I had the opportunity to have brunch last weekend at Mathieu Palombino’s recently opened La Gamelle on the Bowery. The restaurant opened in the Bowery Diner space and is a permanent version of the Chez Josef popup he operated in there last year.
It was a perfect Spring day – warm and sunny with a light breeze. The restaurant had just opened for brunch so it was not at all crowded and we sat near the front of the restaurant which was open to the street.
The menu is typical brasserie fare: steak frites, hanger steak, salmon, whole grilled branzino, roast duck, sandwiches and charcuterie platters. We both had the Croque Monsieur (see picture below – of course with a side of frites!) and a bottle of crisp rose. If I were picking nits I might say the bechamel was a little on the heavy side but all in all a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Aloha (opens May 29) – Bradley Cooper stars as a military defense contractor who is hired by an old boss to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite in Hawaii. Upon his arrival he reconnects with an old love (Rachel McAdams) but finds himself becoming increasingly attracted to the hard-charging Air Force pilot (Emma Stone) assigned to watch over him.
I am not always a big fan of romantic comedies but Bradley Cooper’s career choices seem to be more on than off. It is also directed and written by Cameron Crow so may be worth a shot (although no reviews yet on Rotten Tomatoes means it may not have been screened for critics which is most definitely not a good sign!).
Results (opens May 29) – Danny (Kevin Corrigan) is an unhappy man who receives a financial windfall after his marriage disintegrates and uses it (well, part of it) to join a gym and hire a trainer. He falls under the spell of the owner of the gym, Trevor (Guy Pearce), and the trainer, Kat (Cobie Smulders) and through his relationship with them gets a new lease on life.
While the synopsis doesn’t sound compelling (an understatement, right?), the movie screened at Sundance this year and the initial reviews are positive.
San Andreas (opens May 29) – Stars Dwayne Johnson as a rescue-chopper pilot who makes a dangerous journey across California in order to rescue his ex-wife (Carla Gugino) and estranged daughter (Alexandra Daddario) after a devastating earthquake.
Ok, so once in awhile it is fun to see a summer blockbuster. But did I mention it stars Dwayne Johnson?
Aquarius (releases May 28 from NBC) – David Duchovny stars as homicide detective Sam Hodiak in this gritty late 1960s cop drama about a cop who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family a couple of years before their infamous murder spree. NBC is adopting a Neflix-style release strategy for Aquarius: for the first four weeks after its two-hour premier all 13 episodes will be available to stream on NBC.com and the NBC app.
I am looking forward to seeing Aquarius. I loved David Duchovny in Californication – the character he played was so different from Mulder in X-Files it highlighted his range as an actor. Let’s hope it lives up to my expectations!
Nightingale(May 29 on HBO) – David Oyelowo plays Peter, a war veteran who recently returned home from combat and is eager to re-establish a relationship with a friend with whom he served. Peter, the only character in the film, slowly unravels while waiting for his friend to visit.
I am not sure about this one. I think David Oyelowo is an amazing actor – he was most definitely unfairly overlooked at the Oscars this year. But a one-actor movies with a character disintegrating before your eyes?
“Tomorrowland” starring George Clooney opens on May 22. Mr. Clooney plays a former boy-genius inventor who embarks on a mission with a scientifically minded teenager to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” Directed by two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird with a screenplay penned by “Lost” writer and co-creater Damon Lindelof the movie sounds promising.
Louis CK stars as Louie, a divorced comedian with two kids living in New York. Now in its fifth season on FX, Louie is one of my favorite comedies and Louis CK one of my favorite comics on TV. Part comedy, part drama – if you aren’t currently watching you owe it to yourself to give it a look.
Orphan Black – Now in its third season, Tatiana Maslany plays a streetwise hustler who is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her. In order to fully understand the story-line you have to start with season one. Tatiana Maslany is terrific – to tell you exactly why would be a plot spoiler – but she has been criminally overlooked during Emmy season for the past three years. The show is complex and compelling and worth a binge-watching weekend.
“Penny Dreadful”, now in its second season on Showtime is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together classic horror origin stories into an original drama in which the key characters – explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), American gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and medium Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) – unite to combat supernatural threats in Victorian London. While not normally a fan of the supernatural genre the way this show incorporates classic horror origin stories is interesting – it has both caught and kept my attention.
“Happyish”, also on Showtime and in its first season stars Steve Coogan as Thom Payne. On his 44th birthday Thom’s world is thrown in disarray when he gets the gift of a new, wunderkind boss who throws around words like “digital,” “social” and “viral.” Is Thom in need of a “rebranding,” or does he just have a “low joy ceiling?” The show also stars Kathryn Hahn, Ellen Barkin and Bradley Whitford. While I have only seen the first episode it felt like a fresh take on an old story (although other critic reviews have not been positive).
Netflix released the first season of “Grace & Frankie” on May 8. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda star as a pair of somewhat rivals whose law partner husbands decide to leave them – after revealing that they have been having an affair for decades and plan to marry. With an amazing cast, including Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen in addition to Ms Tomlin and Ms Fonda, the series should be great. Having slogged through the first three episodes I can attest that it unfortunately is not. It is a dated, clichéd, traditional sitcom. A rare miss for Netflix.
Netflix will release “Between” on May 21. “Between” is the story of a town under siege from a mysterious disease that has wiped out everybody except those 21 years old and under. The series explores the power vacuum that results when a government has quarantined a 10-mile diameter area and left the inhabitants to fend for themselves. Let’s hope that “Grace & Frankie” is an aberration and Netflix hits this one out of the park.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is directed by George Miller (originator of the post-apocalyptic genre and mastermind behind the legendary “Mad Max” franchise) and stars Tom Hardy. The movie, the fourth in the franchise’s history returns to the world of the Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky. The cast also includes Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult. I saw a trailer recently – unless the best scenes were in the trailer the movie looks promising. If nothing else go out of respect for the original.
While I have never been a fan of Westerns, I have been a fan of Michael Fassbender’s since “Shame” (assuming of course there was no body part double!). And the movie does have a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Slow West” follows a 16-year-old as he travels across the American frontier at the end of the nineteenth century searching for the woman he loves in the company of Silas, a mysterious traveler.
While I am not usually a fan of the creepy, horror genre there is something compelling about the previews of “Wayward Pines” that piques my interest (a couple of seasons of American Horror Show has also been interesting – largely due to Jessica Lange’s performances). The ten-episode series was developed by M. Night Shyamalan. It stars Matt Dillon as Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke who travels to Wayward Pines (a sleepy Idaho town) looking for his missing partner but finds a town full of darkness, secrets and terrifying people. The show co-stars Carla Gugino, Juliette Lewis, Terrence Howard, Toby Jones, Shannyn Sossamon and Oscar winner Melissa Leo.