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Mike at the Movies

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG) **** This charming sequel to the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” of a couple of years ago will probably fill theaters with the same demographic, but the youngsters might find this one even more…

Dog-Friendly Trails

Photo | Hope Caplan

Lotus, a black Lab, enjoys walking the trail in Azalea Park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

I don’t have a dog, but I love my family’s canine members—Lilly, a Golden Retriever, and Lotus, a black Lab. Perhaps this is the reason I was attracted to a particular guidebook displayed in the California Welcome Center in El…

Recipes from the Middle East

“Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & beyond” by Sabrina Ghayour (Interlink Books) celebrates the food and flavors from the regions near the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.  There are over 100 well-known and loved recipes for modern cooks,…

Mike at the Movies

McFarland, USA (PG) **** Sports movies have one thing going for them: Done right, they can get away with plotting clichés that other films can’t. And this film is filled with almost every cliché in the sporting lexicon, but it’s…

Mike at the Movies

The Kingsman: The Secret Service (R) ***** Take the best of the Bond films, add some modern gimmicks, a very funny script, tricks and surprises, including a villainess with blade legs, spectacular stunts, fights and an ending that will literally…

Celebrate Chinese New Year

Recently I got to experience Taiwanese food for the first time, and it was amazing.  Since I like learning about the history of a food, I wanted to know all I could about the cooking of Taiwan. Taiwan is an island…

‘Us’ Written by David Nicholls

I knew I was falling in love from the very first page of David Nicholls’ fourth novel, “Us.” This gifted screenwriter/novelist promises and delivers on a novel full of hilarity, warmth and poignancy. Yet beneath the humor lies a sharp…

The Great Man Still Abides

It may rank as only seventh in the “List of America’s Favorite Architecture,” but the Lincoln Memorial is the most memorable to me. Seeing its unearthly beauty, especially at night with its image shimmering in the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln’s…

Mike at the Movies

Mortdecai (R) *** You may or may not like this film, depending on how you react to British comedy done by Americans, how much you like silliness and how much tolerance you have for puns, sight gags, a plot that…