Meal Prep w/ Alyssia Sheikh (Mind Over Munch)

Arabian Sights Film Festival (OCT 16-25)

Hey all,

It’s Fall, which means cooler weather and better movies than the past Summer (which is generally geared toward 12 y.o. boys).  It’s also time for film festivals (here in the DC area)!  Last December, I reviewed Rock the Casbah, which was one of the films in the Arabian Sights Film Festival.  Omar Sharif has a cameo in the film.

Official web site of the festival:

*NOTE: All films will be shown at AMC Mazza Gallerie (5300 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20015); metro riders need to get off at the Friendship Heights station and walk out using the Western Ave exit.

Below are trailers/some info re: the films that I’m MOST interested in:

The Intruder (SUN, 10/18, 5PM)

A Dutch cop of Moroccan descent goes deep undercover to infiltrate a drug-trafficking Moroccan family. The deeper he embeds himself in the family’s inner circles, the more he realizes a sense of belonging and a feeling of brotherhood that has until now eluded him. It is then he begins to question his allegiance to the police force he pledged to serve. 

Eyes of a Thief (FRI, 10/23, 6:30PM)

After ten years in prison, Tarek is desperate to find his daughter who was an infant when he was imprisoned. A lawless lifestyle seems to have seeped into ten-year old Malak, whom Tarek suspects is his estranged daughter. But her adoptive mother is being forced into an arranged marriage with the town’s main businessman with whom Tarek seems to have unfinished business.

Spread the word to those who enjoy intelligent, international cinema!

Thanks for reading,


AFI Latin American Film Festival: Marshland (Spain)


NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review.  DC area folks can see this film tomorrow (SAT, 9/19/15) at 9:15PM at AFI Silver.

Marshland shows us a world where everyone is out for themselves.  -Gareth Wood (Maverick Film)

We’re quite familiar w/ the set-up already: missing girls, small town w/ secrets/corruption, and two VERY different homicide detectives (from the big city) brought in to help solve the case.  However, this film is set in Spain in 1980, soon after General Franco was overthrown and the country (struggling economically) became a democracy.  The missing teens are two sisters, Carmen and Estrella, who were known to “have a reputation.”  The cops from Madrid are idealistic father-to-be, Pedro (Raul Arevalo), and jaded, hard drinking Juan (Javier Gutierrez). 


Some frames of the film are based on photographs of Atín Aya, whose work impressed the filmmakers when they knew his work in a retrospective exhibition. -IMDB

I recommend this film for fans of Southern Gothic stories, character dramas, and those who like suspense (NOT only action).  Don’t worry, there are a FEW well done action scenes. On the way, the cops are assisted by Jesus (a local guide), who provides some of the humor in his dark tale.  Jesus gets caught hunting a deer (“Bambi,” he jokes) w/o a license.


The cops work together, BUT also on their own following different leads.  The cinematography in this film is VERY good, as my friend commented.  The location is almost like a character in the story- we see desert, marshes, rivers, and (in the climax) a rainstorm.  If you liked HBO’s True Detective (S1), this is for YOU. 


Home from the Hill (1960) starring Robert Mitchum

home from hill_posterKind of man that walks around with nothing in his pockets, no identification because everyone knows who you are. No cash because anyone in town would be happy to lend you anything you need. No keys ’cause you don’t keep a lock on a single thing you own. And no watch because time waits on you. Wade (Robert Mitchum) explains to his 18 y.o. son Theron (George Hamilton) about the kind of man he should aim to be

“Wow, what a speech!”  My dad commented.  Plus, who doesn’t LOVE Robert Mitchum!?  He was the quintessential “man’s man” (NOT unlike George Clooney is today).  If you read this blog, you know that I’m a BIG fan of Mitchum’s acting!  In this (dysfunctional) family drama set, he plays wealthy, womanizing, and hard-drinking Texan- Capt. Wade Hunnicutt.  (Warning: It’s a LONG film, but has some VERY fine moments!)  I saw it on TCM last month; you can check it out for $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video.  This film, b/c it came out in 1960, could pull the cover off topics which were hidden/NOT directly mentioned in previous decades.

home from hill_denHe’s got a mind of his own. I gave him that. Don’t think he’s gonna come to heel like one of your hunting dogs at the snap of your fingers.  -Hannah (Eleanor Parker) explains to Wade about Theron

Mitchum suits his role VERY well, BUT he’s well-matched by onscreen wife Eleanor Parker.  (The actress, best known for the playing curvy/glam/ independent baroness in The Sound of Music, passed away almost 2 yrs. ago at age 91.)  But unlike that iconic role, Parker has a VERY different look in this film- she’s thin, dressed prim/proper, yet also a fighter (in her own way). 

home from hill_dateTheron (a bright, kind, sensitive, yet sheltered young man) has to navigate his parents, falling in love (first time), and more.  For most of her son’s life, Hannah has kept him away from his father and his bad influences.  One Summer, Wade decides that he must teach the boy “how to be a man.”  In time, Theron discovers a BIG secret about his family!