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Film (with rating): Salt (PG-13)


Studio: Sony
Pictures Home Entertainment


Summary: CIA
officer Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) will be tested in loyalty, strength and
survival when she’s accused of being a Russian spy. She goes on the run, using
all of her skills as a covert operative, to elude capture.


Review: James
Bond with big lips. Or “The Bourne Identity” with boobs. That about
sums up “Salt.” And that’s not a bad thing at all. “Salt”
is a high-speed, mega-intense action thriller that ramps up within the first 10
minutes of the film and does not slow down. It’s not a “thinking”
film in the slightest, but one where you can lose yourself in the roller
coaster ride and enjoy the trip.

Jolie, while almost too beautiful and petite
to play a kick-butt punching bag, is wonderfully cast as Salt. She takes her
Lara Croft role and ramps it up, steroid style. It’s nice to see her back on
the screen as an action hero instead of in a dramatic tear-jerker. No, she
won’t win an Oscar nod for “Salt,” but then again, that’s not such a
bad thing. Not surprisingly, it’s been reported the film was originally written
for a male lead (rumored to have been Tom Cruise). But Jolie’s inclusion as the
main character doesn’t seem forced at all, but rather quite believable.

Sure, some
of the action sequences, fight scenes and escapes are a bit steep on the
believability scale, and the entire film and its characters are without a lot
of depth; in fact, the whole Salt character is really empty and
one-dimensional. But those facts don’t ruin the film.

Remember, this is not a
thought-provoking movie filled with characters who stick with us for life. It’s
an adreneline rush. Just hang on for the thrill ride, and enjoy the


Extra highlight: “The Ultimate Action Hero.” Or
for Blu-ray, try the “Spy Cam: Picture in Picture Track.”


What to serve for dinner: Let’s go with a Russian dish, such
as Russian salmon and potato salad with a side of Russian cabbage borscht  (


Russian Salmon


* 2 eggs

* 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed

* 1 tablespoon olive oil

* 1 large onion, chopped

* 1 (16 ounce) can salmon, drained

* 1 cup mayonnaise, or as needed

* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring
water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in
hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, and peel. While
the eggs are cooking, place the potatoes in a saucepan with just enough water
to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender.
Remove from heat, drain, and set aside. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add onions, and saute until lightly browned and translucent, about 10 minutes.


Flake salmon and spread it over the bottom of a glass baking
dish or serving dish. Spread the sauteed onions over the salmon. Gently spread
a little bit of the mayonnaise over the onion layer. Top with potatoes, and
spread enough mayonnaise just to add moisture to the layer. Finally, slice the
eggs, and cover the layer of potatoes. Spread mayonnaise over the eggs, and
garnish with chopped parsley. If you wish, you can reserve some of the egg to
chop and sprinkle over the top as well. Chill for one hour before serving.




* 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes

1 cup thinly sliced beets

4 cups vegetable stock or water

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)

2 teaspoons salt

    * 1
celery stalk, chopped

1 large carrot, sliced

3 cups coarsely chopped red cabbage

black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon fresh dill weed

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup tomato puree

sour cream, for topping

chopped tomatoes, for garnish


Place sliced potatoes and beets in a medium saucepan over
high heat; cover with stock, and boil until vegetables are tender. Remove
potatoes and beets with a slotted spoon, and reserve stock. Melt butter in a
large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, caraway seeds, and salt; cook
until onions become soft and translucent. Then stir in celery, carrots and
cabbage. Mix in reserved stock; cook, covered, until all vegetables are tender,
about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and beets to the skillet. Season with black
pepper and dill weed. Stir in cider vinegar, honey, and tomato puree. Cover,
reduce heat to medium low, and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with
sour cream, extra dill weed and chopped fresh tomatoes.


What to talk about over dinner: Do you think
“Salt” would have been a better film with a man in the lead role? Why
or why not? Do you like Angelina Jolie better as a dramatic actress or an
action hero? Are there other female stars who could have played this role in
“Salt?” Who? Do you think it’s hypocritical of Jolie to be all about
peace and humanitarianism in her real life, but play violent characters on
screen? What challenges do people face when they adopt overseas? Are there too
many “thinking” films these days, too many remakes or too many
blow-up-and-beat-up actioners? Why was the box office down in 2010? What was
your favorite action scene? What country do you think Brangelina will choose
for their next adoption?