By Steve Herte
Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel/Disney, 2018) – Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo. Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely. Stars: Robert Downey, Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Benicio Del Toro, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, William Hurt & Anthony Mackie. Color, Rated PG-13, 149 minutes.
Don’t let the fantastic special effects and the sweepingly gorgeous intergalactic scenes fool you. The plot is simple. Thanos (Brolin) has a dream: End starvation and overuse of natural resources by killing off half of the life forms in the universe and thus being its savior. He has a specialized gantlet which will consolidate the powers of the six “Infinity Stones” (Wasn’t somebody after them in the last Avengers movie?) and thereby giving him the means of accomplishing his goal.
He has the Power Stone already on the outset and is after the Space Stone protected by a tesseract and kept by Loki (Hiddleston) who gives it up when The Hulk/Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) is beaten to a pulp and Thor’s (Hemsworth) life is put in jeopardy. But Loki is killed for his efforts. The Time Stone is held by Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) and is his major sorcery source. The Mind Stone is embedded in Vision’s (Bettany) forehead. The Reality Stone is in the dubious safe keeping of The Collector (Del Toro) who lives in a place called Nowhere and the last stone, the Soul Stone’s location is known only by Gamora (Saldana), Thanos’ adoptive daughter and member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
It’s up to the remainder of the cast, including Ironman (Downey), Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson), War Machine (Cheadle), Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Holland), Black Panther (Boseman), Nebula (Gillan), Scarlet Witch (Olsen), and Falcon (Mackie), among others, to stop Thanos and his minions.
William Hurt plays a pretty good Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross and Stan Lee turns up as a bus driver. Winston Duke reprises his role from Black Panther as the hooting leader of the Gorilla Tribe, and Samuel L. Jackson has a cameo as Nick Fury. The cast is amazing.
The movie is entertaining with lots of action, many cleverly humorous lines to break up the monotonous battles and an excellent soundtrack. It was still too long. And then there is the perplexing end of the movie which had the entire audience saying, “What the…?” Did Thanos win? We don’t know. Will there be a sequel? You can be sure of that.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 martini glasses.
485 7th Avenue, New York
When I first saw the name of this restaurant I thought it was a rogue member of the Legal Seafoods chain based in Boston. But this 10 month old brasserie is with another group, the “TAO” group and is situated in the Moxy Hotel, a Marriott offshoot. Truly, you have to have moxie to open a new hotel in New York City.
The entrance on 7th Avenue leads to a corridor into the hotel with a coat check on the left under a stairway. When you realize you’ve gone the wrong way, you turn around and see the sign overhead for the restaurant up the stairway. The restaurant is sleek with shiny black ceramic brick walls in one room and white in the bar area. The avocado banquettes are comfortable and the tables bare-topped blonde wood. The attractive green glass water tumblers give a hint of the ocean.
My server, Basia, explained all the dishes and I ordered the Moxy Cocktail, a refreshing brew of Finlandia grapefruit vodka, yuzu citrus and a hint of pomegranate. It was pink, perky and perfect. Basia recommended an appetizer that changed my selection ideas.
They were out of my wine of choice, the Greek Assyrtiko, which would definitely have accented my meal more boldly. But the 2015 Chablis from William Fevre Champs Royaux ‘Burgundy’ from France added a dreamy smoothness to the meal.
The next dish was something I would automatically eschew in the best Italian restaurant. But Basia’s description lured me to the Burrata with macerated sliced rhubarb and toasted baguette, rhubarb sauce and balsamic vinaigrette. The mozzarella was fresh and chilled to the perfect temperature, sweet, topped with rhubarb (unheard of) and delicious.
My next dish was Spicy Crab Beignets with chipotle crème fraiche and butter powder. They were wonderful, only a little spicy, stuffed with creamy crab, while the main course was a difficult choice because the list of entrées on the menu did not interest me as much as the grilled fish selections. The Grilled Mediterranean Daurade in lemon vinaigrette and served with quinoa and greens was a filet with visible grill lines and (though attached to the tail) was totally edible (be aware of the occasional bones and you’ll be finished before you know it). But savor every bit. It tasted like the best grilled fish I’ve had in the top Greek estiatorios. The side dish, Haystack Fries with two dipping sauces, (catsup and dijonaise) was excellent, but a little too much to finish. Half went home with me.
I saw the gentleman at the next table get his dessert. It was chocolate, it was decadent, and it was enormous. I chickened out, however, and ordered the Baked Alaska. They were out of it. It was destiny, and I remembered the paper shopping bag sitting on the seat next to me. I ordered the Chocolate Caramel Cake – salted caramel ganache, whipped cream, mint chip ice cream and warm caramel sauce. Sinful, rich, dark chocolate, salty and sweet, with minty ice cream and fluffy whipped cream. Most of it came home with me.
To calm down from this experience my double espresso with a chaser of Remy Martin VSOP brought me out of the clouds and back to my banquette breathing a sigh. I thanked Basia for a wonderful evening and resolved to return to Leagsea.
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