March 1st, 2014

Winter's Tale

On Sunday, February 23rd, we went to see "Winter's Tale," a film by Akiva Goldsman, adapting the novel by Mark Helprin.

We found it much better than most critics. It is a beautiful and touching story, well told, with necessary, but not overwhelming special effects, and well worth seeing.

I suppose being veteran fantasy fans may make it easier, but we did not in the least find the movie "confusing" as some critics did, and the cosmology of the milieu seems straightforward to the extent it is revealed to us. Some of the plot developments are mysterious at the time they occur, but all is explained if you are paying attention. It helps to bear in mind that this is a sentimental fantasy, and not a hard-edged thriller.

We thought the acting by Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, and Russell Crowe were all quite good, with interesting supporting roles by William Hurt and Will Smith.

The settings of 1914 New York were interestingly done, and good to look at.

Over all, we were well pleased with the film, and thought it a good entertainment for a winter's afternoon.

Recommended for those not too jaded.

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Chez Jacques

Sunday evening, February 23rd, we went for dinner at Chez Jacques, which bills itself as "Milwaukee's only authentic French restaurant." Whether or not that's correct, Chez Jacques is very good.

We started off by splitting a plate of the "Charcuterie Artisanale," which includes the Paté de la Maison, prosciutto, and sauccison (French style salami), served with bread, toast, pickles and garnish. All of this was very good, especially the Paté.

For main course, we had a couple of classic French dishes. Georgie had the Boeuf Bourguignon, a beef stew with burgundy, onions,and bacon, served with mashed potatoes. I opted for one of the night's specials, Cassoulet. Cassoulet is something I'm always interested in, but it is hard to find because it takes a lot of preparation. Chez Jacques' version is a white bean stew with a very flavorful broth. With it you get a duck leg confit, a mild-flavored but savory sausage, and a boneless pork chop. Needless to say, this is a very filling dish, and just the thing to warm you on a winter's night. I accompanied the meal with a glass of the house Syrah, and Georgie had hot tea.

Service was fast and attentive. We had an excellent time, and excellent dining all around.

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