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Steven Rubio
Attended University of California, Berkeley
Lives in Berkeley, California
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From Brandi Chastain and Jeb Brovsky to total strangers from England and beyond, my goodness, people are trying to console Laura Bassett.
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"This one grows eyeballs on its way into the net!"
Chile launched Estadio Nacional into ecstasy when Edu Vargas landed an unreal screamer to put the host side up 2-1 on Peru just minutes after Gary Medel had equalized for the Peruvians in the Copa America semifinal. As you might expect, it sent beIN announcer Ray Hudson into orgasmic screams.
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Last night at the ballpark, I got to see Travis Ishikawa’s first major-league at-bat of the season. He got a standing ovation, at least from me, which you might think is odd for a journeyman who had spent the first part of this season in the minors. But I was standing because of the last time I saw Ishikawa bat at the ballpark:
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Poor Padres
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Chef (Jon Favreau, 2014)

Chef is an enjoyable movie about a fairly ordinary theme, the middle-aged man trying to come to terms with his life, while reconnecting with his son.

Chef is definitely a Jon Favreau production ... he wrote it, he directed it, he starred in it. Making the main character be a chef allows for a slightly different setting for the standard tale. Favreau is not a chef, but he put a lot of work into learning the business, and he’s pretty convincing as he performs the job. His passion for cooking is clear and contagious. He has enough prestige among actors that he was able to get an impressive cast for a relatively low-budget film: Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Bobby Canavale, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., Amy Sedaris. Vergara, especially, is used well ... she tones down her usual overly cartoonish stereotype, and is much the better for it. John Leguizamo adds joy, and young Emjay Anthony as the son makes a good team with Favreau.

You've got a nice cast of actors who seem to be having a good time, you've got lots of yummy food, you’ve got a fine soundtrack. I can see why +Kasey Ellison  recommended Chef to me.

But there is something puzzling going on here. Favreau’s chef, Carl Casper, is well-known in the world of fine cuisine, but his imagination is frustrated by the rut he finds himself in. He seeks a new beginning by opening a food truck, and it’s a big success, not only with the public, but with the Chef Carl, who is very happy and who connects with his son. The comparison between the chef and Favreau is obvious. He started doing improv, worked his way into acting in indie films, wrote and starred in the indie success Swingers, and began is directing career with Made, which had a budget of $5 million. Somewhere along the line he made a big jump: handed Iron Man and given a $140 million budget, he helmed a huge box office success that was also popular with critics. Iron Man 2 had an even bigger budget, and was even more popular at the box office. As a director, Favreau was like the title character in Chef at the beginning of the movie.

Chef Casper finds himself by returning to his culinary roots, just as Chef is Favreau returning to the basics. But the “happy” ending of Chef comes when Casper is able to turn his food truck business into a high-end restaurant. He has more freedom than he did in his earlier restaurant job, but the point remains: he finds himself in the food truck, but the result is a return to the big time.

So, is Favreau saying that a movie like Chef is closer to Favreau’s true heart of filmmaking? Or is it just a refueling before he returns to big-budget blockbusters?

There’s room for both kinds of films, of course, but the message of Chef is muddled. It’s a nice movie, with individual scenes that hit home. But it is best taken for its surface sheen, not for anything deeper.
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Great review. You nailed it. And I appreciate the little backstory at the end. 
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Steven Rubio

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In advance of Tuesday's match, FIFA.com published an article about Alex Morgan. This English professor feels compelled to explore the quality and character of FIFA.com's writing. Morgan looking for...
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Listening to the fireworks across the bay and thinking of +Sara Smith-Rubio.
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Awww! Miss you! This is the first miss in forever! When we gonna do our "makeup " sac game? 
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It concluded a moving speech about racial justice at the Emanuel AME pastor's funeral.
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That's my mfn president
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Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2010)

Carlos was made as a TV mini-series running in three parts. It has been shown rarely as a complete movie, but the more standard presentation, as far as I can tell, is to show the three parts separately on TV. There are also edited "movie versions" than run two-and-a-half to three hours. I watched the entire series of three, which makes it a mini-series, but if you watch it, you'll see why I think it's a movie. It has the look of a movie, with its 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Carlos plays like the long-form serial television series that have become the standard for quality TV today, taking advantage of the extended running time to offer depth that wouldn't be possible in a shorter film. But the way the story unfolds reminds me more of a movie like De Palma's Scarface than it does a series like The Wire.

In fact, Scarface makes an interesting comparison with Carlos. Both are epic-length stories of the rise and fall of a narcissist on the wrong side of the law. One thing that would seem to make Carlos different is that its titular character isn't a mere gangster, but is rather a political terrorist. But politics takes a backseat throughout the film ... it's not as different from Scarface as you might imagine.

The scope of the movie is impressive. In covering the career of Carlos, Assayas takes us from 1973 through 1994, and crisscrosses nations and continents: London, Paris, Vienna, the Netherlands, Yemen, Germany, Algeria, Libya, Budapest, East Berlin, Syria, Sudan. Yes, at times it's a bit confusing, but the overall feel of the life of an international terrorist is clear.

Édgar Ramírez plays Carlos as a charismatic man who we can see would easily impress others. He's ultimately not very good at his job ... his most famous escapade, a takeover of an OPEC conference, mostly results in flying from airport to airport with hostages, never accomplishing any goals, until finally they take money in return for releasing the hostages. Nonetheless, the OPEC sequence is a masterwork in the world of action/thriller cinema. Assayas is more successful with his representation of the OPEC events than Carlos was in trying to pull off the caper.

The film does well in showing the grungy glamour of the lifestyle of Carlos, as well as his gradual fade from importance. The third chapter, which deals with the decline, is necessarily less exciting than what came before, but it does provide some closure on the story.

What is missing is a sense of the politics that drove Carlos and his associates. People toss off standard catch phrases about the revolutionary struggle, but the film rarely goes deeper than those phrases. Assayas is more interested in the character of Carlos, and he is very successful, but the ultimate lesson to be taken from the film is that the politics never really mattered, that Carlos' self-involvement was the key to the story. I don't need Assayas to provide an explanation for terrorist acts, but even with the decades-spanning nature of the movie, the individual acts almost seem to lack context. They work as scenes in an action thriller, but you wouldn't watch Carlos to learn about revolutionary thought.

Nonetheless, Carlos is a triumph of epic film making, riveting for most of its long running time, with a terrific performance from Édgar Ramírez.
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  • University of California, Berkeley
    English
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I cannot - yet I must. How do you calculate that? At what point on the graph do "must" and "cannot" meet? Yet I must - but I cannot!
Introduction
Suggested circles for me:

#baseball
#film
#music
#soccer
#springsteen
#television
#wild_flag

http://begonias.typepad.com/srubio/
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Currently
Berkeley, California
Previously
Bloomington, Indiana - Capitola, California - Antioch, California
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Steven Rubio's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Two Roads: The Politics of David Blatt and the Passion of Steve Kerr’s F...
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The NBA Finals coaches had their paths shaped by the conflicts of the Middle East, albeit on very different sides of the barbed wire.

“Mad Men” Cartoon Countdown - The New Yorker
www.newyorker.com

The last installment of a very thorough series of recaps of AMC’s “Mad Men,” the final season.

CMBA Blogathon - The Fabulous Films of the 30s: THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933)
virtualvirago.blogspot.com

This post is part of the CMBA Spring Blogathon celebrating The Fabulous Films of the 30s. Visit the Classic Movie Blog Association for more

“Outlander” shows full male nudity — and laughs in the face of rape
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So, that happened: A penis on TV and a surprisingly revolutionary treatment of sexual violence and male entitlement

Now That the Justice Department Has Struck Out, It’s Time to Put Barry B...
www.thenation.com

The Justice Department’s quest to prosecute Barry Bonds is a shameful stain in their history. Now put him in the Hall of Fame.

Notes From Sleater-Kinney First-Timers | The Pitch | Pitchfork
pitchfork.com

Six young critics see Sleater Kinney's comeback tour for the first time and report back on revivification, thrills, expectation and teen pun

It Matters: Steph Curry Honors Victim of Chapel Hill Murders
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NBA star Steph Curry publicly remembered slain Chapel Hill student Deah Barakat over All-Star Weekend. This has resonance beyond just a kind

Sweet, Sweet Ride Of The Day: Star Trek Van For Sale (NSFW-ish)
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best of craigslist > vancouver, BC > 1978 GMC G15 Custom Star Trek 'boogie' Van 1978 GMC G15 Vandura Van. I have reluctantly (we would like

The Ego and the Universe: Alan Watts on Becoming Who You Really Are
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The cause of and cure for the illusion of separateness that keeps us from embracing the richness of life. During the 1950s and 1960s, Bri

We are f***ing sadists: We are not decent, and we are not a democracy
www.salon.com

The torture report requires us to look in the mirror -- and accurately assess the monster that we see

10 appalling findings in the Senate’s torture report
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Senate Intel Committee releases report on use of torture against detainees. Here are some of the worst findings

No Insurance
bit.ly

The American Way in Germany

Head in Ass
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The Democrats' Relentless Negativity

Madison Bumgarner, The Best
www.newyorker.com

Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ left-handed ace, was pitching on two days’ rest but also on manna: possibly the best October pitcher of them

Quotes From Comedian Mitch Hedberg Of The Day
listoftheday.blogspot.com

RIP, you funny dead bastard. I saw this wino, he was eating grapes. I was like, "Dude, you have to wait." My fake plants died because I did

Can't Explain: Fun House (1970)
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(Previous "Complete Sessions" review here, sufficient preamble.) I was vaguely aware of the Stooges in high school, but my general understan

Bill Maher’s horrible excuse: Why his defense of Islamophobia just doesn...
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For all his odes to liberal ideals, Maher's latest effort to demonize Muslims reveals a disturbing, illiberal truth

Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
It's no longer Montero's. We ate there this evening and at least twice saw people enter, sit down, find out the menu had changed, and walk out. Food was fine, but don't go expecting the Montero's of the past. The server told us a name change was in store.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Quality: Very GoodAppeal: Very GoodService: Excellent
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
There are few things in this world as comforting as knowing a car mechanic you can trust. We've followed Bruce through three different locations, and have never been sorry.
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
11 reviews
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I've never had a better dentist than Dr. Grisanti, and his staff is great, as well. I went from ignoring trips to the dentist for a couple of decades, to regular visits with the Doctor and his hygienists.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
Food: ExcellentDecor: Very GoodService: Excellent
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago