A Baker’s Dozen – Tarte Moutarde, the Star of the Show

by Dianne Boate

Just imagine for a minute that your kitchen is a rehearsal hall, your dining area a stage, and your favorite dishes as the actors in the dinner plays you produce and direct. It can put a different focus on what your favorites are and how many times you haul them out from the wings.

The star of my show is Tarte Moutarde – a simple recipe I learned to make in France that is always surprisingly good and sure to cause a stir among your guests. It is made with piecrust, Dijon-style mustard, fresh tomatoes, cheese and Herbes de Provence. When it is baking in the oven a delicious aroma tantalizes you and gives you a feeling of comfort and security, like the smell of sunshine hitting leaves and pine needles on the ground.

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ANOMALISA – Nothing makes your tastebuds snooze like a vodka cocktail

by Michael Cecconi

Let’s hear it for stop-motion animation. Knowing that each moment captured on film is a decision mulled over and made 30 times per second lets you know you have entered the vision of an artist.

Let’s hear it for Charlie Kaufman. As a writer he has managed to put on-screen self-referential, structurally provocative, formally staged pieces. The fact that he gets financing registers as a minor miracle. To look at his filmography is to look at a writer in such control that he inspires a small army of our most talented film artists to commit to his vision. His work is a splash of color across an otherwise Michael Bay-ian wasteland of ever-larger blockbusters. Continue reading

Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart), Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre), Bridgit Shaughnessy (Mary Astor), and Caspar Gutman (Sidney Greenstreet) and the stuff dreams are made of.

Dash’s Crib – Where modern crime fiction was born

by Eddie Muller

[John Huston’s film version of Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Turner Classic Movies presents screenings Feb. 21 and 24 at theaters around the country. For more, click here and for the line-up of TCM Big Screen Classics.  -ed.]

The first time I walked into Sam Spade’s apartment I thought my head would explode. Continue reading

The Elephant Man by David Lynch.

Gothic Cinema: Darkness and Desire

by David Robson

For nearly 20 years, film-and-video curator Joel Shepard has programmed one of the country’s best film programs at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Shepard’s new series is Gothic Cinema: Darkness and Desire, which spotlights the moody shadows, doomed love and nightmarish atmospheres of Gothic films from more than several decades. This weekend sees a marvelous Valentine’s Day pairing of the series’ first two films, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and James Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein, with 11 more features to come before the series wraps in April. Continue reading