238 Main St., Greenfield

Nothing quite satisfies my cravings like great Mexican food. The rustic combination of aromatic seasonings and well-prepared ingredients can be a mouth-watering savory experience. For me, the newly-opened Posada’s Tavern in Greenfield stands strong as one of the best Mexican eateries in the area.

Posada’s makes an instant impact upon arriving. The resultant is dynamically decorated, with classic cultural decor and an infusion of modern flourishes conjuring a dynamic date night space. Amidst the neon lighting and vibrant artwork, Posada’s still retains a comforting quality that makes patrons feel right at home.

My go-to at most Mexican restaurants is tacos. I ordered both the carnitas (fried pork) and al pastor (marinated pork with pineapple) tacos during my two visits to date, and both were absolutely exceptional. Topped with fresh rice, onions, cilantro, radish and a sprinkle of lime citrus, the tacos resonate with a remarkable depth in flavor. Each bite feels more satisfying than the last, with the utilization of authentic ingredients making a true impact. My favorite was the al pastor; something about that sweet and savory combination of pineapple and pork was so arresting to devour.

Posada’s offers a diverse menu filled with Mexican classics, like burritos, chimichangas, fajitas and chips and salsa. It is well worth the trek for any fan of Mexican cuisine.

On Streaming: “Argylle”

Unassuming author Ellie Conway embraces her banal lifestyle, which represents a sharp juxtaposition from the globetrotting spy novels she often creates. However, her pragmatic perspective quickly unravels as she’s ensnared in an espionage yarn akin to her fictional imagination in writer-director Matthew Vaughn’s lavish spy thriller, “Argylle.”

Already going down as an early-year punching bag, “Argylle” generated responses varying from indifferent to irate from critics and audiences. The formula for a blockbuster romp seemed clear on paper; you have an all-star cast, bombastic action set pieces exploding at the drop of a hat and a genuinely compelling deviation from your typical spy thriller narrative. If only fruitful ingredients guaranteed a worthwhile cinematic bounty. The film landed dead on arrival with viewers before proving to be a glaring miss from streaming juggernaut Apple+ at crossing over onto the big screen.

Now, I get it: “Argylle” swims in a platitude that exists in a vast delta from “high art.” Vaughn, the director behind similarly kinetic and volatile features like “Kick-Ass” and “Kingsman,” has made it his mission in life to conjure the most unwieldy and cartoonish spectacles alive. He seems to impart a spirited adolescent mindset behind the camera, always searching for that next dose of cathartic carnage to depict in ways most filmmakers wouldn’t dare replicate. This trademark remains a dual-edged sword for Vaughn. He’s entrenched himself as a refreshing pop art auteur for his madcap creativity while still drawing criticism from many for his mean-spirited juvenile streak.

Critics have yet again thrown their rotten tomatoes at Vaughn for “Argylle,” although I am unsure why. Not only is “Argylle” an ideal fit for its wild child director, but it also represents the type of free-spirited blockbusters that seldom escape from Hollywood politicking. Sure, it’s a mess, with thinly developed characters and an avalanche of meaningless plot twists. Through the cracks, though, lies a feature so brazen in its camp that I can’t help embracing it.

“Argylle” may be the closest remnant to the Roger Moore James Bond era. Few movies in the modern era engage in espionage and subterfuge with such cheekiness; I would say there are few moments where the film takes itself seriously. The levity here is often amusing, whether it is a shootout choreographed like an intimate dancing number or a character finding a way to ice skate on an oil spill (yes, you read that right.) This tonal approach could be risky in the wrong hands, yet Vaughn always keeps his roller-coaster narrative beats on track.

It certainly helps that “Argylle” features an all-star cast. Stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell form an infectious rapport as Ellie Conway and a mysterious spy who suddenly drifts into her life. Their chemistry pops off the screen, and it’s refreshing to see an action movie that does not put its leads in a conventional box. Samuel L. Jackson, Brian Cranston and Henry Cavill all inject gravitas in their roles as spy figures. If anything, the cast is almost too busy for its own good, with actors like John Cena and Ariana DeBose receiving little material to work with.

Then there’s Vaughn, the circus ringleader who possesses a knack for manifesting a good show. Armed with a $200 million budget, Vaughn showcases every dollar on the screen in a glorious spectacle for viewers to unravel. Each roaring car chase and combative clash features remarkable vibrancy. Vaughn empties the bucket of dynamic stylistic devices, including slow-motion and music montages, to convey an arresting experience for the senses. I always would much rather see a filmmaker take tremendous risks than play it safe behind the camera.

“Argylle” executes a simple yet often hard-to-achieve benchmark for blockbusters — being wildly entertaining. I hope this misunderstood gem finds a more agreeable audience on streaming.

Matt Conway
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