Monday, March 15, 2010

dinner and a movie: The Last Station

The Last Station
Welcome to my Monday morning recap of my fabulous Friday night. After journeying to the suburbs for Alice in Wonderland last week, it was wonderful to be back in the neighborhood to enjoy an independent movie at the Spectrum and dinner at my favorite Albany restaurant, New World Bistro Bar.

The Movie:
I've been eager to see The Last Station for months, but it only opened in Albany a few weeks ago. The film was nominated for numerous awards, including Best Picture at the IFC Independent Spirit Awards. Helen Mirren was nominated for Best Actress and Christopher Plummer was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Neither won, but seeing two powerhouse performances share so much screen time was a dream. Both displayed raw emotions beautifully. James McAvoy also shined. 

Without giving away too much, the film is based on a novel by Jay Parini and focuses on the last year of Tolstoy's life. Tolstoy is a major celebrity in Russia, and the Tolstoyan Movement has become quite a force. Tolstoy feels caught between his writings, which he believe belong to the people, and his wife. It's the story of a man, a marriage and a movement, and all three are deeply rooted in the time and place.

With a magnificent cast and a wonderful story, The Last Station was certainly an enjoyable film, but somehow it was less than the sum of its parts. It's certainly worth seeing, and it was a better film than some of the Best Picture nominees, but despite the brilliant acting, the film itself wasn't a masterpiece.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Running time: 112 minutes
Release date: It's in theaters now, and you can pre-order it on dvd
Source: I paid to see it at the Spectrum Theater

After the movie, I met a friend for dinner at New World Bistro Bar. She saw The Last Station last week, so we had fun discussing our reactions. We agreed on how amazing the acting was, but she felt more of an emotional connection with the film as a whole than I did.

For dinner, I stuck to the regular menu and enjoyed the arugula salad (arugula, beets, drunken goat cheese, sunflower seeds and a truffle vinaigrette dressing) and the Latino Steak Frites (fantastic local all-natural 8 oz. sirloin served with a delicious chimichurri). I traded the french fries with yummy homemade banana ketchup for cheddar Yukon gold mashed potatoes. It was a delicious meal!

Next week: I haven't decided if I want to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid opening weekend or if I'll take advantage of Roman Polanski's latest film, Ghost Writer, which opens at the Spectrum Friday. Check back next Monday to see what I decided.

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  1. Sounds like a great movie and a fun way to spend an evening!

  2. The Last Station sounds excellent. I enjoy independent films too.

  3. How have I never even heard of this movie? I thought I was pretty up on what was out there! This sounds great!

  4. I've had the Latino steak frites and it is good. I'll have to remember the cheddar mashed potatoes for steak fries substitution next time!


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