"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dinner & a DVD: Four Feathers

Ready in just 10 minutes and very good.

Ham 'N' Noodle Toss

2 cups broccoli florets
1 3/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 packages (3 oz/e) oriental-flavored ramen noodles
Sliced ripe olives, optional

In a large saucepan, combine broccoli, water, ham, soy sauce and one flavoring packet from the noddles (discard second packet). Break noodles into small pieces; add to pan. simmer, uncovered, for 6-8 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring frequently. top with olives if desired.

Featured Attraction: Four Feathers

"Four Feathers" was a bit of a surprise. I watched it on a whim and was duly impressed. I'm not really a Heath Ledger fan, spoiled by "A Knight's Tale" and "Ten Things I Hate About You" which are really teen fare. (Sorry, haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet.) However, Ledger manages to carry off a truly adult role believably and with passion.

The movie brings to life, in the tradition of "Zulu", the arrogance and brutality of the English Empire. In their mission to make the world English, the troops in this film find themselves fatally underestimating the Sudanese fighters (I think there's a rule somewhere that says imperialists must lose in any film made after 1970).

The sets are phenomenal and the acting is superb. Djimon Hounsou (Juba in "Gladiator") is fantastic. Wes Bentley (Jack) creeped me out a little, remembering him from "American Beauty", but convincingly maintains the British 'stiff upper lip'. Kate Hudson was a bit useless as the role demanded more emotion than she was really capable of, but fortunately it was a fairly small part.

I liked the film, although some points in the film were a little confusing. Several scenes which ought to have been key (particularly at the prison and at the end) I thought were a little off because I didn't understand what was happening and these points were never fully clarified.

Also, while the film did an excellent job of portraying Sudanese cultures and eighteenth century English, our hero's motives were at times a little suspect (since an awful lot of his actions seem very precipitous - heading off to Africa might be considered rash) Other than that, I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a sweeping historical drama.

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