Showing posts with label Half Baked Harvest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Half Baked Harvest. Show all posts

Friday, November 8, 2019

"Dolemite is My Name" and The Week in Reviews

[I review Eddie Murphy's new movie "Dolemite is My Name" as well as DVDs "The Hustle" and "Maria by Callas."  The Book of the Week is "Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple" by Tieghan Gerard.  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "The Baker's Wife."]

Dolemite is My Name

The Story of Rudy Ray Moore.

Never heard of him?  Well, Eddie Murphy wants you to know who he was and this is a tribute to Moore.  And speaking of Eddie Murphy, he is a big way!  Back in the 80's, Eddie was on fire with his stint on SNL, his stand-up comedy act and starring in such hits as "Trading Places," "Beverly Hills Cop," "48 Hours" and "Coming to America," but then he hit a snag with clunkers like "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" and "Norbit" and then was virtually off the screen for the last ten years.  But despite some missteps, I have always been a big Eddie fan and glad to see he is back playing the comedy legend Rudy Ray Moore.

Back in the 70's, Moore couldn't get arrested.  He was a wannabe singer, a wannabe comic, and a wannabe actor, working in a record store by day and acting as an MC in a club by night. Rudy had come to California hoping to become the next Sammy Davis Jr. but as the film begins he laments his life saying "I ain't got nothin.'" Despite promoting himself to the club owner, Rudy could never get a gig until he ran across a homeless guy named Ricco (Ron Cephas Jones) who often wandered into the record store telling "hobo jokes" in a sort of rapping rhyme.  

One of Ricco's "jokes" was about a character named Dolemite, "the baddest mother-f***er who ever lived."  A light bulb goes off in Rudy and he seeks out Ricco and his homeless cohorts and tapes them, eventually building an act around Dolemite.  In fact, he becomes Dolemite, a colorfully dressed, swaggering pimp who brags about his sexual prowess and tells stories using rhyming poetry and lots of expletives.  Dolemite is a hit and Moore's career takes off, leading to cross-country tours with his very "blue" comedy act. Then comedy albums followed (remember those)? 

But Rudy wanted more. When he and his friends attend the film "The Front Page," which was a hot film in the 80's starring Jack Lemmon, Rudy had another awakening.  Sitting there with his friends, he realized this very popular film was not about them.  It was about a bunch of white middle class guys working at a newspaper.  Where was the "bone-crushing, skull-splitting, brain-blasting action" he and his pals enjoyed? 

“This movie had no titties, no funny and no kung-fu,” Moore says, “the stuff people like us wanna see.” 

So Rudy realized that if he really wanted to be a star, he had to make movies.  How hard could it be? So Rudy decided to make his own films starring Dolemite and his film "Dolemite" became legend in the world of Blaxploitation cinema, where Moore was actually parodying the genre. Five more Dolemite films followed. So this film is not just about Moore, but also a film within a film as we get to watch Moore undertaking his first film. It was harder than he thought!

Though the film is about Rudy Ray Moore, who has been dubbed "the godfather of rap," one could extrapolate that it's also a celebration of black comedy and culture.

The film, written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (who also wrote "Ed Wood" and "The People vs. Larry Flynt) and directed by Craig Brewer ("Hustle and Flow"), is a smart and stylish film that brings together a potpourri of black comics and actors: Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, Tituss Burgess, T.I...even Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock and Wesley Snipes make appearances.  Poor Wesley.  He was so hot in action films and then got himself into some tax trouble that landed him in jail for three years, but here he shows what he can do by playing an outrageous and funny character in some of the best moments in the film.

But the film is really all about Eddie, who not only stars but produced the film. We've missed you Eddie.  So glad you are back!

Rosy the Reviewer says...Eddie's still got it!
(This film was released simultaneously into theatres and on Netflix so there is no excuse for you not to see it)! 

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


The Hustle (2019)

The female version of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" was funny and memorable. This one wasn't. I loved "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."  Didn't like this one.

Now I am all for movies about female empowerment, even if the empowerment is conning men, but the film just wasn't funny. 

And then there is Rebel Wilson.

Here's a quiz:

  • Is Rebel Wilson really funny?
  • Do we want to see Rebel Wilson falling down and sliding across the floor yet again?
  • Are we sick of her schtick yet?

Penny (Wilson) is an American con-woman who preys on guys on dating sites using another, hotter woman's picture.  When she shows up to meet the guy in a bar and sees the disappintment on the guy's face, she says she is the friend of the girl on the Internet and then hits the guy up for money for the girl to get a boob job. Well, what guy wouldn't want to spend money to get a boob job for a girl he has never met?  Are you laughing yet?

After running that scheme too many times in bars, Penny decides she needs to get out of Dodge - Well, actually New York City - so she decides to head to the French Riviera.  What she doesn't realize is that the French Riviera is Janet's territory.  Janet (Anne Hathaway) is also a hustler, but unlike Penny, her hustle is a high class, sophisticated hustle.  When the two meet, Janet is not happy to share her territory with Penny, and so Janet decides she needs to get rid of her. She strikes a deal with Penny: whomever can con Thomas (Alex Sharp), a rich tech guy who is staying at the hotel, out of $500,000 first, gets to stay.  The other must leave. So they set up an elaborate scheme...and if you don't see how this is going to end, you don't go to the movies much.

Rebel does her usual slapstick stuff because I guess we are supposed to think that fat girls falling down is funny.  She seems to do that in every one of her films.  And that is sad because Rebel can actually act and has a poignant side, but we don't see that much.

And then there is Alex Sharp.  Either I am just getting older and older or actors are getting younger and younger but this guy looks like he is about 12.  Not sure if that was the point since he plays a rather naive young guy, but sheesh, he looks young, too young to play a tech tycoon.

Directed by Chris Addison, this is almost a complete replica of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," except with women, so much so that writers Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning share writing credits with the original writers of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," but sadly this version is neither funny nor memorable. One could make the case that the film tries to make a statement about women who are getting back at men for being treated so poorly by them, but it doesn't really work nor did I care enough to give this film that much thought.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are in the mood for a funny movie about con artists, watch the original "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

Maria by Callas (2017)

A documentary about opera star, Maria Callas, in her own words.

Callas was one of the most famous and renowned opera singers of the twentieth century.  Where acting in opera had been overdramatic or nonexistant, she brought opera into the 20th century through her realistic portrayals of classic characters.  She also had a rather operatic personal relationship with Aristotle Onassis, her one true love, who broke her heart when he married Jacqueline Kennedy.

All of that and more is here in this absorbing documentary told through interviews and performances as well as private letters and unpublished memoirs, brought to life through the voice of singer Joyce DiDonata.  This is Callas's real story told in her own words.

Callas was thrust into the spotlight because of her talent but also because of her overbearing mother, but despite her fame it seems that all she really wanted was a normal life.  Many people thought Callas was Greek.  She was of Greek descent but was born and raised in New York City until her parents did eventually move to Greece.  Maria was a dedicated student but was seemingly forced into her career by her mother and then later kept in the yoke by her manager/husband.  

Though her performances and the "home movies" of her personal life were fascinating, the Super-8 footage was shown with its sprocket holes visible which I found very distracting.  In this day and age where film can do just about anything, not sure why director Tom Volf didn't splice that footage into the film a bit more elegantly.

Callas was often described as a difficult diva, but this film captures her vulnerability and the loneliness she suffered before her untimely death at only 53.

I am a huge opera fan and get goose bumps listening to Callas sing this:


Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are an opera lover, you will love this film.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

55 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

(La Femme du Boulanger)

When the new baker's wife runs off with another man, the baker stops baking and the village is in turmoil!

The French love their bread!  So when Aimable Castanier (Raimu), the new baker, arrives in the small Provencal village, it's the talk of the town.  Will his bread be good?  Yes, the bread is good, so all is well.  Aimable is married to Aurelie (Ginette Leclerc), a beautiful and much younger woman. She is also the talk of the town, which is something, because most of the people in the town aren't really talking to each other.  There is the Catholic priest (Robert Vattier) and the non-believing teacher (Robert Bassac), who argue about whether or not Joan of Arc heard voices or THOUGHT she heard voices; there is disapproval about the Marquis (Fernand Charpin) and his "nieces" who live with him; and there are two farmers fighting over what to do about a tree  hanging over one of their properties. But when Aurelie runs off with another man, Aimable is so distraught, he stops baking bread and the villagers must forget their differences and band together to go find the baker's wife and bring her back! They need their bread!

Orson Welles called Raimu one of the greatest actors of all time and director Marcel Pagnol was a celebrated playwright turned movie director and the two created a masterpiece of classic French cinema that captures French village life.
When Aurelie returns, Aimable forgives her and acts like nothing has happened, instead, taking his rage out on his female cat who had run off.  A classic bit of acting that is both masterful and poignant.

Why it's a Must See: "Pagnol [has] fashioned a comic gem and a humanist masterpiece."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer this is a classic film!

***The Book of the Week***

Half Baked Harvest Super Simple:  More than 125 Recipes for Instant, Overnight, Meal-Prepped and Easy Comfort Foods: A Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard (2019)

Gerard takes on easy comfort food recipes in her second cookbook.

At this point, it's probably no surprise that I love cookbooks.  I do.  I also love cooking, but reading a cookbook is just as much fun. This is the second cookbook by Gerard that I have reviewed (I reviewed her first cookbook last month), and she is my current favorite cook because of her original take on classic recipes, using unusual ingredients such as baby spinach and marinated artichokes in mac and cheese or adding balsamic vinegar to marinara sauce.  Her "Egg-in-a-Hole" recipe is a combination egg sandwich and grilled cheese sandwich, and why not use cauliflower florets instead of chicken for some buffalo bites? Her innovated mix of ingredients not only work, they are delicious.

Gerard is a blogger (Half Baked Harvest) and grew up, one of nine children, in the Colorado mountains.  At thirteen, she started cooking, helping her Dad prepare meals and within only a few months took over making dinner.  She loved dreaming up her own recipes, putting her own spin on classics and that led to her blog and her full-time job as a food writer and cookbook author.

Most recipes have several ways to prepare them - pressure cooker, stovetop, oven, so you can use your Instant Pot for most or do it the old-fashioned way. And best of all, many recipes use just one pot e.g. that mac and cheese dish is whipped up in one pot and transferred to a baking dish, macaroni and all! All of the recipes are quick and easy, "all designed to make your life just a bit easier."

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Everything Bagel Salad
  • Crispy Chicken Khao Soi Noodle Soup
  • Chicken Tinga Tacos
  • Coconut Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Sundried Tomato Turkey Meatball Bake
  • Extra Saucy Coconut Fish Curry

And yes, there is a whole chapter for you vegetarians out there, too, with those yummy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, Spaghetti Squash Alfredo and Garlic Butter Ramen, to name only a few vegetarian recipes included.

Rosy the Reviewer new favorite cookbook!

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"Last Christmas"


The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project" 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

Friday, October 4, 2019

"Judy" and the Week in Reviews

[I review the Judy Garland biopic "Judy" as well as DVDs "The Sun is Also a Star" and "The Happy Prince." The Book of the Week is my new favorite cookbook "Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes From My Barn in the Mountains" by Tieghan Gerard. I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Europa Europa."]


Except for just a few films in recent years, Renee Zellweger has been pretty much out of the public eye since 2010, but now she is back with a vengeance as the tragic superstar Judy Garland during the last year of her life.

For those of you who don't know who Judy Garland was (and that's another tragedy, if you don't), she was an acclaimed actress and singer whose career spanned 45 years. Though she was in over two dozen films at MGM before starring as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" at the age of 17, and later starred in iconic musicals such as "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "A Star is Born (the second and best one)," Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" is probably the role for which she is most remembered today.  Dorothy had a happy ending, but there was no happy ending for Judy who struggled in later years with finances and drug and alcohol issues and died at the age of 47 of a barbituate overdose.

In the winter of 1968, Garland was alone and lonely having just divorced her fourth husband.  She was also broke and unable to pay her hotel bills or care for her young children, and her abuse of alcohol and drugs had made her an insomniac and a liability to the film industry.  So when she was offered some nightclub dates in London, she reluctantly agreed to take them on despite the fact that she was in such a fragile state it was unclear whether or not she would be able to perform.  When she arrived in London she was assigned a minder, Rosalyn (Jesse Buckley), and it was a good thing too, because it was touch and go for Judy. But when she was able to perform, she was still amazing.  She was the consummate performer who heartbreakingly gave everything she had to the audience.

The film follows Garland as she tries to meet her performance obligations while at the same time struggling with sleep and addiction issues. We also meet her ex-husband, Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell), who perportedly gambled away much of her money, and we also meet her soon-to-be new husband, a much younger, Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock), who appears to also be on the road to using poor Judy, who can never seem to find happiness. 

But Zellweger is able to not only show Garland's demons, but also her vulnerability, charm and sweetness, her endless desire to please, and when it comes to performing, Zellweger channels Garland beautifully.  She has the mannerisms down and does her own singing, which was taking a risk because Garland's voice was big and magnificent, but Zellweger is believable, because even though she doesn't sing exactly like Garland, we can believe that all of that abuse Garland put herself through would have certainly affected her voice. And that's not saying Zellweger is not a good singer.  She is.  But what she does best is replicate the energy and excitement Garland brought to the stage.  

Garland was also a gay icon, partly because the gay community likened her personal struggles to theirs, and the film portrays this in a very poignant scene when a lonely Judy is met at the stage door by a gay couple, Stan (Daniel Cerqueira) and Dan (Andy Nyman), fans who have been at every one of her shows.  So they can't believe their luck when Judy asks them if they want to grab a bite.  Unfortunately it's after midnight and this is London in the 1960's. Nothing is open so they take Judy to their apartment and make a very bad omelet but have some laughs giving them a wonderful memory of a lifetime.  And Judy is happy to be there, happy to be loved and appreciated.

And that was the amazing thing about Judy Garland.  Despite all of her issues and woes, she had a beautiful heart and spirit, and that's the amazing thing, too, about Renee Zellweger in this role.  She not only embodies Garland in looks and talent, but she captures Garland's charm and optimistic spirit.  This is the role of a lifetime for Zellweger and she plays it to perfection.  Never once did I think I was watching Renee Zellweger playing Judy Garland.  I was watching Judy Garland come to life.

So that's the good news.

The bad news is that the film itself is a bit clumsy, especially the way it uses flashbacks to explain to the audience why Judy was such a mess, and it plays a bit fast and loose with the facts.  

At the beginning of the film, we have L.B. Mayer, the head of MGM, literally walking with Judy on the Yellow Brick Road, reminding Judy that she is lucky to have the role of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz," as if she was just starting out as an actress.  Yet by the time she was 17, she had already starred in over two dozen MGM films.  He also demeans Judy's looks and threatens her with the idea he can replace her at any time with Shirley Temple if she screws up. That is only partially true. Shirley Temple had already turned down the role, as had Deanna Durbin, another young, hot singer/actress of her day. And yes, Judy was insecure about her looks, especially her weight in a world where glamour was the operative word and yes, the studio supposedly gave her diet pills and kept her on a diet, but one wonders if they were quite as Machiavellian as portrayed in the film. I found those flashbacks to Judy's early life over dramatic and kind of jarring when compared to Zellweger's more finely tuned scenes as the older Judy, despite the fine work by the young actress (Darci Shaw) playing her in the flashbacks.

Adapted by Tom Edge from the stage play "The End of the Rainbow" and directed by Rupert Goold, I would have preferred a montage at the beginning of the film, one of those old-fashioned ones with headlines and photographs that ran us through Garland's life and early success, so those of you who have been living under a rock would know who she was, and then let her explain her early life and what led to the drinking, drugs, divorces and insomnia by way of her talking to her therapist rather than those unwieldy flashbacks.  But that is a minor concern when pitted against Zellweger's performance.  This is a tour de force for Zellweger who is sure to win an Oscar for this performance.  Don't miss it.

Rosy the Reviewer says...ring! ring! Ms. Zellweger, Oscar calling.  We have your statue all ready to go!

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


The Sun is Also a Star (2019)

A star-crossed teen love story.  At least one of them isn't dying!

If you are familiar with Richard Linklater's "Before Trilogy," where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy walk around beautiful European locations and talk about love and life, then you will have some idea what this film is like.  It's a kind of teen version of that.

Natasha (Yara Shahidi) is a Jamaican girl who is about to be deported.  Like tomorrow.  Despite the fact that Natasha grew up in New York City, her parents did not arrive in the U.S. through the proper channels so her whole family is getting sent back to Jamaica.

But then she meets Daniel (Charles Melton), a young Korean guy whose parents want him to be a doctor. He wants to be a poet. Daniel is getting ready for an interview to get into Dartmouth to start that path to doctorhood, but serendipity brings our young lovers together, two cultures collide and Natasha and Daniel will never be the same again.

In Grand Central Station, Daniel is with a friend.  Daniel is obsessed with "Deus ex machina" which for some reason means to Daniel "Open up your heart to destiny." That's not exactly what I thought that meant.  Anyway, he even has it posted in his room. When he sees Natasha looking up at the constellations painted on the ceiling of Grand Central Station, he is fascinated because he has never, ever seen anyone look up at the ceiling in Grand Central Station.  And then when he sees "Deus ex machina" on the back of Natasha's sweatshirt, that's it.  He sees that as a sign and has to get to know her. He chases after her and eventually sees her on his train, follows her and saves her from getting hit by a car.  You can't get any more "meet cute" than that!

But Natasha is a pragmatist who is fascinated by astronomy, doesn't believe in love, only things she can measure.  And like I said, Daniel is a poet and, of course, he believes in love. Daniel bets Natasha that if she gives him 24 hours, he can make her fall in love with him. With his Darmouth interview postponed to tomorrow and Natasha leaving the country tomorrow, the two embark on a day long odyssey around the city, and it is an odyssey with all kinds of synchronicities, some of which I saw coming a mile away. Are these two destined to be together?

Directed by Ry Russo-Young, the film sports a meager plot and the dialogue could be better, but that's okay.  The poignant ending made up for that, and, hey, I like love stories starring beautiful people - Shahidi and Melton are attractive and engaging young actors - and I like the idea of destiny.  And though Tracy Oliver's screenplay leaves out some of the nuances of the YA book by Nicola Yoon on which this film is based, she does a good job of capturing the two characters as well as making a timely comment on the immigrant experience in the U.S.

Carl Sagan said, "We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever." But sometimes a single perfect day is enough.

Like I said, the film is reminiscent of Linklater's "Before Sunrise" trilogy but aimed at the teen market.  Head to head, it doesn't measure up to those films, so if you are over the age of 20 and you haven't yet seen them, get thee to Netflix immediately! But if you are a teen or the parent of a teen, you can start with this one.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a sweet story that reminds us that sometimes one perfect day can be enough.

The Happy Prince (2018)

Another biopic about the sad last years of a famous person - this time it's Oscar Wilde.

And he was not a happy prince.

This film depicts Wilde's last three years of life.  It's difficult to believe there was a time when being homosexual was a crime.  In 1895 Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett) was the most famous man in London but by 1900 he was a pariah.  When his lover's father accused him of being a sodomite and Wilde sued him for libel, it was Wilde who ended up in prison for "gross indecency."

It helps to know something about Wilde's life before seeing this, because the film skips all around, which I decided while watching "The Goldfinch," that I didn't like. Wilde's life is presented here in a confusing way. Though the film concentrates on Wilde's life post-prison, it gives glimpses of his earlier life in flashbacks.  I would have preferred a more linear approach - Oscar's early, successful life, his affairs, his trial, his imprisonment and then death.  But Everett, who also wrote and directed, must have decided that was too boring.  But though I didn't like the screenplay, the acting can't be faulted.  Like Renee Zellweger in "Judy (see review above)," this is a tour de force for Everett.

Now out of prison, Wilde is broke and lonely, living in Paris under an alias and abusing absinthe and cocaine.  He has lost everything except his sarcastic wit which he was known for.  But it's a sordid story and about as far from "happy" as one can get. Wilde never recovered from his stint in prison and it was all downhill for him after that.

Emily Watson also stars as Wilde's estranged wife and Colin Firth as Wilde's friend, Reggie.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a sad and depressing tale and a reminder of what homosexuals have had to endure.

***My 1001 Movie I Must See Before I Die Project***

60 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Europa Europa (1990)

The true story of how a young Jewish boy survived the Holocaust by posing as an Aryan German.

Salomon Perel (Marco Hofschneider) was born in Germany to a Polish-Jewish family and was a teenager when the Nazis came to power. He and his family fled Germany to Poland, only to have Hitler invade Poland, so Salomon, called Sally, and his brother, Isaak (Rene Hofschneider), were sent away but the brothers were separated and Sally found himself alone.  He ended up in a Russian orphanage where he was on his way to becoming a good Communist, when Hitler attacked Russia, leaving Sally a refugee once again.  

When he is captured by the Germans and they discover he can speak Russian and can be useful to them, he avoids discovery as a Jew.  Now he is a German soldier and he's only 16.  A German officer takes a liking to Sally and wants to adopt him so he sends Sally to an elite military school for Hitler Youth where he meets the anti-Semitic Leni (Julie Delpy in an early role) and falls in love with her.  All seems to be working out for our hero.

But here is the problem. 

Circumcision is the custom in the Jewish religion but not so for other men in Europe.  So the Nazis would make prisoners undress so they could inspect their penises.  Circumcision marked the prisoner as Jewish so for the entire span of Sally's odyssey during the war, from 1938 to 1945, Sally is tortured trying to keep his penis to himself, so to speak.  

When Sally is befriended by a Nazi soldier who was once an actor, Sally asks him, "Isn't it hard being someone else?" to which the actor replies, "It's harder to play yourself."  Quite the irony since Sally has become someone else in real life. He bends his persona to every situation he finds himself in. He is willing to deny who he really is to survive, and being a young teen he also is desperate to fit in. And through a series of lucky and sometimes absurd circumstances, Sally is able to fit in and survive. No matter what comes his way, he is able to blend in, but in so doing, he denies who he really is. 

And then there is that troublesome penis.  If anyone sees it, his true identity will be discovered, his penis a symbol of the fact that we can never really escape who we truly are.  But as director Agnieszka Holland said to film critic Amy Taubin in an interview in 1991, "His penis saved his soul. Otherwise, he might have become a total Nazi."

Perel eventually emigrated to Israel and never denied his Jewish heritage again, but he didn't tell his story until 40 years later.

Why It's a Must See: "[Director] Holland refrains from passing judgment on her chameleon-like protagonist as she represents unspeakable psychological tortures and miraculous escapes from a matter-of-fact distance, not dwelling on agony or bloodbath.  This is waht renders his incredible story so shockingly believable and separates it from other films about the Holocaust."

---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

The film won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and an Oscar for Holland for best screenwriting. Germany did not submit the film for consideration for a Best Foreign Language Oscar, because the film was not well received in Germany and was controversial on all sides, some thinking that Holland was mocking the Holocaust, others that she made a mockery of European nationalism of both the left and the right... and then there is that whole penis thing. Well, I guess it was just too much!

Rosy the Reviewer says...a fascinating take on identity and an original take on the Holocaust, that horrible part of human history.

***The Book of the Week***

Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains by Tieghan Gerard

My new favorite cookbook!

One of seven children, Tieghan Gerard grew up in Ohio but moved to a Colorado mountain with her family when she was in high school.  At age 15 she started doing the cooking and found freedom, creativity and a haven from the chaos of her big family.  She began a blog called "Half Baked Harvest" where she shared her fresh takes on classic recipes and her blog took off, with millions of people taking her cooking advice.

This beautifully produced cookbook will charm even the fussiest cookbook connoisseur and her recipes are out of this world.  I mean, putting a poached egg in soup?  I'm there!

Gerard shares her and her family's story in the first pages of the book, and we find out how she came to write the cookbook.  And then she shares her recipes for breakfast dishes, appetizers, pasta and grains, meat, poultry and seafood dishes as well as some vegetarian options and, of course, dessert. Each recipe is accompanied by a paragraph by Gerard explaining how and why the recipe came about as well as some cooking tips, such as how to clean a leek or a possible ingredient substitution.

In addition to "Dad's One-Pan Friday Night Pasta" - I love anything I can make in just one pan - and a "30-Minute Healthier Chicken Parmesan: - what makes it healthier?  It uses zucchini noodles - here are my two current favorites:

"Spring Chicken Soup with Ravioli & Poached Eggs"


"Dad's Simple Pasta Salad."

I mean, c'mon, a chicken soup with plump raviolis and a poached egg floating in it?  Yum!  And though I wouldn't say the salad is particularly easy, because it has 14 different ingredients, many of which need to be chopped, it is absolutely delicious tossed with a basil pesto and full of sun-dried tomatoes, pickled pepperoncinis and pepperoni, ingredients not usually found in pasta salads. It even has some nectarines!

I have tried both of those recipes and they are winners!

I am intrigued by Gerard's use of interesting tastes such as miso paste, sun-dried tomatoes and other unusual ingredients.  Can't wait to try more!

Now on to the "Thai Butternut Squash and Peanut Soup" and the "Braised Pork Tamale Burrito Bowls!"

Rosy the Reviewer says...Gerard's story is an interesting one, her recipes are unusual and delicious and her tips are enlightening!  Bon appetit!

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice"


The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project" 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.