Sunday, 29 June 2014

#44 CHEF

#44 CHEF

Starring, written, directed, produced by Jon Favreau and a few of his pals who just so happen to pop along including Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jnr, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt Bobby Cannavale and Dustin Hoffman.

115 minutes.

Favreau is the Chef, who's stuck in a rut, he's divorced from his wife, whom he still loves and she him, he's estranged from his 10-year old son, who idolises him, but because he thinks he's a bad father he acts a bit badly, until he learns a lesson from his son, oh and his menu is rather boring and he keeps serving the same menu to a food critic because his boss tells him too. He's also a luddite who doesn't understand Twitter, Facebook or Chatroulette, which is important because it's going to be germane to the plot when Fav has to be a putz when he's trying to use Facechat for the first time. Anyway, blog food critic, Oliver Platt (who's just sold his food review site for £10 million dollars to Google, which is an important plot point for later...) writes a 2 star review of Jon's food and Jon has a breakdown, his boss, Dustin Hoffman sacks him and before you can say, gosh I really hate these fucking pieces of shit, Favreau is jobless, but a internet celeb because of a flame war he starts with Platt and also a viral video clip that features Favereau losing his shit and ranting.

Luckily his ex-wife's (Sofia Vergara) ex-husband, (Robert Downey Jnr) is on hand to utterly bankroll his dream job of running a food van and before you can say, gosh I really hate these fucking pieces of shit and their cloud fucking cuckoo-land bollox, the Fav and his buddy John Leguizamo and his son are driving, bonding and serving Cuban food to hispters across these united states. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook and some superb viral marketing master-minded by his son, Emjay Anthony and soon the whole of the blog-o-sphere is in love with Fav and he's re-found his mojo!


Oh how wonderful, and look by the end of this sentimental, pappy, mush, the baddy food critic has realised the error of his ways and in an act of attrition commits seppuka and self-immolation and life is good for Jon Favreau again. 

So, welcome to the Favreau uber vanity project. A 115 minute, self-administrated Nuru ego massage where comfortably well-off gourmet chef quits his job and finds salvation and a limitless budget supplied by everyone else and gets to realise his dreams of serving fried cheese toasties and French Fries to a hipsters, hip dudes and dudes who are hip.

Ah, how lovely, how life affirming how moving, how fucking shit.
Oh look, he's quit his job, his girlfriend is Scarlett Johansson, his ex-wife is Sofia Vergena and he's lost his mojo. boohoo.

Here's an example of the most harrowing scene in the whole film. The Fav has pulled over for the first time to serve the bikini clad hip people of Miami toasted cheese sandwiches and chips. Before you can say, god this is shit. A policeman has turned up to serve some grief.
'Do you have a permit to serve street food?'
'Yes here it is.'
'Thank you, move along, sir. but first can I take some photographs with you first, please?'

And that's the most dramatic the film gets. Shit, I've spoilt the drama for you. Sorry.

Now, maybe I don't know jack-shit about American food vans but this morning I had a very nice bacon, sausage and egg bap with mushrooms and tomato with mustard at a carboot sale and I bought it from a food van. It didn't look that glamorous to me and I seriously doubt that I'll ever see Gordon Ramsay giving it all up to drive from carboot sale to carboot sale serving up breakfast baps.

I suppose this is preferable to watching Jon Favreau just standing there with his trousers round his ankles masturbating slowly for nearly two-hours, while looking us dead in the eye through the camera lens and slowly groaning as a small dribble of spit falls from his semi open mouth but you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.



Written and Directed by Dean DeBolis. Starring Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Johan Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Gerrald Butler, Craig Ferreguson, Kristen Wigg, Djimon Hounsou and America Ferrera. Consultant Cinematographer, Roger Deakins. 

102 minutes long.

This is a sumptuous movie with stunning visuals and incredible close ups with a rich and fantastically detailed world, lit by the great cinematographer, Roger Deakins. This is without doubt the second best animated film not to have come out of the Pixar studio, the first being How To Train Your Dragon.

The story almost doesn't matter, being the weakest part of this wonderful film, seriously i could have happily just watched these fantastic characters interact with their humans for a good 2 hours and couldn't have been happier.

The single best character in this whole film is Toothless the Night Fury and he never speaks a word. he is the true example of the total skill of the Dreamworks animators.

The story set a good seven years after the events of the first, sees the inhabitants of Berk now in unison with their dragons and life is good for everybody. Except that is, for Hiccup, who's having a hard time accepting it's time to pick up the mantle of chef and reign over his people. While everyone else it's having a blast, it's poor Hiccup who doesn't fancy giving it all up to be the leader of his tribe just yet and he sets off on a mission to map the lands beyond Berk where he  meets a fellow Dragon Rider who will change his life forever.

This is a fantastic, wonderful, beautiful film and I loved it, not as much as the first but I still loved it, what let it down was the somewhat generic villain but luckily what saved it was absolutely everything else!

The relationship between Hiccup and Astrid is a joy, as is the boy's relationship with his dragon.

It's not a perfect film as I've already said and the other characters are short changed but it's wonderful never the less.

See it on the biggest screen you can.




Starring Karen Gillan,  Katee Sackhoff, Brenton Thwaites and Rory Cochrane.

Written and directed by Mike Flanagan.

Creepy little chiller.

12 years ago two children watched their parents go bat-shit crazy and their father kill their mother before getting his own son to shoot him to death, but that said, it might be the evil mirror who forced him to do it...

12 years later, the  little girl is now the grown up Karen Gillan, sporting a snappy American accent who has spent the last 12 years tracking down the mirror, recruits and her brother, Brenton Thwaites freshly out of a mental institution- having finally accepted the fact he was the killer - in order to exact her revenge. Luckily his sister has 'kidnapped' the mirror and rigged her old parent's house with a variety of cameras and gadgets to exact revenge and destroy the mirror once and before, but not before she films the whole thing as hard evidence.

Then it's a spiral into insanity as bro and sis go mad, or do they... As the mirror, or does it... makes them do it, while eating dogs... But what if it doesn't..?

Cutting between the events 12 years previously and the present as 'something' transpires this is a okay little shocker which avoids, on the whole, annoying jump shocks in favour of psychological horror.

By no means the 21 century's answer to The Exorcist, that's still the Exorcist, this isn't a bad film and is quite effective at times, plus Karen Gillan does a sterling job.




Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Haliee Stenfeld and Connie Nielson.

117 minutes Directed by McG and written and produced by Luc Besson.

Kevin Costner is a bad ass-assassin estranged from his wife and daughter who after a failed mission discovers he is dying of brain cancer and has three months to live. He decides to spend it with ex-wife and daughter and moves to Paris to be nearer with them. Luckily Amber Heard is the bi-polar CIA agent - who dresses as a high-class prostitute - who woes Costner back to work with a mystery cure and before you can say Bang Bang, You're Dead. Costner is fitting it sessions of family time with acts of extreme torture and brutal killing as he takes out a series of random euro baddies who want to do something bad, for some reason, but hey don't judge at least he's trying to bond with his bitchy, bratty, spoilt daughter and it's not easy in this day and age balancing being a loving father and a demanding job.

Too long and lacking a good final showdown between Costner and the baddy this isn't a terrible film, just not terribly good.

Paris looks nice, the action is satisfying and Costner is, as always, bloody enjoyable to watch. At it's heart is a film about a father and daughter dynamic and we don't get nearly enough of those types of films.

What doesn't sit well is the fact this is a 12A film and the scenes of casual torture, violence and execution and as such, any under 12 can see this if accompanied by an adult.

I'm hoping the DVD release is a stronger cut and we get to see more action but regardless this is an okay effort and it's good to see Costner being a bad ass.


Saturday, 14 June 2014



Starring Tom Hardy and featuring the voices of Ruth Wilson, Olivia Colman and Andrew Scott.

85 minutes long, written and directed by Stephen Knight.

On the eve of the biggest cement pour in European history, Welsh, site foreman, Ivan Locke - played by Tom Hardy - climbs into his car and instead of turning left and driving home to watch a football match with his two teenage sons and his wife turns right and heads off down the motorway across England to meet up with a mysterious woman whom we never see, played by Olivia Colman. Along the way he has a series of phonecalls that will change his life forever.

Once in the car the camera never leaves Tom Hardy and indeed his is the only face we see throughout the entire running time of this film. Strangely described as a thriller by some this is rather a drama, a study of a safe, secure, family-man whose life suddenly unravels and he struggles to, not only contain the fallout but also maintain some sort of order.

Watching Tom Hardy for 85 solid minutes struggling to deal with the fall out of his decision in turning right not left, while he argues with a variety of faceless voices and the unseen phantom of his dead father sounds as if it's going to be a rather boring, hard-slog movie and coupled with the fact that a large portion of the film is spent with Hardy remote handling a vast cement pour and your fears would be understood.

However this is anything but a boring film, indeed it's rather gripping and you find yourself swept up into his world and hoping that this seemingly decent man can some how make everything come good in the end, even though we the viewer knows it never can.

The chances are you missed this at the cinema, but fear not! It'll probably work even better at home where the claustrophobic nature of the film will work just as well.

If you're tired of a diet of empty headed, huge spectacle pop-corn blockbusters you could do a lot worse than watching this, always engrossing character study.

Tom Hardy proves again what a brilliant actor he really is.


Sunday, 8 June 2014


#39 22 JUMP STREETStarring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Wyatt Russell. Directed by Phill Lord and Chris Miller. 112 minutes long.

If you've seen the first 21 Jump Street film, you'll know what to expect, in fact this film goes out of its way to rift on everything from the first film and the fact it's a sequel, while making fun of itself in the process and when it's funny, it is exceeding laugh-out-loud funny, thanks in no small part to the charms of Channing and Jonah who share a likeable and easy chemistry.

The plot sees the two heroes sent to university to investigate another campus drug and that's it. The actual plot or mission is so thin you can see through it and it comes as no surprise as it plays out. But it's not the procedural plot that brings you to a Jump Street film it's watching Jonah and Channing acting the fools in pursuit of a criminal, while the whole university seems to know they're undercover cops and far too old to be students. And the crazy thing is, whereas this sort of thing sounds horribly unfunny it isn't, it's anything but! And while it never quite achieves the first film's high notes, it's still a guarantee that if you loved the first film you'll love this this outing too! Plus Adding to the fun is Ice Cube who gets a bigger role and some great laughs too.

The only thing that lets this film down is the plot or lack of it. About half way through the film, the plot, sort of fizzles out and for a while the film drifts, waiting for the third act to start and our heroes, who've naturally separated, to get their groove back and once they do the film gets back up to speed, building to a funny resolution and a terrifically funny fist fight between Hill and villain! Plus there's a lovely end credit sequence which should hopefully put pay to any further films, although that said, I wouldn't mind another go-around with these guys.

Certainly not the funniest film ever made, but definitely the funniest film of the year so far, and a million times funnier than the truly awful Million Way to Die in the West!

In a nutshell, this is a highly likeable, enjoyable and bloody funny film.


Sunday, 1 June 2014


Starring Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Liam Nesson,   
Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman.

Written and directed by MacFalane. 116 minutes long, really long.

Seth MacFarlane, plays himself as a man out of time alive in the 1882s who really should be alive in the 21st century making animated shows but instead he's living as a sheep farmer in the wild wild west in a frontier town called Old Stump and pointing out how horrible a time it is, when he's not proving what a terrible shot and coward he is. Liam Nesson is a bandit who leaves his wife, Charlize Theron (also out of her time) in the town so she and Seth can develop a relationship in time, at the start of the third act, for Liam to come back looking to kill the man who kissed his wife.

In between, everybody makes lame jokes, Sarah Silverman does her schtick about sex, Neil Patrick Harris does what he does and Seth makes a lots of hilarious observations that worked extremely well in the red banner trailer, which had the distinction of being 113 minutes shorter. Actually to save you two hours of your life, here's that very same trailer.

Beyond that this is a very dull, boring and unfunny film. Seth has a face made for voice over work and too many of the characters appear far too anachronistic to the plot.

It's not all bad, the sound track is fun, the scenery is breath-taking, filmed in Monument Valley USA and there are a few moments where I'm sure I heard the odd ripple of tittering drift around the auditorium, well that and the odd embarrassed peel of chortling at the sign of a man shitting into two hats and a sheep pissing into the face of another man.

The county fair is fun, but that's in the trailer, the ice block is fun, that's also in the trailer, the sequence with the tart with a heart and her fiance is fun, but they're in the trailer and the doctor is there, but he's ONLY in the trailer, he doesn't appear in the finished film. Maybe they're holding him back for the uncut dvd?

Also the title is wrong. After this film, there's now a Million and One ways to Die in the West. And I craved each and every one of them while watching this turkey.