Movie Review: ‘The Cured’ Presents a New Zombie Twist

The Cured,” in theaters and on demand Feb. 23, 2018, is a smart, new Irish zombie film from director David Freyne. It makes me think that the UK really knows how to do zombism-as-infectious-disease. (See the excellent “28 Days Later” and “The Girl With All The Gifts.”)

The film starts after most of a massive zombie outbreak has been contained, and a cure has been discovered that works for about 75 percent of the infected. This good news comes with significant problems, however: for one thing, the cured zombies remember every awful thing they did while infected and, worse still, the population is seriously conflicted about letting them reintegrate into society. It’s a clever concept with parallels to unwanted refugees and minority populations.

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Orchard House Restaurant in Caldwell Makes A Wine Tasting Day Complete

Cherry Pie at Orchard House Restaurant in CaldwellOrchard House Restaurant in Caldwell caught my eye as I was driving on an afternoon trip to some of the Sunnyslope wineries. A busy parking lot was a good sign, with an even better sign the large ‘Fresh Baked Pies’ sign next to the front door. Inside, you passed through the bakery area to a comfortable, homey dining area. A quick perusal of the menu told me all I needed to know—they had Idaho’s own special dish, Finger Steaks.

The smiling server mentioned that the soup of the day was a Mushroom Bisque and highly recommended it. The bisque came in a nice cup, the thick bisque with its dark rich color broken by plenty of chunks of fresh mushrooms in it. The bisque was very tasty, certainly one of the better ones I’ve had. It was a good start to a nice meal.

The Finger Steaks, as do most of the other dishes, come with fries, tots or potato wedges. An optional upgrade gets you onion rings, sweet potato fries, a garden salad or a cup of soup. The wedges are not a usual item on most menus so they were the side of choice. Shortly, a nice basket was served, with the finger steaks, a nice slab of garlic toast and the requisite cocktail sauce. The Orchard House Restaurant in Caldwell hand cuts their finger steaks from a flatiron steak and hand breads them. As opposed to many places, they use an actual breading instead of just dipping them in batter. Continue reading

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Movies Till Dawn: What You Could Be Watching This Weekend (24 Hour Vampire Mission Edition)

Suburbia DVDsubUrbia” (1996, Warner Archives Collection) Richard Linklater and Eric Bogosian transpose the setting of Bogosian’s play from a convenience story parking lot in Massachusetts to one in Texas, but retain its core premise, with a cross-section of disaffected high school grads grinding various axes of discontent and regret while awaiting the arrival of a former classmate, now enjoying stardom as a musician.

As ’90s zeitgeist goes, “SubUrbia” benefits from Linklater’s attention to the details of small town life, a uniformly excellent cast, with Giovanni Ribisi (depressed), Steve Zahn (knucklehead) and Ajay Naidu (voice of reason) as stand-outs, and Bogosian’s dialogue retains its bite; the characters’ chronically disaffected nature may wear thin after two hours, but the film mostly avoids becoming a thudding checklist of slacker attitudes and cultural detritus like “Reality Bites.” The soundtrack is a cross-section of Clinton-era college radio staples (Girls Against Boys, Superchunk, Boss Hog, and two original songs by Sonic Youth). Warner’s DVD is widescreen and includes the theatrical trailer.

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Homestead Bar & Grill In Meridian Has 40 Craft Beer Taps, Good Food Too

Cobb Salad at the Homestead Bar & Grill in MeridianHomestead Bar & Grill in Meridian offers a great choice of upscale bar foods, along with an excellent choice of local craft beers and other beverages too. Thursdays are Brewery Takeover Nights, with a different brewery coming in each week with samples and beer specials. Their beer menu has a nice rotating choice of beers on 40 taps, with everything from a Teton Range IPA from Grand Teton Brewing and a Sockeye Brewing Kickback IPA through a Homestead Anniversary DIPA and a Odell Brewing Big Cookie Brown Ale. A Willettized Coffee Stout is for those who like a dark, rich stout, flavored in bourbon and rye whiskey barrels from Willett Distillery in Kentucky.

Waiter, there’s a mule in my drink!

For those who prefer something light, they do have Bud Light, Corona, Stella Artois and several more beers to keep everyone happy. The staff is knowledgeable about the beers and very helpful in making choices. Homestead is definitely one of the better drinking establishments in the Treasure Valley to try some good beers. It is a comfortable place, with plenty of tables and a nice expansive bar. The bar doesn’t just serve beer though. They had a delicious Moscow Mule too. On sports days/nights, it can get very packed because of the nice large TV’s, good food and good drink. As a neighborhood place, it really shows that they have a large following. Continue reading

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Opera Idaho’s Madama Butterfly Tells Touching Tale of Love And Tragedy

Opera Idaho's Madama Butterfly stars Vanessa Isiguen as Madama Butterfly

Vanessa Isiguen as Madama Butterfly with the Florida Grand Opera

Opera Idaho’s Madama Butterfly will have two performances at the Velma V. Morrison Performing Arts Center in Boise on Friday, February 16 and Sunday, February 18. Madama Butterfly, by Giacomo Puccini is a staple of the operatic repertoire since its first performance in 1904. Although sung in Italian, the story is readily understandable and very moving. The opera, which is based originally on a short story by author John Luther Long, who based that on two other accounts of the events that the opera is based on. The opera tells the story of Cio-Cio-San, the trusting and innocent young geisha of the title, who disastrously falls in love with American Navy lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton, only to be abandoned by him. Her loyal servant Suzuki and Sharpless, the sympathetic American consul, do all they can but are unable to avert tragedy.

Vanessa Isiguen, soprano, stars as Cio-Cio-San, a 15-year old geisha in Nagasaki, Japan Opera Idaho's Madama Butterfly stars Vanessa Isiguenin 1904 who falls in love with an American sailor. Vanessa is a seasoned opera veteran who is making her debut with Opera Idaho. Vanessa is happy to be doing the role, as she told The Boise Beat, “It’s such an emotional roller-coaster. The music, the score, the composition is absolutely stunning. It’s one of my favorite pieces of music. It’s also really fun to see the costumes. It’s just a beautiful piece”. She has played Mimi in La bohème and Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio. This is not Vanessa’s first time as Cio-Cio-San, having portrayed her in the Florida Grand Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly in 2014. She brings a marvelous voice to Opera Idaho’s Madama Butterfly. Continue reading

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The Sound of Silents: Composer/Historian Ben Model to Perform Original Scores for Silent Comedies at Historic Egyptian Theatre on Feb. 17

Ben Model with the Loews Jersey Wonder Morton organ. Photo credit: Steve Friedman

One of the most dedicated advocates for the preservation and relevancy of silent films is Ben Model , a nationally recognized composer, accompanist and film archivist. For more than three decades, Model has created and performed live scores for silent films at locations across the United States, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Library of Congress, as well as on Turner Classic Movies, his own YouTube channel, and numerous DVD and Blu-ray releases, including those released by his own DVD label, Undercrank Productions.

For the past decade, Model has also composed and performed original scores for the annual Musical Movies presentation at the Egyptian Theatre. This year, he’ll accompany two silent short films on the Egyptian’s legendary organ – a restoration of “Oh! What a Day” (1918) with unsung comedian Marcel Perez, and the Harold Lloyd comedy “Number, Please?” (1919) – while the Boise Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra will perform his scores for films featuring a trio of comedy legends – “One Week” (1920), with Buster Keaton, and “Wrong Again” (1929), starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The Philharmonic’s performance for the latter film will feature the world premiere of Model’s score.

The Boise Beat spoke to Ben Model about the upcoming event, the joys and challenges of performing silent film scores for modern audiences, and a fundraising effort to repair the Egyptian’s organ.

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Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters  “Live At David Lynch’s Festival Of Disruption”

I’m going to start this review off by dispensing with the large, white elephant in the room; Led Zeppelin.

I don’t want to start a review of anything Robert Plant does by even mentioning the band, I don’t really even want to talk about it. Not because I don’t love them. I do. It’s just that so many people continue to compare poor Robert to the band he left close to forty years ago, it must be a horrible thing to compete with.

I know I wouldn’t want to continually be reminded of my first interview (actually with Robert) … But, he continues to cover songs from that part of his life and this film is no exception. So let’s talk about Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters at David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption DVD. Continue reading

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Vietnam Veterans Fundraising Benefit Featuring Gerry and the Dreambenders and A Veteran’s Story

Vietnam Veterans Fundraising Benefit Ted WeltyThe Vietnam Veterans of America will be hosting a Vietnam Veterans Fundraising Benefit on February 24, 2018. The concert portion will feature music by Gerry and the Dreambenders, with their British Invasion Era Rock Tribute Show. If you haven’t seen Gerry and the Dreambenders yet, you’ll be in for a treat.

Paul Sherman, Treasurer of Treasure Valley Chapter 1025 of the Vietnam Veterans of America said about the goals of the fundraising for the Vietnam Veterans Fundraising Benefit  event, We have many areas in which we assist fellow Veterans regardless of the era they were involved. Our priority is Vietnam era and their families and then any other era we can assist. We assist the Women’s Wellness Clinic at the VAMC with several projects, but primarily vouchered transportation funds so that the women can get to their appointments. The Idaho State Veterans Home has been another group we have assisted. We also supply Veterans and their families with Holiday Meals during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Our motto is: Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another”.

The Boise Beat’s Terry Welch sat down with one such local Veteran to hear his story. This was his life and what he went through: Continue reading

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Today is National Pizza Day—Noi Mangiamo!

National Pizza Day Grimaldi's Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza at Grimaldi’s

National Pizza Day is Friday, February 9. If there was ever a holiday to celebrate with a pizza, National Pizza Day is it. Here’s some of my favorite places. I’m sure you have yours too. Feel free to add yourfavorite Treasure Valley pizza place in the comments section. So go out, grab a pizza or just a slice and your beverage of choice and Noi Mangiamo! (Let’s eat!).

White (no sauce) slice at Guido’s

Guido’s in Boise makes them New York Style and serves them by the slice. Basic pizza but oh so good! The Beat wrote about it here.

Grimaldi’s in Meridian is an outpost of one of the most famous of the New York pizzerias. They do theirs in a brick coal-oven. The pizza comes out with a crisp, slightly charred crust that is simply delicious.

Tony’s Pizzeria Teatro in Downtown Boise has a lot of people who swear by it as being the best pizza in Boise. A great place to go when heading to the Egyptian Theatre or an event at BSU. Continue reading

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Movies Till Dawn: What You Could Be Watching This Weekend (Doctors, Cowboys and Presidents Edition)

Last Flag Flying” (2017, Lionsgate) Vietnam vet Steve Carell seeks out two fellow Marines – hard-living bar owner Bryan Cranston and one-time hellraiser Laurence Fishburne, now a pastor – to assist him in traveling to Washington, D.C., where he will retrieve the body of his son, who died while serving in Iraq. Understated drama is tangentially linked to Hal Ashby’s “The Last Detail” (1973 – both films are based on novels by Darryl Ponicsan, who co-wrote the script for “Flag” with Richard Linklater), but stands on its own thanks to the performances of its three leads. The mechanics of the story is occasionally bogged down by some heavy-handed emotional beats and an unfocused conflict between Carell and a military colonel (Yul Vazquez) over the choice of burial suit for his son, but as with Linklater’s best efforts (“Boyhood,” “Dazed and Confused”), the film works best in its quietest moments, when Cranston, Fishburne and especially Carell (who seems to have cornered the market on infinitely sad men) are allowed to shine in conversations that recall the high-water marks and disappointments of their lives in plain-spoken terms. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray includes deleted scenes and two making-of featurettes.

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