorite movie and food of choice, but she is a HUGE fan of a great Indian curry and the film "Repulsion" by Roman Polanski is in her top ten must-sees.


Lancaster Restaurant: Gibraltar

Monday, November 12, 2012

Was it too soon in the relationship to go away for the weekend?

I didn't think so at the time, but part of our problem was we simply rushed too quickly into calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend, the immediate "relationship status" became too fraught with expectations.

Mount Hope Estate and Winery

Nonetheless, it was a lovely weekend in Lancaster PA, we did some shopping (not as much as I would have liked) we bought wine, drove around spotting Amish buggies and of course spent quality time at our B&B.

Gibraltar on Urbanspoon

We also dined at a surprisingly upscale restaurant called Gibraltar (College Square 931 Harrisburg Ave Lancaster, PA 17603) which specializes in Seafood.

It's a little hard to find. The area looks like all businesses and apartment buildings, the street numbers don't seem to follow suit.  You have to go way back into a business complex to find Gibraltar, but once there, the outside seating and lighting is very chic!

Gibraltar Outdoor Seating

We started with Crab Corn Chowder

Crab Chowder: creamy, hardy, filling comforting - 4 Tines

James ordered Maine Lobster Fettuccine sweet corn, crème fraiche, fine herbs, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmigiano $24
Lobster Fettuccine: James was very impressed with succulent, generous portions of lobster - 4Tines

I ordered a fish I'd never heard of before called Walu. It was served with a Thai Curry Sauce, sauteed Spinach w/ Shiitake mushrooms and a sticky rice cake - $19

It's a very thick, meaty fish. More dense than swordfish. It doesn't have much flavor, so I asked for extra sauce and smothered each bite, which eventually made me feel a bit nauseated.

Walu Fish too dense and chunky  - 2 Tines
  • Bread on the table - Sourdough made on the premises , on weekends they vary the recipe with other herbs  -  4 Tines
  • Wait Service - Lee was a charming waiter without being intrusive. Although he did step on James' toe two perhaps three times, which was odd cause it didn't appear his foot was sticking out, nor did it seem Lee was overly close to the table- 3 Tines
  •  Service Misc I - When we were seated we were only handed one menu and told we had to wait for a second menu to come available. Yet the restaurant wasn't overly crowded. - 1 Tine
  • Service Misc II - Our main course was extremely delayed after our soup course had been cleared for more than 20 minutes.-1 Tine
Romantic dining room at Gibraltar
  •  BYOB - No. Full Bar service
  • Decor - Dark, cozy, romantic - 3 Tines
  • Outdoor Seating - Nice space. - 3 Tines
  • Bathroom Decor - 2 Tines (located in the office bld, not a far walk, but not actually part of the restaurant Bathroom Cleanliness - 3 Tines
  • Additional Menu Notes -  I'd like to return for the Tapas menu. something you don't see a lot of at seafood restaurants. It not just a small plate menu.
  • Misc -  Unfortunately, not sure how long the restaurant will be open, as it's owned by the Keares Restaurant Group which recently...
The Keares Restaurant Group, which owns Barny's Grill in Manheim Township and Gibraltar restaurant in Lancaster city, recently was hit by two federal tax liens as well as a civil suit filed by one of its suppliers for unpaid bills.
The Internal Revenue Service filed two liens, totaling almost $266,000, in September and October against Keares Overlook for not not paying federal taxes withheld from employees' paychecks. Keares Overlook runs Barny's Grill on Granite Run Drive at the Overlook Community Campus.
Employers are required to withhold the federal taxes from employees' paychecks for income tax, Social Security tax and Medicare tax...
Dining "Tine" Rating System:
* Excellent - 4 Tines / * Great - 3 Tines / * Good - 2 Tines / * Fair - 1 Tine / * Poor - Tarnished

Gibraltar Restaurant on Foodio54

Philly Food Blog


A Dash: Skyfall (James Bond 007)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pierce Brosnan will forever remain my favorite Bond; ironically, as I fell in love with him as TV's Remington Steele, which originally kept him from playing 007.

The first Bond flick I saw in the movie theater was Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights. I can't say I liked or disliked Dalton as Ian Flemings' iconic, seductive, MI6 agent. However, I do recall Director John Glen managing some rather imaginative stunts in that one.

I've still yet to catch up on many of the classic James Bond movies featuring Sean Connery and Roger Moore.  And although I enjoy the franchise on the whole, the Bond movies I've seen are all a vague memory to me; even the most recent two preceding Skyfall, featuring Daniel Craig. 

So I maybe incorrect in saying Skyfall seems to be the most sentimental of all the Bond flicks with its themes of being put out to pasture, a wet behind the ears Q (Ben Whishaw) and love/hate mother issues involving M (Judi Dench). But it seems to me, it was less plot driven, less action driven and more relationship driven.

Which evidently movie-goers do not have a problem with as the box office for Skyfall, [directed by Sam Mendez ( American Beauty, Revolutionary Road and husband to Kate Winslet)] has set a franchise record with a nearly $88 million domestic debut, per weekend box-office estimates, and vaulted toward the half-billion-dollar mark worldwide. Which surpasses 2008's Quantum of Solace by 20 million - READ MORE

Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva a gay, blond, playfully sinister villain is a riot! Which got me to thinking about the legacy of  Bond Villains:

In the first part of a 1983 James Bond movie, a villain named Kamal Khan says, "Spend the money quickly, Mr. Bond," after losing to 007 at a game of backgammon. Can you identify this movie, which co-stars Maude Adams?


T &T's LAMB Score 4 outta 5

Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog


Promotion: Group Offer for War Horse at the Academy of Music

Long before a single scene of Spielberg's film was shot, "War Horse" was a novel for young adults published in 1982. Michael Morpurgo intended it more as an anti-war statement. It was inspired by conversations he had at age 17 at his local pub in the picturesque English village of Iddesleigh in Devon with an elderly WWI veteran named Albert Weeks.

"I said, 'What regiment were you with?'" Morpurgo recalled. "He said, 'I was over the Devon yeomanry . . . I was there with horses.' And he started talking, and the more he talked the more upset he became, and the more engaged I became in what had happened to him - this young man who'd come away from a completely pastoral background and had been thrust into this hideous, hideous trench warfare. The only thing that kept him sane was that he said the he would talk to his horse."

Fast forward nearly three decades. "War Horse," the play, is a theatrical phenomenon, and the National Theatre of Great Britain's most successful production ever. Last year it opened at Lincoln Center in New York City, and won five Tony Awards.
The story is told by larger-than-life puppets . . . horses so extraordinary you forget they're not real.- CBS Sunday Morning READ MORE


DATES: November 20- December 2, 2012
PLACE: Academy of Music
PROMOTION: Buy a four-pack of tickets for $99

Note: Tinsel & Tine has agreed to a non-paid promotion of this event. Tinsel & Tine is in no way affiliated with this production or promotional offer.


Guest Blogger: 2012 London Film Festival

How much do I wish I could travel around the world reporting back from Film Festivals. Why are dreams so hard?  Anyway,  I was please to be sent this submission, which recaps the British Film Institutes 56 Annual Film Festival

Newly reformatted and revitalized for their 56th annual outing, the 2012 BFI London Film Festival was a huge success and featured the largest ever audience. 149,000 audience members attended in 2012, up from 133,000 in 2011.

Clare Steward, Festival Director, was responsible for the introduction of a revised structure, updated competitive sections and a shorter festival length in her first year at the helm. To counteract the shorter duration, the physical footprint of the festival expanded with four new venues. New classifications for the participating films were added —cult, dare, debate, family, journeys, love and thrill — to make it easier for attendees to choose from the 228 features on offer.

The London Film Festival is the biggest annual event for the British Film Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting current British talent and films and cultivating the next generation of audiences and film makers. Audience members come from all walks of life from film enthusiasts to current acting school students to journeymen filmmakers and established celebrity auteurs. For 2012, four films took home awards and two filmmakers were honored with fellowships.

BFI Fellowships

Fellowships are considered the highest honor awarded by the BFI. This year's recipients were Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. They were honored independently, despite their frequent professional collaborations and long-term personal relationship.

Tim Burton, who also opened the festival with the European premier of his latest film "Frankenweenie," accepted the award presented by Sir Christopher Lee. “I feel very touched and grateful to the BFI for this tremendous honor" said Burton. "It means more than I can put into words to receive the BFI Fellowship and to be included alongside the great directors who have received it before me.”

Sir Trevor Nunn presented Helena Bonham Carter with her Fellowship award. Like Burton, she was also at the festival to represent her latest project, "Great Expectations", which was screened at the closing night gala. “I am somewhat bewildered and not sure that I am deserving of such an honour as a Fellowship from the BFI, but shall accept it with deep gratitude,” she said.

Best Film

Best Film is awarded for the most original, intelligent and distinctive filmmaking at the festival. The title went to the Jacques Audiard film "Rust and Bone." Oscar winner Marion Cotillard stars in the love story between two people who have just experienced their own tragedies.

Best British Newcomer

This award may go to a writer, producer, actor, actress or director. This year it was awarded to Sally EI Hosaini, who wrote and directed "My Brother the Devil," about young British-Egyptian brothers living amidst gang culture in London. This mean streets drama brought grit and strife to the screen and was hailed by critics throughout the event. The film currently holds a 100% Fresh rating on

Sutherland Award

Only directors debuting their first feature-length film are eligible for The Sutherland award, which goes to the most original and imaginative film. Director Benh Zeitlin was honored for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," a narrative film about a six-year-old girl who goes in search of her mother after an army of prehistoric creatures are released into the world.

The Grierson Award for Best Documentary

The Grierson goes to a documentary demonstrating integrity, originality, technical excellence or cultural significance, and needs to be a feature length documentary. This award went to director and screenwriter Alex Gibney for his film "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God." This film looks at one case of pedophilia originating in a Catholic church in Milwaukee and examines the nature of the church hierarchy in relation to this very sensitive issue.

Guest Blogger: Gigi Jones An Indie filmmaker and fan of Kevin Smith's low-budget production business model, Gigi writes film reviews for online film blogs when she's not on a shoot.


Guest Blogger: The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I met a lovely, fun, bright freelance writer named Candace at the BlackStar Film Festival, so I asked her if she'd be interested in guest blogging for Tinsel & Tine... And here's her first post!

When I first read "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", I finished the book in one day within a span of seven hours. I don’t remember the last time I’ve read a book from beginning to end, having to run to the bathroom afterwards to wash my face from crying. As a result, I had to see Stephen Chbosky’s film adaptation of his book, more now than ever after reading it first.
I understand why it’s being hailed as “The Breakfast Club for a new generation”. It’s a film with an important story to tell, elevated with inspiring performances by someof Hollywood’s young talent - Logan Lerman (”Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”, “The Three Musketeers”)Emma Watson (the “Harry Potter” series, “My Week with Marilyn”), Ezra Miller (“Beware the Gonzo”, “We Need To Talk About Kevin”).

The Perks ofBeing a Wallflower is a tribute to the lonely experience of high school, adolescence, and in the midst of it all, those who observe seated on the benches of high school football fields or at school dances: the wallflowers. Lerman’s character, Charlie, is the epitome of a wallflower: a freshman with no friends who writes in his journal about his everyday experiences in school, seeing everything but never having meaningful conversations with anyone. His best friend committed suicide, his older sister is in a relationship with a pushover who makes her mix tapes she dares not listens to, his parents, while very loving, are consumed with being parents doing the best they can, unable to truly understand him, and his classmates show their love with bathroom swirlies and derogatory putdowns about his sexuality. Fortunately, these character and plot introductions are established in the first fifteen minutes of the film, and then Charlie introduces himself to Patrick and Sam (Miller and Watson), and the movie really starts to pick up steam, throwing Charlie and viewers into a world that, whether it looks familiar or unfamiliar, feels warm and whole.

It’s a joy to watch Charlie eat his first pot brownie, get his first kiss, experience the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the first time, and dive into the high school experience with peers who are eager to teach him what it means to be a good friend and a good person. What makes this movie work so well, even though there were several plot twists missing that could only be read within Chbosky’s novel, are the universal themes of love, loss, puberty, and high school. Also, the actors are one with their characters and themselves as actors and human beings, and it shows in their performances. The chemistry between Lerman, Miller, and Watson is so palpable and endearing that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about their life-long friendships well beyond the life of this film. I could not take my eyes off of either of them, especially Ezra Miller, who exudes a quality of fearless acting that I see in the more experienced of his acting peers such as Johnny Depp, Michael Pitt, Harold Perrineau, and Mae Whitman, who you may remember as a child actress in the Sandra Bullock vehicle, “Hope Floats”, but whose popularity surged higher ever since her portrayal of Roxy Richter, one of the Seven Evil Exes of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”. You also can’t forget Paul Rudd, who is always fun to watch, showing his mellow side as Charlie’s English teacher who notices Charlie’s aptitude for writing. Rounding out the cast are other familiar faces, such as Nina Dobrev from “The Vampire Diaries”, Melanie Lynskey, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Johnny Simmons, and Nicholas Braun. The cast is magical together and I didn’t find myself once thinking about how another actor or actress would have been more suited for any of the roles. This is one of the most common complaints from die-hard fans of YA book adaptations to film (here’s looking at you “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games”). 

Most people who go to see “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (unless you are below the age of 12) will either relate to it purely because they are human and are either a teenager or was one once upon a time. Years go by, popular culture and fads change or come back in cycles, but the rite of transitioning from juvenile to adult will come to pass. Whether you are one of the popular kids or a wallflower, your high school years will be lined with heartache and confusion. But there will be times where, in your search for the greater meaning of everything around you, you will find moments of feeling infinite, just like Charlie. 

Candace Smith is a native Philadelphian and graduate of Syracuse University (BA) and City University of London (MA). After spending a few years living in London, Candace returned to Philadelphia and continues to forge a career as a freelance journalist, writer, blogger, actress, and host. Besides interviewing intriguing personalities for Urban/Suburban Magazine, she is also currently contributing her knowledge and skills to various artistic movements, publications, websites, and podcasts such as REP Radio, AFFRM, and Hipolitics. It's hard for her to pin down her favorite movie and food of choice, but she is a HUGE fan of a great Indian curry and the film "Repulsion" by Roman Polanski is in her top ten must-sees. 

Philly Film Blog


Tinsel & Tine: 21st Philadelphia Film Fest Recap (Part II)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

This is Part II of Tinsel & Tine's 21st Philadelphia Film Festival Recap & Reviews. Hope you had or will have a chance to check out Part I.

This year, a nice addition to the going's on, was the VIP Bar located at 110 Chestnut Street. Pass holders, filmmakers and staff were invited to hang out between screenings and enjoy sponsored events by: Alma de Cuba, Empson USA, Tony Lukes, Barefoot Wines & Bubbly & Bourbon Blue.

David Bentley with PFS Blogger Ben Silverio
I had a nice chat with David Bentley, wine rep with Empson USA. You know how wine connoisseurs will say, this was a good year or that was a stellar year or this was a horrible harvest? Well, David gave me pointers for Italian wines from certain regions, harvested between 2008-2012. I loved learning about it, the problem being, I didn't write any of it down or record it, so of course, I can't regurgitate a word of it.

I did however, capture him speaking on the two wines offered during the tasting. Here's the video:

I also met a wonderful couple during the final VIP event – Barbara & Julian Smetana who screened 33 films and celebrated their anniversary during the run of this year's festival.
Barbara & Julian Smetana
 Overall they have attended 20 of the 21 Philadelphia Film Festivals, but it wasn't until they both retired that they could begin to see the large numbers of films they now fit in over the 10 days.
A few of their favorites for this year: The Iran Job, Sapphire, Shadow Dancer and both felt Silver Linings Playbook was the best opening night film they've seen in a long time!

Jade Elysan, Dave Coleman & Shane Bissett

This Time Tomorrow - An aspiring writer ventures to Philadelphia and tries to revive a previous relationship as the world’s demise looms overhead.- Director Shane Bissett

This film became a stand-out for me. Jonathan Demme protege, Shane Bissett is impressive. And so was the fact that the film has no written dialogue, just nice, authentic performances.

Originally, however, I only wanted to see the film because of it's premise- this movie's foundation is based on one of my favorite subjects - the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012. Project Camelot is an organization that deals with all things freaky, sci-fi, supernatural, spiritual and black op. They were the ones to really draw my attention to this date. Will it have any real significance in our Universe? Will it be a catastrophic end to the world? Or just a subtle shift in the world as we know it, with only those in tune to benefit or make notice of it? Could be when aliens finally reveal themselves to all? Or like in this film, (*spoiler alert - just another Friday).

This Time Tomorrow, uses 12/21 a jumping off point for a romance in the style of Julie Delpy's Before Sunset. Stacey (Dave Coleman ) arrives in Philadelphia on December 20th and pretends to casually drop in on an old girlfriend, Parker (Jade Elysan). The couple haven broken up a little more than a year ago. During the course of their evening, Stacey eventually reveals that if the world does end in the next 24 hours, he wants to spend his last moments with her. Which is hard to understand why, because Parker is pretty much a straight up “B”.

Here's a video of the post screening Q & A:

Gaby -A straight yoga instructor and her comic book loving, gay best friend decide to have a baby together, the old fashioned way, in this hilarious and touching crowd-pleaser by fest alum Jonathan Lisecki.
Matthew Wilkas & Jenn Harris in "Gaby"
This film was well received as a short at the 20th Film Fest inspiring filmmaker Jonathan Lisecki to expand it to feature length. The fact that best friends Matt (Matthew Wilkas) and Jenn (Jenn Harris) think it makes perfect sense to continue their respective dating lives while making the commitment to have this gay-baby, makes the film outrageously entertaining! I do have a small issue with this style of filmmaking, which is representative of so many films shown during Qfest; to put it bluntly, the feel is just a notch above porn. Let me clarify, I don't say that because there's anything X-rated or over-the-top. And I want to see movies with gay characters; the problem being there's often an overall look and tone to the production of these gay themed movies that don't do the films justice.

And while I've already put myself in potential hot water, is there a way to tactfully comment upon the cavernous caves under Jenn's eyes? Probably not.
Here's a link to Jonathan Lisecki's post screening Q &A on youtube.

I was excited about the screening of Cloud Atlas during the film fest. However, this movie deserves it's own post. My plan is to see a second screening before doing a write up of this complicated, future, past, present, multi-layered movie.

I saw a few more films during the festival and had intended to do a 3rd installment from #PFF21, but I gotta tell you, between breaking up with James, Hurricane Sandy, and not that I minded, but my Mom and sister stayed with me while their power was out, not to mention, I had no internet for 4 days - my momentum and energy for writing about the festival has passed.

I would like to send positive energy to all those who truly suffered loss during the hurricane. May God be with you to bolster your strength and give you comfort.


If you want more from the 21st Philadelphia Film Festival - Comcast Xfinity customers can watch select films in the comfort of their own home! Click on the "local" section on your OnDemand menu under Philadelphia Film Festival.
And listed below are all the Jury Prize Winners - Congratulations to these honored filmmakers:
Audience Award Winner // The History of Future Folk (dir. John Mitchell, Jeremy Kipp Walker)
Honorable Mention for American Independents - Gayby (dir. Jonathan Lisecki)
Honorable Mention for Special Presentations - Silver Linings Playbook (dir. David O. Russell)
Honorable Mention for Documentary Showcase - Brooklyn Castle (dir. Katie Dellamaggiore)
Honorable Mention for The Graveyard Shift - John Dies at the End (dir. Don Coscarelli)
Honorable Mention for Greater Filmadelphia - From the Shadows (dir. Matt Antell, David Hearn)
Honorable Mention for Masters of Cinema - Caesar Must Die (dir. Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani)
Honorable Mention for New French Films - Three Worlds (dir. Catherine Corsini)
Honorable Mention For Spanish Language Cinema - Clandestine Childhood (dir. Benjamín Ávila)
Honorable Mention for Sports in Motion - Waiting For Lightning (dir. Jacob Rosenberg)
Honorable Mention for Spotlights - The Sessions (dir. Ben Lewin)
Honorable Mention for World Narratives - A Royal Affair (dir. Nikolaj Arcel)
Honorable Mention For Best Actor - Tim Heidecker in The Comedy (dir. Rick Alverson) 
Honorable Mention For Best Actress - Begüm Akkaya in Kuma (dir. Umut Dag) Jury Members: Jeff Deutchman, Daniel Guando, Jen Yamato

Best Documentary Feature // Step Up to the Plate (dir. Paul Lacoste) Honorable Mention - Only the Young (dir. Elizabeth Mims, Jason Tippet) Jury Members: Jennifer Cochis, Natalie Difford, Jeff Reichert
Pinkenson Award For Best Local Feature // Future Weather (dir. Jenny Deller) Honorable Mention - From the Shadows (dir. Matt Antel, David Hearn) Jury Members: Wendy Cox, Nancy Glass, Jamal Hill
Archie Award For Best First Feature // The Woman in the Septic Tank (dir. Marlon Rivera) Jury Members: Ruth Perlmutter, Joy Bannet, Dr. Aaron Bannett, Bunny Glick, Therese Obringer, D. Stanley Shapiro
Best Short - Belly (dir. Julia Pott) Honorable Mention For Best Original Song - Don't Hug Me, I'm Scared (dir. Rebecca Sloan, Joseph Pelling) Jury Members: Doug Jones, Amanda Lebow, Adele Romanski


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26th Annual PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL Coverage (Oct 19-29, 2017)

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Bradley Cooper has more than charisma, he has an over abundance of Chi, which radiates out from him; so for me, this role as temperamental and damaged chef Adam Jones, who also inspires great love and admiration from those around him, works on the level of characterization. In fact, I think he's among a very short list of actors who would be able to pull off being so self-involved and yet likable. Doesn't hurt that he really speaks French too! READ POST

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Food n Film: CHEF

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Much of the movie centers around the father/son relationship, and how much they learn from each other. But the real star of the film is all the food preparation, every other scene made me groan with want of everything up on that screen! Particularly the perfectly roasted and rubbed brisket, the crispy fat of the pork belly, sizzling bacon and the much ballyhooed Chocolate Lava Cake. READ POST


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If you’re a foodie movie lover who saw Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred Foot Journey (see T&T post), this summer you may be wondering what delicious visual journey might be awaiting you in the theater next. Well, how about a look back at his film Chocolat (2000), which stars French actress Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Hallström’s has a special talent for turning cooking into a dramatic movie journey...READ MORE


...young Hassan, a soulful-eyed boy with lush, thick eye lashes, places his face into the sea urchin basket, and breathes in the exotic briny scent. He sticks his fingers into the aquatic ooze, takes it to his mouth and is transfixed by the taste. The vendor, oblivious to the thrusting arms of frenzied women, notices the boy and realizes he is the only one worthy of this oceanic prize; he is the one who can “truly taste.” ... READ MORE

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA

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Personally, I like the unevenness of it, because I fell in love with the post World War II, Parisian sights, sounds, food and romance between Julia and Paul. I always felt a bit jarred back into reality when the scenes returned to Julie's meltdowns and cramped kitchen.READ POST

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE
Six months into my 38th year of this life, I had my first panic attack. I didn't know that's what it was until months later. Symptom after symptom starting piling up on me until there were days I could no longer move my arms or neck. The doctors told me I was suffering from an auto-immune condition that they felt was most likely Lupus. And so began my much deeper journey and exploration into the world of spirit, alternative medicine, yoga, meditation and Eat, Pray, Love. READ POST

Philadelphia Magazine » Blog » Foobooz


With a film like this, food plays a main character in the story and I was lucky enough to get an interview with the film's Food Stylist, Janine Kalesis.READ POST

Food n Film: WAITRESS

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In this 2007 film, Keri Russell stars as Jenna - a desolate diner waitress seeking solace in the art of pie-making. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she’s eager to escape her husband and her small-town hell and sets about to make a run for it by entering an out of town pie baking contest. READ POST


Those of us in attendance were not only given the opportunity to see Babette's Feast, the Oscar winning, Danish film, considered one of the all-time great "food films"; we also got to taste Babette's menu! READ POST


I participated in WalkMS Philly on 4/30/16
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15 Top Food in Film Flicks

15 Top Food in Film Flicks
Cozy Quilt of Food Movies, we'll add more patches as T &T discovers more films where food plays the biggest "roll"

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Videographer Oliver Gallini 5 min short featuring organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, who got his start at The Four Seasons Philadelphia.


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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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