Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Academy Award-winning writer/director Martin McDonagh takes audiences on a murderously funny trip In Bruges (pronounced "broozh"), which world-premiered as the opening-night film of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Mr. McDonagh makes his feature directorial debut on the film, from his own original screenplay. His plays (which include The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Pillowman) have brought him two Olivier Awards and four Tony Award nominations. He wrote and directed Six Shooter, starring Brendan Gleeson, which earned him the 2006 Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film.

Paul and I decided to go to the movies which we very rarely do; usually it’s at home in front of the DVD for us. But his son Daniel had just returned from a brief hiatus with his mother, and friends, Darren, March, and Orson decided to tag along. Honestly, I wanted to see Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, but Darren, who is 23-years-old, didn’t want that soft kind of girly humor, and convinced us to go see In Bruges, and what a great choice it was. I have to say the other children were 12, 14 and 13-years old respectively and the humor was quite dark, the language was quite awful, and there were definitely scenes with drugs, sex and murder -- so you’d be best to take a good look at your own child’s maturity level before allowing them to view this show, but really some of the video games Daniel has gotten his hands on are more violent and have no sense of humor.

We all went out for Chinese and Sushi before heading to the lovely little theater in downtown Millerton, NY which is close to our Connecticut home. It was an evening full of laughter and fun. This is a movie I want to add to my DVD collection so I can see it again and again.

In Bruges was filmed on location; Bruges the most well-preserved medieval city in the whole of Belgium is a welcoming destination for travelers from all over the world. But for hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) a difficult job has resulted in the pair being ordered right before Christmas by their London boss Harry (two-time Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) to go and cool their heels in the storybook Flemish city for a couple of weeks.

Ray is very much out of place amidst the gothic architecture, canals, and cobbled streets, while Ken wants to spend the days living the life of a tourist, sightseeing. Ray, haunted by a horrible mistake he’s made, hates the place, while Ken, even as he keeps a fatherly eye on Ray, finds his mind and soul being expanded by the beauty and serenity of the city.

While they wait for Harry's instructions, the more surreal the movie becomes, as the pair finds themselves in ridiculous encounters with locals, other tourists, violent medieval art, a dwarf American actor (Jordan Prentice) shooting a European art film, Dutch prostitutes, and a potential romance for Ray in the form of Chloë (Clémence Poésy), who may have some dark secrets of her own.

When the call from Harry does finally come, Ken and Ray's vacation becomes a struggle of darkly comic proportions. If you like the weird, the offbeat, the sublimely ridiculous this movie will have you in stitches.

Don’t believe me? Check out the reviews from Rolling Stone or the Hollywood Review


I’m getting ready to plant asparagus, so I have been doing research on the internet. I’ve questioned my mother about the asparagus bed at the house where I grew up, as well as collecting and comparing notes with local farmers that come into my offices for Crop Production Services in Amenia, NY.

This is what an asparagus crown looks like as its first set into the ground.I will be planting organic crowns purchased from Seeds of Change, Certified Organic Catalog. I’ve discovered that preparing a deep bed with good mulch that will be well-drained is paramount for establishing a healthy, long term asparagus bed, so I’m going to put in the labor up front to make sure the bed will be well established. My mother said when she dug down into the asparagus bed by great grandparents had planted it had been lined with bricks to help keep weeds out of the bed. I imagine that it would also warm the roots up earlier in the spring, so I’m scouting around now looking for old bricks or flat rocks to line the bed with.

It takes about 3 years to really establish the bed and be able to really harvest the fruits of your labor. I also found the New England Farmer really interesting. A little bit of time now and I’ll soon have my own fresh spring asparagus.