Friday, December 27, 2013

Movie Review - 'Random Hearts' (1999)

The other night, on one of those pay channels… a movie about to commence... checked
the guide to see it was 'Random Hearts' (1999) starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott
Thomas. I hadn't seen it since it was released... it seemed a lifetime ago... so long
in fact I had no more recollection of the subject, plot or finale. I made myself
comfortable and proceeded to be enveloped by and reminded why Sydney Pollack was a quiet
master of cinema romance. He was brilliant at taking the love particles down the alleys
of timelessness, 'They Shoot Horses, Don't They?' (1969)... suspense, 'Three Days of
the Condor' (1975), 'Absence of Malice' (1981) and 'The Firm' (1993)... absurdity,
'The Electric Horseman' (1979) & 'Tootsie' (1982)... and the epics 'The Way We Were'(1973)
& 'Out of Africa' (1985). He's had his misfires… I'm sure, but irrelevant to my
review... all in all, an impressive track record.
'Random Hearts' is based on a 1984 novel of the same name by American author Warren
Adler, who wrote the novel after being moved by the 1982 Air Florida Flight 90 disaster.
Our hero, Dutch Van Den Broeck (Harrison Ford - loving the diamond stud earring) is
an appealingly earnest police sergeant who works in internal affairs for the Washington
D.C. police. Our heroine, Kay Chandler (Kristin Scott Thomas, dressed and styled à la
Armani, is so incredibly beautiful) is a brisk, efficient New England, Republican
congresswoman who isn't taken seriously even by those working for her. In part, due to
the fact that she was grandfathered in the seat when her dad, a much-respected, long
standing congressman suddenly passed away. Their two lives and natures are as opposite
as day and night, but what they have in common is a horribly brutal plane crash in which
each loses a spouse. Problem is… neither knows why their partners were flying to Miami—or
if there might be any reason why they were seated next to one another. For a romantic
drama, 'Random Hearts' sure doesn't begin the way you would expect. The film eases us
into the worlds of its two principal characters a Washington D.C. internal affairs cop
and a New Hampshire Congresswoman, with a campaign and a teenage daughter to manage.
Their lives run parallel for nearly an hour of screen time, with Dutch investigating
a pair of crooked cops and Kay preparing for a tough re-election campaign. Drifting
through the background is the event that will bring them together: an airline crash that
claims the lives of Dutch's wife Peyton (Susanna Thompson) and Kay's husband Cullen
(Peter Coyote). With a languid silkiness, director Sydney Pollack lets the characters
develop independently before Dutch's suspicion that Peyton and Cullen were having an
affair sets Dutch and Kay on a collision course.
The pacing may be slow, but the set-up is engrossing and effective. The hint of
mystery behind the deaths sets all the gears of tangled intrigue into motion... the
machinery sharpened with the director's felicity with enthralling narratives. Pollack
and screenwriter Kurt Luedtke, a frequent collaborator, shuttle the charming stars
between a host of locations—the power curves of Washington D.C., the shimmering pastels
of Miami, the golden-brown autumn glow of New England. Then, something surprising
After a day together in Miami exploring the possible scene of their spouses' infidelity,
Dutch and Kay return home exchanging portentous glances throughout their plane trip.
Finally, in Kay's car at the airport, they surrender to their wanton desires... Harrison
and Kristin generate chemistry when they abruptly hurl themselves at one another. Doomed
liaisons between wounded, grieving souls in dramatic cinema -- case in point: 'Last
Tango in Paris' (1972)-- such films generally focus on the essential emptiness at the
center of the relationship. 'Random Hearts' delves into that kind of psychological pain...
keeps suggesting the potential for genuine affection between Dutch and Kay... something
besides the mutual despair and betrayal that connected them in the first place. As a
result, it feels like a 1940's weeper in the body of a European art film. Two things
I enjoy the most.

* From Where I Sit
December 26, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

'Bad Boys'

'The baddest of the 'Bad Boys', the guy who goes all the way back to before the beginning,
has been called many things: the Prince of Darkness, the Tempter, the Bringer of Light. As
portrayed in John Milton's 'Paradise Lost', he was the most beautiful of the Angels before he
rebelled...also the most arrogant. "Better to reign in Hell," he taunts, "than serve in Heaven."
Charisma incarnate, he gets all the good lines and almost all the girls. This fallen Angel,
a primal archetype, is undying: whenever men misbehave we think of him. Robert Lovelace
in 'Clarissa', the Vicomte de Valmont in 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses', 'Don Juan' in print and
in opera, the Willoughbys and Wickhams, wily and wicked, of Jane Austen.
More recently, in real life, fabled Hollywood lady killers like Jack Nicholson and Warren
Beatty come to mind, along with hot tempers Steve McQueen and Sean Connery, and men
for whom 'moderation' is moot-though this is often a consequence of youth, as with Johnny
Depp, Sean Penn, and Colin Farrell. Let's just say there would be very little art without our
attractive little Devils, and centuries of stories would be boring.
The world has always loved its 'Bad Boys', but it wasn't until the movies that we got to
revel in them. Suddenly, in the 1930s, the libertine, gangster, outlaw, scofflaw, public
enemy, serial seducer, bank robber, and sexy barn burner had faces. And what faces!
James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart as bootleggers, the young Clark Gable as a meanie
in black leather, Paul Muni and George Raft as mobsters. Darkness, temptation, light the
black-and-white film of early Hollywood caught it all in deep shadows and grey velvet,
combinations of smoke and pearl. And then there was that gleam, which you cannot get
in Technicolor, those dangerous gleaming eyes with lashes you can count.
Odd how we so often root for the 'Bad Boy', wanting him to succeed, or at least to get
away. Why? Because he's the one with the energy. And though William Shakespeare
wrote that "ripeness is all"… energy is everything. It is light and therefore illumination;
it is movement and therefore change; it tests the boundaries of freedom.' ~ ©Finnegan Bond ± Taipan

Friday, November 15, 2013

'Nostalgia Night @ Globe'‏

Ladies & Gentlemen,

'We do not remember days, we remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories
we have forgotten.' ~ Cesare Pavese

Nostalgia... The fond remembrances… The talks of the good old days... The bittersweet
reminiscent daydreams of the present-day individual… Emotional... psychological... What
a night it was! Many people find it foolish developing nostalgia. They think it is unwise
to waste the time you have now thinking about the time you had then. Lingering in the
past is neither an admirable nor a notable pastime, and people who allow themselves to
fall into such things should pull their heads out of the sky and focus on the tasks of life
at hand. But there are times when that is just what the doctor ordered... Nostalgia Night
@ Globe was a wonderful remedy... that this individual sorely needed. I believe in a night
filled with funny, easy, and breezy. For smiles, giggles, and winks... And crazy, sexy, cool.
Enjoy my observations.

On a cold November night I truly enjoyed returning to a familiar place and with so many
familiar faces. Saturday was another moment in the pantheon of life's journey. Ms Marilyn,
always a vision, who as of now will become Ms Theron. Her adorable hubby, who interested
everyone on his recent travel to India... and his run-in with cows on a highway (no animals
were injured during the telling of that story). Marco Stiguy keeps surprising me with his
presence. Doris Ronca who never fails to impress on me her desire to get involved and be
very social... in a group she had no previous connection, except moi, she made the trek.
I like Doris. Rocco Capozi, a man in search of a good time, found the right conduit...
the Ladies at my tables. Wendy looked delicious. She has become a true contributor to our
soirées... along with Ms Bove II. I love when people come together and it progresses.
Poppy and her friend Ms Gubitoso were delighted to also be at a place they loved. I did
this dinner on a Saturday due to Poppy's Friday schedule...I hope she appreciated it.
My dear, old friend Virginia... I look across the table and see her smile, and chat with
the other guests, laugh and drink and I'm reminded of the many parties in our youth. My
attorney, who is also my friend, is a constant... and brought to mind Olivia Wilde in
Chaps with her leather pants. I adore that woman!
My partner in crime, who had been absent during the last couple of dinners, did not
disappoint. Thanks Luigi. Finally, Claude and Louise, who had been 'portés disparues'
for an extended period found their way back. They were as delightful, engaging and very
interesting as ever. I missed seeing Claude at my tables. He brings with him a sense of
comfort... and I smiled.

There is a long series of restaurants between Sherbrooke St. and Pine Ave. vying for
your attention. With all the action, eye candy and enticing food, one wonders how to
pick and choose. Is it the space with the most cutting-edge decor? The restaurant known
for its solid cuisine? Or is it the hot spot that boasts the latest celebrity sightings… With
their comely waitresses, groovy colour schemes, and up-to-the-minute menus, Globe
has always been considered 'hot' on all these fronts. While some of its competitors have
cuter waitresses and better chairs, Globe, in my humble opinion, has always succeeded
by offering the full package.
There's a special connection, a bond... if you will, between Globe, myself, along with
my extended family. Bombshell, back when she would go dancing with her girlfriends,
would always start and end her soirées at the Globe bar... because Robbie Pesut (one
of the owners) would always treat her like a lady... and be respectful. My nieces have
been celebrating their birthdays there, since turning eighteen, with each inviting their
respective entourages. Then there's my Godchild, who at the tender age of 5, had the
then-chef prepare for her a special plate of pasta (not on the menu)... Which she always
adored him for it and showed it by bestowing on him a hug and a kiss. He would take
her their famous 'Tourte au Chocolat' to enjoy at the bar, while I savored my cigar.
You see children, once upon a time, smoking, even a cigar, was tolerated in our fair
city. The good old days!
The present kitchen c.e.o., Jean-François Baril has returned the Globe to its former
glory and rightful place above the fray of restaurants, bistros, and ristorantes, all along
the strip. Along with the chef de cuisine, comes a refreshed ambiance, a new look for
the waitresses, and the sense of a new beginning for this landmark eatery.

Globe's cuisine exploits organic and local produce to its fullest. This kitchen lets the
quality of ingredients do the talking. We begin our culinary adventure with a platter of
oysters and shrimps. Along with several flutes of Proseco... then the panoply of pièces
de resistance commence... The first four courses of pure delight to our palate. Gaspor
pork belly with an Asian bbq sauce and water chestnuts was divine. A beet salad with
pistachios, ricotta and sumac which added a lemony taste was sublime and best epitomizes
what this restaurant is all about, sophisticated simplicity. Crispy buttermilk fried chicken
with Iceberg, ranch dressing and bacon gravy. Octopus wrapped in a tortilla with corn,
Coriander & Tequila. The flavors were bursting in our mouths... very tart.

'Cortes de Cima' 2010 from Portugal was our wine selection... aged 12 months in French
and American oak... featured an exuberant nose, exhaling perfumes of vanilla. Subtle
aromas of ripe black fruits and freshly ground spices were also present.

One of the main courses was a bowl of Cavatelli and braised Stanstead rabbit with
Romano beans and sage. The cornucopia of varied ingredients made my beak wet... and
wanted to steal Ms Theron's bowl. Love Bugs Bunny!
The following choice was a swordfish in a mango curry, with bok choy and king oyster
mushrooms. Another delectable selection of combined additives... My choice was pristine
slivers of grilled hanger steak with string beans, chorizo and shoestring fries... every
morsel tender, juicy and perfectly cooked. I abhor meat that's so rare and bloody, you
expect it to get up and walk away at any given moment.

Our gorgeous server, Rachel, easily fits Globe criteria with charm and professionalism
to spare of a model and/or actresses-in-waiting - a hallmark of Globe.

Fans of HGTV's 'The Property Shop' even got an extra treat... A Canadian television
'docu-soap' that follows Tatiana Londono, an ambitious, hard-working real estate broker
who struggles to balance family life with work, and do it all with style. Well the woman
does have style, and class to boot. One of the guests at the table, Bove Sister II, is a
HUGE fan and noticed her at the adjacent table. Since Ms Londono and I have been
Facebook buddies for some time... I shimmied my way to her table and introduced
Ms Bove to Ms Londono... Ms Bove was in Heaven and Ms Londono was the most
gracious... and I smiled!

As the crowds prove, by the sound and fury a tell-tale of the mood among the diners,
who were out in droves... Globe remains the perfect choice if you're up for the hullabaloo
of the St. Laurent scene.

I find incurring the silent wrath of nostalgia to be a beautiful process. When I flashback
to a memory it incites a lingering, melancholy emotion from somewhere deep inside;
almost as if I'd give up absolutely anything to feel the way I did then, just for one more
day. I adore remembering or finding things that make me feel that way. It may sound
absurd... but I'm an acquired taste.

'I am deeply touched - not as deeply touched as you have been coming to this dinner,
but nevertheless it is a sentimental occasion.' ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

But don't get me wrong. I certainly do not consider myself one of those people who
would willingly trade the present for the past. Nostalgia, for me, is simply remembering
the many young escapes I had into my own little, warm-and-fuzzy world; the only place
where I truly found myself happy back in those days. Days before the careful rusting
and stripping away of my childhood innocence... days before both world and self-realization.
Days before unpleasant influences tainted my mind and morphed me into the individual
I've come to be. I yearn for those days, but at the same time, I don't. That's what
nostalgia means to me.

Serendipities, happenchance, and surprises... Friends and strangers come together for
one purpose... To be inspired...

'Looking to the past can give you hope and comfort for the future, but never let
yourself forget how to press onward.' ~ ©Frank Borsellino

Life is short... Live your dream... Share your passion... A la prossima!

Namaste ±
Your Cruise Director
Food is my Compass
November 9, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

La Quincaillerie‏

Marcel Proust once said, 'The door of memory is opened by the taste of a Madeline
cookie.' He, of course, was referring to his mom being in the kitchen baking and
the smells that that awakened in him... but for me, it was seeing the weathered
facade of a hardware store (Quincaillerie)... as I ventured down Notre Dame St. West
in an old part of town... and I thought of what that French novelist said a century
ago and how apropos to here and now.

As a young boy, my formative years were spent in a quiet, safe neighborhood in
a borough in the city of Montreal, now known as Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension.
Until the late Nineteenth century, the area was predominately rural and dotted
with farms. The inauguration of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1878 and the arrival
of electric streetcars in 1892 permitted the growth of Villeray. It was also in this
era that the Italian immigrant community chose the neighbourhood as their preferred

My grandfather chose a little corner that had these beautiful tree-lined streets
and mom-and-pop stores. The main street, in our quaint section of town, was right
around the corner from where we lived. There was a linen and clothing store run
by an old, Italian couple, who my mother, until this day, is very friendly with, albeit
with the widow. They have traveled together extensively, from Europe to the French
Riviera, from Monte Carlo to a cruise in the Caribbean. The friends you made back
then were rooted in a strong sense of belonging and lasted a lifetime.
There was a grocery store that delivered (hard to believe in 2013) with a special
bike that had a box saddled to the front wheelbase... for the ones in the vicinity,
and a van for distanced carting. There was a barbershop, and a bakery where
enticing aromas emanated every morning. In the midst of all that secure feeling
of being home was a hardware store.

Quincaillerie Tillemont was situated where my lane ended to meet with that main
street. My grandfather being a do-it-yourselfer, long before it became a phenomenon
and spawned a network, was a frequent visitor. He and the owner, a man named
Jean Bordeaux (because back then the owners still fiddled about their stores, greeted
and cordially assisted the customers), who was a gentle old Frenchman, had a special
relationship. You sensed theirs was a kinship based on mutual respect of two men
who knew their trade and craft... of hard work, and of what that entailed, along with
the necessary tools needed for a job well done. The facade had large weathered
steel frame windows that contained tools, and samples of the wares you should expect
to find on the inside.

'We come together in unity to play a grand symphony of cosmic consciousness in the
divine meditation of our souls' manifestation as being one.' ~ ©Frank Borsellino

Namaste ±

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

'Ladies' Night @ Table51'

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I know this may seem out-of-character, so sudden after a dinner party and review...
'Ferragosto', to return with yet another 'Moment in the pantheon' of life's journey. But
that same night, in August, on the way home from Alexandre & Fils, 'The Photographer',
who is our George Clooney, turned to me and said, "Frank, I like the Bove sisters, and
Ms Steele... let's have a dinner at that place you mentioned in Laval 'Table51'. Not too
far off, maybe in a couple of weeks... a more intimate soiree. Invite Cettina and a few
others." After several days, I thought about what he said and began to put the cogs
in motion.

'In the setting sun the striking skyline glitters, alight with promise, dripping with
possibilities.' ~ Andrew Morton

Do you ever sit and think; what if? What if you had never said the first hello… Or
what if your paths never crossed? What if you kept your mouth shut and just let
things pass? What if you had just five more minutes? What if you could turn back
time and make it all stand still… where would your life be? Better? Worse? Less
confused? More confused? Happier? Sadder? I have lived a life without regrets...
as for not saying what is on my mind... not in this lifetime!

Once again… the ladies who came veterans and newcomers alike, put a bounce
in my step and a smile on my face... and inspiration made an appearance… and
turned an impromptu, intimate soiree into 'Ladies' Night @ Table51'. Actually, one
of the women at the dinner christened the name. But I'll get to that later... since
this is a first at this restaurant... I will take a moment to familiarize you with it.

Forget the fact that you're at a mall in Laval... the men behind 'Table51' George
and Jimmy Kosmas, and Peter Tolias have succeeded in rewriting the rules of fine
dining by building this spectacular ode to good food on the North Shore... imagine
a hotspot similar to 'Globe, Buonanotte or Kabana'. Since opening in December
2009 the partners have worked to keep the stellar quality of the food and service
at its peak. Joined by Executive Chef Alex Rolland (who hails from Globe), they have
created a fun, fresh and innovative menu.

"Montrealers know food and know good restaurants, and are not going to forgive
you," Tolias said. "We know we don't get a second chance to make a first impression."

The restaurant strikes a balance between style and comfort, boldness and familiarity,
festivity and intimacy. In this elegant yet comfortable eatery that seats 180, you can
roll up to the bar and catch your favorite sports team over one of many beers on tap.
Enjoy a business power lunch, linger over an intimate dinner with your paramour, or
simply take a break from shopping with some girlfriends over a glass of wine. In this
busy, yet intimate restaurant, everything is prepared 'à la minute'. "There's nothing
frozen here but shrimp and ice-cream," Tolias said.

After a slow start, which is becoming the norm, the table was complete with seven
delicious ladies, a distinguished gentleman and me. The instigator, my friend Luigi,
had a last minute engagement and did not come to his own party. The distinguished
gentleman said he was happy to be the only other man in the midst of my Harem... of
which three were newcomers.

The wine arrived, not soon enough, a 'Sterling Vintner's Collection' from California…
a full-bodied, balanced cabernet with classic aromas of cassis and blackberry. We
started with a Hummus and Guacamole accompanied by Yukon chips and house-made
sesame crackers. Zucchini Rolls stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a tomato
lentil vinaigrette. They disappeared in no time... and I kept asking for seconds... and
They took simple, fun comfort food and added their own twist... made it special. Bacon
and cheddar 'croquettes' with chipotle mayo. Everyone is doing a mini-burger, but not
like these guys. Mini Mak with a perlimpinpin sauce… all natural, juicy and even the
fresh bun is sweet and soft to the palate. Fresh-cut jumpo wings with a 'Table51' sauce,
carrots and celery... and of course a house salad.
For one of the mains... the Roasted Salmon with Pinot Grigio, maldon sea salt and seasonal
vegetables, with a carrot sauce. But the dish on most plates was the 'Braised Beef' (no
knife required) in red wine with herb-roasted root vegetables. I think it's the most tender,
mouth-watering piece of meat I have ever had (no pun intended). Unbelievable!

The ladies were getting acquainted... and I smiled... André aka Mr. Patterson, the
distinguished gentleman, late 50s' looks 48. I have known André almost as long as
Bombshell (her uncle)... a very smart man, who runs a multinational and found a way
for it to work for him instead of him working for it… Like I said... very smart. His lovely
daughter, Stefanie… who made her first appearance at 'Ferragosto'. Of course 'My Muse'
who is always delicious... and the delightful Wendy, whose dress was Va! Va! Voom!
One half of the Bove Sisters, Antonella (who christened the soirée) ... made a happy
enclave on one side. To my right the lovely Virginia, who I had not seen in a while... so
we did a lot of catching up. I have known her practically since infancy. Another beautiful
lady I had not seen in ages, Nikki Dahlin', who brought along another beautiful soul.
Joanne, who to my astonishment, is the ex-sister-in-law of my old partner when I owned
and operated 'Le Bistro des Bavards', back in my youth in the early 1980s'. I almost fell
off my chair. Another enchanting factor of the evening was a night of reminiscences.

The distinguished gentleman would have been content with these fine five ladies... but
lo and behold, by the time the main dishes arrived so did another trio of delicious dames
(love saying that). My Poppy Montgomery (Toni), who came with her two girlfriends, Julia
and Melina another sister combo. And I smiled...

'The great events of life often leave one unmoved; they pass out of consciousness, and,
when thinks of them, become unreal. Even the scarlet flowers of passion seem to grow in
the same meadow as the poppies of oblivion. We reject the burden of their memory, and
have anodynes against them. But the little things, the things of no moment, remain with
us. In some tiny ivory cell the brain stores the most delicate, and the most fleeting
impressions.' ~ Oscar Wilde

Life is short... Live your dream... Share your passion... A la prossima!

Namaste ±
Your Cruise Director
September 6, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Cabin in the Rain

I take my girlfriend Kate to a secluded cabin for the weekend to score, but when four strangers burst in during a rainstorm, plans change quickly.
It was a dark and stormy night. The generator was spluttering away outside the cabin as the rain lashed against the roof. Inside, the warm glow of a few table lamps and a small warm fire bathed the single large room. Near the far wall was an old warm looking four poster bed draped in soft old red covers. The other half of the small cabin was dedicated to a cozy living room. A few old sofas lay in the flickering light around a large shaggy carpet spread in front of the stone fireplace. With the logs crackling and the flames dancing it would warm everything with in reach. The cabin was a great place to escape to from a busy life in the city. I had brought my new girlfriend Kate up here for a long weekend hoping to score. The walking in the woods, the quiet seclusion, plus a bottle of red wine or two, usually has the desired effect and ends up with the old bed creaking and shaking as I impale myself gloriously into some hot young wet nymph. The storm had rolled in quite suddenly while we were out on a walk to the lake. Kate had been going on about something to do with her work while I followed her up a hill admiring the way her ass muscles flexed and relaxed as her feet navigated the unsteady terrain ahead of her. With her tight 5ft 4in. body and long blonde hair she looked like some sort of woodland elf out here except that her generous C-cup breasts made her instead into the most delicious sexual object known to man.
All I had thought about since first meeting Kate was what she would look like straddling my lap as she bounced herself up and down upon my swollen shaft. Luckily we were not too far from the cabin when the rain started but no amount of running was going to stop us from getting a soaking. We jogged back together laughing in the rain, splashing in little puddles that were beginning to form. Kate's shirt was getting increasingly wet and was sticking tightly to her voluptuous body. While I had managed not to stare thus far it was getting harder and harder as her bulging erotic outline became more clearly defined. We were only a minute or two away from the cabin when the air started to get much cooler and quite quickly. The rain then came in earnest and started dropping thousands of fat cold rain drops onto us. In the darkening light we could see the warm glow of the cabin lights in the clearing just up ahead and ran full speed toward it as the storm unleashed onto us. Crashing through the door laughing I turned to catch Kate as she came laughing in behind me, briefly feeling the press of her body against mine, the slight twitch between my legs noting it too. Turning back I pushed the door closed against the rain and wind which was now whipping up outside. As I turned back around …time seemed to fall into slow motion. Dripping wet from head to toe and gently wringing out her hair was an apparition of beauty. Her soaked t-shirt was slightly see through and clung to those perfect breasts. Her nipples looked like they were piercing the very fabric of her shirt as her chest heaved, catching breath. Bathed in the soft light of the cabin she was a sight to behold. "Ahem?" she coughed.