Saturday, May 10, 2014

Film Review Round-Up 10th May 2014

Great week for film releases, people. A feel good film that will leave you very hungry, an hilarious “so wrong” comedy, and a reasonably decent period piece.  There’s truly something for everyone. Go buy a movie ticket this week and chill out for a few hours of fun.

(My movie Pick of the week)
Chef ✪✪✪✪½    

Opens in Australia:               8th May 2014
USA: 9th May 2014                 UK: 18th June 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
Do not go to this film on an empty stomach. You will come out starving. There’s a lot of loving food preparation, and its not only interesting but mouth watering. A friend called it “food porn.”

Jon Favreau is a charm as Chef Casper along with everyone else in the cast playing so well together. When they talk about chemistry between actors this is a good example. Occasionally you get these little gems out of Hollywood where the comedy is fun, the story simple but genuine, and the actors all play well together. Robert Downey Jr. even makes an unnecessary appearance, but, hey, he’s always good value.

First film, too, that I’ve seen that deals with social media going terribly wrong and terribly right. Having seen this twice, once on a smallish private cinema screen, and then again on a big screen, I must say that something magical happened on the big screen. That magic caused me to change my rating from three and a half stars to four and a half. The audience at the screening applauded at the conclusion louder than I’ve heard in a long time, too. This one deserves your money, and you will benefit from the big screen experience.

If you wait for the DVD, you may find yourself wondering what all the hoopla was about. Well it’s about seeing a film as it’s intended to be seen—on the big screen. I recommend it with a hearty meal and a glass of wine. Do not miss this delicious delight.
P.S. Stay for the end credits. There is a great outtake.

STUDIO BLURB
Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what's next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen -- and zest for life and love. (c) Open Road

Belle ✪✪✪           

Opens in Australia:               8th May 2014
USA: 2nd May 2014                 UK: 13th June 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
One of the most remarkable films last year was 12 Years a Slave. I saw it twice and, of course, it won the Academy Award for Best Picture this year. Belle is a period piece addressing a different issue with regards to slavery and the prejudice of the English based on the color of skin. This story is told through the character of Belle who had the good fortune to be born the illegitimate daughter of an aristocrat. She is taken in by his family and enjoys the lifestyle that comes with that, although she is still limited in her future because she is dark-skinned.

Although it is quite a nicely done film, it doesn’t have the dramatic punch necessary to elevate it above what is probably a film you can see on the ABC. It also dabbles in the same love triangle set ups of a Jane Austen tale, as well as a retelling of an historic legal case, and this causes it to feel muddled. Strictly for those who revel in historic pieces with a touch of romance.

STUDIO BLURB
BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle's lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing. While her cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) chases suitors for marriage, Belle is left on the sidelines wondering if she will ever find love. After meeting an idealistic young vicar's son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England. (c) Fox Searchlight

Bad Neighbours ✪✪✪✪ 

Opens in Australia:               8th May 2014
USA: 9th May 2014                 UK: 3rd May 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
When the publicist for a film stands up the front of the theater and informs you that if your sensibilities are delicate consider leaving now, then you know what kind of film you’re about to watch. I expected to be offended, and I was. I expected I would be mouthing, “no way” and I did. I expected I would hate it and give it 1 star, but guess what? I didn’t!

As much as many of the jokes were in bad taste, the characters were over-the-top charactetures (unless I’m hanging around with far too tame folk) and the running time was just a tad too long, I still loved it. Its funny, irreverent, and probably packs as much bad taste as There’s Something About Mary did in the nineties. But it has heart.

Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne, as Mac and Kelly Radner living happily with their six-month-old who find they’re residing next door to the frat house from hell, work well together as a credible couple. I give them kudos alone for the breast-milking scene. Yes, they’ve gone there folks, and there is footage.
 
Zac Efron as the president of the frat house, Teddy Sanders, is wickedly arrogant and fun. Efron is doing a great job shaking off the High School Musical persona. Girls, there’s shirtless scenes!
Once the frat house gang decides that Mac and Kelly are the enemies, there are some laugh-out-loud scenes as each neighbor exacts revenge on the other. A few years ago, l lamented the nose-dive into crassness our comedies had taken. I must be finally softening up. If you can’t beat them, join them, especially when a script is as good as this one, delivered by a cast who knows how to work the material. Seth Rogan is the go-to guy for these films.

Go visit Neighbors. Don’t eat too much or drink too much while watching or you might find it in your lap during the hilarious scenes. With neighbors like this, you’ll be glad you’re only visiting for a few hours.
   
STUDIO BLURB
Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne lead the cast of Neighbors, a comedy about a young couple suffering from arrested development who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. Neighbors is directed by Nick Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek). (c) Universal



What have you seen this week? Did you find our comments helpful or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with us.