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We have a busy weekend planned for you…

Hadn't been to the movies for a while, but have been doing some catching up…

  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a wonderful adventure story, filled with great performances (including an amazingly charismatic turn by Russell Crowe), beautiful seagoing cinematography, and some terrific action sequences that rely on energy, not special effects. It also has some old-fashioned notions about duty and honor and purpose. See it.

  • On the other hand, stay away from Matrix Revolutions, which manages to be even less coherent and interesting that Matrix Reloaded - which is saying something. The problem with this series of films is that the original Matrix had one, great, mind-blowing idea…and never could top it or even equal it. They shouldn’t have tried.

  • One movie that hasn't gotten much attention from audiences is Runaway Jury, based on the John Grisham novel. We saw it last weekend because we couldn’t get into something else, and liked it a lot - a good, taut script, plenty of suspense, a couple of twists we didn’t see coming, and great acting by John Cusack, Gene Hackman, and Dustin Hoffman. (Have any of these guys ever given a bad performance?) Good stuff, and worth seeing.

  • The Missing is an interesting western directed by Ron Howard, starring the always interesting Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett. While it is great to look at, it never really captured our imagination. It has a script with echoes of John Ford's magnificent The Searchers, but none of the complexity and emotional undercurrent that made that film so wonderful. Can't recommend this one…but go rent or buy The Searchers on DVD. It should be part of everyone's film library.

  • Another film that we just saw on DVD - mostly because we wanted to watch it with our sons - is Chinatown,, starring Jack Nicholson. This movie hasn’t lost any of its appeal after almost thirty years - it is timely and intriguing, and worth another look if you haven’t seen it in a while. (And if you haven't ever seen it - you have your marching orders.)

Finally, we have a single wine recommendation this week - but it happens to be for a wine you can only get from the vineyard.

Had dinner the other night at Café Niebaum Coppola in San Francisco, one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants anywhere in the country, and the place that makes the best chilaquiles that we've ever had. This time around, we washed the chilaquiles down with the 2002 Francis Coppola director's Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir - a limited edition wine that is just spectacular - full and flavorful, with the taste of rich fruit and just a hint of pepper. (In other words, yummy.)

If you’re not going to San Francisco or Napa, you can always get it online:

Have a great weekend. Cheers!
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