Samin Nosrat cooks for dinner guests in her home.

‘Salt Fat Acid Heat’ Shines Brightly Among Food Documentaries

Netflix has advertised their new food documentary, Salt Fat Acid Heat, for several weeks now, billing it as a delightful tour of the globe to teach their viewers about the vital elements of good food. With vibrant cinematography, a cheery soundtrack and compelling direction by Samin Nosrat, it delivers a unique take on the food documentary a la the late Anthony Bourdain. Part observational and part educational, this four-part series is an enjoyable watch with production value rivaling Chef’s Table. Samin begins her tour (albeit out of order) on the intricacies of fat, traveling to northern Italy to discover the secrets of such delicacies as red cow parmesan and traditional focaccia. This episode first captures the process of olive oil production straight from the source, complete with funny-looking harvesters and an industrial-size press.

Ashley Bell and Lek Chailert among elephants in Love & Bananas.

‘Love & Bananas’ is Emotional, but that’s About It

Love & Bananas, at times, feels like a souped-up vlog. At other moments, it makes you want to run out of the theater and go hug an elephant. Unfortunately, the nearest zoo is 40 miles away from campus, which makes that a tad difficult.
The documentary follows actress Ashley Bell and elephant conservationist Lek Chailert on their mission to rescue a 70-year-old elephant, Noi Na, from a trekking camp. Bell’s narration introduces the audience to the largely unknown plight of Asian elephants. She, with Chailert’s assistance, details the horrors of human abuse toward the massive, yet gentle, creatures.

Don’t Let These Legends Die

The episode is packed with goofy, nerdy references, and this kind of “fanservice” has continued throughout the show. In the Season Four premiere, the show even confirms in a one-off joke that Ray and Nate are “brony bros.”

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Director Damien Chazelle Flexes with “First Man”

Damien Chazelle is rapidly cementing himself as one of the most talented young filmmakers working today. Although it would be fair to accuse “First Man” of being a vehicle for director Damien Chazelle to show off with a somewhat thin screenplay underneath, I’m very much down to watch Chazelle flexing for the next 50 years. He brought me back to my childhood and made me feel like I wanted to be an astronaut again.

The Piano Guys in one of their YouTube videos in which they perform a song from Les Miserables.

GUEST ROOM | How Classical Music Became a Commodity

Guess who’s been topping the charts in the iTunes classical section — The Piano Guys. I can’t be the only one that picked up my phone and frantically googled when I found out that The Piano Guys would be playing Trump’s inauguration. I didn’t know who they were, but with millions of YouTube hits and the word “piano” in the name, I was intrigued. I watched the dramatic music video for “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets” — a mash-up of OneRepublic’s brief hit and Ludwig’s famed fifth symphony — and understood the appeal. Classical music, packaged for easy listening.