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I must admit, I was a childhood fan of the “X-Men” television cartoon, and I have enjoyed the three previous “X-Men” movies. If you are unaware of the “X-Men,” it was a superhero team comprised of mutants, first appearing in a Marvel comic named… read the rest of this review.

In the currently economy, it is good business practice to have a pleasant restaurant staff, and I have noticed recently, most restaurants are being conscientious about who they hire for front of house. Servers, bus boys/girls and hostesses are cheerful and well trained. In part, that is why this recent experience really stood out.

When a server’s behavior leaves a bad taste in my mouth, it is difficult for even the best food to make the awful flavor go away, and when the food is sub par, it can really ruin a dining experience. This is what occurred last week at the Blue Sky Grill inside the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

My in-laws had enjoyed a previous experience at the restaurant and were anxious for a repeat. The Nuggets playoff game wasn’t slated to start until 8:30 p.m., so a 6:15 p.m. dinner reservation would give us lots of time to relax and beat the restaurant’s pre-game rush.

My husband and I arrived a bit late, and my in-laws had already been seated. Oddly, with many nice, window tables available, the host had seated us at a dark booth near the kitchen, basically on the staff runway.

Based on her age, our server was no newbie to the business; perhaps she was burnt out, if so, we bore the full brunt of her apathy. We ordered a round of drinks, and she quickly brought them out. We ordered an appetizer, and the kitchen brought it almost immediately. By then our server had disappeared. Drinks empty, dirty nacho plate in the middle of the table, we waited and waited and waited. We even tried to wave down passing staff members who ignored us completely.

Being a server is not an easy job. For me, it would probably be one of the most difficult jobs in the world, and I am very aware servers are often blamed for ineptitude in the kitchen. However, none of this was in play in this situation. The restaurant was still virtually empty, with the exception of the bar area.

She had simply vanished. We chatted and chatted, keeping an eye out for her. Finally, she arrived back at our table reeking of cigarette smoke. I realize everyone needs a break now and again, but to pop out for a smoke when you have a four top waiting to order dinner is just plain rude.

When she arrived back, we jumped at the chance to put in our order, but as we started she stopped us and said she’d be right back, disappearing once again, this time into the kitchen.

After another long wait, she reappeared and we ordered. A second round of drinks were delivered and then again, she performed her vanishing act. The food finally arrived, brought by a kitchen delivery person. Our server appeared once to make sure we’d gotten what we ordered, and then again to collect the money. Never an apology for her absence or even a smile.

The food was below average, especially for the outrageous prices. Average dinner entrees exceed $20. And this isn’t an article about the food, but I will say the $10 quesadilla tasted like pre-made and reheated cardboard and my husband’s $11 “medium” hamburger was as dry as sand. I’m sure it all would have tasted slightly better had our server been just a bit more attentive and friendly.

We did not complain to the manager, and perhaps we should have. I’m not sure it would have done much good. After all, this is the type of restaurant that doesn’t have to depend on return clients (much like an airport restaurant). They have a steady flow of Pepsi Center patrons to stop in at their restaurant, and if those patrons don’t come back, they’ve got new victims every week.

***Also see my review of Blue Sky Grill at www.TripAdvisor.com. I post as “HeidioftheRockies.”

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I’ve been watching preview for this movie for what seems like a year. The original release date was December 2008, but for some reason it was pushed to April 24, 2009. The movie is the true story of L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.), who discovers a homeless man playing a violin on the streets of Los Angeles. The homeless man, Nathanial Anthony Ayers (Jamie Foxx), isn’t an average street performer… read the rest of this review.

By Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

The Surveyor

 

First there was Cannes, then Sundance and Telluride, and now, Rooney Fest. A film festival is an organized presentation of a collection of movies shown at a specific place and time, usually over a few days. The collection of movies can range from old movies to new movies, independent films or student films; it all depends on the festival’s focus. The world’s first film festival was held in Venice in 1938. Berthoud High School held its first film festival five years ago, but like many of the previously mentioned events, it too has grown.

 

The Rooney Fest, as the film festival is called, is entirely student-run. Co-chairing this year’s Rooney Fest Committee are Luke Taylor, a junior, and Katie Kouns, a sophomore. I chatted with Taylor about this year’s show, which will feature six movies — the most ever shown at Rooney Fest. “I set up meetings with each of the students interested in making a film, and then they had a couple months to actually make the film,” stated Taylor. He got a good response, and BHS students from all grades and different backgrounds are involved. Taylor, an avid filmmaker himself, is happy to have so many students get involved in this film festival.

 

In a plot twist, this year’s Rooney Fest participants must produce a trailer for their movie. “We’ve never done this before — we’re going to premiere all six trailers at school to get more students interested in coming to Rooney Fest,” said Taylor. From story creation to the editing process, each film must be produced by the students. The films must be no longer than 10 minutes, and must be school appropriate. The subject matter of this year’s film entries includes artistic works, humorous works and even an ode to James Bond — a little something for everyone.

 

The evening’s program will include a short introduction of each film, followed by the showing of each film in its entirety, and then it will fall to the judges to produce the night’s exciting conclusion. “There’s a panel of judges, and they will give out awards for things like best actor, best actress and best picture,” explained Taylor. The students will receive many different prizes based on their work on or in the film; a sort of miniature BHS Academy Awards.

 

Rooney Fest will take place Wednesday, April 22 at 7 p.m. at Berthoud High School. Community members are encouraged to attend. The admission fee is $3, and swag in the form of door prizes will be handed out during the evening.

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The previews for this movie boasted, “brought to you by the creators of ‘Superbad,’” but this movie is very different. I never got around writing a review of “Superbad,” but I wasn’t a fan of the movie. It was occasionally amusing, but I found most of the jokes to be at best, sophomoric, and at worst, downright disgusting.

 

Obviously, I had low expectations for “Adventureland.” Read the rest of this review.

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I had high hopes for this movie. First, I was excited to see Tony Gilroy associated with this film. He was the writer/director behind my favorite movie of 2007, “Michael Clayton.” He has also a screenwriter on the Bourne film franchise.

 

Second, Julia Roberts will always hold a special place in my heart… read the rest of this review.

On DVD this week

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Marley & Me

Film National Board Awards

Slumdog Millionaire