Burnett Thompson Blog

August 27, 2006

The Illusionist

Filed under: music, film, Vienna — burnett @ 3:35 pm

Movie starring Ed Norton and� Jessica Biel:� �

There have been hundreds of movies made in and about New York.� I don’t believe they shoot them in Newark, since everyone would know it’s, well, not New York.� So why does this movie about Vienna, about it’s society, monarchy, and police take place in surroundings that from the first scene are clearly not Vienna?� dunno.� It is shot in Prague, much of it on one street corner.�

Now that that matter is out of the way, I can say that the movie has style and a� terrific mood and a nifty love story.� But the reason that I saw it twice was because of the score by Phillip Glass.� The last Glass movie I saw was “Thin Blue Line”, which is shaped by the music, and in fact without the music, a� completely different movie.� The current movie is a different story.� The Glass score could almost pass for somebody else.� There are long periods in the movie without music, and his score is complex enough that it is hard to hang a hat on the themes.� The movie distracts from the music.� � Thus, even after a second viewing, I wasn’t confident that I had a handle on the themes, or how the themes were used in the drama.� In fact, the music really isn’t engaging or forceful, whereas the movie is� indeed engaging, and has some powerful moments which are not really reflected in the music.� � The music� is used occasionally to reinforce the tension of a moment, as it should be, but it wasn’t singular enough to make its own statement.� � Maybe I have to see it again.

August 18, 2006

Food in Georgetown

Filed under: food — burnett @ 7:27 am

What are the best restaurants in Georgetown?� Actually, there is no great restaurant in the neighborhood.� They tend to be small and� dependent on walk-in tourist trade.� The Seasons at the 4 Seasons hotel is expensive, but has never had a great reputation, and the last time I ate there, the meat was overcooked, and the food otherwise unmemorable.� So barring a truly great restaurant, one tends to look for the restaurant with character, a comfortable place where you are always welcome, can always get a table, the food is good, where you can feel very, very relaxed and take clients and friends alike.�

Now we are narrowing things down, and the answer to this puzzle has been the same since 1980 or before:� Bistro Francais.� The other outstanding option is a breakfast and lunch joint called Furin’s, across from the hotel.� Furin’s has my favorite breakfast:� scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, hash browns, english muffin and coffee.� There are outside tables and inside.� It is VERY casual, and everybody goes there eventually…in shorts and tee-shirts.� The lunch is superb:� various salads and sandwiches to pick and chose deli-style, to eat in or take out.� Fresh, imaginative, inexpensive and quite singular in Georgetown.� Some tourists find it, but it is has an inauspicious appearance, and depends on the insiders to stay afloat.

� Bistro Francais is just that, serving provincial French fare from lunch to 4:00 a.m.� The avocado stuffed with crabmeat (order the dressing on the side…it’s a bit heavy)� has been my favorite on the menu for at least 25 yrs.� Lunch, tea, dinner, late dinner after show, ultra late (3:00 a.m.): � the atmosphere is consistent, the service sometimes good, the baguettes usually fresh, the desserts ALWAYS fine, and the food is consistent over the decades.� Most of all, it is comfortable.� They get a heavy tourist trade, which is why they have survived.� But there is heavy local business as well, and the room is relaxed, easy going, and the prix-fixe is one of the best bargains in town.� But don’t get the house white wine.� It’s terrible.� Chose from the by-the-glass menu, which is quite good.� The creme brulee is brilliant.

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