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whining & dining by michael whiner | contact:

Week 11 - Hijo de Puta

After the foot and mouth fiasco that was 'Broadway' Michael has had the compassion to take me to lunch at the talk of the restaurant scene, 'Hijo de Puta' on the sunny cusp of Holborn. I was overjoyed when, on our entrance into this enchantingly simple cantina, I'm greeted by the sweaty, bespectacled grin of my cousin Lucien, the head chef. The fare, I feel ashamed to have missed out for so long, is said to be the sort that seems to melt when it meets your tongue for the first and last time. The service... well I fear raven-haired moody Spanish maidens will be too much for me at luncheon and Michael did little to assuage my concerns when, already reeking of port before midday, he grabbed the pert forbidden behind of the first waitress that crossed his path. As usual he is already in full flow…

"Are you sure that this is supposed to be Mejillas? I ask only because I can see no sign of lobes, or indeed the comforting lump of stirrup. Now forgive me but I would have thought that patatas bravas should at the very least contain some minute traces of peruvian chili. Standards have certainly slipped around here from what I've been led to believe. Do you know who I am? Jean Christophe Blanc turns white at the mere mention of my name! I once made the Roux sisters cry too. Just because I said that their attempt at Coquille St Jacques had the exact texture and colour of congealed snail vomit. Some people just can’t take constructive criticism. Take this away and bring me that poncy spic scrambled egg thing you do. And three bottles of the Riscal '82. Oh give me strength! You've got a '94 on the list! You won't foist that frost ridden much on this Englishman you filthy scarab!

I’ve been hearing a lot about those whinging American screenwriters and their strike. It seems that one big bone of contention is that they are tired of directors getting a "Film by" credit plastered all over the opening titles and on advertising posters. They say that a film isn’t just the work of one person and that it’s not fair to single out the director and pretend that they made it all by themselves. I have a small problem with this. Has anybody looked at the end credits of a film recently? What’s the first thing you notice, eh? It’s that they consist of a long list of usually made up of hundreds of names. Now just how stupid do the Screenwriters Guild think that people are? Do they imagine that people walk out of the cinema thinking that all those people were just standing idly by while the director ran around like a blue-arsed fly doing all the work? Or are they just a bit miffed that nobody knows the names of any actual screenwriters any more? What might help would be for them to stop writing scripts that are so bad that they end up having to get half a dozen people in to do a stream of endless re-writes. The average film these days can have as many as four or five writers credited on it. At one time people used to do re-writes anonymously unless they substantially changed the work so much that they had to be credited. That was until the Screenwriters Guild complained and got the rules changed. So essentially they’ve only got themselves to blame. Idiots!

If I don’t get my main course soon, I’m coming in there to get it myself! Don’t make me angry - you would like me when I’m angry!

James Cameron has reiterated his intention to be the first filmmaker in space. He wants to visit the International Space Station and make a television series and an IMAX film about life on board. He also wants to film a space walk. So that’ll be a bit like the IMAX film made by the astronauts on board Discovery a few years back then, eh? Part of which featured footage filmed during a, er space walk? Personally, I’m just curious to see how he manages to fit his traditional Bill Paxton cameo appearance into the bloody thing. Actually it strikes me that outer space is rather like a James Cameron film. They both seem to go on forever and have a distinct lack of atmosphere.

Ah, at last! Now excuse me but does this look like mandibulos de cerdo to you? Does the chef actually have any experience of preparing food or does he just throw a random selection of ingredients into a pan and hope for the best?

I’ve been reading about the Internet advertising campaign for the new Kubrick/Spielberg film ‘AI’. Basically it’s a sort of giant puzzle where you type in names from the trailer into various search sites which then point you to different fictional websites which give small clues to various aspects of the film’s plot. Now while this is all tremendously exciting for all the Internet nerds and gives them a break from downloading semi-naked pictures of Britney Spears - can I just throw out a small note of caution? Because it needs to be remembered that ‘AI’ is a film that brings together Steven Spielberg and children. A combination that, rather like adding nitrogen to glycerine, is deadly in the wrong hands. Because let us not forget that the presence of children in a Spielberg inevitably means a gush of sentimentality and sickly, syrupy emotion. I’m told that a lot of people cried at the end of ‘ET: The Extra Terrestrial’. I wouldn’t know. I was too busy vomiting.

Talking of which - does this taste all right to you?"

recent whines...

January 2002 - St John - Clerkenwell EC1

December 7 - Hell

November 30 - Birthday at Brula

November 23 - Picnic on the Heath

November 16 - Les Trois Soeurs

November 9 - Ed's

November 2 - Burger King: Piccadilly

October 26 - Lindsay House

October 19 - Darcy's

October 5 - Spitz of Spittlefields

September 28 - West Street

September 21 - St John's

September 7 - Southeast W9

August 31 - Rogues

August 24 - Royale With Cheese

August 17 - Rules

August 10 - Manana

August 3 - £15/head at Mazzo

July 27 - La Scala

July 20 - La Putain de la Tour

July 13 - The Real Zorba

July 6 - Palefico

June 29 - The Moon and Pigeons

June 22 - Post Theatre

June 15 - Danang Vice

June 7 - La Crebiche

June 1 - B.A.N.G.E.R.S

May 25 - The Ritz

May 18 - The Harpo

May 11 - Trading Braces

May 4 - Hijo De Puta

April 27 - Broadway!

April 20 - Escoffier Steakhouse

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